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Sep 182014
 
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Four-Color Bullet

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for Four-Color Bullet, the only comic book review column that fans are waiting to show up in the New 52. Speaking of showing up … Spoiler! Is! Back! And she looks fantastic! But we’ll get to Stephanie Brown in a sec. Here are this week’s bullets.

DC Comics presents: Martian Manhunter’s plans for world domination come to fruition, in Futures End: Justice League #1; Wonder Woman loses her humanity and embraces her destiny as God of War to fight back Nemesis, in Futures End: Wonder Woman #1; Batman and Robin! Trapped in the Widow’s web! Penguin to the rescue?! It’s all in Batman ’66 #43.

From Marvel this week, Edge of Spider-Verse continues as the Superior Spider-Man takes the fight to Karn, the man leaving a trail of dead Spiders throughout the multiverse, in Superior Spider-Man #33; Havok and the remaining members of the Avengers Unity Squad are brought low by Red Skull and his S-Men, in Uncanny Avengers #24; and Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man, joins the X-Men, in All-New X-Men #32.

In the Valiant Universe, Quantum and Woody, and Archer and Armstrong continue their insane, and ill-conceived team up to find the Hobo King, in The Delinquents #2; Following Livewire’s sacrifice, Unity rallies. And they have Armor Hunters in their sights. Last hope. Last stand. Unity #11

And from IDW, an abortion clinic bombing leads Mulder and Scully to investigate a right-wing extremist group led by a teenage girl who claims to hear God. But her actions are far from heavenly, in The X-Files; Season 10 #16.

 

The kids are not all right

Written by Mark Waid Penciled by Chris Samnee Colored by matthew Wilson

Written by Mark Waid
Penciled by Chris Samnee
Colored by Matthew Wilson

When we last saw Purple Man, he was being pretty darn scary in Brian Michael Bendis’ Alias. Now, he drops by San Francisco, and as usual, his terrifying, sleazy, mind-control powers are with him. Mark Waid’s work on Daredevil has been nothing short of fantastic throughout. And this tale, book-ended by some of the creepiest, unsettling events I’ve seen in some time, is no exception. In addition to that, Matt gets to meet his girlfriend’s parents, and is given a proposition that Matt may find hard to say no to. Keeping an eye on how that plays out will be interesting. This issue is light on the action, but do you see that cover? It’s exactly what you think it is, and Waid makes Purple Man, and the Purple Children, some of the scariest foes Marvel has to offer.

And the action isn’t prevalent, but that just means that we have time for some character development. Characters need to be able to emote, and express properly on the page. In this regard, Chris Samnee is top-of-the-line as usual, and shares a deserved storytelling credit with Waid. They go together like chocolate and peanut butter, and this book is the better for it.

And so, a new arc begins with a terrifying new villain for DD. How Matt handles what comes next will be worth biting my nails for a month.

 

 

 

 

Spoiler, Sweetie!

Written by Ray fawkes, Scott Snyder, and James Tynion IV Penciled by Andy Clarke

Written by Ray Fawkes, Scott Snyder, and James Tynion IV
Penciled by Andy Clarke

Along with Wally West, Stephanie Brown, a.k.a. The Spoiler, has to be the most fan-demanded character in DC’s New 52. Before the universe-spanning reboot, she was popular in the pages of the Batman books, even becoming Robin for a very brief spell before she tragically lost her life in a Gotham City gang war.

Her father, the two-bit Riddler wannabe Cluemaster, always provided some tension as Stephanie played the hero game behind her criminal father’s back. Stephanie re-appeared in the New 52 back in Batman: Eternal #3, and now makes her long-awaited debut as she takes on her criminal father as The Spoiler in this week’s issue 24.

Thankfully, we’re given a bit of a New 52 backstory in that we see her as a kid, and that acrobatics are nothing new to her or her father. What I as the reader could have used more of was a little more background on her. And storytellers Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, with wordsmith Ray Fawkes, and Tim Seeley and Kyle Higgins in as showrunners of sorts, have made New 52 Spoiler just intriguing enough to have been worth the long wait.

Artist Andy Clarke shines here, perfectly providing the tone the writers have tried to convey. And the action is smashmouth, wallop to wallop, panel to panel.

All in all, it’s good to have Stephanie back and her reboot is off to a good start.

And that is it for Four-Color Bullet this week. Email and comment if you so choose. Are you a Spoiler fan? What do you think of her return? Sound off, already!

It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See ya next week!

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Sep 112014
 

fourColorBullet1

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for another Four-Color Bullet, the only comic-book review column not guest-starring Deadpool.

On the Marvel side of things, the Spider-Man of the 1930s returns, this time not only up against the man called Mysterio, but knee-deep in the multiverse-spanning event that will affect every known spider-powered hero in existence, in Edge of Spider-Verse #1 starring Spider-Man Noir; Captain Marvel and her cat, Chewie, must fend off an alien intruder. They will both discover that in space, no can hear you meow, in Captain Marvel #7; and in the march to Axis, Marvel’s next big event, Magneto discovers the Red Skull is hauling mutants off to re-education camps, and is in possession of Charles Xavier’s powers, in Magneto #9.

Over at the Distinguished Competition, Batman Beyond and his team must make their move on TerrifiTech, in Futures End #19; Amanda Waller’s covert war against the United States reaches the tipping point as the Suicide Squad takes the White House, in New Suicide Squad #1: Futures End; Batman and Robin are about to be turned into pasta thanks to General Gumm’s death trap, forcing the Green Hornet and Kato to bring in Gumm and the Joker on their own, in Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet #9. 

And from the Valiant Universe, Archer’s assassin-for-hire sister Mary-Maria takes center stage in a roller coaster ride into next month’s game-changer, in Archer and Armstrong #24

 

Written by Dan Slott Penciled by Humberto Ramos Colored by Edgar Delgado MARVEL

Written by Dan Slott
Penciled by Humberto Ramos
Colored by Edgar Delgado
MARVEL

When last we left our intrepid web-slinging hero, the now-psychotic Black Cat was about to unmask Spidey on live television while Spidey’s new ally Silk fought Electro, and good ol’ J. Jonah Jameson himself narrated the unmasking. I thought it was going to be a gimmick. That Amazing Spider-Man #6 would roll out and Peter had a mask under the mask, or something similar.

Friends, I was wrong. Spider-Man has been unmasked. Again.

The first story arc of Peter Parker’s return to life ends here, with him unmasked on live television, and he and Silk fighting off Electro and the Spidey-Scorned Black Cat. Writer Dan Slott is showing no signs of slowing down, actually keeping the action moving, moving, moving with virtually no time to rest. Black Cat is so ticked off she’s forming her own criminal empire just to take Peter down. Then we have Silk’s intense attraction for Peter, and some brewing trouble at Parker Industries. Thankfully, we’re not getting mindless slugfests every month, and Slott is developing plot threads in true Dan Slott style to keep the fifty-year-old character interesting, and fans coming back to the book. Penciler Humberto Ramos does some great work with his action scenes, keeping up with the frenetic pace of the story.

However, I am still having serious issues with Black Cat’s violent anger toward Peter. I get that when SpOck nabbed her while in Peter’s body, she lost everything. Wealth, credibility, all of it. But Peter and Felicia have history, and in my opinion it shouldn’t be that easy for Felicia to just develop a psychopathic anger toward Peter, when Peter has proven several times over, and again in a scene in this issue, that Otto was driving the body when he caused Felicia’s downfall. I’m left wondering if something’s up with her. Symbiote, mind-control, something.

Overall, I liked this issue and the feel of the series overall. There’s a lot building with Silk, Black Cat’s obsession with destroying Spidey, whether or not Peter’s unmasking comes back to haunt him, and the ramifications of the upcoming Spider-Verse event. There’s definitely going to be a lot to look forward to.

 

Written by Jeff Lemire Penciled by Jed Dougherty Colored by Gabe Eltaeb DC COMICS

Written by Jeff Lemire
Penciled by Jed Dougherty
Colored by Gabe Eltaeb
DC COMICS

I am not a fan of DC’s current need to run a line-wide event in almost all of their titles. This month, the Futures End event that puts the DCU five years in the future has gone through most of the titles as tie-ins and restarted them (sort of) as first issues. The one I picked up this week was Justice League United #1: Futures End, because for a couple of months, DC has touted the return of my much-loved Legion of Super-Heroes in the book. As I read my comics on Comixology, I pre-ordered the book, excited to the point of vibrating because the Legion was coming back. All of the solicitations said this was the return of the Legion! This comics geek was happy!

Then I read it. You know what I got? Dawnstar. Now, don’t get me wrong. Dawnstar is one of my favorite Legionnaires, and it was nice to see her in action as a member of the future Justice League, and it was nice to see she, and maybe the others, were still around after Legion Lost ended. This Legion fan was left wanting more. But it is a two-parter, so we shall see.

The Legion disappointment aside, it was a good story. I like writer Jeff Lemire, especially his work on Justice League Dark, which is probably my favorite DC title right now along with Batman. In the story, Equinox gets a telepathic call from Martian Manhunter, essentially warning her that super-powered criminals on a Mars prison complex have escaped. As this is five years in the future, Equinox rounds up what’s left of the Justice League to head to Mars and deal with the problem.

There’s some pretty good character development and world-building here, as we see what has become of the Justice League United team during the Futures End event. It’s well-paced, with snappy dialogue, and an interesting cliffhanger. What I didn’t like was the art. Jed Dougherty isn’t a bad artist, but his work with facial expressions are unusual and off-putting, and his action scenes aren’t my favorite either. I suppose the word is “static.” I’m not sure he was the right choice to pencil a Justice League title.

With all of that out of the way, I will say that there will be a big Legion/Justice League team-up in the pages of Justice League United in October.

Overall, a decent addition to the Futures End event that offered some much needed hope that the Legion of Super-Heroes will return.

And that is Four-Color Bullet for this week. Email and comments are always welcome, if you wish to sound off. Make your comics shop owner happy and clear those files out.

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

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Sep 042014
 

fourColorBullet1

Welcome to this week’s Four-Color Bullet, sponsored by Fruity Oaty Bars. Fruity Oaty Bars. The ‘verse’s favorite snack treat.

Over at Marvel this week, the beginning of the end is here. Wolverine has lost his healing factor and he has three months to live. The end of the man called Logan begins in Death of Wolverine #1; the Badoon have captured the Star-Lord. Luckily, Peter has a Kitty Pryde-sized ace to bust him out of jail, in Legendary Star-Lord #3; and New York is plunged into darkness by a new foe, and it will take everything Moon Knight has to stop him, in Moon Knight #7.

DC Comics brings us the shocking conclusion to the Injustice League storyline in Justice League #33; The Penguin and the Widow Black, together! Target: Gotham’s wealthy. Can the Dynamic Duo stop these larcenous layabouts?! Find out in Batman ’66 #42!

 

Written by Jason Aaron Penciled by Mike Deodato, Jr. Colored by Frank Martin MARVEL

Written by Jason Aaron
Penciled by Mike Deodato, Jr.
Colored by Frank Martin
MARVEL

The murder mystery called Original Sin concludes this week with issue 8. Answers have been given, mysteries have been solved, and the status quo has been changed and some characters face a new destiny. But I am still scratching my head with Whiskey Tango Foxtrot still escaping my mouth now and again. We’re given a great flashback scene between Nick Fury and the Watcher that pretty much seals the deal and answers with sudden starkness the question of who killed the Watcher. Mike Deodato does some of his best art here, fitting for a long-awaited conclusion, as the stunned looks of all parties involved jump off the page. Jason Aaron ratchets up the tension as we hurtle to the end at breakneck speed, craving the answers we’ve been wanting for eight months.

However, we still don’t know what Fury said to Thor that caused him to become unworthy of Mjolnir. What was Doctor Midas’ goal throughout the series? Power? Was that it? And the Unseen? The mysterious figure at the end? What the …? *head scratch*

Marvel has managed to kill off three characters in this series who have been around longer than I have been reading comics, two of whom I have been a fan of for years. Uatu, Nick Fury, and Dum Dum Dugan, who discovered he’s been an LMD for 60 years and killed himself when he found out.  And Fury’s death was to cement Fury Junior’s place in the Marvel U. We all know it. I hated that this was Fury’s last stand. And I won’t even mention that ridiculous scene at the end where Thor is forgotten on the moon, trying to lift his hammer as the Quinjet races past and Ant-Man asks, “Are we missing somebody?”

So, as a result of this, Winter Soldier gets another new solo series, revealed months ago, as he takes Fury’s place as The Man On The Wall. Female Thor will get her solo series this fall, and Angela, Neil Gaiman’s creation and now Thor and Loki’s sister, will get her own series as well.

I’m going to go back and read the whole thing in one swoop. Maybe I missed something. Maybe I’ll enjoy it more as a whole. But I was left very unsatisfied at the end. Earth’s heroes will find themselves unable to trust each other as Marvel’s next event, Axis, starts up. And that’s probably the point.

Positively, it was an intriguing story that offered some insight into one of Marvel’s oldest and most-taken-for-granted characters, with some off-the-wall team ups that likely wouldn’t have happened in any other story. I’m eager to see the aftermath, because when it comes down to it, I care about the characters. And that’s what matters.

 

Story by John Carpenter and Eric Powell Written by Eric Powell Penciled by Brian Churilla Colored by Michael Garland BOOM! STUDIOS

Story by John Carpenter and Eric Powell
Written by Eric Powell
Penciled by Brian Churilla
Colored by Michael Garland
BOOM! STUDIOS

Jack Burton, Egg Shen, and Pete the demon conclude their trek down the Midnight Road to free the souls of the three storms to rescue Wang Chi from the clutches of sorcerer Qiang Wu. That’s a mouthful, eh?

This book is belly-laugh-out-loud funny every single time and Eric Powell’s previously expressed love for the mythos shines. This one takes a slightly more serious turn (only slightly) as Wang Chi’s predicament becomes even more treacherous, and we get another tale of a wife of ol’ Jack, his first wife, in fact, and this one in no way supernatural. In a very sad and poignant scene crafted by Executive Producer John Carpenter and writer Powell, we see Jack in a pretty tender place regarding his first wife, and we learn the reason why he didn’t kiss Gracie Law goodbye at the end of the movie.

Toss in a final fight with those demon monkeys who peed on the Pork Chop Express, Brian Churilla’s art, another Wing Kong/Chang Sing throwdown, our villain having some juvenile fun at Jack’s expense, and a pretty nice cliffhanger, and you’ve got everything that makes Big Trouble in Little China so much fun every month. Churilla makes me imagine an animated Cartoon Network-y (see, I did it again. Thanks, Joss Whedon) series that I would make sure I was home to watch. Forget the DVR. Some things you just have to see first run. Always the first read from my pull list. Great book.

 

And that is Four-Color Bullet for this week. Email and comments are always welcome. Did anyone else read Original Sin and come away with a permanent squint? Sound off! This is your comic book review column.

I took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and challenged the Krypton Radio staff. So a shout-out to our own Willow Leafstorm, Krypton Radio’s Dynamic DJ, Siren of Steampunk, Diva of Dieselpunk, Ethereal Goddess Extraordinaire, and host of the best darn Anime and J-Pop Music Show on the Intarwebs; she was the first to accept my challenge, and hopefully she’ll post the video for all to see soon. She’s a trooper. I dig her. You can catch her Steampunk and Dieselpunk Music shows on Wednesday and Friday nights, and Willow Leafstorm’s ‘Planet Tokyo’ every Sunday night.

If you miss any of them, you can only blame yourself.

It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See ya next week!

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Sep 022014
 

230px-StanGoldberg11.15.08ByLuigiNovi1by Michael Brown, staff writer

Stan Goldberg, revered artist for Archie Comics and Marvel Comics, passed away September 1, 2014, due to complications from a stroke he had suffered two weeks ago.

Goldberg’s career began in the 1940s with Timely Comics, then Atlas Comics, both of which were the predecessors to Marvel. He would work for Marvel, right alongside greats such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, until 1969. At Marvel, he designed the color schemes for both Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.

After a very brief stint at DC, Goldberg moved on to Archie Comics, where he would spend the next 40 years drawing the adventures of Archie, Veronica, Betty, Jughead, and the rest of the gang, in both comics and newspaper strips. His most widely recognized work is the cover of Archie Meets the Punisher, an Archie/Marvel crossover from 1994 that did very well in sales.

The Archie Comics version of Archie Meets the Punisher. (Aug. 1994) The Marvel Comics version had a different cover and was called The Punisher Meets Archie

The Archie Comics version of Archie Meets the Punisher. (Aug. 1994)
The Marvel Comics version had a different cover and was called The Punisher Meets Archie

Abruptly and without explanation, Goldberg left Archie Comics in 2010, and did freelance work for both Marvel and DC. In the early 1980s, Goldberg worked on DC’s Captain Carrot and the Amazing Zoo Crew, and in the last few years he had done work on Marvel’s FF #1 from 2011, and in Bongo Comics, publisher of The Simpsons comics, where he drew an Archie-parody in an issue of Bart Simpson.

In 1994, Goldberg won the Inkpot Award from San Diego Comic-Con, and, more recently in 2012, the National Cartoonists Society presented him with their prestigious Gold Key Award. Marvel will be posthumously publishing his Archie-styled Spider-Man short story called, That Parker Boy, written by Tom DeFalco in Marvel’s 75th Anniversary Special, due to be released October 2014.

“Stan was a cartoonist … and a more devoted one, you could never find,” said Mark Evanier, comics historian. “He was also a charming man who was always willing to talk about his days as Marvel’s star colorist or the many decades he spent drawing Archie and other comics in much the same style. The number of pages he produced in his lifetime was staggering.”

Stan Goldberg was 82.

We at Krypton Radio join the comics community in mourning at the loss of a great man who gave a great contribution to the comics industry.

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