Aug 282014
 

fourColorBullet1

It’s the day after New Comic Day, which means it’s time for Four-Color Bullet, the Internet’s only comic-book review column that ain’t ‘fraid of no ghosts.

From Marvel this week, Peter’s early exploits as the Amazing Spider-Man continue as what started out as fun and games for new villain Clash turns serious, and a classic Spidey foe shows up to make it worse, in The Amazing Spider-Man: Learning to Crawl #1.4; The new Frightful Four! Can Reed prove Ben’s innocence? And the original Human Torch pops in, in Fantastic Four #9; The Uncanny Avengers are reunited and the threat of Kang is over. So what comes next? Find out in Uncanny Avengers #32.

Over on the DC Comics side of things, the mystery of the masked Superman continues, in Futures End #17; Deadman’s backstory revealed as the Justice League Dark takes on Pantheon for all the marbles, in Justice League Dark #34; Following the fight with Green Hornet and Kato, Batman and Robin pursue the coins stolen from the Gotham Bank. But are the coins just another deadly trap? Find out in Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet #8

Image Comics introduces a new horror series starring Rori Lane, who, while visiting her mother in Tokyo, finds herself pursued by shadowy forces that cause her to discover a power within her. Described as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a twist of Hellboy,” it’s Wayward #1.

From the IDW-verse, Harlan Ellison’s Star Trek: The City on the Edge of Forever continues with its third issue as Kirk and Spock, stranded in Earth’s past, desperately search for the focal point that altered the time-stream. But once they find her, they could be foiled by a power greater than the Guardians of Forever: love. And, The League of Extraordinary Villains has vastly underestimated our heroes. Now, Samurai Jack, Ben 10, The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter, and even Ed, Edd, and Eddy, are bringing the fight to them and getting to the bottom of the League’s devious plan, in Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War #3

Written by Erik Burnham Penciled by Dan Schoening Colors by Luis Antonio Delgado IDW PUBLISHING

Written by Erik Burnham
Penciled by Dan Schoening
Colors by Luis Antonio Delgado
IDW PUBLISHING

IDW’s Ghostbusters reaches the penultimate chapter of its 30th Anniversary epic, Mass Hysteria. Tiamat has been trying to get her brother Gozer’s goat for some time. Now that she’s managed it, the two are duking it out in Ray’s mind while the rest of the team are powerless to stop them. But if they don’t figure something out fast, Ray, and the rest of the city, county, and state of New York are going to be in Big-Twinkie-Sized trouble.

Writer Erik Burnham writes a fantastic issue that leads to what may turn out to be a shocking and monumental finale. This is Ghostbusters at its best. Action, quips, and truly personal stakes for all involved. Most of the story takes place in Ray’s mind, as he’s forced not only to watch, but host, a titanic throw-down between two angry Sumerian deities. All while the rest of the team try and try again but are powerless to stop the gods without injuring their friend.

Burnham uses this to answer some questions that have been hanging around, as well as giving us some new stuff to take right on in to the finish. Dan Schoening’s art is beautiful as always. Constant movement and seriously gorgeous and epic fight scenes with Gozer and Tiamat. Delgado’s colors make Schoening’s already perfect art jump off the page, especially concerning the Sumerian Smackdown.

Just a great story overall and Burnham and company pull out all the stops to bring us to the big finish. And the finish, it appears, will definitely be all-caps-big.

 

Written by Robert Kirkman Pencils by Paul Azaceta Colors by Elizabeth Breitweiser IMAGE/SKYBOUND

Written by Robert Kirkman
Pencils by Paul Azaceta
Colors by Elizabeth Breitweiser
IMAGE/SKYBOUND

Kirkman, Azaceta, and Breitweiser deliver another quality issue of Image’s new horror comic Outcast. Issue three is light on, but not without, the horror that the two issues before it have brought, this time serving as more of a character- and story-building exercise. We see Kyle share dinner with a neighbor, and discover that both of them have dealt with tremendous loss. Will this forge a new friendship for the emotionally detached Kyle? And we get more on Reverend Anderson, Kyle’s go-to-guy in the weirdness that has suddenly invaded his life.

But the horror is still there. Early in the book, a demon-possessed man brings tragedy to a new character’s life, sending him looking to Kyle for answers, and the mysterious man in the brimmed hat returns to save the day for two of our players. But is he friend or foe?

Paul Azaceta delivers his shadowy and beautifully dark pencils, and Elizabeth Breitweiser’s colors, while extreme and in-your-face when looking to scare, also provides quiet, reflective moments as well, in this particular issue.

Every good series needs to give the reader time to breathe before it ratchets up the suspense for the next lap. Outcast takes a break this issue, mostly, from the scares, but I don’t think we’ll rest too long.

 

And that’s it for this week’s Four-Color Bullet. Email and comment below if you so choose. Today brings Ghostbusters back to the big screen for its week-long 30th Anniversary. If you haven’t seen it on the big screen and you’re a fan, go. Find a theater near you that’s showing it and see it in all its glory. I’m going. This nerd’s not about to miss it.

It’s a good time to be a comics fan. See you next week!

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Aug 212014
 

fourColorBullet1Four-Color Bullet is back, and we are aimin’ to misbehave! It’s been a busy week, with all kinds of juicy picks, so let’s just run them down, shall we?

From Marvel this week, Storm is New York City investigating the disappearances of some wayward teens, not suspecting that the culprit is one of her oldest and deadliest foes, in Storm #2; Deadpool is called in to generate book sales– I mean, um, help the Secret Avengers on a mission, in Secret Avengers #7;  and it’s the Mighty Avengers, with some help from the original 1970s team, versus the Deathwalkers for the life of Blade and the survival of humanity, in Mighty Avengers #13.

On shelves from DC this week, the hotly anticipated Multiversity #1, as a team of heroes from all 52 worlds must assemble to defeat a menace that could destroy the Multiverse. And Captain Carrot is back! Red Hood and the Outlaws are dealing with the fallout from Starfire’s past, when a secret foe arrives to make things worse in Red Hood and the Outlaws #34; Batman’s Bat-Robot! Taking out crime in Gotham! Is the Caped Crusader obsolete?! Find out in Batman ’66 #41!

From IDW this week, The X-Files: Zero Year continues in its second issue, as a pair of FBI agents from the 1940s investigate the mysterious Mr Xero, as the events leading up to the creation of the FBI’s X-Files unit is revealed; and the Turtles are transported by a new foe to another dimension, where they are forced into combat with some of the deadliest warriors in the universe, in the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual.

And Dark Horse Comics rounds out the bullets with Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10 #6, when a simple exorcism is not so simple, and Buffy and the Scoobies are forced to fight a demon who fights back with their childhood fantasies. Joss Whedon approved!

 

Written by Mark Waid Penciled by Javier Rodriguez MARVEL

Written by Mark Waid
Penciled by Javier Rodriguez
MARVEL

Mark Waid’s Daredevil has consistently been one of the best all-new titles to break out of the Marvel gate; this one is no exception. I might liken this particular issue to a Very Special Episode kind of storyIn this Original Sin tie-in, Matt, like other heroes in New York at the time, was bombarded with potentially devastating secrets about his life.

Matt was shocked last issue to have the revelation that his dad, Battlin’ Jack Murdock, a man that Matt worshipped as a child and who played a significant role in his becoming a lawyer as well as Daredevil, may not have been a nice guy. Matt received troubling flashbacks of his dad standing over his mom, while his mom lay bruised on the kitchen floor.

To learn the truth, Matt goes searching for Maggie, his mom, who later abandoned him and became a nun. He discovers that she and three other nuns have been illegally arrested and kidnapped by Wakandan forces, and taken to Wakanda after they discover some nasty goings-on by that government on United States soil.

Spoilers follow. Be ye warned.

In part two of this story, Matt makes it to Wakanda, brilliantly rescues Maggie and the others, and heads home. During the ride back to the states, Matt finally confronts his mom about why she left, and what follows is a poignant and moving scene where Maggie confesses to postpartum depression that hit the emotional keys, and was even so prophetic regarding Robin Williams’ death as to be downright eerie. We learn that the the scene Matt received was a scene of Maggie attacking Jack Murdock and falling to the floor. This is important for one reason. Matt Murdock idolized his dad. Everything Matt is, he owes to his dad. If it were revealed that Jack was a wife beater, it would have undone Matt’s reason for living, and changed the whole dynamic of Matt’s world. So not only do we get this great tale of Matt rescuing his mom from Wakanda, we’re forced to wonder for a whole month, was Jack Murdock not the man we knew? And Mark Waid was brilliant and mindful of the character, to turn that all around.

Spoilers end. Proceed.

My only dislike? Wakanda. Not that Matt’s mission to Wakanda was at all far-fetched, it just seemed forced for a story that really could have taken place in New York or San Francisco. Although I know what Waid was driving at, in that there’s nothing Matt wouldn’t do or nowhere he’d go for justice, or his mother.

This is some of Mark Waid’s best writing work, on a book that is always well written. And penciler Chris Samnee takes a break this issue, leaving the talented Javier Rodriguez to share storyteller duties in the artist’s seat. I brag and glow about Daredevil  every month because it’s that good. And I’ve been a Daredevil fan for years, even during the dark and hateful Bendis and Maleev years. It is always a must-read, and the first title I read in my pile. Every month. Good, good stuff all the time. And when comics are at $3.99 an issue, quality is what you want.

 

Written by Tony Lee Penciled by Aneke Colored by Alex Starling DYNAMITE

Written by Tony Lee
Penciled by Aneke
Colored by Alex Starling
DYNAMITE

I stumbled across this one thanks to my editor, being the fine enabler that she is.  *grin*  Dynamite is an up-and-coming comic publisher who is printing critically-acclaimed stuff like Green HornetSix Million Dollar Man, and Battlestar Galactica series, both old and contemporary. So you can take your pick with whichever version of BSG you like.

This month, Dynamite released a third BSG title that is just absolutely freaking brilliant, and if you’re a steampunk fan like me, it’ll make you happy. Steampunk Battlestar Galactica: 1880 follows the crew of the Aethership Galactica in their struggle against Professor Baltar and his Cylonic warriors, clockwork robots loyal only to him.

In this beginning of a four-issue steampunk tale, the twelve colonies have just ended a war with the Ovoid race, using Baltar’s clockwork Cylonics to defeat them. But Professor Baltar had higher aspirations. He didn’t want to just save humanity — he wanted to rule it. Following an argument with Archduke Adama, Baltar takes his Babbage computer, Lu-C-Fer, and leaves Adama and the others behind, never to be seen again. At least until he turned his Cylonics on Caprica …

I won’t say anymore because the rest has to be seen to be believed. Writer Tony Lee, who co-wrote the fantastic Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who crossover, gives everybody a swashbuckle-y, steampunk twist and it’s beautiful and grin-worthy and just downright fun. And this was the first time I’ve had the privilege of seeing the artistic team of Aneke and Alex Starling, but the pencils were crisp, the colors vibrant, and best of all, you knew who was who on the page. And kudos to them for maintaining the steampunk look throughout.

I learned a long time ago from Joss Whedon that you can turn any word into an adjective by adding “-y,” so I stand by “swashbuckle-y.”

Moving on.

Minor spoilers ahead.

My only dislike, and it really isn’t a dislike  per se … to be honest I don’t know what it is beyond maybe a tongue-in-cheek thing. Anyway, there’s a scene involving steampunk Starbuck that is very reminiscent of a scene in Star Wars Episode IV, where Han and his new passengers go to board the Falcon and Luke gives Han some lip about the spaceworthiness of his ship, then Jabba comes out … remember that  one? I can’t tell if it’s an homage or a rip off. It’s a fun scene, don’t get me wrong, but I felt like the whole thing just took too long.

Spoilers over

I was glad to have found this book because I would have kicked myself if I hadn’t. Steampunk fans and Battlestar Galactica fans rejoice. We just got a geek-filled Reese’s cup and it all tastes good.

And that is Four-Color Bullet for this week. Email and comments if you have opinions on my adding “-y” to words, or anything else you want to discuss. Have you seen that cray-cray Spider-Woman variant cover yet? You haven’t?! I wrote a whole editorial on it. Go read it and tell me how curmudgeonly I am.

It’s a good time to be a comics fan. See ya next week. Go Vols!

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Aug 072014
 

by Michael Brown, staff writer

Welcome to this week’s Four-Color Bullet, the only comic-book review column with a Six-Demon Bag.

Comic Book Day has come and gone, and it is with much regret that I announce the closing of the local comic shop. I’m reading my stuff on Comixology, now, and it’s not a bad ride. To be honest, I enjoy it. That said, if you love your brick-and-mortar store, send ‘em some love and help them out. I don’t think digital comics are threatening the shops. I talk to a lot of people every day about this issue and there are almost as many for digital comics as against. Both have advantages, and I’m beginning to enjoy digital. But there are some comics I just have to have copies of. But I heard Todd McFarlane say the other day on a documentary about comics history, and I paraphrase, it shouldn’t matter where you get your comics as long as you get them and support the industry. There are pros and cons to both, but let’s just all be comics fans. It shouldn’t matter how we read them, as long as we read them. And enjoy them.

From Marvel this week:

  • Rocket has been framed, accused and arrested of murder. And the most notorious raccoon in the galaxy is going to need help to prove that he didn’t commit this particular crime, at least, in Rocket Raccoon #2.
  • Peter Quill is captured by a bounty hunter with a strange connection to his past. And if he can keep said hunter from feeding him to a giant alien, he might just figure out what it is, in Legendary Star-Lord #2.
  • A threat from Moon Knight’s first issue returns to cause more problems for the Protector of Night Travelers, as Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey conclude their run with Moon Knight #6.

From DC this week:

  • Super-spy Dick Grayson digs deeper into Spyral, and meets his new partner Helena Bertinelli, in Grayson #2.
  • Batman, Batwoman, and Jason Todd scramble to find evidence that can save Commissioner Gordon, in Batman: Eternal #18
  • Superman’s forces are dealt a huge blow in space, while the resistance in Gotham makes its boldest move yet. in Injustice: Gods Among Us #18
Written by John Carpenter and Eric Powell Art by Brian Churilla BOOM! Studios

Written by John Carpenter and Eric Powell
Art by Brian Churilla and Michael Garland
BOOM! Studios

John Carpenter and Eric Powell’s Big Trouble in Little China is on its third issue and this one is no exception when it comes to laugh-out-loud humor and silly grins. In this issue, Jack, Egg, and Pete continue their journey down the Midnight Road to acquire the souls of the Three Storms from the Seven Headed Widow , in order to rescue Wang Chi from Qiang Wu. John Carpenter, who serves as Creative Consultant/Executive Producer, and script writer Eric Powell are doing a fantastic job delving into Jack Burton’s back story, mostly in the form of hilarious, long-winded expositions from Jack talking about his past wives. So far we know that all of Jack’s wives, four so far, were connected to the supernatural. He’s been married to the daughter of a cult leader who wanted to use Jack as a sacrifice to resurrect a Babylonian demi-god; a vampire, and a sideshow psychic who was actually a real psychic using her powers to mind control Jack, forcing him to steal from her customers. And Jack was oblivious to all of it. And the stories are told by Jack, while artist Brian Churilla’s panels show the reader what’s really going on. Absolutely hilarious.

And this issue just keeps it up. When our heroes finally meet the dreaded Seven Headed Widow, and Egg Shen is in awe of her, Jack is totally nonplussed and talks to the Chinese demon the irreverent way Jack Burton would, and with hilarious results. And there are monkeys who want Jack dead. Monkeys.

BOOM! Studios has found a winner, it’s one that I look forward to every month, and I hope it continues for a long, long time.


Written by Tyler James Art by Fico Ossio ComixTribe

Written by Tyler James
Art by Fico Ossio
ComixTribe

What do you do when you’re a teenage superhero in Miami, and your only weakness is that you can’t use your powers around beautiful girls? If you’re the new hero called Epic, you do the best you can. I have always been a big fan of teenage superheroes, and Epic from ComixTribe is about as good as it gets. Somewhere along the way, comics about teen heroes stopped being fun but Epic just gets it right.

Miami teen Eric Ardor gets his powers after a lab accident of sorts, and along with his sidekick assistant, Beanie Barnes, Eric, as Epic,  strives to keep Miami safe while dealing with teenage stuff. Pretty simple and well executed.

I loved Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man because it let Peter be more than the hero. He was struggling with class, failing with girls, dealing with peer pressure, and was still expected to be the hero while trying to juggle everything in his life. The series was magic. Epic is on its way to having that kind of magic. You can see it on the periphery. It’s fun, exciting, Tyler James’ story and dialogue is crisp and funny, and artist Fico Ossio’s work, of whom I am now a huge fan, is like eye candy. His art reminds me a little of Todd Nauck, but more visually stunning. I had commented as much to Tyler James on Twitter, and James said he liked it when Ossio could just cut loose. I have to agree.

In the second issue, we meet Epic’s new nemesis in the form of a U.N. negotiator who is turned into a giant spider in issue #1, and becomes said spider in his Miami home, scaring to death his thirteen foster children. And Eric and Beanie, who are monitoring police traffic hoping to find a case that doesn’t involve a pretty girl, stumbles onto it and … you’ll have to read the rest. The action is fast paced, the dialogue witty, and everybody is beautifully rendered thanks to Fico Ossio. It’s just a fun book that doesn’t take itself too seriously in a time when everyone else does.


And that’s your Four-Color Bullet for this week. Comments and emails, comments and emails, blah blah woof woof. You know the drill.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is out this weekend. Some of the reviews aren’t so great, but stay tuned to Krypton Radio. Our Nerd Newshounds will do the dirty work for you and they’ll let you know how it really is. Did we let you down with Guardians of the Galaxy? I think not.

It’s a good time to be a comics fan. See you next week!

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Jul 312014
 

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Welcome to this week’s Four-Color Bullet, the only comic book review column with its own huggable, gun-toting raccoon. It’s comic-book-talkin’ time, y’all!

Over at Marvel this week, Bruce Banner knows that Tony Stark is responsible for the Gamma test that turned Banner into the Hulk. And now, the most epic, ultimate fight between these two juggernauts is on! And it’ll cause an event that will shake the Avengers to their knees, in Hulk vs. Iron Man #3, an Original Sin tie-in; East L.A. is a battlefield with the all new Ghost Rider vs. the all new Mister Hyde, in Ghost Rider #5; and, while helping his brother, Clint finds himself in a fight and comes out of it with major ear damage.  Now, Hawkeye must cope with total hearing loss, in a special sign language issue of Hawkeye #19.

Over at DC, Lex Luthor continues to adjust to life as a hero and leader of the Justice League, but the Doom Patrol is gearing up for a fight, in Justice League #32; Five years into the DCU’s future, it’s the world vs. Terry McGinnis a.k.a. Batman Beyond, in Futures  End #13; and, Joker and General Gumm!  Forcing Kato and the Boy Wonder in a fight to the death?! Where, oh, where are Batman and the Green Hornet?! Will they find their young allies in time?! Find out in Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet #6

 

Written by Erik Burnham Art by Dan Schoening IDW Publishing

Written by Erik Burnham
Art by Dan Schoening
IDW Publishing

The end is nigh! For the series and the world! Only two more issues to go before IDW wraps its 30th Anniversary Ghostbusters event, Mass Hysteria, as well as the series itself.  Tiamat is still on the prowl, spreading chaos everywhere, and the Ghostbusters have no idea how to stop her. From once again de-possessing Louis and Dana, to fighting Vigo the Carpathian on Hart Island, the boys and girls in gray are stumped and overworked.

There was nothing terribly spectacular about this issue, aside from seeing some familiar enemies, and a neat appearance by one of the ghosts in Ghostbusters: The Video Game, which is part of the comic book universe canon. It felt more like a filler issue. Writer Erik Burnham and artist Dan Schoening continue to tell the story even as the series starts to come to an end. The action is decent and fast-paced, with the majority of the team fighting Vigo, while Egon and Kylie try to put down Louis and Dana in the firehouse.

And is someone sabotaging Winston’s marriage? We think so, in an awkward interlude that served to pull us out of the action faster than a gravity well pulls you out of hyperspace. It’s obviously important down the road, but it was just a bit jarring.

It will be interesting to see how they resolve Tiamat’s assault on the Big Apple with only two issues left, but I’m certain Burnham has something up his sleeve.

 

Written by Robert Kirkman Pencils by Paul Azaceta Colors by Elizabeth Breitweiser IMAGE/SKYBOUND

Written by Robert Kirkman
Pencils by Paul Azaceta
Colors by Elizabeth Breitweiser
IMAGE/SKYBOUND

Robert (The Walking Dead) Kirkman’s new horror comic Outcast is on its second issue, and while this one was much slower and less fright-filled than its premiere issue, the tension is still there. You know how you see a good horror film or a read a good horror book and after you get the crap scared out of you, there’s that calm moment that lets you collect yourself before they throw it at you again? I have a feeling this issue was like that calm moment. But while the scares weren’t there, Kirkman and Paul the-best-artist-for-horror-comics-today Azaceta play around with the mythos as Kyle comes to grips with what’s going on, and it looks like we get to meet the, or a, big bad of the series. The devil, perhaps? Either way, we learn that it wants Kyle. Badly.

And while Kirkman crafts his tale, artists Paul Azaceta and Elizabeth Breitweiser were meant for this thing. Black shadows, and grays, and splashes of red in all the right places … And I have said before that I’m not a fan of horror comics, primarily because they’re hard to pull off. There have been some noble tries, but in a genre where you have to keep the scares hidden, a simple glance at the next panel can ruin it.  Outcast may have that problem down the road, but there’s something about Azaceta’s art that makes you want to peek closely at every panel, then when you hit the scare on the next panel, it’s there and it’s genuine. And then there’s the story. Kirkman is writing a series about demonic possession, and whether you believe in God, or not, or Satan, or not, there are thousands of documented cases of demonic possession on file. And while neither I nor Robert Kirkman want to launch a debate on religion, the point is that these scares are real, or at least grounded in reality. Movies like The Exorcist scared the crap out of me and they still do. And many others, I’m sure. Kirkman writes an excellent afterword in the first issue about this, so go read it in his own words.

Kirkman has promised some scares to come in Outcast, and I think he’ll deliver.

And that is Four-Color Bullet for this week. As always, thanks for stopping by. Emails and comments are always welcome if you want to talk comics. Guardians of the Galaxy is out this weekend, and Krypton Radio staff writer Nur Hussein has already seen and reviewed it for us! Marvel is already working on a sequel, based on Internet buzz alone. This thing is going to through the roof. If you see it, let us know what you think.

It’s a good time to be a comics fan. See you next week!

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