Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New Release Reviews For IDW Publishing, for 13 March, 2013

Welcome back to New Release Reviews for IDW Publishing. This is a pretty good week though nothing was a home run. Still, nothing strikes out completely, either. A side note for you Mac fans reading this (this is written all on Macs, by the way) there appears to be a Manga adaption of the authorized biography of Steve Jobs. Looks kind of cool. And filled with speed lines.

As always … titles are scored on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the very best possible. We take the time to read these books so your time isn't wasted.

Rocketeer Haunted Hollywood - Issue 2

This is the second series about the Rocketeer that IDW Publishing has released, of late. There's been a collection of short stories, as well. All of these books have been solid, though there have been inconsistencies. The character is fun an the time frame is enjoyable to read about. This new story has all those fun elements but there seems to be a bit of hiccups in the flow. The narrator appears in issue one and is completely absent from this issue.

There is some drama with Howard Hughes which seems pointless. And the protagonist is more weird that menacing. Still, Betty and Cliff have a fiery relationship and the Rocketeer is a dashing hero. Even the appearance of The Thin Man has been solid. The interior artwork is alight and breezy with a cartoon quality. The covers are excellent as they set the tone and have skill. In particular is the cover by Walt Simonson.

Score: 7 out of 10

Mars Attacks - Issue 8

This was a strangely sad story. Along the way we find a Martian who is having second thoughts about the invasion. It seems that it has found examples of humanity being good and worth saving. Unfortunately, the one human they can communicate with is the worst possible representative. So, this story snatches peace from humanity all the while further damning it through bad luck. Absolute awesome drama by this creative team.

The story is far from over, though. Humanity still have options and aces up their sleeve. It just seems more dire, even with one villain getting his just desserts. The interior artwork in this series is excellent. Solid details and the skill needed to drive the story forward. Humans and aliens both given expression. The covers are a mixed bag. The new designed one is both weird and funny and the classic one is ... well, classic.

Score: 8 out of 10

The High Ways - Issue 3

This new series by John Byrne shows not just how talented a writer and artist he is, but how different his style is from younger creators. There's nothing slow or focused in his storytelling. He jumps right in and isn't afraid to veer off in suddenly different directions. A whole new group of characters are introduced without blinking, adding dozens of new plot points. Characters suddenly change direction and none of it seems out of place. Heroes become villains and villains become heroes instantly. And then there is a major sleeper cell quality for the protagonist.

This issue has everything. There is major conflict and drama between both allies and adversaries. There's tension and mystery overflowing. And peppered throughout is melodrama off the charts with romances and betrayals. It's like some scifi telanovela. Even the space physics are excellent including discussions on inertia and ballistics. There were a few moments where the characters narrated events and that was kind of annoying, and the ending was a bit confusing. Still, the artwork is excellent, just like the cover.

Score: 8 out of 10

Fever Ridge : A Tale Of MacArthur's Jungle War - Issue 2

This is an alright historical presentation of a character that isn't very topical. It's kind of odd for a comic book in that it is very meditative, but some of this is simply stylistic weaknesses by the creators. The artwork is very nice though it's rather odd how you barely see his face. It seems like the deliberately try to hide his face a lot. The cover is very cinematic, feeling very much like an 80s blockbuster.

Score: 5 out of 5

Ghostbusters - Issue 2

This comic continues to be a great example of how to adapt another property. You find the right tone of the prior story and create artwork that is a translation that pays homage, yet, still allows for something new and fresh. This current arc deals with the "A" team being MIA and supporting characters taking over. The main storyline is a blast as it brings Janine to the foreground in a leadership role. And all of the other roles seem to blended by the remaining three. 

There's excellent emotion to be found as everyone has been affected by the changes. Even the city government has taken advantage of this change up. Not everyone is on board with the new line-up and that includes the Ghostbusters. Still, the conflict should be entertaining. And the originals are still kicking around, as well. The artwork is excellent. As are the covers. The weakest part is the back-up story.

Score: 8 out of 10

Godzllla - Issue 10

This issue everything became clear as to why things were happening and lots of allegiances shifted. It was refreshing and somewhat interesting. Characters now have purpose and the stakes are real. the protagonists have realized their enemies aren't really that. This was nice seeing how they changed quite a bit from the beginning. Nothing felt forced as everything unfolded in logical ways and the real threats are revealed.

Things were a bit confusing at points but everything seems to be leading to a big blow-out. Interior artwork isn't great but it works, though it did add to some of the confusion. In particular were issues with characters looking similar and stories happening simultaneously. The covers are fine with the painted one being the best.

Score: 7 out of 10

Jericho : Season 4 - Issue 2

This series will appeal to anyone who was a fan of the excellent television series. Unfortunately, that's not a very large audience as the show barely made it 1.5 seasons. Still, it was smart and subversive and deserved more than it got. This comic continues that high quality but would be very hard for non-fans to slide into. A lot of talk of politics and military actions, plus names, that are almost indecipherable. The interior artwork is fine, as it moves the story forward, as is the cover. The art team tries to hard to get the look of the characters and does little to add to things.

Score: 7 out of 10

Overall a pretty solid week from the folks at IDW Publishing.Nothing was must-have but nothing was must-avoid, either. Stop back next week for more New Release Reviews.