Bullet Reviews #84
Another week means another round of Bullet Reviews! Whether you see these on Tuesday or Wednesday, we offer them to give you suggestions on different books to check out, if you’re having a small week, or avoid, if you’re looking to save money. That’s right, we’ll take a bullet so you can save some money!
Keep in mind, though, that these are just a very small sampling of the titles available at your local comic shop and we always encourage you to try something new, especially if you’re having a small week!
(This week features a Bullet for The Walking Dead #104. So, you know, SPOILERS)
BLUE BEETLE #14 (DC)
Although I was looking forward to seeing what would be done with this character in the New 52, I will admit that the title has been stretching on for a while. It was a re-emergence of the same origin story around Jaime Reyes as in the previous iteration, and although it brought some additional depth to the scarab it has taken far too long (and stretched far too thin) to really make an impact on me. Which is too bad, as I love what Tony Bedard is doing to Kyle Rayner in Green Lantern New Guardians. Even the crossover between the titles left me somewhat dry.
I don’t know, maybe it was the fact that with Booster Gold appearing right off the hop I was hoping for a Blue and Gold reunion – even with Jaime and Booster, like at the end of Justice League Generation Lost. Although I was hoping for a Ted Kord return (and still am), I was willing to accept Jaime… but sorry, this book just didn’t capture me. I’d be dropping this book if not for the fact that it’s been cancelled, so I may as well finish off its run for a few more issues and am hopeful that something for the character can be restored within the pages of Threshold (which is Giffen running the show there, and he was a Blue and Gold guy back in classic JLI… hmmm…) -Kelly Cassidy
DARK AVENGERS #183 (Marvel)
I’ll be honest, I picked this title up to see how the Dark Avengers could return to Marvel’s lineup after the fiasco that was Norman Osborne. This issue took me back to the feeling of the original Thunderbolts, especially with the interactions between Mach V, Songbird, and Moonstone. In issues past, one of the original Thunderbolts with those 3 sacrificed their lives, and Moonstone delivered the news to the others. Although I haven’t enjoyed the new look for Songbird of late, artist Neil Edwards got the look of concern on her face perfect after the news was told. (Granted, Songbird’s neck seemed a tad too extended and Mach V looked like he didn’t care, but his words say otherwise…)
The surprise of Man-Thing talking here continues to… well, surprise others, including Cage, as the Thunderbolts chase after the Dark Avengers who appear to have escaped. The ‘Bolts team now includes Juggernaut, who is pretty much powerless, but who shocks everyone by admitting to Cage what a great leader he has been, just in the middle of all of Cage’s self-doubts.
We’re not sure there these ‘Bolts will turn up next, but we know it will be without Troll, who was left behind with Cage and Songbird. Being only a child, Cage’s comment of “Wish someone had done that for me when I was your age” shows that the team cared for Troll and realized that running was not in her best interest. Jeff Parker is surprising me here in this title and I’m looking forward to what comes next (as well as in the new Thunderbolts title that launches soon). -Kelly Cassidy
DARK SHADOWS #10 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Seems like we’re getting these every other week now, Dynamite is obviously pumping them out to bring the series up to date and I’m not complaining one bit!
Barnabas Collins, now a former vampire thanks to a charm he wears around his neck, cleans up after the previous issue’s fight and continues to look for David’s friend. He’s also getting used to being human again. While this is going on, Willie is planning on leaving Collinsport for good to escape all the supernatural nastiness in his life, as well as hiding from the vampire woman he stole the charm from that cured Barnabas, his nightmare attacks have made him wonder if it’s actually a cure or just suppressing the vampiric nature of Barnabas, which would make him a near uncontrollable monster were he ever to lose it.
Before he leaves, however, he visits the Blue Whale and learns there is more to Collinsport than just vampires, witches, and werewolves. There is something ever darker and more sinister going on beneath The Whale. Something only Barnabas can stop… if he has the power!
Wrapping this issue up we have David finding his friend and inviting her to stay at his home, Collinwood, not realizing the rule that a vampire cannot harm you in your home unless you invite them in!
The series is still going strong, though I fear not many people are giving it a chance which is a shame. If anything, the art seemed to falter somewhat in this issue, some panels take on a more cartoony look than the traditional dark, gothic look that Dark Shadows is known for. But overall, the series is strong in writing, characterization, and art. If you are a vampire fan and are looking for something more traditional then you need to do yourself a favor and check this series out. Barnabas Collins is one vampire you WANT to invite into your home! -Skott Jimenez
IT GIRL! AND THE ATOMICS #4 (Image)
If there is one book on the stands today that is a traditional super hero comic, it’s this one. There is nothing more back-to-basics than It Girl And The Atomics.
In this issue the mystery of the returned Nana, aka Lava Lass, begins to unravel as It Girl is able to detain her and, with the help of Dr. Flem, begin to get to the bottom of why her sister is not only on earth but why she’s quite insane and the answer is so much fun that I cannot in good conscience explain it here. It’s such a wonderfully old school, 60’s comic book reason you just have to read it to fully enjoy it.
Also: The Skunk has more dealings with his former gang and the outcome if stinky and explosive!
We’re only four issues in and this series has already become one of my favorite non-Marvel/DC titles featuring characters I’ve long been familiar with. It goes to the top, if not near, of my reading list on the week that it comes out. I’m being serious when I tell you this book is just pure fun and with a cover price of $2.99 you certainly could do a lot worse when picking out what book to spend your hard-earned cash on each month.
Another point for this book is the fact it has a fairly large female cast, not to mention the title character is female, something that we supposedly don’t have enough of in comics these days. That’s all I can say about it, it’s more than worth picking up! -Skott Jimenez
SWORD OF SORCERY #2 (DC)
I really want to like this book. I really do. I remember when Amethyst was out way back when – it was different and it involved a young girl who became the princess of Gemworld. This book… is different.
First, the Amethyst story. The Amethyst I remember was a teen who was thrust into this world but was still pretty much a teenager. Sure, teenagers today are more “strong” for lack of a better word, but not this much. “Here, honey, step through this portal… Oh, you’re now blond, don’t worry about it… Now, fight your mother for ultra power…” What teenager – no, what PERSON – would not freak out a little? No one is that strong. And to go along with that strong persona, the visuals are also showcasing the strength – and I unfortunately take that as a detriment. In #0, we saw a teenager and through the visuals we SAW a teenager. Now, we see an adult acting extra-adult-ish with no teenage tendencies whatsoever. I don’t know, I feel like a book I was really looking forward to as my favorite of this wave of titles is seriously letting me down…
Now for the back-up story. I said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love Tony Bedard doing Green Lantern New Guardians but this Beowulf… Just not cutting it. After issue #0 I was on the fence. After issue #1, I was really hesitant. Now… I can’t even read the backup story.
Perhaps part of the reason I’m not getting into either of these is because this is your standard size book with 2 stories going on. They both seem far too rushed as DC wanted to put both stories out sooner rather than later. Why not dedicate this book to Amethyst and put the Beowulf story into DC Universe Presents to see how it goes? It gives both stories time and space to build on the characters and give them some depth without being rushed. If something doesn’t happen to this title soon, it will be pulled. -Kelly Cassidy
THE WALKING DEAD #104 (Skybound/Image)
I’ve taken to not doing Bullet Reviews for this series until it’s been out for at least two weeks because it’s near impossible to review it right away without giving spoilers and we all know the Rule: NO SPOILERS for The Walking Dead (Now, if only we could get the people who watch the TV series to obey this rule!)
This issue’s story, however, is pretty much told by looking at the cover. Negan has begun his power play by taking more than half of our groups supplies and everyone thinks Rick has finally caved in to someone he thinks he can’t beat. But while Rick has plans of his own that he’s keeping close to his chest, others aren’t as willing to sit idly by and let Negan bully them for no other reason that because he can. One of those people is, as you can see on the cover, Carl. He sneaks into Negan’s camp and is hellbent and determined to kill the man for what he did in #100. Things don’t go so well and Carl is in a bad way without anyone to help. Or is there? Negan’s men also captured Jesus who was trailing them in order to find their location so Rick can further his plans to eliminate Negan’s threat. Jesus seemingly escaped so we don’t know where he is at the moment.
But what about Carl? What will Rick do when he realizes his son, the only family he has left, is now in Negan’s hands? What would it do to Rick’s mind if he were to lose Carl? I’m beginning to think these are questions we are soon going to learn the answer to and it’s not going to be pretty!
The Walking Dead continues to be on the edge even after 100 issues and I’m loving it!
*Also on sale now is The Walking Dead, Volume 17: Something To Fear collecting issues 97-102 and featuring the shocking 100th issue and the first appearance of Negan!) -Skott Jimenez
WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #21 (Marvel NOW!)
I’ve been quite critical about a number of titles of late. I buy a lot of books every month and although I don’t expect the best book ever month after month (everyone has a bad spot from time to time) but this book has been slipping bit by bit over the past few months. Maybe it was trying to work it into AvX effectively, or maybe it was because Jason Aaron was busy with AvX and his reworking of Thor… This issue was better than the last (which wouldn’t take much, sorry to say) but there is a lot still lacking.
When looking at the cover of this issue, one thing popped to mind: Uncanny X-Men #111 – when Mesmero brainwashed the team and put them in a circus. So what’s on this cover? The team, in a circus. We even have 2 of the same members – Wolverine and Storm – doing this AGAIN (and last time, Mesmero couldn’t get past Wolvie’s rage state… does this mean Wolvie is calmer now? Naw, not with a Savage Wolverine title on the way…) But another problem is that Storm looks like her child persona from pre-X-Tinction Agenda. I do like that she has her lockpicks in her mouth, emphasizing her time as a thief, but still… Add Rachel, Iceman, Beast (who even though under some sort of thrall still wears an X), and other teacher Warbird completely missing, and all surrounded by BAMFS or whatever they’re called… OK, I haven’t even left the cover yet!
This book just took a turn for the even more ridiculous, which I didn’t think was that possible. Frankenstein’s monster running a circus and gunning for the last of the Frankenstein line of individuals? Wow – Mr. Aaron, you must really have been focusing on your Norse mythology to put something like this in. Yes, we’ve seen vampires and werewolves in the X-books, but Frankenstein? Really? Beast has routinely read Mary Shelley as FICTION.
This book is dangerously close to being cut from my list. It needs to get on track. Maybe it needs the other X-Titles to get on track first before it ties back in, but there are a lot of loose ends to tie up in this book without this… repeat of an old Uncanny story, but using a fictional monster instead of Mesmero. (Unless Mesmero is behind the creature. Then I both applaud and say, “REALLY? The same villain? In a circus? AGAIN?” Yeah, I have some concerns…) -Kelly Cassidy
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