Category Archives: Comic Books

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: June 21 – 27, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK:

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The best comic I read last week was 

Batman #25.

Writer: Tom King

Artist: Michael Janin

Batman has been such a terrific book since the Rebirth initiative at DC Comics and I think I’ve selected it over 10 times since Tom King took over the writing chores. It is high time I stopped referencing the author of the prior run. King has made the book and the character his own.

That is almost an impossible feat. Batman has been in continuous publication for over 75 years. Story-after-story has been written about him and his cast of characters. What new can be said?

As it turns out, plenty, and let us give DC editorial some credit for allowing King to run with his story. Risks have been taken. The status quo has been altered. Quirky narrative has been established. The plots have been decompressed.

And it has all worked.

Just when I believed an apex had been reached, King has succeeded in surpassing it with Batman #25. The first chapter of “The War of Jokes and Riddles” reads like something new and dangerous and something that will, again, change readers’ understanding of Batman. Set in Batman’s past, the first conflict between the Joker and the Riddler begins with such depth and promise that I am itching for the next issue. And is that not what a periodical should do?

Of Michael Janin I will only say what I have said before: can he draw ALL the comics? I simply love his style. His line work is so crisp and clean. His characterizations are consistent and distinct. He does more with expressions than almost any artist working today. He is, far-and-away, my favorite of the rotating Bat Team.

Read this Batman. Read it now.

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Filed under Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Weekly Comic Book Review

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: June 14 – 20, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK:

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The best comic I read last week was 

Dark Days: The Forge #1.

Writer: Scott Snyder, James Tynion II

Artist: Jim Lee, John Romita jr., Andy Kubert

Dark Days: The Forge is the prelude issue to what has been billed as a massive crossover event, the seeds for which have been laid in books written by Scott Snyder. Over a long time. Like almost 10 years. This event is called Metal and is reputed to span the entirety of the DC Universe in terms of time and space.

If you’re going to do something like that, you had better set things up very well.

Snyder and co-writer James Tynion II do just that. The story contains genuine shocks and surprises, character moments large and small, epic reveals and emotional arcs. While it centers on Batman and his family, it touches on areas of the DC Universe which have, lately, been sadly unexplored.

No more.

DC was smart enough to recruit top artists to illustrate the book and it looks awesome page-after-page. I love the fact that the company assigned Andy Kubert the Hawkman pages as more than an appropriate homage to the work of his father. Jim Lee’s work is evocative and strong and John Romita jr.’s Batman has really grown on me. These guys know what they are doing and they deliver epic images throughout the book.

If Dark Days: The Forge is any indication, Metal promises to be a wonderfully fun event.

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: May 31 – June 6, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK:

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The best comic I read last week was

Batman #24.

Writer: Tom King

Artist: David Finch

Batman has been a very solid book throughout the New 52 and Rebirth publishing eras. DC has wisely entrusted it primarily to two stellar writers, Scott Snyder and Tom King. When King took over the book, it seemed that he was following a thematic and structural path set out by Snyder but, in recent arcs, King has illustrated a new found deftness and confidence that is distinct from Snyder’s tone and exciting to read.

He’s been paired with a number of amazing artists who have alternated on the arcs of the book. This issue belongs to David Finch and Clay Mann and, while I believe Mann’s work is a better match for the tighter illustrations of Michel Janin than Finch’s, the combination works in this issue with Finch and Mann going back-and-forth on thematic parts of the story.

Finch is one of the top ten pencillers in comics and, while I have found his line work inconsistent in past issues, he delivers for Batman #24. Matching the tone of the writing, Finch layers on detail in quieter panels while shifting into solid action when the story calls for it. Mann has a sleek approach that I really like and his parts of the narrative deal very much with the emotions of the characters which he conveys extremely well. The two deliver artwork up to the impressive and important caliber of the story.

King’s pacing through the his storylines on the book has been extremely drawn out and decompressed. That fact has led to critiques of the book but, when long story threads play out the way they do in Batman #24, I cannot see why anyone would complain. Tying up loose ends from at least three prior arcs, King writes a powerful issue and, if the promise of the last page is realized, one that could actually alter the status quo of Batman for some time to come.

That cannot be said of every Batman story.

King understands his character and has made him a bit more accessible, a bit more human and a bit more… dare I say, fun.

It is interesting to see how the DC Comics Universe in general and this title in particular have tried to follow the company-wide mandate of telling stories about characters which are positive and hopeful. King has done that in Batman while staying true to the gothic roots of the Dark Knight. It’s been impressive to read.

 

 

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: May 31 – June 6, 2017


Related Content from And There Came A Day:


I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK:

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The best comic I read last week was

Wonder Woman Annual #1.

Writer: Greg Rucka (and others)

Artist: Nicola Scott (and others)

After seeing the terrific movie, I am clearly not over my Wonder Woman fever, but I believe that I would be selecting this book whether I had WW on my mind this week or not.

Annuals are tricky business. Are they in continuity? Do they continue a story being told already in the main book? Are they a special event in-and-of-themselves?

This one is special for two reasons. One, there are some terrific back up stories written and drawn by some great talents. Each has its own spin and its own bent and each is very solid, telling a story of Wonder Woman from a number of various perspectives. Two, the main story is brilliantly positioned between panels of a previous issue in the main series. Written by Greg Rucka, the story details the first time Diana met Clark and Bruce and, though I believe I have enjoyed the DC cinematic universe more than most, I will note that this story exudes the kind of charm, hopefulness and optimism that is not in abundant display on film (at least until last week’s triumph). It also captures the essence of each character. Brilliantly.

Oh, and there was a third reason: the return of Nicola Scott to the character. Scott is an amazing artist, with command of composition and action. Her Diana is beautiful and bold and, for my money, the best rendering of the character since the halcyon days of George Perez. Scott is a perfect fit for the book and the character and I cannot believe DC has not locked her on the title for years to come. She’s also a great follow on twitter…

Wonder Woman has been the unsung hero of the Rebirth line up. Perhaps, with the success of the movie, this book will be unsung no more!

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Filed under Comic Book Movies, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Weekly Comic Book Review, Wonder Woman

Does Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Redeem Star Trek V? MINOR Spoilers Here.


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GotG2Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a runaway hit having grossed over $800 million dollars world wide in its first month of release. It is being hailed as one of the best of the Marvel Studios films and seems more delightful each time it is seen.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was not a big hit when it was released in 1989. It is often mentioned as one of the worst of the almost 15 Star Trek films and does not hold up on repeated viewings.

At all.

There would seem to be little that the two movies have in common but I have a sneaking suspicion that Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn saw Star Trek V when it was released when he was a young man and has seen it on more than one occasion since. I believe, consciously or unconsciously, he wrote the conclusion of his film as a love note to Star Trek V.

Star Trek V minimalStar Trek V was famously (infamously?) co-written and directed by William Shatner. Leonard Nimoy had helmed Treks III and IV and, as it turns out, he and Shatner had had a long standing “equal nations” clause in their contracts: whatever benefit one received, the other was accorded the same consideration. Following the box office success of The Voyage Home, Shatner said “it’s my turn” and the rest is Star Trek history. 

He wrote a movie about the crew of the Enterprise encountering, well, God or, at least, something very like God and conceived a story that would ask big questions about the nature of existence and religion – one that would take on many topics Trek had avoided.

As the movie changed and evolved, the conclusion of the film was drafted and it contained an epic battle between Captain Kirk and the god-like creature who was one with the planet on which he was imprisoned. In the best/worst line of the movie, Kirk asks the villain “what does God need with a starship?” The unspoken answer: the starship will carry his essence across the galaxy. The god-being, whose eyes crackle with electricity, would be realized as a bearded old man and would attack Kirk and crew with rock formations and rock creatures before an unlikely rescue by Spock is effected and the god-being is defeated.

The battle was supposed to be epic. Kirk vs. God (as only Shatner could write it). Explosions. Rock monsters. Stirring score. Epic. However, Paramount Pictures, perhaps correctly sensing disaster, continually cut the budget for the movie. Out went rock monsters. Goodbye to stunning explosions. Farewell harrowing conclusion. Hello, poorly received movie.

Flash forward 28 years (and minor spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 follow here). A fun and exciting movie (so… different than Star Trek V) concludes in a showdown with… a god-being who is realized as a bearded old man. He is one with the planet on which he lives (um, he is the planet). During his battle with the Guardians of the Galaxy, the villain throws rock formations at the team. His eyes crackle with electricity. He wants his essence carried across the galaxy. He is defeated in an unlikely manner as the adorable Baby Groot is able to activate an explosive device that ends him.

The battle is epic. Star Lord vs. Ego. Explosions. Rock Formations. Very cool rock and roll score. Marvel Studios, knowing it had a hit on its hands, poured money into the movie and the conclusion shows it was money well spent. Hello well received movie.

Here’s the question: is the conclusion of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 James Gunn’s homage to Star Trek V? Does he redeem that movie by staging a conclusion that William Shatner must have loved?

I don’t actually know, but I like the theory!

god trek v

The god-being of Star Trek V.

 

ego guardians

The god-being of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

 

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Filed under Comic Book Movies, Comic Books, Movies, Star Trek

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: May 24 – 30, 2017


Related Content from And There Came A Day:


I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK

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The best comic I read last week was

Wonder Woman #23.

Writer: Greg Rucka

Artist: Liam Sharp

 

It’s Wonder Woman Week so, of course, I was going to select Wonder Woman as the Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week but, look, this comic is so deserving of the selection.

Tying together threads he has woven for the past 23 issues, Greg Rucka delivers the first/final confrontation between Diana and Ares in the only way that makes sense and does justice to the character. I will not spoil the conclusion here, but suffice it to say that Rucka knows how to write Wonder Woman. He knows what makes her such an important, complex and different character than most other superheroes and, somehow, in these 20 plus issues of DC Rebirth, he has positioned her anew for an incredible future.

The writer following Rucka here has very, very big shoes to fill.

And the artist does, too. Liam Sharp has been terrific on this book since he joined it. His Diana is god-like and beautiful but grounded and close to people. His character work and scene setting is consistently good and Sharp does a wonderful job delineating who is whom. You could read this book in black and white and still know who everyone is. Rucka gives him some pretty outlandish things to illustrate and Sharp delivers panel-after-panel.

This is the year of Wonder Woman and this arc will be looked back upon as one of the best the character has ever had. It will be referenced and built upon for years to come.

ON TO THE WONDER WOMAN MOVIE!

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Filed under Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Weekly Comic Book Review, Wonder Woman

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: May 17 – 23, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK

ThreeTwoOne

The best comic I read last week was

Super Sons #4.

Writer: Peter Tomasi

Artist: Jorge Jimenez

This comic book is intended to be a fun read filled with the kinetic energy that teens and preteens have in abundance and the team of Jorge Jimenez and Peter Tomasi are delivering. Of the books I read monthly, this one brings a smile to my face more often than others and is, frankly, the most enjoyable comic I read. It is not overly complex. It does not take itself too seriously. It knows what is it and what it is is joyful.

The dynamic between Robin (Damian Wayne) and Superboy (Jon Kent) is just what it ought to be. Jon is something of a naive do-gooder, always ready to call in the “super dads” to assist the boys while Damian is an arrogant know-it-all, always ready for the boys to go it alone no matter the risks. Essentially, Tomasi as broken down and magnified the traditional relationship between Batman and Superman and is playing it out in broader strokes with the boys.

Tomasi must be a father himself or have spent plenty of time around kids because he nails both the mindset and the dialogue of teenagers. Give this guy Teen Titans when it is looking for a new writer.

Jorge Jimenez’s art is wonderful. His predilection for cartoonish expressions which brim with manga influence is the right match for the tone of the book. Jimenez’s kids look like kids and there is great contrast between them and the adults in the book. I have noted this in prior reviews: drawing children seems to be a difficult task for many artists. Not for Jimenez. One of the things that truly shines in this issue is that Jimenez is able to contrast the fun of the book with the fairly terrible actions of the villain, Kid Amazo. The juxtaposition is powerful.

Super Sons is great. It hearkens back to the comics of my childhood, feeling very World’s Finest in its approach and execution. I loved that book as a kid. I love this one as a kid-like adult.

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Filed under Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Robin, Superboy, Superman, Weekly Comic Book Review