Normally fifth weeks don’t have a lot of great offerings, but this was definitely a packed week. Let’s dig into some very fun books!
Teen Titans Annual #1 (DC Comics)
The great Lazarus Contract story ends here in a great issue written by Priest, Ben Percy and Dan Abnett with art by Paul Pelletier. The two Titans teams are racing against time to stop a Speed Force-powered Deathstroke from re-writing the timeline by saving his son Grant. They end up following Slade themselves, and find themselves face to face with yet another team of Titans- the younger versions of the original team. There, Damian Wayne makes a desperate but calculated move to stop Slade that affects several of Titans in the long term.
This story is frenzied and frankly busy, but the trio of writers go a long way to keep it easy to follow and engaging all throughout. Keeping Pelletier as the only artist on all but the epilogues helps a lot with that as well. Paul’s work is, as always, solid and energetic. The epilogues all set up some interesting consequences for the crossover, particularly for the two Wally Wests. All in a all, a great conclusion to a very good mini-event.
Rating: 7 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy.
Generation X #2 (Marvel Comics)
Christina Strain and Amilcar Pinna conclude their first story of their relaunched X-book. There’s some good and some bad here. The young mutants of the Xavier Academy fight off the Purifiers as Quentin Quire shows immaturity. It’s a pretty typical X-Men story, and could have been ripped straight from Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men run.
The positives- Strain captures the different voices and personalities here very well. It doesn’t feel like a generic X-Men story, despite a pretty generic plot. The action is engaging, especially when Quire enters the fray and creates some very tense moments. Pinna does a solid job, making each character feel truly unique and keeps everything flowing great. The negatives however- again, the plot was a bit generic, but it did work for a more character driven introduction to the series. Quire’s appeared to have taken about five steps back in his character development. And Pinna has a few awkward angles and perspectives that distorts the art.
In all though, I’ll give the series another couple of issues before making final judgement. It’s the weakest launch of the RessureXion directive, but that doesn’t mean it’s BAD. Right now, it’s worth trying but not worth making the jump to a subscription.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10.
The Verdict: Buy if an X-Men fan.
Animal Jam #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Animal Jam is a kid-friendly MMO from National Geographic and Wildworks, in which kids play as animal guardians of a realm called Jamaa. This week dynamite launches their tie-in comic, featuring two stories written by Fernando Ruiz (of Archie Comics fame) and Eric Esquivel, with art on both stories from Ruiz and color artist Pete Pantazis.
If you’ve read a media tie-in comic in the last thirty years, you probably know what to expect. In the first story, Ruiz tells a story of the Alphas (sort of like an animal Justice League) encountering a variation of the infamous Trojan horse. The second is the origin of koala Alpha, Cosmo. Both are fun, cute stories, with well-done cartoony art. They’re clearly intended for kids and fans of the game. As only having heard of the game recently, I definitely wasn’t the intended audience. It was an okay issue, but it really didn’t offer any depth that would have made it an all ages read. If you’re looking for something fun for your kids, fans of the game or not, it may be worth it. Otherwise, you’ll wonder why you paid for it.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy for a child who’s a fan, pass otherwise
Transformers: Til All Are One #10 (IDW Publishing)
Mairghread Scott and Sara Pitre-Durocher continue their story about Cybertronian politics, and for the first time in a long time I found myself interested in what’s going on within a Transformers story.
This issue is 100% about Starscream’s political machinations. It’s one part political thriller, and one part hard sci-fi, with one of Starscream’s allies hacking the brain of a comatose Decepticon/Combiner to make him loyal to Starscream. There’s a lot that’s very over my head, as I haven’t been following the political machinations of giant transforming robots, but Scott still makes it interesting and relatively easy to follow. PItre-Durocher’s clean line helps a lot, and she infuses the bots with a lot more personality than I’ve seen out of a Transformers story.
Rating: 7 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy
Rick and Morty #26 (Oni Press)
Thank goodness Oni Press is publishing this book. Kyle Starks gives us two different R&M stories to tide us over until the new season premieres this summer. In the first, illustrated by CJ Cannon, we get a semi-sequel to the second season episode Get Schwifty. Rick refuses to help the president when he begs for help in another alien invasion, and they instead recruit Jerry. Naturally, because Jerry is horrible, it all goes wrong until Rick gets off the couch and gets involved. In the second story, we see how much of a badass Beth is.
Starks has a lot of fun with both stories. He’s also captured the tone and humor of the series really well. In the first, Rick creates life (Science golem!) like it’s no big deal, and reveals the alien weakness to be crippling anxiety in the face of social awkward situations. The second story is just packed full of insanity, in a hit it and quit it joke. The only downside is that this issue isn’t at all accessible to anyone unfamiliar to Rick and Morty, but then what non-fan would pick this up?
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy if a fan.
Blood Bowl: More Guts More Glory #1 (Titan Comics)
In Blood Bowl, Titan has taken Games Workshop’s strangest Warhammer spin-off and adapted it into a comic. That might seem like a weird statement to make, because obviously, but Blood Bowl is truly weird. It’s a spin-off of Warhammer… featuring the series races competing in American football. Nick Kyme, Jack Jadson, Nelson Pereira, and Fabricio Guerra team to tell the story of Dreng Sturnblud, a former star Blitzer turned drunk, and his comeback to the Blood Bowl league.
Sports comics don’t usually work. When they do they’re taking character stories with the sport as a backdrop. Here with the brutal fantasy-action of Blood Bowl, it actually does work pretty well. Dreng is a pretty generic character, but the brutal action of the sport makes up for a lot of that. Kyme doesn’t do tons with this story. It’s a standard sports underdogs story, but he makes up for that by soaking the story in violence and gore. The art team of Jadson, Pereira and Guerra are have a lot of fun, but makes sure the chaos of the game is still easy to follow. Anyone familiar with American Football will be able to follow this really well. It’s a solid debut, but not spectacular.
Rating: 7 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy.
Redneck #2 (Image Comics)
Donny Cates has really made a name for himself the last few months with both fantasy and horror books at several different publishers. I really have dug the concepts behind each, but the one that jumped out to me was this book with artist Lisandro Estherren. Redneck is a southern gothic vampire story about a vampire family who runs a small town and owns a barbeque restaurant.
After the events of the first issue, things are continuing to go south for Bowman family. The tension builds to a horrifying confrontation between the Bowmans and a gang out for their blood. Cates builds the tension so well through the issue. No moment is wasted, as each page builds and builds until there’s no choice for anything but an explosion. Estherren is a great companion to the script, as he gives each escalation more and more weight. It’s a fantastic build to the last page.
This is a great book, a combination of Southern Bastards and American Vampire that will resonate with fans of both.
Rating: 8 out of 10
The Verdict: Subscribe.
Tony Thornley is a Mormon geek dad, blogger, Spider-Man and Superman aficionado, amateur novelist and all around awesome guy. He was born and raised in Utah and has been reading comics since age five. His first comic series was GI Joe and he was doomed from there. You can follow him on Twitter @brawl2099.