Comic Picks By The Glick
Image Previews Picks:  September 2019

Image Previews Picks: September 2019

June 30, 2019

Above-the-Board Recommendation:

Rumble #16

 

Wait, WHAT!?

 

That’s right, #15 isn’t the last issue of this series.  I keep expecting the hammer to come down with each arc, but I’m glad to be proven wrong here.  There’s a catch with this latest issue, however. It’s the start of an anthology arc featuring short stories about the main cast.  The good news is that it looks like creator/writer John Arcudi will be writing the whole thing and the first issue has some strong talent lined up in the form of Gerardo Zaffino, Alex Horley, and Matej Stic.  Admittedly the last artist is not known to me, but Arcudi has a knack for finding good artists to work with both on this series and “B.P.R.D.” The bottom line here is that I’m glad to see “Rumble” continue on and maybe this is a chance to start hoping that it’ll continue on for the foreseeable future.

 

Nah, why mess with what’s worked so far!  Enjoy this latest anthology arc of “Rumble” everyone, because it’ll probably be the title’s last!

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Marvel Previews Picks:  September 2019

Marvel Previews Picks: September 2019

June 29, 2019

Above-the-Board Recommendation:

Spider-Man:  Life Story

 

When Spider-Man debuted in 1962, Peter Parker was 15 years old.  57 years later and he’s… what, twenty-something in his comics right now?  Yes, aging does work kind of funny in superhero comics that have been published continuously for that long.  But what if Spider-Man had aged in real time over the years? What kind of adventures would he have had? These questions are what writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Mark Bagley are going to try and answer with this miniseries.  Bagley’s done enough work involving the Ol’ Web Head for me to know that this is going to be a great-looking miniseries. Zdarsky is the wild-card here as, while I’m familiar with his art, I’ve yet to actually read anything he’s written.  I’ve heard good things about his work on titles like “Howard the Duck” and “Amazing Spider-Man,” and while he’s still rising in the ranks at Marvel to get assignments like writing the current “Daredevil” series, that in and of itself isn’t a guarantee of quality.  (Paging Chuck Austen…) I’ve still got every expectation that this will be a good read, which is more than I can say for the Spider-title that Marvel is hyping in these solicitations.

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Dark Horse Previews Picks:  September 2019

Dark Horse Previews Picks: September 2019

June 28, 2019

Above-the-Board Recommendation:

Blade of the Immortal Omnibus vol. 10

 

Am I playing it safe with this pick?  Absolutely. Longtime readers/listeners will know that not only do I love this series, but that I thought it stuck the landing with its final volume.  Given that this is the last omnibus edition of the series, this might be the last time you see me write about this series.

 

OR IS IT?  Over a month ago it was announced that not only would “Blade of the Immortal” be getting a new anime adaptation, but a sequel series as well.  While this would normally be news to get excited about, some of you might be asking yourself, “Wait, but if Hiroaki Samura is working on ‘Die Wergelder’ and ‘Wave:  Listen to Me!’ already, how is he going to find the time to do this new series?” The catch here is that this “Blade of the Immortal” sequel won’t be done by its creator.

 

This new series comes from writer Kenji Takigawa and artist Ryu Suenobu, names which mean nothing to me and which Anime News Network have no credits for.  The preview art I’ve seen from Suenobu at least indicates that he has the facility to capture a good likeness of Samura’s character designs if not his skill at action.  Another reason for optimism is that this series carries the subtitle “Bakumatsu Arc” which indicates that it’ll be picking up where the original series’ final chapter left off.  Putting Manji into the conflict between Japan’s samurai class and its modernizers definitely sounds promising. I just find it hard to get really excited about a “Blade of the Immortal” sequel that isn’t being done by Samura himself.  I’ll be sure to read it when an English version presents itself. I’m just not in any rush for that to happen.

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Comic Picks #292:  Mage by Matt Wagner

Comic Picks #292: Mage by Matt Wagner

June 26, 2019

Wagner's epic fantasy trilogy is finally complete after three decades.  Was it worth the wait?

Revenge of the Manga Roundup!

Revenge of the Manga Roundup!

June 24, 2019

This is me clearing off a significant portion of the manga on my “to review” list before the next batch arrives later this week.  Most, but not all, of the titles here were also read by me during my time at this year’s Fanime *sigh*. After the break, prepare yourself for my thoughts on the latest volumes of Golden Kamuy, Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction, The Girl From the Other Side, Kaguya-sama, and The Heroic Legend of Arslan.

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Venom vol. 2:  The Abyss

Venom vol. 2: The Abyss

June 23, 2019

The first volume of this series made a good case for following the ongoing adventures of Eddie Brock and his symbiote even though I’ve never really bothered with that before.  This second volume furthers that case in a way that pushes the series into some dark and disturbing territory. It starts off with Eddie in the custody of The Maker (a.k.a. Ultimate Reed Richards) all because his symbiote’s mind has disappeared following its battle with Knull.  Before he escapes The Maker’s custody, Eddie finds out that his symbiote was on the run for three weeks and was finally caught when he showed up at his dad’s house in San Francisco. So it’s time for Brock the younger to visit Brock the elder to get some answers and open up old wounds in the process.  Maybe even get some new wounds as well as Eddie has to deal with his new younger brother Dylan who wants his help to kill their dad.

 

At Donny Cates’ spotlight panel at WonderCon earlier this year, he mentioned that he wrote the issues in this collection while he was going through a divorce.  It really shows as much of this volume has to deal with the uncomfortable relationship that Eddie and his symbiote have found themselves in. It’s to the writer’s credit that he finds interesting ways of addressing this via interactions with The Maker, Dylan, and Eddie’s Dad.  While the story is mainly about how much it sucks to be Eddie Brock at the moment it does so in a way that engages your sympathy for the character rather than simply club you over the head with that idea.

 

That’s thanks to the art as well which is really strong after the opening two issues from Iban Coello.  No offence intended to the artist, as the first two issues are solid superhero fare. The work from Ryan Stegman and Joshua Cassara in the four issues which follow really do an impressive job of pushing the book into horror territory.  From the scenes where Eddie loses control of his symbiote when he meets his dad, to the later conversations he has with it in his mind, there are scenes here which will likely make it difficult for you to sleep if you decide to read this before going to bed.  This may be some real dark stuff here, but it still makes for a gripping read.

 

comicpicksbytheglick@gmail.com

X-Men:  Black

X-Men: Black

June 22, 2019

Despite what the title to this collection may imply, it wasn’t part of the Great Color Cull of “X-Men” titles from last year.  “X-Men: Black” was the branding for a series of five one-shots which spotlighted various X-Men antagonists.  Or villains, depending on your perspective. Whichever way you think of these individuals and their motivations, these one-shots were clearly intended to either refocus the direction of the character they were spotlighting or give them a new direction.  Whether or not any of what this volume does with these characters will remain relevant as we head into the Jonathan Hickman era is a good question. Fortunately it’s easy enough to enjoy the majority of the issues collected here on their own terms.

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Jessica Jones:  Purple Daughter

Jessica Jones: Purple Daughter

June 21, 2019

Here’s another title that you can add to the ranks of volumes where I started reading them before I went to bed and wasn’t able to stop until I had reached the end.  I had my doubts about the setup for this volume, coming so close on the heels of “Return of the Purple Man.”  The thing is that writer Kelly Thompson and artist Mattia De Iulis, with help from Filipe Andrade, craft a different kind of story about Jessica’s archnemesis that focuses on the psychological implications of his powers.  They serve up some gripping drama as the title character worries about how much of this stuff is just going on in her head and how these worries spill over to her friends and family in the real world. If only the story didn’t serve to undercut itself by going back to a familiar well one more time.

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The Kamandi Challenge

The Kamandi Challenge

June 19, 2019

A writer and artist will team up for each issue to take Jack Kirby’s “Last Boy on Earth” on an adventure that will end in a cliffhanger for the next creative team to solve.  That’s “The Kamandi Challenge.” If that doesn’t sound like a recipe for a good story, then you’d be correct. Most of the writers seem content to throw up some of the craziness of Kirby’s world for the artists to draw, have the title character jump off a cliff, and call it a day.  It’s a great showcase for the many talented artists that were recruited for this -- Amanda Conner, Carlos D’Anda, Ryan Sook, and Walt Simonson among them -- but for me there were only two issues that really stood out for me out of the twelve collected here:

 

Issue #6 “Sub-Tropical Thunder” by Bill Willingham and Ivan Reis:  After escaping from a group of armed kangaroos and floating on the raft that was his plant-girlfriend Villa, Kamandi is rescued and meets up with Raja “Mack” Maccao.  He’s a tiger who started off as a pro wrestler before becoming the world’s greatest consulting detective! It’s the kind of combination that would’ve seen the character fit right in with Willingham’s “Fables” and he writes the character with such affection and gusto that I’m now disappointed we likely won’t see any more of him outside of this issue.  Throw in some fantastically detailed art from Reis, who delivers on the tone of high adventure the writer is calling for, and arguably the best cliffhanger of the series and you’ve got an issue that clicks in ways that the majority do not.

 

Issue #9 “Ain’t it a Drag” by Tom King and Kevin Eastman & Freddie E. Williams II:  If you’ve read King’s work in “Batman,” “The Omega Men,” or “Mister Miracle” then you know that he’s big on repetition.  Either thematically or stylistically. The focus is on the former here as Kamandi finds himself trapped with several anthropomorphic characters in a cave where, once every month, a robot comes to take them out.  The stark monochromatic art from Eastman and Williams is very distinctive and they do great work in bringing the characters to life along with dramatizing Kamandi’s impossible struggle. King himself makes every character’s situation different in interesting ways, and if you look close enough you might even spot some commentary on the nature of the comics industry itself here.  It’s an ambitious, mostly self-contained, story and all the better for it.

 

comicpicksbytheglick@gmail.com

Emanon vol. 1:  Memories of Emanon

Emanon vol. 1: Memories of Emanon

June 17, 2019

It’s not usually an issue to determine what the flaws are in the comics that I read.  Some suffer from characters who lack depth or act in dumb, logic-defying ways to serve the story.  Others have stories whose twists weren’t clearly thought out beyond the idea of trying to surprise the reader.  There are also those that have just plain terrible art. It’s even more rare that I get to the end of any comic and go, “What was the point of what I just read?”  As you can guess, this first volume of “Emanon” is just such a comic.

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