Tag Archives: Donatello

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Infestation 2 Issue 1 – Review!

8 Mar

The first issue of this crossover by Tristan Jones and Mark Torres delivers everything the title series does not.  I have lamented on the state of direction for the title series (most recently in my review for issue #7), but this issue provides me with so much hope for the future of the TMNT.

First off, I have to admit my bias, I am internet-friends with Tristan Jones often tweeting back and forth with him on movies and other things.  We’ve even shared a few Words with Friends games with one another.  He previously worked on the Turtles with Mirage, and his ‘Tales of the TMNT’ #36 is the issue that got me back into comics.  I also helped in a campaign to get Tristan as the ongoing writer of IDW’s Ninja Turtles series before the writers or artists were announced.  Long story short: I’ve been waiting for this issue for forever.

The premise is the TMNT begin an investigation into weird occurrences happening in NYC particularly within the sewer system.  Strange horrors appear and the Turtles dig deeper into their purpose and meaning.  Donatello, with all of his reasoning, is the one most challenged and most at a loss to what’s going on.

The first thing that this comic reminds me of is a Mike Mignola ‘Hellboy’ comic.  Mark Torres fits perfectly into that vein of horror with his moody lighting and blocky lines.  The lighting is what excels in this issue particularly with the use of flashlights.  Torres and colorist Jay Fotos pull off a technique of hinting at what’s there with the lighting by giving its vague outline which comes as a fresh take on an old technique.  I’m not quite sure what I’m looking at all the time, and that’s a good thing.

Tristan’s writing is wonderful.  He builds suspense, throws in some surprises, and adds a hint of humor to things.  It never comes off as flashy, and he nails all of the Turtles’ personalities right off the bat.  Though, knowing I’m a Turtles fan, I would have liked to see a little bit more development for Leonardo.  (Speaking of being a Turtle fan, Tristan slides in a few references to his previous Mirage work). Nevertheless, this is, at its heart, a comic about Donatello.

Tristan takes a simple premise of the TMNT not knowing what’s going on with weird horror-creatures around and makes this the best TMNT comic IDW has produced yet.  This title being part of a crossover has absolutely no effect to your enjoyment of the comic.  In fact, that should not even be a consideration.  If you miss out on this, then you’ll miss out on an amazing comic.


The end of an era: Tales of the TMNT #70 Review

9 Jun

My mouth was held agape for the majority of reading this comic.  I wondered how they could somehow end on such a perfect note.  I wondered, how could this be so damn good?

Tales of the TMNT #70 represents one of the most noble and best ways to end a series/possibly even a comic franchise: without doing anything other than producing a book of the highest quality possible.

Now, I’m not going to deny the fact that I’m biased over all things TMNT and that this being the final issue of all comics TMNT (for, at least, a very long time) will affect my review.  But, putting that aside, this is a really great comic.

The book is completely upfront that it’s revisiting events that have already been depicted.  Hell, the first seven pages are recap.  However, this recap is from a completely different perspective and camera angle, and are in the form of flashbacks and other time manipulations perfectly shown with an all black transitioning frame bridging between the past and present.  The recap definitely helps for new readers, and allow this book to be open to anyone interested (although a previous knowledge of the storyline provides many easter eggs).

I went ahead and read this issue, and then went back and read all of Return to New York with this issue fitting in.  I kid you not, but all of the positioning and fighting moves (although some of them are now original or not shown before) are spot on to how they were in the originals!  Plus, this story fills in many gaps.

Hell, with Return to New York being so frantically action-heavy and wonderful, it’s nice to have something that provides more perspective on the comic.

The work Lawson and Talbot put into the artwork and the half-tone/duo-shade is sweepingly magnificent.  Lawson creates one of the most bizarre, imaginative, and beautiful fight sequences I have ever seen involving a single chain and a single, dangling turtle.  Once again, Lawson’s art is extremely detailed while having enough self-awareness on when to focus in on key things.  There are many silent panels, and these always stand out to me as stark, menacing, and add such a creative pacing to the comic.

The writing wins.  The art wins.

The turtles crew ended their (hopefully not but possibly) very last comic on a bang.  I’m so glad I’ve been here to read it.  I’m so glad I got the opportunity to interview Dan and Jim.  I’m so glad to even read some of the best independent work out there.  To me, the Ninja Turtles have never been a gimmick, and I hope that, at some point, other comic readers can recognize the heavily saturated creativity that bubbles out of the Ninja Turtles and their comics.

Tales of the TMNT #70, you really did it for me.  I’m welling up a little now that it’s over.  But, I know I can always revisit my old friends.  Thanks Mirage.

ECCC10 – A Photo Experience

14 Mar

It seems that with any big event, you look back and think, “damn, wish I had taken more photos!”  Unless you’re one of those people that takes 1000 photos per hour…

Anyway, looking back on yesterday at Emerald City Comic Con, it would have been nice to have some photos of the crazy crowd/lines, maybe us heading into Seattle on the bus or getting a Piroshky in Pike Place.  Maybe a couple more pictures of some crazy costumes (although, I actually don’t recall as many people in costume – at least, phenomenal costumes – as last year).  I almost had another disastrous moment as losing my wallet last year when, a couple minutes before the bus picked Lillian and I up, I remembered that I left the ECCC tickets in my other bag (because I was originally going to take my photo bag instead of my backpack).  Luckily, my house was just around the corner.

Not actually my photo, but I figured it would be a good opener.

So, the lines were definitely not as bad this year to get in; I congratulate the ECCC crew on providing a better layout and more organized system of getting people in.  However, I also recognize that Lillian and I came about an hour later than I showed up last year to get in.

After reading Stumptown the night before, I knew I had to get one of the limited edition Stumptown prints from Matthew Southwarth as soon as I got in.  So, that was step number one for my ultimate satisfaction of the day.

I believe mine is 29/100

Last year, I was so overwhelmed with it being basically my first comic con and me losing my wallet earlier in the day that I really just went for the free stuff and wandered around with my head chopped off.  This year, I had a game plan.

So, first off, I spotted the Image booth with Ryan Ottley sitting with only a crowd of a couple people in front.  I moved in and looked at his folder of sketches which were super cheap!  I got one sketch that was him planning out the cover of Invincible #56 with some sketches of the body shape of Allen the Alien.  The other one was this wonderful piece of work which has an old man holding a cane with a mail box on top.  I asked him if it was from anything and he said, “well, my brain.  I was just doodling around and came up with it.”  I also got him to sign the resolution to the controversial issue in which Adam Eve dies (the one where she quickly resurrects #64) with him remarking, “oh, that one was fun!”

My brainstormin page has this in the size of a thumbnail, but is pretty close to the final product

Afterwards, Lillian and I rounded the corner of the same booth to find Kieron Gillen, writer behind Phonogram.  I bought Phonogram: The Singles Club, and he signed it and what not.  He was exceptionally charming.  I thought he had a Scottish accent, but Wikipedia says he’s a Brit.  So, I’m rather confused.  He talked about how the TPB of The Singles Club just came out that day so it was like his newborn baby he had to show off to the world.  As he was signing it, he made sure to get the spelling of my name right, and then he talked about how every publisher he’s worked for has misspelled his name at some point and how it’s really frustrating.  I’m fairly certain I remember calling them bastards or motherfuckers, but Lillian and I were staring dreamily into his eyes and weren’t able to notice.  I’m pretty sure, that, if given the opportunity, Lillian and I would have talked to him all day… preferably at a pool with drinks in hand.

Kieron really didn't look like this when we met him... I think he's trying to look like a super serious artist

After getting the picture I went, “oh fuck!” realizing that I never got a picture with Ryan Ottley.  He seemed a little indifferent to my charms (joking about him having to sit down all day probably wasn’t too wise), but still an all around cool guy.

Holding up the Old Man piece

Lillian and I went over to Atomic Comics booth and said “hi” to my favorite comic providers and talked about how hectic it was.  Lillian and the Woman who works there (I always forget her name) talked about Kieron Gillen and how Lillian did not want him stolen away from her.  The gal said that Lillian having Kieron was okay because “Geoff Johns is mine!”

Walking over to the creator alley, Lillian and I came upon some local and independent comic zines where I bought one of their things.  We also met Daniel M. Davis of Monster Commute who was super neat.  I talked to him about silkscreen, woodblock, and linoleum printing.  We also discussed the time differences between creating something digitally (his favorite would be through vectors which he has been doing for 15 years or so) and then through traditional mediums.  He was super neat and offered for me to hit him up through e-mail to talk about some art more and was interested at looking at some of my stuff.  I really don’t think any of my stuff (even though it’s drastically different) really compares to his, but I definitely appreciate the offer.  Lillian bought a print off of him of Abraham Lincoln as a Frankenstonian monster with “He’s watching You” at the bottom because she doesn’t really like good ol’ Honest Abe too much and thought it was hilarious. Check out Monster Commute!

I kept on getting distracted watching his mustache while talking to him

After finally making it to Artist/Creator Alley, I was about to peruse the booths of creators when a guy walked past us in a bright green costume.  Of course, he didn’t have the hood up over his face, but as he passed I went “wow, that is a bright green man.”  Then, it hit me.  GREEN MAN FROM ALWAYS SUNNY!  I turned around as I told Lillian to get the camera ready and yelled out “Green man!”  He promptly turned around and I went – to make sure – “from Always Sunny, right?”  He replied “yeah” and I asked for a picture.  Then, I promptly texted Monique imagining her seething jealousy (even if it wasn’t Charlie).

I wonder if those would be considered cut off gloves?

As we walked across the back counters, I found Steven T. Seagle.  Now, I’ve only read “It’s a Bird…” but I was blown away by it, and decided I needed a copy since I had only read a library copy.  Walking up to the booth, a guy was getting Steven to sign basically 60 comics.  The fan was really nice and allowed me to butt in to buy a copy of the book.  I mentioned to Mr. Seagle that I had read the comic over the summer and had e-mailed one of my Professors suggesting her to use the book in one of her essays because she studies how disease (particularly incurable) is portrayed in sequential art.  He replied, “well, I’m the guy for that!”  Then, he gave me his card suggesting for me to get my Prof to e-mail him when they were done with the essay because he was interested.  He then signed my book adding in a Superman diamond that had a question mark inside it.  The other fan and I both laughed when he did it, but I realized that that symbol basically summed up the entire meaning of the graphic novel.  It was pretty powerful.

I'm guessing someone said something really funny beforehand because I have a really stupid expression

We then continued down and met some independent publishers such as Erika Moen.  She was really nice and I saw that she did a comic conversation with Lucy Knisley (whom I love the work of and might travel down to Portland for the Stumptown Comics Fest just to meet).  Their art is kinda similar, and I really liked briefly talking to her, but Lillian and I were both already running low on cash.  Lillian almost bought a card that had two anemones fighting and it read “Let’s not be Anemones.”  The guy next to her was exhibiting some photographic nudes with octopus tentacles on their bodies.  It was really, really amazing.  Lillian was about to get one, but decided not to.  If anyone knows who this artist is, please let me know.  I really want to check out his other work.  Okay, I just looked, and Dylan Meconis was next to Erika Moen.  Her work is equally hilarious especially with the french revolutionaries, but I know there was a guy exhibiting between them, and I don’t remember who.  Awww shucks.

AH HA! (this is an update, by the way) I figured out the Octopus Photo mystery! Erika Moen was actually selling them and she’s the nude in the photographs!  Some of the photographs can be found at Visioluxus.

After figuring out the confusing (because you have to look over so many people), yet utterly simple organization of things, we finally located Greg Rucka and Matthew Southwarth who I really wanted to sign my recently purchased Stumptown print.  Well, Rucka was heading to lunch, but I got Matthew to sign it, and he was super friendly.  I didn’t get into any deep conversations with him past the standard “your art and portrayal of women is phenomenal,” but the overall experience was nice.

I'm pretty sure some creators get so tired of taking pictures that they just start making goofy faces

Right next door was J.H. Williams III, and I went over and looked at the art he was exhibiting.  It was phenomenal going through his inked work for Detective Comics/Batwoman and seeing his crazy original layouts in person.  However, I feel like I kinda pissed him off… I was looking at his book he had for sale (I’m pretty sure it was the last one he had) and I couldn’t afford it (with only 28/138 dollars in my pocket) if I wanted anything else at the show.  Then, after telling him that I couldn’t get it, but if I could get him to sign a comic and take a picture, he seemed a little peeved.  I felt really bad and a bit embarrassed afterward.  He was still open and sort of friendly, but just kinda terse.  Lillian really liked looking at his line work on the originals, too.

Dear Mr. Williams, I would have bought that book of yours if I had the money. I would have taken you out to dinner, too. I'm sorry if I made your day a little bit worse...

After getting the majority of the artists’ signatures or whatever that I wanted to (realizing only until after the show that I forgot about a handful including Doug Mahnke and Brian Azzarello) and not having the cash to get anything from Dustin Nguyen, Lillian and I braved all of the exhibitors selling their comics.

Really, there wasn’t anything that good this year.  I mean, I love it when they bring comics and have them for 50 cents each, but then they’re usually not organized.  Plus, with a backpack on, it was kinda hard to maneuver in the narrow passages to find the area I wanted to look at.  Lillian never found any Sailor Moon comics that she was looking for which sucked.

Then, as we were near the photo booth (where Stan Lee was behind… even though we never saw him) there was an exhibitor with a whole box of TMNT comics for $2 each, which is a fairly reasonable deal.  I bartered with the lady (by looking pitiful because of not having enough money) and got 13 comics for $20.  I was quite pleased that these included the micro-series for each turtle that were one-shots that came out right around when Vol. 1 was at about issue #9 or so.  These go for 10-30 dollars each on eBay, so I was rather proud.

We walked around trying to sneak a peak of Stan Lee or Leonard Nemoy in which Lillian reviewed her plan of deciding to interrupt a photo session with Nemoy and a fan by joining the picture and then tackling Spock himself.  A rather risky plan, but fucking hilarious when you imagine Lillian doing this.  The line to get pictures taken with them reached all the way outside the main rooms, and we knew right away that it just wasn’t worth it.  While trying to navigate our way back to see if Greg Rucka had come back, we passed Lou Ferrigno looking kind of miserable at his booth taking pictures with fans, autographing, and displaying a slew of press photos (mostly, sadly, from his time as The Incredible Hulk).  Nevertheless, it was quite impressive to see this 58 year old guy still have huge biceps and other muscles that could probably all break both of my femurs at the same time.

Lillian and I stood in line to get the free stuff at the DC booth, and she went a little overboard.  At this point, I also got a text from my equivalent to Voldemort (I shudder at making a Harry Potter reference) which was fairly spiteful.  It almost ruined my day, but FUCK! I was at Comic Con.  Still, it hurts that someone I was so close with could be so hateful towards me when I never did anything explicitly wrong and they did.  Anyway, DC was giving out a bunch of free stuff including a bunch of comics (Joe the Barbarian, the Authority, Batman and Robin, DEMO, and Daytripper to name a few).  Looking back, we forgot to get the exclusive free comics at BOOM! and Image, but oh well.  After getting our stock and some buttons, we went over to see if Greg Rucka had come back.

Greg Rucka looking quite composed after running around the booth

Luckily, we got in just as a large line formed.  Lillian decided to go and buy and Owly shirt and apparently talked to Andy Runton for awhile about the comic.  She came back just in time for when I got up to Greg after a guy who Greg had gone, “Oh sheesh!,” over because of all the comics he had for him to sign which Greg limited down to 5 or 10.  However, right as I walked up, Greg was just like “oh hey, can you wait just a sec!  Don’t worry, I’ll come right back!”  So, I was left waiting at his booth with my Detective Comics (that Williams had already signed) and Stumptown print.  He ran over and had a brief conversation with J.H. Williams III, and Matthew Southwarth looked over at me and was just like, “so, Greg’s deserting you, huh?”  I shrugged and went, “well, I guess so!”  Greg came back doing a sort of run, ballet action with his arms slightly outstretched navigating the backpacks and chairs behind the booths.  He said “Sorry about that!” Then, he signed my stuff, and as doing so saw a person dressed up as the Scarlet Witch and said, “You know, some people… There are things that you dress up in at home… for your significant other… and then there are things you just never put on in public.”  We laughed and I made some comment, then he did his dance around the booth to come out and take a picture with me.  He observed the line waiting to meet him and said, “Hold your horses!  You’ll get me in a sec!”

He was pretty funny, but in a way that you could tell he was covertly making fun of the whole convention scene which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Therefore, I propose this, Greg Rucka, can we become friends?

Lillian and I took one last walk to see if we could spot Stan Lee or Leonard Nemoy, but failed in our great quest for Stan The Man and Spock.

Geoff Johns and Ian Sattler

We decided to leave, but, as we were leaving, I spotted that the DC Nation panel was going on.  We caught about the last 5 minutes of it where Riddler was announced as the main villain in the first Batman: Earth One graphic novels and one of the last people asking a question asked about the panel’s opinions over the XXX Batman movie coming out.  Ian Sattler jokingly kicked him off the mic.  So, at the last moment, Lillian and I got to see Geoff Johns, Brian Azzarello, Peter Tomasi, and James Robinson.

We left, went to H+M and Urban Outfitters, but we didn’t get anything.  Then, we got on the bus and headed back to Tacoma.  On a bus transfer, we had time to go across the street to the Mad Hat Tea Company which was really neat and had some great drinks.

Lillian and Monster Abe: A Matchmaker's Dream

We came back to my place and read some of our free comics as Sabretooth laid across them, and then we watched an episode of Quantum Leap as we ate dinner.  Some more comics reading, and then we played Upwords where she kicked my ass.

Sabretooth and Abe making the same ominous face

Lillian rather excited

Taking a break from reading so many comics

Overall, we had a pretty damn good day with a lot of new artwork (to now spend money on the frames) to hang up and admire.  I’m counting for next year’s ECCC (which will now be a 3 day event) to be just as awesome.

The Best Comics of 2009

22 Dec

1. Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli

It seems like the obvious choice because almost every Top 10 list has this in at least the Top 3 with most of them having it as the number one.  The reason: this piece of work is just that good.

Mazuchelli furthers the graphic medium in strange and ingenious ways to depict time, characters, moments, emotions all in separate visual ways.  The art and the writing combine to make the piece extraordinary.

The story follows Asterios Polyp, a tenured professor of architecture, who, due to circumstances, removes himself of all of his possessions and travels to the Midwest to rediscover himself.  Through the novel, we’re treated to glimpses back to what has made Asterios who he is and what he feels is wrong with his life.  Memorable characters are abundant throughout, and I only wish I could have as many philosophical conversations in one lifetime as Asterios does.

Frankly, this is the perfect exercise of what comics are, what comics can become, and what makes comics – and frankly storytelling – so goddamn enjoyable.

2. The Life and Times of Savior 28 by J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Cavallaro

What is the use of a superhero once they start advocating for peace through nonviolent means?  No beat ‘em up, no entertainment, no thrills, no deaths, no nothing… just a message.

DeMatteis explores this question among many others in his pinnacle achievement of Savior 28.  This comic came out so strong because it explored national identity, personal identity, and the human condition of morals, beliefs, and love.  What started out as a rejected Captain America pitch from 20 years ago turned into one of the best superhero comics of, honestly, the decade.

The art isn’t anything special, but I’m a fan of that for this story because readers need something simple to latch onto while they face some very complex thoughts.

It challenges the status quo, and shows that superheroes can be people who fuck up, too.

3. Donatello: The Brain Thief by Jim Lawson

There was no better comic to come out of Mirage this year than Jim Lawson’s miniseries on Donatello.  First and foremost, I have to admit that Donatello is far from my favorite turtle.  Nevertheless, Lawson captured something special in the character that made him fresh and exciting.

Jim Lawson’s illustrations are often stark and barren, but somehow still filled with incredible amounts of minute detail.

And frankly, the last issue where he inks his own work (Eric Talbot inked the first three) you can see a master at his best.

The story resonates as a mystery comic with mixes of science fiction and fantasy, but it is still incredibly accessible to new readers.  Sure, it’s a ninja turtle comic, but whoever said that was a bad thing?

4. Batwoman in Detective Comics by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III

Powerful female lead(s), the strongest portrayal of a homosexual character in any comic I have ever read, and by far the most beautiful artwork in mainstream comics.  I have been a fan of this from the get-go, and have probably shoved it down everyone’s throats with all of my reviews.  Nevertheless, people even interested in comics need to read this one!

Williams III switches between styles to display different parts of Kate Kane’s character, but it is still distinctly his work.  Plus, all of the styles he uses are on the level and often exceed the work of contemporary, modern artists in any field.

Not only does it achieve great things for women and homosexuals with incredible artwork, but this comic contains a hell of a story!

5. Blackest Night by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

Probably the greatest crossover book of the decade, and it’s not even finished yet.

Sure, the premise is kind of stupid: let’s bring back all of the dead characters in the entire universe whether they were good or bad before, and turn them into the equivalent of flesh (and emotion) eating zombies.  There are dozens of zombie books on the market, why would anyone want to read one from a mainstream publisher?

Well, somehow the simple concept becomes something much more complex, and Geoff Johns writing far exceeds most of his peers.  He can take this mildly goofy premise and turn it into something that actually feels like it matters.

Plus, he throws in hell of some surprises along the way.

Zombie Aquaman sharks, attack!

6. Nine Ways to Disappear by Lilli Carré

I love Lilli Carré.  She is probably one of my favorites of all time.  I follow her work with a devotion unlike any other, and her latest work is no exception to the high quality of work she has already produced.

The little book feels like a treasure when you hold it, and you read along and absorb these nine wonderful stories.  Most of them may not be as quirky as Woodsman Pete, but I love them nevertheless.

Her illustrations are sometimes zany, other times brilliantly simple, other times filled with pattern-like complexity.  After reading this book, I felt like I had learned something about myself and the world… So, I read it again.

7. Chew by Jon Layman and Rob Guillory

If you went back and reread all of my reviews that I did of Chew, you probably would not expect it to be found anywhere near this list.  In fact, you may have imagined it on the worst of list.

Really, I wouldn’t have been too surprised either about a month ago.  Then, I reread all of them, and I realized that I was wrong.  There is a brilliance in this series that far surpasses most comic books on the market with its crazy and original content.

Hell, the created dictionary-like terms for most of their characters that will forever easily be said in lore as if they didn’t come from a comic.  “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if you could be a cybopath!”

Tony Chu works for the FDA.  He eats things.  He solves crimes.

8. The Walking Dead: Fear the Hunters by Robert Kirman and Charlie Adlard

Robert Kirkman sure is consistent with his output.  This was a great story really digging in to tell how far humanity can get away from being human when under forced circumstances.

Plus, the standoff is probably one of the most badass moments in the entire series.  I gasped aloud and reread that issue.

If you’ve never read this series and are either a) interested in comics b) interested in zombies c) interested in human morality systems amongst many other things, then you should read this.  No doubt.

9. Invincible Iron Man by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca and Frank D’Armata

The best series out of Marvel, by far.  Watching Tony Stark erode and work backwards through his past to become a cripple was strangely one of the most entertaining things I looked forward to every month.  I came onto this series midway through, and it didn’t scare me at all.  It made sense with its small cast of characters.

I can’t really say much else about this one because it seems so inherently obvious that it deserved a place on this list, and that others should check it out.

10. Tales of the TMNT #56, 59, and 61 by Tristan Jones and Paul Harmon, Tristan Jones and Paul Harmon, and Tristan Jones and Andres Ponce, respectively.

Tristan Jones, you brought the grit back to the Mirage Universe for the handful of issues that you got to work on before the end of the series.  You made the turtles kick ass again.  You made new characters in the Turtles-verse which, in a single issue, suddenly reminded me that the Turtles can lose.

I loved each and every one of these comics, and I know it seems unfair to pick and choose from the run, but these were some of the best of the entire volume two of Tales of the TMNT.

Paul Harmon and Andres Ponce, you guys made B x W comics look way better than most colored comics in my entire collection.

Notables: Batman and Robin (issues #1-3, at least… 4-6 were really bad), Batgirl, Secret Six, Incredible Hercules, and Barack the Barbarian (I love this mini more than I probably should).

Things ranked high on other lists that I still haven’t read and may have placed on the above list: Stitches by David Small, Scalped by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra, Driven by Lemons by Josh Cotter, Parker: The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke, and The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert and Didier Lefevre.

The Worst of 09:

I thought about doing a separate blog post about these, but really… it would just be a lot of me bitching, and I’m tired of working on best list for the last three hours.

  1. Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth
  2. Dark Wolverine #78 to current
  3. Batman: Battle for the Cowl
  4. Buck Rogers (everything except #0)
  5. and everything else I tried to avoid.

Review Time! 12/19/09

19 Dec

Alright, I’ve been a bad little boy lately… well, to tell you the truth, due mostly to circumstances out of my immediate control, I did not go to the comic book shop for three weeks!  And yet, I’m one of those weekly people… Damn.  So, these are fairly recent comics.

They’re ordered from best to worse, once again.

Donatello: The Brain Thief #4 of 4

Wow, that’s all I can really say to sum up this miniseries.  Jim Lawson really fulfilled on his promise in the interview that I did with him (that you can read here: https://mechanisticmoth.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/an-interview-with-jim-lawson/ ) that this miniseries would show a much darker side to Donatello than ever seen before.  Frankly, I haven’t been this surprised with the character since he fell, broke his leg, and then used a gun to save Karai in City at War way back when.

The pacing on this issue is phenomenal with so many quiet, introspective moments that really emphasize the horrible lengths Donatello will go to for some sort of better good.  I read it so quick that I read it again… and then again… then I read all 4 issues again.  Expect to see this miniseries on a list at the end of the year!

I really have to refrain from going into too much detail about this book because it’s just one that you have to read on your own.  And, don’t fear readers, this miniseries is pretty easy to pick up without ever reading any TMNT stories before.

Batgirl #5:

You know what really makes me happy?  The best titles coming out of the Bat-Family right now are ones that feature Strong Female characters.  Batgirl and Detective Comics.  The characters are truly dynamic.  You get Barbara Gordon who is disabled and in a wheelchair but still empowered, sexy, intelligent, and playing the very important role of being Oracle.  Couple that with her working with Stephanie Brown who’s only been vigilante-ing it for a couple years (comic book time) who is sassy yet smart and fierce.  Not only that, out of any of the characters in the Bat-verse, Stephanie actually brings some much needed light to the dark of Gotham.

Plus, what’s this!? The women aren’t drawn with giant T & A in this book!  There’s even a stab by the writer at other books that do this (which was pretty darn good).

Any issue of Batgirl is great for first time readers because the stories are pretty issue inclusive, and they’re very attractive for first time readers because of the stories being fun, thrilling, and fresh.

Plus, there’s an Omen joke in here (connection between the boy in the movie and the son of Bruce Wayne-aka the new Robin) that I’ve been waiting for for quite awhile.

Read this, you won’t be disappointed… unless you get a copy like I did… which is when the colors bleed on a couple pages because the printer was off from the registration marks… which is really frustrating (especially when it happens multiple times a week) because it detracts from the art.

Invincible Iron Man #21:

This is the best comic coming out of Marvel.

Despite the somewhat contrived way of getting Tony’s knowledge back, this comic works really well.  Fraction does a great job of leaving some mystery as to what the hell is happening inside Tony’s subconscious as he tries to make it back too.

The art’s really neat.

There’s some pretty strong female characters in the book despite the occasional large boobs that they’re graced with.

There’s no reason not to read this book, really.

Red Robin #7:

You know, I have to say that I think it’s pretty darn funny that the only good books coming out of the Bat-verse post-(the atrocious)-Battle for the Cowl are pretty unrelated from Batman.

Here we have Tim Drake traveling around the world in search for the missing Bruce Wayne.  ‘Cept, he’s had to hit it up with the League of Assassins to go toe to toe with the Council of Spiders… sure, that sounds a bit confusing, but it makes sense when you read it.

I really love the new artist on the series Marcus To, he’s really showing his talent with this book.

I also enjoy how we experience the weirdness alongside Tam Fox since this is her Introduction to Super Hero-ing and Assassins/Ninjas… it gets pretty funny to read her reactions, but you still feel vested in the interests of the characters.

I have to admit, I was a little surprised by the climax of Ra’s Al Ghul being there the whole time to only be taken out by a touch by poison lady… Ra’s Al Ghul is the most dangerous man on earth, so… how could someone just walk up and put their hand on him?  Oh well.  It was  a good sport.

The Walking Dead #68:

Alright, it’s pretty easy for me to say that The Walking Dead is one of the best comics out on the market.  Hell, it’s really easy.  However, this issue is totally a transitional one, and it shows.  Nevertheless, Robert Kirkman pulls it off and makes it not entirely boring and hints at some other stuff in it.

After the (awesome!) Fear the Hunters storyline the gang has done some pretty terrible things and find out that Eugene who seemed like he had contacts with the government and was leading them to Washington D.C., was actually lying in order for him to survive.  Disgruntled and starving, a man just walks up to the group out of the woods and offers them a spot in the special community he lives in.

Very intriguing.  But, this issue is working in between the short run of Fear the Hunters and the story line once they end up in the community.  So, it’s meet and greet/ Rick’s kind of mean again.

I really enjoyed how in the couple of panels, Kirkman (heavily) suggested that the partners from the town doing the scoping for people to join the community Aaron and Eric are homosexuals.  They both seem very empowered characters and I hope to see more of them in the future of the series.

Green Lantern Corps #43:

You know, it would probably be helpful for me to go and read the reviews I did for the previous issue of a comic that I did before rating the newest one just to make sure there’s some consistency.  Oh well.

Kyle Rayner isn’t dead!  Big surprise since I already knew it with the Origins and Omens from last year.  However, it wasn’t a completely useless tool used by Tomasi because Kyle’s “death” basically gave the impetus for Guy Gardner to become a Red Lantern/aka complete badass.  Since he’s got two rings on his fingers, Guy can just go around “killing” the undead Black Lanterns in droves.  Other than that, though, the issue is kind of sad, in a way.  It had some cool ideas but there was this overall sadness to it that was strange.

Other than that, the issue was neat, but it didn’t completely flow.  This comic just seems to go by way too fast when not much is actually shown but you know there’s a lot going on.  I don’t know, maybe they could pull an Amazing Spider-Man on us and release three issues a month!

Tales of the TMNT #65:

Okay, I had a really hard time with this issue.  The overall premise of delivering a somewhat Holiday-time Tale along with everything else going on in this issue was really good.  I just don’t believe that it was carried out to the best possible degree.  This issue’s all Berger, and I believe that at times his writing can sway between okay and great which is the same for his art.  The Turtles sway between Archie style and Eric Talbot style which are pretty distinct differences.

The best part of this story, however, is the Rat King.  The Rat King is by far one of the best ever characters in the Mirage-Universe who is fairly underutilized (he died during or before City at War depending) because he’s the only person to have ever successfully messed with Splinter.  This issue gives us about 10 frames worth of Rat King, and all of them are classic.  I really wish more of the issue focused on the Rat King than the mystical guy and the snow oni.

I mean, how did the guy even find out about the Turtles?  It seems so arbitrary.

The thing that did it for me to bring this one down from a 3 to a 2.5 was because of the binding issues which have absolutely no connection to Mirage or the story.  It just really pissed me off when the pages of my comic were still perforated and attached together so I had to tear the tops of them apart which, in the process, bent all of my pages.  It was frustrating and a first.

How I view it, is that 3 stars is average, and 2.5 stars is squeeking just below the surface of that.

An Interview with Jim Lawson

21 Nov


Presenting my second interview of the week with Mr. Jim Lawson.  His style has become synonymous with the Ninja Turtles for the nearly 25 years he’s worked at Mirage.  Lawson has drawn more Ninja Turtles comics than anyone else in the business, and he was quite gracious to let me interview him.

Interviewing Jim Lawson has been a grand opportunity for me, and I’m very thankful to share his insights and knowledge about the Turtles.  In the interview, we discuss the recent purchase of TMNT by Nickelodeon, his future plans (with dinosaurs!), Paleo, most likely the last TMNT comic to come out (at least for a long time) Tales #70, and R.E.M.!

This whole experience has been fun connecting with the Mirage crew, and I hope that further opportunities will come to them as they face the future.

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Warming the Cockles of His Heart: An Interview With Dan Berger

19 Nov

berger.jpg picture by PseudoPsychic 

Well, it’s finally here, I got to interview Dan Berger (for real, this time) the writer and artist of many notable projects behind the TMNT comic books.  We discuss in the interview the recent purchase of the creator-owned TMNT property by Nickelodeon, His future plans, his views on the TMNT universe, and some of his favorite music and movies.

Once again, I know that I said this to him every time we e-mailed back and forth for the interview (and the handful of other times I’ve e-mailed him), I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to interview a wonderful writer, artist, and above all, someone who I truly admire, in order to show their viewpoint of the business and bring to light some things that fans may just not expect.

Also, Click to see a larger version of the cover for the penultimate issue of Tales by Dan.  This is the – basically – world premiere of the image on the interweb.

tale69cover.jpg picture by PseudoPsychic

I apologize for how the images are integrated into the interview… typically you can just make it look like a newspaper type and plunk the pictures so the Text fits around them, but I still haven’t figured out how to do this on WordPress.

ninjastrikes.jpg picture by PseudoPsychic

let’s dig in!

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