Saturday, December 18, 2010

Image Addiction Review: Proof: Endangered #1

I have posted a new review over at Image Addiction on Proof: Endangered #1. Here's what I had to say:

"I tend to be a fan of the character drama. It is a type of story that, when done well, can suck you in and let you ignore the bigger picture surrounding a work. Proof has always been that book for me. It certainly has its high concept and its creature features, but the strengths of the series, to me, are solely based on the cast. Proof: Endangered continues this specific but also establishes a new tone for the story as we now enter the second act, or area of elevated conflict..."

You can read more HERE.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Image Addiction Review: Savage Dragon #166

As usual I break down the new issue of Savage Dragon over at Image Addiction. Here's what I had to say:

"What can I say? This issue really pulls out all the stops and lets the bombs fly. Or gas…brutally terrible, red gas.

To clarify, this is a review open to spoilers. Why clarify? This is a big issue, and the events within are easily going to define the series for a while. So, if you wish to read and be surprised, come back to this review piece at a later date. I’ve warned you.

Still there? Ok. The main event of this book, here’s the background..."

You can read the rest HERE.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Episode 88 - The Walking Dead, Firefly and Veronica Mars

This time on Teenage Wasteland...

More TV talk as I wrap up my viewing of three shows. Jeff Sandquist also provides the comic book discussion with his review of Beasts of Burden.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Episode 87 - Action Lab Entertainment and Comic Talk

This time on Teenage Wasteland....

Special guest Shawn Pryor drops by to talk about some recent developments for PKD Media and his new role with Action Lab Entertainment. After that I go on to discuss a few recent reads as well as welcome Mr. Sandquist and his recent Sandbox installment.

Items Discussed: Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods, The 120 Days of Simon, ThunderAgents #1, Amazing Spider-man #648, Spider-man: Noir, The Order.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Episode 86 - Avengers, Veronica Mars, Kick-Ass 2, Batman R.I.P.

This time on Teenage Wasteland...

TV and comics. I have been consuming both, and I feel it's time to talk. Nuff' said.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Episode 85 - Green Lantern, Captain America, DV8 and More

This time on Teenage Wasteland...

It is an age old review episode as I have six books to chat about.

Books Include: Green Lantern #58, DV8: Gods and Monsters #6, Captain America #610, Knight and Squire #1, Weird War Tales #1, Unwritten #17


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Episode 84 - Reviews and J.T. Yost

This time on Teenage Wasteland...

I wake the show from its nap and get right down to business reviewing two recent reads and plugging some projects. I then introduce a special interview for this show with artist and writer J.T. Yost. J.T. has produced a handful of well-produced mini comics, and I am happy to bring him to you guys in this feature.

Also, Jeff brings it as he discusses Jason Aaron's Punishermax.

Books Reviewed: Thor #615 and Proof #28

Download / /

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review: Thor #615

Writer: Matt Fraction | Artists: Pasqual Ferry and Matt Hollingsworth

Tis a new day in the land of Thor because one of my favorites, Matt Fraction, is taking over on writing duties. Yay. I am excited and pleased about this first issue for a few reasons, but the main one would have to be the fact that Fraction is getting to tackle another Marvel character. The writer has one of the most interesting perspectives in comics, especially on established, iconic characters. His previous Marvel work of Punisher and Iron Man have only proved this. (The X-men could probably fall in that line too, but I have not read.) If you add to the equation that this classic Marvel character is indeed Thor, the result only gets better.

Matt Fraction and Thor are a perfect pairing because Thor offers so many angles to the mysticism and weird science that Fraction seems to thrive on. According to this issue and a past interview on the Word Balloon Podcast, Fraction seems to be mixing magic and science, making them one. The first few pages deliver us a man of science who deems himself a "Quantum Cosmologist", and he claims that Asgard and Midgard are in some serious trouble. The character, while stuttering, quickly makes an impression for the reader and spins some interesting statements on the old and surely worn concept of "The World Tree", claiming that it exists within a similar structure that parallel universes do. Boom. Right there Fraction takes the traditional concept and spices it up, and right there he blends something of pixie dust and magic with something of 21st century science and theoretical math. It is all well executed, and it all quickly establishes a possible backbone for the extent of Fraction's run - certainly a backbone for the first arc.

For Thor himself, it is early to decode Fraction's entire stance on the character, but I believe one particular scene in this issue may provide insight on Fraction's take. Cut to Alfheim, realm of the ice elves, where we meet Mayzen, a young poet who keeps himself to a diet of serious thought and strict posture.  The concept of fun is an alien one to him as he stares out at his peers dancing and laughing in the snow, an alien concept until a beautiful female melts away his stern outlook. Mayzen allows himself the chance at a dance in the snow, catching flakes on his tongue, but as soon as he lets his guard down, everything goes to hell. All of Alfheim is quickly under assualt. Now, why does this scene exist? At first I would say to introduce this world and Mayzen, but Mayzen dies in the assualt, and I do not see him coming back. No, Mayzen, as a character exists for something else - to comment. I think with this scene Fraction is leading in on his take for Thor: the warrior bound to his duty, bound to a serious role and once Thor lets his guard down things can go wrong.

It is just an interpretation, but it makes sense. Asgard just fell, and Thor now has a major role to play in restoring it. This issue shows Thor taking on the responsibility and realizing what work needs done. He is providing the stern talk to Balder, he is not falling directly into Sif's lap and he is not following the direction of the Donald Blake persona. Thor is getting down to business, putting strict thought to work and cutting out the clutter of emotion.

Last but not least Pasqual Ferry. I love this guy's art. He gave Ultimate Fantastic Four a colorful touch, and his design work on Adam Strange took the book to another place. Here the style and wonderful design aspects of Ferry's art come together so well with the subject. For one, they both speak of Jack Kirby's visual queue, and secondly Ferry's art lends itself naturally to that science-meets-magic idea and visual theme. I just think he as an artist was a great choice for this book at this time, and his artwork creates a unique visual identity for a comic book.

This issue was a great start for Matt Fraction and Thor, and as a reader who has never shown interest in the character before I happily report I am excited about a Thor book.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Gig at Image Addiction

Yesterday kicked off my new gig over at reviewing Savage Dragon. Image Addiction is run by the fine Mr. Chris Partin and Michael Smith and is their platform to share their love of the all-powerful "I" logo.

I am pretty sure most of you are aware of my Savage Dragon enjoyment. I mean, I spent most of my summer reading the entire series. Who does that? Anyway, I feel it makes sense to step over to Chris' and Michael's cool site and offer up my Dragon-perspective. True, I could do it on this very blog or even on the show, but I feel Image Addiction is a better place to really dig into the "nitty-gritty" each and every month and talk Dragon like it should be talked about. It is an Image Focused site, and to me Dragon is the definition of Image Comics. The math does itself.

So, yeah, every month a new Savage Dragon review will be posted on Image Addiction. I encourage all of you to check it out as I update Twitter with links and such. Plus, just check out the site these guys work very hard on. I am sure plenty of you reading enjoy at least one or two Image books a month. See what other reviews they have to offer.

And remember, this move does not mean Dragon will never see another second of air time on TW. That would just be wrong. The book will certainly pop back up on the show at some point, but if you want the monthly opinion and details, just check Image Addiction for my reviews.

Also, this move may hopefully put my name out there a bit more and draw a few new people over to this site. A guy can dream, right? 

Savage Dragon #163. My review.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Episode 83 - Wolverine: Weapon X and Punisher: War Journal

This time on Teenage Wasteland...

Plenty of reading has been accomplished, and I sit down to talk about two series staring characters I normally ignore. Plus, I discuss the first issue of Jason Aaron's latest Wolverine story, and I am an issue behind on Daytripper. Oh, well?

And Sandquist!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Duke Nukem. A Point of Interest.

I am not a gamer.

I did own a Playstation 2 though, and I did spend many hours rocking out to Ratchet and Clank, but I never did fall into the culture of it all. The sleepless nights, the online play and the countless headshots were never really my style, and according to my friends I am missing out. They all congregate on X-box Live and share the experience of Call of Duty while I just don't care. It's all past me.

Now enter Duke Nukem: Forever, and I have suddenly become very interested in an aspect of the culture. I remember Duke from my earlier days, and I remember it being a large reason for all the kids in my neighborhood to get together and function. One person owned it, and we all came around to play and play for hours on end. Now Duke Nukem, an icon from my childhood, is looking to have another go in my young adult life. The feeling is exciting yet odd to say the least.

Yet, I am not a gamer, and most likely will not purchase a game console to live a bit nostalgic. I am though fascinated by Duke's comeback story. A game many years in the making, a game that went through so many obstacles, and a game that almost crashed and burned entirely will now see the light of day. Sure, I could relate the story of Duke Nukem: Forever is this blog post, but I am not the best man for the job. No, instead, read the piece Wired did last year. It is full of exciting details. (here)

Reading that piece anyone can cleary see that Duke Nukem: Forever was more than just a sequel. It's makers wanted it to be a complete gaming masterpeice. The standard for which all would be judged by. All of these big ideas for an entire medium encapsulated into one man, chewing on a cigar. Yet, for so long it could not be made possible, and even more interesting has to be the lives of those who worked on Forever. I mean, imagine spending over a decade of your life working on one single project, one single game. Those are the stories that fascinate me even more than the game itself.

Whether Duke Nukem: Forever becomes the greatest game of all time or not, its legacy certainly has an interesting tale to tell. Full of twists and turns, full of conflict and overcoming and a hero in the end this single video game has all the makings for one hell of a story. I know I'm captured, and I'm not even a gamer.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Holiday Push-Back. I Now Understand.

As much as I enjoy holiday weekends, this one is actually getting to me in a negative way. No new comics until Thursday. I woke up this morning expecting to drop by my local comic shop to take part in Wednesday (new comic day) comradery, but quickly realized that in fact (due to Labor Day) no new books until tomorrow.

Now, why share this thought? What's the big deal? Well, I never really used to participate in the "Wednesday Crowd Ritual" because, to be honest, my comic shop at home sucks. College has brought many new opportunities though, and a main one for me is the now close proximity of a nice comic store. A comic store I like to step foot in and offers more than just a quiet, head down shopping experience. I finally have one of those cool stores, filled with people in my age range who all enjoy the same thing. A little "oasis" if I must.

And you know what? The comradery is not until tomorrow. Tomorrow! The feeling is similar to that of a child being handed a cookie but then only has it quickly yanked away. It's simply not cool. I mean, I have heard of these holiday push-backs from friends and peers. I knew of their existance, but now I am experiencing one myself. My first one. I now understand the feeling. I guess just think of me as the "Holiday Push-Back Virgin" who just lost his V-card.

But, anyway, the world won't end. I'm sure I can hold on. New comics come tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Episode 82 - Scarlet #1 and Brightest Day: The Atom

This time on Teenage Wasteland...

A quick episode to get back in the swing. Two reviews, and one book is looking to become a new favorite. Also, Jeff Sandquist makes his return with a new Sandbox!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Episode 81 - Death Valley High, Demo and Chew

This time on Teenage Wasteland...

A quick album review and recommendation of an awesome band. Plus, two comic book reviews and a small announcement.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Episode 80 - The Flash, The Unwritten, Batman and More

This time on Teenage Wasteland...

A traditional episode. Four comic books with four reviews.

Books Mentioned
Batman: The Widening Gyre #1
The Executor
The Flash #4
The Unwritten #15


Quick Hit Review: Casanova #1 (Icon)

By: Allen R.

Amidst a collection of books that I usually keep around me, there are those that demand my attention and to spend time reading on them. There are comics I usually get to but there are those seldom few that I have to buy, I can't read a spoiler on or I'll end up getting fussy over it, so on and so forth. One of these comics is Casanova.

Casanova is the brainchild of Matt Fraction and Brazilian illustrator twins, Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon. The result of their collaboration follows: Time traveling, alternate realities, voluptuous and dangerous women, sleazy and conniving men. This is the world of Casanova Quinn and we, the readers, are only witnesses to this grand feat.

The plot follows a devil-may-care spy, the 'black sheep' in a family of spies, abducted by a rival organization to do their bidding...and the journey travels in directions seldom seen in conventional monthly comic books. To explain this would be hazardous and a denial of the pleasure as only a comic like Casanova can give.

Prior to the re-release of Casanova through Icon, two volumes were published through Image Comics- Luxuria (in muted green tone drawn by Gabriel Ba), and Gula (in a vibrant blue tone drawn by Fabio Moon). Following the release of the two volumes, the comic was in hiatus. The entire creative team sought work in other areas; Matt Fraction would end up writing the Invincible Iron Man and Uncanny X-men (and a short Thor story), while Ba and Moon illustrated titles such as Umbrella Academy, BPRD: 1947, and their most current work, Daytripper.

So after a two-year absence, Casanova... reprinted?

In this new version of Casanova, there are many compliments I can give (note: review is based on the first issue). The colors by colorist Cris Peters do not deter the quality of the art but adds another layer to the story, retaining the spirit of the muted tone from the initial release. The lettering by Dustin Harbin gives dialogue a character to its own, as you can feel weight to the narrative and words expressed by the characters. The backup feature by Fabio Moon gives an interesting perspective of Casanova through another character. The back matter documented excerpts from the life of writer Matt Fraction, and they serves as an analysis of the various influences which contributed to the making of Casanova.

To conclude, this comic is not just a comic meant to be read passively, it is an experience meant to be read over and over. Casanova challenges the norm of the comic book and challenges you with every panel and every page. If you tire of passive reading and seek a challenging and rewarding comic book, I highly urge you to read Casanova. And through the release from the Icon imprint, there is no excuse to deny picking this book up.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's Frank Miller. Celebrate.

As if the bursting news blurbs of Comic-Con International could not be topped, shortly after a legend of the comic book medium dropped his own annoucement: Frank Miller will finally release “Holy Terror” in 2011. For more of the details on the actual project, simply read this press release over at CBR.

Now, Miller is one of those guys who has literally changed the face of the medium. His work has done so much in the areas of narrative and inspiration that I see it safe to claim Miller as one of the most notable shapers of modern day comic books. The man pushed the expectations and possibilites of the graphic lauguage with nearly all of his works, and more notably proved that super-heroes no longer needed to be childhood icons and could reach new heights in terms of depth and narrative. Frank Miller changed the game and inspired so many, yet now it seems everyone has turned against him.

I understand the anger and lack of enjoyment most have had for both The Spirit and All-Star Batman and Robin. I mean, I do not agree, but I can see that both projects upset people. The Miller they knew and loved let them down in not one but two instances. This of course leads to further hostilities for fans. It is a point most face and the main reason why “New Miller” is hissed at. Alright, so maybe to someone Frank Miller has done some mediocre work as of late. Maybe he is just a “crazy old man” as many forcfully type. Yet even though all of this animosity may exist for modern-day Miller, is it really necessary to condemn the man to the point where he should never create another comic book again? This is Frank Miller. The man who gave us The Dark Knight Returns and Sin City. We do not want him doing more work in comics? Really?

Honestly, it would not matter if “Holy Terror” was a masterpeice or not. Frank Miller has already proven himself in multiple ways. He has earned his keep in this medium and in this industry. Miller is one of the reasons we have the comics we do today. At this point it is not his duty to produce profound work. He has earned his green card to create and tell the stories he sees fit. Who are we to tell Miller no? Art is not the idea of being controlled and keeping to one’s self, and an artist has every right to express what he or she feels necessary, especially one of Frank Miller’s caliber. For fans and readers to demand Miller to seems to go against the idea of comic books being art.

And yes, I understand that the concept of “super-heroes versus Al Queda” may be offensive to some. I understand that real men and women are overseas actually combatting the threat. I can see how it may make some uncomfortable. But again, comic books are art. The idea of a superman fighting current day terrorists is one some have already come to ponder, and now Miller wants to express his thoughts on the idea. Miller, as the artist, has every right to do so. Plus, is this really the first time war or real-life villainy will have been exploited? Captain America fought Hitler, and Spider-man stood at Ground Zero. Both were examples of artists commenting on the times or a specific event using pop culture icons. Using the mold of a “super-hero”, Miller will do something similar to comment on the conflict of the Middle East. This is nothing new, and honestly I am glad someone with Frank Miller’s talent is choosing to do so. I want what he has to say.

So, lay off Frank Miller. The man is and always will be a comic book legend. We should celebrate the fact he looks to continue to produce work. Many of the legends no longer do so because of other engagements or are not physically capable . But, hey, we have Frank, and it looks like he still has a few stories to tell. I am happy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

IDW Provides a Unique Parker Prelude.

Darwyn Cooke’s adaptation of Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter was a huge hit for the year of 2009. Now, Cooke preps for his return in October with installment number two of the Parker graphic novel series.

Alright, as a fan of the crime genre and beautiful artwork, Cooke’s take on Parker is a must own for me. Simple as that. The Hunter from 2009 delighted me dearly and all around was a great package and a great example of what comic books do.

Upon making my purchases for the month of July I picked up IDW’s prelude for The Outfit (the next installment of Parker OGNs). All I want to do is give my respect to IDW for printing this gorgeous, over-sized presentation of Darwyn Cooke’s artwork. This over-sized, stapled wonder hosts twenty-four pages of a story that can certainly stand alone, but also provides a preview of The Outfit's first chapter - a true show of versatility. It also bridges a gap Cooke and Editor Scott Dunbier came across creatively.

See, Cooke cut The Man With The Getaway Face from his list of candidates for Parker adaptations. There were other stories which excited him more.

“The hard one to cut was the second book, The Man With The Getaway Face. I find this to be one of my least favorite, and when I compare its story to that of The Score, I know which one I feel desperate to illustrate.” *

Yet, as Cooke mentions, it was a hard choice.

“There is a component of Getaway Face that is key to all other Parker books, and something that could not be ignored. If you don’t know what it is...well, the title should be a clue.” *

And here we are.

This prelude is special for the over-sized factor, but what I really like about it is the vibe it carries. This is an official part of Cooke’s Parker adaptation, yet it is a peice that could easily slip through the cracks. For all the people out there who will read or who have purchsed The Hunter in a book store, who never set foot in comic shops, this is something they miss. No, not the story beats. Remember, this is the first chapter of The Outlit. It will be in the actual book. What they miss is this awesome package. Book store buyers will have to stick with their small, compressed Cooke art while we Wednesday crowd bask in the glory of big, big panels. It is a nice present to those who already love and follow the medium. Book store crowds? They miss this extra layer. They miss this cool novelty. It is here only for the people who walk into comic shops.

Thank you, IDW, and respect. You are giving back to the fans, the comic shop crowd. You are also adding a unique flare to the marketing of The Outfit. This prelude excites and should accelerate word-of-mouth. Sitting on the shelf, this over-sized print should attract someone unfamiliar with Parker and welcome them in. I think it is a great marketing device and a nice touch overall.

Plus, it’s only two bucks and a fun heist story dominates as the content. Score.

*Quotes are excerpted from The Parker Prelude: The Man With The Getaway Face

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Episode 79 - Norma Jean and SDCC Blurbs

This time on Teenage Wasteland...

I sit down and bring to you a review of Norma Jean's latest album, Meridional. Also, Comic-Con International just wrapped, and a few news bits caught my attention.

And, Mr. Sandquist holds much excitement for Sam Kieth's Arkham Asylum: Madness in the new Sandbox.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Special Offer from Fearless Readers Online

Alright, as of #78, there is a new sponsor, Fearless Readers Online. The site is a great stop-and-shop for $1 comics, and great comics at that. Well, as with the sponsorship, the gents over at FRO are offering TW listeners a special deal. It's simple. If you send an e-mail to with the subject line reading "coupon code" you will recieve a coupon for $3 off any order above $10.

I think this is a great idea, and I hope everyone takes advantage. E-mail in. Get the code. Browse around their site. I'm sure you will find a way to drop $10.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Episode 78 - Hack/Slash, Eminem and The Deftones

This time on Teenage Wasteland...

One comic book review and then something a bit different. Friend and co-host, Joey Aulisio, stops by to chat about two new albums released this year from two great musical talents.

Also, Mr. Sandquist reviews one of his favorite writers, Warren Ellis, on one of his recent projects. Freakangels.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Episode 77 - Jurassic Park: Redemption #1 / 100 Bullets Overview

This time on Teenage Wasteland...

An e-mail, a reminder and then comic talk as I review the latest in the JP Saga and look back at the masterpeice which is 100 Bullets.

Also, Mr. Sandquist returns with The Sandbox to talk about The Veil and Fishtown.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Episode 76 - SHIELD #2

This time on Teenage Wasteland...

A few bits of listener feedback and then talk commences on Jonathan Hickman's SHIELD.

Music Featured is by Four Year Strong


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Yes, This Test Has Me Asking Questions

Eventually I was going to write something. Everyone has. So, in the latest Cup O’Joe over at CBR, Quesada was presented with the inevitable question of price on this upcoming, digital release of the Invincible Iron Man Annual. An answer was provided.

“The Iron Man comic is over 60 pages, and in print it's priced at $4.99, but on average for that kind of page count, we would have priced it at $5.99 or broken it up into three $2.99 issues. Our comics on the Marvel App are priced at $1.99 and the way the annual is written it breaks up nicely into three chapters perfectly, so that's how we'll break It up in the app. So, when you do the math on this one, the direct market comic shop has the advantage in price on this one, and we've already received word from retailers that they feel this is the best way to set this test up.”

I am not going to complain or moan about expense with this example of word (that will be handled by many others I am sure), but the fact of a more expensive digital version did bring a few questions to mind. Obviously with this test, Marvel is seeking an ultimate goal of a successful digital market (a market stronger than physical retailers). That is the main idea. Maybe not right now (the Direct Market still accounts for most sales) but down the line. So, why make digital more expensive for the consumer? In a test situation, for a method of distribution a business wants to succeed, would the goal not be to encourage, entice consumers to try the new method with an incentive? Yet, Marvel is not.

When Marvel’s application first lauched the point was made that the 1.99 price tag was not so concerned with the set consumer base, but an audience on the outside, unknowning of the specifics behind comic book price tags. Is this the angle once again? Let newcomers and casuals pick up this more expensive version? Possibly, but then why the big deal of a day-and-date release? To a newcomer or casual reader, Invincible Iron Man Annual could be as new as New Avengers #1. Wednesday means nothing; just another day.

No, this is a test of the fan consumer base. A test of the people who buy comic books on Wednesday. So, again, why offer a cheaper print version when you would want people to explore the new method? Marvel certainly wants to protect the direct market for now. They understand the importance and the place of the Direct Market , but again, a business does not introduce this new method so it may be beat by the old method. That is pointless.

Consumers who pay attention to release dates and simply are aware of what this day-and-date release means will see both options. They see that print is cheaper. So, why would Marvel believe people with the option of print over digital choose digital, choose to spend more? I’m willing to bet the pyschology is smiliar to the 3.99 jump and why people accepted it (for the most part): 3.99 books seem to have a cooler, better air about them. Comics with the 3.99 price tag tend to be the titles featuring the high talent and favorite characters; these are the books that seem most important to the story universes. Remember, 3.99 was also an experiment once. Marvel was exploring the consumer’s spending limit. The digital release of the Iron Man Annual smells of a pretty similar scent.

Could the fact of the book being digital work to bring people to spend more? True, a reader technically recieves more with a print copy (a physical possession), but print comics are not the future and everyone is obsessed with the future. Let’s face it, we all want digital to work. It is the comic book industries’ ultimate goal at this point and this is the closest we have ever come to the ideal set-up (new digital comics the same day as print). The dream is in the process of being realized, and I am willing to bet people will pay a dollar extra on the digital to make the dream feel a bit more real. Digital offers the sensibility of cool and sleak while the print brings about old and busted – people pay more for sleak. I know I will. I have tried in the past to justify paying 1.99 for a digital comic (well, if you subtract here and carry the one...), but the math does not support. No, the reason I buy a digital comic is not to save money, it is to partake in the experience. It feels cool buying a comic book with one click and having it in a few seconds to read. Digital is appealing that way. It is a chance to experience a cool sensation. People pay for cool sensations still, right?

The zeitgeist of comics culture is digital is better, digital is almighty, digital is where we need to be. Is Marvel really just testing this way of thought?

Granted, there is the factor of “how many comic book fans have a local comic shop”. For some, digital may be the only way to go if they want their Iron Man right away. The price may sting, but people need their Iron Man – they have no choice and pay more. This will certainly be a factor in the test; there are many comic book fans, understanding of day-and-date, who do not have a local place to purchase. The majority though? Unknown. The way Marvel looks to protect the Direct Market though, I would say the physical comic shops do more business than an online discount service (all comic shops combined versus the entirity of online discount excluding Amazon). Could this be the point though?

Some have guessed that Marvel is really reverse engineering this game to only strengthen the Direct Market. For something, it is a pretty clever game plan, but is it for the best? I understand keeping it afloat for the time being (waiting for iPads to hit everyone), but as a long term goal I only see it as a step backward. The Direct Market has been a failing system for years – why stretch that out? Digital has much more potential than a brick-and-mortar store in the back of a mall somewhere. It sits there hidden. The Marvel App can go nation wide and provide a larger quantity of product instantly, and Marvel has more control over it (no Diamond and they manage the visual appeal of their store front). Why keep the direct market? Street prescence? With the way we consume entertainment at this point, do people really want a street prescence, or will they want one in ten years? Do we not see millions of people login to Facebook everyday to play Farmville? Where is Farmville’s street prescence? The majority of people direct more attention to the internet than their own backyard (especially my generation).

There are plenty of questions presented with this situation (probably many I did not even see), but ultimately I do not see myself paying more for digital on this occassion. The bang-for-buck ratio is pretty low, and the message sent is not one I want to sign.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Episode 75 - Savage Dragon #160

This time on Teenage Wasteland...

A big event has just wrapped in the Savage Dragon title, and I wish to speak about the finale.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Episode 74 - Avengers vs. DV8

This time on Teenage Wasteland...

I am providing two reviews but there is a larger issue at hand. Avengers #1 versus DV8: Gods and Monsters #1. One pushes while the other gets by.

Time to state an opinion and hopefully push some thought.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Episode 73 - The Flash #1 Plus More

On this episode of Teenage Wasteland...

A rundown of a few announcements (  and then some recent reads. Plus, Mr. Sandquist stops by to offer up his installment of The Sandbox.

Books Discussed
Invincible #71
The Spirit #1
Invincible Iron Man #25
The Flash #1
Random Acts of Violence


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Online Dollar Bin

Hello, all. Cleaning out my collection in order to make some space, so I am offering a bunch of comics for a buck a pop. Below is the list of books I am looking to sell-off. If you see anything that strikes your interest, please contact me through the show e-mail,, and we will work out the details. Look around and remember, they are all One Dollar!

Fantastic Four #527-540, 554-557, 573-574
Thor (Volume 1) #247,256,264,265,278,281,283,284
Jersey Gods #1-6
Storming Paradise #1-6

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quick Hit Review: Orc Stain #2

Written, Drawn and Colored By: James Stokoe
Lettered By: Unlisted
Publisher: Image Comics

If the fantastical world, title or insanity of the artwork has not gathered enough attention; then, let me add that there is some actual subtext in development within the pages of Orc Stain.

For the unknowing, Orc Stain is the latest creator-owned spectacle from Image Comics. Artist and writer, James Stokoe, is bringing his talents from Oni Presses’ Wonton Soup to tell the tale of One Eye – a loner orc who works as a looter in a world buried in the blood of war. One Eye has a special gift though: he can unlock the secrets of objects. It is a gift which aids One Eye in his day-to-day business, but also has attracted the unwanted attention of the Orc Tsar. The talent One Eye possesses makes him the perfect candidate for the Tsar’s ultimate goal. The goal of unlocking an organ which once belonged to a powerful Orc-god. One Eye must avoid the Tsar’s grasp.

The first exposure of this book left my mind impressed by the creativity. Works which instill a sense of “Wow, there is a world here” always stand out, and Stokoe accomplished that sensibility very well in the first issue. The combination of his artwork and premise weave together so well to establish this sense of existance within the pages: the existance of something large. As a reader, I can feel that this universe carries its own rules even though they are not technically being presented to me. It holds life, it holds balance, it takes care of itself and it evolves by itself. That is the sign of a true cartoonist – when the lines laid on a page spring life rather than just being lines. This attribute immediately made James Stokoe a stand-out comic book artist in my mind, and it made him an artist well worth watching.

So, the second issue has finally arrived, and even though I did not need another reason to love this project, I found one. The orcs are more then meet the eye.

With this second issue Orcs are no longer just a high concept but more of a metaphor – a metaphor for humanity and the typical male persona. We live in a world that prides itself on the ideals of the “macho-man”. The guy who can bench-press two hundred and twenty-five pounds and bong plenty of beer is the one who seems to rule the social atmosphere. Much of our view of the modern man (and man really throughout time) relies upon these aspects of savagery which we try to think as civilized and correct. Our youth is subjected to this ideal and pushed to live it. Stokoe finds his fuel from this source and underlines his work of Orc Stain with it. His commentary subtley breathes an air of cynicism, with a side of potential warning and a dash of sarcasm.

So far, the character of PointyFace exists as his main bullet. Pointyface is a slime ball who prides himself on his ego and his loud attitude. It is not so surprising when we see him in this issue rallying the crowd of a local bar, proclaiming the ways of his dangerous adventures. In all reality, it was One Eye who was the hero of such stories, but Pointyface is a liar and desires the attention and repuation. He will lie as long as the drinks and women are at stake.Even though a mythical creature, the character resembles the common roughneck we all stumble so easily upon. Stokoe uses this connection and the character’s actions to show the reader this “ideal” male persona really is not so great to be. It is more savage than anything. Just like the Orc is a savage creature.

Stokoe also continues the idea of the “ideal man” with the theme of acceptance within the society. Execution in the world of Orc Stain is not death (in a literal sense) but (for lack of a better word) being neutered.

When One Eye and Pointyface return from their mission of grave robbing and have not a coin to present to their mob-like boss, they find themselves in a predicament which implies severe punishment. A trip to the chopping block. An appointment to loose their “gronches”. This piece of commentary works so well because it forces a reader to sense a hint of the ridiculous.The idea of a man having his manhood taken from him is a worse punishment than death itself. Yet, if applied to what society accepts as a “man”, a dude without his dick does not meet the standards of the “ideal”. With this event in the book, and the extreme circumstances present, Stokoe comments on the fact that too many men, and society in general, focus too much on that aspect of the body. In the world of Orc Stain, an Orcs’ “gronch” seems to be his soul, and without one, an Orc may as well be dead. I think this idea probably holds true in our world as well. How many times have we all joked with our friends and said, “Oh, dude, if I lost my dick, I’d kill myself!” Again, Stokoe wants us to see the oddity of this mindset: the idea of our entire person is in our dick.

I truly loved this issue - pure imagination and a bit of depth. This title is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. The combination of Stokoe’s artistic style and personal commentary make this a project hard to look away from. People, you must find this title and read it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Episode 72 - Criminal: The Sinners #5 and More!

This week on Teenage Wasteland...

I deliver two announcements (the show is a changin' in a teeny, tiny aspect). Also, a nice talk and review of two DC Animated features, and a wrap up on Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips and Val Staples' Criminal: The Sinners.

Items Discussed
Green Lantern: First Flight
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
Potter's Field
Criminal: The Sinners #5


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Quick Hit Review: Brightest Day #0

Written By: Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi
Pencils By: Fernando Pasarin
Inks By: John Dell, Cam Smith, Prentis Rollins, Dexter Vines and Art Thirbert
Colors By: Peter Steigerwald
Letters By: Nick J. Napolitane
Publisher: DC Comics

What is Brightest Day?

52 part two? A spin-off of Blackest Night? I would accept both answers, but as the status quo currently stands, this story is all about characters. Characters who have been offered a second chance and wish not to waste any time.

Main complaint I have heard: “What is the point?” “Where’s the high concept? “Where are the werewolves and vampires and zombies?” Well, I do not see Brightest Day as that type of story. At least, not yet. Like 52, Brightest Day is going to be much more centered around character: the arc, the study and the presence. I am not saying all this will be is some sort of trippy, deep adventure into the head of Martian Manhunter – the audience will see their fair share of action – but in this issue, it appeared to me that the main intent of this book will be to rediscover who these twelve characters are and where they fit. Name example would be Deadman. In a living state, who is the character and what purpose does he play? It is obvious he is going through some sort of arc (smashing of tombstone).

The Martin Manhunter sequence (my favorite one) offers another example of my point. This is not J’onn J’onnzz collecting data for the Justice League or backing away from open flame. This is Martian Manhunter returning to his roots on his native planet. The character is beginning to rediscover himself as the audience does. Yes, J’onn has his “Mars mission” at hand, but the mission is more about the character’s own hope and sense of wanting to act rather than the high concept of “Hey, Mars may be resurrected”.

Two examples, but I think the same point could be pulled from all twelve: this is a collection of character arcs and not just the next status quo in the DC Universe. A point I can appreciate as long as the amount of characters are handled well. This will be a series centered on twelve characters for twenty-six issues, and I will say that this issue did make me feel the grind of that in some aspects. Every two or three pages the reader is thrown across time and space (ala Boston Brand) to a new situation with a new set of rules. Some situations are highly interesting, while others fall a bit flat and appear jarring in the grand context of the issue. An oversized issue, and I already felt a grind of “too much going on”. That makes me a bit wary for the following issues presenting twenty-two pages and at least eight different situations. Pacing is everything to me, and if I feel any sense of being rushed it can really affect my ability to sink into a story. For the most part, this complaint has been an issue with all of DC’s weekly publications; it is the nature of the product. I just hope Johns and Tomasi can finally work out the formula in this one.

Art. I was not crazy about it. Technically, it is good. Pasarin tells the story sequentially well enough. If Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner are flying around Mars, he captures it. Maxwell Lord falling backwards into a pool of water, his sense of motion is on. I just could not get into the style. It is clean. It is straight forward. It is boring. I like artists who can provide a more unique eye when it comes to anatomy and line (Gabriel Ba, Erik Larsen, John Romita Jr., Kirby, Sean Phillips). That approach is not within these pages, and for that fact I was not head over heals. It is not bad, just not praise worthy or something to let your eyes rest on.

Now, this is a zero issue, a premier, and I believe it does the job it should (introducing the basics), but I will say within the next few issues it needs to quickly progress past the information we already know. Meaning: I do not feel I learned anything new with this issue. The book really just places the press releases we have all seen into the context of a story and makes them “real”. Again, a zero issue. It cannot give much away, but I do not wish to see Aquaman in issue #6 still asking, “Why am I alive?” The audience understands that question; it is the main question of the series, so do not shove it up front every scene of every issue. Move past, push the story to new territory starting next issue, and have fun.

Good start. I like the idea. I will read until I grow bored.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Episode 71 - Digital Comics

This week on Teenage Wasteland...

Digital, digital, digital. That is all the comics universe has buzzed about in the past week as Apple released its world-changing device, the iPad. So, I find that it is time to finally sit down and lay my thoughts on the line. What does digital mean to me, and do I approve? Listen in!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Quick Hit Review: Shuddertown #1

Written By: Nick Spencer
Art and Colors By: Adam Green
Letters By: Thomas Mauer
Publisher: Image Comics

What have Keanu Reeves and Christian Bale been up to lately? Well, if you read this comic, you may get the impression that they have taken up law enforcement…or modeling. Issac Hernandez has a case to solve, like most cops do, but as he digs deeper into his mystery, it becomes apparent that all of his suspects of murder are well…dead themselves.

I found it funny that the same day I watched the movie Street Kings, I read this book because both share some pretty heavy similarities. The Keanu Reeves aspect obviously, but more of what I mean is that both lead characters share the conflict of doing their job. Tom Ludlow (of Street Kings) spends most of the film working his way past his own corruption, while here in Shuddertown, Issac Hernandez seems to have trouble focusing. He is a character, a cop who almost seems to not have a cause and instead appears irritated working cases and tries to drown his annoyances in pills. A reader could also say that the corruption angle works with Issac Hernandez as well – again, the drug use and the strippers.

Yet, even with that sense of “done before” against it, I still enjoyed Shuddertown #1 in terms of story because of the strong narrative throughout the issue. Spencer constructs the character right before the readers’ eyes very well with his method. Placing us right into Issac’s mind and story works as the best possible way to “get” this character because Issac, and in the way he thinks, tells us who he is himself…whether he knows it or not. Also, just as a first issue, I think this was very well organized and paced. Everything a reader needs to know for this tale is planted: the character, the conflict and the case.

The artwork this book presents is its main barrier though. I joked about Keanu Reeves and Christian Bale staring in this book, but in all seriousness, the book does really appear that way at times. To give a comparison, it is pretty obvious Adam Green takes a heavy influence from Alex Maleev – from the style down to the color palette. I do not mind when an artist takes an influence, but this was a straight “let me try to ape Maleev” situation, and I do not think it worked very well. In many cases I felt that the sequential aspect was pretty stiff (page 10 – car hitting guard rail), and again, the photo reference was not all too well covered. In many instances I felt that this was just a collage of actual photographs, pieced together trying to tell a story – it was just distracting. I do not mind photo realism as a style, but when you are producing comic book artwork, it is important that the photos also develop some sense of atmosphere behind them. That is something I think Maleev captures well, but Green does not.

Shuddertown is not a horrible comic book in any circumstance, and I am not claiming that Nick Spencer is ripping off Street Kings (for all I know, he has never heard of it). The artwork could use a makeover, but I think the character and the situation are good enough to give this book a pass. Not great, but still worth checking out.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Episode 70 - 100 Bullets, Adam Strange and a Thought

This week on Teenage Wasteland...

The big 7-0. Before I start the session of reviews, I have bit of a gripe to call with, wait for it...Vertigo (shocker!). Usually Vertigo is my safe-haven, but their Crime OGN Line...I am having some issues. Plus, reviews of three books that simply made me a happy reader in the past week.

Books Discussed
100 Bullets Vol. 1
Adam Strange: Planet Heist
Fantastic Four: Books of Doom

Quick Hit Review: Hercules: Prince of Power #1

Written and Drawn By: Bob Layton
Colors By: Christie Scheele
Letters By: Rick Parker
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Before the Van Lente and Pak success, Hercules found himself contained in the 1984, four issue mini series from comics craftsman Bob Layton. This mini series takes the ancient, Greek god and contrasts him against the Earth of 2385, and shows to the reader how much of a soar-thumb Hercules can really be.  

The idea that I really enjoy about this opening issue is that it takes no time to explain why. Now, sometimes the 'why' is important, and failing to explain the 'why' is a fatal flaw (see my House of Mystery review), but with Hercules: Prince of Power...the 'why' is not needed. All this book is, all it desires to be is Greek gods in space, and that simple fact, that high concept is described by the cover alone. When you flip to that first page, after having the cover install that idea in your mind's focus-point, you know what is going on and that allows Layton to skip the introductions and take the reader on an adventure.

This book provides your action and big punches, but it also supplies the humor. At first glance, the concept of this book (Greek gods in space) is pretty laughable, but Layton uses that to his advantage by placing Hercules into awkward situations. Take the idea of Hercules checking himself into a future hotel - a man dressed in seriously out-of-date clothes, speaking in ye' old english and telling off a robotic bag is quite funny, and it provides a light tone to the book. Plus, I think, it also emphazies the specific quirks Herc has to offer as a character in not just a futuristic setting, but a classic Marvel Universe setting (Hercules could speak for Thor in the same aspect). 

Overall, it's a nice issue, and I will finish the mini series to see what other character moments Bob Layton has to offer with good ol' Hercules.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Episode 69 - I Dig Ragman

This week on Teenage Wasteland...

It is all reviews and comic talk! To make up for last week's lacking, I am bringing the heat this time around and talking about a variety of books. Ragman, mini comics, Jeff Sandquist on The Sandbox....that's only half of it. Dig in!

Books Mentioned
Ragman #1-8
The Deformitory
Lower Regions
Batman: Dreamland
Detective Comics Annual #7
Hellblazer: Pandemonium

Download / iTunes / Forum

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quick Hit Review: The Red Star #1

Created By: Christian Gossett
Written By: Bradley Kayl
3D Modeling By: Allen Coulter and Jon Moberly
Colors By: “Snakebite”
Letters By: Richard Starkings
Publisher: Image Comics

Image Comics, in my eyes, is the publisher who should be pushing the boundaries in terms of content, production and creator intent. I think this little book from 2000 hit that nail right on the head.

What is interesting about this comic is not so much in terms of story or idea (alternate world, alternate soviet Russia post-World War II), but in the way the comic has been produced. The Red Star is a book created entirely through means of digital expression rather than traditional methods. Now, before this comic book is completely disregarded, I must say that even though this comic relies more on 3D models than actual pencil work, it never really feels that way. There are no blocky, clean figures to be seen, and the actual visual representation has a nice smooth feel that looks like pencil – almost a feel of Pasqual Ferry in style (it is possible that there was some pencil work to lay the base of the art, but from the credits I read I only see, “3D Modeler” no “Penciled By”). The book is visually pleasing to say the least with its use of clean line and many wide shots – very cinematic in visual presentation.

The book is also very well written and constructed in terms of story. As mentioned: cinematic. The opening scene of the book is paced very well (a transition from a wide shot to give the scope and tone of the world, a very large concept, to a very small instance of a personal letter to give the audience a perspective). That transition, that way to bring the reader in is something I really appreciated because it shows to me that there are two important sides to this book: a single character and her journey and a larger world that provides the surface hook. It is great to see that sense of pacing and organization because with this type of project (big splash pages, heavy visuals), most of the time story structure and flow is left secondary.

It seems to me that this was a book looking at the future of comic book production, and maybe it tried to “usher that in” with the turn of the century. But, in the context of today, this book may have just been a bit ahead of its time.

If you dig steampunk or historical fiction, I am sure you will dig The Red Star.

Rating: 5/5

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Quick Hit Review: House of Mystery #22

Written By: Matthew Sturges, Bethany Keele, William Keele and Peter Keele
Pencils By: Lucca Rossi and Farel Dalrymple
Inks By: Jose Marzan Jr.
Colors By: Lee Loughridge
Letters By: Todd Klein
Publisher: Vertigo

The House is under “new management” in part two of this four part tale, but the formula of this book still feels just the same.

As someone who gives Vertigo the benefit of the doubt on many occasions, it is time for me to face facts - I have stuck with this series probably longer than I should have. But before I hit on that point further, let me talk about the actual single issue at hand. I did actually like this one particular issue. As a twenty-two page comic book I cannot find fault on Mr. Sturges or the crew. There is a nice flow for this issue, and the balancing act between the head story and the frame is actually pulled off nicely. I understand what the creative team has been going for with the frame stories (the frames act as a way to comment on the said theme or main situation of the main story through use of metaphor), but I think in very few instances they have pulled it off. The frame does work in this issue though because it is actually more of a flashback for our main character, naturely connecting to the main story. For the fact that Sturges is not trying to stretch and get a bit fancy with the frame, and leans more toward the flashback angle, I think he is able to make it work with the overall story.

I would also say that there were a few nice character moments in this issue. There is a nice opening scene with the troll Tursig in which Sturges focuses on his issues of being a homosexual troll in a world not so tolerant – a well done scene all around. I also quite liked the scene between Algernon and the two ghosts for the fact that it creates some conspiracy and humanizes what has been a pretty two-dimensional character.

So, all around, a pretty good issue…but it is only one of many. As mentioned, I have been reading this one from the start with the mentality of “Oh, it’s Vertigo…it’ll pick up”. Honestly though, I have not been satisfied by much of this series because with every issue I felt I was getting more of the same thing: too many questions, scene changes and story concepts met with average execution. For a series to have the reader questioning, it is not a bad thing. I usually like when a series builds questions because those questions are what draw me back each month to continue reading. But, in the case of House of Mystery, I feel that the questions present are ones you do not want to have. Namely, what is the purpose of this book? Is it to explore these characters? If so, not doing a great job…more there in a second. No, seriously though, what is the point? Whenever an ongoing story begins – especially a Vertigo story – I like to have the point or the direction somewhat labeled within the first story arc. The idea (or ultimate goal) allows a reader to build a connecion with the work. I feel House of Mystery has not set any goals or really given any reason as to why it should be read. I feel like after twenty-two issues I have a very limited idea of the series purpose, and without that sense of direction my care for the project seems to lack.

If the point is character study, then the characters may want to be defined a bit more. A major heartbreak of this series is none of the characters offer up any reason as to why they do what they do. Every single one of them walks as a two-dimensional figure with no purpose or visible motivation. Yes, they are all stuck in this house and, yes, they all have tormented pasts, but does that explain why two specific characters fall in love? No. If so then all of these characters would love each other because they all originate from a similar setting. No, there are reasons why these characters act the way they do, yet Sturges and crew never really distinguish them. The creative forces leave these figures behind a veil as they rush something. All I want is to understand what makes these characters tick, so when they finally commit an action their motivation is clear. Maybe if the book had an opportunity to slow down, instead of jumping from the main story, to the frame, back to the main and then covering the entire cast, the author and the reader would have a chance to define the characters and the series itself and build a connection. Again, what is the point of reading if their is not a connection between the audience and the material? The characters of a story should be the relatable factor, and House of Mystery fails in that catagory.

Yes, number twenty-two was good, but at this point in the game, after plenty of poor attempts, I have lost my overall interest. After twenty-two issues I feel like I barely know the characters, the situation and the point. After twenty-two issues I feel like this series has lacked some serious steam. After twenty-two issues, I am calling it quits. Next time I will put into action that “six issue” rule on a Vertigo book.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Episode 68 - Nic Klein Kicks it on Viking

This week on Teenage Wasteland...
The past seven days have been an accumulation of light reading, but join in anyway as I run down some listener feedback and discuss some of the news items from the Emerald City Comic Con. And, do not fear, I do have one review for you as well does Mr. Jeff Sandquist with his installment of The Sandbox.
Book Discussed
Viking #1-5

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Quick Hit Review: OMAC #5 (1975)

Written and Drawn By: Jack Kirby
Inked and Lettered By: D. Bruce Berry
Publisher: DC Comics

Take some wacky, comic book awesomeness and throw in a hardcore mohawk, and you have a peice of Kirby's prime: OMAC - One Man Army Corps.

Personally, even though I have read so little, I really dig Jack Kirby. Many more could probably elaborate on his idea better than myself, but I will simply say his art is the base for the contemporary medium. Aside from his obvious style, the thing I love about the artwork in this book is the amount of idea, detail and creativity in the backgrounds and in the world. Page 5 for example: a roof-top sanction of multiple guards hidden between the crevices of architecture, holding and aiming a vast assortment of "out-of-this-world" weaponry. Can you say, "awesome"? That is only the start; every panel of this issue packs some sort of visual capture-point that sells to the reader that, "this could only be done in comics". I also love the sense of action and movement surrounding the character of OMAC. Whenever he makes some sort of motion or leap or bound, Kirby illustrates it a way that the reader really feels the energy involved (I LOVE panel 6, on page 11).

Storywise as well: excellent. Kirby may have been an artist first, but the man could certainly construct a captivating story -  this issue spotlighted tells the story of OMAC working a crime organization that captures and sells people for body-transplants. It is a wacky idea, but certainly a fun idea that nontheless entertains a reader. But, do not take it as simple fun either; I think Kirby built in a few moral ideas. Peace Agents? An army, a special squad that does not kill nor harm? Yeah, Kirby is certainly saying something.

Simply, this is some fantastic work. I mean, did you expect anything less from The King?

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Comics Overload = AWESOME!

The topic of "My To Read Pile" can sometimes draw urges of complaining or oppression, but I say bring it on! Look at all the fun I'll have this summer:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Episode 67 - Choker, Ultimate X and a Bit of Business

This week on Teenage Wasteland...

J. Michael Straczynski is set to take on both Wonder Woman and the Man of Steel, and I find it interesting. Plus, a small observation on comic sales and the direct market and a run down of reviews on plenty of Number 1 issues.  And, last but not least, Mr. Sandquist stops by to talk all things Sam Kieth.

Books Discussed
Ultimate X #1
New Ultimates #1
Demo #1
Human Target #1
Choker #1

Download / iTunes / Forum

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Quick Hit Review: Starslayer #19

Written By: John Ostrander
Pencils: Timothy Truman
Inks: Yoho
Colors: Janice Cohen
Letters: Janice Chiang
Publisher: First Comics

A series originally created by Mike Grell, Starslayer projects the tale of a rag-tag space crew and leader Torin Mac Quillon as they rebel and battle against an oppressive regime that now holds Earth under its control.

I believe I have breifly heard of this series from some source, but in all honesty I walked into reading this book with no knowledge of its story, characters, world or purpose. Yet, with all that against me, I must say this book seriously packed a great story. On its surface - when the premise just nips your ears - it may seem like this book would be some throwaway science fiction blunder. John Ostrander has a wonderful talent though, and it is evident in this issue. For me, I love the tone, the mood this book carries, and even though I just walked in, Ostrander forces me to care about the dangers and fear for the outcomes of the characters. Honestly, there's a point in this issue (Mac Quillion vs. Bragg) where I felt that EPIC sensation; that feeling that I had been reading the series all along and I was getting the payoff.

To throw it over to the art side: Timothy Truman is perfect for this kind of story. From Hawkworld to Starslayer, Truman illustrates that "space opera meets the middle age" like no one else. I really love the way he angles his "camera" to show unique glimpses of the characters in their climactic moment.

To offer one small pick though, I got the feeling that this could have almost been the FINAL issue. The scene I mentioned earlier (Mac Qullion vs. Bragg) really gives off that idea because of the apparant relationship between the two characters. These two characters are connected. Their destinies intertwine. This battle doesn't read like any other either; this is THE battle and after a few deadly blows I really began to think that this was the resolution of Mac Quillion's character and the series. But, turn the went on. To me, it just had that excellent finale feel, but then was kind of tainted by the fact that wasn't. Guess they needed another issue, eh?

With the nit-pick or not though, this was a great issue. Wonderfully written and illustrated on both parts. This is a space odyssey I wish to take more of at some point.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Quick Hit Review: Green Lantern:Emerald Dawn #1

Written By: Jim Owsley (Christopher Priest)
Pencils: M.D. Bright
Inks: Romeo Tanghal
Colors: Anthony Tollin
Letters: Albert De Guzman
Publisher: DC Comics

Where did Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) stand in a Post-Crisis world? Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn sets out to tell that tale and fill in those continuity gaps while also updating the character for a contemporary (1989) era.

I understand the role this mini series was meant to play, and I see the purpose of re-telling the origin within it, but honestly I don't think this issue itself worked in the best way to tell the story. Owsley brings you in with an excellent opening scene that feels so very cinematic and captivates: a wonderfully narrated sequence of Hal's father suffering his accident - easily Hal's defining moment as a character. But, it seemed from there to just become the standard - maybe even below. The story begins to revolve more around the supporting cast (Carol, Jack, Andy) than Hal's own presence, and while his character should see some strong development, well...those moments are lacking. Hal does become the center piece once again as the influence of green begins to creep its way in, but at that point it just felt unexciting and really something I had already seen many times before.

Bright's artwork was a nice clean style that worked well, but overall this to me was not a promising start to what should be (in its context) an important Green Lantern story. I'll read the rest at some point...


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Quick Hit Review: Metal Men #48 (1976)

Written By: Martin Pasko
Art By: Walt Simonson
Coloring: Carl Gafford
Letters: Gaspar

Take a classic villain, put him up against a quirky super-team, and you will easily get a fun-filled comic book. That's Metal Men #48 - Eclipso working his diabolical scheme while the Metal Men try to intervene.

It's a story from the Bronze Age of comics, so don't expect a complex story of any means, but the book still packs a fun adventure. I love the Metal Men characters for their quirky interaction, and Martin Pasko seems to nail it in his writing of the issue. Also, do no forget Mr. Simonson; it is an earlier version of his work, but still remains an eye-catcher with a distinct style. 

If this were a modern day book, I may be a bit tougher for the fact that this issue has a lot of plot with very little slow-down time, but again, we are talking about 1976 - in that context the book does what it should. I cannot fault it there. If anything, I may point out where I think a few scene transitions were a bit rough: (a single page shows how the Metal Men land their hover craft, enter a cave, an earthquake occurs and Lead manages to rescue a secret tablot). That's a lot for one page, and the flow is not too smooth. 

Overall though, this was a fun, enjoyable read for a comic book. Find some Metal Men in the back issue bins.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

From WildC.A.T.S. to Today

I had some leisure time today, so I took the liberty to rummage through the infamous backlog of comics I own. What managed to catch my eye was Jim Lee’s own WildC.A.T.S. – issues one, three and four of the original mini series from 1992.

My knowledge of the super-team only roots itself so deep. I know the characters’ names and the premise, but I have not really read any C.A.T.S. comics. I have only witnessed the mediocre television cartoon.

Now, the animation series may have left me cold, but I have to say the comic book counterparts did no such thing. But, let me also stress, the original WildC.A.T.S. mini series is not excellent either. I think this is a case where a book is serviceable to its intended idea. C.A.T.S. is a book about a super-team saving the world depicted in an early 1990s Jim Lee fashion. Could the book have done that job from a Steve Gerber perspective? Sure thing, but the book already carried the idea well enough and got the job done.

I also have to say that I like Lee’s art in all of its muscle-bound, Image-esque, detailed glory. It is not a style I would like to see replicated today – we are past that – but observing the art in the context of its era I quite enjoy it. Lee captures an iconic, statue-like look; his style and others like him at the time are what made Image the success story. It was an artistic look never seen before in American comic books, and it was a movement that easily spawned and influenced contemporary comic book pages.

Now, the early Image stuff usually receives the short end of the stick from most, but for my own personal taste I hold quite a strong interest for Image’s first wave. It is not the fact that the books are exceptionally mind blowing – because they are not in most cases – my fascination just stems from the circumstance of what the Image founders went up against and the insanity that soon followed as success hit (there’s a letter page in WildC.A.T.S. #4 that makes note that Rob Liefeld will be working with Steven Speilberg to write, produce and storyboard a film).

Granted, I did just admit that most of Image’s output at the start was not mind blowing, but at the same rate I do think the hate some of these titles receive is a bit misdirected. Mind blowing? No. Good? Most, I would say, hit the “good” level on the meter. Savage Dragon, Spawn, Stormwatch, Wetworks and yes WildC.A.T.S. are good comic books. The all convey stories, they all entertain and they all showcase substantial artwork – probably the best artwork of the business at its current time. Plus, you need to mention some of the talent the Image Founders brought in: Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller and Dave Sim - four men of exceptional talent who worked on four consecutive issues of Spawn that later lead to other projects (Alan Moore on WildC.A.T.S. and 1963).

Was all of Image good at the beginning? No. Sorry Mr. Leifeld, but Youngblood, Brigade and Supreme…I think that is where the bad reputation originates from. A few books, and their clear flaws, managed to condemn an entire line and unrightfully so. The Image Founders may have been artists first and writers second, but for the most part I believe most produced good work in those early days. They were doing what they wanted to do and doing it in new ways. Look where some of them are today because of Image: Jim Lee is the co-publisher of DC Comics, Jim Valentino heads up Shadowline, Todd MacFarlane owns his own company and Erik Larsen continues to pump out Savage Dragon while growing immensely as an artist.

How can anyone hate? They changed comics. Whether it was flawless or not, they changed comics. Respect.

I enjoyed my time with the WildC.A.T.S. issues today: bold 1990s artwork, big super-hero action and the Image Comics seal of approval.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Episode 66 - 1963...Oh, What a Year!

This week on Teenage Wasteland...

A new intro and a bit of business to push out of the way, but quickly after that I pose the question of, "How many younger people listen?". Plus, some thoughts on spending, large reading piles and plenty of reviews. Oh, and don't forget, Mr. Jeff Sandquist talking up the Punisher!

Books Discussed
The Corpse Carries a Gun and Tyrannosaurus Beth #1
Daredevil Vol. 1 #100 and #101
1963 #1-6
The Losers Vol. 1 and 2

Monster Island Media

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Episode 65 - InvinciAlec Returns!

This week on Teenage Wasteland...

If you know your history, then you understand that I was a hardcore Invincible fan at one point in time. So, how does the book hold up when I return to reading after a ten issue hiatus? Have my thoughts changed?! Also, some opinions on DC Entertainment, a congrats to iFanboy, comic reviews and Jeff Sandquist stops by to share his thoughts on Mesmo Delivery (which I now want to read). Enjoy!

Books Discussed
Nexus: The Origin
Invincible #70
Hate #5 and 6
Spider-woman #5 and 6

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Episode 64 - Don't Be a Know-it-All

This week on Teenage Wasteland...

Something funny and odd happened during my last trek to my local comic shop. It's a tale I wish to recount while hopefully instilling some sense of moral fortitude. Let's learn the lesson, people, nobody likes a Know-it-All. Also, some comic talk and a word from Mr. Jeff Sandquist.

Books Discussed
Doom Patrol Vol. 2 #1-15
Siege #1-2

CGS #786 - Call Me with Alec B.

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