Chris’ Comic Book Corner

Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Daredevil #1

A Review From Christopher Franey

Everything old is new again…but it’s not this time.  This time the Man without Fear will Know Fear.  There might be minor SPOILERS in this review and I would suggest that you read the issue yourself and I’ll try not to spill it all out here, but I will tell you this issue is worth your money and time.  Daredevil has been one of my favorite characters since I was a kid and I find myself checking out his adventures as often as I can.  We have been really lucky with the creative teams behind Daredevil, a real murders’ row.  Last time we saw DD he was killed by Charles Soule and then Jed MacKay revived him but planted seeds of fear and pain into Matt’s life.

Daredevils dead, long live Daredevil!  So the new creative team of Chip Zdarsky & Marco Checchetto are starting issue 1 off by doing some great world building.  They introduce us to their Matt Murdock and we get some great vibes of how he is, the inner conflicts he has, and it does nicely remind of us the Netflix show.  We have a new character of Detective Cole North who seems like a no nonsense kind of guy in a dirty department of police, so this will definitely be a challenge for Matt, a real hard nose cop.  We get more of Matt’s past and a new relationship with Father Cathal, which plays really nicely with Matt’s logic and morals.  This is a grate issue 1 and does the perfect job of setting up, introducing the players, and builds a hell of a conflict!

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The conflict is a tough one as well, we see that Matt wants people to know that Daredevil is still out there doing the job, Hell’s Kitchen is safe.  We get to see that DD is not quite what he used to be in his acrobats and also on his street fighting.  Which snowballs very fast and leaves us with a narrow escape for DD, a fire, a dead man, and some evidence…which you’ll have to read since I don’t want to spoil this treat.  This will build for some major conflict which I’m guess will come to a head in issue 3, based on covers. 

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Marco does an amazing job on the interior art, the first page in which we see Matt in costume needs to be a poster…ASAP!  We have seen Marco before on Daredevil and we were also treated to him teaming up with Spider-Man and Punisher in the Omega Effect, so this man has earned his horns.  Do yourself a favor and read it again and recommend to a friend.  I give this issue 5 out of 5 billy clubs, so as always read on and Excelsior! 

George Perez: The Man Who Survived A Crisis And The Infamous Snap

An Editorial From Christopher Franey

We are in witness to the ending of an era now that George Perez has announced his retirement from comics.  Now before we get to a sad moment, let us look at it this way…he is going out on his terms. Lots of writers, artists, editors, and many others get fired or downsized and their job is gone; George made it to the finish line and the best part is he will still be there at Conventions when he can, so you too can meet this amazing giant who is responsible for gather Titans and Avengers, showing us the darkest of evils, and some amazing eye candy along the way.

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    George was born June 9th of 1954, to family who hailed from Puerto Rico, in New York City which is probably where he gained his enjoyment of drawing big crowds of people and heroes.  The man is known mostly for his art skills but he is also a great collaborator and has written stories on his own as well. He has made major impact on the big two of comics, DC & Marvel, along with helping to bring about independent comics from companies such as CrossGen and Gorilla Comics.  I will try to give you a nice tour of his time at DC, Marvel, and his Independent works as well. I can honestly say that Mr. Perez is my favorite artist of all time, his drawings are iconic and the man is a great pleasure to meet, so full of life and discussion. I was lucky to have met him at SDCC back in 2004 and he gave me a Hal Jordan sketch…I’ll admit I was very nervous as this was meeting a superstar and I was the guy holding the last in line sign at DC’s booth, so I was worried I might not get much time with him, but we talked and he sketched.

    His first professional gig as an artist was penciling Marvel
Comics’ Astonishing Tales #25 (Aug ’74) working on Deathlok.  
This helped him out to being a regular for Marvel and working on
such titles as Sons of the Tiger, Creature on the Loose, Inhumans,
Fantastic Four, and Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, and while on that
title he created the first Puerto Rican superhero, White Tiger.  

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    Now the big moment came with Avengers #141 in George became the artist of Marvel’s premier team.  This got him on big teams of colorful characters and also allowed him to have fun with characters such as Beast and Wonder Man, building their friendship.  With his Avengers membership, he drew the first part of Jim Shooter’s epic Korvac Saga featuring every Avenger at the time and co-created Taskmaster with David Michelinie.  While working on Fantastic Four Annual 14, this would partner him up with Marv Wolfman and forge a creative duo of massive legend, but we’ll talk more about that later.

    George would return to Marvel several times, in 1991 he would pencil the crossover event Infinity Gauntlet for Jim Starlin, but troubles from his DC event, War of the Gods, would cause him to not finish the Gauntlet.  Unfortunately this would cause a bad reputation as him not finishing projects, but luckily that would be disproven with future works. Later in the 90’s he would draw Hulk: Future Imperfect for Peter David and have another shot at the Avengers with Kurt Busiek; which in my opinion is something you should read on your bucket list.  

    DC Comics would also get the two creators, Wolfman & Perez, to revitalize the younger heroes with their launch of The New Teen Titans.  George also got a chance to be artist on Justice League of America after the famous Dick Dillin’s passing. His works for the distinguished competition helped to get him popular with fans.  Since George was a household name it was logical for him to partner up with Marv Wolfman for the big 50th anniversary event, DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths.  As the event hyped, “worlds will live, worlds will die, and the DC Universe will never be the same!”  With this event not only did George draw some amazing splash pages, co-create the evil Anti-Monitor, he also drew pretty much most of DC’s catalogue of characters.  To add to his Crisis’ fallout works for DC he also drew the History of the DC Universe and inked Curt Swan’s last issue of Silver Age Superman for Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

    Now with those big DC events, George would have a major hand in the 87 reboot of Wonder Woman.  Greg Potter was the writer and George came along to join in as plotter and penciler, then eventually taking on full scripting for WW.  His run is very much a strong basis for the character that we see in modern times and it connected her to the Greek Gods even more; which I’m sure we will see some of his work on the big screen with the sequal to Wonder Woman’s movie.  Perez would return to the New Teen Titans with issue 50 and help build a new origin for Wonder Girl due to her having some troubles from Crisis. While with the Titans this would get him working with Marv again and together they would be reshaping some of the Batman mythos, esepcially with Dick Grayson.  The Batman Year Three story explored the Post-Crisis origin of Dick Grayson in which George drew the covers for and then did pencils for the story of A Lonely Place of Dying which would tie in with the New Teen Titans and give use the third Robin, Tim Drake; kind of making him the uncle to that Robin. I would high recommend reading Year Three (Batman 436-439) and A Lonely Place of Dying (Batman 440-442, New Titans 60 & 61).

    Perez would then go onto Post-Crisis Superman by being a part of Action Comics and Adventures of Superman.  Before the Crisis, Perez would be responsible for the Battle suit look of Lex Luthor, but in Post-Crisis Luthor went all Business suit instead.  George would get the chance to create a cross over in the New DC universe with War of the Gods spinning out of his Wonder Woman book, which was a great battle between the Greek Gods and Roman Gods, thus pitting Wonder Woman against Captain Marvel (Shazam); this also served as a 50th anniversary for Wonder Woman.  Unfortunately, as mentioned before, there was a major monkey wrench between George and DC Editorial at the time causing a split for DC and Perez.  Finally in ’96, Perez would return to Teen Titans with Dan Jurgens as his inker, since at this time he was the artist for Avengers with Busiek. The best is almost here…JLA/Avengers!

    Back in 1979 DC and Marvel were all set to give us the big matchup between their two greatest teams with Gerry Conway writing and George Perez as artist, but again with Editorial disputes the book was cancelled.  Sadly due to that cancellation we also lost the sequel to Uncanny X-men and New Teen Titans. Perez had already started working on pages of art for the big showdown, but we wouldn’t see for over two decades, or luckily for our younger fans, in the late nineties.  Perez was also working for independent comics but managed to keep a clause in his contract that would let him work on the JLA/Avengers crossover should it happen, and when it did George returned. He and Kurt Busiek created a tour de force of both universes and managed to feature every member of the two teams, even Wolverine (who wasn’t an Avenger at the time).  The cover to issue three is such a sight to see and George stated that it almost killed as he was so focused on it and forgot about his medication. Now you don’t need to know all about DC and Marvel but there are so many Easter Eggs that it helps, plus it has such great character moments that you should read this 4-issue crossover. Here is that beautiful cover:

    While at DC George would work on the Crisis sequel, Infinite Crisis, a new run of The Brave and The Bold, and Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds; which gave us the return of Conner Kent Superboy and Bart Allen Impuse, who both have recently returned to the Post-Rebirth DCU.  Perez would help to launch the New 52 Superman in the self-titled book but again issues with editorial made it a frustration to work on. Wolfman and Perez would reunite to give us the graphic novel New Teen Titans: Games and Perez would work as artist on the New 52 version of Worlds’ Finest.  

    When George Perez wasn’t working for the big 2 companies he worked for various independent comics such as Malibu (drawing Break-Thru & Ultraforce), Tekno Comix (I-Bots), and Topps Comics (Jurassic Park). While at Event Comics he was able to have more creator owned projects such as Crimson Plague but sadly the project wasn’t finished, there was an attempt over at Gorilla Comics, but was too costly.  Over at CrossGen he worked on the CrossGen Chronicles and Solus, but cost was once again a factor and the company closed. Luckily at BOOM! Studios he has found fun and success with his own creation Sirens.

    George has won various awards as the Eagle Award, an Inkpot Award, Comics Buyer’s Guide Fan Awards, and Jack Kirby Awards.  Several of his works continue to make many website’s “Best of” lists and his images are very universal due to his distinct art style.  We at Geek Elite Radio wish George the best in life and health now that he is retired and many great adventures with his wife Carol Flynn.  So dear reader if you get a chance to meet George Perez treat yourself and meet a fan who became a legend. Read on and Excelsior!

Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Man Without Fear #5

A Review from Chris Franey

The conclusion has come and we can see Matt on the other side…of what?  We will get to that.  So this is the miniseries that takes us from Charles Soule’s (fantastic) run to the new Chip Zdarsky & Marco Checchetto’s era on DD.  It did the job and then some!  Sometimes this minis can just get glossed over and I’m sure ol’ Hornhead fans bought it out of loyalty, but this was a great bridge from death to whatever DD faces next.  
Jed MacKay and his stable of artists: Danilo S. Beyruth, Stefano Landini, Iban Coello, and Paolo Villanelli gave justice to Matt Murdock during this transition from coma, to bedridden, to out the window.  Kyle Hotz had some amazing poster worthy covers to treat our eyes, especially this last one really showcasing Matt’s Catholicism.  Jed gave the man without fear some inner demons that put the fear and pain back in his life.  I liked the physical/mental representations of fear and pain being in Matt’s costumes and how they would come to terrorize him and berate him back down.   

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I like how Jed used Matt’s father as a great source of inspiration for what pain can be used for, “Pain keeps us going.”  That is a great mantra especially considering the beating a hero takes, and Matt fights in the streets.  This was refreshing and very honest in my opinion as with an ageing body you don’t mind pain, but fear of re injury does stop us from being the swashbuckler that we once were.  Nothing can stop you in your tracks like chronic pain and feeling of “uh oh,” but I like how Jed uses Matt’s father and the old stubborn Murdock pride to push forward and make it happen.  This is a great mini-series that will inspire you to take that step after being knocked down.

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To be very honest with you I bought this mini out of respect for DD and to keep my collection complete, but I was very surprised with the masterpiece that Jed and company delivered to us all.  If you missed out, then go back and get the back issues or buy the upcoming trade.  This ended on a great note and took a broken Daredevil and pushed him out the window.  I give this issue 5 out of 5 painkillers and enjoyed it’s inspiring message on how to keep pain and fear at bay.  Read on and Excelsior!

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Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Heroes In Crisis #5

A Review From Chris Franey

So we are at the vertex of this Crisis and the tensions are high.  This issue is brought to you by Tom King with words and Clay Mann on art…right away that big splash page with the credits is Eisner perfect (yes both for the Artist and the award).  Do yourself a favor and absorb this page as much as you can, from the wall paper to the body language to the hidden message (now you’ll know why it is an Eisner title page).  The best part of the page is Blue and Gold!  Yes as they are in their glorious inaction having pizza and watching tv, its fantastic.  
I’m going to sing a lot of praise for the art on this as we all have our tastes and some artist just come to mind when you think of a hero.  When I think of Superman I visualize Dan Jurgens and how he drew him, recently I’ve come to enjoy my heroes being drawn by Brett Booth, don’t forget George Perez.  Clay Mann is an artist that is showing us some museum quality art and it is Crisis worthy.  

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Now of course we have a mystery going on and teams set, Blue & Gold who will probably clash with Harley Quinn and Batgirl; who the latter are making quite a great team as well.   I’m loving their dynamic and honest banter.  Quinn is learning a lot about the business and I’m sure Barbara is have some internal moments dealing with a Joker Family member.

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The best part of this issue is the fact that the Justice League, more specifically the Trinity, must come forward with the existence of Sanctuary and what it does for heroes.  I like Tom’s words as Superman and letting us know that it is ok to be rattled by what has happened to us and what can potentially be scarring memories.  I would recommend that when you read this issue read it as it was given, then read it again with just Superman’s speech, then again with the just the dialogues around it, I’m sure you’ll come out better for it and maybe even discover some clues or great insights.  

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I’ve been enjoying this Crisis and I like the idea of mental health being something to be explored.  I can’t wait till more clues come and of course the conclusion.  This issue was great continuing the momentum from the last issue public reveal and has lots of eye candy in the form of other heroes and characters hearing about Sanctuary and what it’s mission is.  I would give this issue 4 out of 5 Skeets, only because I would hope more reveals, but then again Tom King does play it close to the chest.  Read on and Excelsior!

Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Uncanny X-Men Annual #1

A Review From Chris Franey

So the big moment we have all be waiting for, the Return of Cyclops, or as I like to call it the return of the King. Where was Cyclops before Extermination?  Right here: 

That is a tough image to see when you’re looking at one of your favorite characters. So let me point out my bias right away, I like Cyclops and he was right. I’ve been a fan of Cyclops since I first saw him in the 90’s animated series on Fox, I related to him since I wore glass as well, but we both shared the heavy burden of responsibility and caring too much.  So this issue pulled no punches but it was great to finally get to this point.  
This issue was written by Ed Brisson, who wrote the series Extermination which sent the original X-men back to their time; art duties were handled by Carlos Gomez.  Right away I would like to shout out major praise to Carlos for his work on this issue.  He can draw some bold figures, but I also liked how he did make the images look like different eras, since there was mention of other times (referencing a “lost tale” from the Marvel Age, Cyke’s funeral from Death of X, and his appearance in Phoenix Resurrection).  Now Carlos didn’t do this alone so great job on colors by GURU-eFX and the rest of the art team.  
This issue felt like a part six for Extermination, which is totally fine by me as this is a continuing part of the Cyclops’ saga to Make it Right!  I really enjoyed how Ed used history to make this issue connect to the ongoing saga of the X-men, even going back to the AvX era in order to get the Phoenix cage.  I felt that Kid Cable was the voice of Cyclops’ fans, which fit perfectly on how we felt about Cyke’s end days:

I like how this issue shows a lost tale of Cyclops saving a college from a mad professor and then being thanked from one of the students, Paul, who reported the professor, that sets up the motivations for later in this issue.  We then flash forward to Paul as a family man and Kid Cable in his kitchen.  Young Nate demands a Phoenix cage be made to capture some energy and help revive Cyke.  Paul builds the machine and they implant it into Cyclops after his funeral in Death of X.  During the Phoenix Resurrection mini series Scott is also brought back for a short bit and this helps to get some Phoenix energy to bring him back to the land of the living.  
I like the interactions that we get between young Nate and Scott; it is nice to see this father son relationship brought back to the forefront.  It is interesting to see more of Kid Cable as he seems to be quite the manipulator (retiring an older version of himself and sending the O5 back) now this time he puts Scott into a situation save Paul (who Kid Cable put in danger) or save the X-men (from the events of their story Disassembled).  Scott saves Paul and this shows that Scott is the hero he always was…or maybe not?

This is a hard moment for some Cyclops fans, but I like it.  I feel Cyclops has real growth in this moment.  He understands the difference between Professor X and Magneto’s methods and he has been a student of both (in a sense).  We like the idea of Cyclops being right, and he was, but I like that he is looking at his methods.  Sure most of the guilt comes from Marvel Editorial of the past and using the rally cry of “Cyclops is Hitler” which in the end wasn’t really shown or proven in Death of X and Inhumans vs X-men.   
Scott’s actions weren’t that deadly but he did play with (Phoenix) fire and now his image was burned, he was imprisoned without a trial but did break out, he did show more of a militant action to protecting the mutants, yet it worked.  The mutants went from less than 200 to being a living species again, so Scott was right and did his job.  I like that he feels that he was wrong since that is classic Scott; he feels things on a deeper level, the man does mourn milk when it is spilled.  This character is coming back and I have questions, does he need the device to continue living?  How will he help save the mutants from the Age of X-man?  How will they react to Scott being alive?  I’m very excited to have my character back and I look forward to seeing what he does next in order to Set It Right.  I like this issue and don’t have any bad things to say, because I know it is part of a larger story and will wait to see what happens, so I give it five out of five ruby quartz sunglasses.  As always read on and Excelsior!

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