comic books

Top 10 Comic Book Covers – Week 1/21/2015

Top 10 Comic Book Covers – Week 1/21/2015

Here are my choices for top comic book covers.  As always there are way to many to pick from but these definitely got my attention!

Another week has gone by and with the NFL Pro Bowl today and the my Seattle Seahawks heading to the Super Bowl it’s looking to be an exciting couple of weekends.  Any ways, I found Olivier Coipel’s ASM regular cover simply dazzling to the eyes.  The sheer detail of the spider group was done well!  Finally we get another Skottie Young cover not involved with the Marvel Baby movement making it practically an automatic for the list.  Deadpools last issue of 4 for the Art of War miniseries has been published and like the previous covers I’ve enjoyed this one was nicely done.  It has that zen garden affect on you when viewing it.  Not sure who did the God is Dead wraparound cover but the detail was pretty nifty.

Intersect is an odd comic and definitely outside the norm of most comic books with the abstract looking page turner that I have yet to read.  I did buy issue 1 but haven’t had a chance yet to read it.  Jorge Molina’s variant of Time Walker caught my eye, having that 3Dish looking affect on your eyes.  Now Transformers Punishment one-shot is out now and the Livio Ramondelli cover of Optimus and the Dinobots gritty capturing my eyes.  All of his covers are dark in nature but this one speaks wonders to awesomeness that is Dinobots, unfortunately still no Grimlock.  Kotteri’s variant cover of the newly renamed Transformers Robots in Disguise with Prowl and Arcee was one well.  Nice detail on Arcee body parts and wouldn’t mind seeing more covers in the future.

Every David Finch cover seems to either hit or miss on Wonder Woman’s figure and I’m not sure why he hasn’t been more consistent.  Either adding to much thigh, butt, or chest busting out to the point of lop-siding the woman.  However this week he nailed it with this regular cover of Wonder Woman.  Her chest is more in line with a real woman when her arms have been brought in closed to her side, as she is in this portrayal of the new God of War.  Zombies and Robots is back again, now as an ongoing series.  I hate zombies but Gabriel Rodriguez’s variant cover had stunning detailed.

Top 10 List (Alphabetical Order…)

  • Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 #13 Cover A Regular Olivier Coipel
  • Autumnlands Tooth & Claw #3 Cover B Skottie Young
  • Deadpools Art Of War #4 Scott Koblish
  • God Is Dead #27 Cover C Carnage Wraparound
  • Intersect #3 Cover B Tula Lotay
  • Ivar Timewalker #1 Cover B Variant Jorge Molina
  • Transformers Punishment One Shot Livio Ramondelli
  • Transformers Vol 3 #37 Cover C Incentive Kotteri
  • Wonder Woman Vol 4 #38 Cover A Regular David Finch
  • Zombies vs Robots Vol 2 #1 Cover C Incentive Gabriel Rodriguez

Image Source: Midtown Comics

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Top 10 Comic Book Covers – Week 1/14/2015

Top 10 Comic Book Covers – Week 1/14/2015

Here are my choices for top comic book covers.  As always there are way to many to pick from but these definitely got my attention!

The NFC Championships are today, Seattle Seahawks vs. the Green Bay Packers!  Being from Seattle I so desperately want a repeat visit to the Superbowl so GO HAWKS!  Now with that out of the way we can get to the top 10 for the week.  Abe Sapien usually isn’t a cover I prefer only because most of them have very little artistic detail.  Like East of West, Manhattan Projects, and some other popular series there usually isn’t much art to go by but this weeks was a little different and I enjoyed the blue eyes penetrating the layers that the series has enveloped Abe.  Death Lok was cool in the sense that it felt like some of my high school buddy doodles; in a good way.  I didn’t realize this until I was done selecting but I ended up picking 2 Alex Ross covers.  Both look fantastic in typical Ross fashion.

Gabriel Hardman did an amazing job on the new Magnus Robot Fighter virgin cover.  Great facial detail and background depth.  Mack’s new variant for Rai #6 was a pleasant surprise.  He always has a graceful way with his art and this one was no disappointment.  Shutter had a great use of shadowing with that charcoal feel.  Yes another Skottie Young cover but honestly how could I not reward a cover win to the new Star Wars issue #1?  This week seems like half the covers are just of Star Wars.  Damn Marvel and their gazillion variant cover release.  Another awesome cover was Superman Wonder Woman #15.  Damn that thigh just makes me tremble.  Superman getting blasted was needed but Wonder Woman just stands her ground protecting her boyfriend.  They are still going out right?

Top 10 List (Alphabetical Order…)

  • Abe Sapien #19 Sebastian Fiumara
  • Deathlok Vol 5 #4 Cover B Incentive Rich Buckler Variant
  • Guardians 3000 #4 Cover A Regular Alex Ross
  • Magnus Robot Fighter Vol 4 #3 Cover H High-End Gabriel Hardman Virgin Art Ultra-Limited Variant Cover (ONLY 25 COPIES IN EXISTENCE!)
  • Rai Vol 2 #6 Cover D Incentive David Mack Variant
  • Shutter #8 Cover B Ross Campbell
  • Star Wars Vol 4 #1 Cover H Variant Connecting Skottie Young Baby
  • Star Wars Vol 4 #1 Cover R Incentive Alex Ross Color Variant
  • Superman Wonder Woman #15 Cover A Regular Ken Lashley
  • Ten Grand #12 Ben Templesmith

Image Source: Midtown Comics

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Top 10 Comic Book Covers – Week 1/7/2015

Top 10 Comic Book Covers – Week 1/7/2015

Here are my choices for top comic book covers.  As always there are way to many to pick from but these definitely got my attention!

Jae Lee’s got a new bad ass cover out in retailer incentive for for Action Comics.  He has a way with depicting dismal scenes so well.  Lines are abundant but not overbearing in combination with very thoughtful shadowing allows the emotional attachment of the reading to really appreciate when is happening.  I honestly don’t read half the stuff he draws for because I’m not a fan of most series but I still find myself stuck staring intently at his imagery whenever it’s released.  With Deadly Class I enjoyed the humorous depiction of Marcus torn to shreds, RIP for Marcus I’m not sure but it’s a hella good series that I read and so should you!  I haven’t been following Wolverine’s Death simply because there’s to many books out on the subject and I can’t keep up.  I did enjoy the glimmering swords reflecting another character and his bloodied sword.  Now another comic new this week is another Boom series called Feathers.  I haven’t a clue what it’s about but the virgin retailer incentive variant was nicely done; good use of colors!

Nick Pitarra is another favorite artist of mine as I follow the Manhattan Projects religiously.  Unfortunately even though I enjoy those covers they usually don’t showcase his actual character artwork.  Here I finally get a chance to show his unique style drawn for the God Hates Astronauts cover.  I realize he has done others that maybe I’ve missed but his quirkiness caught my eye this week.  As for stuff I read religiously, anything to do with Hellboy is damn near the top of my list.  I’ve always enjoyed the stories and artwork that have come from the mind of Mignola and others involved in the Hellboy universe.  If you get a chance don’t miss the new mini-series Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1952.  Jolle Jones’s Lady Killer caught my eye this week.  Defintely a good use of black against its simple color palette, not to mention her clean lines!  As for Red Sonya, not a fan, but wow the cover almost seems picturesque.  Talk about being wowed by the sheer detail of Sonya’s face, well done Lucio Parrillo!

Finally the last 2 cutesie covers made the list for different reasons.  Nostalgia played a part with Scooby-Doo reminiscing the days I watch Sunday morning cartoons.  Oh and that was brought forth thanks in part to the spot on artwork by Scott Jeralds.  Speaking childhood memories, days were a bit simpler back then.  All I needed to worry about was who had the biggest Transformer figure on the block!  The other was Skottie Young’s cover of the new series from marvel called the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.  Hey, she found her nuts!  Anyways, there you have it, read ’em and weep, agree or disagree just as long as you comment.

Top 10 List (Alphabetical Order…)

  • Action Comics Vol 2 #38 Cover C Incentive Jae Lee Variant
  • Deadly Class #10 Wes Craig & Lee Loughridge
  • Death Of Wolverine Weapon X Program #5 Salvador Larroca
  • Feathers #1 Cover C Incentive Ken Niimura Virgin Variant
  • God Hates Astronauts #5 Cover B Nick Pitarra
  • Hellboy And The BPRD 1952 #2 Alex Maleev
  • Lady Killer #1 Jolle Jones
  • Red Sonja Vultures Circle #1 Cover C Variant Lucio Parrillo Subscription
  • Scooby-Doo Team-Up #8 Scott Jeralds
  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 Cover B Variant Skottie Young Baby

Image Source: Midtown Comics

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Top 10 Comic Book Covers – Week 12/17/2014

Top 10 Comic Book Covers – Week 12/17/2014

Here are my choices for top comic book covers.  As always there are way to many to pick from but these definitely got my attention!

It’s been a busy week for me with Christmas right around the corner as I imagine it’s been busy for the rest of you.  On top of that I’m a day late with this post.  Then again I’m not too bothered by that fact since I’m not even sure anybody is reading this blog.  The comments and interaction with the audience is literally next to nil.  But hey, I’m doing this for me and to be quite honest I love seeing what the collective imaginations can bring forth each week, taking in both the good and bad.  If you think I’m off my rocker on some of these covers then let me know!  Then again, if you want to agree with me in the public realm don’t hesitate cause you’re probably the only one reading this anyways! Let me see here…smiley face…smiley face…hehe.

This weeks releases saw a bunch of crazy looking indie covers with eye catching artwork aimed to please any comic reader.  First I want to start off with something eye catching and completely ridiculous, with Captain Stone #1.  The arms of a roided out dude dressed in purple, need I say more?  On the flip-side Darwyn Cooke has quickly become another favorite artist of mine in that his covers bring that colorful classy feeling to the characters involved.  I love his happy-go-lucky cartoony feeling artwork that does bring a smile to my face.  When reviewing the covers up close you can see that each line is clean making the overall cover look and feel like a refined piece of art.  Check out his wiki site and yes he does have a blog of sorts.  I thought David Lopez did a fantastic job with his classic cover feeling for Captain Marvel.

Annihilator was one of my favorite covers of the week.  Just an incredible use of lines and fading, just found it a bit different from the rest of the pile.  Roberto de la Torre’s Doctor Mirage #4 did a beautiful blue period piece of reflective imagery.  Has that watercolor effect going for it in what appears to be a reflection pool of sorts.  By the way anyone reading Doctor Mirage from Valiant?  I feel like the net is dead on chat concerning this ongoing series.  Seems like with the ending of my favorite Archer & Armstrong series all they have going for them now is X-O Manowar, Unity, and that Armor something.  Speaking of Valiant and new releases, Harbinger Faith #0, although only a one-shot, looks to be something I might want to pick up.  I really enjoyed Lucy Knisley’s interpretation of Faith.  Portraying her at peace and if you know Faith at all she simply just wants to help others; be that superhero character everyone yearns to be.  With her comic books as her guide she was quite an uplifting, sometimes naive but affective member of the renegade squad standing up to Toyo Harada in the recently finished Harbinger series.

Now to Manifest Destiny, what a freaking crazy ass ride of a story.  If you haven’t picked it up, pick it up, what are you waiting for.  Definitely different style of comic and if you are a history buff you might enjoy this wacky alternate universe with familiar historical figures injected throughout.  Any ways, great cover with great detail hinting to what lies ahead for our adventurers.  The Oddly Normal variant cover by Robb Mommaerts was picked because of its display of layering.  If you first focus on what seems to be the main character and then slowly move  your eyes up the cover you gradually discover more and more layering of characters; nicely done.

The teeth had me at first view and yes I’m talking about an unknown series A Town Called Dragon.  I thought the teeth were done very well and integrating the reflections of the peeps facing those vicious teeth, what can I say, kudos to Geoff Shaw.  Finally we come to another awesome Transformers comic, this one relating to the new Drift: Empire of Stone miniseries.  Alex Milne always kills it when drawing his robots in disguise, slim n’ sleek, they just jump off the page.  By the way, I’m totally biased when it comes to Transformers, big fan…just admitting.  That being said it is a kick-ass cover don’t you agree?

Top 10 List (Alphabetical Order…)

  • Annihilator #4 Frazer Irving
  • Batman Vol 2 #37 Cover B Variant Darwyn Cooke
  • Captain Marvel Vol 7 #10 David Lopez
  • Captain Stone #1 Liam Sharp
  • Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #4 Roberto de la Torre
  • Harbinger Vol 2 Faith #0 Cover B Variant Lucy Knisley
  • Manifest Destiny #12 Matthew Roberts
  • Oddly Normal Vol 2 #4 Cover B Robb Mommaerts
  • Town Called Dragon #4 Geoff Shaw
  • Transformers Drift Empire Of Stone #2 Cover B Variant Alex Milne Subscription

Image Source: Midtown Comics

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Comic Review: Colder The Bad Seed #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Published by Dark Horse Comics, October 2014
Story: Paul Tobin
Art: Juan Ferreyra
Colors: Eduardo Ferreyra
Letterer: Nate Piekos
Covers By: Juan Ferreyra

Colder-TheBadSeed-DHC-1

Synopsis:  As a recap, the first series was built upon the intriguing idea that another world existing within our own plane of existence.  You could only enter this world if you new how to pass through the door.  Nimble Jack was a strange character that fed off the souls of the crazy people, which in turn devoured their minds completely.  He was attracted to crazy people because they were the most colorful and the tastiest.  He was the one that created Declan by allowing him to escape the fire that burned down the Sansid Asylym for the Criminally Insane located in Barnstable, Massachusetts around the year 1941.  Many years later Declan wakes up from a comatose state meeting his caretaker Reece.  Crazy stuff happens, Reece falls victim to a level of insanity that prompts Nimble Jack to take notice.  From there a battle ensues between Declan and Nimble Jack with Reece caught up in the middle. Declan introduces Reece and us to the The Hunger World where Nimble Jack pursues.  Any ways, even though the existence of Nimble Jack was cloudy at best Declan is a real person and as he uses his powers his body temp decreases, unlike Jack’s.  That’s an important piece of knowledge but I’m not going go into that any further.  

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Top 10 Comic Book Covers – Week 12/10/2014

Top 10 Comic Book Covers – Week 12/10/2014

Here are my choices for top comic book covers.  As always there are way to many to pick from but these definitely got my attention!

As the Christmas season heads into the final 2 weeks I find myself struggling to find the time in between family, work, and blogging.  I’ve been really enjoying the Deadpool’s Art of War covers and this one is no exception.  Just something different to enjoy from the rest of the lot.  I found the Harley Quinn cover to be very clean and colorful, hence easy on the eyes.  Alice X Zhang’s Hexed cover was simply beautiful, both in color and facial detail.

Little Nemo caught my eye because as a child I was intrigued at how the endless maze design was created.  Fascination peculated in my little boy mind at how such a thing could be created on a 2-D piece of paper.  Here is the Wiki site if you are interested in M. C. Escher Relativity.  Tyler Jenkins Peter Panzerfaust cover was nicely done; most are and Spider-Man and the X-Men cover by Skottie Young was cute in every way.

Squarriors is a new series by Devil’s Due, a company I thought went bankrupt.  After investigating a bit more into where this story came from I found that it actually funded through a KickStarter initiative.  I’m not sure of the content but judging from the cover which was campaign so be sure to check out the site. gruesome it must be a very violent in nature.  It definitely caught my eye though, you know because rabies by itself is scary.  Tack on squirrels acting like war mongrels you get something that’ll make any stomach churn.  Valiant Entertainment is releasing a new 4-part miniseries called The Valiant and several variant covers were released for the first issue.  Paolo Rivera’s regular cover provided a clean visual description of the characters that’ll be involved in the book.  It will be interesting to see how the Eternal Warrior interacts with Bloodshot as I’ve heard from a few reviews that Bloodshot felt out of place, so we’ll see.  Finally a Dark Horse cover made the list with X in that I felt the use of the flames really grabbed your attention.

George Perezs Sirens #2 Cover C & D Incentive George Perez Connecting Right Sketch Virgin Variant

To describe the reason why I picked the rather odd Sirens cover I grabbed the two sketch virgin variant covers.  No words can describe the intricate detail that went into creating that cover except for the sketch variants.  Take a look at the left variant and really exam what went into creating it and I think you’ll agree why I chose this as one of the top covers this week.

  • George Perezs Sirens #2 Cover C Incentive George Perez Connecting Right Sketch Virgin Variant
  • George Perezs Sirens #2 Cover D Incentive George Perez Connecting Left Sketch Virgin Variant

Top 10 List (Alphabetical Order…)

  • Deadpools Art Of War #3 Scott Koblish
  • George Perezs Sirens #2 Cover A Regular George Perez Wraparound
  • Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1 Cover B Variant Amanda Conner New Years Eve
  • Hexed Vol 2 #5 Cover B Variant Alice X Zhang
  • Little Nemo Return To Slumberland #3 Cover A Regular Gabriel Rodriguez
  • Peter Panzerfaust #22 Tyler Jenkins
  • Spider-Man And The X-Men #1 Cover B Variant Skottie Young Baby
  • Squarriors #1 Cover A Regular Ashley Witter
  • The Valiant #1 Cover A Regular Paolo Rivera
  • X Vol 2 #20 Eric Nguyen

Image Source: Midtown Comics

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Comic Review: Transformers Robots in Disguise #34 (IDW Publishing) – EARTH SHATTERING ISSUE!

Published by IDW Publishing, October 2014
Story: John Barber
Art: Livid Ramondelli
Colors: Livid Ramondelli
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Covers By: Andrew Griffith, Casey W. Coller, and Ken Christiansen

TransformersRID-34-v2

Synopsis: I have been a long time fan of the Transformers series since Dreamwave had the license.  Now that IDW Publishing has the license they have been pumping out pure reading pleasure for quite some time now.  Some of the content has been great while some could be forgotten and forever pulled from the transformers timeline.  When John Barber and James Robert took over the writing for the two series spawned from the rebirth of Cybertron I honestly couldn’t wait to get started.  I’ve enjoyed both series and find myself liking More Than Meets The Eye more than Robots in Disguise, now just Transformers Volume 2 starting with issue #35.

This issue #34 changed my outlook on how the series would progress after the Dark Cybertron crossover event and the Dawn of the Autobots.  This one issue, this earth shattering, eye popping, holy *beep* I’m literally freaking out issue written by John Barber provided a black hole of sorts in the storyline of the Transformers universe.  It opened the door to what has always plagued the Transformers series and that is new content.  Both John and James have created an immense amount of new material and I thank both of them for that.  However John created new content in the form of history and that is why I’m freaking out!

Alpha Trion has been rescued by the Autobot/Decepticon group led by the now renamed again Optimus Prime but secretly Prowl seems to be pulling most of the strings.  Yes as crazy as he has been acting around the group and with his new Constructicon buddies, Prowl still has some core issues resonating from within him that’ll surface soon; surface in a negative way.  That being said, can I just say Arcee is badass now that she has a conscience!?!?  I’m hoping her curiosity around newly found female Autobots such as Windblade and Chomia will compel her to inquire about her uncanny resemblance to Alpha Trion.  Any ways, with all the craziness that is happening and the sad but only downside that this taking place near Earth has kept me glued to what happens next.  Boy did I not expect that Alpha Trion and Optimus Prime would sneak away for a quick mind blowing story around Galvatron and Nova near the of age where the last Prime was none other than…yeah, spoiler, Alpha Trion.

TransformersRID-34-AlphaTrionLastPrime

John Barber writes in great detail the fabled meeting between Nova Major (later known as Nova Prime) and Galvatron of the Darklands.  Prior to this important meeting was another even less known yet possibly of greater significance was the meeting between Alpha Trion and Galvatron of the Darklands back in issue #30.  Galvatron had just finished wiping out the Headmaster and his army, followers of Nexus Prime 10 million years ago during the first Cybertronian civil war.  You should give that issue a read for more info on that meeting.

We learn a little history about the 13 Tribes of Cybertron united under one ruler, one Prime.  Yes, there were in fact 13 Primes residing on Cybertron. In that fateful meeting between Galvatron and Nova Major we learn that there is an object referred only as the Enigma.  This object holds the power of combination.  That power, controlled only by Nexus Prime who lost to history as Nova Prime fled taking those secrets with him. In this issue John drops bomb after bomb literally seeding the groups journey with tidbits of potential subplots and informational off shoots that could very well lead down future comic book stories of historical importance.  However each of those tiny literary bombs are apparently, and I quote, “…a tale for another time” and I can only hope that time is sooner rather than later.  The group search for Onyx, an unknown but significant Cybertronian who has gone off the grid so to speak.  Nova Major states very clearly that the 13 Tribes shall be consolidated down under one Prime.  Nova Major shall now be known as Nova Prime and a new golden age for Cybertron shall arise.  “There shall be a place for everyone in our new world and everyone shall be in there place.”  This stark view only solidifies Nova’s true ruthless intentions.  Optimus Prime was pretty upset at this news that Alpha Trion allowed Nova to become the first of the corrupt lineage of Primes.  In hindsight, Alpha Trion understands that it was wrong but at the time a necessary means to unite the tribes.

TransformersRID-34-OptimusUpset

We later see Nova Prime with that all too familiar scientist Jhiaxus working away on the idea of combination.  It seems like the power of combination has been lost with Nexus Prime and Alpha soon learns that Galvatron has been hiding a very tantalizing piece of information concerning the Enigma.  This realization provides the backdrop to what really took place between the final encounter between Galvatron and Nexus, prior to meeting Alpha and Nova.  We see that Galvatron is deeply disturbed by the Enigma of combination and how it has diluted the purity of the Cybertronian race.  However for me what happens next is why I titled this review “Earth Shattering” and that reason is at the end of our story.  Galvatron defeats Nexus Prime and picks up the Enigma, an object of uncanny resemblance to the Matrix.

TransformersRID-34-Enigma

STOP…think…the Matrix, the thing that stopped The Void at the end of the Chaos Theory storyline, Optimus Prime and Rodimus Prime carried it, ignited the rebirth of Cybertron?  Yeah, a Matrix from a now dead Nexus Prime, one of the 13 Tribes.  That means including the Enigma, there are 12 Matrix objects out there holding potentially unbelievable power but more importantly we now have the potential for endless new content concerning the Transformers Universe.  John Barber, my hat is off for you and your crew.  Lets ditch this Planet once we find the Enigma and get on with the quest for Knights of Cybertron or better yet if we want to call them the original Primes of Cybertron’s 13 Tribes.

Layout & Flow: Ken Christiansen did an amazing job on the retailer incentive cover commemorating 30 years of Transformers.  Both Andrew and Casey also did fantastic jobs on their covers, like they usually do causing me much grief when trying to decide which one to order.  In a world where money and space do not matter then yes, I would buy all 3 but unfortunately that just isn’t the case for me. 

As for the layout and flow, like both current series of More Than Meets The Eye and this one Robots in Disguise, dialog can be lengthy creating the need for smaller and more numerous boxes in each panel for storytelling needs.  I’m never disappointed with the art from either of these series.  However keep in mind it can put strain on the eyes as it muddles down the detail on some of the panels in order to get an action sequence with dialog placed correctly on the page.  With Digital comics you can zoom in and see more while the old fashioned, highly prized by me paper comic is well, you get what you get.

One thing you can always count on from IDW and the Transformer family is consistency, in some form or another.  The characters are usually drawn very consistently and I applaud Livid Ramondelli for striving to do just that.

Verdict: I have been a Transformers fan since forever and when both series were announced I was thrilled.  The miniseries like Windblade, Monstrosity, and Primacy have all been more candy to consume in the IDW Publishing candy store.  What I truly enjoyed about the current Transformer universe was that single fact that humans were excluded.  I so enjoy each series knowing that I don’t have to deal with the human element.  Although we have found ourselves again back on lame ass Earth in Transformers Robots in Disguise, name now converting to just Transformers Vol 2 after this issue #34, I hope to god that it won’t span too long.  Since what was discovered in this very issue, earth shattering as it was for me (…pun intended…), the series literally has an immense amount of potential to exploit, new characters to read about, titans to find, primes to discover, that Earth is no longer a desired storyline that I would like to read about.  It has been overused and abused and I’m so done.  John Barber, for the love of god, please make this storyline involving Earth end quickly.

Rating: 5/5

Official Site: Transformers Robots in Disguise #34
Wiki Site: Transformers Robots in Disguise

Comic Review: Roche Limit #1 (Image Comics)

Published by Image Comics, September 2014
Story: Michael Moreci, Vic Malhotra, and Steeve Seeley
Art: Vic Malhotra
Colors: Jordan Boyd
Letterer: Ryan Ferrier
Covers By: Vic Malhotra

RocheLimitIssue1-ImageComics

Synopsis: The title and cover imagery caught my eye, so I picked it upThe Roche limit is the distance within which a celestial body, held together only by it’s own gravity, will disintegrate due to a second celestial body’s tidal forces exceeding the first body’s gravitational self-attraction.  Inside the Roche limit, orbiting material disperses and forms rings whereas outside the limit material test to coalesce.  So as you can see, this story could imply anything from a physical object to even an idea, depending upon the authors intended approach to the story.  With space being the theme and the underlying despair of the working class vs the narcissistic wealthy illuminate a potential catalyst for impending destruction.  Destruction of what?  An idea?  Science? The colony perhaps?  Well, to be honest it could be all of that rolled up in one making this story reflect upon what drives us to explore, to live, or simply survive.

We open up to an idea, the fruit of those ideas, and the eventual hell that has sprouted from those so-called advances.  The Roche Limit Colony apparently had good intentions but now has become somewhat of a wasteland.  Enter in Recall, a drug only produced on the Roche Limit Colony home world of Dispater.  Doesn’t sound like a great drug but as with any space adventure, one needs to escape the adventure so this seems to be a perfect candidate to help lost souls do just that.

Sonya Torin (searching for her sister Bekkah Torin) and Alex (enterprising Recall drug producer) go on the hunt to find Sonya’s sister.  Not to keen on why Alex is helping Sonya out only that choices have reluctantly led him to this point in the story.  He does however setup a cool visual on how Recall mixed with hallucinogens can affect your mind (poor Warren).  Other character that we hear about in issue #1 is Mr. Moscow whom is somewhat of a big shot or mob boss like. Another major player goes by the name of Gracie and runs a club that looks more like a stripper club than a night club.  She’s also missing a girl, Jane, employing any means necessary to find her.  Before the book ends we see where Jane is being held against her will and another girl that I can only assume is Sonya’s sister Bekkah but I’ve been wrong before.

So with two missing girls and 2 factions searching for those girls I can see we have the beginning of an intriguing mystery on our hands.  No you say, well turn to the last page and have that slap you across your face.  What can that glowing thingy be that those kids found in a rather large flower looking object.  And lastly, what the hell, I thought Dispater was inhabitable because of the thick layer of carbon dioxide?  I see stars, night sky, am I miss something?

Layout & Flow: The layout is very basic for a comic published by Image but to be honest that’s fine.  Doesn’t need to be flashy to keep me engaged as long as the story keeps me engaged.  Each panel is simple and easy to follow. A few pages in provides a few images and descriptions of where the Roche Limit Colony is located.  It also describes this mysterious energy anomaly so that was a nice addition.

Verdict: To be honest the story opened up nicely, then got a little boring, but left me hanging off the cliff with the rather out-of-place image of those kids.  I hope that this energy anomaly will be described in greater detail as the story progresses because that’s the science that initially got me hooked to read this book in the first place.  Image Comics describes the new series as a blending between 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner.  I’ve seen both movies and they are known to be long, boring, with short action sequences.  I mean I did enjoy Blade Runner but it was plagued with monotonous artsy scenes concerning deep thought and don’t get me on 2001: A Space Odyssey, snoring fest.  Why couldn’t they blend it with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall, hell yeah! “Get your ass to mars!” Any ways, I’m interested but it needs to deliver more next issue.

Rating: 3.5/5

Official Site: Roche Limit
Wiki Site: Scientific Term – Roche Limit

Freeing My PGX Graded Uncanny X-Men #207

Over the years I have read about both positive and negative experiences with grading companies. There is a consensus in the industry that grading companies are necessary and do serve their purpose a certain situations. Mainly I see it as a great way to get an unbiased 3rd eye view of ones’ comic. These services promise for a fee that the comic you submit will be reviewed by grading experts, encapsulated, protected with archival paper, sealed away, and then safely shipped back to you beautifully preserved for your everyday viewing pleasure. These companies also have helped create a standardization in grading levels. So as a consumer I can only imagine that these grading companies would strive to provide the best service and follow best practices when it comes to grading comics as a reputation is placed on the line after each transaction. If a grading company should ever tarnish its grading image by shady grading and business then that company probably would have a hard time dealing and/or surviving the eventual public backlash.

That being said PGX came into the market as a likely strong competitor to the well-known CGC grading company. However with all the controversy during PGX and grading practices during its infancy has left PGX in a position of 2nd best to CGC. I think the PGX holder is better than CGC but PGX is unable to command the same price as a similarly graded CGC comic. Why is that? Well, I’d like to fall back on the reputation suggestion as my answer. PGX has baggage and even through that baggage was created back in 2006, it still haunts the company’s image today. Say what you want but everyone falls back on the TMNT #1 first print YouTube video that is synonymous with PGX grading. Yes, I’ve heard issues with CGC but I honestly can’t refer to any specifics. I can however with PGX and therein lies PGX’s image.

I still consider myself an infant when it comes to comic book collecting. I’ve been collecting just under 6 years now. I’ve even submitted comics to CGC for grading. I also have learned to use CGC and PGX graded comics as a reference when in need of a reliable example when it comes to grading my own comics. I love everything about comics and yes I too love holding that acrylic holder in my hands. There’s something about that holder that makes you feel just a little giddy inside; could just be me though.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 First Printing Controversy

One such negative experience that has somewhat become a YouTube legend was the poor fellow that had submitted his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 First Printing to PGX for grading. Upon receiving the newly graded comic from PGX took it upon himself to video document the process of cracking and verifying that the book he sent in was actually the book he got back. As the audience we got a front row seat as this guy discovers it’s actually not the comic he submitted.

PGX Grading Controversy

I found an old site with pictures concerning the controversy around the restoration of PGX graded comics that had been submitted by Terrance Leder. The site contains a lot of dialog from PGX concerning mistakes that had been made prior to 2007 and was definitely worth a read if you are interested.

Here are some positive and negative stories concerning PGX.

Unwrapping Uncanny X-Men #207

I’ve always been a bit curious on how PGX grades and seals submitted comics and thought that if the opportunity ever presented itself that I would crack one open as a type of discovery mission and document what I find. I wanted to know whether there was archival paper placed in the proper designated areas and also see how well the newsprint held up whilst sealed in its protective case. Well that opportunity recently did present itself and I was able to snag a very cheap Bronze Age PGX graded comic off of eBay; graded 9, 2007.

I had two goals, the first was to find out whether PGX abided to their claims of prepping and preserving the graded comic. Second, I wanted to review the overall health of the comic, including front and back covers and the newsprint to see how it held up over its 7 year period (2007-2014). I’m thinking this could well be a topic that I revisit at some point in the near future concerning comics graded by CGC.

Uncanny X-Men #207 – Graded 1/2007
Here we have the front and back views of the comic already cracked and removed from the plastic acrylic case. As you can see the comic is completely sealed in the plastic insert along with the label and hologram.

PGX Front View (No Acrylic Case)

PGX Back View (No Acrylic Case)

Below I show the process of cutting away the PGX label section and exposing the sealed comic from the 2007 era atmosphere. It could quite possibly be emerging into an even more poluted environment, although I’d like to think that the Seattle area has better air quality than most cities.

PGX Label: In Process of Removal

PGX Label: Removed

I wanted to show how white the pages are still after 7 years of containment within the sealed PGX provided environment. As you can see the color is still vibrant as show in the left picture. There are not signs of degrading, staining, or browning/tanning from various sources like UV light and acidity levels in the newsprint.

Inside Front Cover

Inside Comic

This is a good view of the top and bottom edges of the comic where you can see sharp corners with no issues.

View: Top

View: Bottom

Same goes to the side views where where the corners are sharp. However you can see a couple very minute spine stresses on the binding edge.

View: Right Side

View: Binding/Left Side

Here is a view of the front and back covers and as you can see there are not stains present or issues with the whiteness level of the back cover. There are however a very few and very minor spine stresses seen from on front cover. They were present prior to freeing the comic from its imprisonment.

View: Front Cover

View: Back Cover

At first I noticed that the signiture Archival Paper was missing that should be located on the inside of the front and back covers. I then turned to the next page and found the piece of Archival Paper that PGX inserted prior to sealing. Notice how small the piece is, remember that.

Inside Front Cover

Inside Front Cover +1 Page

I performed the same check on the back cover and produced the same results. The Archival Paper was placed a page back from the back cover just like the front cover.

Inside Back Cover

Inside Back Cover +1 Page

Finally, after disassembling my PGX graded Uncanny X-Men #207 and showing the world an example of how PGX preserves and protects your comic from outside forces I now need to follow the same methodology of preserving this comic as best as I can. Below I place 2 pieces of Archival Paper, one on the inside front cover and one on the inside backcover. Notice how my Archival Paper actually fits the Bronze Age comic, unlike what PGX used.

Inside Front Cover: Archival Paper

Inside Back Cover: Archival Paper

For additional stability I place one BCW Extender inside the comic, usually in them middle where you can see the staples. Then I place in an E-Gerber Mylar-D 2mil bag with an E-Gerber Half-Back, taping the flap to the back thus sealing (as best as I can) the comic from outside forces that would be happy to degrade and destroy it.

Inside Middle: BCW Extender

Storage: E-Gerber Mylar-D & Half-Back

So all-in-all I had a fun time disassembling my incased Uncanny X-Men #207 comic from the PGX sealed holder and learned that grading is definitely in the eye of the beholder. I feel like the archival paper placed inside the front and back covers was somewhat inadequate for the newsprint. I say this because, and yes it’s hard to see, but the paper color near the bottom where the archival paper was not present seems to be a slightly darker color than where the archival paper was placed. It could just be a coincidence but just saying. Below I’ve listed 3 grading companies two of which are well known and a 3rd is a relative new comer CBCS. Started by CGC’s Ex-President promises lower prices, more transparency, and something I’ve wanted to see from CGC for some time now and that is grading notes for free!

Grading Services – as of 8/2014

  1. CBCS ComicsGrading Policy
  2. CGC ComicsGrading Policy
  3. PGX ComicsGrading Policy

Comic Review: Spread #1 (Image Comics)

Published by Image Comics, July 2014
Story: Justin Jordan
Art: Kyle Strahm
Colors: Felipe Sobreiro
Letterer: Crank!
Covers By: Kyle Strahm & Felipe Sobreiro

image

Synopsis: Right off the bat I’m thinking of the John Carpenter movie “The Thing” with Kurt Russel as the main lead.  Holy crap that movie scared the crap out of me and yeah this book, well it drudged up those same emotional pains that I experienced the first time I saw that movie.  Now for a comic book that’s a great thing cause not many comic books can get me to react that way.  The bleak winter snow oozing an immense amount of red at times provides a stark image of things to come.

This is not a book heavy in dialog and mainly we read the narration of the lead simply named “No”.  Yes it’s an odd name and well, we do learn it’s a nickname so maybe eventually we’ll get more info as the story progresses.  Our other main character is the Spread and oh boy it’s a nasty creature seemingly infecting people, hence spreading its reach and thus expanding out past the initial quarantine zone. No provides us some insight on why he’s at a crash site, that he is immune to the Spread.  He also explains that there are bands of men called Raiders and that they pray upon the week

No rescues a baby from the Raiders, the very same Raiders that took the baby from a scientist as she lay dying on the snow. That scientist was apart of the crew from the crash site where we began our story with No.  For some reason this baby is special and after being chased by Runners, another version of the Spread, we find out why this baby is so important.

Variant Covers:image

Panel/Layout: This book uses it’s page space well with paneling broken out with simple boxes laid out defined by the bright vibrant colors.  Yes it’s Felipe Sobreiro’s use of reds that make it pop.  Violent red contrasting against the purest of white creates an amazing blank canvas of snow allowing the use of fine lines for detailing, especially when viewing the Spread or a variation of the spread as it breaks apart forming new and horrifying versions of itself.

Verdict: Justin Jordan’s story is definitely a winner and I’m so intrigued at where he’ll take us.  But I must admit this comic isn’t for everyone, it’s bloody as hell and to be honest I’m not sure most will hop on the band wagon.  Well, zombies are still pretty gruesome and popular so hopefully I’m wrong.  I hate zombies and I hate reading about them, but i like this book even if it’s disturbing at times.  Just gotta think, take a deep breathe, this isn’t real…

Rating: 5/5

Official Site: Spread