Constantine: The Hellblazer #1 Review

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As a fan of John Constantine, and was a faithful reader of the cancelled New 52 Constantine and Justice League Dark series, I had no problem blindly jumping into Constantine:  The Hellblazer #1, by DC Comics.  Sadly, after reading its debut issue, I wish I hadn’t jumped in at all.

John Constantine.  Chain-smoking, witty, trickster, extremely smart and quick thinking, occult detective.  That’s the guy I looked for, but did not find.  Instead I found a guy flirting with a male bar owner (yes Constantine’s gay now), and banging Blythe, a male demon, moments later.  (I’ll be posting my diversity in comics rant soon).

Ming Doyle and James Tynion are the writers of this disappointing title.  This poorly written story is queer as queer can get.  Poor set-up, slow pacing, and very wordy about a lot of nothing.  No page turners.

Amazing artwork by Riley Rossmo.  Finely detailed characters.   Ivan Plascensia did an outstanding job with the colors.

I was bored reading Constantine:  Hellblazer #1 before I even finished it.  I was so bored and frustrated that I didn’t even want to read issue 2.  The only reason I read it was to see if the writing had improved.  I purchased both comics on the day issue 3 was released.  I’m glad that I left that one on the shelf at the store.

I didn’t get much out of this story at all.  I know that John Constantine is gay, his “ghosties” follow him whenever there’s trouble ahead (which is all the time for Constantine),  and he has to find out who’s killing off his ghosts.  I like the ghost killer premise.  Kind of like the god killer storylines.

I always say that a good story is composed of a well-written script and good visuals.  Well, this title has great artwork but is poorly scripted.

I will not continue reading this title.

VERDICT (drum roll please)

I do not recommend Constantine:  Hellblazer by DC Comics.  I am giving this issue 1/5 stars.

The Punisher #16 Review

 

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I would have to be as crazy as Deadpool to even consider taking down The Punisher, a dangerous vigilante who’s armed with big guns and explosives.  Even the Howling Commandos, the special ops unit with secret orders to take him down, couldn’t do it.

In case you don’t already know, Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, was a Marine, husband and father.  When his family was killed by accident, during a mob hit, he became a bitter and fierce vigilante.

I had to set my comic book reading aside for a minute a few months ago.  Unfortunately, The Punisher was one of the comics I was reading every month.  However I started back reading it at issue #13, when I read a tweet about the Howling Commandos taking Frank Castle’s only remaining relative and her family, as hostage.  Well, knowing how violent and aggressive skullguy can get, I had no choice but to jump back on.

I can briefly tell you what I know since I jumped back on to one of my favorite Marvel comic book titles.

Punisher had plans to rid Los Angeles of Dos Soles, a dangerous and powerful gang.  The Howling Commandos intercepted and captured him.  Punisher became suspicious of who was giving the elite combat unit their orders and why.  He was able to convince the team leader to release him so that he could find the truth behind the madness.

In the current issue, skullguy makes his way to Washington to find the perpetrator that put the hit out on him.  When Punisher confronts the perpetrator, he not only gets his questions answered, he also learns that he’s not working alone.

Punisher is eventually spotted and makes a run for it, but his escape gets halted by a prominent figure.  I try not to give spoilers, but I can’t help but to give one when I discuss the art.

Nathan Edmondson is the creative writer of this mature, action-packed title.  Very intense scripting.  Fast-paced, but not difficult to follow.  Strong, solid characters with sharp dialogue.  Lots of aggression, violence, and political corruption.

Impressive artwork by Mitch Gerads.  Fine details.  Great action scenes.  Realistic looking characters, especially the man of the hour, The Punisher.  Panels are dark and violent, yet surprising.  Earlier I stated that I try not to give spoilers.  Well I can’t help it this time.  Below is Gerads introduction of the character that Punisher will face-off with in the next issue.

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I like what Gerads did there.

I love a badass, which is why Punisher is one of my boyfriends in the Marvel Universe.  He’s strong, aggressive, extremely dangerous, and has a body that would make a lot of men here on Earth jealous.

There is no doubt that I will continue to read The Punisher.  I am aware that Marvel is about to start playing with the emotions of its’ comic book fans with the Secret Wars crossover.  I have not had the time to read into the event as much as I’d like to, so at this time I’m not sure what the fate of this series will be.

The Punisher #16 was released March 18, 2015.

VERDICT (drum roll please)

I strongly recommend The Punisher.  This issue gets 5/5 stars.

The Powerpuff Girls Super Smash-Up! #1 Review

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The Super Secret Crisis War is over, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of our favorite Cartoon Network heroes and villains.  The Powerfuff Girls Super Smash-Up!, published by IDW, is a new crossover miniseries where Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles will team-up with various Cartoon Network characters.

The story begins with Fuzzy Lumpkins kidnapping Ms. Bellum.  The girls arrived in time to see Ms. Bellum perform a move on Fuzzy, taking him down.  You may wonder if we finally get to see Ms. Bellum’s face.  Well I’m not telling, you will just have to read the story for yourself to find out.

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Next, the girls and Professor Utonium pay a visit to Dexter’s Laboratory for a VIP tour, with the professor giving Dexter a sample of Chemical X in exchange for the tour.  Of course the obvious (and always funny) happened next.  Dexter’s sister, Dee Dee, snuck into the lab.  And yes, she is still a walking catastrophe.  Actually Dee Dee is a dancing catastrophe.  As always, she begins to dance and twirl, causing chaos in the lab.  Chemical X spills over onto Dee Dee, turning her into a hideous creature.  To make matters worse, she accidentally transports herself into another dimension.

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Derek Charm is the creative writer and artist.  The story is just as entertaining as when I watched both cartoons on television, especially Dexter’s Laboratory.  Dee Dee always stole the show, and it’s no different in this story.  Excellent script, funny character interactions.

The art is amazing with bursts of pretty, bright colors and fine details.  Great action scenes.

The Powerful Girls Super Smash-Up! #1 also contains a Courage the Cowardly Dog bonus story.  It is a super short story, and since I don’t give spoilers, I’ll just say that it’s funny and weird like the cartoon on television.

Jeremy Whitley is the writer.  Fun and strange script, and in case you’re wondering, yes Courage is still a “stupid dog.”  And he is still paranoid, and always first to notice strange events on the farm.

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Great artwork by Jorge Monlongo.  I especially like Courage’s facial expressions.  I laughed out loud as if I was watching tv.

There is no doubt that I am going to continue to read this all-ages comic book miniseries.

The Powerfuff Girls Super Smash-Up! #1 was released on January 28, 2015.

VERDICT (drum roll please)
I strongly recommend this title.  I give this issue 5/5 stars.

 

Learn to Animate e-Book: A Kickstarter Worth Backing

If you like animation, or just want to explore that creative mind of yours, then I highly recommend that you take a look at Jason Love’s kickstarter project, Learn to Animate e-Book.

You don’t need college courses and expensive equipment.  You don’t even need special software (*taps foot, looking around whistling*).  All you need is $1.00 to get started.  The best part is that you can use whatever you have at home to make your animated video.

Did I mention that you can back this project with only $1?

My oldest child (12 yr-old) has an advanced computer course at school.  He is making video games, and he is learning stop motion.  His eyes lit up like a Christmas tree last night, when I told him about the animation project.

I can’t stress enough how much I highly recommend the kickstarter project, Learn to Animate e-Book.  Check out the website, and don’t be afraid to support it.  The website gives detailed information about the project, including updates, and a brief video.

Jason Love has years of experience as a writer and teacher.  He also teaches animation.  Why pay for expensive college courses, and webinars, when you can learn how to make animation videos for only $1?

I read over the project’s website with a fine-toothed comb (I couldn’t help it, I’m a bookworm).  I believe the kickstarter project is a phenomenal idea, and will provide hours of fun.

I don’t back too many kickstarter projects, but I am definitely backing Learn to Animate e-Book.  Actually, I became a backer right before typing this blog post.

The project will be funded in 4 days, on December 17, 2014.  You still have time to take a look at the kickstarter page, and pledge your support.

Why TV Show Constantine is Failing in Viewership

BEWARE.  I am in full rant mode, and my mouth is runny like a leaky faucet.  If you are a new reader to my blog, then let me briefly tell you what it’s about.

My blog, Comics To Read, is where I post my comic book reviews.  I run an honest blog, therefore, I am very straightforward with my thoughts and opinions.  I also post rants and tantrums on my blog.  Anything goes.

This very post is a full-blown rant, so if you don’t want to hear (or read) the truth, then I suggest that you read no further.

Although I was upset to learn that NBC decided to end Season 1 of TV show Constantine after 13 episodes, I was not at all surprised.

  • Matt Ryan (John Constantine)
  • Charles Halford (Chas)
  • Harold Perrineau (Manny)
  • Angelica Celaya (Zed)

Look at that line-up.  The perfect cast.  There couldn’t have been a better actor, than the handsome Matt Ryan, to play the role of John Constantine.  Ryan displays phenomenal acting skills.

Last week’s episode, Danse Vaudou, was the most intense, and my favorite.  Papa Midnite, a voodoo priest and sorcerer with a gang of street thugs, communicated with the deceased.  However, he was unaware that his acts of necromancy resulted in resurrection.  And if you know about necromancy, then you know that’s not a good thing.  Papa Midnite is amazingly played by the fine-looking Michael James Shaw.

Excellent scripts.  Outstanding cast of actors.  Rapid pacing.  The perfect tv show for those who enjoy horror, supernatural, and suspense.

So why am I not surprised that NBC is ending the season after only 13 episodes?  Why is the show failing in viewership?

I compiled (made up) a list of why the show is not able to gain a massive viewership.  The list is small, but it’s heavy in weight.

  1. Comparing the television show to the movie version, starring Keanu Reeves.  The current television series has NOTHING to do with the movie version.  It is based on Hellblazer, a horror comic book series published by DC Comics.
  2. Demons, ghosts, spirits.  It’s a horror story, what did you expect?
  3. Going into the series without knowing what to expect.  Constantine is an occult detective.  Master of dark arts.  Conniving.  Trickster.  He has many enemies, both human and nonhuman.  Funny, but very smart.  Smoker (it was decided not to have him smoke on the show, and I don’t like that decision).  Known for his sorcery skills.  Struggles with his faith, and is often haunted by the sins of his past.
  4. Unable to comprehend the storyConstantine contains mature content.  Strong, powerful, suspense-filled scripts.  Astounding visual effects.  It’s definitely not for the Kelly Bundys’ and Doofus Joes.
  5. Complaining just to be complaining.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a Hellblazer.  I am also a faithful reader of Constantine and Justice League Dark, two ongoing monthly comic book series, published by DC Comics.  I constantly blog about spreading the word about your favorite comic books, to keep them from going to the chopping block.  And I am going to do the same with Constantine, one of my favorite television shows.

Additional thought since original posting:
Does anyone even know how tv ratings are actually calculated these days? Does DVR count?

I am now starting to question the validity of television programs with these so-called “low ratings.” I have read several articles, and if I piece them all together, I still would not have a straight answer.

Sonic Boom #1 Review

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Dr. Eggman is at it again, harassing and out to destroy Sonic and his friends.

And someone, or something, has stolen Tails’ house!

Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Universe are popular comic books in my home.  And after reading Sonic Boom #1, there is no doubt that this new, ongoing monthly series, by Archie Comics, will also be a hit with my family.

Ian Flynn is the writer of this fun, all-ages comic.  Excellent script with hilarious character interactions.  Very easy-to-read and follow.

Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy.  Our beloved characters in the Sonic Universe.  However, Flynn has added a new character, Sticks the Badger, to the series.  Sticks is cute and funny, but she has one problem in this issue.  She does not like her introduction, but Sonic quickly offered reassurance.  Thanks a lot Jack Morelli (letterer)!

The creative art team consists of Evan Stanley (pencils), Rick Bryant (inks), and Matt Herms (colors).  Beautiful artwork with plenty of fine details and pretty, bright colors, especially since the story takes place outdoors.  Wonderful cover by Patrick Spaziante.
The perfect team of visual storytellers.

Although I enjoyed all of the characters in this title, it was Sticks and Knuckles that stole the show for me.  I already said that Sticks is cute and funny.  However, Knuckles is funny, but he appears to not be the sharpest tack in the box.  It’s as if he doesn’t know A from B.

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See what I mean?

And while you’re reading the entertaining dialogue between Amy and Knuckles, take a good look at the art.  Notice how Sonic walks right off the page.  Amazing, huh?!  I love that panel.

I plan to read a few more issues to see where the story is headed, especially after what happened on the last page.  People of all ages love Sonic the Hedgehog.  I should know, my son reads and collects Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Universe.  And I occasionally read them as well.  Sonic Boom will be treated no differently.  But I have a feeling that I may get attached to this one, and will end up collecting it for myself (shhh, don’t tell my son).

Sonic Boom #1 was released October 29, 2014.

VERDICT (drum roll please) 

I strongly recommend this new title which rightfully deserves 5/5 stars.

Trinity of Sin #1 Review

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The Phantom Stranger, Pandora, and The Question.  The three greatest historical sinners have teamed up to save the world, or have they?  Trinity of Sin, DC Comics new ongoing monthly series, has already caught my attention with its amazing debut issue.

  • The Phantom Stranger – Traitor
  • Pandora – Opened a box and released ALL of the world’s sins and evils
  • The Question – Has no recollection of his crimes.  Memory erased by the Council of Eternity at sentencing.  The Council even erased his face!  Fueled by anger and hatred.

As a supernatural and comic book fan, I can honestly say that Trinity of Sin is a comic book worth giving a chance.  With DC Comics titles that stole my heart such as Demon Knights, Constantine, Justice League Dark, Pandora, and The Phantom Stranger, there was no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t get hooked on this title.

J.M. DeMatteis is the writer.  Great script.  Perfect timing, not hard to follow.  Great character interactions.  Loads of suspense, monsters, and black magic.

The astounding visuals are provided by Yvel Guichet (pencils), Jason Gorder (inks), and Gabe Eltaeb (colors).  I have nothing but the highest of praise for this team of visual storytelling.

Take a look at the following panels from the creative art team.  I included a page from Question, Phantom Stranger and Pandora, as they each face their terrifying monsters.  Note Eltaeb’s coloring.  Beautiful, yet amazingly frightening.

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There is no doubt I will continue to read Trinity of Sin, a supernatural title that is already living up to its expectations.  If you are a fan of comic books, supernatural, magic, and entertaining stories, then you definitely need to read this new series.

Even if you are not a comic book reader, give Trinity of Sin a try anyway.  I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

VERDICT (drum roll please)

I highly recommend Trinity of Sin, the new ongoing monthly comic book series by DC Comics.  I am giving this issue what it rightfully deserves, 5/5 stars.