Chris’ Comic Book Corner

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!

Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Green Lantern #3

A review from Chris Franey

Ok so to start, Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp are hitting this series out of the ball park!  Issues 1 and 2 were just amazing on their own and for long time fans there were great love letters to Hal’s roots in the Sliver Age…now don’t think that means you have to know all your back issues in order to fully enjoy; Grant and Liam have crafted their own tale that you can dive into and enjoy.  For example if you liked All Star Superman then this could be the All Star version for GL, but what is great is that it also has all the little gems and cameos from Hal and the GLC’s history just like Grant did with Batman (remember Zur-En-Arrh?).

    For your eyes Liam Sharp brings his finest.  You don’t just see the page, you have to look at it, there is so much eye candy here it is fantastic, he makes the galaxy fit on a page (or 2).  I like the way he has rendered his Hal Jordan and also various members of the GLC, they do feel alien. The colors and layouts are very bold and really pop which just awesome and very poster worthy.  

    In this third installment, “Slave Lords of the Stars” (nice sliver age touch) we see the GLC find an illegal sale of planets by long time JLA villain Kanjar Ro is the auctioneer selling planets, offering various supervillains (make sure to have your who’s who and secret files handy) a chance to have their own followers or be a GOD.  Which works out perfectly as an Old Testament version of appears to buy planet Earth. Hal takes this personally and wants to handle it himself, which causes the GLC to take on the Black Stars (meaner version of the Dark Stars). I like the name dropping that Grant does for other heroes/characters…I’m very glad to finally see Tom Kalmaku back in Hal’s life and their interaction was great.  

    So after the Earth is sold to “God” everyone gets superpowers but the Earth itself is in chaos.  Hal tries to get the “God” to give up the Earth, but the people are ok with what is happening, so Hal has to get them to think about what the repercussions would be to their new arrangement with “God.”  I really like how Liam Sharp illustrates Hal using his GL ring. By the near end of this issue we see Hal start to become a bad cop and with his history (Parallax) we should be very worried. Overall I would rate this issue 5 out of 5 Power Batteries as it has great dialogues and fantastic illustrations, the series so far is doing great and I would recommend you getting the first two issues as well.  So let’s see what happens to Hal, Earth, and the GLC next issue, as always Read on and Excelsior!

Chris’ Comic Book Corner

Marvel’s Winter Soldier #2

Here is part two of the miniseries that will explore more of the redemption that Bucky Barnes can offer to those who want to walk away from past mistakes and bad choices.  Writer Kyle Higgins and artist Rod Reis have chosen the perfect character that understands what it means to wake up in a life that you didn’t want to end up the way it did, but can also find a way to change it.  Issue 1 did a great job of setting up the key players as Bucky is the field agent who goes in to help the person escape their situation, while Tony Stark and Sharon Carter help him with information, finances, and tech repair.

This issue continues the firefight that new character R.J. has caused from Bucky’s latest client meet up.  The opening with R.J. showing some of his secret origin is painting a very bleak world and I like how Rod Reis’ illustrations show that with his use of color.  Here we see how Mr. Colt has a hand in getting R.J. to be trained as an assassin.  I like how it almost can be seen as a parallel to Bucky’s new origin as a young soldier in WWII.  I enjoyed how the creative gave us enough of a taste and then tease us with the next issue blurb about digging deeper into R.J.’s past.  

Kyle Higgins has shown a great growth in the character of Bucky, this is a side of him that I am enjoying and really appreciate how he genuinely wants to help others live a better life of peace.  The part where Bucky has R.J. and questions him was great, but it really sold me the minute Bucky asked R.J. if he liked killing.  R.J.’s answer is so pure and direct that it is going to be scary when we see next issue’s reveal of the past.  This is a great miniseries and I’m glad to see the Winter Soldier back in action with the use of Higgins’ writing this could be a great launch point for Bucky.  I highly recommend and give it 5 out of 5 vibranium arms.  Go to your local comic shop and see if you can pick up issue 1 and 2, very fun ride or mentor ship and redemption, Read on and Excelsior!