Category Archives: Mainstream

Weekly Wanderlust – April 5, 2013

Weekly Wanderlust typically features reviews of comics released in the current week, but this one is a selection of comics from recent past weeks.

comeback5Comeback #5 (of 5)
Image Comics
(w) Ed Brisson
(a) Michael Walsh

Ed Brisson’s time-travelling miniseries comes to a close. The best thing I can say about Comeback is that it is not a mind-f… that collapses under the weight of its own ambitions.

Brisson’s time-travel plot is tight. Few characters. A narrow window of time. Simplistic, really, if you boil it down to the essentials, which are this: Time travel is illegal. A Federal agent is trying to shut down an organization using it to profit from people that would pay a lot of money to reclaim the lives of recently departed loved ones. And, wisely, Brisson presents us with a few simple, logical rules of how time travel works in his world.

Continue reading Weekly Wanderlust – April 5, 2013


Weekly Wanderlust – Shipped January 16, 2013

billy_loch4Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities and the Orm of Loch Ness
Dark Horse Comics
(w) Eric Powell w/ Tracy Marsh
(a) Kyle Hotz

FC 32 pgs $3.50

The creator of The Goon, one of my favorite ongoing series, and artist Kyle Hotz decided to team Billy the Kid of western legend with sideshow freaks and set them on a series of self-contained adventures in which they fight and protect other grotesqueries. Each features a title that is a mouthful, beginning always with Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities.

The Orm of Loch Ness comes to an end and it does so in a way that holds true to the tone of this particular adventure. There is always violence and dread in these comics, but those are usually tempered by Billy’s tom-foolery. That comedy, I found, has all but disappeared. The result is a tense read with ghastly shocks throughout.

I’m not complaining. (Chad Boudreau) Continue reading Weekly Wanderlust – Shipped January 16, 2013

Weekly Wanderlust – Shipped January 9, 2013

I celebrated my first year as a comic shop owner and the anniversary has gotten me nostalgic. I think back to when I was just a customer at ComicReaders on Grant Road and that leads me to fond memories of writing for I interviewed comic creators and wrote reviews, blurbs of which would sometimes eventually adorn back or even front covers. I still have a print out of the email Roman Dirge sent me after he found my review of Lenore online, and, to this day, if you look at a collection of Elephantmen you will find a snippet of a review I wrote.

In honour of those good times, I shake the dust off Weekly Wanderlust—a weekly column in which regulars like Hnetka, Tillusz, Boudreau, Cameron, Hintze, Brennan, and others told comic readers what they thought about the current week’s releases. Continue reading Weekly Wanderlust – Shipped January 9, 2013

Murder Book / Back to Brooklyn

I developed an interest in crime comics leading up to the creation and release of Acts of Violence: An Anthology of Crime Comics in which my comic “The Three Princes” appears. I researched the genre– from its heyday in the 40s and early 50s, to its decline (and the parallel decline of horror comics) in the late 50s, and eventual resurgence in the late 80s and early 90s– and located and read many of the genre’s shining examples, both past and present, including “Murder, Morphine and Me”, Miss: Better Living Through Crime, and Criminal. My interest in the genre continues post-Acts of Violence and I want to tell you about two additional shining examples of the genre—one a self-published endeavor from an emerging Canadian talent, and the other a book I did not know about until one of its creators told me to check it out. Continue reading Murder Book / Back to Brooklyn

Super Hero Squad: Infinity Sword Quest

Super Hero SquadSuper Hero Squad: Infinity Sword Quest
Marvel Comics
(w) Various
(a) Various
FC, 176 pgs, $16.99 USD

I believe many of the superhero comics published by Marvel and DC are inappropriate for young children. Violence, mature storylines, complex plots, and the occasional sexually suggestive moment make mainstream superhero comics more suitable for teens and adults. Marketing to those demographics is certainly important, but a lot of publishers have also turned their attention to a younger generation in an effort to attract new readers and develop them into long-term readers of comics. One of the ways to do this is to make available quality, age appropriate comics to the younger readers and- equally important- to their parents. While there are many excellent, highly recommended comics and graphic novels for this young demographic, very few of these are within the superhero genre. Continue reading Super Hero Squad: Infinity Sword Quest

Carbon Grey #1

Carbon Grey #1
Image Comics
(w) Hoang Nguygen, Khari Evans, Paul Gardner & Mike Kennedy
(a) Hoang Nguygen, Khari Evans & Kinsun Loh
FC 32 pgs w/ ads, $2.99 US

A couple of years ago Image had a series called Dust. It was an alternate world where WWII was mixed with giant robots and mad scientists. It wasn’t bad but at just two issues it was short and not a lot happened. A sequel came out last year called Dust Wars. It wasn’t as good as the first series and something seemed to be lacking.

Carbon Grey has a similar tone. It’s set in an alternate reality where a Kaiser has ruled the world for 600 years. For as long as the Kaiser has ruled, the Kaiser has used the sisters Grey as bodyguards. Until now.

This first issue has intriguing start. The Kaiser is dead and it’s one of the Grey sisters who has done the deed. The art is amazing. Not all the plot is clear – several characters are introduced without a clear idea who everybody is. I’m not sure who the girl and the man impersonating a dead soldier are and what their part is in all of this but I’ll stick with the series and see where it goes, it has a lot of promise.

X-Men Legacy #245

X-Men Legacy #245
Marvel Comics
(w) Mike Carey
(a) Clay Mann & Jay Leisten
FC 32 pgs w/ ads, $2.99 US / Higher in Canada

Mike Carey’s Age of X arc starts here. It’s a crossover between X-Men Legacy and New Mutants for the next three months and Carey is writing all of it. It’s a vastly different world where mutants are feared and hated (wait a minute…). Anyway the X-Men have never existed in this world and the remaining mutants have banded together to make a final stand.

There isn’t any explanation for this world – yet. Magneto is leading the mutants. Cyclops is called Basilisk – his eyelids were removed so he has to where a special mask to contain his power. And Rogue is called Legacy or Reaper depending on the mutant. Every time a mutant dies, Rogue absorbs all their powers and memories – thus Legacy.

It’s an interesting start for what is essentially another Age of Apocalypse story. I’m not sure what Mike Carey has planned but I’m trying to have faith that this is going somewhere.

Secret Avengers #1

Secret Avengers #1
Marvel Comics
(w) Ed Brubaker
(a) Mike Deodato
FC 32 pgs w/ ads $3.99 US / Higher In Canada

The second of Marvel’s relaunched Avenger titles debuted this week. Ed Brubaker is tackling this title instead of Brian Michael Bendis (who writes almost all the flagship Avenger titles) or even Dan Slott who was writing The Mighty Avengers before the new Heroic Age began. It seems like an odd but welcome choice.

This team of Avengers is run by Steve (formally Captain America) Rogers who is now running S.H.I.E.L.D. / H.A.M.M.E.R. or whatever they’re calling it now. Steve has put together a team of Avengers to covertly tackle various problems before they become problems. The team, it seems, will be a rotating cast of heroes depending on the mission but for starters the team is Steve, Black Widow, Valkyrie, Beast, Moon Knight, War Machine, The Irredeemable Ant Man and Nova. Ant Man seems like an odd choice considering he was just on the Thunderbolts but he kind of works here, especially given the covert mission statement.

Rogers’ organization has discovered that another Serpent Crown has been found and it’s currently in the hands of the evil corporation R.O.X.X.O.N. It’s funny how these evil corporations in comics are always dealing with things like evil magic crowns or cubes but they never seem to do something really evil like dump gillions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. I’m just saying. Apparently R.O.X.X.O.N. found the crown on Mars and there seems to trouble brewing there.

This was a pretty good first issue. I like the idea of the team but I’m always wary of Brubaker handling super-hero team books. I was never all that enthralled with his run on X-Men. Brubaker has always better with more down to Earth super-heroics (Daredevil, Captain America, I’d love to see him tackle the Punisher) but this series is intriguing enough that it might work in his favour. (Shane Hnetka)

Avengers #1

The Avengers #1
Marvel Comics
(w) Brian Michael Bendis
(a) John Romita Jr. & Klaus Janson
FC 32 pgs w/ ads $3.99 US / Higher in Canada

And so Marvel moves the Marvel U. from Dark Reign to the Heroic Age. But what does that really mean? A lighter, brighter day? Or just more super-heroics? Well, it seems to mean that there’s a whole bunch of new number one’s from the look at it. And here’s the first – Brian Michael Bendis’ re-launched Avengers title. After a little over 5 years and 64 issues, I guess the New Avengers stopped being new (although there is a new New Avengers title on it’s way). Steve Rogers is now in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. / H.A.M.M.E.R. or whatever they are calling it these days and he’s put together a new team of Avengers. The team is pretty much the old New Avengers with Thor and Iron Man added to the line up.

Most of this issue is just Steve Rogers establishing the team. and then they face their first threat which seems to be Kang the Conqueror returning from the future and demanding that something must be done about the Avengers’ kids. Bendis’ fills the issue with his usual witty dialogue “Please don’t say West Coast. Please don’t say West Coast. Please don’t say West Coast.” Romita’s art – well, I’ve never been a fan of his style. Everybody looks like an aging boxer that has gone one too many rounds in the ring. That said, this was a fun read and it should be interesting to see where the Secret Avengers and the new New Avengers fit in to the new status quo. (Shane Hnetka)

I, Zombie #1

I, Zombie #1
Vertigo / DC Comics
(w) Chris Roberson
(a) Michael Allred
FC 32 pgs w/ ads $1.00 US / Higher in Canada

The latest ongoing title from Vertigo is this zombie series from writer Chris Roberson (Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love) and artist Michael Allred (Madman). The story follows a young woman called Gwen who is a zombie. But she’s not your standard everyday zombie. She has to eat one brain a month in order to maintain her somewhat normal life. Although for a normal life she’s a grave-digger by day, her best friend is a ghost and the local werewolf has a crush on her. The problem with eating brains is she absorbs the dead person’s memories. Her latest meal was murdered and so now she has to catch the killer.

This series has an intriguing idea – it’s a little off the usually beaten zombie path. I enjoyed Roberson’s Cinderella mini-series and I always enjoy Allred’s art. This series has promise, I just hope that it doesn’t end up with the same short-lived fate that the majority of Vertigo titles seem to suffer. (Shane Hnetka)