Comics

Comic books and graphic novels

Tue
25
Sep

Batman: Damned Sells on Controversy, Not Story

Batman Damned #1

BATMAN: DAMNED #1. It's the first book from DC's "Black Label" imprint. It's the book with the singular event everyone's talking about. It's the book that's trending on eBay because of a singular, unimportant image.

It's not the book that's selling because people are talking about the story. That's possibly because the story is dense, hard to follow, and nonsequential in its telling. So let's go there.

Mon
24
Sep

Wolverine is Dead No More, and Nobody is Surprised

Return of Wolverine 1

It's a toss-up as to which Marvel "hero" has the largest body count -- The Punisher or Wolverine. But I do remember way back when Wolverine finally got his own series, some few years after the Frank Miller miniseries, that the body count was what helped sell the title. The promo poster even showed Logan -- man without a past -- standing atop a pile of bodies, claws extended and ready for more.

So it's not much of a surprise that this is what people in the Marvel Universe would know him for -- being a killing machine. But Charles Soule puts a different spin on those perspectives, with not one but two ordinary people trying to remind this new Logan that he's seen as a hero.

Yeah, I said "new Logan." I'll get to that in a minute.

Sat
22
Sep

Grandpa Darkseid? Mister Miracle's on the Verge of a Whole New World!

Mister Miracle 11

It's been a surreal journey, and it's about to come to an end -- or to a whole new beginning in Tom King and Mitch Gerads' unconventional take on Mister Miracle, Big Barda, and the rest of Jack Kirby's Fourth World pantheon of New Gods.

Scott Free -- the titular Mister Miracle -- is the new Highfather. And, in keeping with the family tradition, he must make a sacrifice to make peace with Darkseid. When Scott was a boy, his father gave him to Darkseid in exchange for Darkseid's son, an exchange that was meant to keep the peace between New Genesis and Apokolips. Now that Scott and Barda have a son of their own, Jacob, they find themselves in the same boat, forced to give up their child to Darkseid.

So they prepare him -- and a vegetable tray -- to go meet the boy's grandfather and negotiate the peace. 

But Mister Miracle is an escape artist, after all, and he's got a plan.

Too bad for him it's a total failure. Perhaps Plan B might have better luck.

Thu
20
Sep

Suicide Squad Loses Another in the Sink Atlantis Finale

Aquaman 40

Task Force X has been sent to Atlantis, recently risen from the ocean floor, to nuke it back to the sea bottom. Or have they?

It certainly seems that way, as Lord Satanus and Master Jailer break into the chamber of magical treasures of Atlantis, being the best place to detonate the bomb. But the rest of the Suicide Squad has decided this isn't the best move, orders from Amanda Waller be damned, and they're trying to break through the barriers that separate them so they can stop the explosion. And, hey, because this is Aquaman's book (AQUAMAN #40), he even gets a few lines in, as well as some fighting.

What ensues is some Harley Quinn fourth-wall randomness, a game of "Bomb, Bomb, Who's Got The Bomb?" and some quick grief therapy for Killer Croc who's gone completely nihilistic with the loss of The Enchantress. Oh yeah, and Harley has a secret sub-mission that she just remembered.

Thu
20
Sep

Dark Nights: Metal Still Reverberates Through Justice League #8

Justice League 8

The DC Universe is still exploring -- in JUSTICE LEAGUE -- the great cosmic odyssey that began with the destruction of the Source Wall, releasing unfathomable energy into the multiverse. It could be the end of everything, the beginning of something new...or it may just be a frustrating plot device to keep readers wondering.

Lex Luthor has been hard at work to unlock this secret, embodied in an energy source called The Totality. He's been traveling through time, using magic, and imprisoning a demonic Dark Multiverse maniac version of Batman himself -- the Batman Who Laughs, introduced in the DARK NIGHTS: METAL series. This Batman holds the answers Luthor seeks, but those answers come at a cost, one that Luthor is happy to pay.

Sun
16
Sep

Marvel Rising: Omega Cements New Young Marvel Team

Marvel Rising Omega 1

Here's what I take away from MARVEL RISING: OMEGA #1: There's going to be a cartoon series, and this comic evidently is the seed planted in the hope of germinating into viewer interest. This explains the more animated style of art taken by Georges Duarte and Roberto Di Salvo, as the panels definitely look like they're promoting a cartoon show.

As for the story itself, I have a handful of misgivings. What we have here are three of the characters seen on the cover -- Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, and America Chavez -- as well as two more Inhumans teamed up to fight one of the X-Men's most annoying villains -- Arcade. It's another Terror Trap designed for the mighty mutants, which is now being beta tested by our fledgling not-yet-a-team of plucky young fighters for justice

Sun
16
Sep

Archie Goes Back to 1941, But Not Back to Humor

Archie 1941 #1

The Archie contingent of my collection has been growing significantly in the past few years -- not because of RIVERDALE or the new take on the Archie Comics characters, but because I have a ten-year-old comics reader who loves the classic stuff. We have shelves of Archie digests picked up at Wal-mart and Half Price Books, as well as some hardcover collections from various eras. One of those collects stories from the 1940s, when Chick (as Archie was called in his first appearance) first met Betty as she moved in next door. The later stories involved Betty and Veronica organizing dances for soldiers, as well as other references to the ongoing war effort. 

Sat
15
Sep

Batman Goes Back to Solving Crimes in Detective 988

Detective 988

Nobody is dealing all that well with the way the Batman / Catwoman wedding went -- or, rather, didn't -- particularly Batman himself. In typical Batman fashion, whenever something traumatic happens to him, he buries himself in his work.

Now, normally, this would mean a trail of busted jaws and broken ribs stretching across the length and breadth of Gotham City, lasting until someone finally beats some sense into him. This time is different, however. As he relates to Commissioner Gordon at the scene of what seems a mundane murder, "Lately I may have gotten over my head. I need to reset. Bottom line, this is a mystery and I'm a detective."

Wed
29
Aug

The #ComicsGate Thing

The #ComicsGate Thing by Troy Riser

(What is this ComicsGate thing you keep hearing about? To some, it's a hate group, symbolizing old white guys whining about comics turning into political agitprop for social agendas. To others, it's a movement of fans who just want to read good comics again without having to endure stories where the writer's personal ideologies and philosophies have been shoe-horned into their favorite character's makeup.

It's a pretty big thing, and it's a pretty volatile one as well, with some comics professionals (so-called) making threats of violence (or at the very least wistful wishes of agonizing death and disease) against anyone who dares to align themselves with the movement.

Wed
29
Aug

Butt Seriously, Folks: Vertigo’s Robbi Rodriguez Bottoms Out

Rodriguez and Van Sciver

Some people talk through their ass. And then there are those who surpass the metaphor.

Case in point: Robbi Rodriguez, formerly of SPIDER-GWEN and newly appointed illustrator to Zoe Quinn’s Vertigo title, GODDESS MODE. In a moment of drunkenness poor decision making, Rodriguez decided to send a message to fellow comics professional, Ethan Van Sciver, involving an image of his opened gluteus maximus.

Tue
21
Aug

The Longbox Short-List - Week of August 22, 2018

Welcome back to Critical Blast’s long-running weekly look at what new comics you should check out each week.   Just a warning, I make these picks pretty much a week BEFORE I actually get to read any of these comics, so if something is a stinker, I take no blame on that.  Let's get to it!

Comics shipping this week


Sorry for the brief column this week, but I am just getting back from vacation and dealing with a severe injury. Hopefully will be back to normal next week,

Fri
10
Aug

The World's Greatest Comic Magazine Relaunches. In a Word: Fantastic!

Fantastic Four 1 2018

I'll be honest with you, dear readers. I don't read that much Marvel. I love the characters, I've seen all the movies (even the Nicholas Hammond Spider-man films and the Roger Corman Fantastic Four!), I know the origins -- and I used to read a lot more of them, back in the 70s and 80s. But these days, reading the Marvel line seems less like an escape and more like a chore, what with all the Spider-men, X-People, and Avenger teams, all coming from different universes and timelines.

But a number one issue relaunch of a book we haven't seen for a little while, that's enough of an event to convince me to take a peek under the covers and see what's what. Which is how I ended up with one of the many variant covers of FANTASTIC FOUR #1 by Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli.

In a word? It's fantastic!

Thu
09
Aug

Suicide Squad Sent to Sink Sea King's Sovereign State

Suicide Squad 45

SUICIDE SQUAD #45 kicks off the adventure that will cross over with AQUAMAN. Following the events of DARK NIGHTS: METAL, there's been a little bit of fallout, the most globally noticeable being the arrival of a new continent in the Atlantic Ocean between the United States and Europe: from the murky depths of the sea, Atlantis has risen once more, triggered by a thought from Aquaman and creating unrest all across the world. 

And when there's unrest, there's bound to be a small-minded musclehead with a modicum of power who knows better than the rest of us and decides to "fix" things. In this case, it's Admiral Meddinghouse, who sees the arrival of the new continent -- an arrival that triggered tidal waves off the eastern seaboard -- as nothing less than an act of war. So he calls in his chips with Amanda Waller to have Task Force X sent in via submarine to meet up with an Atlantean contingent who also feel that the fabled city should remain under the sea.

Wed
08
Aug

Chandra Nalaar Headlines New Magic: The Gathering Comic Book

It's been 25 years since Magic: The Gathering was introduced and it's been 4 years since the last comic book based on the IP hit the stands. Now, Wizards of the Coast is teaming with IDW to bring Planeswalker, Chandra Nalaar to the forefront.

The new series is touted as introducing "an all-new approach to storytelling". The series will be written by Vita Ayala (Supergirl, The Wilds) with interior art by Harvey Tolibao (X-Men, Green Arrow).

Tue
07
Aug

The Longbox Short-List - Week of August 8, 2018

Welcome back to Critical Blast’s long-running weekly look at what new comics you should check out each week.   Just a warning, I make these picks pretty much a week BEFORE I actually get to read any of these comics, so if something is a stinker, I take no blame on that.  Let's get to it!

Comics shipping this week


Some really big returning series this week!

Fri
03
Aug

Wonderland's Revenge Takes Shape with Second Issue from Zenescope

Revenge of Wonderland 2

When we reunited with Calie Liddle and her daughter, Violet, in REVENGE OF WONDERLAND #1, Raven Gregory had only gotten around to teasing about the new threat coming from the realm of madness. With this second issue, the throttle goes full bore, as The Duchess makes her appearance and adds yet another human to her growing group of faceless slaves, The Clubs.

Calie has been self-medicating to keep the madness at bay, denying that it could ever return, leaving Violet to be on guard for any incursions from the ruins of Wonderland, keeping watch for news stories of mysterious disappearances or weird sightings. When she comes across the story about the daycare incident from the first issue, she goes to investigate and sees things only visible to her eyes, clear indications that Wonderland has made its move and claimed more victims.

Thu
02
Aug

Death of Superman Surprisingly Fresh, Emotionally Deep

Death of Superman

When I first heard that the next DC Universe animated movie was going to be THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN, I was not thrilled. I was already feeling a downward trend in the storytelling as the animated films tried to form a more cohesive universe, and the stand-alones like BATMAN: GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT weren't all that super of late, either. Seeing this story retold, so soon after having it already retold on the big screen in BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, was underscored by the fact that the story was also the very first DCU animated film, under the name SUPERMAN: DOOMSDAY.

To say the least, my expectations were low.

Thu
02
Aug

The Longbox Short-List - Week of August 1, 2018

Welcome back to Critical Blast’s long-running weekly look at what new comics you should check out each week.   Just a warning, I make these picks pretty much a week BEFORE I actually get to read any of these comics, so if something is a stinker, I take no blame on that.  Let's get to it!

Mon
30
Jul

Post Infinity War: Does Stan Lee Hold the Key to the Post-Fox Merger MCU?

Stan Lee's role in MCU

First and foremost: If you haven't seen AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and/or ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, you're probably not even reading this article, so the whole "Spoiler Warning" thing should be a moot point. However, on the microscopic chance that you've just stepped in from Taured and are thus unaware of these MCU events, we'll say it anyway: We're going to talk as though we've all been to the films here. So there, you've been warned.

Mon
30
Jul

Hero Tomorrow's Tap Dance Killer Injects Comics with Fresh Ideas

Tap Dance Killer 1

I was heavy into comics when Vertigo cut its teeth, bringing to comics weirdness for weirdness' sake. It was fun at first, but after a while many of the titles got to where I simply needed to be on the same drugs as the writer to get the context and narrative, and I wasn't willing to go that far.

TAP DANCE KILLER, however, brings a weirdness of a different kind. With a Troma-style plotline and an outrageous cast of characters, TAP DANCE KILLER manages to bring the readers a weirdness that doesn't lose them, posing a series of unanswered questions that don't require immediate answers to understand what's going on.

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