Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Dimension X #1-2 (IDW Publishing)
Although I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to read it, I’ve really enjoyed what IDW has done with the Ninja Turtles franchise. They’re taken the best elements of the various TMNT incarnations, thrown it into a blender, then produced some truly fun stories with it. This event so far is no exception.
Krang has been arrested and is about to stand trial for his crimes on Earth and in Dimension X. The Turtles are travelling through Dimension X to find key witnesses for the trial and bring them into protective custody before Krang’s assassin can find them and kill them.
In #1, Paul Allor and Pablo Tunica tell the story of the Turtles rescuing an empathic blob on a world with “emotion based physics.” In #2, Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas team with Michael Dialynas feature the Turtles convincing a blind former soldier that his testimony is key.
I really enjoyed both stories, and with each issue spotlighting the Turtles rescuing a separate witness, the story really shines in an anthology format. Allor weaves a wonderful story, and his chase narrative is a lot of fun. Farinas and Freitas meanwhile have fun with a brawl that turns into a meditation on depression. Tunica and Dialynas’s art on each issue is distinctive, and each wonderfully build an alien world.
In all, if you’re a TMNT fan, this is a BLAST to read.
Rating: 8 out of 10
The Verdict: Subscribe.
Rocket Girl #8 (Image Comics)
Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder return to this series after a bit of a hiatus. I’ll be honest, I had no clue what was happening, but it was such a fun, energetic issue that I want to go back and find out what I missed.
The issue starts with Rocket Girl in the middle of a Mexican standoff, and rockets (I’m sorry) through the confrontation, the police investigation, and a series of unfortunate events until Rocket Girl herself is begging friends to help her shut down an evil corporation before its even born.
Montclare and Reeder give readers an absolute kick in the teeth. It’s a fun, hyper-kinetic story. Like I said, it makes me want to go back to check out the previous issues of the series. The negative is that it is not new-reader friendly. I found myself confused by a few names suddenly popping up, and exactly what the purpose of the b-plot served. In this day and age, it’s easier to hunt down back issues than it used to be, but it still doesn’t help this reading much.
Still, a fun read that I’ll check out again!
Rating: 7 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy
Harbinger Renegades #6 (Valiant Comics)
After last issue’s absolute slaughter, I was surprised by this issue. I’ll say straight up, this is not a continuation of the previous issue’s story AT ALL. Instead Rafer Roberts and Juan Jose Ryp take us back in time to introduce a frightening villain, who I’m sure will be a key to the future adventures of Peter Stanchek and company, if not the entire Valiant Universe.
We meet Sir Gerald on page one, a holy knight tasked with eliminating a demon called only the Stormbringer who has conquered a nearby kingdom. Gerald leads his army of over 200 against the demon’s horde, finally coming in conflict with the demon itself. He wins the day, but apparently loses a bit of his soul… or perhaps all of it.
Roberts is proving how under-appreciated he is, quietly crafting a brilliant stand-alone horror story here. This wouldn’t have been out of place in an old EC horror anthology. As strong as that is, it also highlights an issue with the story. The Valiant universe has a history going back centuries, yet there’s no apparent link to any of that history. A nod to the Anni-Padda brothers or the Vine would have made this a stronger Valiant story, instead of something stand-alone that we’ll have to wait and see how it’s connected.
Ryp is a genius for hyper detail, and he crafts battle scenes perfectly, segueing from character moment to gruesome violence. Andrew Dalhouse works great in sync with Ryp with his colors. Though there’s a bit straightforward, that’s actually what this issue needed.
Another great chapter in the growing Harbinger saga!
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #26 (DC Comics)
Hal Jordan and the GLC has been an up and down book for me, but more recently I’ve been happy with what I’ve been reading. Robert Venditti has clearly been having a lot of fun, and I’d definitely say this run is as strong as Geoff Johns’ work on the character.
In this issue, the Corps is recovering somewhat from the events of the last arc, both as a whole and as individuals. Suddenly, a new threat emerges, and it has ties to the New Gods. In fact, it’s trying to kill Orion.
This story is a smart space opera thriller. There’s some good chase elements throughout, and it’s action-packed without being a slugfest. Venditti also hits some great character bits, such as Kyle Rayner’s frustration with his mistakes from last arc.
Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona and Tomeu Morey do a great job on the art. The Lanterns are all dynamic, and each character is perpetually in motion. Morey’s colors stand out with the rings and the glow of the new threat. The only downside in the art is the designs of the threat, which are very Kirby… but a little too Kirby, bearing more than a passing resemblance to Marvel’s Celestials.
Rating: 7 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy if a GLC or Fourth World fan.
Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey #1 (Marvel Comics)
One thing Marvel has done exceptionally well in the last four or so years is redeeming Jean Grey. In the past, Jean was seen as little more than a blank slate, a bland damsel. Since the young Jean was abducted by present day Beast and pulled into the present day, the writers working with her have gone out of their way to turn Jean into a strong character on her own.
Cullen Bunn has been one of those writers, and in this latest Generations one-shot, he dives even more into that by putting Jean face-to-face with the last person she expected to see- herself.
Cullen at first seems to work exclusively with young Jean’s character. She finds her future-Phoenix possessed self on the beach, and ends up sharing dinner and a night on the town. But then the Phoenix shows her how truly powerful it is, and Jean has to grapple with whether or not she should stop what’s to come. It’s a great character piece, with Jean battling her self-doubt, and her fear of becoming the next Phoenix host herself.
RB Silva’s work is a great companion. He evokes Stuart Immonen, the first artist to work on this version of Jean Grey. It creates a callback to her arrival in the modern Marvel Universe. His work is also remarkably emotive, and carries the emotion in Bunn’s script wonderfully.
Absolutely cannot be missed.
Rating: 9 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy.
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.