The Latest and (Mostly) Greatest #90 by Dan!

And we’re back! We took last week off, what with it being an insanely light shipment, so here we are in the New Year! Worth noting from last week was the new issue of Forever Evil, a new issue of Hickman’s Avengers and the book I’ll talk about below. Let’s do this!

the saviors 1The Saviors #1 Writer: James Robinson Artist: J. Bone

If you’ve ever wondered what a Darwyn Cooke book written by the guy who did Starman would look like, well, this is about the closest you’re going to get. Hoo boy is this a good book! A slacker in a small town starts seeing lizard people, and then things get rough. I’m not sure if this is going to be a mini-series or an ongoing, but either way, this first issue puts a lot of pieces in place to make it the next big thing from Image. Bone always has a cartoony way of creating a scene, so it’s almost like watching the horror through the eyes of a Warner Bros. short, but that totally works here. Robinson is also firing on all cylinders, making this a must see book for the end of the year.

Now onto this week’s picks!

Juice Squeezers 1Juice Squeezers #1 Writer/Artist: David Lapham

I’m not even going to pretend like I’m not obsessed with David Lapham. I think his style is one of the best ever; he knows how to develop characters and move things along in a way that not many people do these days. Juice Squeezers is no different. It’s technically a kids book (in that it’s a group of kids attacking a bunch of bug  monsters), but in this case, ‘kids’ just refers to ‘all-ages.’ The Juice Squeezers are a group of kids that are responsible for killing bugs underneath a small town in California. A new kid moves into town, and they have to clean up without him noticing. Things don’t go as planned. It’s a stupidly fun book drawn by one of the masters of modern comics, so it’s worth checking out.

Star Wars 0Star Wars #0 Writers/Artists: Various

There’s a lot going on in this weird preview book. Normally, I”m not a fan of these, “official guide” type books, but this is a rare exception. With the strange interpretation of George Lucas’s early Star Wars ideas, there’s a lot of planning that goes into what the style of each character is going to be. This is a collection of sketches and ideas for every single piece of the story so far. It also adds a cover gallery of variants, and a selection of preview pages that Scott Kolins did to pitch the idea to Lucas himself. It’s a fun “making-of” kind of book that actually gives you relevant information. It’s a fun behind-the-scenes piece to one of the crazier ideas Dark Horse has had in a while. Fun stuff.

the manhattan projects 17The Manhattan Projects #17 Writer: Jonathan Hickman Artist: Nick Pitarra

Hey guys, guess what? I loved another issue of Manhattan Projects. After being very science and tech heavy in the first 10-15 issues, things have gone badly for the group. Oppenheimer has gone totally evil, everyone is locked up in jail and things couldn’t get worse… right? But, then we find out Einstein had secretly genetically modified an alien to make him into a rabid killing machine. And that alien has just broken loose. Guys, this book is as crazy as it sounds, and it is non-stop. Hickman balances many different  ideas, concepts and characters gracefully, and I turn every page excited to see what’s next. If I had done a “top books of 2013” this would have been No. 1. Just saying.

New Avengers 13New Avengers #13 Writer: Jonathan Hickman Artist: Simone Bianchi

I’ve praised Hickman as one of the few people that can balance his creator-owned work with his contract work for Marvel, and I’ve always talked about how much I enjoyed his stories on New Avengers (the regular Avengers title is a little too ‘cosmic’ for my tastes, but that’s just opinion). Welp, what a difference an artist makes! Bianchi’s work on this book makes it nearly incomprehensible. When you’ve got a guy like Hickman who loves to go after the high concept stuff, you can’t have an artist that’s experimenting and trying to be a J.H. Williams III knockoff. It’s messy, it’s hard to follow, and it ruins the flow of what has otherwise been a solid book. It’s nice to know that Bianchi will only be on for a couple issues, cause he can never make a deadline anyway. Hopefully, this will be back to it’s normal quality in a couple issues.

Twilight Zone 1The Twilight Zone #1 Writer: J. Michael Straczynski Artist: Guiu Vilanova

I want to like this book. Especially after watching SyFy channel’s marathon for way more hours than I should have earlier this week. Conceptually it works, a guy wants to disappear, so he finds a company to do it. He’s clearly a bad guy, so he’s going to get what’s coming to him eventually, but in the mean time he’s enjoying his life change. Then the twist (no spoilers here!) and to be continued. When it was over I just had this resounding feeling of ‘meh.’ I get what Straczyski is going for. He wants to deal with current issues (Wall St. scandals) in the same way Serling and Co. dealt with racism and changing times during the original airings. But right now it just seems stale and boring, which is exactly the opposite of what you want from a Twilight Zone book. It’s too bad, cause this had a lot of potential, but I just don’t think it’s for me.

And now some quick hits!

dead boy detectives 1Dead Boy Detectives #1 Writer: Toby Litt Artist: Mark Buckingham: A fun little murder mystery based on characters from Sandman I don’t remember. Not a bad first issue.

Bad Blood #1 Writer: Jonathan Maberry Artist: Tyler Crook: If a vampire bites a dude with cancer, apparently his blood is tainted, and he swears vengeance on everything that man loves. So that man will try to get revenge! Fun concept played as weird yet somber as it sounds. A good first issue.

Catalyst Comix #7 Writer: Joe Casey Artist: Three others: I don’t know why I like this book so much, but I do, the stories just keep moving along and it’s still a lot of fun to read.

Superman Unchained 5Superman Unchained #5 Writer: Scott Snyder Artist: Jim Lee: Excessive linework (just look at that cover), Dustin Nguyen having to cover for Lee not doing all the book, and a story that claims that Superman’s parents “chose” to send him to America make this book a mess. That’s all.

Guardians of the Galaxy #10 Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Artist: Kevin Maguire: Great artists keep joining this book for runs, but the plot is so meh. It’s absolutely beautiful to look at though.

Justice League Dark #26 Writer: J.M Dematteis Artist: Mikel Janin: A Forever Evil tie-in that starts things moving for the “Forever Evil: Blight” subplot starting in all the mystical books. It’s fine, and worth checking out if you’re digging everything Forever Evil.

And that’s the week! See you kids next time!

“The” Dan Jacka

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