Tag: Joshua Williamson

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    Justice League #12 goes deeper into Justice League vs Suicide Squad

    Let’s get crazy with Moon Knight, bite off more than we can chew with Nailbiter, and learn some new things in Justice League this week. As always these are only a few choice highlights from this weeks new releases. Check out our other blog articles to see our thoughts on other books. Be sure to comment or share our post on Facebook or Twitter if you like our articles!

    SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep from posting spoilers, but one may sneak through to our reviews now and again. Read with caution, true believers.

    Justice League #12
    By: Tim Seeley, Christian Duce, Tony S. Daniel

    As a tie-in to Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, Justice League #12 gives us a view inside the motivations of the event’s villain, Maxwell Lord. Captured by Amanda Waller, Max is under interrogation the entire issue. But is he really the one being interrogated? This book cuts between the present interrogation, and various scenes of Max’s career.

    Tim Seeley continues to be one of the best go-to writers DC has. His understanding and treatment of characters always honors their past but pushes them into the future. Christian Duce’s art is wonderful; to the point that I’m surprised I haven’t seen his work on a more consistent basis.

    Tie-ins can feel like less of a whole story sometimes. This team, however, brings a stand-alone issue that actually enhances the whole event. [Mikey N. at TFAW.com]

    GET ON BOARD JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD

    Nailbiter #28
    By: Joshua Williamson, Mike Henderson, Adam Guzowski

    28 issues and still going strong. With the last issue leaving off with Alice coming home to her mom being attacked. She snaps into action saving her. But for how long? Someone is planting bombs under Buckaroo Oregon, but I think this may just be a distraction. It seems this person may want the whole Nailbiter family instead.

    Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson have been at this from the beginning. Mike’s dynamic art really pops with Adam Guzowski’s colors on this issue, especially when it comes to the explosions.

    If you’ve missed out on this series at the beginning. It’s worth the catch-up. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    CATCH UP WITH NAILBITER

    Moon Knight #10
    By: Jeff Lemire, Wilfredo Torres, Greg Smallwood, Jordie Bellaire

    Death and Birth starts now! Though this is issue #10 this is a great jumping on point. The team of Jeff Lemire, Greg Smallwood and Jordie Bellaire do an amazing job of pulling you into Marc Spector’s insane life. A new glimpse of his history, a splash of his present predicament, and a proper push to more adventure take place in this issue.

    Take your time with this issue. There are little treats for the eye in almost every panel. In addition, Lemire captures your emotional spectrum once again. With brilliant storytelling, pacing, colors and panel layout, you will not be disappointed! Just when you thought it was over…MOON KNIGHT takes off! [Sean W. at TFAW.com]

    JOIN ONE OF MARVELS MOST INSANE HEROES

    What did you think of these books? What should we review next week? Let us know below!

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    Justice vs. Suicide

    Heroes fighting villains is hardly a new concept in comics. Some might even say it’s the original concept in comics.

    But what happens when readers have just as much love for the villains as the heroes? Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1 is the first major crossover event of DC Rebirth. And it’s the perfect conflict to kick things off.

    On one side of the battle you have the paragons of good (Justice League) and on the other is the lovable bunch of rogues forced to do good (Suicide Squad). This conflict has been brewing for a while as Batman just recently became aware of the Squad’s existence in his own book. Batman is concerned about the government-manipulating criminals into going on suicide missions. He, along with the Justice League,decide it’s time to shut down Amanda Waller’s insane experiment for good.

    The Epic Battle Begins

    For DC Comics fans, this story is a dream come true. These are some of the most beloved characters in the DC universe and to get to see them throw down is incredibly exciting.

    Writer Joshua Williamson gives the story the pace of a summer blockbuster. This story is filled with epic action sequences and great banter between characters. Williamson’s script is well-complimented by Jason Fabok’s art. There is a breathtaking two-page spread of a battle between the teams.

    This first issue sets the stage for an epic event and the last page returns a classic DC evildoer to the canon. This is the kind of crossover event fans hope for and rarely get.

    Suicide Squad vs Justice League #1 is true to the characters and the world while raising stakes without feeling forced. It also appeals to both new and longtime readers. Rebirth followers will be rewarded greatly. While newcomers can still jump on for the ride. And what a ride it’s going to be.

    DON’T MISS ANY OF THE BATTLE. PRE-ORDER THE REST OF THE JUSTICE LEAGUE VS.SUICIDE SQUAD

    Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1, DC Comics, Released December 21, 2016, Written by Joshua Williamson, Art by Jason Fabok, $3.99

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    Batman and TMNT Join Forces

    New Comic Book Day Nov 9 2016

    It’s Wednesday, and that means there are new comic book releases to talk about! Check out our other New Comic Book Day blog articles to see our thoughts on previous new releases. Be sure to comment or share our post on Facebook or Twitter if you like our articles!

    SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep from posting spoilers, but one may sneak through to our reviews now and again. Read with caution, true believers.

    Batman Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #1
    By: Matthew K. Manning, Jon Sommariva

    Combining my favorite iteration of Batman with the most fun version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures gives us the ’90s Batman Animated Series combined with the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series. What we get is a great sense of nostalgia, combined with the upbeat sensibilities the Turtles are known for. So basically, a good time.

    Matthew K. Manning weaves a plot that sets our two worlds of heroes onto the same case in a way that respects Batman’s detective skills and the turtle’s penchant for always getting themselves into trouble. Jon Sommariva’s art does a great job of combining the very distinctive art styles from both worlds into one that makes it feel like they belong together. Where IDW and DC had these two comic book versions of the characters recently crossover, having the light-hearted and more commercially known versions of these two classic franchises join forces is a great breath of fresh air for the kid at heart. [Mikey N. at TFAW.com]

    PICK UP THE COMIC INSPIRED BY YOUR TOY BATTLES
    VISIT OUR SPECIAL BATMAN PAGE
    VISIT OUR SPECIAL TMNT PAGE

    Flash #10
    By: Joshua Williamson, Felipe Watanabe, Oclair Albert, Chris Sotomayor, Steve Wands, Carmine Di Giandomencio

    Heroics are hard. Having fantastic powers is great, but it doesn’t make one a hero. Barry Allen has been training Wally West how to use his powers, but The Flash #7 shows us that there’s more to heroics than simply running fast.

    Over the decades, The Flash has learned valuable lessons on how to save the people of Central City; he’s now using those years of experience and imparting wisdom upon Kid Flash. It’s as if Joshua Williamson is distilling decades worth of comics into digestible pieces for a new generation of comics fans.

    Williamson introduces two new Rogues, and this story promises to take us to places we’ve never gone before. I am excited to keep reading. [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    PICK UP THIS ISSUE OF THE FLASH & DISCOVER OTHER GREAT FLASH BOOKS

    Archer & Armstrong #9
    By: Rafer Roberts, Mike Norton, Brian Level

    A&A #9 serves as a jump on point for new readers. “Andromeda Estranged” kicks off a new arc that sets our heroes in a history lesson. You see, Earth and humans, they’re a strange anomaly within the universe. The “creators,” as we learn, didn’t mean for us to be created. They tried to steer us in the right direction but greed and power (as it always seems to) corrupted us.

    Valiant is known for creating good jumping-on points for new readers and this issue is no exception. Rafer Roberts has been doing an excellent job with this series. Issue #9 is no exception. Penciler Mike Norton and Colorist Allen Passalaqua within the first few pages have a visually striking style that works with the context, (thanks to Ryan Lee) a James Stokoe grit if you will. Once we’re back in our world, however, they go to a more familiar style that Archer & Armstrong fans are used to. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    GRAB THIS BUDDY COP COMEDY FROM VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT!

    WWE Then Now Forever #1
    By: Dennis Hopeless, Dan Mora, Ross Thibodeaux, Rob Guillory, Rob Shamberger, Derek Fridolfs, Daniel Bayliss

    As a fan of professional wrestling growing up, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this issue from BOOM! Studios new WWE series. WWE: Then. Now. Forever #1. This is a reader’s first introduction to the new comic world that weaves in and out of actual stories from the WWE. This compilation issue collects a story by Dennis Hopeless about Seth Rollins’ rise and fall with his team, The Shield. Along with short stories featuring The New Day, Sasha Banks, and Tugboat. This issue also collects the San Diego Comic Con exclusive one-page stories featuring Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, John Cena, The New Day, Sasha Banks, The Undertaker, and Dusty Rhodes.

    Headed up by a huge list of creators, this book takes the fandom seriously in some stories, has a whole lot of fun in others, and finds itself incredibly inspirational. The heroes, the heels, the over the top performances, and the drama that fans of professional wrestling have come to love and crave are all found here. If you’ve ever been a fan of any era of the WWE, WWE: Then. Now. Forever is a book for you. [Mikey N. at TFAW.com]

    DON’T TAP OUT GRAB WWE: THEN. NOW. FOREVER TODAY!

    Captain America Steve Rogers #7
    By: Nick Spencer, Jesus Saiz, Joe Caramagna, Stephanie Hans

    Steve Rogers’ reality has been secretly rewritten by a sentient Cosmic Cube known as Kobik. He is now an agent of HYDRA.

    That’s all the background you need to jump aboard Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz’s Steve Rogers Captain America. Cap is no longer the bastion of freedom and morality; he’s been corrupted, and this allows Spencer to explore some important themes that his predecessors never have. Steve Rogers Captain America #7 is the start to a new arc, so now’s a good time to join along.

    Saiz’s art is expressive and emotional, particularly when it comes to depicting the book’s tyrants–the Red Skull and the bullies of 1935 that were a part of the machine that gave rise to his HYDRA regime.

    I can’t help but have optimism about the future of this comic and really, really look forward to getting our Steve Rogers back in the saddle again. [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    VISIT OUR CAPTAIN AMERICA PAGE

    What did you think of these books? What should we review next week? Let us know below!

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    Between the Occult and the Detective

    Between the Occult and the Detective

    There are two comic themes that when combined can make for enthralling reading — detectives/private eyes and magic. This coupling of sleuthing and the supernatural (including religion, the occult, sorcery and more) is pervasive in comics and the noir characteristics just heighten the thrills.

    hellblazerAnd no one fits that bill better than the Hellblazer himself, John Constantine. Created originally in Alan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing in 1985, it wasn’t until 1988 when Hellblazer #1 hit the stands. Ever since, John has been working his magic in comics, on film in the Constantine movie, and in the short-lived and underrated Constantine television show. He’s  also part of pop culture in general (the Supernatural TV series borrows heavily from John Constantine for Castiel’s character).

    With 30-plus years of this character’s history, it can be daunting to know where to start. A good entry point is a graphic novel. Surprisingly, it’s not the  first volume — John Constantine, Hellblazer: Original Sins, but the fifth volume: Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits. Written by longtime Hellblazer writer Garth Ennis, this volume actually inspired parts of the 2005 Constantine movie.

    The story is pretty simple — John’s dying. All those cigarettes have caused an advanced terminal lung cancer. Knowing that his soul is damned and Hell is ready for him, John moves to cure his disease and save himself. What happens after he sets down this course is truly amazing.

    Another must read Hellblazer arc was created by celebrated crime novelist, Ian Rankin, for Vertigo’s crime imprint called Dark Entries in 2009. This was the first Original Graphic Novel (also called an OGN), meaning it was never released as single issues. The plot involves John trying to figure out why a house on a reality TV program is haunted. Of course, he can’t stop production, so he joins the series and starts to unravel the mystery.

    One of the big draws is the inclusion of religion within the series. It’s not just focused on Christianity. Voodoo magic is used regularly not only by Constantine, but his frenemy Papa Midnight. Although Catholicism is most prominent, the series never ignores the idea of other religions in the world.

    Look Overseas for Great Horror Comics

    Hellblazer isn’t the only series to blend magic and religion. Around the same time, Italian writer Tiziano Sclavi was introducing the world to Dylan Dog. A self-proclaimed Nightmare Investigator, Dylan, unlike John Constantine, was likeable. By 2011, Dylan Dog reached 300 issues, but only a handful made it to the United States.

    Dylan’s occult interactions mainly revolve around the classic monsters like vampires, werewolves, and zombies. Although, demons have crossed paths with him a few times.

    Many were first introduced to this character in the Dylan Dog Case Files from Dark Horse Comics. This graphic novel featured selected stories that were translated and released just prior to the Dylan Dog: Dead of Night film that starred Brandon Routh. The Dylan Dog Case Files is a great compilation of stories from the Italian series, but up until September 2016 it was the only source of Dylan Dog stories available in the U.S. Now, new stories are starting to come out from Epicenter Comics. Reportedly, there will also be reprints of past stories.

    How to Steal a Ghost

    ghostedAnother series that blends crime and the occult is Joshua Williamson’s Ghosted. Williamson is currently heading up The Flash series in DC’s Rebirth, and it’s been great.

    Ghosted, published by Image Comics, is further evidence that Williamson is the real deal. The series follows one of the world’s greatest thieves as he’s pulled into the world of the occult. He’s broken out of prison and offered the chance to steal something no one else has — a ghost.

    Think equal parts Ocean’s 11 and The Shining. Things are never as they seem, and our hero has to rely on more than his wits to get out of this situation. Pulling together a team of experts to help him steal this ghost, he assembles a psychic, an occult historian, a tech guy to record the ghost, and a skeptic. Overall, if you want to add a little heist into your horror, Ghosted is for you.

    Don’t Fear, The Slayer is Here

    buffyWho could really forget about the hit television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Buffy hunts vampires, but her adventures go WAY further than that including her best friend going into full-witch mode on her!

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer is Buffy Summers, the chosen one in a long line of young women destined to battle evil forces. She becomes “The Slayer” giving her increased physical strength, endurance, agility, accelerated healing, intuition, and a limited degree of clairvoyance. Buffy receives guidance from her Watcher, Giles, whose job is to train and assist the Slayers. Then it gets more complicated.

    But when the TV show ended, the fun didn’t. After the official comic book continuation of the series in Buffy Season 8, 9, and 10, we’re poised to jump into Buffy Season 11 in November 2016. Unencumbered by network television show budgets, this comic has gone to some great heights in recent years.

    The World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator

    hellboyHellboy is one of the longest running, most widely celebrated horror series. With hundreds of issues and dozens of spinoffs, Mike Mignola has done something really amazing with this series by creating a new universe.

    Aside from DC and Marvel, there really aren’t a lot of big universes in comics, especially ones that walk that horror/mystery line so well. Hellboy or the “Mignola-verse” is a rich tapestry that features a variety of complex characters set a world that draws on centuries of folk-tales, yarns, and fables.

    Hellboy remains one of the few series that begs you to re-read the stories regularly. It’s great for curling up with during inclement weather or when you find yourself with an extended weekend.

    There are plenty of other occult and horror comics that split their genre with detective and noir storytelling. What are some of your favorites? Let us know below.

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    There’s a New Batman in Town!

    NCBD Sept 28th

    It’s our favorite time of the week, and that means we’ve got another installment of New Comic Book Day for you! Here are a few of this week’s new releases that stood out from the crowd. Check out our other blog articles so see our thoughts on other books. Be sure to comment or share our post on Facebook or Twitter if you like our articles!

    SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep from posting spoilers, but one may sneak through to our reviews now and again. Read with caution, true believers.

    Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes comics at TFAW.com

    Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes #1
    By: Tim Seeley, David Walker, Fernando Dagnino, Sandra Molina, Duncan Fegredo

    In a change of events from the end of Beneath the Planet of the Apes film, Cornelius and Zira travel back in time to 1901 West Africa instead of 1970’s North America. Here they found a young Tarzan and raised him as their own along with their son, Milo. When the Ape King Kerchak is abducted by hunters, Tarzan and family rush to his rescue, only to place themselves in further danger.

    Writers Tim Seeley and David Walker prove to not only be fans of both Planet of the Apes and Tarzan but both imaginative in finding a loophole in bringing these two worlds together in a way that honors both franchises. All while creating a new exciting direction. Fernando Dagnino’s pencils perfectly capture the feel of both worlds, and dynamically crafts action sequences worthy of the characters. If you’re looking for a fresh new take on classic stories, Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes is a must read. [Mikey N. at TFAW.com]

    ORDER TARZAN ON THE PLANET OF THE APES COMICS TODAY

    Batman Beyond comics at TFAW.com

    Batman Beyond Rebirth #1
    By: Dan Jurgens, Ryan Sook, Tony Avina, Jeremey Lawson

    Terry McGinnis is back from the dead, and he may not be the only one. Batman Beyond Rebirth #1 gets you up to speed if you’ve never watched the animated television series or read any of the Batman Beyond comics. With a quick recap of Terry’s Batman origin pulled straight from the cartoon, the issue also gives us some insight on what has happened to Terry’s world while he was gone.

    The main story we get from Batman Beyond Rebirth #1 is that Neo-Gotham’s “Jokerz” gang is up to something much bigger than they have ever done in the past, and Terry needs to figure what that plan is before it’s brought to life.

    Dan Jurgens does a great job setting up what is sure to be an exciting first arc in the Rebirth of Batman Beyond. I always loved how the Batman Beyond series took inspiration from past Batman stories. You can see elements from all over Bat-Lore. It’s almost as if history repeats itself.

    Ryan Sook, Jeremy Lawson, and Tony Avina all do a great job with the hard lines and neon colors of Neo-Gotham. Even if you didn’t watch the show or read previous Batman Beyond comic books, you should jump on this schway series! [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    SEE MORE BATMAN BEYOND COMICS

    Extraordinary X-Men comics at TFAW.com

    Extraordinary X-Men #14
    By: Jeff Lemire, Victor Ibanez, Humberto Ramos

    Still dealing with the aftermath of their recent encounter with Apocalypse, the X-Men are all now split dealing with different issues. Iceman and Nightcrawler encounter Colossus who’s now transformed by Apocalypse. Forge is left with Apocalypse as he tries to find a way to reverse what happened to Colossus. Storm and Magik look for their missing student, Sapna. Finally, Logan and Jean Grey share some quiet moments being away from their in-danger teammates.

    Jeff Lemire splits the group expertly. With so many things happening simultaneously, it can often feel like nothing is really happening, but Lemire is able to keep all these scenes focused on the big picture of the main story, with all of them being meaningful with character defining moments. The art from Victor Ibanez is incredibly expressive. Just the way he draws subtle emotions on Apocalypse’s face is enough to haunt me. Once again, Extraordinary X-Men proves to be one of the most exciting books published by Marvel. [Mikey N. at TFAW.com]

    SEE EVEN MORE X-MEN PRODUCTS AT TFAW

    Flash comics at TFAW.com

    Flash #14
    By: Joshua Williamson, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Ivan Plascencia, Steve Wands

    [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    Epic. That’s my summation of this issue (and Joshua Williamson’s story thus far). My heart is beating fast. We now know the identity of Godspeed, and it makes things more tragic. After a quick battle against Godspeed in the first four pages of The Flash #7, Barry has to flee the fight so he can recover from a pretty hefty beat-down.

    A few consistent themes exist over the course of The Flash‘s run:

    • timing — being in the wrong/right place at the wrong/right time, or being fast enough to save somebody
    • addiction — the Speed Force has proven especially addictive to villians
    • yearning to right past wrongs

    Williamson expertly weaves these elements together in this issue — he’s crafting a story that is tense and exciting. This story matters; it has emotional weight that you can feel. I’m especially intrigued by how I identify with Godspeed, whose intentions are actually kind of pure. It comes down to how this person is willing to compromise to get to those ends that makes them a villain.

    If you’re just catching up with the story, this will be a fun issue that will quickly grab your attention and spark your love for this character, the writing chops of Josh Williamson, and the awesome artwork that Carmine Di Giandomencio and Ivan Plascencia are putting on the page. Di Giandomencio is laying down some really great stuff — it’s clear he’s studied how to depict movement in this medium, and it’s paying off in spades in this issue. Plascencia’s colors are gorgeous, especially when it comes to depicting the Speed Force. Just outstanding work all around. #TeamFlash [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    HURRY OVER TO OUR FLASH THEME PAGE

    What did you think of these books? What should we review next week? Let us know below!

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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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    New Comic Book Day — Reviews for Power Man & Iron Fist, Secret Six, Tomb Raider & Birthright

    Power Man and Iron fist team up for their new ongoing series, Lara Croft returns, and Catman takes on Batgirl! We picked a few of this week’s new releases that we thought were standouts. This is the sixth of our seven-part series of New Comic Book Day blog articles. Be sure to comment or share our post on Facebook or Twitter if you like our articles!

    SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep from posting too many spoilers, but one may sneak through to our reviews now and again.

     	
Power Man & Iron Fist comics at TFAW.com Power Man and Iron Fist #1
    By: David Walker, Sanford Greene

    Sweet Christmas, this issue of Power Man and Iron Fist sets it off! The tone carried through each character is Baby Bear, that is to say “just right.” The art keeps it crisp like a new pair of kicks.

    Danny Rand sees the opportunity to get the band back together, Luke Cage wants to keep the situation under control, and both just want to help out a friend. Of course, nothing ever goes quite that simple for our Heroes for Hire.

    The wheels are in motion, and this initial arc is going to keep my attention. I can already see an investment in this story that I will be sticking around for the long haul. David Walker gets it! [Casey D. at TFAW.com]

    Secret Six #11
    By: Gail Simone, Dale Eaglesham, Tom Derenick

    This issue of Secret Six represents my favorite part of Gail Simone’s writing! She has the team take the proverbial chill pill and let their human-ness spill out in this issue.

    After the Massive Magical Mayhem of the last issue, the team needs the break. However, their relaxation time is interwoven with life lessons, emotions, voices from the past, and a bit of action. With Alice, Strix, Porcelain, Ventriliquist, and Big Shot all dealing with several issues at once, you still see a real team dynamic here; almost family like. While we get a piece of every character, it is clear that the star of this issue is Strix. We are granted a nice/awful piece of her back story here.

    However, there is another star in this issue. Where is Catman? Catman is off on his own enjoying a nice walk. Enter Batgirl! Gail does a brilliant job of bringing Batgirl and Catman into the scene. In the classic Bat/Cat format, they quickly engage in the most whimsical banter and butt kickery!

    Artists Dale Eaglesham and Tom Derenick also do a great job of portraying the emotions that are pouring out of our characters’ faces in this issue. Whether it is joy, pain or anger, it is believable! With comedy, emotions and action all in tow, we also traverse into a new story arc. Get ready, things are going to get . . . violent. [Sean W. at Milwaukie TFAW]

    Tomb Raider #1
    By: Mariko Tamaki, Phillip Sevy, Michael Atiyeh, Agustin Alessio

    Tomb Raider starts off with Lara doing what she does best — finding treasure. At first we’re unsure what it is she searching for, but we find out that it revolves around the “Mushroom of Immortality,” and she’s not the only one looking for it.

    This first issue of Tomb Raider II does a great job setting up what we will be reading about in the months to come. Mariko Tamaki does a fantastic job with these characters — introducing a new villain, mentor, and also the tone of the book. By the end of the issue you know exactly what you are going to get out of this series: high risk and high adventure. Phillip Sevy’s art is spot on. From action scenes to facial expressions, it’s all very clean and polished.

    This is a fantastic starting point for new readers. If you’ve only played the video games (Rise of the Tomb Raider is awesome, BTW) or just want some adventure in you pull list, you won’t be disappointed with Tomb Raider II! [Martin M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

    Birthright #14
    By: Joshua Williamson, Andrei Bressan, Adriano Lucas

    After 14 issues Birthright still one of Image Comics’ best reads. Joshua Williamson’s story is still landing in my pull every month due to the imaginative crossover of fantasy and “real world” mystery. I’ve personally never been a big fan of fantasy comics, but this book is too good to pass up.

    As Mikey and Brennon try to find a place to hide, we encounter an “old timer” who wants to know the truth about Lore an desperately seeks Mikey. While the kid’s parents are looking for them both, they encounter others who are also looking, and will do anything to get to them.

    Andrei Bressan’s inks and Adriano Lucas’ colors are both fantastic–I love that the colors just pop — even in the night scenes. They’re a really good pair, and it’s a delight to crack open a new issue each month. This has been a great book from the start and I highly recommend it. [Martin M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

    What did you think of these books? What should we review next week? Let us know below! Be sure to share these posts on Facebook or Twitter if you want us to continue this series of posts. 🙂

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    The Best Comics of 2015 – Part 4 of 5 – Image Comics

    –UPDATE: YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE ONCE PER DAY NOW THROUGH 1/14/16!–

    Now that we’re firmly in the new year, and the effects from the champagne have worn off, we want to stop and remember the great books that were released last year. What follows is the fourth in a series of five Best Comics of 2015 pieces we’ll be posting through January 6. Missed the earlier installments? Check out Part 1Part 2, and Part 3. Starting January 7, you’ll have the opportunity to weigh in and help us crown the Best Comic of 2015!

    Superheroes are all well and good, but if you want to dig your teeth into something with a little more meat, creator-owned series are where it’s at. With series for virtually any taste, Image Comics really pushed hard in 2015 to draw us in and captivate us.

    The Best of Image Comics (in no particular order):

    Rat Queens
    By: Kurtis J. Wiebe, Stjepan Šejić, Roc Upchurch

    Looking for a fantasy comic that is different than all the others? Like, WAY different? Good. Pick up Rat Queens. This book has all the classic high-adventure elements you would expect and so much more. Led by a cast of strong female characters, each issue is violent and vulgar but also has more heart than most series on the stands. Similarly, each of the four Rat Queens are fully realized, complex characters. They feel like real people, which is something many series seem to struggle with.

    But who are the Rat Queens? Hannah, Violet, Dee, and Betty are a raucous, drunken, crass group of mercenaries and your new best friends. They are the Dungeons and Dragons party you wish you had. This book is a fantastic ride that you should hop on as soon as possible to see for yourself! So many people have thanked us for bringing them on board this series. [Jeff B. at Portland TFAW]

    Birthright
    By: Joshua Williamson, Andrei Bressan

    After their youngest boy Mikey goes missing in the woods, the Rhodes family is torn apart. A year passes and someone shows up that looks like Conan knowing a little too much about the disappearance of little Mikey.

    If you haven’t picked up Birthright by Joshua Williamson (Ghosted, Nailbiter, Illuminati) you are sorely missing out. One of Image’s best series continues this past year as we figure out about what happened to Mikey, and what could happen to our world.

    I don’t read a ton of fantasy comics, but this one got me hooked from issue one. I’ve introduced this book to people who don’t typically read comics and comics fans who don’t really like fantasy series, and they’ve all come back and told me that they can’t stop reading this book. It’s wholly engrossing and transcends genres.

    The first two volumes are available for order, and I can tell you the series has only gotten better with time. I can’t wait to see where Joshua Williamson takes us next. [Martin M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

    Bitch Planet comics at TFAW.com Bitch Planet
    By: Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Robert Wilson IV, Cris Peter, Clayton Cowles, Rian Hughes, Lauren McCubbin

    Taking a page from the sexploitation flicks of the ’60s and ’70s and borrowing from the best that the sci-fi genre has to offer, Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Bitch Planet is one of the best comic book series on the shelves right now. DeConick knows how to tell a violent, gripping story with gravitas, and is particularly talented when it comes to writing complex characters.

    This series is all about power. The power we give up to others. The internal strength that one can tap in to. Societal power that forces us into different roles. Bitch Planet more than a comic book at this point. The team has expertly created a movement of Non-Compliance, and I can’t wait to see where they lead us. [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    Fables comics at TFAW.com

    Saga
    By: Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

    What more can be said of perhaps the best series out there? If the shelf full of awards Saga has won, it’s constant presence bestseller lists, or the series’ amazing reviews hasn’t convinced you to check it, out this blog won’t either. But seriously, go read Saga. Like, right now. We’ll wait… finished it yet? All caught up? Good. It’s awesome right?!

    What other series blends fantasy and science fiction so seamlessly? What other series has such visionary art? What other series possesses the sheer charm of Saga? Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples come together and make a truly unique universe. It’s a crazy one, filled with robot royalty, magic using satyr people, dragons, living spaceships and GHUS! Oh and intergalactic space wrestling. Can’t forget that.

    With all this insanity it’s easy to forget the best part of the series — the characters. This creative team’s real success is how endearing these characters are, even the “villains”. Nearly every issue has an incredibly compelling cliffhanger that has us readers on an emotional rollercoaster. And just like the intergalactic space wrestling, we live and die with these characters every issue. [Dustin K. at Universal TFAW]

    The Wicked and the Divine comics at TFAW.com The Wicked & The Divine
    By: Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, ‎Matt Wilson

    Keiron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie sucked me in, and I’ve been waiting with baited breath for each and every issue of The Wicked and The Divine, or WicDiv for short. There’s a huge cast of characters to follow, and Gillen’s world-building ability rivals J.R.R. Tolkein and George R.R. Martin.The series centers around two themes: Death and Fame.

    The twelve (or possibly 13?) Gods are reincarnated on Earth every 90 years to to fight the world’s darkness, but the kicker is that they only have two years–after that, they’re dead. Fame is also a strong theme in the series. These Gods are both famous and infamous. Adored and revered. Hated and envied.Fantastic story aside, I swoon every time I crack open the newest issue.

    McKelvie is a wickedly talented storyteller in his own right, with panel construction and linework that consistently has me taking a moment to think about what I’ve just seen. This series is also evidence that Matt Wilson is one of the best colorists in the industry. I can’t get enough of this series. [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    Honorable Mentions:

    Stay tuned to the TFAW Blog in the coming days as we’ll be posting our final Best Comics of 2015 lists. At the end, YOU will decide which one will be crowned as the Best Comic of 2015!

    –UPDATE: YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE ONCE PER DAY NOW THROUGH 1/14/16!–

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    December Product Review Contest Winners Announced

    Batman Arkham Asylum Poison Ivy Statue review at TFAW.comHappy New Year, comic fans! Every month, our customers submit hundreds of product reviews that help others determine how great (or not-so-hot) certain comics, graphic novels, and other collectibles are. We took a look at the reviews that were submitted in December and are awarding $25 gift certificates as part of our monthly Product Review Contest. And the winners are (insert drum roll here):

    Our first contest winner is Bob in Mission Viejo, CA! Bob wrote a review for the Batman Arkham Asylum Poison Ivy Statue caught our eye:

    When I first saw a prototype (at Comic-Con I think), I wasn’t thrilled with her face and the paint colors throughout. But they’ve really grown on me. The fine detail on it is staggering. It’s a heavy build, molded to the base, which gives it great stability. Love her pose, blowing spores at her victim. Note that she has very fine fingers that could be damaged if unpacked carelessly. I went very, very slowly when I opened the package and removed the plastic wrap. She’s in a green metal and glass display case (thank you, Ikea!) with other Poison Ivy statues. I turn her every few days to get a new view. TFAW, thank you for a smooth sale and prompt shipment of a wonderful product.

    Birthright #1 review at TFAW.comOur second winner is Marc from Merced, CA. He had this to say about Birthright #1 by Joshua Williamson:

    An excellent #1 from Image, went into the book thinking I had an idea what it would be about, totally wrong. A truly pleasant surprise and an intriguing read. Highly recommend to those needing a fresh new book to start on and original story.

    Nemesis HC review at TFAW.comLast but not least, Dane from Sparta, WI dropped by to share his thoughts about the Nemesis HC:

    What happens when a super villain is also the smartest person you can imagine? This book is what. So many twists and turns, it was an awesome read. I can’t tell you more because I’d spoil it but I will tell you that it’s going to keep your interest and you’ll be surprised at how great it is. I really don’t want to spoil anything so just pick it up already.

    Thanks so much to everyone who wrote reviews last month. You’re helping people decide what to get (or what to avoid) next.

    Remember, you don’t have to write a novel to win. Product reviews can be short and sweet, or highly detailed — as long as they help other customers, that’s what we’re looking for. So submit your reviews and help your fellow collectors sort out the “HOT” from the “NOT”! Who knows, you may be one of next month’s winners.

    HOW TO SUBMIT A PRODUCT REVIEW:
    It’s simple! Just visit any product page and look for this:

    Click on it and our product review form will appear in a popup. Just fill out the pertinent information and submit your review, and you’re done! We’ll take a look at your review and get it up on the product page soon thereafter!

    There’s also a really easy way for you to call up everything you’ve ever ordered from us and review it. Simply log in to your account and go into the Order History Section. Next to each item, you’ll see a “Review it!” link.

    Questions? Comments? Let us know below!

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