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    Walking in a Winter Wasteland with Frostbite #1

    frostbite #1 review

    frostbite #1 coverThe year is…well, it’s unclear what year it is. All we’re told is it’s been more than half a century since the Earth’s temperature dropped, leaving once-balmy regions like Los Angeles steeped in sub-zero conditions. Welcome to the world of Frostbite, the new Vertigo comic book series from Joshua Williamson (The Flash, Nailbiter, Birthright) and Jason Shawn Alexander (Empty Zone, The Secret).

    To survive amid the severe change of climate, most people have congregated in large cities, resulting in over-crowding, rampant crime…you know, the standard state of affairs in dystopian urbania. What’s more, the chilly conditions have brought about a new disease known as “frostbite,” an apparently contagious ailment that causes the infected to freeze from the inside out.

    Frostbite #1 Preview at TFAW.comFollowing an ominous introduction, we are introduced to a small team of transporters (smugglers?), headed by the female protagonist, Keaton. Readying for their next long haul, the group is approached by a pair of doctors, father and daughter, who are seeking transport from L.A. to Alcatraz Island. The pair’s quality attire makes Keaton question why they’d want to hitch a ride with a hauler rig, but she ultimately agrees. Her suspicions are substantiated when the team is suddenly attacked by a unit of assassins, under orders from the sinister and mysterious crime boss known simply as “Fuego.”

    The artwork culminates in a stunning minimalism that nicely fits the simple, yet stark reality the story is set within.

    Turns out these doctors have something Fuego wants, and are willing to kill to obtain it. Now, without supplies or means of transportation, Keaton and her team must find a way to get their precious human cargo to Alcatraz before Fuego catches up with them.

    Frostbite #1 Preview at TFAW.comIn both concept and execution, this book rides the current zeitgeist of female-fronted dystopian sci-fi. Every element here feels familiar, like someone combined the best elements of Mad Max: Fury Road, Judge Dredd, and Snowpiercer.

    As intriguing as the story itself is, where this book really shines is in the artwork. Artist Jason Shawn Alexander’s scratchy, shadowy inking is great to look at, especially when he zooms in on a character’s face and amps up the detail. Even better is the watercolor work by Luis NCT, which relies on a spare color spectrum (basically blue, orange, red, and brown), and every few pages features a really cool ink spatter effect. Altogether, the artwork culminates in a stunning minimalism that nicely fits the simple, yet stark reality the story is set within.

    Frostbite #1 Preview at TFAW.comI look forward to seeing what the creative team does with the premise going forward.

    Frostbite #1, Vertigo Comics, Released Sept 28, 2016, Written by Joshua Williamson, Art by Jason Shawn Alexander, Colors by Luis NCT, Letters by Steve Wands.

    Review by James Florence.

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    Review: Nightwing #1 — Flying the Coop Once Again

    Review of Nightwing #1

    nightwing #1For any avid Nightwing fan such as myself, just the cover alone gets me pumped to dive right into the issue. You have almost the whole bat-family right on the front cover, a sense of divergence in the color choices, and a good idea that this arc isn’t going to be localized to our favorite boy in blue.

    As Seely takes us through Nightwing’s new life, he also kind of tears our hearts out a bit. This issue does a good job of setting up some exposition that is going to take the reader into a reinventing of Nightwing. The issue tugs at our heartstrings as we see some of the inevitable changes of life Dick must face. He and Barbara are not quite connecting the way they used to. Batman openly reminds him that he has a new protege to look after. Once again, and seemingly as always, Dick ends up on his own.

    Fernandez‘s art is entirely appropriate for this new Nightwing. The art is reminiscent of McDaniel’s Nightwing run in the 90s while hinting at a Snyder feel that represents modern-day Batman titles. While I don’t entirely approve of the thin, streamlined blue bird on the new costume, I’m glad that Fernandez makes the best of it. I do hope that they thicken up the mask, the emblem, the stripes, etc. over the course of the next few issues…

    Overall, the new title looks promising. It is a little early to tell what is going to happen to Nightwing in his new book, but Seely is delivering the motifs that Nightwing fans are familiar and comfortable with already while simultaneously promising that new things will be in store for our hero.

    Nightwing #1, written by Tim Seely, art by Javier Fernandez, and colors by Chris Sotomayor. Published July 27, 2016.

    Review by Alex Mitts

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    Review: Titans #1 – The Fastest Man Alive

    Review of Titans #1

    Titans #1 CoverFirst, I should start off by saying that I have been waiting for Titans to pick back up as soon as it was announced. When I was younger, I lived and breathed Titans (specifically Nightwing and Wally’s Flash). I loved the comics, I loved the show, and I have continued to love the characters even after the team disbanded and they went their separate ways. So my expectations for this title were pretty high…

    As I dove into Titans #1, I noticed two things right away. First, it gives readers what they want right up front, and that is some quality Wally West time now that he is back in the DCU! Secondly, the layouts look fantastic. Rapmund and Booth really strike readers visually with their layouts in this issue, and it is just as easy to follow as it is pleasing to the eye.

    Abnett puts readers in an interesting place. He rewinds Wally’s timeline just a bit as well as the timeline of his true love, Linda Park. Wally needs to piece his timeline back together and remind the world, his love, and his friends who he really is! With the help of Lillith and the Titans, he hopes to make it all happen! As Lillith reaches deeper into Wally’s memory hoping to recover something, she finds that an old foe has taken up arms once again, and it is up to the Titans to stop him once more!

    This issue takes a good step in the right direction. It shows us that Wally is now back as an important member of the Titans, it sets up a larger arc in attempting to give Wally his life back, and it also rewinds his clock without making him a “teen” titan. Overall, the issue was well written. The dialogue is believable for every character. Furthermore, it reintroduces an old Titan foe we love to hate, and it excites me to see where this series is going!

    Titans #1, written by Dan Abnett, art by Norm Rapmund & Brett Booth, and colors by Andrew Dalhouse. Published July 27, 2016.

    Review by Alex Mitts

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    Review: Chew #56 — Savoy’s Ghastly Gastronomic Revenge

    Review of Chew #56

    Chew #56 coverHey, remember that time Tony had to nibble on the toe of his dead sister so she could tell him how to defeat the Collector? Well, he’s found himself in a similar situation in Chew #56 with Savoy, who himself has abruptly departed the corporeal realm. The difference is Savoy hasn’t forgotten about Tony’s stubborn refusal to work with him, and he’s devised a particularly unpleasant means of comeuppance. By ingesting a large amount of beets before offing himself, Savoy has made sure Tony will have to work to get the information he needs. In other words, Tony’s in for one big, not-so-happy meal.

    What’s more, the door of psychic communication he’s opened with Savoy is proving to be a disruption at work, with the fat man popping up and commanding his attention at the worst possible times (might help if Tony quit snacking on the job…). At one point, Tony’s mental absence nearly gets Colby killed, but luckily he snaps out of it just in time to “ice” the felonious food freak of the day.

    As Tony realizes he’ll need to eat a lot more than Savoy’s ear to get what he needs, Colby recommends having his brother, Chow, fix the fat man up Poyo-style. Tony is hesitant, but as it turns out, Chow himself is in need of a favor. Their sister Toni’s former fiancée, Paneer, has shown up drunk at Chow’s place, blubbering about the imminent end of the world. Based on NASA’s telescopic observations of late, it appears any planet around which the cryptic skywriting appears is doomed for an explosive end, which means Earth’s days are numbered.

    If there is a way to stop the clock on Earth’s demise, the only one who knows it is Savoy, which means the only one who can uncover it is Tony – which means it’s time to get eatin’.

    Chew #56, Image Comics, released July 2016, written and lettered by John Layman, drawn and colored by Rob Guillory, $3.50.

    Review by James Florence.

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    Review: Predator Vs Judge Dredd Vs Aliens #1 – The Mega-Crossover

    Review of Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens #1

    predator vs judge dredd vs alien #1We’ve seen Judge Dredd take on a Predator before. We’ve seen him take on Aliens before. Well, the ante has officially been upped. Welcome to a sci-fi geek’s wet dream: It’s Predators Vs Judge Dredd Vs Aliens!

    The stage for this epic showdown is set far from the walls of Mega-City One—Alabama, to be precise (and if you thought Alabama was weird now, try the dystopian future…). Dredd and his posse of Judges are motoring across the Cursed Earth wasteland in pursuit of a robotic messiah and his fanatical followers who left half a city block in ruins. After stopping at a shady desert saloon for a quick skirmish, the Judges’ chase takes them into a zone where the locals dare not tread: the Alabama Morass.

    The Morass happens to be the territory of a gang of animal-headed mutants, led by their creator, Dr. Reinstot—a sort of backwoods Dr. Moreau, if you will. Earlier in the episode, Dr. Reinstot’s cronies had captured a Predator who was trespassing on their turf. Always looking for fresh bodies on which to perform his gene-splicing experiments, Dr. Reinstot is particularly excited about this new specimen, for whom he has some special plans.

    As the Judge convoy speeds through the swampy jungle, they are unaware that their presence is being monitored by Dr. Reinstot, who is keen on adding these intruders to his experimental queue. However, right about that same time, another group of trespassers arrives. Turns out Reinstot’s prisoner left behind some sort of homing beacon before being captured—and you’ll never guess who’s coming to the party.

    With John Layman (Chew) on the script and Chris Mooneyham (Five Ghosts) on pencils, the series is in more than capable creative hands. Not to mention dutiful: If the first issue is any indication, fans of the representative franchises can rest assured of the characters being treated with the utmost reverence. And though we haven’t seen an Alien yet, we’re sure as hell going to, so strap in and get ready for a gruddamn good ‘n’ gory time!

    Predator Vs Judge Dredd Vs Aliens #1, Dark Horse/IDW Comics, Released July 27, 2016, Written by John Layman, Art by Chris Mooneyham, Colors by Michael Atiyeh, Letters by Michael Heisler, $3.99.

    Review by James Florence.

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    Review: Chew #55 – Get Ready for a Shocking Change!

    Review of Chew issue 55

    Chew #55 CoverIn Chew #50, the exhilaration of final triumph over the Collector is undercut by an ominous epilogue: a muted image of Tony holding the battered (deceased?) body of his wife, Amelia. With only ten issues left in the series, we knew this event, whatever its actual severity, was going to take place soon. However, if Layman and Guillory have a penchant for subverting readers’ expectations, they’ve really done it this time. Even when I anticipated their bluff, they still managed to blindside me with an entirely different bombshell. I want to avoid spoilers, so just take my word for it: some sh*t goes down.

    Much of the issue consists of an ongoing monologue by Savoy, who reflects on his wife’s death and his subsequent quest for the truth behind the avian flu. He talks of the “singularly awful” things he’s had to do for the sake of his charge, and hints at some equally awful things to come. He knows Tony will come looking for him soon, and he’s prepared for what he must do.

    Indeed, following the incident at his apartment, Tony is looking for Savoy. He enlists the help of Caesar, who’s in the midst of dealing with a villian with a deadly penchant for carrots (easily the closest we’ve yet seen to a character from The Tick). Over the phone, Savoy instructs Caesar to lead Tony to him. When Tony arrives at Savoy’s location, he finds himself faced with what will be his most unappetizing meal yet… which is saying something, considering this is a guy who once ate a rotting rooster carcass.

    Chew #55, Image Comics, released February 2016, written and lettered by John Layman, drawn and colored by Rob Guillory, $3.50.

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    Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1 – One Ring to Rule Them All

    Review of Hal Jordan and the Green Lanterns Rebirth #1

    hal jordan green lantern corps rebirth #1I was looking forward to Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1 quite a bit before getting my hands on it. Sure, we may all have our favorite Lantern. Sure, it may NOT be Hal Jordan. But we all have a spot in our heart for that brash pilot who paved the way for the lantern corps to be what it is today.

    Right away, Venditti catches readers up on a little origin for new readers as well as where we have last seen the mighty Hal Jordan in his most recent book. As a reader who hasn’t read many lantern comics since the New 52 happened, this was greatly appreciated. Venditti quickly brings readers up to speed while still asking questions that would keep any reader turning the pages. All the while, Hal Jordan still holds on to that messiah complex that makes him so accessible to the every-man.

    Venditti gives his readers a preview of what is to come without letting too much slip in terms of spoilers. All we know as readers is that Hal is back in action, and he is connected to the rest of the corps in ways that will excited us as we dive further into the series. This issue promises us that yes, Hal will be at the forefront of the book, but we as readers also get to explore our favorite lanterns and their connections to each other.

    With Ethan Van Sciver delivering brilliant art as always, connecting the dots between Hal and the rest of the lanterns is going to be an epic ride if the series is going to be anything like this rebirthing issue.

    Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1, written by Robert Venditti, art by Ethan Van Sciver, and colors by Jason Wright. Published July 13, 2016.

    Review by Alex Mitts

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    Review: Chew #54 — Ray-Jack’s back: Enter Chog-mania!

    Chew #54 by John Layman & Rob Guillory

    Chew #54Mason Savoy is pissed, and understandably so. He’s gone to great lengths to convince Tony Chu why they should join forces to uncover the truth behind the bird flu cover-up. But not even a trip back in time to the Cretaceous period (see issue #53) can persuade Tony. Tony’s mind is made up: He is NOT going to work with Savoy, period, end of story. (Sheesh, you bite off a guy’s ear one time and he never lets it go…)

    As it becomes clear to Savoy that diplomacy isn’t going to work with Tony, he resigns himself to the fact that more extreme measures will be necessary.

    Meanwhile, Amelia continues to hit a wall with the ending of her celebrated sci-fi novel series. However, it isn’t writer’s block she’s struggling against—after all, she’s not conceiving the story so much as channeling it from an unknown source. After repeated attempts to circumvent the seemingly inevitable conclusion (The world goes kablooie!), she finally manages to channel a new one. However, this alternate ending isn’t any more auspicious, and leaves her with a particular sense of unease.

    Amelia calls Tony to relay her new premonition, but Tony’s not picking up—he’s working. There’s been an incident over at Montero Industries, and he and Colby have been sent to investigate. Ray-Jack Montero, genetically-modified food-turned-genetically-modified-creature tycoon, is back from his abbreviated prison stint, and is wasting no time making the most of his laboratory’s capabilities, adding to the Chog family such creations as the Chonco and the Orchog (take a guess…). However, when one of his researchers’ experiments goes catastrophically awry, Ray-Jack finds himself once again in hot water with the FDA.

    After wrapping up the Montero situation, Tony returns to his apartment, where he makes a disturbing discovery…

    Chew #54, Image Comics, released January 2016, written and lettered by John Layman, drawn and colored by Rob Guillory, $3.50.

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    Review: Nightwing: Rebirth #1 – The Bird is Back!

    Nightwing Rebirth #1 by Tim Seeley & Javi Fernandez

    Nightwing: Rebirth #1When I first picked up Nightwing: Rebirth #1, I could almost feel how heavy the issue was with loose ends to tie up. Normally, I flip through the pages first to get an idea of what I’m getting myself into, and I realize that I am right. Nightwing: Rebirth #1 is going to answer all the questions I still had at the end of Grayson as well as give Dick Grayson a nice, warm welcome back into the DC Universe.

    The issue opens and gives avid bat-readers something familiar in a trip to the arcade with Damian. Though this makes me nostalgic for Morrison’s “Batman and Robin” series, it serves as the platform for Dick catching us up on our story as Damian becomes the surrogate audience.

    The issue does seem to rush cleaning things up a bit in Dick’s life by bouncing from loose end to loose end, but as a reader, this may be the best-case-scenario for how to handle all of the stuff the readers never wanted to see in Dick’s life anyway. In essence, this comic closes a lot of open doors in Dick’s life and lets us, the readers, and them, the writers, get on with how Dick Grayson should be.

    This issue turned out to be a fun little read, but this issue mainly exists to serve a purpose. This issue fills in gaps in stories that got out of hand and gets Dick back into the blue and black costume that readers know and love. Furthermore, this book also serves as a stepping stone and lets readers say goodbye to Agent 37 while welcoming back our old friend, the real NIGHTWING.

    Nightwing: Rebirth #1, written by Tim Seely, art by Yanick Paquette, and colors by Nathan Fairbairn. Published July 13, 2016.

    Review by Alex Mitts.

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    Review: Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #3

    Review of Lobster Johnson - Metal Monsters of Midtown #3

    Lobster Johnson Metal Monsters of Midtown #3The latest Lobster Johnson adventure concludes with a bang — not to mention a few “KRASH”es, “KRANG”s and “BOOM”s — as our hero once again goes head-to-head with the eponymous automatons. This time, however, he’s found a way to level the playing field, having located the secret control station for the decommissioned member of the robotic trio. Now in the virtual driver’s seat of the titanium titan, the Lobster heads downtown, where he finds one of the others waiting for him. What follows is a showdown of colossal proportions, with the two behemoth bots slugging it out while the intrepid Cindy Tynan gives the play-by-play from her mobile radio station.

    As the Lobster works the robot’s controls, we see his sanity begin to slip. This was a peril he knew of beforehand, that of becoming addicted to the mania that overtook Emin Aliyev and the other robot jockeys. When he begins speaking in a long-dead demoniac language, it’s clear he’s become possessed by the ancient Hyperborean spirits that authored this nefarious machinery. Will Johnson be able to win the day without losing his soul? Or will he degenerate into a “fiend” as Emin and his cohorts did?

    In the end, thanks to the help of his capable crew and his own off-the-cuff resourcefulness, the Lobster is able to put the kibosh on the massive mechanical menace, ruling out any loose ends by finishing the job in characteristic fashion: blowing things to smithereens.

    Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #3, Dark Horse Comics, released July 27, 2016, written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, art by Tonci Zonjic, colors by Dave Stewart, letters by Clem Robins, cover by Tonci Zonjic, $3.50.

    Review by James Florence.

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    Review: Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion #5

    Review of Green Lantern - Edge of Oblivion #5

    Green Lantern Edge of Oblivion #5Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion #5 opens with Tom Taylor (Writer) experiencing a rather jarring memory that is revealed as none other than Guy Gardner’s. The memory gives the readers a little insight as to why Guy is the way he is. We all know him as this annoying rabble-rouser, but only now do we get to see where the man we love to be annoyed by comes from.

    With Guy at the helm, he leads the attack against the wolves in sheep’s clothing known as “The Blackest Knights.” But only Guy and his small group know the truth, so they must face their own Corps to get to the real threat faced in this book. Without giving away spoilers, Guy enlists the help of a powerful ally to help lift the veil of the enemies and expose them for what they truly are…and they’re true form will make for a grand finale in the next issue!

    One thing that struck me about this issue is that I noticed that Scott McDaniel was brought on board to manage layouts. His name should be familiar to hardcore comic geeks: he did a lot of great work in the 90s on books such as Nightwing and Daredevil. McDaniel’s talents really shine in this book, and having a separate person to do the layouts always seems like a good idea to me.

    The issue also flows well visually considering that there are many close-ups and conversational focus shifts along the way. Reveals are never too obvious, and as a reader, I am never confused about where my eye should be drawn to next.

    This issue focuses not just on the next logical step of plot for this arc, but it also gives readers a little look into Guy Gardner’s past. Guy is generally a character that doesn’t get much backstory, but one well-planned page of this book gives readers a great peek into this character’s background. Continuing that point, Taylor wants this history shown rather than told, and Aaron Syaf (Pencils) delivers in that regard. Furthermore, the team of inkers help capture the dark past we get to see, and they give that page its own style without contaminating the style of the rest of this issue.

    Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion #5, written by Tom Taylor, art by Ardian Syaf and Cliff Richards, layouts by Scott McDaniel, and inks by Jonathan Glapion and Mark Irwin. Published May 11, 2016.

    Review by Alex Mitts

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    Review: Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #2

    Review of Lobster Johnson - Metal Monsters of Midtown #2

    Lobster Johnson Metal Monsters of Midtown #2In the second installment of Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown, the Lobster continues to dive – this time, literally – into the mystery behind the recent scourge of giant robot attacks on Manhattan. His search takes him underwater, off the city docks, where he discovers a freshly sunken automobile. What he finds therein further perplexes matters: an emaciated, bug-eyed corpse, clearly human, but with ghastly facial deformities.

    Following this discovery, we are reacquainted with Frieda Aliyev, the “ritzy dame” who is somehow connected to the earth-shaking events of late. Upon being identified by one of the Lobster’s crew, she attempts suicide, but is saved at the last second by Johnson. Back at her apartment, Frieda comes clean, revealing an intimate association with the corpse found earlier that evening. She recounts her husband Emin’s chance happening upon an ancient Hyperborean worksite while spelunking in China. B.P.R.D. fans will quickly notice the site’s resemblance to the one that, years later, spells disaster for Munich in The Warning story arc (in which the Lobster plays a spectral role). Emin’s encounter endows him with the genius — and mania — of those ancient engineers, inspiring him to construct the titanium terrors that are now wreaking havoc on the city.

    It turns out Emin was not working alone, rather, he brought in two partners to share in his maniacal enterprise. With one robot down and two to go, Frieda offers a suggestion of how the Lobster can defeat the remaining mechanical monstrosities. Moments later, their conversation is interrupted with a “KRASH!” that sets things up for the story’s concluding chapter.

    Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #2, Dark Horse Comics, released June 29, 2016, written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, art by Tonci Zonjic, colors by Dave Stewart, letters by Clem Robins, cover by Tonci Zonjic, $3.50.

    Review by James Florence

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