Wes Reads Catch Up Edition 12/5/17: Sing Song Ladycastle

I’ve needed an informal blog format between the more serious reviews here and there. So hello Wes Reads Catch Up edition. As I am going through my backlog and just tearing through comics and books I haven’t read yet. I was tempted to put Ladycastle and Justice League of America into the same title but that would be a mess. I’m tempted to blog on more informal stuff too as Warren Ellis inspired me in his newsletter to do it. Heck if informal blogging makes a weird comeback in the coming year, rock and roll Wes Reads will be ready for it. I guess you can consider Wes Reads the great catch all of my site. My great experiment begins as I tell you what I’ve been reading in the Wes Reads Catch Up edition.

Yes I may have to tweak this as I catch up on reading but I am also always behind so Wes Reads works here.

Justice League of America Rebirth #1 DC Comics

If you’re wondering if these are going to be formal reviews, yeah these are not formal reviews. Just me telling you what I just read, so enjoy. The Justice League of America books I read were Justice League of America: Road to Rebirth and Justice League of America Vol. 1: The Extremists. When I recorded these on my Goodreads account I saw the reviews and I was baffled. These were both fun reads and some people were trashing them to pieces. I don’t get some comic fans at times. Then again in all of my adventures in Comics Internet I still have a tough time understanding some fans to this day. I had a blast reading both books though, I’ll detail into them a little as we go on here.

The Road to Rebirth collects all the Justice League of America one-shots with Rebirth #1. If you’re not sure about this series Road to Rebirth gives you a good idea as to what you’re in for. Steve Orlando writes all of the one-shots with Jody Houser co-writing the Vixen and Killer Frost stories. I think it helps to connect people to the series as you get to know these characters through the one-shots. This also came out of the Justice League vs. Suicide Squad series but if you haven’t read it yet, you will be fine as Killer Frost’s story fills you in. I can say that all the stories worked for me in one way or another. Definitely check it out if you haven’t yet.

I’m also trying to not make these 1,000+ word juggernaut posts but knowing me with Wes Reads, it’ll happen. I know me.

I’m also not mentioning all the artists but trust me when I say, the one-shots have rocking art in them. The same goes for Vol. 1 of Justice League of America, The Extremists. Ivan Reis is but one of the artists in the first arc. Now what’s weird about both Road to Rebirth and The Extremists is the Rebirth one-shot is collected in both trades. It’s weirder having the Rebirth one-shot in both trades reading them back to back, but I like that it is in both trades. The Extremists collects actually two story arcs too, the four issue Extremists story and a two issue mythological weapons arc. It’s interesting the arc that Orlando is taking with these characters as this is heavily character oriented and I like it. Great stuff all around.

Again, it was funny reading the Goodreads reviews of this as people were grouchy about this one too. It’s a cool take on a team, it’s diverse, it’s interesting, and there’s not one character I really dislike. If you haven’t read Justice League of America yet, I’d recommend getting on that. I may do a more formal review of all this down the line when I catch up with more of the series. For now though, still highly recommended. As I love good character work and some good world building in between. The world building here being how the characters operate and where the adventures take them, so I dig it. Go forth and read.

Now for the really fun part of Wes Reads, Ladycastle. I fully admit I love this comic. I really want more. You’ll see why as I type on.

Now Ladycastle I’d heard a lot of good things about over the past few months. I didn’t get the chance to read it until recently and now I’m clamoring for more. It’s got a musical element to it with riffs on just about any musical and theme song imaginable in there. There’s also a ton of heart to it and some genuinely endearing characters. The story of it is all the men except one Knight get eaten by a dragon, and now the women are in charge of the kingdom. I love how the concept comes together with the perfect balance of humor and drama. Delilah S. Dawson is great with these characters and I love how the artists Ashley A. Woods, Becca Farrow, and Rebecca Nalty gel this together.

See when all the men get killed, suddenly the Blacksmith’s Wife, Merinor becomes King of the former Mancastle now Ladycastle. Princess Aeve becomes the Captain of the Knights, with Sir Riddick teaching all the ladies how to fight. It’s a cool idea and it also gets deep within the four issues the series runs. You really do want more by the end as it does have a satisfying ending there’s so many more stories to do in this universe and I like what I see. It’s a beautifully written, well thought out, and wonderful world that I want more of. If you haven’t read this yet, fix that sooner rather than later.

Told you this would end up being a 1,000 word juggernaut of a casual Wes Reads piece. Like I said, I know me.

In closing, Justice League of America if you don’t know comes from DC Comics and Ladycastle comes your way from Boom! Studios. You can find these either at your local library or Hoopla Digital if your library is affiliated with it. If you want to own them outright, hit up your local comic shop or any other retailer out there. As likely you’re going to want to own these if you dig them as much as I do. All of these reads were fun, engaging, and above all absolutely delightful.

Anyway thanks for reading this and comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for reading and I hope you all are doing well out there in the universe. Take care everybody.

Pondering Guardians of Infinity and The Handling of The Collections

In surprise library finds, I saw Guardians of Infinity on the shelf and since I wanted to read it, I grabbed it. Then I saw another collection of Guardians of the Galaxy called, Tales of the Cosmos. I wondered what it was and noticed they were back-up stories from Guardians of Infinity. Now this was strange to me as I wondered why they weren’t collected together as one book. Since they were both there I decided to grab them both. Now this piece will be part review at points and a brain dump too. Consider this casual blog time. Enjoy my ramblings as it seems at times on That’s the Issue people enjoy it. Nothing fancy, nothing pretty, let’s get into it and see where it goes. Stay awhile and listen as I blog away on this bit of random.

Sometimes when you run your own site you remember that it is your site, you’re allowed random Guardians of Infinity ramblings.

Guardians of Infinity Marvel Comics Cover

Hilarious admission, I had no idea Guardians of Infinity even got a collection let alone two of them. I can see why it got collected as it is Guardians of the Galaxy related. Heck, Guardians of Infinity is Dan Abnett’s Guardians 3000 with Guardians of the Galaxy characters mixed in. The Tales of the Cosmos are off hours Guardians stories with a new Space Knights team introduced. Now the simple question, was this worth being collected in two trades? Now that’s a good question, yes indeed it is but let us dive into the books themselves first.

Or the Space Knights team might just be new to me as I am behind on some aspects of Guardians of the Galaxy.

The whole story of Guardians of Infinity is you have three different Guardians groups from different periods. Of course the story kicks off with the main Galaxy group of Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Drax finding this huge mysterious ship. As they enter the ship that’s when they run into the Guardians 3000 with Major Victory, Charlie 27, Martinex, and Nikki Gold. Then after the usual misunderstanding they realize they need to team up. After more shenanigans with time traveling villains and whatnot, we get the Guardians 1000. Why? It’s time travel and all that fun stuff, roll with it.

My goodness if I had to try to do a formal review of Guardians of Infinity it would boil down to, yeah that’s alright. That’s it.

Yeah that’s alright fits Guardians of Infinity and that’s not a dig either. You get some fun interactions with characters, a neat villain, interesting ideas, and that’s it. Dan Abnett wrote a solid story weaving together three different teams, that’s impressive. When you look at the art, Carlo Barberi’s work is solid to wonderful, nothing wrong about that. Walden Wong with Craig Yeung on #4 did good work inking Barberi’s art. Israel Silva’s colors are bright and beautiful and that lends itself to this story. Then Cory Petit from my Punisher bit does poppy, bold, and exciting lettering. All in all, kudos all around art wise.

I guess if I had to say anything with the main Guardians of Infinity series is this, it’s worth reading. If you are curious, it’s not bad and you’ll find some fun in it. It’s why I wish that Tales of the Cosmos would have been in here, this would have had more meat to it. Mostly because the back-up stories that are collected in Tales are a bit of a mixed bag. None of them are bad, I know some Goodreads reviews were rough on them but to me none of them were bad. I’ve read my share of bad comics in my day and this, nah these weren’t bad at all.

Guardians of Infinity Team Shot

This is where we talk about the back-up stories in this Guardians of Infinity adventure.

Guardians of Infinity Tales of the Cosmos Book

I won’t cover all of the back-up stories but I will focus on one particular stand out. One that got a lot of attention in Wrestling Internet circles is Ben Grimm and Rocket Raccoon’s story written by Jason Latour. Outside of the fact that Jim Cheung to draws the story but that it is a lot of fun. It doesn’t hurt that Latour does a homage to the Dusty Rhodes ‘Hard Times’ promo. Latour’s story is about when Ben Grimm wrestled in Unlimited Class Wrestling and finds an alien society that’s hooked on it. It’s a clever story and plays out in a way that you don’t expect. Definitely worth reading.

The rest of them that deserve some attention are a cool riff on Aliens, called ‘The Ripley’ by Jen & Sylvia Soska. There’s also a cute story that by Darryl “DMC” McDaniels Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez called ‘Guardians of the Lower East Side’ that’s cool too. There’s some good stories to be had in Tales of the Cosmos. Yet I still wish they were collected in one book. I get why they went the route they did but it would be nice to have it collected together. Since they aren’t in one book, I feel like some cool stories will get lost in the shuffle and that’s a shame.

Guardians of Infinity Hard Times The Thing

Why I have a tough time saying go buy the Guardians of Infinity collections and why I steer you into grabbing it from your local library.

That’s why I write this, I wish Guardians of Infinity wouldn’t have been cut into two collections. Just put the whole thing in one giant book and be done with it. I get that Marvel wants to have more than one book on the shelf for anything Guardians of the Galaxy, I get it. As I said, I just want people to read some cool stories and not let them get lost to time. I would have enjoyed Marvel putting the back-up stories after the main one if they didn’t want to interrupt story flow. I get what Marvel wanted to do though and I don’t fault them for it. Just wish they didn’t feel they had to do it, but I’m not the head of a major publishing operation.

Note: I’m not saying it was stupid to have two different collections but as I said, I’m not the head of a major publishing operation.

Both collections of Guardians of Infinity are worth reading for sure. None of them are a bad read either way and I can easily say you won’t be bored. I do seriously steer you towards grabbing them from your local library first. If you dig them then I say buy them and enjoy the experience. If you enjoyed this oddball rambling, review, blog experience feel free and fire me a line. Thanks for reading and joining me on this adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

The Punisher #218: Frank Castle with War Machine Armor, Oh Yeah

With The Punisher’s entry into Marvel Legacy the hook is Frank Castle now has War Machine armor. After seeing the preview covers, we get to see how The Punisher gets the armor. Now the responses to this have either been excitement or extreme unhappiness. It’s The Punisher and opinions about him are all over the map. Frank Castle is a polarizing figure at the best of times. Every writer has a different take on him with mixed to critically acclaimed results. There’s no ambiguity about Frank Castle, he is who he is and he believes what he believes. Now we all get to find out what direction this series goes in with a new creative team. Let’s see how this goes down as I dive into The Punisher #218.

Weirdly enough I had a feeling I’d want to say something on The Punisher as I saw him in the armor. The concept fascinates me.

The Punisher #218 Marvel Legacy Comics

I appreciate how Matthew Rosenberg started off the issue. It blurs the lines between a serious Frank Castle and a more humorous take on the character. Rosenberg is going for a Frank that conveys every aspect of The Punisher in one way or the other. He picks a bit of each column in the life of Frank Castle and goes from there. You get your over the top mega violence mixed in with Nick Fury explaining why Frank is the way he is to the reader. Balance with this character is not easy to find at all and this issue tries hard to find it and it succeeds. I admittedly have some Punisher blind spots but this I feel strikes a nice balance tone wise.

I also want to mention this as we go further into The Punisher #218, it is totally new reader friendly. Jump right on in and you will be fine.

There’s not much I don’t like here and because of the fact that it is fun. Rosenberg slows it down just enough to set up War Machine and then back to the business at hand. What’s cool is Rosenberg is making a point to say, this is Frank in the War Machine armor, but he’s not War Machine. The back matter that Rosenberg writes makes it clear that Frank is wearing the armor, but War Machine will always be James Rhodes. I will be curious what this story will end up leading to as Frank is now at another level wearing the War Machine armor. Whatever happens though, the stakes are higher than ever and Rosenberg is showing that it’s going to get crazier from here.

We’re going to get look at more of the story of Punisher #218 we get into the art as there are a lot of cool moments here.

The Punisher #218 Marvel Legacy Nick Fury and Frank Castle

Special note: I really would love to try this egg drop soup as I am a fan of a good egg drop soup.

There’s one piece in particular that I want to focus on for starters, the Nick Fury and Frank Castle chat. Guiu Vilanova captured Rosenberg’s words beautifully with the Fury and Castle chat. Every second of that conversation flowed well and felt as dynamic as any action scene. I particularly love the expressions on Fury’s face as it makes sense that he would be more expressive than Castle. Then as the camera so to speak was moving around making the place seem less static and adding energy to the chat. It also helps that Lee Loughridge’s coloring illuminated the piece, the shadows and light gave it such a cool atmosphere. An enlightening chat with excellent execution.

As for the rest of the stuff, this comic looks good without a doubt. As noted from the Fury and Castle chat, the action scenes give another of detail to the wonderful glory that is Frank Castle. Rosenberg’s script shows that in action, that is when The Punisher comes to life. Vilanova’s art captures the action here in brutal and gleeful detail. Especially in the expressions, the only time to really see Frank smile is when he’s in his element, which is when he’s in the midst of battle. It’s interesting to me how that’s handled. Now I also want to mention Cory Petit’s lettering as it really works for this script. The big and loud letters work to the explosive art and colors here. Beautiful work all around.

The Punisher #218 Marvel Legacy Box Smash

If you’re in the midst of binge watching The Punisher on Netflix, I highly recommend grabbing #218 as part of your adventure.

Now this is only the start of what Rosenberg and his team has in store for The Punisher. We know why Frank has the War Machine armor and what he’s going to be up to with it, now we see what happens from here. This issue was a lot of fun but I get the feeling the stakes are going to get higher from here. I like what I see and I can’t wait for what happens next. Good work all around from this new team. I am excited for what’s to come with this series.

 

 

 

 

Wes Reads Extreme: Bloodpool #1: Surprise Youngblood Spinoff!

In yet another comic from my collection I have never read, welcome to the Youngblood spinoff Bloodpool #1. All I initially knew of this comic was it was where Pat Lee got his start as a penciler and as a colorist too. Yes, that Pat Lee of Dreamwave Productions fame and the entire history that comes with it. I had no idea until reading it that this was a spinoff of Youngblood. Heck, I had no idea who the writer even was! Talk about your blind readthrough. Yet as I read it I found myself pleasantly surprised and also not entirely shocked as to what I got myself into. You’ll see what I mean as you read this piece. Let’s dive into this deep cut of the 90’s with Bloodpool #1. This is either going to be a magical experience or just a weird one, your mileage may vary.

Note the “your mileage may vary” bit at the start. It’s Youngblood related so already Bloodpool fits that phrase.

Bloodpool #1 Youngblood Pat Lee Extreme Studios

Weirdly enough I grew up in the 90’s but my experience with Extreme Studios is minimal at best. At the time of the rise of these studios and the 90’s comic boom and then bust, I was almost out of comics. Bloodpool was a series that slipped past me entirely, along with most of the Extreme Studios output. Bloodpool came out in August of 1995 so it is knee deep in 90’s land with all it entails. It focuses around the Youngblood training program to set up the next members of the team, until it all ends suddenly. Simple version, an event called Extreme Sacrifice happened and changed the entire framework of the program. Now you have all these young heroes set loose on the world and that’s the general idea of the story.

Now as for characters and how the story is given to us, that’s a different case entirely. Jo Duffy had a tall order back then to make this work and in some cases, it kind of does.  Now before you all go crazy here, I’m not saying it is perfect by any means. Gosh, not even the best thing I’ve read but I can own up to being entertained by it at certain points. Main reason why I had fun with it, Bloodpool doesn’t take itself that seriously. Duffy made me laugh a couple times as much as the actual structure of the story was weird, at least it was amusing.  I give props to someone making a seemingly strange crossover story work as well at does here.

Bloodpool #1 Liefeld Cover Youngblood Image Extreme

Yes this is the Rob Liefeld alternate cover. This is part of the Youngblood Universe so he did create this as part of the larger franchise. So here you go, Liefeld cover.

The dialogue in this is probably the saving grace of Bloodpool. As once it gets into Youngblood minutia it gets bogged down fast.

There’s not even a focal point character to focus your attention on. That camera floats around every which way as this was Pat Lee’s first story so the storytelling gets messy at times. Part of me wishes I could find critical thoughts on this from way back when. If my 2017 mind is having trouble figuring it out, I can only imagine what people at the time thought. Outside of Rubble, I could barely figure out any names of the characters until I went on Wikipedia. Oh yes there are names but they sure don’t stick with you that’s for sure. It’s a weird script to say the least.

I felt like Duffy had to shove in a ton of plot points and still try and make a new team have some impact. There’s also the possibility that it was the 90’s and sometimes certain 90’s books have a way of trying to tell too much at once. Bloodpool doesn’t have any cohesive feel to it until they leave the base, then it makes a little more sense. Of course as I learned from the back matter, Jo Duffy was writing Glory at the time which means there are Glory plot points too. I respect a cohesive universe but I am impressed to a degree that Duffy was able to get that much into one issue. There’s a level of respect to be had for that.

Bloodpool #1 Pat Lee Rubble Image Comics Extreme Youngblood

Even for the Youngblood Universe, Bloodpool is a little crazy. It’s kind of stupid, makes little sense, yet it’s fun in a weird way.

Now I know at least a few people reading this are salivating at what I’ll say about Pat Lee’s art here. There’s a level of nostalgia for me as one comic I liked at one point was Dark Minds. Pat Lee’s art had that anime aesthetic and it was my absolute jam at one point. Of course as this is early Pat Lee, it’s a different ball game. The characters that look best are Rubble, Shaft at times, and then the anatomy goes all over the place from there. No one is safe in the wonky anatomy adventures as male or female, the bodies are tilting this way and that at many points. I mean I know I’m being snarky to a point at an artist with his first gig, but it is Pat Lee so I don’t feel that bad.

Special note: If you’re not familiar with the history of Pat Lee and how he handled Dreamwave Productions, oh you’re in for one treat of a Google search.

Yes you all get to learn that I was once a big Pat Lee fan, which is part of why I wanted to read this in the first place. One compliment I will give, the coloring looked good so that’s a plus. Sheer curiosity though lead me to check out a comic I would not have looked twice at. Jo Duffy had some good dialogue but the story made little sense. Crazy part is that there’s four issues and a special out there for Bloodpool. Will I read more? Maybe if I find the rest of the series for cheap. Unless some lunatic wants to donate me issues of Bloodpool they have laying around.

Bloodpool #4 Pat Lee Image Comics Extreme Youngblood

Note: yes I know this is from #4 but I kind of wanted to give you all an extra idea of some of the oddball anatomy here. It’s a weird ride my friends.

I will totally take donations of Bloodpool though if anyone really wants to get rid of some random mid 90’s comics.

I mean the story ends pretty well as the team is now out on their own and doing their thing. Not sure how this will go from here but if the comic had even a tiny bit more of a connection I’d likely be curious for more. It’s insane and makes little sense at points but it can be funny so maybe there could be more down the line for me. There’s even a trade paperback out there for it that’s out of print. I guess Extreme Studios/Image Comics had big plans for Bloodpool at one point, who knew right? I sure didn’t until I read this.

Now do I recommend you all go hunt Bloodpool down? Nah, but hey if you are morbidly curious you will find it for cheap in any back issue bin across the land. This is another adventure into my comic collection and weird comics that I somehow haven’t read. Thanks for reading and hopefully enjoying this strange adventure. Take care and remember, yes the 90’s had a lot of comics with blood in the title. So many comics with blood in the title. Have a good one.

If you are seriously curious about owning Bloodpool for yourself I am an affiliate of mycomicshop.com so you can find it here.

 

 

Wes Reads: Adventures in the DC Universe #7: Hello Shazam Family!

Adventures in the DC Universe #7 is the perfect way to revive the Wes Reads series. Wes Reads is part random comic book reading and part whatever the heck I want it to be. I’d never read it before today but since Zachary Levi was cast as Captain Marvel/Shazam, the timing is great. If you’re not familiar with it, Adventures in the DC Universe was a series that was around from April of 1997 to October 1998.  In the 19 issues it was around it took characters from the DCU and adapted them into the DC animated style. This is before Justice League Unlimited happened so at this point, this was a taste of what was to come. Join me on my Wes Reads adventures with Adventures in the DC Universe #7. Let’s see how this pre-animated Shazam holds up to the rigors of time.

I’m also a sucker for Captain Marvel/Shazam stories anyway so this was a treat to find this in my collection.

(I also say that this story held up fairly well to the rigors of time.)

Adventures in the DC Universe #7 Shazam DC Comics

Here’s the thing, I’m not that familiar with this series. It was around the time when I was just getting back into comics. I’ve not read any of the other issues but this one for starters is self contained so you can get everything you need to know in one issue. The story is Captain Marvel/Shazam fighting against Black Adam and through shenanigans by Dr. Sivana, our hero gets knocked out of commission. Though as we lead up to this we get to see Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr. in the process. It’s a solid tale and I want to deep dive a bit more as to why.

For one if you’re someone so new to Captain Marvel/Shazam, this works as an introduction. Steve Vance writes this as not just a superhero fight between the Marvel Family and Black Adam but explains origins and how the powers work. I’m sincerely impressed as to how well Vance writes this and doesn’t make it seem like an info dump. It’s fast, fun, and perfect to introduce a child to the world of Captain Marvel/Shazam. It’s even got a cute ending after it all ends with a nice Lois Lane and Clark Kent cameo.

Captain Marvel Shazam Family DC Comics

I’m not revealing that much as the story is pretty self explanatory. Marvel Family beats Black Adam and Dr. Sivana, The End.

(Dr. Sivana’s way of handling Captain Marvel/Shazam though is clever. Using Billy Batson’s recorded voice from the radio to say “Shazam!” is a cool idea. I like it.)

Clark Kent Lois Lane Cameo Shazam

The writer of this issue andfrom what I can tell series is Steve Vance and I’m actually not that familiar with him. Same with the art team on this, John Delaney on pencils, Ron Boyd on Inks, Tim Harkins on letters, and Bob LeRose on Colors. Vance’s story is fun and I’m actually going to make a point to read more of his stuff in the future. The art team does excellent work on this, it’s bright, engaging, and above all capital F on the fun. Heck any story that can handle a ton of origins and still make a compelling issue scores points with me. It’s definitely worthwhile reading.

On the page I have linked with John Delaney, it’s older but it has a lot of fun facts about this series so check it out. I really had no idea as to how this series even fit in until today. I may have more in my collection so if I find more you may see more issues of this pop up here. They’re fun to read and easy to dive right into so I’m down to write more on this. Engaging art, fun stories, and neat takes on DC characters, sign me up for more of this short lived series.

Yeah, I had fun. I had a lot of fun with this take on Captain Marvel/Shazam. I heard there is another issue with him in it so I am game for it.

Hopefully you all enjoyed this adventure into my collection. Goes to show you even I have no idea the depths as to what I have hanging out there. This will likely be the future of the Wes Reads columns here so I say, enjoy the ride. Thanks for reading and I hope you all are having a good one out there. Take care everyone.

(Note as I was typing this I saw the casting of Billy Batson for the upcoming Shazam film, so this is awesome! I can’t wait to see this movie.)

Captain America #695: Getting Back to Basics in Marvel Legacy

How do you go forward with Captain America in the aftermath of Secret Empire? Well Marvel did it in the best way they could and for the most part it worked. Not saying as much about the event itself, that’s a story for another day, but it did work. Now we get to see Steve Rogers as Captain America re-establishing himself once more. Our Steve Rogers took out Hydra Cap and now he is taking it to the road. Mark Waid was the man who revitalized Captain America back in the 90’s and once more for Heroes Return, now he is back at it again for Legacy. Even going as far as to get Chris Samnee who is perfect for creating that old school vibe. Will lightning strike three times? Let’s find out on this wonderful little journey as I dive into Captain America #695.

It’s Bold, it’s Bright, it’s Colorful, and it’s excitement personified in Captain America #695.

Captain America #695 Cover Marvel Comics

Let’s begin our little adventure here simply, this is good. Captain America #695 is a good comic. I did not envy Mark Waid and Chris Samnee coming onto this series but my goodness were they up to the task at hand. You can see the name of the game was take Captain America back to basics and it works. It’s optimistic in the midst of everything that happened and is going on and you can’t help but smile at Captain America punching Nazis. Okay they’re a group called Rampart and they don’t openly say Nazis but dude, they’re Nazis, Captain America is punching Nazis, that’s awesome. You can’t help but dig that scene.

What’s also cool is the surroundings of the story, Captain America, Nebraska. They have a massive festival every year and you get a glimpse into how many people like the guy. You get classic Captain America fighting the bad guys, showing how good a person he is, and also showing that as Steve Rogers, he’s just a normal guy figuring things out. At his core Steve as Captain America is a hero of the people, so Waid emphasizes that a lot in this story which is wonderful. Waid reminds us that Captain America is someone that can rally the people at his core and that’s what Waid does in this first issue. It all clicks but what about the art? Oh the art deserves a focus of its own.

Captain America #695 Action Sequence

Chris Samnee and the art team on Captain America #695 went above and beyond the call of duty for this one.

Chris Samnee’s art is fluid, fast, crisp, and gorgeously clean. It’s the perfect fit for what Waid is up to with this story. Waid’s story reflects every bit of Captain America you could imagine and in turn Samnee’s art reflects it, heroic Cap, immensely likable Steve Rogers, and inspirational Cap, a lot of these pages could be posters as they are that iconic. It’s also nice to see Steve Rogers being the most Steve Rogers he can be. When he’s a little overwhelmed by a whole day dedicated to him, you can see in the art just how he feels. Samnee draws such a classic Cap that you can’t help but smile ear to ear. Waid hit the artist jackpot with Chris Samnee. Yet another feature for this comic is the coloring, my goodness gracious the coloring.

Matthew Wilson’s colors on this story are eye popping beauty. Outside of any scenes with fire or say intense action, these colors pop off the page. For everyone who’s been wanting a story where everything is clicking on all cylinders, congratulations this is it. The optimism within this comic is unreal. You get bright colors, exciting art, and Joe Caramagna’s letters have an old school, pop off the page energy to them as well. Truthfully, I think I’m as surprised as anyone as to how much this all came together so swimmingly. Great art all around to match Waid’s script the oozes with joy and a genuine love for our humble hero.

Happiness and Optimism rule the day in Captain America #695 and that my friends is a good thing.

Simply put, go buy this comic. If you’re a lapsed fan and want to give our hero another shot, this is it. Waid, Samnee and the rest of the team bring life back to this character and a sense of fun long missed in this series. Try it and see what you think, it may take time for some but for me, I’m a happy camper right now.

Cable #150: Marvel Legacy’s Nod to The 90’s with Newer Mutants

Take note of my title for Cable #150 here, the nod to the 90’s is not meant as an insult at all. As I was reading this one I was pondering how to explain my thoughts on this issue and 90’s aesthetic fits here. It’s a brand new creative team for Marvel Legacy and I haven’t read anything of the new Cable series yet. In this situation I am the perfect reader for this as I have no connection to this series. I like Ed Brisson’s writing and Jon Malin‘s art but outside of that I have no real expectations. I’ve been on a touch of an X-Men kick lately and I have plans for Mojo Worldwide later on here. Time to take an adventure into the world of Cable and see if this Marvel Legacy ride is rewarding for me. Let us venture onwards and begin this amazing journey.

I will admit this though with the character, I do have a fondness for Cable so I’ll own that at least.

Cable #150 Marvel Legacy

Now this is where I get to explain the title of this piece more. One thing I noticed with Ed Brisson’s writing is he’s channeling 90’s Cable hard, this is good. He’s using 90’s Cable influence and using it to his full advantage. I think it’s also in Jon Malin’s art as Malin’s style has a flair for 90’s action packed goodness. Malin has a dynamic, stylized, and overall fun art style that fits Cable like a glove. Considering how the issue goes down it makes sense that Malin is on this series. The title of the storyline is “The Newer Mutants” and part of this issue is Cable getting a team together. Now it involves a concept not used in a while, The Externals. Another 90’s concept, at least that I remember, and it fits well here.

Now as for the team I mentioned earlier, so far it’s Doop, Shatterstar, and Longshot, and I call those great choices for this team. It seems like there is more to come from the cover but I like how each character plays into this. If you are wondering how this reads for someone who’s out of the Cable loop, it’s better than you’d think. Ed Brisson got a blank slate to work with since the story takes place thirteen years ago. There is a good enough of an explanation here but I really wish I knew more as to why Cable is hopping about through time. Brisson mentions time anomalies but I’m not given much else to work with. It’s still fun but yeah, I wish I understood more of the actual story here.

Cable has a weird flow to it as even I missed in my initial read through the 13 years ago at the start of the comic.

Yes Cable #150 is fun, yet there are issues, a lot of issues as to how the story flows. Yet I do like Doop the Street Phoenix and Doop in a cool car is pretty nifty. Malin’s work with Doop’s expressions and also action scenes are top notch, I do like those a lot. Especially the final pages that really let Malin cut loose, say this for Brisson, he crafts a solid action comic. Jesus Aburtov’s coloring looks great though and really does let Malin’s artwork shine and it pops off the page well. It’s a story that’s fun and has a lot going for it but the construction is a little strange. Welcome to life with Cable #150 my friends, fun but a little messy.

Yeah I can say this easily with Cable #150, it’s messy but it is at least fun.

Not everyone is going to groove on Cable #150 but I think I’m willing to give this another issue to see how it goes. I can easily say I had fun and I like the ending so it has potential, I’m game for another issue. I would say, try it and see what you think. Your mileage may vary with this one. Give it a shot and see how it goes over with you. As for me, I’ll check back in with this next issue and see if the fun outweighs the messy. Hopefully things balance out for this series and we’ll see what happens in the months to come.

I’m adding another special note here, I am still wary as I think on this more. Yet I had fun so, we shall see what next month holds.

By Request: Thoughts on Batman: The Dark Knight III: Master Race

My podcast partner in crime Matt Lune asked me to write a thing on Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race, so here you go buddy. You could also call this DK3 as it is the third one in the Frank Miller Dark Knight saga. To say I was less than optimistic about this was an understatement. Batman: The Dark Knight is a solid read while Batman: The Dark Knight Returns/DK2 is downright strange. Trying to explain DK2 to people is tough as nails as that sucker goes all over the map story wise. That’s not to say anything about Frank Miller’s writing and art too on DK2. Then you get into Lynn Varley’s coloring and it’s a mixed bag of tricks. It’s a strange story so that is what I had to work off of for DK3. Enough with the intro, let’s get this started. On with the show!

Batman: Dark Knight III Master Race Feature Image

Matt, pal, buddy, while this was better than I ever imagined trying to put this whole Batman saga into any coherent structure is a trip.

Batman: Dark Knight III Iron Suit

Put it this way, I’m not going for a formal review structure here. As I was reading it mainly for my own curiosity. I thought this whole thing was going to be bonkers sauce times infinity. After DK2 I was expecting insanity fuel from on high. What I got was entirely different from what I was expecting. Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race feels more like a sequel to Dark Knight than DK2 did. Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello together created a strong read that has its moments of pure insanity yet it all works in the favor of the story. I’m also not going to spoil it, I could but I won’t. This really does need to be experienced at least once, like I said it isn’t a bad read at all. I am as surprised as anyone else.

The simple version of this story is straight up it’s Carrie Kelly taking over for a supposedly dead Bruce Wayne as mentioned in the story. Not a big spoiler to say that yes Old Man Bruce is in play yet what a turn it all takes within the tale. I also dig that it uses the expanded DCU to a more coherent effect here. You get Atom, Flash, Superman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman all used and to good effect too. As for the ultimate villain, freaking Kryptonians from the Bottle City of Kandor. Then you add in the wild card of Superman and Wonder Woman’s daughter Lara and you get a lot of fun players. You even get Commissioner Yindel making a return in here, in which I love that Andy Kubert kept that heavy Miller influence to her design, I like that.

Wow this going way more positively than I ever imagine, but I did like it. I really did.

Batman: Dark Knight III Car Smash

There’s a lot of wild moments in here. I do say Azzarello balances out Miller, which is weird but it works. If this was Miller unfiltered I wonder what this would have been like. The major Miller factor in this is he does a lot of the art for the mini comics in the book. Eduardo Risso does the art for a full Wonder Woman story and John Romita Jr. does the breakdowns for a Green Lantern story that Frank Miller does finishes for. Overall though, the art for the mini comics is mostly Miller and overall it’s not bad. It’s miles ahead of his work on DK2. The main pencils for the story itself by Andy Kubert is amazing throughout, with Klaus Janson doing some excellent inking for it. This is where the art geek out begins.

Special note: The Eduardo Risso story was a lot of fun too, I really liked his take on the Wonder Woman vs. Lara fight. Very cool.

With the Frank Miller bits, sometimes it is a little wonky similar to DK2 at times but it is way better. Good inking and coloring go a long way in his portion of the story. Even in the pieces that Frank Miller does all the art himself it doesn’t look too bad, Alex Sinclair does a lot of the coloring here and Klaus inks Miller on some of the stories and it looks good. Andy Kubert’s art is amazing throughout and Brad Anderson’s coloring, oh my goodness it is gorgeous. Kubert captures the splashy powerful nature of Azzarello and Miller’s script and takes it up a few thousand notches. If anything else, even when the story gets a bit bonkers you will have a good time. Yeah, this is a lot of fun all around.

Yes, Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race is bonkers at times but it embraces it. I can dig that.

I am as surprised as anyone else to say that Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race was a lot of fun. As I said going into it, I was expecting to dislike it but by the end I really enjoyed myself a lot. Sometimes all you need is simply a book to have a freaking good time with and this book was it. If you’re looking for a book that feels much more like a true sequel to Dark Knight Returns, this is it. Life gave me a good surprise with this one so well done Miller and Azzarello, this was a rollicking good time. Thanks for that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DC Read-A-Thon: Batman and The Outsiders #1: The Bat-Rebellion

Batman and The Outsiders #1 Cover DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Welcome to the DC Read-A-Thon of Batman and The Outsiders! With the announcement of the full roster of Steve Orlando and Ivan Reis’s Justice League of America, the team had a different feel to it. The team seemed all over the place, Vixen, Ryan Choi’s Atom, The Ray, Killer Frost, then you get Black Canary, Lobo, and Batman. Now here’s what caught my eye about the team further, they announced a trade of Batman and The Outsiders. Batman leading a team that seems like a mish-mash of DC everything gives this a nice Outsiders feel. It got me to thinking, I have all the issues so why not start reading it? Hence the beginning of the Batman and The Outsiders DC Read-A-Thon. Without further ado, here is Batman and The Outsiders #1!

Welcome to the Great Bat-Rebellion!

What makes this series so fascinating is how it is structured from the get go. It all begins as Batman is working himself to the bone to protect Gotham City. It’s where I like where Mike W. Barr takes this, it’s a good structure for Batman. He’s sending off Lucius Fox on a journey to Markovia but his mind is elsewhere in his battles within Gotham City. These battles are also fraying Batman as his secret identity as Bruce Wayne. Happy for his friend but still can’t dwell on his friend leaving as he’s got his own war to fight. Even more clever is Barr puts in two days worth of storytelling condensed within a short burst of panels. That’s all it takes and then it is off to set up Batman and the Outsiders.

Batman and The Outsiders #1 48 Hours

Copyright: DC Comics

Many of you saw Markovia and those familiar with Markovia probably had a, “Oh wow it all began there?!” moment. Lucius Fox goes missing in that country and Batman decides to call to the Justice League of America to help him out. To keep it short and sweet, Batman doesn’t get the help of the Justice League. The Government tells the League to stay out of it and as you figure, Batman isn’t happy at all about this. Which leads to Batman tendering his resignation to the Justice League, which you can imagine was huge back then.  Batman decides then and there he’s going to save his friend Lucius without the help of the League. Leading to a great explanation of Batman in the midst of a few panels and sets the stage perfectly for what’s to come.

This page is Classic Batman.

Batman and The Outsiders #1 Batman Reasons for Resigning

Copyright: DC Comics

Now we hang our hats fully in Markovia from here on for the rest of the issue. A big part of this issue is this is the set up for Brion becoming Geo-Force, who’s the half-brother of Tara a.k.a Terra from Teen Titans. My favorite part is how Tara and Brion became brother and sister, bless you back matter. Truncating the editorial somewhat, Mike W. Barr had a chat with Marv Wolfman about his new character Geo-Force having earth powers and Marv wondered if Barr had been reading his New Teen Titans. Marv had Terra with earth powers running around in those pages, but Marv figured he could come up with something. I couldn’t do justice to Barr’s hilarious rantings but the short version is, Marv said “they are brother and sister” and the rest is history. Now back to the issue.

Apologies for that quick digression in this Batman and The Outsiders Read-A-Thon, but it is a cool story.

This is honestly my first time ever seeing the origin of Geo-Force and that is the best bit of this for me. It’s sad to see Brion/Geo-Force and his brother Prince Gregor’s father die but then Dr. Jace comes into play. She’s cranky but oddly fun, I think of her as the prototype for Dr. Nemesis in the X-Men. She’s the one who gives Brion his Geo-Force powers to help save the country. Gregor has his doubts but knows that he couldn’t stop his brother anyway. Barr has a great way of handling a death, setting up an origin, and showing relationships of characters within two pages. That’s remarkable and it doesn’t feel rushed at all. It keeps up the strong flow of the story as soon many new and old characters come into play.

Geoforce Origin Batman and the Outsiders #1

Copyright: DC Comics

Here’s the even better part about Batman’s Markovian adventure. Every member of The Outsiders is set in place by the end of the issue. No Batman gathering the troops or anything else, quick set up for Black Lightning and everyone else gets explained throughout the rest of the issue. Black Lightning got a cool moment dealing with one member of the invading force, but that went haywire and fast. The only other characters who get any major explanation is Halo, who Batman finds within Markovia, Geo-Force, and Metamorpho. Katana gets a quick appearance, does some damage, and off to the races. It’s cool to know where everyone stands though in a relatively quick fashion in the second half of the issue.

Old school and awesome, this is why I dig the Geo-Force origin.

Batman and the Outsiders Geoforce Origin Part Two

Copyright: DC Comics

The Halo origin is still early days, hard to judge as to where that will go but the Geo-Force origin is wonderful. Geo-Force is a classic old school style origin and it’s about as good as you can get. That’s when you get Metamorpho involved as he’s there to meet the good Dr. Jace to help him out, which gets messed up by the invasion force. Geo-Force gets taken out but hey, he’s a main member of the team you think he’s out for long? While Batman is taking care of Halo and she’s along for the ride until he gets knocked out himself by our unknown force. That’s when we finally see Lucius Fox, Black Lightning, and what’s left of Metamorpho after his battle, and now Batman meets Baron Bedlam. Which sets up the next issue.

Baron Bedlam Batman and The Outsiders #1

Copyright: DC Comics

Mike W. Barr is amazing in structuring the series so far, it’s smooth to read and the concept gets set up at hyper speed. It’s an absolute delight to read, characters work well, and it flows pretty nicely for the most part. The major establishing point was the why and how of Batman putting this team together, Barr nails this without any problem and that’s what makes this fun. It’s got its share of quirks but in a good way. It’s just weird enough and it works with a slight bit more of an edge while still being within the Comics Code Authority. Yes kids, Comics Code Authority, it existed and wow people found strange and wonderful ways to work around it. Batman and The Outsiders had a different feel to it and I dig that.

Made a point to sneak this in as I got a major kick out of these panels.

Bruce Wayne or Batman in Batman and The Outsiders #1

Copyright: DC Comics

Take a look at the art I post in this too, Jim Aparo’s art on Batman and The Outsiders is amazing. Aparo and Barr are the co-creators on this series and you can tell they are going for broke here storytelling wise. Aparo’s art is off the charts, it looks great. There’s emotion flowing through each of the characters in actions, movement, and excellent facial expressions. There’s so much life in this comic and that helps give it that different feel from a lot of team series. Aparo and Barr are both showing they want this series to feel different and it does feel different. I’ve also never appreciated the coloring of this period until I noticed what Adrienne Roy did here. Roy’s coloring is mood setting, especially in the post-resignation scene from the League. That scene showing why Batman had to leave fired on all cylinders.

It’s interesting to me when you have artists you never quite pay attention to until you start to really look at something. That was me and Jim Aparo here. I’ve always liked Barr’s stuff, Camelot 3000 and some of the Warlord stuff I’ve read, but this is next level appreciation here. The work with Halo, the set up for why Metamorpho was there, and just everything with this team build up was solid stuff. Wow this is going to be a fun read-a-thon.

Join me as I dive into Batman and The Outsiders further, I’ve never read this and this is a joy to read thus far. Till next issue, thanks for checking out my recap here. Bye for now!

 

Wes Reads DC: Deathstroke #1-2: Brutal Brilliance!

Deathstroke #1 Cover

Copyright: DC Comics

After my glowing look at Deathstroke: Rebirth I was hesitant to do another piece on this series. After reading the first two issues of the ongoing, I had to say something. Consider this a slight bit of review but more, here is why I like this. Christopher Priest with the Rebirth issue brought back an extra sense of grit to the DC Universe. Deathstroke’s world isn’t a nice one and as Priest expands on it, the comic is that much better. I won’t be going on a spoiler spree here with this piece so you can read on with peace. A non-stop brutal and violent wonderland awaits you in exploring the life of Slade Wilson. As a comic series, Deathstroke doesn’t shy away from the darkness and that’s wonderful. Read on, join me in my adventure into Deathstroke #1-2.

By the time this is through, you will likely be snagging the first two issues at hyper speed.

Deathstroke #2 DC Rebirth Cover

Copyright: DC Comics

One aspect of DC that I appreciate is how when it does gritty, it does gritty. Deathstroke is a weird character for DC as they’ve never been sure how to portray him. DC was wanting to make him their next antihero and that never gelled as a concept for the most part. The Deathstroke that works is one that portrays Slade Wilson has a terrible person and that’s fine. These two issues continue exploring how dark Slade’s world really is. What I like about Priest’s portrayal of Slade is how he fleshes him out as a character. There’s an understanding as to why he is the way he is. Slade Wilson is Deathstroke, he’s not good, bad, he’s Deathstroke and hopefully you’re not the person he’s after.

Deathstroke doesn’t live in a pretty world, but it is a fascinating one.

Deathstroke #1 Assassin Splash

Copyright: DC Comics

Now we’re dealing with yet another tweak of Slade Wilson’s family but I hope this is the one that sticks. There’s a nice dynamic as to how Slade’s family works from the past with his wife, to his daughter from another woman. Priest deals with all this in a matter of fact way. Even the people in his supporting cast, especially Wintergreen say Slade is not a nice person. It is also shown though if you’re in a firefight, Slade Wilson is a good person to have at your side. He’s not the best friend, he’s not a great dad, not a great husband, but an amazing warrior.

Deathstroke: Terrible Person, Best Fighter Around, That’s Slade Wilson.

Deathstroke #2 Slade Wilson Battle

Copyright: DC Comics

I like how Priest is building Slade up at this point with his adversaries. For a new reader, the new Deathstroke series is a primer on Slade Wilson. If you want to know how he’d handle a non-powered to a super powered character, this is it.  So far this series is keeping Slade Wilson grounded for all the best reasons, making for great storytelling opportunities. Right now the story is someone is after Slade and it’s not clear who it is. There’s one big reveal at the end of issue two that sets up a lot of possibilities for who could be after him. We’re only at part three here and I know there’s more to come. The hits just keep on coming for Slade Wilson.

As the issues go on you learn more about Slade’s family life too and it gets messed up, fast. Every writer at some point or another has a take on Slade Wilson’s family. To be honest from all that I know, this is ten shades of awful, then again this is Slade. All of Slade’s family life takes place in the past and it makes you wonder how this will sort itself out. Priest’s way of jumping between the past and the present as a storytelling technique works wonders here. The layers to this series building within these issues and the Rebirth issue is phenomenal.

There is even more to say here for sure, Deathstroke is just that good.

Now take note as I talk about the story happening here, Deathstroke’s art team is incredible.  In my Deathstroke: Rebirth article I rave a lot about the art team and it all applies here too, such amazing work. In #2 the team of Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Jeromy Cox, and Willie Schubert get another addition, Larry Hama on breakdowns. Hama is a perfect fit for Deathstroke’s world. Pagulayan’s pencil work and Paz’s inking were great, but Hama adds another element to Deathstroke. It’s noticeable how the storytelling got that much tighter with Hama’s breakdowns. Priest has a team here that has shown that they bring his vision to life with sheer ease. It’s exquisite.

This my friends, summing up two issues of Deathstroke, Simply Put, Buy This.

I could go on even more about Deathstroke but it would be overkill. A genuine blast of a book that will keep you engaged for the entire time reading it and you will want more. One of the best in the DC Rebirth line that deserves all the attention it can get. Slade Wilson is a terrible person but as Deathstroke, a terrible person makes for a fascinating series. Buy this comic.