Super Sons/DynoMutt and the Blue Falcon Special #1 (DC Comics)
The latest round of DC/Hanna Barbera specials brought several characters to the fore that I was completely unfamiliar with. The one I recognized best was Dynomutt, the Scooby-Doo-esque superhero dog, and pairing Mutt and Blue Falcon with the Super Sons was an unexpected delight. But it was definitely much more than that.
After a recap of the origin of Dynomutt, Jon Kent and Damian Wayne are drawn into a supervillain plot at just the right time, helping Mutt make it hope for repairs. Unfortunately, their rescue is interrupted by Blue Falcon, who’s being mind controlled by Red Vulture, a horrific cybernetic monster.
I’m not going to get into spoilers like I normally do, because this story deserves to be pretty much unspoiled.
Peter Tomasi hits some great themes here, while continuing to write the best superhero pairing in decades. This story hits friendship, platonic love, loss, and loyalty all in equal measure, and its FANTASTIC. He maintains a snappy tone throughout as well, and incorporates DM & BF into the DC universe seamlessly.
Fernando Pasarin, Oclair Albert and Gabe Eltaeb’s work on the art is perfectly in line with the script. Pasarin and Albert’s line art is stellar, giving us an excellent action story, but also conveying the emotion behind it perfectly. Eltaeb’s colors add such much, shifting palates with the story’s changes of moods and themes.
This is a fun Super Sons story, even if you don’t know anything about the issues other’s co-stars, and I can’t recommend this enough.
Rating: 8 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy
Kong of Skull Island 2018 Special (BOOM! Studios)
Come on, with a cover like that how could I NOT review this?
This special tells an unknown story of Skull Island- a group of medieval conquerors come to the island to try to tame it. Their leader befriends one of the giant apes known as Kong, who aids them in their war, until her people mutiny.
Paul Allor doesn’t have time in this story to write a character piece, so he makes this a rip-roaring adventure story. And what a story it is. The action is engaging, the situation is fascinating, and best of all Kong is just awesome throughout. He does give us a few glimpses to keep engaged in the human characters as well. It works a lot better than most stories of this type usually do.
Carlos Magno’s line art is the star here. He makes every page leap out. He designs some great and scary creatures. And every time Kong shows up, his power is clear on the page. Marcelo Costa adds to that with his color art, giving the pages an earthy tone that fits the characters and the setting so well.
This is the first time I’ve check out Boom’s Kong stories, and I think they’ve hooked me to try some more.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy if a monster fan
The Realm #6 (Image Comics)
Post apocalypse stories have needed to offer me something more than just end of the world to hook me. However, The Realm does just that through how the world ended- an invasion of fantasy creatures.
Ben, Ray and Rook are tracking a group of orcs through wild country. They encounter a group of violent rednecks, and a dying Owlbear.
I love stories with simple plots, like the story Seth Peck tells here. It gives room for a lot of nuance. There’s character work, talk of what came before, and some great opportunities for the characters to be awesome. The bridge scene in particular works really well, with the heroes appearing to be outmatched, but things clearly aren’t as they seem. It also works incredibly well as an entry point to the story. Even though I didn’t know character names until most of the way through the issue, I still got their motivation, their drive and enough about them to engage me.
Jeremy Haun’s art is gorgeous. It’s hyper detailed, experiments with perspective and give the reader an immediate glimpse into this world. There’s not a lot to say outside the fact that it WORKS. Nick Filardi’s colors are a great compliment to that, as he fleshes out the world, and the colors also help show the passage of time through the day in a way I’d never seen from a color artist before.
I’m definitely in to try this series out again.
Rating: 7.5 of out 10
The Verdict: Buy for a fantasy fan
Doctor Strange #390 (Marvel Comics)
Normally I’d be really excited to see one of my favorite writers start a run on a title, but in this case, I don’t want a run to end. Clearly I’m talking about Donny Cate’s superb Doctor Strange run, which wraps up with last week’s issue before Mark Waid takes over the Sorcerer Supreme’s title next month.
This is an incredibly quiet issue, where Stephen and Zelma work out some lingering issues, Donny wraps up a few lingering plots, and Stephen helps Spider-Man talk to a spider.
After a run full of big adventure and action, Cates steps back in this issue and makes it all about Stephen. It’s quiet, introspective, and serves as a soft reset not just from his run, but also some threads from Jason Aaron’s run. A major highlight though is his depiction of Spider-Man. Strange and Spidey often click really well, and this is no exception. The interaction is funny and a little sad. Plus, the two pages “Peter talks to a spider” strip is dark and hilarious.
Frazier Irving’s art is stellar. He’s always had a spooky quality, and in this setting it shifts and elevates the human interactions into something ethereal and beautiful. The facial expressions throughout are absolute gold as well.
This is a book you should have read and it’s a perfect time to go back and catch up.
Rating: 9 out of 10
The Verdict: Go back and buy this entire run.
Quantum & Woody! #6 (Valiant Comics)
Sometimes creative team shifts can cause a series to lose steam and putter out. With the new team of Eliot Rahal and Frances Portela on Quantum and Woody, after the great stint by Daniel Kibblesmith and Kano, I definitely wondered that.
Q&W is known for its humor. Rahal subverts expectations though and uses this book to tell a sharp superhero story. Eric and Woody are put into a situation (thanks to Harbinger Wars II) where their powers, and their quantum bands don’t work. Will the duo do the right thing while powerless?
This is a much more serious, much less madcap story than most Q&W stories. Rahal puts the duo’s character to the test here, showing despite the absurdity, despite the bickering Eric and Woody Henderson are good people. They save several families from a burning building. They comfort several who have lost loved ones. And then they’re trapped in the collapsed building. It works so well for these two. It’s an action piece that’s simultaneously a character piece, which you don’t see often.
Frances Portela is a grossly underrated artist. He has a very sharp and crisp line, but is able to sell action, and emotion is equal measure. He shifts from Woody saving a family in a room filling with smoke quickly to Eric trying to save a couple from a collapsing room. The relief on Woody’s face is palpable, as is the grief on Eric’s. Color artist Andrew Dalhouse adds so much too, with his colors shifting the mood and conveying different types of intensity so ably.
His issue made me sit up and take notice of a different kind of Quantum and Woody story. You should check it out.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy