Free Comic Book Day 2011 – Reviews!

7 May

Today is Free Comic Book Day, and I just stood in line for an hour and a half with my companions (Selena and Lillian).  Sure, I also spent $44 (buy two graphic novels get one free) to get my precious hardcover of Stumptown and a Tiny Titans trade.  Anyway, I’m just going to bust through this stack in no particular order and rate the comics as they come!

Baltimore/Criminal Macabre:

This kicked things off really well.  Both stories are short but succinct and tell mini tales appropriate for the size of the comic.  Plus, it’s two stories in one comic (you get to flip the comic over to read the other story!  I love this).  Both of which deal with something rather supernatural.  Baltimore involves vampires and I really have no idea why it’s called Baltimore because it takes place in Europe, I believe.  Criminal Macabre deals with Frankenstein’s monster.  In both, the art and writing is spot on and really strong while the art is scratchy to match the mood of the stories.  Free Comic Book Day is about promoting comics and delivering short but sweet material that will get people to return to the comic store(s) later, and these two stories succeed splendidly.  I will probably look into both of these stories later.

Green Lantern Special Edition:

So, this is part one of Secret Origin for Green Lantern.  It’s alright, but I’ve already read it before.  So, for people who are new to the property and interested in the movie, this is decent.  But, to those old faithfuls, this is nothing new.  Plus, the preview to Flashpoint is kind of stupid.  I’m pretty confused to what is going on, and I really don’t care about The Flash.  Overall, this was a good old “meh.”

The Amazing Spiderman:

So, this issue really tried to be fun.  I suppose I had some fun in it.  I really like the look of a skinny superhero, but there were other parts of the art that had their problems.  Spiderwoman, for instance, probably should have broken in half with her tiny waist and gigantic breasts.  Plus, there one page when she’s fighting Spider-Man and it is near pornographic.  Nevertheless, the script tries to deliver it all: Spider-Man quips (including one about Fox News!), Action, Webs, Monkeys, and Kung Fu.  Although, Shang-Chi, the martial arts young guru, is wearing a Marvel Sash.  *sigh*

Atomic Robo:

Here’s another fun story.  I’ve always intended to give Atomic Robo a shot, and FCBD has given me the opportunity.  The story involves an ambitious youngster at a science fair where Atomic Robo is a guest judge.  Things take a turn for the worse when a crazed Dinosaur (who I believe is a recurring character) in suit, tie, and fedora comes to steal one of the young student’s projects.  Overall, the story provided a few laughs and is definitely children-friendly.  The art was fairly simple with a strong line and strong colors which worked well with the story.  Overall, it was entertaining and a joy.  I will definitely keep an eye out for Atomic Robo in the future.  However, the back-ups were not memorable in the least and sort of took away the magic from the feature.

Locke & Key:

I found it interesting that the series is advertising on FCBD in a kid-friendly format even though it admits on the first page that it’s not really meant for kids.  Just a bit confusing.  I felt a little lost while reading coming midway through the series (this portion comes from section three of the normal series).  There’s a strong sense of line that matches the tone of the series, but the splash pages at the end were a bit excessive.  Overall, I might look more into the series once the television show comes out.

Mickey Mouse:

This collection of Mickey Mouse strips from 1935 were definitely rather interesting.  I found them to be entertaining and light-hearted but nothing fabulous.  Then again, I read them really fast.  So, I can admit that I did not take as much time as I could have enjoying them.  Nevertheless, I had two key points that bothered me: 1) This is a dog race that Pluto is entered into by Mickey, but most of the characters in the strip were dogs!  So, dogs own dogs and race the dogs and bet on the dogs while they’re dogs? 2) Mr. Shoebuckle has to deal with paying off his mortgage which is interesting considering the time frame this is from and trying to make it relevant, but it’s still kind of weird.  I did really like how they had a bunch of cool vernacular(s).  Looking more into Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey strip, it really gets a lot better from here.

Civil War Adventure:

So, I read something while previewing FCBD that this secretly had zombies in it.  “Zombies during the Civil War,” I thought, “perfect!”  Turns out, there were no zombies, but there were a full two pages devoted to how limbs were amputated!  The first story was kind of fun with a bunch of cool looking ‘gators and lots of moonshine.  Otherwise, it was pretty ridiculous and Chuck Dixon kind of rubs me the wrong way sometimes (it’s hard going back and rereading those old issues of Robin and Nightwing that he wrote and putting them into his conservative ideology).

Top Shelf Kids Club:

The obvious stand out of this issue was Johnny Boo, but I really enjoyed Owly (I am a big fan of Owly) and Korgi (which I had never heard of/seen before).  I love kids comics.  They’re just so fun, simple, and often times hilarious.  The joke after joke in Johnny Boo had me laughing aloud for a good number of frames.  I liked Pirate Penguin vs Ninja Chicken (the moose’s changing t-shirt provided some laughs even with the suggested naughty word at the end) and Okie Dokie Donuts, but they were a little chaotic in the art department.  Nonetheless, comics should be accessible to everyone, and this preview definitely provided that.

Pep Comics:

You know, more and more, I have gotten into Archie comics.  I used to look at them in disgust, but they’re not actually that bad.  Unfortunately, they seem too preachy rather than fun sometimes.  Nonetheless, this comic has a great bit with Jughead, autotuning, and ringtones at Veronica’s expense that is super funny.  Overall, it’s something you come to expect from an Archie comic, but nothing more than that.

Sonic The Hedgehog:

I have a lot of Sonic The Hedgehog comics back at my parent’s house.  I used to be really into him.  Alas, it stopped happening due to Tracy Yardley taking over the penciling duties and me not really caring for his artwork.  So, I dropped the book.  Apparently, the very talented artist “Spaz” is going to return to do a couple of issues.  So, I might check that out.  Anyway, Steven Butler’s pencils in this FCBD special is actually pretty good.  The story’s energetic which is nice.  Though, the main villain is one that people who know Sonic through his videogames wouldn’t recognize, but there’s still a lot of fun to be had to see how Sonic outsmarts him.  Overall, it was fairly decent.

Super Dinosaur:

So here we go with another Robert Kirkman book (writer of The Walking Dead and Invincible), but this time it’s for kids.  This kids book is more geared towards 10 and up’ers, though.  I thought I was really going to like it, but I feel like Kirkman just does not have the knack yet for writing to a younger audience.  He still has cool ideas, but it seems like his version of writing for kids is dumbing down his language rather than writing in a completely different way to appeal to the younger audience.  For instance, within a span of two pages he has Derek – the young protagonist – narrate the story of Max Maximus’s betrayal saying “But Maximus had other ideas” and then saying “But Max Maximus had other plans for my new pal.”  They’re super similar sentences.  I understand that this is coming from Derek’s point of view, but he’s supposed to be some sort of child-prodigy.  Unfortunately, this sort of writing plagues the rest of the comic.  The art’s good, though.

Captain America & Thor: The Mighty Fighting Avengers:

Here’s another fun comic to end upon.  The comic transports Thor and Captain America to King Arthur’s time in order to stop Loki from getting the Holy Grail.  The writing is spot on, and the art is really creative with it’s inking and colors.  Overall, it was a great read and open for all readers.  I just cannot see how someone cannot enjoy it.  You can see the same writer and artist in the critically-acclaimed yet cancelled “Thor: The Mighty Avenger.”

Well, there was a a great deal of mediocre books, but 3-4 pulled through.  I got some others, too.  But, I’ve been at this for nearly 4 hours… so, I think reviewing such a large stack of comics is good enough.


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