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.

Next up is a Badger story, and the less said about it the better. I enjoy Mike Baron's work on Nexus but never cared to look into obscure 1980s creation, Badger. Seems my instincts were right, as this short is an MMA fight between Badger and Vladimir Putin.
Like the god's honest Russian head of state.
I have no idea what the hell led up to this event, but after several pages of combat Badger emerges victorious and is christened Wizard of the East.
Whatever the heck that is.
Badger also has a trio of Asian girls rooting for him who speak pidgin English and declares his win over Putin will the spellbinding bit of dialogue, "Melican win. Laise hand now".
Nice racial sensitivity, 1940s Yellow Scare comics would be proud.

Next up is a phenomenal story from the world of Squarriors! Which is a portmanteau of squirrel and warriors! In the spirit of Redwall, Secret of NIMH, and other smart rodent stories, Squarriors tells the tale of warring factions of animal folk in a post-apocalyptic feudal society. It's a fun story and beautifully illustrated. Lavish, even. The art is good enough to prop up the book, but the story certainly doesn't need to use it as a crutch. It's well crafted and often features hyper-violent squirrel murder.
And who doesn't love that?

Our final sample was from a book called Public Relations and focused around a train wreck caused by a giant dragon egg and a narcoleptic engineer. It also features 50 thousand gallons of homemade mayonnaise, tadpole cosplayers, and some other inane bits that try too hard to be weird for the sake of weird and just aren't funny.
Ah, well, at least it was free.

FCBD 2016 Captain America 

Writers: Nick Spencer, Dan Slott
Artists: Jesús Saiz, Javier Garrón

So Steve Rogers isn't an old guy anymore, but neither is he Captain America. Former sidekick Falcon still wields the shield and now has his very own Falcon sidekick, some obnoxious mutated falcon-boy who will hopefully die a horrible death soon. Also, his pet bird Redwing is a vampire now. I think.
Anyway, Red Skull is up to his old HYDRA shenanigans with Crossbones and Sin, and I'm pretty sure he still has psychic powers from eating Professor X's brain or whatever the hell happened.
Good. After Dimension Z and all the clusterfuckery that followed I could go for some good ol' Cap vs. HYDRA comics. As long as Nick Spencer can keep a moratorium on jamming his personal opinion on politics into the book we'll be fine.
This will probably not happen, but I can hope. Spencer is a fine writer, but he could use to keep his rhetoric the hell out my comics.

There's a Spider-Man backup story that pretty much serves as a preamble to the Dead No More event that'll be forcing its way into your summer reading. The framework of all the dead Spidey characters returning to life (and yes, that means Gwen Stacy) is either a riff on nobody staying dead in comics, or some penultimate barrel-scraping. They all could be robots, clones, skrulls or holograms for all I care as long as the story is engaging.
Slott still owes me for fridging Silver Sable . . .

THE TICK! (emphasis mine)

Story: Jeff McClelland
Art: Duane Redhead, Ian Nichols

YEAH! Now this is some inane humor I can get behind! I f'n love The Tick, I don't care if it is a cliché these days.
I'm even a member in good standing of the Mystic Order of Arachnid Vigilance, so take that.
This was my favorite FCBD offering. Versions of Tick from alternate universes keep popping into The City, forcing Tick to hide all of his copies in a garage until he can figure out a course of action. 
There has never been more glorious a sight than a legion of Ticks charging into battle, yelling, "Spoon!", and then falling all over each other in a heap.
Bravo, New England Comics.
We're treated to a brief cameo from Pineapple Pokopo and introduced to a version of Tick from a noir universe who is black and white and speaks aloud his pulpy inner monologue. 
"Causality is a jerk", Tick proclaims, but all's well that ends well as all the alternate Ticks go on a bus trip until a solution is discovered and we close with Tick Prime riding a shark.
If you don't like this book you clearly hate fun.

Rom #0

Plot & script: Chris Ryall, Christos Gage
Pencils/inks/colors: David Messina

Although Tick was my favorite bit of FCBD, Rom was the one to which I most looked forward. The cool kids know Rom was a licensed Hasbro property that Marvel somehow crafted into a popular 70-some-odd issue series in the '80s. Bits of lore from the Rom comic will periodically still show up in contemporary Marvel books, but alas, the license for Rom himself now lies in the hands of IDW, undisputed champions of licensed properties. (Sorry, Dynamite, maybe next year)
Rom is an alien in sweet-ass chrome armor who has come to Earth in order to root out his ancient foes, the Dire Wraiths. In the old Marvel books the Dire Wraiths were some sort of shapeshifting degenerate Skrulls, but in the new Rom, they are evidently evil wizards which is just as good. 
The preview was good, pitting Rom against some wraiths, showcasing his tech, and planting the seed for some possible human allies. Honestly, there was a 1-page ad for the old-school Rom comic (Romic?) that was just as efficient as this whole book, but I don't care. Rom is back, baby, and I'm looking forward to see how the new incarnation stacks up against The House of Ideas' version from yesteryear.

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