Monday, April 11, 2016

Some Comic Debuts of Interest Part 2--Rant Reviews!

Continuing The Fun
I've still got more new comics I read and wanted to discuss. Let's dive right in!

More Debuts
Rough Riders #1
A new title from young publisher Aftershock Comix, this book features a fictionalized version of Theodore Roosevelt before his Presidency basically operating as a sort of secret super-hero and beginning to gather a team for secret mission in Cuba that is much different than what the public was told. Written by Adam Glass with art by Patrick Olliffe this sounds like something humorous, but the comic actually plays all this perfectly straight, and much to its credit, the whole thing actually kind of works. The idea of soon-to-be President Roosevelt being a hero with teammate such as famous boxer Jack Johnson and the hinted-at-joining-next-issue Houdini is entertaining in its earnestness (as this really is a an idea you have to either make silly or do completely seriously), and Olliffe's art compliments the proceedings quite well too. I'm eager to see just who Teddy recruits for his team and what kind of mysterious threat they'll be combating in future issues.
4 out of 5 stars.

Power Lines #1
Writer and artist Jimmie Robinson is a name associated with a variety of works, but many know him for the slapstick comedy full of innuendo that is, "Bomb Queen."  This comic also involves people with special abilities, but is less about super-heroes than it is about exploring racial and class dynamics with a comedic bent. The twist of the story is only hinted at in this first issue but solicts made it clear that the comic centers on a young black man who gains super-powers...but only in a, "White," part of town. There is also the added twist of a really racist white woman who seems to also have access to powers suddenly, but only in the part of town full of people she spends pages ranting and raving against. This clearly is a set-up for all kinds of funny hijinks and the comic does a solid job of balancing between being thoughtful and humorous. Now the question just remains what our, "Heroes," will do when the realize the possibilities and limitations of their powers.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Hellina #1
Back in the day Avatar Press published interesting comics as they do now, but many of these comics had a decidedly more sexual slant with a heavy focus on, "Good girl," and, "Bad Girl," art. Basically, I'm trying to politely say they put out comics with lots of sex, nudity, and of course violence just to keep things varied. Avatar these days doesn't get raunchy quite as often, but sister publisher Boundless has found its niche in taking old Avatar concepts and rebooting them with a fresh coat of paint to compliment the copious T&A. We've already had the return of, "Jungle Fantasy," and, "Belladonna," and have got, "Lookers," and, "The Ravening," getting ready to put-out new stuff too. Hellina is another one of the titles that draws from the Avatar of old to give us something new (and some reprinted older-stuff for good measure), and does so pretty well. If you're simply hoping for pages of explosive action, sex, and a strong vibe of everything being humorously self-aware you'll be a fan of this comic. Now, if you're expecting a deep and introspective treatsie on concepts of Good and Evil or Heaven and Hell, you're gonna be let down. Still, between all the smart an literary comics sometimes its fun just to read something a bit silly, and this has plenty of silly between demon-vampire sex and suicide-bomber angels, to give just two examples. A fun read.
3 out of 5 stars.

Elasticator #1
This is from a newer publisher known as Scout Comics; I've seen, "Elasticator," described a bit as being like an R-rated tale of Plastic Man. I believe the 2nd issue is now already out, but I just read the first one and would say I liked it due to some fun story beats, and delightfully good-looking artwork. Written by AC Medina and illustrated by Kevin Shah, we open in the late 2000's where everything has clearly gone quite wrong for our, "Hero," and he is giving the police his deposition about how his life went sideways. The aforementioned art-style is gorgeously bright and expressive with just the right mixture of gritty when the story calls for it. One interesting story-element is how our, "Hero," named Mikey, is actually a pretty unlikeable guy, and the story makes that clear, with some of the supporting cast coming off as much more pleasant, even if some are potentially bad guys. Making Mikey a bit of a jerk is clearly intentional however, and probably will play a role in illustrating why he failed once he gained his powers and became a super-hero...who is now a bloody mess and sitting at the police station. Between a story that has me intrigued and some great artwork this is a solid...
4 out of 5 stars.

Those were all the recent-ish debuts I wanted to talk about. I hope at last one of them looked interesting enough that I assisted you in discovering a new comic to read. I enjoy being helpful like that.

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