Saturday, May 28, 2016


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Friday, May 27, 2016

REVIEW: Zone Continuum

Script and art: Bruce Zick

Good science fiction seems to be a rarity in the world of comics. There's an abundance of mediocre-to-okay sci-fi books, but very few that really stand out in a sea of uninspired newsprint. The Zone Continuum stands out, not only in the field of science fiction but in comics as a whole.

The Zone Continuum spins the tale of The Dar, a long-lived race that coexists with man, unbeknownst to the human race. Environmental hazards and man-made catastrophe creates 'Zones' in the electromagnetic field around the earth. They are invisible to man and will kill any Dar who passes between the barrier separating the zones. Talon is the Dar who leads Zone 27 and endeavors to find a way to breach the barrier between his Zone and the adjacent one containing his wife, Paris.
Forever separated by their respective zones, this true love kept apart in Shakespearean tragedy is not a new theme but has certainly not been done like this before.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Free Comic Book Day Pt.2

Free Comic Book Day is like my nerd Christmas. I get free comics and any store worth its salt is running all sorts of sweet deals and giveaway promotions.  I was a bit nonplussed about this year’s selection, but who am I to bitch about what companies are giving me for free?  
I hit up 2 comic shops, 1 wannabe nerd store and my local library for my FCBD adventure and came away with a couple handfuls of freebies and a fat stack of 25-cent/Dollar Box finds.
And a $5 Tick tpb.

So without further ado . . .

Mix Tape 2016

Writers: Josh Blaylock, Mike Baron, Team Ash, Matthew Sturges, Dave Justus
Artists: Matt Merhoff, Val Mayerik, Team Ash, David Hahn

Mix Tape is an anthology book produced by the fine folks at Devil's Due and 1First Comics and serves to showcase some of their flagship books.

The first short is a preview of Mercy Sparks: Year One, which I intuit to be an origin story . . . as are most year one titles.
Mercy is your archetypical sexy devil girl with a rockabilly punker look and is apparently employed by Heaven as a bounty hunter. I've not read any of her comics aside from this preview. I really hope they're good because I've got the full set headed my way courtesy of the Kickstarter. This short doesn't really give you much other than Mercy as a child wandering around the hellish land of Sheol and meeting up with Karduk, a burly Sumerian biker who seems to be a mentor figure.

Free Comic Book Day Pt. 1

This year when I, Art Bee, looked at the list for FCBD, I cringed. The majority of the comic books looked like they were aimed at children so boo-hoo for us adults. I am very jealous of my daughter, because she won a raffle for one copy of every FCBD book. A couple of the comic books picked are very good the others, the majority are not. I will be reviewing some of the ones I picked and a few of my daughter’s. I tried to get her to review a couple but she got embarrassed. Let’s get started.

The Stuff of Legend

Story:  Mike Raicht & Brian Smith
Illustrations:  Charles Paul Wilson III
Design and Colors:  Jon Conkling & Michael DeVito

This is the reprinting of another FCBD comic book for the first volume of this title. They claim it is to honor their current readers in anticipation of the fifth volume. This seems a little strange. Why reprint a free comic of the first volume to promote your fifth volume?

This story seems to be aimed at children and looks to be a Toy Story recreation with an element of horror. The story features a little boy, whom is kidnapped by the Boogie-Man, and the boy’s toys have to mount a rescue attempt.

Even though the artistry is fantastic, the story really sucks. The toys discuss and debate which of them is going on the mission for far too long. There is no way a child would stay focused long enough on this debate, and as something of an adult, I did not want to finish it due to its childishness.

Friday, May 6, 2016

REVIEW: Bloodlines #1 of 6

Script: J.T. Krul
Pencils: V. Ken Marion
Inks: Sean Parsons
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Review: Art Bee

You may have gathered that I am not much of a DC fan. Looking back through my other reviews, I only noticed two DC reviews in my three years with the HCB. At my LCBS I happened to notice Bloodlines #1 and #2 from DC sitting on the shelf. The covers were striking, and after flipping through the first issue, I decided to give this six part mini-series a try.

Honestly, my opinion on this book is really split. It has an average story, intriguing characters, and some amazing artwork but has some faults as well. I will warn you now, there is going to be a couple of minor spoilers.

The first thing I would point out is towards the editing. On page 6 in the last panel, one of the main characters says, “You don’t want my back. Trust me. Five more years, it’s going look like a pretzel.” It should read ". . . it's going TO look like a pretzel." This is the second time in a month I have addressed editing issues in comics, although the other one was in a comic book from the late 90s.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

REVIEW: Ragnarok #8

Writer and artist: Walt Simonson
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: John Workman

Caveat: I'm a fan of Walt Simonson, so this'll probably end up being a fairly biased piece.
He's been a part of some of my favorite comics, starting with Marvel's old school Star Wars book, through the classic 1980s X-Factor and latter day works like Judas Coin (which I say very nice things about right here). A fine resume to be certain, but arguably Simonson's finest work is his epic run on Marvel's Thor. In addition to gracing readership with creations like Malekith, Beta Ray Bill, Skurge with a machine gun, and Frog Thor, that particular stretch of comics spotlighted how adept a storyteller Walt Simonson is. 

IDW is doing The Allfather's work in bringing us Walt Simonson's Ragnarok, which spins the tale of undead Thor in the ruins of Asgard after the Norse apocalypse.
If that hook doesn't sell you on this book, you must hate fun because this comic is a nonstop action-packed thrill ride.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

REVIEW: Rough Riders #1

Creator & Writer: Adam Glass
Artist: Patrick Olliffe
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Review: Art Bee

Once again my LCBS owner has talked me into purchasing and reviewing a comic book. Rough Riders #1 was featured and highly recommended by Shawn, owner of Comics Cubed in Kokomo, IN. After finishing this jewel, my eyes are opened. This story of historical fiction blended with some steampunk qualities is something very special.

This is the story of Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt before he was ever the President of the United States. If any readers are not familiar with history, allow me to briefly educate you. On February 15, 1898, the USS Maine, a US battleship, was attacked and sunk near Havana, Cuba. The ship had been sent to protect U.S. citizens and property after anti-Spanish rioting in Havana ( During the war Teddy Roosevelt resigned his position as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to form his own voluntary cavalry group called the Rough Riders, which included a diverse group of cowboys, miners, law enforcement officials, and Native Americans (

Saturday, April 16, 2016

REVIEW: Aliens: Defiance #1 ashcan

Written by: Brian Wood
Art by: Tristan Jones
Review: Will Dubbeld

Aside from Star Wars, the Alien franchise might be one of my favorite science fiction mythos, due in no small part to HR Giger's hellish conceptual designs. As such I've made a hobby of collecting books, bits of memorabilia, and of course comic books related to the franchise.

Except anything Prometheus related, because screw that piece of crap . . .

Aside from a Marvel adaptation of the first Alien film, Dark Horse Comics has been the sole license-holder for comics set in the Alien universe as far as I know. For over 20 years now DH has been printing Alien books and they are, with few exceptions, phenomenal books. A new series drops soon and the LCS was giving out free promo ashcans, prompting me to sidle up to the bar and check out the wares.

Aliens: Defiance takes place between the first and second Alien films and in true to form franchise setup involves some hapless fools exploring a derelict spaceship. The hapless fools in this case are a Colonial Marine named Zula Hendricks and an accompanying group of Wetland-Yutani security drones.

No mention of them preferring to be called Artificial Persons.

This time around the derelict in question is floating near Earth's Luna Base and is a Seegson hauler called the Europa, and it doesn't take long for Zula and her band of Synthetics to discover they are not alone aboard the Europa.
And by that I mean our familiar xenomorphs pop in and start eviscerating.
Chances are the Weyland-Yutani company is to blame . . .

I'm not sure if this is a standalone prelude for the series or a preview of the first issue, but I'm in either way. It's got the claustrophobic feel of an Alien movie and the art is reminiscent of Ron Cobb's concept work for the first movie.
We also get a fan-service appearance from Ripley's daughter Amanda, which makes me curious if they'll attempt to dovetail (or shoehorn, as you will) the series as connective tissue to the Alien: Isolation video game.

At this point in the history of our pop culture, I'll not attempt to convince anyone to buy this book. You either like the Alien franchise or you don't, and if you're unaware of it, I'm not entirely sure what to say other than "get on it."
Fans of the series are a sure sell if you've explored the Alien comicverse. The preview reminded me of the 1st Alien comic miniseries and a bit of the Aliens: Earth War comic, both high points in my opinion.
Bug hunt or not, I'll stick with this chickenshit outfit for the duration.

Friday, April 8, 2016

REVIEW: Spirit’s Destiny #1

Writer: Dorphise Jean
Pencilers: Zack Dolan, Edwin Galmon, Saint Yak, Richard Perotta
Review: Will Dubbeld

Writer/creator Dorphise Jean contacted me some time ago about a review for her indie book, Spirit’s Destiny, and I readily agreed. Always willing to lend a hand to the small press, I was pleased to recently receive a digital copy in my mailbox, and off we went. I hadn’t done any background research into the book and was therefore able to approach it with a fresh mind.
Was it a superhero book? A horror book? I plunged in and soon discovered it may be neither, or a little bit of both.

Spirit’s Destiny opens with teenage heroine, Destiny, awaking from a nightmare, or perhaps vision, depicting a costumed ne’er do well creeping into his infant daughter’s room.  He gets into a fracas with the child’s mother, but not before injecting the baby with some strange fluid.  I love that the book cold opened with a very well choreographed fight scene/dream sequence before snapping us into Destiny’s regular, everyday routine.

The book’s second act shows us a bit of teenage Destiny’s archetypical school life (best friend, hot guy, bitchy rival girl) and some interaction with her mother, who grounds her for treating Bitchy Girl to a right cross.
I didn’t see that coming, and it pinned down Destiny’s character in one panel. Well done.

Friday, April 1, 2016

REVIEW: Batman Beyond Unlimited #1

Batman Creators: Bob Kane & Bill Finger
Story: Adam Beechen/Derek Fridolfs & Dustin Nguyen
Art and Cover: Dustin Nguyen, Norm Breyfogle
Colors: Andrew Elder, Randy Mayor
Review: Daniel Simpson

When Batman Beyond first came out as a cartoon series it was met with, at least from my point of view, criticism. Here was this new Batman that had a suit that could fly, and all this tech that seemed it fit better on Iron Man than on Batman, but slowly it won me over. As a cartoon series it rewrote the Batman mythos and as a comic series it could do, the exact thing. Terry McGinnis is an awesome Batman and brings a level of snark to the Dark Knight that he has never had before. If you are unfamiliar with the Batman Beyond universe here is the skinny: The story takes place in 2019, Terry McGinnis is Batman, Bruce Wayne has basically taken Alfred’s role staying in the bat cave with Ace the Bathound, Barbara Gordon is the police commissioner. There are several different gangs that call themselves the Jokerz. All caught up? Good.

This comic just jumps right in the storyline starting out with Batman trying to stop one gang of Jokerz from robbing an antique magic shop. They are from Star City and are the second out of town group to try to vandalize Neo Gotham.

Friday, March 25, 2016

REVIEW: Humalien #1 - 3

Created, written and illustrated by J. Adam Farster

Review: Will Dubbeld

Because preordering 20 lbs of comics weekly isn't enough, I'll always browse the newsstand at my LCS (Books, Comics, and Things in Ft. Wayne, IN plug plug plug). A trip or two ago I spied the first 3 issues of a book called Humalien.

"Dafuq is this?” I asked the clerk, intrigued by the Saturday Morning Cartoon cover art.

He'd not read the book, and told me "some guy brought it in and asked if we would put it on the shelf."

I'm paraphrasing here, but that's pretty much how it went down. A bold Indie creator hawking his nerd-wares door-to-door at all comic shops in his path, or that's how I imagined it, anyway.

I initially passed on the comic, wandering around and hoping I'd spy some hidden back issue gem or discounted tpb. As I readied myself for checkout I thought, "Ah, screw it. Imma buy this guy's Indie book."

Friday, March 18, 2016

REVIEW: Batman/ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1

Creators:  Batman: Bob Kane w/ Bill Finger
                  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird 
Story: James Tynion IV
Art and Cover: Freddie E Williams II
Colors: Jeremy Colwell
Review: Daniel Simpson

I have been a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles since I was eight years old but I have just in the last few years begun to appreciate Batman. I've always enjoyed his rogue gallery and all its complexities but I never enjoyed the character as a whole. Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, published by both DC comics and IDW publishing, is the first of a six part story arc that has the Dark Knight meeting the totally awesome foursome from New York.
I opted to give it a shot.

The story starts out with ninjas surrounding scientists. Already you know what that means...the boys in green flash in and take out the ninjas. Little do you realize that this isn't the actual beginning of the story. Oh, no, it’s just the teaser page and everything that has happened up ‘til now is just one of the scientists recounting the event to none other than Batman himself. The story itself is as you would expect for an intro: slow going and doesn't really address why or how the lean green teens ended up in Gotham City. It does, however, introduce Killer Croc as one of what I'm sure will be many Batman villain cameos.
It's a very interesting mix of both comics’ styles, being both light and dark with the colors somewhat muted. The fight scenes (‘cause lets be honest that's what this comic is all about) are in general either very short, as in the scene where Shredder confronts the Bat, or rather anti-climatic, as in the fight between the Turtles and Killer Croc. The artwork as a whole is very good, although I question the Batmobile redesign.

Friday, March 11, 2016

REVIEW: Wraithborn Redux #1

Story & Script:  Marcia Chen
Story & Pencils:  Joe Benitez
Inks:  Joe Weems
Colors:  Studio F., Mike Garcia
Letters:  Comicraft, Michael Heisler
Review:  Art Bee

This week when I went to pick up the comics in my folder at my LCS, I found a strange new title therein. Wraithborn Redux #1 captured my curiosity instantly. The cover and summary on the back were amazingly done and captivating. Even though that was enough, when I opened the cover to the first page one of the best looking pages ever met my eyes. There is a scene drawn with just about the best image of the moon I have EVER seen. I will warn you there are some spoilers in here, but most of this is given away in the summary on the back cover anyway. Trust me; this will not detract from your enjoyment of this remarkable comic.

After I read this, my thoughts immediately went to Spawn, by Todd McFarlane. As complementary as I am intending this statement, it reminds me so much of Spawn, and yet, this story is completely its own. Marcia Chen and Joe Benitez have put a lot of work and thought into the main character, Melanie Moore, as shown in the story structure in the first issue.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

REVIEW: Power Man and Iron Fist #1 & Spider-Man #1

Power Man and Iron Fist #1

Writer: David Walker

Artist: Sanford Greene

Color Artist: Lee Loughridge

Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Review: Cody “Madman” Miller

I’m sure most comic book fans have at least read one(probably more) comic involving Luke Cage or Iron Fist, and chances are good that they were defending their comicdom tag-team heavyweight championship belts. As far as team ups go you’d be hard pressed to find a more capable and iconic super-duo. They’re right up there with pb&j . . . lasting. I enjoyed many a Power Man and Iron Fist in my youth, so pulling this book was a no brainer. I’m more of an Iron Fist fan than a passenger on the Luke Cage (he doesn’t like to be called Power Man for some reason, so we’ll respect that) bandwagon. I guess in my mind I’d rather have a super, glowing, kung fu grip then unbreakable skin and no neck. Hadouken!!!

All in all, a great first issue. Throughout the whole book Cage keeps adamantly reassuring everyone who asks if the Heroes for Hire are back in business that they are not. Obviously Cage is full of shit and I’m so happy he is.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Review: The Eltingville Club

By Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer

I can't recall my first encounter with The Eltingville Club, but I think it was long enough ago that MTV was still relevant.  I couldn't tell you where or in what book, but the strip always stuck with me. Oft-forgotten, but always lurking in the back of my brain as a cautionary tale of sorts. Every knee-jerk, rabid fanboy reaction I'm tempted to make is tempered by  images of Evan Dorkin's comic about the trollish, ugly side of fandom.

The Eltingville Club tells the tale of Bill, Josh, Jerry, and Pete, a quartet of teen fanboys embroiled in the world of comics, role-playing games, horror films, and a myriad of other facets of nerdery. They're full of geek-culture quotes, arcane trivia, and the very venom of the worst of fan culture.  Arguments, visceral insult, fisticuffs, the odd arson, and all around horrible behavior categorize the meetings and day-to-day goings on of the club and the behavior is cringeworthy.  This is the archetypical fanboy behavior that mainstream culture mocked for so many years and drove great portions of nerds back into the parents basement from whence they came. This is the ugly side of fandom turned up to 11.

Part satire, part commentary, The Eltingville Club really is quite humorous in the way that it makes you second guess some of your own nerd behavior, be it gate-keeping or any other flavor of elitist behavior. It'll keep you looking over your proverbial shoulder for that bad, bad, fan hiding inside.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

REVIEW: Badger #1

Saturday, February 13, 2016

REVIEW: God is Dead #47

Main story writer: Mike Costa
Main story art: Emiliano Urdinoia
Backup story writer: Dan Wickline
Backup story art: Michael DiPascale
Review: Will Dubbeld

I have mixed feelings about this book, and publisher Avatar Press in general. On one hand, God is Dead and Avatar Press deliver no-holds-barred mature content, leaving nothing taboo and giving creators an outlet for stories the Big Two wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole.
Wielded by Plastic Man or something.
On the other hand, the books are often outlets for pure, unadulterated depravity. I sometimes feel like I should be buying these comics from some shady individual in the back alley behind a seedy porn theater. I also sometimes feel like I need a shower after reading.

That said, an alarming number of Avatar books, from Providence to Über, are on my monthly pull list. Maybe it's the weird little gorehound that's inside of me, the one who loves Lucio Fulci films and Garbage Pail Kids, or maybe I'm just a bit off-kilter, but I keep reading. 47 damn issues deep and I still keep reading . . .

Sunday, January 31, 2016

REVIEW: Swamp Thing #1 (of 6)

Writer: Len Wein
Illustrator: Kelley Jones

C'mon, you guys, like I WASN'T gonna review a new Swamp Thing book? Especially one by Len Wein and Kelley Jones?
Please . . .

I know you all look forward to hearing about my love of giant vegetable monsters, and this certainly is no exception. Although I lean more towards Man-Thing in my adoration of shambling mounds, ol' Swampy was my first love. You've all heard the the tale of one of my very first comics, The Saga of the Swamp Thing no.14. This thing exploded my 7-year old brain and there was no going back. It introduced me to both Phantom Stranger and Swamp Thing, a deeper level of storytelling, wonderful art, and that sweet, sweet newsprint back issue smell.
You know the one.

Swamp Thing's latest foray into print punched me right in the nostalgia with an opening page that paints the portrait of our title character's Louisiana bayou home.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Madman Three-In-One

That’s right, three comics in one review. No extra charge.

Rocket Raccoon and Groot #1
Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Filipe Andrade
Colors: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letterer: Jeff Eckleberry
Review: Madman

Groot, Rocket, Skottie Young . . . doesn’t matter. Sign me up. A “resistance is futile” moment if I’ve ever had one. I’m talking “almost forcing me to ‘woot’ on social media” level. Doesn’t matter, Marvel hit a home run with this brain child right here. Two of the most popular Marvel characters in the biz currently . . . I think they even made a movie with these characters. Doesn’t matter, Skottie Young gets my dollar every time with his epic variant covers. I don’t always variant cover, but when I do, I Skottie Young all day. Doesn’t matter, not even a little bit.

Highlights include: the new Guardians of the Galaxy, a mouse-like Rocket named Pockets, a Groot-like bushman named Shrub (and yes he “I am Shrub”s), Lord Rakzoon, and a feral graffitied Groot. Doesn’t matter.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

REVIEW: Self Storage #3 (of 6)

Written & Created by: Clay McLeod Chapman
Illustrated by: Matt Timson
Review: Will Dubbeld

451 Media is a relatively new (to me, anyway) Indy company that popped up on my radar a couple of months ago. They had a few pretty enticing sales pitches, so I went ahead and ordered a few titles, including one about a werewolf biker gang, one telling the tale of a Dirty Dozen WWII squad of monsters a la the old DC Creature Commando books, and a whimsical little ditty called Self Storage.

Self Storage hooked me on its initial premise of a hapless schmuck who opens a storage locker and finds sequestered within a zombie girl.
Best. Storage Wars. Ever.
A down on his luck local yokel hoping to hit paydirt in an abandoned locker and finding a zombie girl is a pretty damn original pitch as far as I'm concerned, and I was in for the long haul.

Friday, January 8, 2016

REVIEW: Lone Wolf 2100 #1

Script: Eric Heisserer
Line Art: Miguel Sepulveda
Colors: Javier Mena
Lettering: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Review: Art Bee

In the 1990s the vampire movement started with the pale undead invading books, movies, comics, and other entertainment media, By the time we hit 2005 most of the public would throw up in their mouths at the mention of anything else featuring the creatures. At the turn of the century we saw the trend move to zombies, and as fun as it has been, I feel zombies are well on their down turn. Alas, we are struck with yet another zombie comic.

In Lone Wolf 2100 #1 we are faced with zombies of a different color. A virus infects millions of people worldwide changing them into people-eating mutations called "thralls". Look, I get that the writer is trying to be different, but you cannot put wool on a dog and call it a sheep. It is still a dog!

It really amused me when I saw printed on the inside cover “inspired by the manga Lone Wolf and Cub”. They didn’t vary from the title much, so does that mean the story is almost the same as well? Is this plagiarism? I haven’t read the manga title, but it makes me wonder.

Friday, January 1, 2016

REVIEW: Strange Tales #110

"Dr. Strange Master of Black Magic"

Story: Stan Lee
Art: Steve Ditko
Review: Will Dubbeld

The cinematic juggernaut that is Marvel drops a Dr. Strange movie on the world later this year, and we've seen our first photos of star Benedict Cummerbund, or whatever the chap's name is. I'm ecstatic over this, as a longtime fan of Stephen Strange, because Marvel hasn't struck out yet with a movie (although Thor 2, Iron Man 3, and Avengers 2 were by no means home runs) and I cannot wait to see the big-screen adaptation. We've already had a hilariously mediocre Dr. Strange telefilm in the late 1970s and I'm sure he's had some animated series guest spots, but until now the best motion picture version of Doctor Strange was the early '90s Full Moon Entertainment masterpiece Dr. Mordrid.

Which is a great movie. I don't care what anyone says.

In any case, it seems fair that we take a look at the good Doctor's first appearance courtesy of a Masterworks collection recently bequeathed upon me by my loving girlfriend for Christmas.
3 cheers for nerd girlfriends . . .