Tag Archives: Bill Sienkiewicz

A TMNT Universe #1 Review – “Your First Step into a Larger World.”

TMNT Universe #1, Freddie E. Williams II, coverTITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #1
AUTHORS: Paul Allor, Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
PENCILLERS: Damian Couceiro, Bill Sienkiewicz, Eastman. Cover by Freddie E. Williams II.
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $4.99
RELEASED: August 31, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz, and the crew at IDW have been creating good to great TMNT comics for several years now. This new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe series opens the door for even more. If this freshman issue is an indicator of things to come, we’ve got mostly good things ahead of us.

The Turtles and April O’Neil are hoping they can make an ally of Baxter Stockman. But Agent Bishop and the Earth Protection Force are in hot pursuit of the boys in green. Our heroes will soon find themselves in a fight to survive. Then in our back-up story, Leo faces off against the Foot Clan by himself. Despite his skills, he may be hopelessly outnumbered.

Paul Allor is no stranger to the Turtles, having written a number of their adventures for IDW. His experience is evident here, as he writes a damn good opening page. We get a glimpse into Bishop’s psyche, and why he opposes mutants the way he does. It’s a misguided, though relatable sentiment.

TMNT Universe #1, sonic weaponAllor uses this first issue to remind us that the Turtles, and mutants in general, are isolated and at times hated. Though Bishop’s motivation, while villainous, is relatable in its own way. As one might expect, the most emotional reaction we get comes from Raphael, and it’s used effectively to close the issue.

Allor also isn’t bad with the repartee between the Turtles. Panels like the one above aren’t exactly dripping with wit. But they’ve got a nice charm to them that we don’t always have time for in the main TMNT series.

Couceiro, who’s on both the pen and inks for this issue, is a solid fit for the Turtles. He’s got a really nice command of light and shadow, which obviously bodes well for our shadow-bound heroes. He also doesn’t draw their bandanas too large, which I tend to chide Mateus Santolouco, and more recently Dave Watcher for. I do, however, have one thing to nitpick: His Turtles are very toothy. He draws toothy Turtles. Panels like the ones below actually take me out of the story, as I can’t help but stare at their teeth. On the plus side, they’re very white. Splinter must have gotten the boys good dental insurance.

TMNT Universe #1, back-up, LeonardoOur back-up story is about Leo trailing a Foot ninja, who as it turns out, has some friends. A lot of friends. When I initially read this story, I thought it was scripted by Kevin Eastman. Leo’s inner monologue reads like one of the original Mirage books. He seems more like an easy going teenager, and less like the disciplined leader we usually see. But the issue credits Tom Waltz for the script. I’m not sure why Leo is so casual here. It almost strikes me as out of character.

This is also a premise that’s been done to perfection in both the original Eastman and Laird series, and the IDW series. It’s Leo against a bunch of foot ninjas. This story is set to continue next issue, so hopefully they do something with this concept we haven’t seen before. Eastman handles the page layouts, slowing the pace a bit to take us into the action. Bill Sienkiewicz and colorist Tomi Varga are a good fit for the Turtles, providing the gritty, street-level feel the story needs.

Like many things in life, this issue reminds me of a line from Star Wars. In the original 1977 film, Obi-Wan says to Luke: “You’ve taken your first step into a larger world.” In a sense, that’s what Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #1 is. Chances are good that this series will really enrich what IDW has created for the Turtles. Dare I say, cowabunga?

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A Green Arrow/Black Canary: Five Stages Review – The End of an Era

Green Arrow/Black Canary, Vol. 6: Five StagesTITLE: Green Arrow/Black Canary, Vol. 6: Five Stages
AUTHORS: Andrew Kreisberg, J.T. Krul
ARTISTS: Mike Norton, Bill Sienkiewicz, Renato Guedes, Diogenes Nieves. Cover by Jose O. Ladronn.
COLLECTS: Green Arrow/Black Canary #27-30
FORMAT: Softcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $17.99
RELEASE DATE: November 17, 2010

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I miss the Green Arrow/Black Canary monthly title. Or at least Andrew Kreisberg’s version of it. It was usually somewhere in the bottom half of my stack. But in retrospect, it should have been higher.

Sadly, this is the sixth and last volume of the series, collecting the final four of the 30-issue series (technically there were 32, but the last two only had Green Arrow’s name on them) starring the newlywed emerald archer and sexy siren. It picks up where Big Game left off, wrapping up the story line with Cupid, Green Arrow’s sadistic stalker. With the help of the shape-shifting villain Everyman, who now bears Arrow’s likeness, she’s wreaking havoc in Star City. Along the way, we learn her origin story, and what exactly caused her mind to snap.

Green Arrow/Black Canary, Vol. 6: Five Stages, interiorIssue #30 takes us into the events of Blackest Night, as Ollie has become a Black Lantern. Now Black Canary, Speedy and Conner Hawke must find a way to stop the zombified archer before he rips their hearts out…literally!

The book moves back and forth between the present day, and Cupid’s origin story, the latter beautifully pencilled by Renato Guedes. It’s a refreshing shift from shifting between Ollie and Dinah’s perspective for no apparent reason, as we saw in Big Game. It looks like Kreisberg was trying to add to Green Arrow’s rather dismal rogues gallery, even throwing in a tragic and disturbing twist for the Lieutenant Hilton character. Sadly, what with everything that’s happened in the aftermath of Justice League: Cry For Justice, it may be a long time before we see some of these characters again, if at all. That especially sucks in the case of Lieutenant Hilton, or “Hilt” as he comes to be called. I’d have enjoyed seeing where they were going with that character. His scenes toward the end of the book were really ominous.

The Blackest Night story is told from Ollie’s point of view, as his consciousness struggles to gain control of his body, which has been taken over by Nekron. He agonizes as he’s forced to reveal secrets to Dinah, and his son Conner, that he hoped would remain buried forever. It’s the best Blackest Night story they could have told for Green Arrow, and unlike most of the other Blackest Night one-shots I read, it has long-term ramifications.

Green Arrow/Black Canary #30, Blackest NightFive Stages does manage to include a bit of foreshadowing. The final Kreisberg-written scene takes place just before Ollie and Dinah are beamed up to the Watchtower for the first scene in Cry For Justice. One might even argue that the evil Everyman wearing Ollie’s likeness is a bit of a prelude. Sadly though, Five Stages serves as the end of an era for Ollie and Dinah. And although J.T. Krul’s work on the new Green Arrow is compelling, I can’t help but feel like this era ended much too soon. This book is good, but the series itself could have been so much better.

RATING: 7/10

Image 1 from comicvine.com. Image 2 from comicattack.net.

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A Green Arrow/Black Canary, Vol. 5: Big Game Review

Green Arrow/Black Canary, Vol. 5: Big GameTITLE: Green Arrow/Black Canary, Vol. 5: Big Game
AUTHOR: Andrew Kreisberg
ARTISTS: Mike Norton, Bill Sienkiewicz, Renato Guedes. Cover by Jose O. Ladronn.
COLLECTS: Green Arrow/Black Canary #21-26
FORMAT: Softcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $19.99
RELEASE DATE: June 9, 2010

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

It’s no accident that the Green Arrow/Black Canary monthly title jumped in quality once Andrew Kreisberg took over.

Many fanboys would likely recognize Kreisberg’s TV work before his comic work. He’s written episodes of Justice League, The Simpsons, Fringe, and recently Star Wars: The Clone Wars. So for DC to put him in Star City was a big cue.

This book is the second volume of his work on this title. Picking up where Green Arrow/Black Canary: Enemies List left off, we find the city in a state of chaos, as a new villain has caused everyone in the city (including our heroes) to temporarily go deaf. This story is inter-cut with scenes from Dinah Lance’s youth, as she finds out about her mother’s life as the original Black Canary, and the dangers of her supersonic “Canary Cry.”

Green Arrow/Black Canary #24, Cupid, Black CanaryLater, an old enemy of Green Arrow’s called Big Game, returns to wreak havoc in the city. This forces Black Canary to form an extremely reluctant partnership with Cupid, a villainness romantically obsessed with Green Arrow. Meanwhile, Oliver Queen’s tactics are slowly but surely growing darker and more vengeful, conveniently leading him down a path that will take him directly into the events of Justice League: Cry For Justice.

What was supposed to have made Green Arrow/Black Canary different from any other title DC puts out was the fact that Ollie and Dinah are married superheroes. That’s a twist you rarely see in the DC Universe. When Judd Winick wrote the book, that idea tended to fall flat. But Kreisberg seems to do his best to thrust it to the forefront, while reminding us that Ollie and Dinah can be two very different people.

He accomplished this by introducing the Cupid character, a delusional, deranged stalker character, who he portrays brilliantly. There’s a scene in the book where she ponders raping a man she’s dressed as Green Arrow, but then simply shoots him in the head. It’s fantastic character work, and a bit of a refreshing take on the classic stalker angle.

Green Arrow/Black Canary, flashbackThe looks back at Dinah’s youth are also a nice little character insight. Plus, in the previous volume Kreisberg took a page out of Batman’s book, and created Lucas Hilton, a detective character for Arrow and Canary to bounce dialogue off of. They have a nice little dynamic going.

The slightly awkward thing about Big Game is that the story framework is a bit awkward. As these issues were being published, DC was beginning to experiment with adding co-features to some of their titles, Green Arrow/Black Canary being one of them. This allowed them to bump issue prices up a dollar, in exchange for several more pages of content. Thus, Blue Beetle was added to Booster Gold, Captain Atom to Action Comics, etc.

In Ollie and Dinah’s case, about 60 percent of an issue’s story would be told from one character’s point of view, and the rest from another’s. For example, Green Arrow might take the lead for the majority of an issue, and Dinah would end it. For my money, this sometimes creates a needless shift in perspective that can distract or confuse readers. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, but it can be off-putting.

Green Arrow/Black Canary, SpeedyIn terms of art, Bill Sienkiewicz’s pencils get the job done, but after inking and coloring, some of his panels come back looking a little sloppy for my taste. Mike Norton’s look a lot more crisp and clean. Renato Guedes stops by mid-book to tell a story involving Speedy (who debuts a brand new costume in this book) for no apparent reason. Nevertheless, his art looks good.

In the long run, I think Green Arrow fans will look at Big Game as one of the stepping stones on the path that Ollie took heading into Justice League: Cry For Justice. It’s a bit awkward at times. But it’s a fun book to read, and Kreisburg’s characterizations of Ollie and Dinah are pretty spot-on. I hope to see him back in the DCU someday soon.

RATING: 7/10

Images 1 and 2 from comicobsessed.blogspot.com. Image 3 from dreamwidth.org.

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