Publisher: DC Comics
Written By: Lee & Micael Allred
Art By: Lee & Laura Allred
Letters By: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Ever since last fall when DC Comics launched its new Young Animal imprint fans have been eagerly awaiting to see what would come from it once it expanded beyond its initial four premiere titles. Well this week the fifth series and first mini to launch from the line has begun and it is a rip-roaring adventure through time, space and the Multiverse with the best hero you’ve never heard of Bug The Forager. So get your mother boxes ready and let the journey begin.
The book starts out by giving us some brief flashbacks to Bug’s previous and supposedly final adventure before having the titular hero wake up and find himself encased in a cocoon inside of a basement. He looks around and finds a mysterious talking teddy bear that is quickly snatched by an equally mysterious ghost girl whom he follows up the stairs until he runs into a group of monsters that he must fight off before meeting up with the girl once more in a room full of dominos that mimic a motherbox switchboard diagram. The dominos drop and our hero is given multiple vision of other heroes in need of help throughout the Multiverse. After this ordeal Bug is found by two more creepy creatures who happen to be servants of the silver age Sandman. He explains there are here to find “The Dreamer” whom he believes Forager to be and that he needs BUG to wake up if he isn’t already dead that is. The reason for this is because he needs BUG to help him find one of the rarest metals in all the Multiverse, one that can make dreams reality. Shortly after being awoken the group is attacked by General Electric a mad scientist in search of the same power as Sandman & BUG. The first issue ends with BUG stepping through a dimensional portal to parts unknown.
Overall in terms of story the book is the highly enjoyable retro surrealist kind of tale we have come to expect from both the Young Animal Line and Allred himself. The book pays tribute to what has come before while still paving the way for something new while setting up an interesting story and mystery for the rest of the series to follow-up on. The inclusion of lesser known characters like the Silver Age Sandman are a nice plus and really help showcase the scope of the DCU even when the majority of your book takes place in a dream house. General Electric while a somewhat cheesy villain is introduced in a very fun and bombastic way and the magical McGuffins of the metal and dream whistles actually fit into the story quite well. The art is also fantastic as it to features Allred’s unique form and style that manages to make the characters feel lively and dynamic and making each one feel unique while still being a working homogeneous part of the same story and world. If there are any complaints to be had it would be the book does seem to jump around a bit but that only adds to the surrealist feel and style of the work.
Overall I would say BUG! The Adventures of Forager is a worthy addition to any DC/Young Animal fans collection.
Published By: Dark Horse Comics
Written By: Chris Warnar
Art By: Fransisco Ruiz Velasco
Lettered By: Michael Heisler
Dark Horse Comics has been publishing Predator Comics for decades and from Aliens to Batman to Terminators the celestial hunters have gone against many worthy foes, however in this latest series humanity fights back and the hunters become the hunted.
The book starts out as usual with a group of humans being hunted by the predator with all but one being killed by the beast. We cut away to a gas station where our main character Nakai is being harassed by his racist redneck boss as he repairs a car. Shortly after a mysterious trio arrives at the station and confronts Mr. Nakai. They ask him what experience he has with Predators and he tells them his story. The trio run by Jaya Soanes then reveal that they are Predator hunters and that they have also survived encounters with or descend from those that hunted the monsters and would like Nakai to join their group. At first he is reluctant, but eventually he decides to tell off his racist boss and join the team.
In terms of story the first issue is unsurprisingly primarily set-up and while we do get some brief predator action at the start and via flashbacks most of the issue focuses on setting up the characters and their relation to the extraterrestrial beast. It isn’t the most entertaining read but it is well executed and gives us decent backgrounds for our human cast and the Predator moments are fairly well done.
The art by Valesco seems a bit on the genaric side of things but it is done well enough to where the story is fairly easy to follow and the Predator is still intimidating.
Overall this is a decent start to the mini-series, if not a somewhat subdued one given the premise of the story.
Publisher: DC Comics
Written By: Tom King
Art By: Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson
Letters By: Daron Bennet
At the end of the DC Universe Rebirth Special DC put out last summer Batman found the Comedian’s bloody button from the Watchman buried in the wall of the Batcave. Now nearly a year later we start a crossover between Batman & The Flash to investigate the mysterious artifact with a four part crossover titled “The Button”.
The first part begins with the amnesiac Saturn Girl from the Legion of Superheroes in Arkham watching a hockey game on TV, this triggers something in her memory and she begins screaming about how Superman won’t come and the Legion will die. Meanwhile we cut out to Batman back at the Batcave and the titular button reacting to the Psycho Pirates mask sitting next to it. Bruce contacts Barry about this however The Flash is unable to speed over as he is currently in the middle of a battle with a group of robotic samurai but tells Batman he will be over in a minute. As soon as he ends the call Batman sees a swoosh thinking it is his friend however it turns out to be Eobard Thawne: The Reverse Flash, who taunts Batman by ripping up his letter that his father Thomas wrote for him during The Flashpoint and starts beating poor Bruce into the ground until he is unconscious and is able to steal the button from him. As soon as Thawne gets his hands on the button he is momentarily teleported away and reappears looking much worse for wear merely stating “I Saw God!” before collapsing and turning into a skeleton. The issue ends with Barry arriving at the Batcave finding an unconscious Bruce and a dead Thawne.
In terms of story the first part of The Button is near perfect, we see more of the staples that have made King so popular, nine panel page layouts, cryptic dialogue, social commentary, a nice cliffhanger ending and well paced action scenes make the issue one heck of a ride that would make The Watchmen themselves proud. The art by Jason Fabok complements the story perfectly and Fabok continues to be at the top of his game creating a truly tense and engaging atmosphere in near every page and panel, all of which are well complimented by Brad Anderson’s color work which give us bright and defined colors to help make the characters and surroundings really pop out on each page.
Overall Batman #21 is an excellent start to what may be one of the most important storylines since Rebirth began in June of 2016 and is a much have for any Batman &/or Flash fan.
Publisher: Oni Press
Written By Sarah Graley
Art By: Sarah Graley
Letters By: Crank!
This week Oni Press released the first issue of their new original series Kim Reaper. A supernatural comedy about life, death, friendship, love and cats. Does this series stand a ghost of a chance against the competition however? Lets sharpen our scythe’s and find out.
The first issue begins with the lead character Becka staring at her crush Kim while her friend Trevor pokes fun at her for not paying attention or taking her art school studies seriously. This leads to a conversation between the two that ends with Becka deciding to invite Kim to the pub with them. However when Becka goes to talk to kim Kim she finds her going through a mysterious portal. Becka follows only to find Kim hovering over a dying cat. Becka intervenes thinking Kim is going to kill the innocent little kitty but Kim quickly explains she is not planning on killing anyone and is only doing her job as a part-time grim reaper and it is her job to escort those ready to leave their mortal coil into the afterlife, though since she is new to the job she can only help along the spirits of animals. Before they can make a second attempt to catch the feline the cats owner, an energetic musclebound crazy cat man comes home and confronts the two. Kim tries to explain the situation but the man is none to happy to hear he may be losing one of his prized cats and the issue ends with the musclebound madman making a suit of armor out of the colony of kittens as he gets ready to fight off our heroines.
Overall the story for the introductory issue of the book is an enjoyable one, fast paced, funny and energetic with a unique quirky style all its own while still felling familiar enough to other more recent indie comics and animations to make it easy to jump into and enjoy. The art is also very nice as it is lively and expressive with a vibrant color pallet which really helps keep the reader engaged as they progress through the story. It is quit obvious Sarah Graley put genuine heart and effort into crafting this story and it thankfully shows from the first issue.
If there are any complaints to be had it would be that like many modern animations/comics/etc it just throws you right into things without properly setting-up the characters before hand outside of giving us a general feel for their personalities, but overall that is not much of a problem for non-superhero based comics/media in the long run as many do still get around to properly developing their characters over time.
At the end of the day Kim Reaper is a worthy addition to Oni Press publishing line-up and has potential to be a thoroughly enjoyable series in the long run.
Story: 7 out of 10
Art: 7 out of 10
Overall: 7 out of 10
Publisher: DC Comics
Written By: Tony Bedard, Mark Russell
Art By: Ben Caldwell, Mark Morales, Jeremy Lawson, Howard Portar, Steve Bucellato
Letter’s By: Troy N Dave, Dave Sharpe
The final DC/Hanna-Barbera Crossover features everyone’s favorite Task Force teaming up with a bunch of crazy talking animals in Suicide Squad/Banana Splits #1. Does the book mark the X or is this title committing literary suicide? Lets find out.
The issue starts out with the Banana Splits being pulled over and being mistaken for rouge metahumans. This leads to the group being attacked and imprisoned by authorities and imprisoned in Belle Reeve. Meanwhile Waller is having trouble getting in contact with all of the members of the Suicide Squad on their latest mission and decides she needs individuals who are even more disposable than her existing team to help extract them from their current situation. This of course leads to the poor Banana Splits being thrown from the oven and into the fire as they have to save and team-up with the Suicide Squad to stop an army of evil robotic children.
The back-up strip is the first installment of The Snagglepuss chronicles which starts which portrays the character as a gay southern playwright in the fifties fighting McCarthyism as best he can. The initial chapter starts out with Snagg in Washington D.C. where he confronts the NSC and manages to successfully ruffle their feathers. Later on he is confronted by a young Auggie Doggie who says Snagglepuss is his hero and how he hopes to be like him some day. This leads Snagg to tell the young pup of his greatest failure as an artists which leads Auggie to ask him why he tries so hard with Snagglepuss replying “Son. In life you do not fight battle because you expect to win, you fight them merely because they need to be fought.”
In terms of story, the main strip is fairly straightforward and well done, it is quirky, zany, fast-paced and action packed as you would expect a story about the Squad to be. There is also some no so subtle and much needed commentary on profiling individuals based on appearance. The back-up Snagglepuss script is what really grabs the reader the most despite its short length. Like with Russell’s other work takes a past period of time and uses a problem in the story that is timely and relevant to the modern day as well. His dialogue is intelligent and witty and really has you rooting from Snagglepuss from the start. It also does a solid job of setting the stage for the upcoming ongoing comic.
In terms of art, while Caldwell’s style is a bit more cartoony than one would usually expect in a Suicide Squad story it fits the tone of this particular story quite well, as do Lawson’s colors. Howard Portar’s art continues to be excellent giving the Snagglepuss Chronicles short a look that is a nice balance between realistic and cartoonish. This style helps make the concept of sentient cartoon animals living side by side with humans feel natural and believable and also helps add more gravitas and depth to the story. While Buccellato’s colors compliment the work quite well.
Overall Suicide Squad/Banana Splits Special #1 is a genuinely entertaining read with a spectacular back-up strip. The humor in the book is smart and both stories themes are relevant to the modern day. If you are a fan of either the Squad or Snagglepuss the book is most definitely worth picking up!
Publisher: DC Comics
Written By: James Tynion IV, Christopher Sebala, Howard Charkin
Art By: Ariel Olivetti, Wil Quintana
Letters By: A Larger World Studios, Pat Brosseau
The third DC/Hanna-Barbera Special stars two of the most well known Galaxy Guarding heroes Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Space Ghost in a tumultuous trek for the ages.
The issue begins with Hal Jordan responding to a distress call about a great weapon from a planet so far at the far off edge of the Universe that is actually considered to be in an entirely different dimension. While traveling to the planet he is attacked by Larfleeze and the minions of Zorak who are also after the weapon. This leads Hal to be confronted by Space Ghost who mistakes him for an enemy and leads to a fight which causes the two to come crashing down to the planet below. Once down on the planets surface they have to flee from a hostile military and take refuge at the home of a young girl and her uncle who is an inventor, the two explain to them that the residents of the planet have been told that there is no such thing as space and stars and that they are all alone in the universe. The uncle had sent out the message to attract outside life and prove the militaristic government wrong. He also said the weapon was a mistranslation and it was a vehicle he was making not a device of destruction. However the military catches up to the two heroes and Space Ghost and Hal must team-up to fight them off, but not before the Uncle is severely wounded. In his dying moments he asks the two to take him into space so he can see it just once before he dies. They do so and the old man finally finds peace. Later Space Ghost and Hal Jordan return to the planet and reveal their truth to the people. The book ends with the two parting ways hoping to meet again someday and a flash-forward to years later when the young girl is heading into space and looking forward to meeting her heroes once more.
The back-up consists of a short modernization of Ruff & Reddy that is a short prologue setting up for future tales
In terms of story the Green Lantern/Space Ghost Special may not be the strongest in terms of story but the story it does tell is still poignant and well executed. The morals of the destructive nature and lies of an authoritarian society are especially relevant in modern times and the moment where Hal and Space Ghost show the uncle space for the first and last time is genuinely touching. The action is hit and miss, but the actual interaction between the two heroes showing how their personalities contrast in philosophy but compare where it counts makes for some interesting dialogue between the two. The back-up Ruff & Reddy strip however is fairly weak and does nothing to make me want to read more of the characters adventures in the future.
In terms of art Ariel Olivetti does a masterful job on the art and colors giving the main story a level of realism and depth while still showcasing the grander scope of space in a way that makes the entire story feel rather cinematic. Quintana’s art on the back-up strip is much more simplistic and cartoony but that plays to the strength of the characters used in set strip.
Overall Green Lantern/Space Ghost is a fairly well constructed story with beautiful art that leaves you wanting to see more of both of the title heroes in the future.
Overall: 9 out of 10
Publisher: DC Comics
Written By: Mark Russel, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner
Art By: Rick Leonardi, Scott Hanna, Steve Buccellato, Pier Brito
Letters By: Dave Sharpe. Michael Hiesler
In the second installment of our DC/Hanna-Barbera review series we take a look at a time-traveling adventure with everyone’s favorite superhero Booster Gold!
The story of the issue is as follows. Booster is getting ready to meet a date in Gotham City when a group of aliens comes out of a portal and starts destroying everything in site. Booster goes back in time to find the source of the invasion and ends up accidentally killing an alien of the same species in the stone age. While there he meets up with Fred and Barney and explains the situation to them. Skeets then tells booster that by going back in time and unintentionally killing the alien that was basically his race’s Christ figure he was the one responsible for the invasion in the future. Booster tries to fix this by taking the Flintstones with him to the present though he just ends up making even more chaos then before. Thankfully his friend Crabullon comes in at the last minute with a well and living alien messiah who scolds the rest of his species for learning nothing from his teachings. The issue ends with the peace loving alien telling Booster and The Flintstones he will never be coming back and the human race is basically screwed and Fred nicely asks that Booster never return to the stone age.
The back-up story in the issue is a prologue to the upcoming Jetsons series by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner and gives us an origin for everyone’s favorite robot maid Rosie.
In terms of Story Mark Russel continues to be a masterful story teller mixing various scifi and comic clichés with some smart and witty satire and observation on society and religion while still keeping the voices of the characters in the piece spot on with his other works. This makes sense of course as Russel also writes the monthly Flintstones title as well and has really done a good job of developing his own versions of the characters while still staying true to their roots. Booster is also on point here and is very reminiscent of his JLI self we all know and love. Overall Russel’s witty, intelligent and downright fun script makes the story a delight to read!
As for the back-up strip, while not as strong as the main story, Conner and Palmiotti do a solid job of giving some much needed background to The Jetsons and their iconic characters and it does its job of setting up for the ongoing and getting readers interested in what will come next.
In terms of Art Rick Leonardo does a decent job and his style helps give the story an appropriate cartoony feel and Steve Buccellato’s colors are vibrant and varied and fit near every scene spot-on. I think my only complaint would be that characters do look somewhat odd from certain angles and the sizes of the characters does seem to subtly alter a a bit through out the story. But overall a visually solid display. The Jetsons art is a bit more mixed, being somewhat more realistic in style the contrast when compared to the main story is noticeable. This is not nessicarily a bad thing but it does give The Jetsons cast more generic feel when compared to their cartoon counterparts. Though I will admit I do like the upgraded look given to Rosey as it looks much more futuristic compared to her design in the cartoons. Overall though the art is a mixed bag.
In closing Booster Gold/ The Flintstones Special is a delightful read with witty humor and commentary by one of DC Comics best writers!
Overall: 9 out of 10