Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Superman #30

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Superman #30
AUTHOR: Philip Kennedy Johnson, Sean Lewis
ARTISTS: Scott Godlewski, Sami Basri, Gabe Eltaeb (Colorist), Ulises Arreola (Colorist), Dave Sharpe (Letterer). Variant cover by InHyuk Lee.
RELEASED: April 13, 2021

Philip Kennedy Johnson must have kids, given the way he writes Superman’s narration to Jon. It hits me in the feels every time. I mean, maybe he’s just that good a writer. But it feels like he has to be pulling this stuff from his own life…

So its official: These issues are paving the way for Jon to take over as Superman. Granted, you could see it coming a mile away. But now we know for sure. I just wish they weren’t relaunching Superman yet again with a new issue #1. I get why they’re doing it. But man…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Deep Dive Reviews

A TMNT/Ghostbusters Deep-Dive Review – Bustin’ in a Half Shell

TITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters #14
AUTHORS: Erik Burnham, Tom Waltz
ARTIST: Dan Schoening
GUEST ARTISTS: Charles Paul Wilson III, Cory Smith, Ronda Pattison (Colorist)
COLORIST: Luis Delgado
LETTERER: Neil Uyetake
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
COLLECTED IN: Paperback, Deluxe EditionTMNT: The IDW Collection, Vol. 5
RELEASED: October 2014 – January 2015

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition’s TMNT Deep-Dive Review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

If you were a kid in the ’80s or ’90s, chances are you’ll find something appealing at IDW Publishing. That’s not me kissing ass. It’s simply the law of averages. Their collection of licenses includes Transformers, My Little Pony, Sonic the Hedgehog, Back to the Future, among others. That’s to say nothing of two iconic staples of the ’80s: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters.

And of course, IDW loves them a good crossover. It was only a matter of time before the boys in green met the boys in grey.

So what do people want to see from a story like this? What’s the appeal of a crossover? The answer is fans like it when things…well, cross over. We like to see different characters from different worlds meet, interact, team up, or even fight. Often it’s a combination of all four.

But how do you mash up the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Ghostbusters? On the surface, they have very little in common.

The answer is: Find common ground. Take something the two properties have in common and use it to bring them together. Thus the question becomes, what do the TMNT and the GBs have in common? Well, simply at face value…

  • They’re both four-man teams.
  • They both fight the supernatural and/or the extraordinary.
  • They’re both from New York City.

That, especially that third point, is apparently a good enough starting point. TMNT/Ghostbusters sees an accident with the Turtles’ dimensional portal send them to the Ghostbusters’ incarnation of New York. The accident also frees Chi-You, a Chinese warrior god hell bent on ruling the Earth. Caught up in his plot is none other than a demonically possessed Casey Jones.

These issues feel very much like the Turtles are guest-starring in a Ghostbusters story. That’s because artistic team behind IDW’s Ghostbusters books, penciller Dan Schoening, colorist Luis Delgado, and letterer Neil Uyetake handle most of the pages. The common threads between IDW’s Ghostbusters and TMNT books? Tom Waltz, who co-authored TMNT with Kevin Eastman, was the editor on Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters author Erik Burnham had worked on plenty of supplemental material for the TMNT series as well. So the ground was fertile for a crossover.

Said crossover is in good hands. Over the last decade, Burnham, Schoening, Delgado, and Uyetake have been responsible for what in my opinion are the best Ghostbusters comics ever made. All parties involved clearly had a reverence for the source material, and Burnham was turning in amazing scripts.

But what really sets the material apart is Schoening and Delgado. As is the case with TMNT comics, my argument when it comes to Ghostbusters comics is that a lot rides on how you draw the heroes themselves. Because of likeness issues, most pre-Shoening artists tended to draw the movie-based Ghostbusters as guys who looked loosely like the actors. As in this case the characters are so closely identified with their performers (Can you picture someone other than Bill Murray playing Peter Venkman?), what we got were essentially Ghostbusters stories with characters who looked like they were standing in for the genuine article. 

Then along came Shoening who took a more animated, cartoony approach to the movie Ghostbusters. His Egon Spengler doesn’t look like Harold Ramis. But like an impressionist channeling a specific person, he captures the feel of the characters in a way no other artist ever has. So to see him take on the Ghostbusters and the Ninja Turtles, in the same story no less, is very special.

Issues #2 and #3 are where we get a lot of those “common ground” scenes. The two teams share pizza in the firehouse. Donatello compares tech geek notes with Ray. Raph and Venkman make wisecracks to each other. And of course, we get our first obligatory shot of a Ninja Turtle wearing a proton pack. Along those lines, Cory Smith’s variant cover for issue #3 (shown left) is my favorite in the entire series. If you’re an ’80s or ’90s kid, the smart bet is this would have made your head explode back then.

By villain standards, Chi-You isn’t very memorable at all. He’s essentially a generic, grand-standing, monolouging bad guy. He does, however, manage to look pretty bad ass in Casey Jones’ hockey mask. But the strange thing about this story is that the bad guy is almost an afterthought. The main event is that interaction between the two teams. With only four issues to work with, you almost don’t have the time to properly build up a brand new villain while still delivering on what fans want to see from a crossover.

And did Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters deliver on what fans wanted to see? I’d say so. I’d like to think no one realistically came into this thing expecting a grand masterpiece. But it wasn’t a small task either. It’s job was to deliver on a scenario dreamed up by many an ’80s or ’90s kid: What if the Ninja Turtles met the Ghostbusters? And the answer we get is perfectly serviceable. It isn’t contrived, or forced, or hokey, or stupid, all of which it easily could have been. The IDW crew delivered on the crossover, just like they delivered on the two books individually.

What more could a kid who grew up watching these characters on worn out VHS tapes possibly ask for?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Children of the Atom #2

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Children of the Atom #2
AUTHOR: Vita Ayala
ARTISTS: Bernard Chang, Marcelo Maiolo (Colorist), Travis Lanham (Letterer). Cover by R.B. Silva & Erick Arciniega.
RELEASED: April 14, 2021

For whatever reason, Marvel’s teenage superhero books have historically had an authenticity to them that DC’s simply don’t. That’s the case with Champions, and it’s the case here too. For instance, early on we have Gabe, a black teenager, narrating about how people “assume they know who I am.” Even as someone who’s never experienced racism, it felt powerful.

On an entirely different note, Gabe has a line about action figures that hit home for me as a toy geek. Multiple levels, people. The series is working on multiple levels!

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: The Joker #2

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: The Joker #2
AUTHOR: James Tynion IV, Sam Johns
ARTISTS: Guillem March, Mirka Andolfo, Arif Prianto (Colorist), Romulo Fajardo Jr., (Colorist), Tom Napolitano (Letterer) Ariana Maher (Letterer). Cover by March & Tomeu Morey.
RELEASED: April 13, 2021

In two issues, The Joker has become the most interesting thing James Tynion IV is writing right now. It’s more interesting than his Batman run. I say that despite not really caring much about Punchline’s back-up feature.

Last time I compared this book to Mindhunter. But because of the Gotham City influence, these first two issues have also felt a little like Gotham Central. And God help me, it just occurred to me that book came out almost 20 years ago.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow #1

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow #1
AUTHOR: Chip Zdarsky
ARTISTS: Pasqual Ferry, Matt Hollingsworth (Colorist), Joe Caramagna (Letterer). Cover by Phil Noto.
RELEASED: April 14, 2021

So what if Peter kept his black symbiote costume? That’s the question this book asks, and the answer is pretty much what you’d think it is. Under the symbiote’s influence, Peter pushes things too far.

I’ll say this much: It’s a little refreshing to go back to a simpler time in Spidey’s career. Even if things are about to get really dark.

Weird is it may sound, I appreciate the depth of the black Joe Caramagna uses for the symbiote costume. You stare into it, and it feels like you’re looking into some kind of twisted abyss…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Batman: The Detective #1

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Batman: The Detective #1 (of 6)
AUTHOR: Tom Taylor
ARTISTS: Andy Kubert, Brad Anderson (Colorist), Clem Robins (Letterer)
RELEASED: April 13, 2021

I was tempted to close this one early. Not because this isn’t a talented creative team. It just isn’t my cup of tea. Not just because Batman is wearing the ridiculous jacket and goggles, but because it feels like Tom Taylor is doing his best Frank Miller impression. The dialogue and narration is very terse and blunt, and there’s no shortage of blood. Bruce Wayne even has a military-style short haircut for no apparent reason. Kubert’s work is fine, but the fact that he did DKIII makes this feel all the more Miller-ish.

I’ll pass, thanks.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Action Comics #1029

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Action Comics #1029
AUTHORS: Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Becky Cloonan & Michael W. Conrad
ARTISTS: Phil Hester, Michael Avon Oeming, Eric Gapstur (Inker), Hi-Fi (Colorist), Taki Soma (Colorist), Dave Sharpe (Letterer)
RELEASED: March 23, 2021

As a fairly new father, the narrative in this issue about kids stepping out of their “golden age” and learning their parents aren’t infallible was touching. It felt very true to Superman.

*sigh* Oh Phil Hester. If only you were sticking around.

I can’t help but think of Powers every time I see Michael Avon Oeming’s work. He’s well suited for the Midnighter back-up, though. I’m looking forward to more.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Suicide Squad #2

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Suicide Squad #2
AUTHOR: Robbie Thompson
ARTISTS: Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira (Inker), Marcelo Maiolo (Colorist), Wes Abbott (Letterer)
RELEASED: April 6, 2021

The only real complaint I have with this issue is that it has a gratuitous Batman cameo. Not the worst I’ve ever seen. But hardly inspiring.

With all the emphasis on Peacemaker in the upcoming James Gunn Suicide Squad, it comes as no surprise that he remains our central character. Thompson is developing him nicely.

Aside from Superboy, I’d argue most of the characters Peacemaker is surrounded by are fairly obscure and a little silly. As such, they’re fairly expendable. That’s not a bad thing in a book where, theoretically, any of them could die at any moment.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Batman #107

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Batman 107, cover, Jorge Jimenez, 2021TITLE: Batman #107
AUTHOR: James Tynion IV
ARTISTS: Jorge Jimenez, Ricardo Lopez, Tomeu Morey (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)
RELEASED: April 6, 2021

Tynion is doing a story where mass panic has broken out in the wake of a Scarecrow attack, all the while the police seem to be a little trigger happy. You don’t think that could have been inspired by anything in the real world, do you…?

The more I see it, the more I dig this design of the Scarecrow. It’s like a mix of his classic look and his look from the Arkham games.

Ricardo Lopez’s art in the Ghost-Maker back-up is just a little bit reminiscent of Skottie Young. Can’t say I expected that.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Star Wars: The High Republic #4

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Star Wars: The High Republic #4
AUTHOR: Cavan Scott
ARTISTS: Ario Anindito, Mark Morales (Inker), Annalisa Leoni (Colorist), Ariana Maher (Letterer). Cover by Phil Noto.
RELEASED: April 7, 2021

This issue went by fast. In a good way. As I said with issue #3, the more this series gets to focus in on character development, the better. That way, we’re a little more invested in this different era.

To that end, this issue shines a nice spotlight on Jedi Master Sskeer and his former apprentice Keeve Trennis. Sskeer has a distinct and interesting look to him, in that he’s a reptile with only one arm. And his interactions with Keeve all come off heart-felt and genuine. Those two should have been our only protagonists at this early going.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.