Jackdaw #1 Review

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Who, or what, is Jackdaw?

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Richard Rael has two jobs.  During the day he is a wealthy businessman.  But at night, he is Jackdaw, a dark and mysterious crime fighter.  Not much is known about Jackdaw.  And Thrasher, his female superhero sidekick, appears to be the only one that knows his true identity.

Joyce Sunn, aka Thrasher, is a graduate student and wants out of the crime fighting business.  However she don’t have the nerves to tell Richard.  Although she suffers silently, she does a good job at being a sidekick.  Actually Thrasher is a badass.

Jackdaw is an online comic, or webcomic, and is also published on Comixology.  This indie comic is published by Grimmsmoore Comics.

Kelly Shane is the writer of this dark, mysterious, and complex story.  Well-written script with good timing.  Compelling characters.  Great character interactions.  I found the story a bit wordy at times, but after reading it a second time, I found it to be helpful.  A lot of information is given in this issue, but it’s not too revealing.  Overall I believe Shane did a wonderful job with the set-up of the story.

Text was brought to life by Brian Barr.  The comic is in black-and-white, and it makes the story even darker.  Finely detailed.  Realistic looking characters.    I especially like the fight scenes.  Barr deserves a round of applause for his excellent visuals.

I plan to read the second issue, if I can ever get caught up on my current comic reading.  I need to find out if more is revealed about Richard Rael’s personal life, and if Joyce finds the courage to tell him she wants out.  And just who is that crazed Jackdaw fan?

It is no secret that I support both mainstream and indie comics.  Indie comic creators deserve a shot just as much as those creating comics for the Big 2.

You can learn more about this indie comic on its’ website.

If you are a fan of mystery, then you may want to give Jackdaw a try.

VERDICT (drum roll please)

I enjoyed reading Jackdaw.  I am giving this issue 4/5 stars.

New Suicide Squad #1 Review

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The New Suicide Squad is back with new players, more chaos, and violence to the extreme.  The DC Comics New 52 title is a relaunch of the comic book series that was cancelled a few months ago.

Belle Reve is a prison for superhumans.  Select prisoners are given the opportunity to have their sentences reduced by participating in a secret government program.  Task Force X, or Suicide Squad, participants carry out covert missions, including assassinations.  To keep the prisoners in check, tiny bombs are implanted in their necks.

Amanda Waller was program director, but she is no longer trustworthy.  A new player has been called in to run Task Force X.  Victor Sage gets to call the shots, but Waller is still involved with the program.

Sage added Deathstroke and Joker’s Daughter to the team, and Joker’s Daughter already has Harley Quinn ticked off.

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Sean Ryan is the writer of this dark, violent, and exciting series.  Sharp dialogue, excellent character interactions.  Fast paced but not hard to follow.

The outstanding visuals are provided by Jeremy Roberts (artist) and Blond (colors).  I have nothing but the highest of praise for the artwork.  Realistic features, phenomenal action scenes.

Roberts was the winner of the Harley Quinn Talent Competition, and it’s good to see that his talent is not going to waste.

I plan to finish the story arc to see where it’s headed.  I need to find out how Sage plans to control Deathstroke and Joker’s Daughter since they are not prisoners of Belle Reve, and they don’t have bombs in their necks.

I am also interested in Sage and Waller’s business relationship.  Waller has always been that woman I love to hate.  But Sage appears to be as corrupt as 10 politicians molded together.

I have a strong feeling that this title will get added to my pulls.

VERDICT (drum roll please)

There is no doubt that I strongly recommend New Suicide Squad #1DC Comics has a lot of great comic titles currently on the shelves, but this series deserves a shot.  I just hope it lasts this time.  This issue gets what it deserves, 5/5 stars.

 

Captain Gaia: Kickstarter Campaign

Johny Tay, writer of Seven Years in Dog-Land, is at it again.  This time he is kickstarting a campaign for his latest comic, Captain Gaia.

Captain Gaia is an indie comic that parodies the classic cartoons, Captain Planet and Dragon Ball.  I am a Captain Planet fan, my nephew was crazy about Dragon Ball back in the day, and my son is crazy about Dragon Ball now.

The comic is about conservation, environmental disasters.  Conservation is an important topic to Tay, and he will be putting his creative writing skills to work, and telling the story in a fun way.  I have read some of his work, so I have no doubt that Captain Gala will be a fun and informative read.  You can visit the kickstarter page here.

I am a comic book fan that enjoys both mainstream and independent comics, and I have much respect for indie comic creators for all the time they put into creating, publishing, and promoting their work.

 

Teen Titans #1 Review

teentitans1As long as Skitter do not make an appearance, I may be sticking around this title for a while.  The new Teen Titans series is a DC Comics New 52 relaunch.  The title previously launched with other New 52 titles 3 years ago.

The teenage superheroes race against the clock to stop a group of terrorists that has taken over a busload of young female students from a preparatory school.  The Titans, under the direction of their fearless leader, Red Robin, face-off against the madmen, who are armed with guns and explosives.

This cover-to-cover, action-packed issue grabbed my attention from page one.  Wonder Girl stole the show in this one.

teentitans1aAnd Beast Boy was not one to be messed with.

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William Pfeifer is the writer of this fast-paced action script.  Great script, phenomenal character interactions.  Pfeifer did an outstanding job with story set-up and character introductions.

Nice artwork by Kenneth Rocafort (artist) and Dan Brown (colorist).  I especially like the characters facial expressions, and the emotion-filled panels that caused my eyes to water. I also like the cover.

The only complaint I have about the art is Raven.  I DO NOT like Raven’s look at all.

I WAS LOOKING FOR SOMETHING LIKE THIS:

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 NOT THAT:

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Although I do not like Raven’s look, I can tolerate it for now.  At least she looks better than Skitter. 

Who is Skitter?  She was a black female superhero in the previous canceled Teen Titans New 52 series.  I had a major issue with the way Skitter was drawn.  The white female superheroes were beautiful, but Skitter looked like a giant cockroach.  I was deeply offended, and her look grossed me out.  The title was on my pulls list from day one, but I stopped reading it after the first few issues.

In my honest opinion, which is what this blog is based on, The new Teen Titans has gotten off to a great start.  Powerful story, non-stop action.  Nice artwork, except for Raven.  I plan to read at least the first arc to see where it’s headed.  If I continue to like the story, then I will have to make some adjustments to my pulls to make room for it.

NOTE TO PARENTS:  Teen Titans is a series for teen readers and older.  I do not recommend it for the younger readers.  For the younger children, I suggest the following comics:

VERDICT (drum roll please)

I highly recommend this title.  This issue gets 4/5 stars.

GUEST POST – Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On A Serious Earth

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As a child, Bruce Wayne witnessed the tragic murder of his parents during a mugging turned violent.  Disturbed by the injustice of their deaths, Wayne takes it upon himself to purge Gotham city of the corrupt and protect the innocent.  He creates himself a second identity called Batman, an agent of order that wears darkness as comfortably as the wicked he hunts.  For years fans have been asking, “what’s wrong with Batman?”  Is it possible for one man to dress as a bat, battle the scum of an entire city but still be considered sane?  In Arkham Asylum:  A Serious House on A Serious Earth, author Grant Morrison gives us a disturbing look at the rotten mental state of the Caped Crusader.

A general warning:  Asylum is not a comic for the faint-hearted.  Unlike the usual Batman saves Gotham from [insert villain name here] story, Asylum features intense violence, suggested sexual/physical abuse, and a grim look at the human condition.

ARKHAM ASYLUM: A SERIOUS HOUSE ON A SERIOUS EARTH
Written by:  Grant Morrison
Illustrated by:  Dave McKean
Reviewed by:  Emma Rosander of Fantasy Book Reviews

Plot Summary: On the night of April Fools, the inmates of Arkham Asylum take over the ward. They call Batman and inform him that unless he comes to the Asylum they will murder the staff that they’re holding hostage. Upon arrival, Batman is chased throughout the asylum by the madmen within and haunted by the ghost of Amadeus Arkham, the asylum’s founder.

What I liked:

The Joker.  Next to Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime in The Dark Knight, this is my favorite version of the Joker.  He’s manipulative, perverted, and dripping with cynical humor.  Everything from his grotesque appearance, to his font being a
splattered red (see below) is a perfect representation of insanity.

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Amadeus Arkham.  This is easily one of the best backstories I have ever read for any character.  While keeping his unstated mental disorder deep within himself, Amadeus creates Arkham Asylum, a facility for the criminally insane.  However he himself is thrown into his own nuthouse before long.  As a reader, I felt extreme sympathy for him.  He suffers loss and sexual abuse.  His descent into madness is believable and haunting.

Batman.  Does Batman belong in the madhouse?  This question haunts Batman throughout the book.  In many ways he is just as mad as the rest of his foes.  He is supposedly order, but stranded in a world of chaos, his order is chaotic.  In this novel he is suffering from PTSD and probably split personality.

Two-Face.  The Harvey Dent in this graphic novel is one pitiful creature.  His coin has been taken from him and replaced with a deck of tarot cards.  In one scene he even wets himself because he couldn’t make the decision to use a toilet fast enough.

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The Art.  Dave McKean combines the grotesque and the beautiful in his work on Asylum.  I know a lot of people disliked the surrealism, but I believe it adds to the horror aspect of the book.

What I didn’t like:

The Art.  I understand that I just praised McKean’s work, but hear me out.  Sometimes I wish that McKean could have drawn a clearer picture.  I feel like a missed out on a bit of the story because I simply had no idea what was going on.  It was beautiful confusion.

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VERDICT

Arkham Asylum is a classic.  When I discovered that my local comic store didn’t have it, both the attendant and I stood in a stunned silence until he walked to the computer and ordered a few.  I’m sure it’s written somewhere in the Bible that “comic stores must carry Arkham Asylum.”  Anyways, Batman fans or not I believe that every comic fan should try this book out.  It’s dark but beautiful.  Please comment below.

Special thanks to La Cracha for letting me create a guest post on Comics to Read! If you’re bored, check out my book review blog: Fantasy Book Reviews.

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I would like to thank Emma for being a guest writer on Comics To Read.  Her review of Arkham Asylum:  A Serious House on a Serious Earth is very informative, and I have added this title to my list of books to read in the upcoming future.  Please check out her blog.  I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.  – La Cracha

 

Super Secret Crisis War #1 Review

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If you and/or your children are fans of Cartoon Network, or just cartoons in general, then you will definitely want to read this comic book.  Published by IDW, Super Secret Crisis War is a six-issue mini-series featuring some of the network’s most beloved heroes and villains.

The demon, Aku, formed the League of Extraordinary Villains, a group of Cartoon Network’s most notorious villains.  Their mission is to capture and control the power of the heroes, and conquer their worlds.

The league sends evil robots to fight the heroes.  If the robots are defeated, the heroes get transported to the league for the next phase of their villainous plan.

The heroes that are targeted by the robots are:

  • Ben 10
  • Dexter (Dexter’s Laboratory)
  • Powerpuff Girls
  • Samurai Jack
  • Ed, Edd, n Eddy

We all know that Ed, Edd, n Eddy combined doesn’t make the sharpest tack in the box, but hey, they were targeted by an evil robot.

Five one-shots are included in this mini-series.  Below are the titles and month of release.

  • June – Super Secret Crisis War #1
  • July – Johnny Bravo #2
  • August – The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy #3
  • September – Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends #4
  • October – Cow and Chicken #5
  • November – Codename:  Kids Next Door #6

What a great line-up.

Louise Simonson is the writer.  Well-written script.  Funny dialogue and character interactions.  I couldn’t help but to hear the characters voices in my head while reading this hilarious comic, especially Mojo Jojo and Ed, Edd, n Eddy.

Beautiful artwork by Derek Charm.  Fine details.  Bright and colorful panels that kids will love and enjoy.

There is no doubt that I am going to read this entire mini-series.  I just wish that I was in this comic.  I would steal Ben 10’s omnitrix, and ask Dexter why is he the only person in his family that talks with an accent.

VERDICT (drum roll please)
If you are looking for comic books for your kids, then I strongly recommend this all-ages comic mini-series.  I am giving this issue 5/5 stars.

Tiny Titans: Return To The Treehouse #1 Review

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The Tiny Titans are back!  But only for a minute.  There is not a lot of comic books for kids on the shelves, so my children and I are excited for the Titans’ return.

Superboy and Supergirl pays a visit to the Titans.  But when they arrive, they find the treehouse has gone missing!  They team-up with Robin to search for the treehouse, and the fun begins.

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Tiny Titans:  Return To The Treehouse is a six-issue mini-series published by DC Comics.

Art Baltazar and Franco are the writers, and Baltazar is the artist.  Not only was I excited for the return of the Tiny Titans, I was also excited that Baltazar and Franco are the creators of this fun comic.  They are no strangers to the Tiny Titans comic series, and this issue is hilarious from cover-to-cover.  Funny script, and excellent artwork.  But that is always the case with kid-friendly comics by Baltazar and Franco.

My children and I are will definitely read the entire mini-series.

VERDICT (drum roll please)
If you are looking for  comic books for kids, then I strongly recommend this title.  This issue gets 5/5 stars.