Archive for the ‘Comics/Graphic Novels’ Category

A Teen Titans #1 Review – Missed Opportunities

TITLE: Teen Titans #1
AUTHOR: Will Pfiefer
PENCILLER: Kenneth Rocafort
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99
RELEASED: July 17, 2014

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Teen Titans #1 was DC’s chance to take a series that had fallen on its butt since the New 52 began, and take it in an entirely new direction. There were so many ways the company could have taken this book about teenage superheroes, and made it different than anything else they’re putting out right now. They could have taken a more light-hearted, almost cartoony approach, like Amy Wolfram and Karl Kerschl did with Teen Titans: Year One. They could have recruited a young adult author to take advantage of the popularity of that genre, while also getting some new eyes on the product. Heck, they could have even played up the teens’ everyday lives more than their actual superheroics.

Instead, they gave the book to the guy who wrote Amazons Attack!

Teen Titans #1 sees a mysterious supervillain hijack a bus filled with schoolgirls and go speeding through Times Square. This quickly attracts the attention of our new line up of Teen Titans: Red Robin, Wonder Girl, Beast Boy, Raven, and Bunker. For reasons unclear, the hijacker apparently has a grudge against S.T.A.R. Labs. In any event, the Titans definitely have a new enemy. They also may have a P.R. crisis on their hands, as Bunker snaps on a civilian who nearly uses a slur against homosexuals.

Before we get into why this issue sucks, let’s talk about why Teen Titans has sucked overall since the relaunch happened…

In the New 52 canon, the team that began forming in Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth’s 2011 Teen Titans is, for whatever reason, the first and only incarnation of the group that has ever existed. While the book itself, along with books like Red Hood and the Outlaws and Batwoman, initially indicated otherwise, all such conversations have subsequently been edited out of existence. Thus, in this continuity, Tim Drake, Cassandra Sandsmark, and the other heroes from the Lobdell series are the original Teen Titans.

To put it plainly, that sucks. It robs a sense of richness and history from not only the Teen Titans series, but from characters around the DCU. Dick Grayson, Beast Boy, Raven, and Starfire are just a few of those effected. Hell, even if they weren’t called the Teen Titans, can’t we at least say they hung out? Can’t they have been some sort of group to set the precedent?

Secondly, the Red Robin costume. It sucked in 2011, it continued to suck through 2012 and 2013, and it still sucks in 2014. Brett Booth completely butchered any aura of coolness Tim Drake had by giving him a suit that’s way too busy and gimmicked up. The wings are idiotic, and there are way too many belts, capsules, pouches, pads, etc. This new series was the perfect chance to clean Red Robin up. But they missed the boat on that one too.

Thirdly, and most importantly, for the past few years Teen Titans has been just another superhero team book. Again, a GIANT missed opportunity. The element that makes the Teen Titans different, and what can potentially draw in a different demographic than say, Justice League, is the fact that they’re teenagers. They’re young, moody, and haven’t fully discovered who they are yet. That concept has so much fertile ground for storytelling, and that’s why it’s used so often in popular culture. The last writer to really get what Teen Titans should be about in the 21st century was DC’s very own Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns. If you look back at the first issue of his run, which began in 2003, you see heroes who are rebelling against the adults in their lives, coming to grips with what’s expected of them, and trying to find their place in the world. They were acting like teenagers. Imagine that…

We got hardly any of that in Lobdell’s series, and in this issue we have next to none of it. We have a cover that looks like a Facebook photo, because social media exists. And we have a young hero that takes exception to his sexuality being demeaned. But that’s certainly not something specific to teenagers is it? So what we end up with is just another superhero story. And not a very interesting one, because we don’t know enough about our villain, or what she (it’s a woman, apparently) intends to do.

Kenneth Rocafort isn’t the best choice to handle the pencil, either. This is especially true when it comes to Wonder Girl. Cassandra Sandsmark’s New 52 redesign essentially turned her into a Power Girl clone wearing a variation on Donna Troy’s old costume. As if that weren’t enough, Rocafort draws her without a trace of human emotion. At one point, she rips one of the kidnappers out of the speeding bus, and subsequently stands atop the bus while holding him up with one arm (shown below). She did this because she was angry he threatened to kill a young girl. But judging by her face, you’d think she was picturing herself laying on the beach or something. She seems to be there just to be the hot blonde with big boobs. What is this, The Big Bang Theory?

As for Bunker’s little outburst toward the end of the issue, I don’t have a problem with superhero comics tastefully addressing and incorporating gay issues in our culture. But I don’t have even the slightest confidence that Teen Titans can do that effectively. Yet another missed opportunity.

At the risk of sounding like a run of the mill fickle comic book geek, Teen Titans #1 gives us almost everything the series shouldn’t be. It’s business as usual. And when I open Teen Titans I’m not looking for business as usual. I’m looking for something different, something that takes on the DCU from a different angle. That’s not what this is. And unfortunately, it may be a long time before we see it again.

Front page image from dccomics.com. Image 1 from comicbook.com. Image 2 from comixology.com. Image 3 from adventuresinpoortaste.com. 

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Sam Wilson (a.k.a. The Falcon) is the New Captain America

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Right off the heels of Marvel’s announcement regarding a female Thor, the company’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada appeared on The Colbert Report July 16 to announce that Sam Wilson, a.k.a The Falcon, will take over as Captain America this fall.

Wilson stepping into take Steve Rogers’ place has been suspected in recent months, but Marvel made it official with the announcement of All New Captain America #1, written by Rick Remender and pencilled by Stuart Immonen. Rogers is ultimately forced to retire the mantle of Captain America after losing the effects of the super soldier serum, and aging 65 years.

While Sam Wilson has often served as Steve Rogers’ partner, Remender noted Wilson will be a very different Captain America than his predecessor.

“I’ve been having a lot of fun writing Sam,” Remender said. “It’s a completely different attitude. The fact that he’s not a soldier shifts things up a bit. Sam’s not going to be Steve. Steve can be very rigid. That can be kind of joyless at times, whereas Sam is absolutely not that.”

Marvel editor Tom Brevoort added: “While Sam shares many of Steve’s beliefs in a general sense, he’s also a very different person with a very different background. He didn’t grow up in the 1930s, he’s a modern day man in touch with the problems of the 21st Century. For most of his professional life, Sam has worked as a social worker, so he’s seen the worst of urban society up close, and how crime, poverty, lack of social structure and opportunity can affect the community. So he’s got perhaps a greater focus on the plight of the common man, and perhaps a greater empathy for the underprivileged than maybe even Steve himself. He’s also not a military man, so he’s more apt to be instinctively skeptical of any situation that calls for just following orders. Sam, like Steve, will be led by his personal morality and beliefs as to what is right and what is wrong—and where his beliefs may differ in their shading from those of the previous Cap are where the interesting stories will be found.”

Source: Newsarama, Marvel.com 

Image from superherohype.com.

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Marvel to Introduce Female Thor in New Series

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

On the July 15 edition of The View, Marvel broke the news that, starting in October, a new character would wield the hammer of Mjölnir. A female character.

In essence, that means comic book readers will have a female Thor.

“The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it’s time to update that inscription,” said Marvel Editor Wil Moss said. “The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute – she’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy.”

The new Thor series will be written by Jason Aaron, with art by Russell Dauterman.

“This is not She-Thor,” Aaron said via press release. “This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is Thor. This is the Thor of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.”

Source/Images: Variety

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A New Suicide Squad #1 Review – New Game, New Line Up

TITLE: New Suicide Squad #1
AUTHOR: Sean Ryan
PENCILLER:
Jeremy Roberts.
PUBLISHER:
DC Comics
PRICE:
$2.99
RELEASED:
July 9, 2014

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

In theory, this New Suicide Squad relaunch is a welcome one. DC has swapped out the likes of Captain Boomerang, King Shark, and James Gordon Jr. for characters with a bit more of that edgy, cool factor: Black Manta, Deathstroke, and James Gordon Jr. Sadly, there’s an awkward element to this book that negates a lot that coolness.

Government official Vic Sage (a character who was The Question in the pre-New 52 DC Universe) has been put in charge of the Suicide Squad. He recruits Deathstroke, Black Manta and Joker’s Daughter to the line up, an opts to keep Deadshot and Harley Quinn. Amanda Waller sticks around because she “generally knows the ins and outs of how all this works.” Our team’s first mission takes them to Russia to destroy a top secret base. But of course, they’re the Suicide Squad. And things go…well, how they usually go.

The Vic Sage character is clearly meant to be somewhat aloof and in over his head, at least on the surface. He seems largely concerned with the team’s look and marketability, and doesn’t seem to have much in-depth knowledge about them individually. In the opening scene he calls them “this clown girl,” and “the marksman with the red eye thing.” I also particularly enjoyed this line about Black Manta: “He does have a cool look. Plus, he’s got the word black in his name. That never hurts.” He’s got a humorous ineptitude about him that might be interesting when placed next to the ultra-serious Waller.

But what I have a problem with in that opening scene is how the secretary of state talks. It lacks a certain gravity, and thus he comes off a bit like the J.K. Simmons character in Burn After Reading. Also, and granted this is an odd point, but why is there nothing on his desk? For instance, in the panels above it looks like he just moved in. Who is this guy?

The scene where our five team members meet isn’t exactly inspiring either. The art itself isn’t bad, thought Deathstroke is wearing  football pads on his shoulders, and Harley Quinn still looks like a clown stripper. Again it comes down to the dialogue. We’ve got annoying expository name-dropping (“Deathstroke. Can we just get to the business at hand?” “Of course, Manta. I just needed to get everyone’s attention.”), combined with Deathstroke sounding like a dumb jock with a gun. When Harley and Joker’s Daughter get into it over the latter wearing Joker’s face, Slade shoves a gun in Harley’s mouth and delivers the awe-inspiring line: “Shut. Up. Or someone will be wearing your face, Harley Quinn.” By God, what a master of manipulation and intimidation…

Also, Amanda Waller is still skinny. Amanda Waller should not be skinny. Put her on a steady diet of Five Guys, then gimmie a call.

All this being said, New Suicide Squad does have some interesting potential as far as infighting is concerned.. Putting Harley Quinn and Joker’s Daughter together obviously creates an inherent rivalry right off the bat, and injects the series with plenty of “Joker appeal.” This issue also drops a pretty blatant teaser for Deathstroke vs Deadshot, in what could be a fight to determine the world’s greatest assassin. Black Manta also makes for a hell of a wild card. He can certainly shake things up at any time. Suicide Squad vs. Aquaman, perhaps?

New Suicide Squad has, for the moment, piqued my interest. Compared to the old series, there’s a bit more to sink your teeth into right off the bat. But unless Ryan and Roberts sharpen up their execution, as far as I’m concerned this book’ll be on track for the morgue.

Front page image and image 1 from howtolovecomics.blogspot.com. Image 2 from zonanegativa.com.

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A Serenity: Leaves on the Wind Review – The Sequel 10 Years in the Making

TITLE: Serenity: Leaves on the Wind
AUTHOR: Zack Whedon
PENCILLERS: Georges Jeanty, Fabio Moon. Cover by Dan Dos Santos.
COLLECTS: Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1-6
FORMAT: Hardcover
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
PRICE: $19.99
RELEASE DATE:
November 5, 2014

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

So here’s a question: Why did it take us so long for us to get a comic that substantially picks up where Serenity left off? Why did it take so long for us to get the next chapter? Dark Horse has published a variety of comics and graphic novels set in the Firefly universe, some of which inched the story forward. But why did we have to wait so long for a significant follow up to Serenity? 

In any event, thanks to the magic of comics, we finally get to see the fallout from that movie that came out 10 years ago with Serenity: Leaves on the Wind. Malcolm Reynolds and the crew of the Serenity are the most wanted outlaws in the ‘verse. However, they’ve planted an all-too-valuable blemish on the Galactic Alliance’s reputation by revealing that the Reavers (space cannibals, basically) are actually byproducts of their experiments. What’s more, the ship is running low on food and supplies, and Zoe on the verge of giving birth. To say the least, our heroes are between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Something’s got to give.

Whedon and Jeanty give us a pretty strong opening, jumping right into the damage done to the Alliance’s reputation by the Reaver scandal, and the “New Resistance” created by the controversy. They make us wait a bit to see Mal and his crew, and that wait carries a lot of, um…weight to it, as when we left them in Serenity, they were in a fairly vulnerable state.

About halfway into the first issue, we learn that Mal and Inara finally gave into all that romantic tension at some point between Serenity and Leaves on the Wind. For yours truly, that’s a creative disappointment. We spent all that time becoming invested in their relationship, and then we don’t get the pay off? Lame. If they’d wanted to, they could’ve built this entire miniseries around the moment Mal and Inara finally reveal their true feelings. But instead, they simply jump into bed in issue #1. What a missed opportunity…

Zoe comes out of this book looking particularly strong. In the span of one story, she has a vision of her dead husband, gives birth to the child she conceived with said husband, gets tossed into an “unnamed prison camp,” and kills a man, among other feats of badassery. Character-wise, one can argue Zoe has never been more interesting than she is in Leaves on the Wind. She’s incredibly vulnerable and emotional, but still tough as nails. Zack Whedon more than lives up to his brother’s standard for strong female characters.

Leaves on the Wind also adds a pair of new crew members to Mal’s ship. The first is Bea, leader of the New Resistance. Aside from her fierce contempt for the Alliance, she’s not fleshed out much here, but that’s understandable given how much other ground we have to cover here. Interestingly, she seems to have attracted the romantic interest of Jayne. Coupling Jayne up with someone might make for interesting storytelling down the road. But as we now have Mal and Inara together, along with Kaylee and Simon, that might run the risk of making things too “coupled up.” Toward the end of the story we also meet Iris, a victim of the Alliance’s experiments much like River. She serves as an interesting illustration of how far River has come since we first met her, and could lead to some further development for her down the road.

Leaves on the Wind isn’t necessarily friendly to fans who haven’t seen Firefly or Serenity, which is fair enough, I suppose. But if you haven’t seen the source material in awhile, you may need a review session before jumping into this book. It took yours truly some time to remember who The Operative was, and how he was connected to Mal and the crew. We also see Jubal Early again, which is delightful. But keep in mind, he only appeared in one episode of the series.

Georges Jeanty’s art is hit or miss for me here. At times his characters perfectly evoke the actors that played them in Firefly and Serenity, and at other points they don’t. As a reader, that’s frustrating. Either make your figures look like the actors, or render them in a way that suits your particular talents. But pick a direction and stick with it. What’s even more frustrating is at times, is when Jeanty really nails an actor’s face. Zoe, for instance, looks like Gina Torres a good portion of the time, which is part of the reason why she comes out so strong in this story. Mal on the other hand, vaguely resembles Nathan Fillion. Other characters, like Kaylee and River, go back and forth in terms of accuracy. Realistically, unless you’re an Alex Ross, there’s only so much you can ask from any artist in terms of photo-realism. But it’s that touch-and-go factor that irritates me.

This issue also includes the 2012 Free Comic Book Day exclusive, Serenity: It’s Never Easy, the short story in which we learned Zoe was pregnant. Illustrated by Fabio Moon, it’s far more cartoony-looking than Leaves on the Wind. But on the plus side, it lacks the inconsistency of Jeanty’s work. In truth, it’s only there to lay the foundation for Zoe’s pregnancy, which is fine.

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind is a bittersweet creation in a lot of ways. If the world were a fair place, we wouldn’t need this book to exist. Joss Whedon and everybody involved with Firefly would have gotten to make their TV show, and it wouldn’t have become one of the biggest missed opportunities in the history of television. It’s actually painful to imagine what Firefly could have been, and I’m not even a die-hard Browncoat. Leaves on the Wind is flawed, but I doubt you’ll hear a lot of folks complaining about it. Hell, it’s new Firefly! Just kick back and enjoy the positives, folks. And hey, maybe there’s reason to be hopeful. Now that Star Wars is leaving Dark Horse, there’s a hell of a void to fill.

And to that I say, why not Malcolm Reynolds?

RATING: 7/10

Front page image from comicbookresources.com. Image 1 from gonnageek.com. Image 2 from mygeekygeekyways.com. 

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A Grayson #1 Review – “Dick” Jokes, Guns, and The Midnighter

TITLE: Grayson #1
AUTHOR: Tim Seeley, Tom King
PENCILLER: Mikel Janin. Cover by Andrew Robinson.
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99
RELEASED: July 9, 2014

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Though this issue just hit the stands this week, Grayson has, for my money, had problems for months…

First and foremost, the series tag line: “You think you know Nightwing…You don’t know Dick.” That’s literally the worst promotional line I’ve ever read for anything, ever. His name is Dick. Dick is also a phallic euphemism. So let’s go ahead and use the same stupid, third grade quality pun we heard in that timeless cinematic classic, Batman and Robin. That’ll hook the fans! To me, that line borders on disrespecting the Dick Grayson character, who by the way, is one of the founding heroes of the DC Universe. Having made his debut in 1939, he predates Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and most of the other pillars of the company’s mythos. “You don’t know Dick.” What a joke.

Secondly, while putting Dick Grayson in this super spy role does indeed have some interesting storytelling potential, exactly how much desire was there from a fan’s perspective to have him removed from the Nightwing role? Nightwing possesses that oh-so-important cool factor that many of DC’s heroes are (arguably) lacking. At the tail end of his career as Robin, he stood up to Batman and opted to become his own man, with his own set of principles. That being said, he still loved Bruce like a father, and would chip in and help when he needed to. Then in the ’90s he got that awesome black costume with the blue “V” stripe, he got his own city to protect, his own series, and he was off to the races. He also had plenty of sex appeal for female readers. Dick was a ripped, athletic superhero with a dark and tragic origin who you could also take home to mom. Mind you, some of his appeal has been watered down since the New 52 reboot. But it was still a fact: Nightwing rules. Yes, this spy stuff has potential. But why fix what isn’t broken?

Thirdly, the cover. Dick Grayson with a gun. No. BIG no. Granted, Tim Seeley has said they’re going to dive into the issue of Dick having to use a gun on the job, which is fine. But still, no. There were plenty of other directions they could have gone in. And even if they had to use the gun, this cover still sucks. I like the use of color, but what does Dick’s face say? Nothing. It’s essentially a blank expression. His body also looks too slim and lanky for my taste. Oddly enough, somewhere along the line his hair got changed. In the original solicitation (shown left), his hair was short, and bit more militaristic looking. Now it’s longer, and more reminiscent of his Nightwing look. I’ll give them this much: That was a positive change.

And so, with all that working against it, we open Grayson #1 and find…something that’s really not so bad.

After the events of Forever Evil, Dick Grayson/Nightwing is thought to be dead. In reality, he’s been dispatched by Batman to be a mole in the top secret espionage organization known as Spyral (see Batman Incorporated). Now, guided by the mysterious Mr. Minos, Grayson and his new partner Helena Bertinelli must save the life of a Russian man carrying a bioweapon inside his body. And in this first issue, Dick crosses paths with none other than The Midnighter of The Authority fame.

Our first page is somewhat akin to what we saw when we opened All Star Superman #1. Four panels, each with sentence fragments to fill us in on Dick’s backstory. It’s not nearly as epic as it could have been, because we’re stuck with the crappy New 52 Robin and Nightwing costumes. But Seeley and Janin got most of the exposition out of the way early, so I give them credit for that.

Dick starts out the issue in a blonde wig, which is pretty damn surreal. But once he takes it off and the action kicks in, it becomes apparent that this is in fact the Dick Grayson we know and love. As a longtime Nightwing fan, that was a big relief. Seeley and King have changed the character’s M.O., but they’ve kept his personality intact. What’s more, Seeley writes a better Dick Grayson than I’ve seen in awhile. Maybe the best since the New 52 began.

The Midnighter’s appearance in this issue came as a surprise, though not an unwelcome one. It serves as an interesting reminder that there are other black ops heroes out there whose interests could collide with Spyral’s (Checkmate also gets name-dropped in this issue). The motion effects do a lot to accentuate the fight, and add a certain flow to the proceedings. There’s also some pretty good dialouge in there…

Midnighter: “Disciplined, but not averse to improvisation. You fight like jazz.”

Dick: “…you talk an awful lot for the grim and gritty type.

We also get a little more time with the New 52 incarnation of Helena Bertinelli (not to be confused with Huntress, who is from Earth 2). Now an African American agent of Spyral, she’s apparently attracted to her new partner. But Dick isn’t keen to let her get too close, as he’s a mole in the Spyral organization. That’s obviously an interesting dynamic, and of course, plays up Dick’s status as the company’s resident male sex symbol. So the pieces are in place for some interesting storytelling there.

In the end, Grayson #1 is flawed. But it’s not nearly as flawed as it could have been. Tim Seeley, Tom King, Mikel Janin, and everybody involved with this series has turned it into a potential hot commodity. But let’s make sure we underscore potential. It’s only one issue, folks. There are a lot of places we can go from here.

Front page image/interior image from scifibloggers.com.

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A Rocket Raccoon #1 Review – Ready For His Close Up

TITLE: Rocket Raccoon #1
AUTHOR/PENCILLER: Skottie Young
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: July 1, 2014

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Ah, Skottie Young. Nobody draws mischievous, cartoony little scamps quiet like you do. And in the farther reaches of the Marvel Universe, our resident little skamp is Rocket Raccoon.

Rocket Raccoon, Young’s first attempt at an ongoing series, sees our titular character framed for murder by someone who’s apparently of the same species he is. Considering Rocket is thought to be the last of his kind, that’s a heck of a revelation. Now Rocket, with the aid of his fellow Guardians, must unravel the mystery. But our hero has some powerful, vindictive enemies from his past who want him dead…

Skottie Young seems tailor made for Rocket Raccoon, setting a light-hearted, cartoony, fun tone for the series. This book has much of the same appeal as Young’s various adaptations of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. He gets to draw various quirky, out-of-this-world characters in his trademark style, which is so much damn fun to look at. A portion of this book is set at a pro wrestling event, and Young hits us with an awesome onslaught of alien creatures, not to mention humans dressed in freaky get ups. It almost has a Mos Eisley Cantina feel, except it’s much more lively and colorful.

Mind you, calling Young’s art “lively” is a hell of an understatement. His characters are so expressive in that exaggerated, cartoony way. This is true for almost everyone we see in Rocket Raccoon, but Rocket himself naturally give us our best example. In this issue alone we see him run the emotional gauntlet. First he’s cocky and confident, then he’s riled up and excited, then he’s charming (in his own mind at least), after which we go to frightened, angry, discouraged, and then cocky and confident again. All this is evident not just through Rocket’s face, but his body language as well. Young is always quite adept at making his art silly and fun, but not so much that the tension in the story dissolves, and things simply become a farce.

Young also gives us an iconic cover right out of the gate. Oddly enough, I just saw that image on a t-shirt the other day. The issue wasn’t even a week old, and it seems to already be paying dividends. Sadly, the confines of a XxX comic book cover don’t truly do the image justice. More casual fans may not realize that’s actually Groot that Rocket is standing on. Yes, Rocket’s in a nice pose. But to me, that contrast of the giant tree figure with the relatively pint-sized raccoon is what makes the image.

Certainly the timing of this first issue couldn’t be better, what with the Guardians of the Galaxy film coming in August. As someone who admittedly is fairly naive about Rocket, the Guardians, and that portion of the Marvel Universe, I can tell you Rocket Raccoon #1 makes for a hell of a hook. But the movie notwithstanding, Rocket Raccoon #1 is a must-read for anyone who likes a healthy does of fun and laughter with their sequential art.

Front page image from marvel.com. Interior image from comicvine.com.

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A New Captain America Coming to Marvel?

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Marvel announced on July 4 that Steve Rogers may soon be out of a job. The company took to Twitter to tease a new Captain America.

The company tweeted: “Who will be Marvel comics’ NEW #Captain America? Learn more this Monday on http://Marvel.com ! #4thofJuly”

Obviously, fans can look forward to an announcement on July 7.

Many fans are speculating that Sam Wilson, a.k.a. The Falcon, will step into Cap’s boots. This would make him the first African American to portray Captain America.

Previously, Steve Rogers’ former partner Bucky Barnes stepped into the role after Rogers’ apparent assassination in the story arc The Death of Captain America. He subsequently returned in Captain America: Reborn.

Source: @Marvel on Twitter

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Deathstroke Gets New Ongoing Series in October

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Deathstroke will get another crack at his own ongoing series this fall, as Deathstroke #1 hits the stands this October.

The series will be written by Tony Daniel, with Daniel illustrating alongside Sandu Floreau. In an interview with MTV, Daniel said he’s always been a Deathstroke fan, as he’s “always been drawn to characters with a dark side and I think that makes him complex and compelling.”

Daniel continued, noting that while Slade Wilson was cast in a more heroic light in Forever Evil, the man he’ll be writing in Deathstroke is still a mercenary, and thus a more sinister character.

“I’m writing him in a way where he is still pretty much a bad guy but because of his methods…But the people he’s up against here are clearly evil bastards. If anyone deserves to be disemboweled, it’s this group. Deathstroke is a murderer by all definitions, for the most part, he’s going after his targets.”

However, Daniel added that in the book’s first story arc, Deathstroke is not only the hunter, but “also the hunted.”

When DC Comics’ “New 52″ initiative began in September 2011, Deathstroke was given his own ongoing series. It was eventually cancelled in May 2013 after 20 issues. The character, however, has continued to be largely featured throughout the DC Universe. He was also prominently used in the second season of Arrow, and in Batman: Arkham Origins.

Deathstroke #1 hits the stands October 22.

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A Ninja Turtles, Vol. 8: Northampton Review – Cutie Pie Turtles?

TITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 8 – Northampton
AUTHORS: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
PENCILLERS: Ross Campbell
COLLECTS: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #29-32
FORMAT: Softcover
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $14.99
RELEASE DATE: July 11, 2014

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

When the Turtles need a break, they head out to the country. It’s kind of a tradition. It happened in the original Eastman & Laird comic, it happened in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, it happened in the 4Kids series, and now it’s happening in the IDW series in Northampton.

After the events of City Fall, Leonardo is still suffering from the effects of The Shredder’s brainwashing, and Splinter is injured. Thus, April takes the Turtles, Splinter, and Casey Jones to her parents’ home in Northampton, Massachusetts. But little do they know, they’ve been followed by Alopex. But where do her allegiances lie? And is she the only one that’s tracked them down…?

Ross Campbell is on the pencil for Northampton, in his first multi-issue story arc for the series. Campbell is a more-than-capable artist, and I especially enjoyed his work in the Leonardo one-shot from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries. He has a style that we’re not necessarily used to seeing on a TMNT story. He’s good at making his characters look vulnerable, which obviously comes in handy here, particularly in issue #30. Not only is Michelangelo is being sentimental as he writes home to Woody, but we also see more with Tang Shen (Splinter’s wife and the Turtles’ mother, long story), which is obviously a great source of deep-rooted emotion for our characters. We see Shen interact with Leo, and then Splinter. Both scenes offer great visuals, and Campbell is better suited for these kinds of interactions than Mateus Santoulouco was. Colorist Ronda Pattison is also able to really show off here, and give us some great colors to suit a number of moods and tones. Campbell’s rendering of what I’ll call “black and blue Leo” makes for a very satisfying reveal in issue #31. We also meet a new villain named Koya, who I wouldn’t mind seeing again.

But we run into problems when the intensity cranks up. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries: Leonardo #1, the fact that Leo was a bit more muscled, combined with the emotional subtext, and the story being set during a cloudy, rainy night, provided us with a mood that was very emotional, but also dreary and dangerous. Northampton is obviously an emotional story, but many of the other factors that made the Leonardo issue a success are gone. By and large the Turtles look very skinny, their arms looking downright flaccid at times. They don’t need to be hugely muscled. But remember these guys are ninjas, and should ideally have at least a little tone to them. The Turtles in Northampton don’t look like they can kick your butt. They often look like cutesy, friendly cartoon characters you’d see on Nick Jr. Considering the audience the creators are playing to, that’s not a good thing. Campbell is still capable of injecting plenty of intensity and anger into their faces, which obviously helps during fight sequences. But it’s not enough to shake the cutesy image.

The heart of this book deals with Leo struggling with his brainwashing by the Shredder. In that sense, this book is very much what I wanted to see when I closed City Fall, Part 2. The story is fairly predictable in that we know where Leo will be by the end. But the journey itself is interesting to watch, especially when we see Leo’s interactions with Splinter, and their respective interactions with Tang Shen.

Alopex is also along for the ride in this book, and she’s on a journey that loosely parallels Leo’s. We see her connection to Raphael grow, and they journey into that gray romantic area that Ninja Turtles stories occasionally venture into. It’s the same kind of relationship Leo tends to have with Karai in various different incarnations of the TMNT. Giving Alopex a redemption story is fine, but connecting him to Raphael in a flirty, romantic sense raises the same old questions about inter-species fornicating, and how one of the Turtles would go about having a relationship with someone, be they human or mutant. That’s both a little too complicated, and a little too gross for my personal tastes.

After a story like City Fall, we needed a book like Northampton to calm things down a bit, before they inevitably ramp up again. From a writing perspective it delivers, and also manages to raise an intriguing question about the “ooze.” Was Ross Campbell a good artistic choice? Given what he’d contributed to the series in the past, the answer is yes. But what he delivered was largely flawed. He’s a very talented artist, and I’m interested to see more from him. But live and learn, Mr. Campbell: The boys in green are not meant to be cute.

RATING: 6.5/10

Front page image and image 1 from comicvine.com. Image 2 from dadsbigplan.com.

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