Thursday, July 20, 2017

New "Inhumans" Trailer

   A new trailer for the upcoming Inhumans movie and TV series was unveiled today at the Comics Con - and they released it to the web, too!

   Here's the clip, which gives us a better look at the powers of the Royal Family - and some hints about the story:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

New Comics Day

   Here's what I picked up at the comics shop this week:

- ARCHIE #22 (Archie) - A stunner.

- CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE #10 (DC) - A strange new world!

- DAREDEVIL #24
(Marvel) - Kingpin strikes back!

- DOCTOR STRANGE #23 (Marvel) - A Secret Empire tie-in.

- INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #9
(Marvel) - Riri's on her own!

- JUSTICE LEAGUE #25 (DC) - Reviving an ancient evil!

- SECRET EMPIRE #6 (OF 10) (Marvel) - The unworthy strike!

- MIGHTY THOR #21 (Marvel) - The Ultimate team-up!

- WILD STORM #6 (DC) - A war is brewing!

- ASTOUNDING X-MEN #1 (Marvel) - A new start!
                                                                                                                                                      
   And I received review copies of:

- ALL NEW FATHOM #6 (Aspen)

- BLOOD BOWL MORE GUTS MORE GLORY #2 (OF 4) (Titan) - Bone-crunching sports action!

- BRITANNIA WE WHO #4 (OF 4) (Valiant) - Death and the deity!

- BUBBLEGUN VOL 2 #3 (Aspen) - A new high-stake job!

- FOREVER WAR #6 (OF 6) (Titan) - The conclusion!

- MIRACULOUS ADVENTURES LADYBUG CAT NOIR #1 (Action Lab - Danger Zone) - The first story!

- NORMANDY GOLD #2 (Titan) - Diving into the world of prostitution.

- PENNY DREADFUL #4 (Titan)

- RAPTURE #3 (Valiant) - Beware the lords of Deadside!

- SECRET WEAPONS #2 (OF 4) (Valiant) - Fully charged!

- SPENCER AND LOCKE #4 (OF 4) (Action Lab - Danger Zone) - The finale!

- ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #37 (Action Lab - Danger Zone) - The most shocking issue yet!

   And that's it!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Lola XOXO #1 (Vol. 2)

   Back again after a brief vacation is Lola, a woman trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic (post-nuclear attack) world.

   Placed in a Wild West-style setting, she uses her hunting skills to try to show her value while carving out a life - and tracking down her missing parents.

    But there are several forces working against her - one evil, and one REALLY evil (the kind who would happily kidnap a child).\\

   The comic is written and drawn by Siya Oum, and the issue is worth the price just for the art.

   It's hard to pinpoint Oum's unique style, but I see some elements of Nick Cardy in there - that same "real" quality, with characters who have life and emotion and beauty to spare.

   This issue is just setup, of course, for the rest of the story, as Lola finds herself in danger - and trying to save others at the same time.

   Well worth a look!

Grade: B+

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Introducing the New Doctor Who



   The BBC ended the mystery this week and announced the actor who will be the next Doctor Who.

   To the surprise of - well, very few people - the next Doctor will be played by a woman - and the first female to tackle the role is the terrific Jodie Whittaker.

   Of course, it was an opportunity for the usual trolls to vent their spleen, declaring this to be the end of the series - but that's just silly.

   Was there outrage when the Doctor's longtime enemy, The Master, regenerated as a woman? Not that I heard.

   And The Doctor solves problems with his or her mind and heart, and those aren't qualities that are exclusive to males.

   My only quibble is that I'm sorry to see Peter Capaldi's run end. It took a few episodes for me to warm up to him as The Doctor (he was quite a change from Matt Smith's lighthearted approach), but he's terrific in the part.

   I'm sad to see the media focus on the negative comments (though perhaps that was the idea - to generate buzz). But Doctor Who is a terrific concept and a positive force - here's hoping the new creative team, and our new Doctor, will take us to even bigger and better stories.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Groo: Play of the Gods #1 (of 4)

   It's amazing to realize that after all these issues of Groo, there are still issues of Groo being published - and they're still the best in the business.

   The comics feature the world's stupidest barbarian who also happens to be an incredibly deadly fighter who loves nothing better than facing overwhelming odds (presumably he's not good at math).

   This provides the action in every issue, and his insatiable appetite (especially for cheese dip, natch) and his total cluelessness (if that's a word) provide much of the comedy.

   Continuing a theme from the last mini-series, his far-reaching adventures are so incredibly stupefying that they're actually having an effect on the spiritual realm, as the gods (such as they are) have taken note of his activities.

   The earthly representatives of the gods also hope to use Groo - for their own less-than-noble purposes.

   Who but artist / creator Sergio Aragon├ęs could mine humor from the always-touchy topic of religion? Who but wordsmith Mark Evanier could wring the maximum laughs from each panel? (Really, I'm asking. Who?)

   Oh, and there are three full-page splash panels in the story that absolutely made my jaw drop - who but Aragon├ęs would even attempt a scene with a cast of hundreds - three times over? 

   So Groo continues to hold its crown as the funniest comic around. Don't miss it! (As we've learned, there's no such thing as too much Groo!)

Grade: A

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Wynonna Earp Season Zero #1

   Whenever a comic book is adapted into a film or TV show, the comic usually tries to adjust to fit more closely with the mass media version.

   Wynonna Earp is now well into its second season on the SyFy channel, and earning well-deserved rave reviews - it's a great blend of action, horror, humor and a terrific cast - and on the comics side, writer / creator Beau Smith has been nudging his series a bit to line it up with the TV show.

   It wasn't a long trip, mostly involving moving the setting for the series to Wynonna's hometown of Purgatory, and bringing in the TV supporting cast, including her sister Waverly, the immortal Doc Holliday, Officer Haught, Black Badge Agent Dolls, and the warrior woman Valdez (who isn't on the show but should be).

   Oh, and Wynonna is now a brunette (that was an easy fix).

   The current storyline takes advantage of the "limitless budget" in comics to give us - for the first time ever - a look at Wynonna's earliest days after leaving Purgatory, introducing the unique, tough-as-nails "family" she ran with.

   With lives in danger, Wynonna must work with her ongoing (and yes, somewhat dysfunctional) family to go to war.

   The story is by Smith and Tim Rozon, who plays Doc on the show, and it's a hard-hitting blast from Wynonna's past.

   The art is by Angel Hernandez, and it's terrific, combining sweeping vistas with smashmouth action and great character depictions.

   It's a strong story that will delight fans of both the TV show and the comic!

Grade: A

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Mage: The Hero Denied #0

   Not to be maudlin - but how wonderful to have lived long enough to see the beginning and (assuming I make it to the end of next year) the end of writer / artist Matt Wagner's excellent Mage story.

   It's a modern version of the Arthurian legend, told in three parts.

   It pits the powerful hero Kevin Matchstick against dark forces and assorted monsters as he works with an assortment of allies.

   This "Zero" issue seems to include an audition for a potential new ally, and Wagner has fun with his (shall we say) well-seasoned hero meeting a "modern" hero.

   Those of us who are challenged in the growing hair department can appreciate that Kevin shares that curse - one of the few such heroes in the history of comics.

   The art is terrific and the story is building to a big finish - I can't wait to see where it all goes!

   Highly recommended!

Grade: A

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Defenders #3

   I shouldn't be surprised that I'm really enjoying The Defenders - but somehow I am.

   I assume it's because the series feels a bit forced, bringing together the stars of assorted Netflix shows as a team - which works fine on TV, but may be a stretch in the comics where their stories have taken different paths.

   It works because - well, the book is loaded with terrific characters. It pits Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones against a mysteriously powerful (and no longer dead) crime lord named Diamondback.

   But first, they have to fight the Punisher (and survive the encounter).

   The story by Brian Michael Bendis is fast and funny, and almost worth buying just for Luke Cage's comments.

   It's also packed with action, terrific art by David Marquez, and a heck of a cliffhanger.

   If I had to quibble about something, it's that lots of injuries are doled out - and everyone seems to recover with amazing speed.

   But that's minor - all standard business in an action / adventure story.

   And this is a very good one. What a happy surprise!

Grade: A

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

New Comics Day

   Here's what I picked up at the comics shop today:

- NEIL GAIMAN AMERICAN GODS SHADOWS #5 (Dark Horse) - The strange road trip continues!

- BUG THE ADVENTURES OF FORAGER #3 (OF 6) (DC) - Lifted by Atlas!

- DEFENDERS #3 (Marvel) - The Punisher strikes!

- FLASH #26 (DC) - Fear for the future!

- GROO: PLAY OF GODS #1 (Dark Horse) - The play's the thing.

- MAGE HERO DENIED #0 (Image) - Destiny calls!

- SECRET WARRIORS #4 (Marvel) - Secret Empire tie-in.

- WYNONNA EARP SEASON ZERO #1 (OF 5) (IDW) - Before the Black Badge!


   And these review copies also arrived:

- CALEXIT #1 (Black Mask) - California declares its independence.

- HARBINGER RENEGADE #5 (Valiant) - New story arc begins!

- IAN LIVINGSTONES FREEWAY FIGHTER #3 (OF 4) (Titan) - Keep fighting!

- LAST SONG #1 (Black Mask) - Saved by rock and roll!

- LOLA XOXO VOL 2 #1 (Aspen) - The hit series returns!

- RIVERS OF LONDON DETECTIVE STORIES #2 (OF 4) (Titan) - Four magical crimes!

- WARHAMMER 40000 REVELATIONS #4 (OF 4) (Titan) - The finale!

   And that's it!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bloodshot's Day Off #1

   Amist the usual bombastic goings-on in the life of the soldiers who have been through the Bloodshot process, it's nice to throw in an occasional "quiet" issue - and that's what you get with Bloodshot's Day Off.

   Turned into invincible killing machines by the government, two soldiers are - surprisingly - given leave for a day.

   One is a veteran of the Vietnam War, the other of World War II - and both take advantage of their time off to take a trip down memory lane.

   It's a touching story about the sacrifices soldiers make - and it has a powerful message to share.

   The well-crafted story is by Eliot Rahal, and the art by Khari Evans captures the emotional impact of the story.

   It's a nice change of pace with a relative minimum of death and destruction, but plenty of life-affirming moments.

Grade: B+

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming: Movie Review

   Let's say it right up front: I loved this movie!

   That's because Spider-Man: Homecoming gets it right.

   It gives us a Peter Parker - played perfectly by Tom Holland - who manages to be nerdy but sweet, young but not childish, and powerful but anxious to make his mark while learning his trade.

   The mistake most films (and the comic books) often make is that they present Peter as a loser. Done properly, he's a teen with typical problems. Can he work up the nerve to ask a pretty girl out on a date to the Homecoming dance? What are his career goals? How can he deal with school bullies?

   Add on top of that the challenges of being a super-hero: fighting the bad guys; keeping his identity secret; and protecting the people in his (friendly) neighborhood, all while figuring out his new powers.

   So Peter has a lot on his plate. Then he's recruited by Tony Stark (the masterful Robert Downey, Jr.) to help with the Civil War (which we see in flashback), and he's given a high-tech superhero suit in the bargain.

   The film also flashes back to the aftermath of the first Avengers movie, as a salvage crew led by Adrian Toomes (played with a perfect balance between menace and intensity by Michael Keaton) finds a more profitable use for the alien technology left behind. The comic book version of The Vulture never impressed me as being a real challenge for Spider-Man, but the film version certainly succeeds in ramping up the threat level.

   What follows is a terrific mix of action sequences, a dollop of love story, lots of humor and dozens of Easter eggs for long-time fans.

   Throughout the film, you care. You cheer for Peter as he fights overwhelming odds - and as he tries to navigate the challenges of high school. That's the perfect age for Spider-Man - as a brash young man, joyous in his amazing abilities, fighting to overcome the odds, big-hearted, heroic and very funny.

   The film includes a terrific supporting cast, including: Marisa Tomei as the hottest (and funniest) Aunt May ever; Jacob Batalon gets lots of laughs as Peter's best friend Ned; Jon Favreau is great as Tony's right-hand-man-and-Spidey-liaison Happy Hogan; Laura Harrier glows as the smart and lovely Liz; and Zendaya is a pure delight as the acerbic Michelle.

   I suppose if you worked hard at it, you could find something to pick at - but the missteps are very minor. It's loaded with surprises, great action sequences and lots of plot points for future films.

   When I saw it, the packed house laughed and cheered and ooh-ed throughout. They loved it, too!

   In a year loaded with great super-hero movies, Spider-Man has managed to nail down the best one of the year - so far!

Grade: A

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Shaolin Cowboy - Shemp Buffet

   I'm late to the party with Shaolin Cowboy, which is surprising, since I'm a big fan of artist Geoff Darrow, whose unique style is consistently stunning.

   This recently-released collection is titled Shemp Buffet, and it almost defies description.

  Simply put, it drops the title character (who gets through the book with almost no dialogue at all) in the middle of a desert, being pursued by an army of zombies.

  At first he does the smart thing - he runs away. But when others are threatened, he turns and fights with his (shall we say) unique weapon: a long pole with chain saws on either end.

   What follows is, perversely, a pure delight, as Darrow lovingly depicts page after page after page after page (etc) of battle, all presented with amazing detail, down to the pebbles on the ground and the drops of blood that fly through the air.

   I'm not much of a horror fan, but this book presents frightening images as works of art, adding in a bit of humor and heroic efforts.

   It's not like anything I've ever seen before, and I  loved it.

   I can't recommend it highly enough.

Grade: A+

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Skybourne #4 (of 5)

   File this one under "Oh yeah, I almost forgot about this series."

   It's been several months since the last issue of Frank Cho's enjoyable Skybourne series, but delays and Cho go hand-in-hand.

   But it's a series worth the wait, both for the powerful artwork and the fun concept that give Cho lots of room to have fun with the visuals.

   So we have the (apparently evil) wizard Merlin leading a small army of giant dragons to attack a hidden base that serves as a prison of sorts (or is it a zoo?) for a vast menagerie of mystical creatures, most of them deadly and hostile.

   The main defender of the base is Thomas Skybourne, a son of Lazarus (yes, that Lazarus), blessed with immortality, invulnerability and great strength.

   But will that be enough against the invaders? There's the fun bit.

   The issue is loaded with action and lots of humor - though the material is on the adult side, so this isn't really for young readers.

   The series plays to Cho's strengths - fantastic art, amazing creatures, beautiful women, lots of humor - but it does require some patience while the deadlines play out.

   Still, highly recommended!

Grade: A-

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Champions #10

   As mentioned in this week's Avengers review, it's a trick to work around a big Event series (such as Secret Empire) - and writer Mark Waid shows how it's done.

   Since the Champions are heavily involved in the event, working outside it is a trick - so Waid uses this issue to check in on the team's members, two of whom are off doing other things (Cyclops is with the X-Men, and Nova is trapped in space on the other side of a planet-wide force field) - so that leaves the team the task of tracking down Ms. Marvel.

   That involves tracking down a secret concentration camp and facing some difficult choices. The story features a few surprises and some tough challenges that force the heroes to make some smart decisions.

   I love it when the heroes are smart.

   The art by Humberto Ramos and Victor Olazaba is terrific as always, with striking layouts and great character depictions.

   It's a clever series and it focuses on the positive energy of the younger generation of heroes. I like it!

Grade: A-

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   A reminder that this site - Chuck's Comic of the Day - is largely supported by sales to Amazon.com - just click on the link over there on the right and this blog will receive a small kickback from any sales, all at no additional cost to you.

   And Amazon has a special event coming up in a few days - its third annual Amazon Prime event!



   Check it out!

   Thanks for your patience snd support - now, back to blogging!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Avengers #9

   One of the problems with big events is that they tend to disrupt the stories in ongoing titles, which must screech to a halt to deal with the effects of the event.

   But there are writers who can work around that limitation - and Mark Waid demonstrates how to do that in this little gem of an issue.

   Since The Avengers are tied up dealing with the Secret Empire, the focus is on The Mighty Thor, who has somehow been banished to an alien dimension.

   She must adjust to this strange new reality and find a way back to Earth - all without her enchanted hammer.

   It's a story loaded with humor and heart - and a few surprises.

   It's also perfectly suited to the artwork of Mike Del Mundo, with its bright colors, alien creatures and exotic landscapes.

   It's a surprisingly touching story, and a welcome relief from the usual event angst.

Grade: A

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

New Comics Day

   Here’s what I picked up at the comics shop today:

- AVENGERS #9 - Secret Empire tie-in.

- BANE CONQUEST #3 (OF 12) - Squaring off against the Bat! 

- CHAMPIONS #10 - More Secret Empire stuff. 

- DAREDEVIL #23 - Meeting the Hulk!

- GREEN HORNET 66 MEETS SPIRIT #1 (OF 5) - The blue and the green!

- HAWKEYE #8 - A face from the past! 

- IRON FIST #5 - Concluding the trial of the 7 Masters!

- JESSICA JONES #10 - The mystery of Maria Hill!

- JUSTICE LEAGUE #24 - What’s happened to Aquaman? 

- NICK FURY #4 - The deep blue sea!

- SKYBOURNE #4 - When dragons attack!

- VISITOR HOW AND WHY HE STAYED #5 (OF 5) - The finale!

- UNSTOPPABLE WASP #7 - The future hangs in the balance!


   And I received these review copies: 

- ASSASSINS CREED REFLECTIONS #4 (OF 4) - The finale! 

- ASSASSINS CREED UPRISING #5 - A new story arc begins! 

- BLOODSHOT’S DAY OFF #1 -  A killing machine takes a break!

- DOCTOR WHO 12TH YEAR THREE #5 -  With new companion Bill!

- DOCTOR WHO GHOST STORIES #4 (OF 4) - A secret is revealed! 

- DOLLFACE #6 - Fun in the sun!  

- KIM AND KIM LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD #1 - A bounty gone bad! 

- LOST FLEET CORSAIR #2 (OF 4) - The SF adaptation continues!

- NO WORLD #3 - An uneasy alliance!  

- STAINED #3 (OF 5) - A human trafficking ring! 

- THERES NOTHING THERE #3 - Being close to a human target is a bad idea. 

- ZOMBIE TRAMP ORIGINS #1 - The origin story in full color!


   And that’s it! (Whew! So much to read!)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Secret Weapons #1

   One of the things I always enjoyed about the classic Legion of Super-heroes lineup was that it combined several heroes whose powers were - well, not exactly impressive.

   That concept is back in Valiant's Secret Weapons.

   It brings together a small group of psiots who were "developed" by the evil Harada - and mostly rejected from consideration as a weapon.

   That's because their powers are a bit... odd.

   But that doesn't save them from a deadly menace - an evil plot that involves gathering psiots and stealing both their powers and their lives.

   So the individuals involved are going to have to team up fast - and even then, can they survive a relentless, murderous monster?

   Luckily for them, even though they don't know it - they have a secret weapon.

   So it's an interesting start to the new series - I'm curious to see where it goes from here.

Grade: A-

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Beautiful Canvas #1

   I like comic books that actually manage to surprise me (Saga being a good example thereof).

   You can add Black Mask's Beautiful Canvas to that list.

   It follows a woman named Lon who has an unusual career - she kills people.

   She's hired for a job that appears to be just another hit - but in this series, things are rarely what they seem.

   In fact, reality itself seems to be suspect.

   When the hit takes an unexpected turn, Lon makes a surprising choice - one that may put her in danger from a very powerful foe.

   The issue is written by Ryan K. Lindsay and drawn by Sami Kivela, and both turn in excellent work. The script is smart and always one step ahead of us, and the art shows great design skill, with strong characters and vivid environments on display.

   This is not a comic for young readers - there's lots of death and assorted horrific images - but for mature readers, it's a compelling puzzle to sort out - and impossible to predict.

   Recommended!

Grade: A-

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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Astro City #45

   Comic book characters are always changing.

   It's not always apparent. By their nature, comics are all about the illusion of change - but it's important to maintain the status quo.

   But things are always changing in the world of pop culture, and comics change with them. Even Superman has gone through changes - from his first plain "acrobat tights" costume to his classic long johns to jeans and a T-shirt and the most recent high-tech version (we won't talk about his mullet stylings).

   But because the changes happen over a period of years, it's not always evident.

   By compressing that time period, Astro City has crafted a unique series of characters based on the popular music trends, and is tying their stories together in a series of adventures that paints a musical panorama of its own.

   It's a clever story - and with this issue we finally get a glimpse of the great threat that is tied to the phenomenon, and may threaten all of creation.

   As always, Kurt Busiek crafts a terrific, clever (and often funny) story, and Brent E. Anderson turns in his usual incredible art, with amazing character designs and vivid environments.

    This is a story arc that any comics fan will enjoy - but music fans will love it!

Grade: A-

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Defenders #2

   While I still struggle a smudge with the name of this team (I fondly remember the original gang), The Defenders is a darned good comic.

   Set at the ground level of the Marvel universe, it teams up Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones as they face the challenge of a new kingpin of crime in New York - a surprisingly powerful and deadly old foe of Luke's named Diamondback.

   Formerly a run-of-the-mill villain, Diamondback is more lethal than ever - and his confrontation with Luke Cage leaves that hero at death's door.

   As you'd expect from writer Brian Michael Bendis, the dialogue is fast, funny and very real - and the reactions of each character are likewise.

   The art by David Marquez is excellent, with striking layouts and powerful character designs.

   Throw in some clever plot twists and several guest appearances, and you have a series that doesn't slow down for a moment.

   More like this, please, and I can forgive the lack of Dr. Strange, Namor and the Hulk!

Grade: A-

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Batman / The Shadow #3

   This would seem to be the most natural team-up ever for a comics series - two dark vigilantes fighting against their greatest foes.

   But instead it just feels... odd.

   The Shadow has been captured by Batman and is left in chains while the Dark Knight goes after the strange, mystic, powerful and possibly immortal Stag - who has teamed up with a maniacal Joker.

   This version of the Joker seems to be based on the one that appeared in the Suicide Squad movie - not my favorite rendition of the character, but I can live with it.

   So Batman swings into action while The Shadow stands there and talks to Alfred.

   And you'd think, considering how Batman fared the first time he tackled the Stag, he'd have prepared a bit more for their second match -  but then, we'd miss out on that stunning final splash page.

   I'm sticking with this series because I'm curious to see how it ends - but I have to admit, the characters still don't "feel" right so far.

Grade: B+

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

"The Inhumans" Trailer

   The trailer for the upcoming Inhumans TV show has just been released, and it certainly looks promising.

   This is another one of those Marvel features where I wonder, "Can they make it work?" (I had the same questions about Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, and those turned out great - so here's hoping for more of the same here.)

   ABC must like what it sees, because they're releasing the first episode to IMAX theatres before it airs. Check it out:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

New Comics Day

   Here's what I picked up at the comics shop today:

- ASTRO CITY #45 (Vertigo) - What broke the broken man?

- BATMAN THE SHADOW #3 (OF 6) (Boom / DC) - Enter the Joker.

- DEFENDERS #2 (Marvel) - Teaming up!

- ELFQUEST FINAL QUEST #20 (Dark Horse)- Who will stay and who will go?

- FLASH #25 (DC) - Can the Reverse-Flash kill Barry's future?

- KAMANDI CHALLENGE #6 (OF 12) (DC) - Our hero bears down (sorry).

- SAGA #44 (Image) - In search of... healthcare!

- SECRET EMPIRE #5 (OF 10) (Marvel) - Unleashing a terrible power.


    And I received these review copies:

- BEAUTIFUL CANVAS #1 (Black Mask) - Hit woman turned rescuer.

- DREGS #4 
 (Black Mask) - An archetype lost in architecture.

- THE FOREVERS #4 
 (Black Mask) - A killer revealed.

- MEDISIN #2  (Action Lab - Danger Zone) - First, do no harm.

- MILLENNIUM GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO #1 (Titan Comics) - A trail of murder and secrets.

- NO ANGEL #4 
 (Black Mask) - The final fight in Chicago.

- SECRET WEAPONS #1 (OF 4) (Valiant) - Gathering the weapons!


- TALES OF THE FRACTURED MIND - An anthology of mind games!

WONDER WOMAN ’77 MEETS THE BIONIC WOMAN #5 (Dynamic Ent. / DC) - Two powerhouses team up!

- X-O MANOWAR #4 (Valiant) - Aric commands a fleet!

- ZOMBIE TRAMP #36  (Action Lab - Danger Zone) - Who is the mysterious Kaiju Queen?

    And that's it!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Nick Fury #3

   Nick Fury holds a special place in my heart for lots of reasons, but we'll focus in on the version of the character that introduced us to the world of SHIELD.

   The whole idea of a super spy in a world of superheroes probably wouldn't have worked under most creative teams, but Fury has been blessed with some of the best in the business, starting strong with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and hitting his apex under the amazing talents of Jim Steranko, who maxed the high-concept adventure strip into a monthly thrill ride.

   Lots of creators have taken a shot, but none have managed to reach that high level of success - and I'm not ready to proclaim that the new creative team is there yet - but they're very, very close. (The series iwritten by James Robinson with amazing art by ACO.)

   They're cranking out these delightful little done-in-one issues that take Fury (this is the Samuel Jackson version, natch) to all kinds of exotic locales (we get a high-tech train ride here with lots of murdery activities and a little sex on the side).

   It's fast and a heck of a lot of fun. Highly recommended!

Grade: A

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Monday, June 26, 2017

All-New Soulfire #4

   If you've ever read the novel Dune by Frank Herbert (which I highly recommend), you know the feeling.

   For the first 100 pages or so, you feel like you're learning a new language - and you are - as you figure out the alien terminology of a different world.

   But at some point it all clicks in and you get immersed in the story.

   Now, I'm not saying All-New Soulfire is as good as Dune (not many stories reach such heights) - but reading it is a similar experience.

   You spend a good part of the issue learning how this world of mystics works. It's all based around a being (in this case, a young man) called the Samusara, who serves as a catalyst for magic.

   Both good and evil forces vie to protect - or control - that being, and therein lies the conflict at the heart of the series.

   The comic has terrific art by Giuseppe Cafaro and a good script by J.T. Krul - though it may take you a few pages to get the concepts sorted out.

   It's worth the effort.

Grade: B+

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bubblegun #2

   Aspen's Bubblegun series has a lot going for it.

   Set in the future, it has a great look, thanks to the imaginative artwork of Angel Tovar and Frederico Blee's color art.

   It's loaded with action, as the team of mercenaries attack a heavily-defended high tech genius, looking for information that can help solve some mysteries - and save the world.

   Mark Roslan's story offers some plot twists, a bit of romance, and a story about fathers and sons - so, something for everyone.

   It's still a bit fuzzy exactly how those elements all fit together, but hopefully future issues will help clear that up.

   So, cool weapons (including the title gun), fun characters and lots of explosions - Bubblegun is a fun ride!

   (But I do wish my spellcheck would stop trying to correct the title to "Bubblegum.")

Grade: B+

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Archie #21

   Up to this point, the "new" version of Archie (Andrews) has focused on a somewhat more realistic comedy tone (as opposed to the sillier traditional Archie comic), with some wonderful writing by Mark Waid and excellent artwork by a variety of artists - this time around, it's the talented Pete Woods.

   But this latest storyline - "Over the Edge" - has given us a different take, as it steps over the line into drama (with a dash of soap opera in the mix).

   It spins out of last issue's story, where Archie and Reggie's long-simmering feud finally boils over - and they agree to a dangerous drag race.

   At the end of last issue, we saw Betty race her car to the scene - and a deadly crash followed.

   It's well-trodden ground. Who was hurt? What happened next? How will the rest of the Riverdale gang be affected?

   But I can't fault the story - this issue popped right up to the top of my reading stack, as I was anxious too see the answers to those questions - and next issue will do the same.

   I shouldn't be surprised that I enjoy this series - Waid is one of the best comic writers out there, of course - though I am happy to see that a more traditional new Archie comic is being released next month - but I'm enjoying this series a lot, and I suspect you will, too.

Grade: A

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Invincible Iron Man #8

   If Marvel wonders why its sales are falling, consider this: yesterday I reviewed The Might Thor, which featured three characters named Thor - but the "real" Thor was not called by name in the comic.

   Today we're looking at the latest issue of Invincible Iron Man, which features not a panel of actual Iron Man (or the real Tony Stark) in evidence.

   This issue isn't a complete loss, though, as it continues to examine the character Ironheart - the young Riri Williams, a young genius who has created her own version of the Iron Man armor (with Stark's blessing).

   She's learning what it means to be a hero - and what it means to be a genius. The story also allows writer Brian Michael Bendis to deal with some great concepts, including a technological terrorist threat and SHIELD.

   So we get a lot of smart dialogue and a fun action sequence between Riri and a surprise female villain.

   The art by Stefano Casselli is terrific - both dynamic and heartfelt.

   This series works because Riri is such a well-rounded character - intelligent, funny and determined to do the right thing.

   You know. A hero. (There's always room for more of that.)

   I'd still like to see Tony Stark in his own comic, but Riri is a fine replacement - for now.

Grade: A-

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Mighty Thor #20

   Now that's what Marvel needed: another Thor.

   It was inevitable, I suppose, since they had an extra magic hammer laying around.

   In the recent Unworthy Thor mini-series (which starred the real Thor), the Odinson (you know, Thor) discovers the hammer of the Ultimate Thor, which somehow survived the Secret War (although the Ultimate Thor did not).

   You might expect Odinson to take up that hammer - or perhaps the Mighty Thor (Jane Foster) to take it and return Mjolnir to its previous owner.

   But that would all be too predictable, so instead we have a new figure claiming the massive new hammer (for reasons that are terribly tragic and out of character) - but at least we know who he is up front, so there's no secret identity to wrestle with.

   I understand the urge to duplicate popular characters - the fans love them, so let's give them more of the same.

   But it's also possible to have too much of a good thing, as the Superman titles of the '60s and the modern-day Spider-Man Family of spinoffs clearly indicates. But as those earlier efforts show, too much duplication waters down the original - and in this series, the real Thor is just a shadow of his former self.

   Here's hoping this new Thor has a brief run.

Grade: B

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New Comics Day

   Here's what I picked up at the comics shop today (in addition to the Spider-Man Digest I missed last week):

- ARCHIE #21 - A deadly turn of events!

- CAPTAIN AMERICA STEVE ROGERS #18 - Tangling with Namor.

- CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE #9 - Stop that eye!

- DAREDEVIL #22 - Under oath!

- DOCTOR STRANGE #22 - A "Secret Empire" tie-in.

- INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #8 - Fighting for the right cause.

- JUSTICE LEAGUE #23 - Fighting terrorists.

- MAN-THING #5 (OF 5) - The finale!

- NICK FURY #3 - Off the rails!

- SILVER SURFER #12 - What is "the only secret in the universe?"

- MIGHTY THOR #20 - The all-new Ultimate Thor!

- WILD STORM #5 - A new phase for an ancient war.


And I received review copies of:

- ALL NEW SOULFIRE #4 - What new horrors await?

- ANNO DRACULA #4 (OF 5) - When Dracula ruled England.

- BRITANNIA WE WHO #3 - The women rebel!

- BUBBLEGUN VOL 2 #2 - The dangers of working in the Black Market!

- DOCTOR WHO 10TH YEAR THREE #6 - A new story begins!

- DOCTOR WHO 12TH YEAR THREE #4 - A small town with a deadly secret.

- FOREVER WAR #5 (OF 6) - The fight continues!

- RAPTURE #2 - The evil forces of the Deadside rise.

- SPENCER AND LOCKE #3 (OF 4) - Left for dead.

- TANK GIRL WORLD WAR TANK GIRL #3 (OF 4)

- VAMPBLADE SEASON TWO #4 - It's the comic con of the dead!

And that's it!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Marvel Comics Digest #1

   When this issue was sold on June 7, Kyle write in to ask, "Hey Chuck, if you take requests, would like to see a review of the Spider-Man (Marvel Comics) Digest... Heard these will be making their way to grocery stores too... Is it reprints? New stories? All ages I would assume?"

   We try to do requests here at Chuck's Comic of the Day - even if we're a couple of weeks late because we just now tracked down a copy (thanks to my local comics shop), so let's check it out.

   I have to admit, I'm a sucker for these digests - they're fun and you get a lot of comics for your money - 11 issues in all, by my count.

   It is all reprints (the cover looks new), and includes one of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's last stories on the series ("Just a Guy Named Joe!"), several issues from the excellent Len Wein / Ross Andru run on the series, and more modern stories, including "Marvel Age" Spidey, "Marvel Adventures" Spidey, Ultimate Spider-Man and a "Web Warriors" adventure.

   So, it's a good mix of classic and modern, great for readers of all ages (though I have to admit some of the print is on the edge of being too small for my not-as-young-as-they-used-to-be eyes).

   Still, I think this is a great idea (though it's odd to see Archie Comics printing these collections), and hopefully it'll help lure in a new generation of readers to the wonders of comic books!

 You could do a lot worse than having the Amazing Spider-Man as a guide!

Grade: A-

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Rai: The History of the Valiant Universe #1

   For those who came in late (as they say in the Phantom comic strip), here's a handy overview of the Valiant Universe.

   We join the warrior Rai in the distant future as the Eternal Warrior and the Geomancer retrieve the Book of the Geomancer, which recounts the key events in history.

   It begins at the beginning of civilization with the immortal brothers who will spend their long lives fighting for humanity.

   Most of the focus is on the "present," as we learn about heroes such as Ninjak, X-O Manowar, the team called Unity and the deadly plans of Toyo Harada and Master Darque (among others).

   The issue (which I assume is a one-shot) is written by Rofer Roberts with powerful artwork by Francis Portela.

   It's a helpful reference work for both those readers who have just discovered Valiant Comics - and a fun recap for longtime fans.

Grade: B+

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Normandy Gold #1

   Sex, crime and revenge are a classic combination, and you get a healthy dollop of all three in the series Normandy Gold.

   It's part of the Hard Case Crime series from Titan Comics, and it's the comics equivalent of a terrific "B" movie.

   The story introduces us to Normandy, a beautiful and tough-as-nails law enforcement officer who travels to Washington, DC, to investigate the murder of a family member - and finds a shocking "hive of scum and villainy" - so the question is, how far will she go to track down the murderer?

   (If you've seen a good revenge flick, you may already know the answer.)

   This is not a comic for young readers - it's raw, brutal and free with female nudity.

   It's a cracking good story by Megan Abbott and Allison Gaylkin, with terrific, sexy and dynamic art by Steve Scott.

   It's a great start to the series and highly recommended for the grownups out there!

Grade: A

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Betty & Veronica #3

   Whenever artist Adam Hughes takes on a series, attention must be paid.

   Naturally, we had to be patient - it took 11 months to craft three issues - but it's beautiful work.

   Hughes also wrote the story, which pits the kind-hearted Betty against the conniving Veronica.

   It's a fierce battle as Betty tries to save the iconic Pop's, which is about to close.

   Veronica's father is buying out the shop to open a coffee shop, and she's backing her father's efforts.

   The battle has split the town, and Betty's only hope is to hold a special fundraiser at the school to try to raise $60,000 to save Pop's.

   The issue is packed with Easter eggs, from figures out of Little Nemo to references to Stephen King's "It" and the return of the original version of the Archie gang, to name just a few.

   It goes without saying that the art is stunning, and surprisingly Hughes manages to (mostly) resist the urge to lay on the cheesecake.

   This has been a fun trilogy - and hopefully not the last time we'll see Hughes showing off his fine comic chops.

Grade: A

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Friday, June 16, 2017

The Defenders #1

   Several different groups have carried the label "The Defenders" - and now there's a new one.

   I can't remember if Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist or Jessica Jones were ever members of the original version of the team (the one that started with Dr. Strange, the Sub-Mariner and the Hulk), but that foursome gets to carry on the team tradition thanks mostly to the upcoming Netflix TV series that brings together those four heroes.

   This issue flows directly out of the recent Free Comic Book Day issue, with each hero under attack by a surprisingly powerful (and surprisingly alive) Diamondback.

   The book is written by Brian Michael Bendis, who did a terrific job with 3/4 of the team when he was writing the New Avengers - and now he gets to add Iron Fist to the mix.

   The art is by David Marquez with color art by Justin Ponsor, and it's excellent, with great character designs (I love the introductory graphic each hero gets with his or her "entrance"), strong layouts and vivid environments.

   It's a  powerful start for this "street level" series, and I'm anxious to see where it goes next.

   Highly recommended!

Grade: A

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Secret Empire #4 (of 10)

   Just when I think the Secret Empire series can't do anything to make me more disgusted, it finds a lower level to sink to.

   And boy, does this one push my buttons (and not in a good way).

   The issue is something of an Avengers reunion, but half the team members represented are fighting on the side of Tony Stark (or at least an artificial intelligence version of him), and the other half - quite inexplicably - are fighting for the evil Hydra version of Captain America.

   The only original Avengers missing are the Wasp (who was too smart to get involved in this story, presumably) and the Hulk, who is inconveniently dead at the moment. Yep, we'll never see him again.

   The guest list includes the original Thor (now hammerless and called Odinson - and working for Hydra, I have no idea why), and one of my favorite heroes, Hank Pym (Giant-Man), who is merged with Ultron (again, I have no idea why, and this issue isn't going to explain it to me).

   And we have here the worst Hank Pym that Marvel can generate - the one who is crazy, who has an inferiority complex, and who all the other Avengers hate (and happily tell you how much they hate him).

   I get that Pym is a "minor" hero who never had a big following - but guess what? There are thousands of fans out there, like me, who like the character and only ask that Marvel's writers STOP CRAPPING ALL OVER THE CHARACTER (you know, like DC did to Hal Jordan for years until they realized he had more potential as a hero).

   It doesn't seem like too much to ask.

   Even setting this aside, Secret Empire continues to be a train wreck that careens into an orphanage and catches fire.

   Hopefully at some point Marvel can sort this out and make fans happy to read the adventures of their favorite heroes again - but I'm not encouraged.

Grade: D

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

New Comics Day

   Here's what I picked up at the comics shop today:
 
- NEIL GAIMAN AMERICAN GODS SHADOWS #4 - A visit from the Midnight Sister!
 
- BETTY & VERONICA #3 - The conclusion!
 
- BUG THE ADVENTURES OF FORAGER #2 (OF 6) - The fate of the Multiverse hangs in the balance!
 
- DEFENDERS #1 - An old enemy returns to fight the newest team in town.

- FLASH #24 - Team-up in space!

- HULK #7 - Hanging around with Hellcat.

- SECRET EMPIRE #4 (OF 10) - Ultron rises!

- SECRET WARRIORS #3 - Secret Empire tie-in!

- X-MEN BLUE #5 - A surprising return!



    And I received review copies of:
 
- ALL NEW FATHOM #5 - A traitor revealed!

- AMERIKARATE #4 - The belly of the beast!
 
- DOCTOR WHO 11TH YEAR THREE #6
 
- HERO CATS #17 - It's detention time!

- IAN LIVINGSTONE FREEWAY FIGHTER #2 (OF 4)


- KID SHERLOCK #1 - Making friends.

- NORMANDY GOLD #1 - Into the world of prostitution.

- QUANTUM TEENS ARE GO #4 - Into a secret lab.

- RAI HISTORY OF VALIANT UNIVERSE #1 (One Shot) - Secrets revealed!


- SPACE RIDERS GALAXY OF BRUTALITY #2 - Where gods go to die!

 
- TEKKEN #2 (OF 4)


- THERE'S NOTHING THERE #2 - Nowhere is safe.

- TOMBOY #11 - It's a trap!

   Whew! And that's it!