Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rant-Reviews--My Free Comic Book Day Comics

Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) was a bit ago. I finally went through my lot of comics and can review them. It took so long because I had finals--with the tests and big papers, et al. Now it is summer, so besides hopefully having an internship I shall be a bit more free to complain about and insult comics/movies/books/games/etc. rampantly on the web. Theoretically at least. I've got a long list of things to read and review I'm working on. Let's get to this.

The Reviews

Mouse Guard: Labyrinth and Other Stories
Everyone has been going on about how beautiful this hardcover book looks compared to the other Free Comic Book Day floppies that were around, and while it is quite pretty I don't know if it is something to jizz your pants about--which it really seems folk are. After all, once you crack this thing open and read the contents you get a decent refresher in Mouse Guard lore, a weird tale about a lonely troll-man, an incomprehensible Dapper Men tale, something called, "Rust," that I admittedly enjoyed, a piece about Cursed Pirate Girl that tries a bit too hard to be weird to a point where it loses some of the fun, and a cute-but-throwaway story about a young cowboy who hunts down his nogoodnik relatives. In other words, like almost all anthologies it is a grab bag with little really grabbing me other than, "Rust," which has a strange surreal feeling and charm to it I could possibly find worth following into its main book. Still, the actual comic's design sure is nice.
3 out of 5 stars.

Superman Family Adventures/Green Lantern: The Animated Series/Young Justice
I wanted to like this more, but the, "Superman Family Adventures," I found the best cut off really soon, the Green Lantern bit is quite subpar, and Young Justice is just a lame teaser. No thanks.
2 out of 5 stars.

Avengers: Age of Ultron
This is really just a reprint of Avengers #12.1 but now called #0.1 with Spider-Woman having her outfit colored-on so parents won't freak out about their kids reading this after getting it at FCBD. It's a really sort of pointless Avengers tale that sets up some mega-event with Ultron coming in some months that the Bendis Moon Knight comic also just turned out to be a 12-issue lead-in for. The art is decent enough, I suppose.
2 out of 5 stars.

An Image Comic Sampler (Not It's Real Name, But I Don't Know What It Is)
A random assortment of stories that start up and get cut-off so you go buy the main book--other than a fun thing by Steve Niles and Scott Morse. Otherwise we don't get complete tales, but previews of books, some of which look entirely worth skipping ("Revival") and others that I've heard good things about ("Near Death"). It's still previews though, and if you want me to think your FCBD offering is quality don't give me a smidgen of a story and call it a day.
2 out of 5 stars.

Bad Medicine #1
The complete first issue of a new series called Bad Medicine where the hook essentially is someone has invented invisibility. It's an entirely passable story even if it does some jumping around in time that is completely unnecessary to the plot. Plus, the issue seems to just sort of end, and not in the way a comic should, but like they just ran out of pages for the story. Methinks this maybe was written as a trade paperback and they decided to split it up into an individual comic--at least that's my theory as the way this just comes to a halt on the last page is weird.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Dinosaurs Versus Aliens
Grant Morrison should be a winner, but we get very little story, then some writings by the authors about how they wanted to do this and make a movie out of it, and then some concept art. I don't take kindly to being given comics that are little more than thinly-veiled movie pitches, even if they look somewhat pretty. The main story could turn out well, but this free comic is bleh.
1 out of 5 stars.

Lady Death: The Beginning
I've reviewed Lady Death before, and she is fine as a cheesecake with some violence thrown in, which is exactly what this is. Something that is impressive however, is that in this era of highly decompressed storytelling how much stuff they cram in here. There is enough material for some authors to stretch out over 12 issues and this just goes at a breakneck pace with its higher-than-usual page-count to help the bunch of stuff that occurs breathe at least a tiny bit. This may be essentially swords-and-boobs, but it's swords-and-boobs done well. That's a good thing.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Valiant 2012
We get the start of, "X-O Manowar,", which is about some ancient man getting a space-age suit, I believe. I say, "I believe," because the story cuts off before that happens but I've heard about the version of this from years ago and how its being relaunched. There is also an incredibly short snippet of something called, "Harbringer," which is about a psychic kid or something? I have no clue, its so short that I'm lost. There are also random writing pages with script notes or something for another comic. This was a bit lame. Like finding out all those mystical people you believed in don't exist (Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy) level of lame.
1.5 out of 5 stars.

Witchblade: Unbalanced Pieces
The first story is interesting, with the idea that the Univerese was reset and only one man--the wielder of The Darkness--knows about it. Sadly, that is a very short piece of this comic. The rest is a long Witchblade tale that ends up getting cut off (but not because its a short preview, I think its because the issue truly ends). The Witchblade story still isn't that good though. It has a weird bone-and-flesh suit enemy, evil bikers (could we be any more cliche?) and just sort of rambles along with its exposition as apparently this story is being told to us in the past tense by the main character...ugh. I'm intrigued about The Darkness and could skim that, but Witchblade is mediocre at best.
2.5 out of 5 stars (and I'm being generous because that first short tale caught my interest).

The Hypernaturals
Superheroes in the future, unnecessary jumping around in time that doesn't help the plot much, a clearly lacking hook besides the aforementioned superheroes in the future...I'll skip any future issues I think.
1.5 out of 5 stars.

Atomic Robo
An awesome Atomic Robo story that is quite fun and hilarious, then a dull short from Neozoic and a sample of Bonnie Lass. The last two things don't really matter compared to the first story, which is a real keeper with its mad scientist dinosaur. Yes, a mad scientist who is also a dinosaur, you can thank me for pointing you towards this comic later.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Intrinsic
This apparently takes various characters Arcana comics has the rights to and puts them together in a completely and utterly forgettable tale about heroes and demons, alternate dimensions, or something. Dull, dull, dull.
1 out of 5 stars.

The Ride/Anti
One story is about a man taking a woman from a, "key party," out to the middle of nowhere and killing her violently, then driving off. The other story is about demons coming to earth or something and a woman who kills them violently. Putting aside how utterly wretched, "The Ride," part was even though its other comics have been okay, the Anti story was pretty horrible too. The fact we have one comic that is just a man brutally murdering a woman and then saying, "Well that happened," and it was given away on FCBD as if people would enjoy reading it is just utterly insulting and disturbing however.
.5 out of 5 stars (the .5 is for Anti having okay art).

The New 52
So, DC Comics wants new readers for their re-launched comics and puts out this impenetrable thing of flashbacks and flash-forwards that looks okay, but barely makes sense at the moment? Okay, whoever said that was a great idea must have been so coked up out of their mind at time that going, "The New 52 is selling so well, I think we should do this ultra-big-encompassing story but forget to have it make a lick of sense," actually seemed like a good idea in their drug-raddled brain. Why are DC executives sniffing cocaine? Two reasons, they are celebrating this New 52 doing quite well, and their magic machine that sees the future showed them how well, "The Avengers," did and they realized they passed on Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman and only drugs can numb that pain. Yes, DC has a time machine, but they only use it for comic-business purposes so as to avoid creating a time-disturbance. You can read all about it in my true news story  which also discusses how Dan Didio has sex with a pile of, "Before Watchmen," scripts and mails it to Alan Moore weekly because Didio is kind of sick like that. Really, I'm working on the scoop for this as we speak (no I'm not).
2 out of 5 stars.

Bongo Comics Free-For-All/Spongebob Comics Freestyle Funnies
The Simpson's story is pure time-passing average, we also get a nice story from a certain famous artist of Mad Magazine (Sergio Aragones) but the Spongebob stuff is where the fun is really at, with a contribution from Kochalka adding some nice flavor.
3 out of 5 stars.

Yo Gabba Gabba!
I've never watched the show but this comic is actually quite good. It's funny, clever, and cute. I am surprised at its story quality and nice art. Go figure.
4 out of 5 stars.

2000 AD
Some of this is preview-material for other comics, but a good chunk happens to be complete stories, and they are pretty good ones. From a decent Judge Dredd that points out how he is a really authoritarian and kind of evil, to a fun old robot tale and a great super-hero pseudo-parody by Chris Weston this is quite enjoyable.
4 out of 5 stars.

As can be seen the Free Comic Book Day comics run the gamut in quality widely. I wasn't able to read all of them but I got a pretty good number and some were real winners, such as Atomic Robo, 2000 AD, Bad Medicine and oddly enough the Lady Death comic. Also, that Mouse Guard hardcover does look beautiful even if the inside contents of the comic aren't utterly amazing. All-in-all it was a pretty good FCBD.

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