Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bitrot Reviews - Flash, Arrow, S.H.I.E.L.D.

Welcome back to another edition of Bitrot Reviews. We’re still reeling from the mid-season finale of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as the Flash and Arrow mid-season finales as well as the cross-over event. S.H.I.E.L.D. was outstanding and it revealed some major changes. Too bad about Trip, though. Flash was exciting for the reveal but neither The Girlfriend nor I think it’s that simple but our reasons were different. And Arrow was decent even if the ending should lead to the Lazarus Pit. Overall a great week for comic book television. For the column, we have twelve new releases. And, as always, titles are scored on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the very best.

The Goon An Occasion For Revenge – Issue 4 (of 4)

(Dark Horse Comics)

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 9.06.10 PMLongtime readers of my columns will know that I’m a big fan of this series. Even though it’s published only sporadically, I still think it’s one of the better books being released. There is a great deal of attention given to book by writer/artist Eric Powell. He’s created an interesting character in the Goon. Just the right amount of depth for a classic anti-hero. The stories are, usually, very entertaining. There tends to be excitement and horror. Mixed with a fair amount of humor and just the right amount of meta/winking at the reader. Plus the artwork is generally excellent.

This issue concludes the current story-line about the war between the Goon and his team against the witches. Much of the issue deals with several double-crosses by one of the Harpies and it’s devastating. The Kid’s fate isn’t clear but the implication is. And something special happens with The Goon’s heart being broken. It was monumental and superbly handled. Plus, there was a revelation that the fight that seemed to end in the prior issue actually was over. This story was a classic misdirection and that made it all the more interesting for what it sets up. The art continues to be excellent. Same with the cover.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Great art by Stjepan Sejic joins fun book

I was pleasantly surprised by the story in this comic. Funny and raunchy. The art was always solid but the addition of Sejic is a huge step forward. This I’m looking forward to.

IMAGE COMICS/SHADOWLINE WELCOMES

NEW ARTIST ON RAT QUEENS

SUNSTONE artist Stjepan Sejic

to team up with series writer Kurtis Wiebe

69070e9e-c625-41aa-9457-83a002f31344Image Comics/Shadowline’s New York Times bestselling high fantasy series RAT QUEENS written by Kurtis J. Wiebe will welcome a new artist: Stjepan Sejic of the #1 Amazon bestseller SUNSTONE for issues 9-11.The RAT QUEENS SPECIAL: BRAGA #1 will feature guest artist Tess Fowler and release on January 14.

Sejic’s art will premiere in the following issue, RAT QUEENS #9, on February 25. The series will be monthly with #12 soliciting for a May release.

”Having admired Stjepan’s work at Top Cow for some time now I’m extremely excited about his coming on board to Rat Queens,” said Jim Valentino, Vice President of Image Comics. “He will usher in an exciting new era for one of our most popular titles.”Wiebe added: “I’m excited to have Stjepan bring the Rat Queens to life in his distinctive style, a voice that understands both the heart and the humor of Hannah, Dee, Betty and Violet.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bitrot Reviews - Movie News

Welcome back to another edition of Bitrot Reviews. Comic book movie news was in full blast this week. The biggest was the announcement of casting on such projects as Dr. Strange, Jessica Jones, and The Suicide Squad. The Girlfriend went out of her mind with the news of Benedict Cumberbatch being cast as Dr. Strange. I liked the Kristen Ritter surprise. And The Suicide Squad could be great or terrible. Also, best wishes to the folks at Sony Studios who are a bit distracted with the hacking problems to move Spider-man related properties forward. As always, I score on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the very best.

Usagi Yojimbo : Senso – Issue 5 (of 6)

(Dark Horse Comics)

24435I’ll confess I read this issue with a bit of hesitation. Perhaps a bit of sadness creeped in as blasted through the pages. The feelings I think stem from the sense of finality that is coming through in this story-line. It’s set in the future. Major characters have already died. Somewhere in all of this hints the idea of a possible happy-ending for some of the characters. And then take into consideration everything that is happening with creator Stan Sakai’s home life. Everyone at Comic Book Bitrot offers our condolences to Mr. Sakai. I had the pleasure of meeting both Stan and Sharon and they were lovely humans.

This particular issue may have been the weakest of the series. Much of this was because it felt rushed and things unfolded suddenly. The section involving the Komori Ninja and Buichi Kubo sort of came out of nowhere. There was high drama and tragedy but it still felt out of sorts with the other story. And Usagi’s relationship change with Tomoe seemed abrupt. That being said, it was still excellent. It was exciting and heroic. The artwork is fantastic, as always. The cover is excellent, as well. Even if I wonder if the next issue will be the very last issue.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Jem And The Holograms?!?!

I’ll read this just for Ross Campbell’s artwork! It does look a bit different than the 80s cartoon.  But progress! And girl-bands!

JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS Get A Comic Book Series That Is Truly Outrageous! 

It’s Showtime (Synergy) At IDW Publishing

d6016760-12a7-4024-afbf-a31ab6d409a0San Diego, CA (December 2, 2014) – IDW Publishing is excited to expand its long relationship with Hasbro and welcome JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS to the world of comic books. Starting in March 2015, Jem and company will star in their first ongoing series! The creative team bringing this world full of fashion, art, action, and style to life is writer Kelly Thompson (Storykiller, The Girl Who Would Be King) and artist Ross Campbell (Glory, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), with subscription covers by Sara Richard (My Little Pony, Kitty and Dino).
It’s the 21st century, and Jem and The Holograms are 21st century girls! Meet Jerrica Benton, the gifted singer of The Holograms, a band that has the right look and the right sound… But one thing is holding them back—Jerrica’s crippling stage fright. Luckily, Jerrica is about to find help in the most unlikely of places when she discovers a forgotten present left by her father. And what she finds is truly outrageous!

“As a kid I was a huge fan of the original 80’s JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS cartoon and so the chance to breathe new life into it for a savvy modern audience, not to mention to work with Ross, an artist practically destined to draw this book, is really a dream come true,” said series writer, Kelly Thompson.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bitrot Reviews Last Of Mockingjay

Welcome back to a post-Thanksgiving edition of Bitrot Reviews. Did you survive Black Friday? I hope so. Did you do anything fun? The Girlfriend and I and a friend (The Doctor) went to see The Theory Of Everything. Very solid movie even if Jane Hawkings seemed a bit one-dimensional. Beautiful film and well crafted. Also, congrats to the USC Trojans for beating Notre Dame. Fight On. I hope to get back into a real routine now that The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 is almost done. Eleven titles reviewed this week. As always, titles are scored on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the very best.

Lumberjanes – Issue 8

(BOOM! Studios)

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 6.25.26 PMThis is quickly becoming a favorite with some of the team at CBBR. I’m digging this series and The Girlfriend seems to love it. Not sure about Derek but my expectation is he’d be indifferent. Which isn’t a big deal. This book is solid. Let’s start with The Girlfriend’s thoughts:
At the heart of this story is true friendship and love. The campers are strong willed individuals, yet they shine when they work together. The art is fun and fits well with the story. I still would like a recap at the beginning…as my mind is going in my old age. Because, I could have sworn that the body that Artemis inhabited was Jo’s sister. I could be wrong. If not, it seemed odd that she left with her dad…a cow. Anyway, that was the only confusing part. The rest of the story was enjoyable (although a little predictable) and a fast read.
There are moments in this series where I truly wish that the creative team did a better job with things like recaps and roll-calls. Each character is pretty fleshed out but I still have the worst time with names. And I can’t always recall what happened in prior issues. They do a decent job of incorporating the past events in the new issues but it really demands you be up on the series. The family stuff was fine, even if it seemed a little understated. The adventure and humor is as top-notch as usual. And the Janes are heroes, straight out. And that’s fun. Quirks abound but at their heart is good, caring young women. The art is solid. Same with the cover. Can’t wake for the next arc.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hinges isn't Wayward

Even though it sort of feels like it.


EXPLORE A CLOCKWORK CITY IN HINGES
A fantasy graphic novel that readers can get wound up over

2687b135-55a4-4d1c-8c11-67881d24b40bNew to Image Comics this February, comes Meredith McClaren’s enchanting fantasy HINGES.Written and drawn by McClaren, the graphic novel introduces the nuts and bolts of a city called Cobble, where one girl new to the city, Orio, must depend on help wherever she can find it.

Her assigned familiar, Bauble, has his own agenda however. As the two explore the walls of the city, they find they are not the only new arrivals.Visually, McClaren had thought about creating a world inhabited by dolls, puppets, and stuffed animals for a few years before a story was even attached to the idea. “Later on I came to Orio, and her growth.

The idea of working with dolls meant I could explore a person’s development into an individual (from a completely blank slate to a fully realized person) on a much more expedient track then watching a character physically grow up.”

Star Wars Launch Parties?

I really hope that Marvel doesn’t screw this up. Dark Horse did some rather interesting things with the license. To be fair, they did some crappy things, as well. I’m a bit thrown off by the cover I included.

Welcome Home Star Wars™ With Epic Launch Parties in January!

The Force is Strong With Your Local Comic Shops in 2015!

Star_Wars_1_Pichelli_VariantMarvel is kicking off 2015 with a bang big enough to destroy a Death Star as Star Wars makes its triumphant return to the House of Ideas and into comic shops on January 14th! That’s right, your local comic shop is the place to be to get your hands on the blockbuster first issue of Star Wars! In addition to being among the first to purchase and read the landmark STAR WARS #1, fans will also be able to receive special items exclusive to these launch parties.

STAR WARS #1 is already poised to be one of the biggest launches of the year, and Marvel is making sure comic book stores worldwide are armed and ready for the landmark return of Star Wars to its home at Marvel. Each retailer opting into the STAR WARS #1 Launch Party will receive aStar Wars Party Kit from Marvel, containing exclusive promotional materials including exclusive variants, promotional buttons, cake toppers and more. Check your Marvel Mailer for more information on how to opt-in by 12/08 to ensure your store has these promo items and exclusives.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bitrot Reviews Mockingjay Madness!

Welcome back to another edition of Bitrot Reviews. I know I mentioned The Hunger Games : Mockingjay Part 1 was coming out in last week’s column but it’s so heavy on my mind it was worth repeating. As of today’s posting it’s pretty much number one in every country on the planet that opened it. It seems to be doing very well in the US even if it’s trending a bit lower than Catching Fire. This movie isn’t as exciting but it makes up for that in nuance. This is a heavy film but the performances are what elevate it. Solid movie. Now, on for this week’s reviews. Thirteen titles reviewed. As always, I score on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the very best.

Thor – Issue 2

(Marvel Comics)

FullSizeRender2Marvel made a big deal about this new direction for the series and I think it was deserved. There are a lot of interesting things about it. The least of which is the “new” Thor, whatever that means. But most importantly, what does The Girlfriend think:
After reading the first two issues, I’m not sure what’s going on.  Sure, I get that a woman is Thor with all the powers of that hammer he used to carry. But is the underlying reason why she’s Thor and seems to have conversations with an inanimate object that’s uncertain to me. And it may be okay. The new Thor (and I don’t believe she has a name yet) appears to be in the dark like us. It’s an interesting way to let the story unfold. And a refreshing one at that…as long as the writer doesn’t screw up the payoff. I enjoy the artwork too. They created a female character who looks like she can kick ass instead of frail. (I hate toothpick leg on women. It’s unrealistic for a healthy one to have.) So, I hope Marvel can pull off a strong and realistic woman I’m their universe. Read on!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bluewater and Bono!

Full disclosure, I’ve written for Bluewater Productions in the past and I’m good friends with the publisher which is why I usually don’t review their comics.

However, this one seemed like a fun topic and I found the cover to be fairly solid looking.

BONO GETS THE COMIC BOOK TREATMENT

FameBonoBluewater Productions is proud to announce the release this week of a comic book biography on the life of Bono as part of their popular Fame series. Fame: Bono is available in both print and digital. Written by Michael L. Frizell with interior art by Jayfri Hashim, Fame: Bono features cover by famed rock artist David Frizell.

As the lead singer of U2, Bono electrifies audiences with his dynamic stage presence, while his electrifying persona draws people to social causes that concern all of us. His story is born from a divided Ireland and the dueling nature of the rock star live versus a devout faith.

“Bono is a fascinating artist. Equal parts rock star, goodwill ambassador, and humanitarian, his work has stood the test of time,” said writer Frizell.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Secret Wars sneak!

I’d say it’s a pretty cover but it’s Alex Ross. It doesn’t need my feeble commentary. I hope the event is as good as the cover. But I doubt it.

Presenting the First Epic SECRET WARS #1 Cover!

Secret_Wars_1You’ve seen Alex Ross’ spectacular promo image. You’ve seen the teasers. You’ve learned the first secrets of Battleworld, the strange, patchwork realm playing host to countless separate realities. Now, Marvel is pleased to present the first cover to next year’s game-changing SECRET WARS #1! From the chart-topping creative team of Jonathan Hickman (Avengers, New Avengers) and Esad Ribic (Thor: God of Thunder) with covers by legendary painter Alex Ross, this 8-issue event brings together a legion of Marvel super heroes for an epic story the scope of which you’ve never seen before!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bitrot Reviews - Mockingjay!

Welcome back to another edition of Bitrot Reviews. I’m less than a week out from The Hunger Games : Mockingjay Part 1 and I just did another screening today at the 4DX screens. If you’re in Los Angeles, I’d strongly suggest trying their theaters. Normally, I’m not into gimmick screenings but this place is pretty cool. Can’t wait to hear from you if you see Mockingjay next weekend. It’s a pretty cool film. As for comics I’ve got fifteen reviews. As always, they’re scored on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1o being the very best.

Amazing Spider-man  - Issue 9

(Marvel Comics)

FullSizeRender3Everything is all about The End in the Marvel Universe. There’s this whole thing with a new Battleworld and Secret Wars coming next year. And while that’s building up, there’s the whole thing in Avengers as the world is in peril by other universes encroaching. It’s pretty bleak. Well, apparently Spider-man isn’t immune to this cross-over madness, either. This is the new event that’s been building up about all the various Spider-men (and women) across the multiverse. Or, at least, the ones that have survived thus far. There is this vampire-like dude named Morlun after the Spider-people/creatures (see Peter Porker) and they’re looking to eat these beings. His family is in on this and they’re called The Inheritors. Bad vampires who only like to eat Spider-people.

So, according to the cover and check-list in the back the event kicks off in this issue. The creative team does an excellent job in conveying the stakes. There’s only one safe place but the Spiders can’t stay there forever. No matter how awesome Spider-ham is. A lot of things happens and a lot of information is down-loaded. Still, they manage to keep humor in the story which is positive and not surprising given how many Spiders there are. I do keep wondering, though, why Peter just doesn’t call Thor and have him deal with them? That should be a short fight. The interior art is excellent. The cover is just as nice.

Score: 7 out of 10

Friday, November 7, 2014

Bitrot Reviews - Countdown to Hunger Games

Welcome back to another edition of Bitrot Reviews. Less than two weeks away from The Hunger Games : Mockingjay Part 1 and I’m a bit stressed out. Maybe one day I’ll delve into those films but, for now, just know it’s crazy. But that’s not the only film I’m working on in the news. The Power Rangers movie is getting some attention, as well. Maybe that one will be good to dive into. For now, I’ve got reviews for eleven new comics. As always, titles are scored on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the very best.



Usagi Yojimbo : Senso – Issue 4 (of 6)

(Dark Horse Comics)

24434Right off the bat, you know you’re in for something special with the amazing colored, wrap-around cover that shoes Usagi and Tomoe fighting the aliens. Sorry if the aliens thing is a spoiler but if you don’t know this 2/3s of the way through this mini-series, then you know nothing, Jon Snow. It’s a beautiful image and it sets everything up nicely. I’d like to, also, give a shout-out to Tom Luth. Luth has been the long-time cover colorist for Usagi Yojimbo and he deserves credit for his fine work.

So, the inside continues moving this story along. It’s interesting because so much of this story is dominated by this alien invasion and our heroes efforts to not only stop them but to save lives. Even Hebi, Lord Hikiji’s confidant, does the right thing in this story. It’s so sad that it took this tragedy to bring out the best in so many. However, what really dominates things is relationships like any good story. Of particular note is the melodrama involving Usagi and Tomoe which has been decades in the making. Lesser time is devoted to Jotaro and Gen’s fate but it’s just as moving. A master storyteller presenting a possible denouement in one of the greatest series in sequential art. Outstanding art. And a great recap to start things off.

Score: 10 out of 10

Agents Of Comic S.H.I.E.L.D.

I can’t believe this didn’t happen sooner. Shocking, really. Marvel miss out on cross-promotion? Never again …

Marvel Welcomes You to Level 8 For The S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 Launch Party!Your Local Comic Shop is Your Place to Be on New Year’s Eve!

SHIELD_1_CoverEnd the calendar year with a bang this New Year’s Eve as high-tech weapons, high-stakes missions and high-octane adventure come to a comic shop near you withS.H.I.E.L.D. #1 – the debut issue of one of the most highly anticipated titles of the year! In addition to being among the first to purchase and read this exciting first issue, fans will also be able to receive special items exclusive to these launch parties.

Along with All-New Miracleman Annual #1, S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 stands as one of only two Marvel comics being released on 12/31 and Marvel making sure comic book stores nationwide are armed and ready to close out 2014 with a bang when these two books explode onto stands!

Written by Eisner-award winning writer Mark Waid and drawn by a rotating crew of top-flight including Carlos Pacheco, Humberto Ramos, Alan Davis and more – each issue of S.H.I.E.L.D. teams Special Agent Phil Coulson and his team with the best and brightest the Marvel Universe has to offer. From Thor to Ms. Marvel to Captain America to Howard the Duck. If you’ve got the skills – S.H.I.E.L.D. has a mission for you!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Bitrot Reviews - Is Skye an Inhuman?

Welcome back to a slightly shorter edition of Bitrot Reviews. Still not quite recovered from my little buddy’s passing but I needed the distraction. So, here we are. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is pretty great now. I think Skye in an Inhuman. You? Eight new releases. As always titles are scored on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the very best.

Avengers – Issue 37

(Marvel Comics)

FullSizeRender2A few points on this. First off let me say this comic is depressing. In fact, many of the recent Avengers comics by Jonathan Hickman have been depressing. The basic underlying story has been about how there are these incursion happening with earths from different universe that are coming into contact with one another. The contact destroys both worlds/maybe universes (not quite sure about that part.) Something has caused this to start happening. Main Marvel universe 616’s group The Illuminati has become aware of this and they’re trying to figure it out and stop it. But they’re failing. And they seemed to have angered the rest of the heroes. There is a lot of anger and this actually feels more organic than the Civil War story-line did.

A second point is that this issue, like many others in this event type thing, feels like nothing happens. Sure, you don’t have to have people in costumes punching each other but it genuinely feels like almost nothing occurs. The heroes argue a lot. The heroes try to argue with a hologram. And (spoiler) a traitor is revealed. That’s pretty much it. The character interactions seem fairly true even if Steve Rodgers come across like an ass repeatedly. The artwork in this issue is excellent by Mike Deodato. The cover is very cool and sure to make Captain Marvel fans happy.

Change Of Pace - A Music Review!!

Every now and then, we’ve got to mix it up from just looking at comics day in, day out. For this review, I wanted to recommend a new album by “Cocksure”. Cocksure is Chris Connelly and Jason Novaks, but in case you’re not familiar with these names, Connelly’s been in nearly every seminal Wax Trax band, including Ministry, and Novaks is one of the founders of Acumen Nation. The name Cocksure is an obvious harkening back to the infamous Ministry offshoot, The Revolting Cocks.

So, yeah, Chicago-style industrial music’s been over for a while, but the influence of these artists endures. Putting it another way, I’d rather buy this than whatever slop Taylor Swift’s got coming out this week.

Cocksure’s debut, “TVMALSV” does not disappoint. Let’s start with the first song, “Skeemy Gates” – the drones in this song seem to come straight from the earliest Cocks album, evoking sinister horrors over Connelly’s Scottish-twinged pseudo-rap. Another song reminiscent of something else, but still utterly unique is “Guilt, Speed and Carbon”. A fine thrashing ride from the techno-cowboys, I’ve been cranking this one up at work every time it comes on my playlist. But, my absolute favorite song on the album has got to be “Ah Don’t Eat Meat, Bitch”. The lyrics of this song flat-out crack me up. Its got that catchy Revco feel, deep dub from Novak, and wry sensibilities.

I’ll even be so bold as to say this – commercial radio / spotify / pandora / whatever sucks just as hard now as it did in the nineties. I’ve (accidentally) turned on the radio in my car, and I can’t believe I’m still hearing
the same crap I did twenty years ago. I always had this feeling that when ‘they’ started replacing live DJs with automated boxes, that someone just flipped the switch on, and left the building. There haven’t been human beings curating the radio in two decades, so I guess it makes sense that radio remains frozen. And without actual stores for people to browse in or hear the clerks playing their favorite tracks overhead, no one knows what’s good and “Alternative” anymore.

Cocksure, to me at least, is proof that these artists are still vital and powerful, and driven to rail against
the commercial music system. You might think, oh, its been twenty years, time to send out a rehash right before the greatest hits album drops. You might be right, I mean, Taylor Swift is supposedly worth over 200 million dollars and owns eight sprawling mansions, whereas Connelly is a manager for Reckless Records in Chicago. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind a little more money in their pockets before they can’t afford healthcare, like 99% of us in the US. So why not go out and support some decent artists, and at the same time, have a party doing it. Taylor’s got enough money for the rest of her life, it’s time for ilk to go away and for music to get some of its balls back.

Cocksure, available now from www.metropolis-records.com.

(Link goes to vinyl, if you’re extra cool) http://www.metropolis-mailorder.com/product.php?prodnum=MET+948V