Jeez Louise we have some big ones this week. Let’s dive in.
Wet Moon Volume 6
Writer: Sophie Campbell
Artist: Sophie Campbell
Cover: Sophie Campbell
Publisher: Oni Press
I need to start this off with a disclaimer, I have never read any of the previous 5 volumes of Wet Moon. I jumped at the opportunity to read this though because I’m a huge fan of Sophie Campbell and works she’s done like Shadoweyes, Glory form Image Comics, and TMNT from IDW. Okay with that out of the way let’s talk about Wet Moon.
Firstly there are a lot of characters, 20 in all ( and a cat), most of whom are in their late teens and early 20’s. And these kids are not alright as they are working around birth defects, traumatic abuse, and illness. But the greatest hit they take is that one of their own is badly, badly beaten and left for dead.
The art is incredible as always. Campbell does a terrific job blending soft and cute with the intense and macabre. She also filled the pages with deep emotional resonance. Despite not knowing these character I really felt for them. I’m giving it an 8/10, but I suspect if you read the previous volumes it might be perfect.
Wonder Woman Annual #2
Writer: James Robinson
Pencils: Frazer Irving, Marc Laming, J.Calafiore
Inks: Frazer Irving, Marc Laming
Colorist: David Baron, Frazer Irving, Allen Passalaqua
Lettering: Saida Temofonte
Cover: Yasmine Putri
Publisher: DC Comics
Wonder Woman becomes a Star Sapphire! That’s not a spoiler as it’s right on the cover.
Now the real question is why. Not to get too spoileriffic Wonder Woman is summoned to Zamazon due to a terrible threat that Diana is responsible for.
The story for this annual is solid, but it’s the art that really steals the show. Firstly her new Star Sapphire uniform is a marked improvement over the one she had during Darkest Night which was closer to the standard femme fatale look they started with. The new one has more of a warrior look, the only thing I don’t like about it was it has that triangular piece above the knee making it a thigh high boot with the knee exposed. Supergirl’s New 52 costume did the same thing and I just don’t get it. Back to the art, there are a lot of artist in this book and they are used very well. Particularly the flashbacks/dream sequences which I suspect are done by Frazer Irving (it’s not explicitly stated) giving them an eerie dream like quality. I must also say at times the art is a bit stiff. All in all a great intro to a larger story but could have used a bit more energy of its own 9/10.
The Unexpected #1
Writer: Steve Orlando
Pencils: Cary Nord, Ryan Sook
Inks: Mick Gray, Wade von Grawbadger
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Lettering: Carlo M.Mangual
Cover: Ryan Sook
Publisher: DC Comics
Urge to pun rising. It is true though, I really didn’t know what to expect. This book dusts off three C-list characters (maybe D-list) and pumps some fresh blood into them. There is Neon the Unknown, now just known as Neon, who has now got some heavy Doctor Strange vibes about him, the Bad Samaritan who has this corpse like ‘devil went down to Georgia’ look, and I saved the best for last, Janet Fals the new Firebrand. She was a paramedic who died during the Dark Knights Metal storyline, she got experimented on and now has her heart replaced by the Conflict Engine and if she doesn’t fight once a day she’ll die. This book is full of crazy fun and big action and has me hooked 10/10.
Justice League #1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Pencils: Jim Cheung
Inks: Jim Cheung, Mark Morales
Lettering: Tom Napolitano
Cover: Jim Cheung
Publisher: DC Comics
This book started really well I loved how the team interacted, they really felt like friends who work well together, well, except maybe Luthor. J’onn J’onzz the Martian Manhunter takes the lead in this story and is really well written which is nice.
The second half of the book goes into exposition and world building mode as a new threat appears which may CHANGE THE UNIVERSE FOREVER! Which I must say they were surprisingly blasé about. It felt like just another day at the office.
All in all it’s a solid start that I am really interested to see where it goes. A bit anticlimactic 8/10 should be better in the trade.
Lone Wolf and Cub Gallery Edition HC
Writer: Kazuo Koike
Artist: Goseki Kojima
Translation: Dana Lewis
Lettering: Digital Chameleon
Cover: Goseki Kojima
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
I excitedly chose this one because I have often heard how great Lone Wolf and Cub was and I wanted to read it for myself. This is not that book.
This is an art book that has select original artwork pages lovingly scanned at its original size. You can see the yellowed tape. The borders partially covered by what looks like liquid paper, and even slight inconsistencies in the inkwork that were erased in the original scanning and printing process.
If you’re a big fan of Lone Wolf and Cub or a big art nerd in general this is a great book. I’m giving it a 10/10 as it is exactly what it’s supposed to be.
Usagi Yojimbo Volume 32: Mysteries TPB
Writer: Stan Sakai
Artist: Stan Sakai
Cover: Stan Sakai
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Much like I was saying about Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon, Stan Sakai is a master of his craft and his stories about a feudal Japan populated by anthropomorphic animals (with some dinosaurs to fill the animal gap) are terrific.
But Usagi Yojimbo has some advantages to reviewing that the former lacked such as largely self contained stories. I must also say for being a book that I wouldn’t be worry about reading to my daughters they were surprisingly intense which is a compliment to be sure. Usagi meets with his old friend Inspector Ishida and the two of them solve crimes around the city involving murders, corruption, poisonings, and leading to some great (bloodless) battles. The book ends with two Chibi Usagi stories which are as cute as you might imagine.
It’s a great all ages book that I had a blast with: 10/10
Writer: Mirka Andolfo
Artist: Mirka Andolfo
Cover: Mirka Andolfo
Publisher: Image Comics
It’s kind of fitting that I have both this book and Usagi Yojimbo this week as Unnatural feels like that Earth in the 21st century, little fun dinos and everything.
The art is gorgeous, sexy, and reminds me of J. Scott Campbell the story is simple but stirring. The government is putting pressure on it’s people to marry within their race and someone of the opposite gender and while it hasn’t made it illegal not to do that if you refuse you do not receive benefits that would make your life significantly easier. Leslie is just trying to live in this world pay her rent, avoid her boss who sexually harrasses her, and tries to ignore the dreams of forbidden love with a wolf (she’s literally a pig).
The art sells this book as it’s not only cheesecakey fun but wonderfully expressive, but the story while simple is very energetic. A strong recommend for adult readers 10/10
The Complete Future Shocks Volume #1
Writers: Alan Grant, Alan Hebden, Alan Moore, Barry Clements, Charles Swift, Chris Lowder, Chris Stevens, Gary Rice, Hunter Tremayne, Jan Garczynski, John Richardson, Kelvin Gosnell, Martin Lock, Mike Cruden, Nick Tufnell, Peter Harris, Peter Milligan, Philip Greenaway, Richard Burton, Robert Flynn, Roy Preston, Stan Nicholls, Steve Moore, Garry Leach, John Higgins, John Wagner, Kevin O’Neill & Unknown
Artists: Brendan McCarthy, Brett Ewins, Brian Bolland, Garry Leach, Horacio Lalia, Ian Gibson, Ian Kennedy, Jesus Redondo, Kevin O’Neill, Marzal Canos, Massimo Belardinelli, Ron Turner, Steve Dillon, Carlos Ezquerra, Carlos Pino, Jose Casanovas, Eric Bradbury, Pierre Frisano, Giorgi, Jeff Anderson, Jim McCarthy, John Cooper, John Higgins, John Richardson, Jose Luis Ferrer, Mike Collins, Mike Dorey, Mike White, Pat Wright, Ramon Sola, Ron Tiner, Steve Kyte, Trevor Goring & Vanyo
Colourer: Chris Blythe
Letterers: Annie Parkhouse, Jack Potter, John Aldrich, Peter Knight, Steve Potter & Tom Frame
Cover Artist: Carlos Ezquerra
Publisher: 2000 AD
This book is huge! Well actually it’s 300+ pages which puts it under Wet Moon but it’s filled with so many stories all 3 to 8 pages each it feels far larger.
These shorts stories each with a twist feel a lot more Twilight Zone than Black Mirror but that makes perfect sense as this is a collection of older stories. The quality ranges from story to story, but they are so quick they never outstay their welcome. It’s also fun to see where some prominent writers got their start.
This volume is a blast from the past and I can’t recommend it enough 10/10.
2000 AD Prog 2085
Writers: Alec Worley, Gordon Rennie, Kek-W, Michael Carroll, Emma Beeby & James Peaty
Artists: Ben Willsher, Neil Googe, Paul Marshall, Jake Lynch, Dave Kendall & Lee Carter
Colourers: Gary Caldwell, John Charles & Dylan Teague
Letterers: Annie Parkhouse, Ellie De Ville & Simon Bowland
Cover Artist: Cliff Robinson
Publisher: 2000 AD
This is my first time reading this magazine and while I enjoyed it those who love months would love it more. It had 5 stories 4 of which were in part four or five, all of which left on cliffhangers. The stories themselves were solid with good art Skip Tracer which was an introduction to the character art was particularly great. Survival Geeks was the lone comedy and a fun one if you’re a Whovian. I give it an 8 out of 10 with the disclaimer it might just not be my cup of tea.