While we’ve got a LOT going on with WonderCon 2015 (listen to our podcast HERE! and the first of two Bible Scale features HERE!), we still found time to review a Fistful of Comics from both last and this week. Agree with us? Hate our reviews? Crying blasphemy, are we? Then, hit up the congregation @GodHatesGeeks with your many geeky thoughts and comic comments.
Far be it from your Reverend to rant my consummate Congregationalists, but the premiere installment of Jupiter’s Circle brought out my inner Dennis Miller. Here’s the gist: the Hall of Justice was purchased by Sterling Cooper in some sort of hostile takeover, the Watchmen now have families, the offspring of H.P. Lovecraft and Aquaman tries to suck the memories straight out of civilization, Tony Stark wears a cape and is still pushing for government registration while Rock Hudson is being blackmailed by the FBI for secret identities after playing tummy sticks at Katherine Hepburn’s soiree. Spoiler alert, J. Edgar, here’s the roster minus super-Liberace: Walt Disney, Carey Grant, George C. Scott, Ronald and Nancy Reagan. And Phil Coulson makes an appearance.
Mark Millar (Secret Service, Old Man Logan) basically showed up drunk for the SAT’s on this one. It was like he took stuff from everything that worked before, threw it at the wall, then watched as a comic book morphed into a Golgothan. This shit-demon of a story was supposed to be conceptually edgy by taking issues that are in the modern realm of “it’s not a big deal” and thrusting them back-in-time to the Age of Intolerance. Somebody tell Marty McFly he ain’t getting anywhere near 88mph in this heap. Wilfredo Torres (Quantum and Woody) brought a few delightful touches with his artwork, however, but that’s still being generous. The only saving grace was that his drawings fit the time period, though it wouldn’t surprise me if his style was lifted from the 3-panel Sunday funnies of a 1940’s Dick Tracy serial. Heavy on the Richard, if you get my meaning. Hopefully Frank Sinatra was right and the best is yet to come, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. 1/5 Bibles.
There’s far too much nostalgia for the American War for Independence. It is often misinterpreted, over-simplified and the key figures have started the transition from historical personalities to outright legend. Worse still is the myth that minute-men militias are what won the war. Rebels #1, which is set in what will become Vermont, or the New Hampshire Land Grant, is dancing on the line of all of that. The difference here is that the story is being told from the perspective of the Green Mountain Boys — Vermont’s militia. The land that became Vermont had been claimed by New York and New Hampshire, and in the years before Lexington and Concord tensions began to rise there as settlers of the colonial northern frontier shied away from New York and aligned more with New England. Brian Wood (Star Wars, X-Men) deftly tells the story and dances on the line between historical fiction and historical fantasy pretty well. Andrea (Evil Empire, Noir) Mutti‘s pencils are deftly executed. The one gripe is in the lettering, which isn’t credited. The narration uses a serif type face — think Times New Roman. It’s a bit anachronistic. It would add to the feel if the narration looked like handwriting. Overall, this is a book worth checking out if for nothing but the spectacle of it all and a peek at a part of the war that is often overlooked. 3.75/5 Tyrannical Tax Acts.
Well, I’m glad I waited to review this after covering the Marvel: Next Big Thing panel at WonderCon 2015. Greg Weisman, Star Wars: Rebels co-creator and scribe of Marvel’s newest Star Wars comic, Kanan: The Last Padawan #1, was in attendance and had a lot to chew off about his newborn assignment. He informed the audience that the comic was set 15-years before Rebels “when Order 66 came down,” and that the reason for this comic in the first place was for the need to know more about who these Rebels were. But rather than have a slew of solo spotlights on the animated show, Lucasfilm found it best for these stories to be told in comic format. “22-minutes doesn’t allow for backstories (other than Ezra’s). ‘You can’t do this, but we can’t tell you why'”, Weisman retells. Thankfully, the Kanan comic is pretty bad-ass. For Rebels fans such as your Monsignor, there’s a wonderful Pepe Larraz (Thor, Deadpool) layout showcasing the whole crew up in the Ghost. For folks not familiar with the show, the other 21-pages showcase Kanan in full Ezra mode (read: ambitious, torn Jedi youth) during the final steps of The Clone Wars. The coolest part of the book has to be the All-New Aliens, a.k.a. Kallerans, who help separate this Warsie book from anything we’ve read the past couple months, a.k.a. before A New Hope. With the Dark Horse era of Star Wars comics now becoming legend, it’s nice to see a new hope in the extended part of this universe with the Marvel reboot as well. 3.75/5 Fulcrum Cough Medicines.
To start things off with a humbling moment: Your favorite Traveling Nerd has not read the first series of Uncanny, but I may be the best choice to review this new epic comic from Andy Diggle (The Losers, Thunderbolts). Thankfully, we are graced by an initial quick summary at the beginning as to what happened in the first series and thank the-all-mighty-Geek-hating-God for it! Uncanny deals with people who seemingly have abilities that cause them to be called “actives” (or like Marvel would call them “Mutants’ or “Inhumans”) and about those wanting to exploit them. Also, thankfully, this second series doesn’t pick up from the last issue but with a whole new story that makes neophytes like myself easily able to jump aboard. This second series starts with the origin story of the main character from the first series, Weaver.
Set in 1979, we are introduced to a young boy named Bobby Lower, who is helping his father in the midst of a bad situation having been shot by a “bad man.” Through this first issue we are taken down Bobby’s initial path of becoming Weaver– losing his father, in addition to his new unrecognized powers that take over while falling into a foster child program of the 80’s. Though at times his powers come off as crazy uncontrolled “Mystique’esque”, he is soon able to learn the ability to master them through excellent panel and story layouts. A second season can be hard to grab new readers or followers in anything, and Diggle does an excellent job of not only placating old followers but also bringing in new comic fans such as this Apostle. He humanizes the chief character from the first series in a very empathizing story that should yearn you to read more. Aaron Campbell (Green Hornet: Year One) gritty, realistic character art not only sucks you into a world set in the grimy years of the 70’s and 80’s, but also helps convey the mental standing and confidence of Bobby over the years. Diggle and Campbell have a success on their hands in the eyes of this Traveling Nerd. It may help that I’m writing this review on the streets of NYC which just seems fitting. 4.25/5 Happy Psych Pills agree!!! Take the Happy Pills!
Initially caught off when I found out George Romero had another comic series, Empire of the Dead — which kind of sounds like something out of Star Wars — I was anticipating Lord Vader Resurrected. There’s no storm troopers here, but I enjoyed the read much like I did with Romero’s other comic Toe Tag. While it’s a sin your Bishop ZOM showed up this late to the Marvel Zombie Party, I still managed to understand the gist of the plot despite being perplexed with all the missed opportunities. Yes, the back issues are a must.
I was able to contrast this issue with other inspirational horror films and humor, like references to Reanimator. It always warms the organs to see progress wishing to be made from the dead, or should I say bringing the dead back to life. Empire of the Dead also asks: Are we’re going to advance from damnation, or are we doomed indefinitely? Um, zombies working and being beneficial? At what costs? Better yet, how will the hunger of a hard days working zombie be like? Can we survive the science of our curiosity? Can’t wait to find out more. Big props to the monsanto GMO food issue reference, too. 3.25/5 Reanimated Brains.