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.

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

Weekly Comic 100s: Crime Syndicate #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: Crime Syndicate #2
AUTHOR:
Andy Schmidt
ARTISTS:
Kieran McKeown, Dexter Vines (Inker), Steve Oliff (Colorist), Bryan Hitch, Alex Sinclair (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer). Cover by Jim Cheung & Alejandro Sanchez.
RELEASED:
April 6, 2021

So Superwoman wears open-toed shoes? That’s kinda weird. Distinct? Maybe. But still weird.

So we’ve got the Crime Syndicate going up against Starro, who was of course the Justice League’s first opponent way back in 1960’s The Brave and the Bold #28. Here’s my question: In a book full of bad guys, who am I supposed to be rooting for? Superwoman? Owlman? It just seems like everybody in this book is an evil monster. I’m kinda hoping they all just destroy each other…

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

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Deep Dive Reviews

A Turtles in Time Deep-Dive – This Ain’t No Game!

***This year marks the 10-year anniversary of IDW Publishing’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. In celebration, we here at Primary Ignition will be looking back at the book as a whole. Or in this case, veering off and looking at a miniseries that showcased numerous talented writers and artists…***

TITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time #14
AUTHORS: Paul Allor
ARTISTS: Sophie Campbell, Charles Paul Wilson III, Ben Bates, Dan Duncan. “A” covers by David Petersen.
COLORISTS: Bill Crabtree, Jeremy Mohler, Bates, Ronda Pattison
LETTERER: Shawn Lee
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
COLLECTED IN: TMNT: The IDW Collection, Vol. 5
RELEASED: June – September 2014

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Adapting video games into any other media, be it movies, TV, or in this case comics books, is tricky. So much of the fun of a video game is in the immersion factor. Being able to interact with and play your way through an entirely different world.

As far as pure fun is concerned, few games can beat 1991’s Turtles in Time from Konami. It was the best of the side-scrolling TMNT beat-em-up games, throwing a smorgasbord of enemies and settings at players. Tried and true locales like the New York City sewers and the Technodrome, and eras as far back as the prehistoric and as far ahead as a star base in 2100. We saw foot soldiers riding dinosaurs, Bebop and Rocksteady dressed as pirates, Krang flying in a spaceship, and finally…Super Shredder. Turtles in Time had it all.

So how do you supplant that story into comic books without losing the joy of being able to ninja-kick through the game yourself? You don’t. You can, however, use the strengths of the medium to present something different, yet still evocative, of the original product.

That’s what IDW does with it’s four-issue Turtles in Time miniseries. Each issue takes us to a different era, spotlights a different Turtle, and has its own artist to provide a different look and feel. As an added bonus, most of the artists had already worked on the main series by this point. But with that in mind, from an artistic standpoint Turtles in Time surprisingly doesn’t feel all that familiar…

Author Paul Allor and artist Sophie Campbell hit the ground running with issue #1, as the Turtles find themselves suddenly thrust into pre-historic times. It’s worth noting that the character responsible for the Turtles’ temporal displacement, an interdimensional time-traveler named Renet, had not been introduced in the main series yet. Issue #1 came out in June 2014, and Renet’s official introduction didn’t come until August. Whoops…

I’ve called Sophie Campbell’s approach to the Turtles “cutesy.” But her work on the main series also had a vulnerable, emotional side to it that made it a great fit for the “Northampton” story arc. This, on the other hand, is pure cutesy. “Northampton” wouldn’t have been nearly as effective had it looked like this.

Still, as with “Northampton,” we have to account for tone. When Campbell worked on the main series, she was helping to tell a four-issue story about a family coming together and healing after a devastating, costly battle. This is a one-off where Michelangelo rides a dinosaur. It’s much more playful, and somewhat akin to the 2012 Nickelodeon series that was airing at the time. So while still cute, Campbell is able to adapt her style to match a story with a much different tone than “Northampton.” Once again, she makes it work.

Also, Raphael also gets a pet dinosaur. So…that’s a thing.

In issue #2, author Erik Burnham and artist Charles Paul Wilson III take us to feudal Japan. Of course, in the IDWverse this is the time period the Turtles and Splinter originally lived in as humans before their murder and reincarnation in the 21st century. There’s a story opportunity gift-wrapped for them there, and Burnham takes advantage of it. Our heroes meet their past selves, Splinter’s human counterpart Hamato Yoshi, and their mother Tang Shen. A little convenient? Sure. But the resulting character moments are worth it. Specifically, Leo blatantly attempting to change the future while Raph acts as the voice of reason. It’s a really nice role reversal. Seeing the Turtles in samurai garb is pretty cool too.

As for Wilson, for me his style is comparable to that of Andy Kuhn. Generally speaking, I’m a fan of his work, but he struggles when it comes to the Turtles themselves. The word that comes to mind when I look at his take (shown above) is…gelatinous. I’ll leave it at that. Everything else, however, looks just fine. The action sequences in particular have a great kinetic energy to them.

Burnham stays on for issue #3, as Ben Bates returns to draw the Turtles on a pirate ship in the 18th century. As with Campbell, Bates’ work takes on a different tone for Turtles in Time. Less so because of his pencils, and more his colors. The palette is lighter and the look is a bit sketchier, which adds up to a windswept, sea-blown vibe. Combined with the largely white backgrounds he uses to depict the open sky, it highly effective.

From a writing perspective, I was impressed with how Burnham incorporated Krang as the hidden leader of the evil pirates. At editorial’s request, he also snuck the IDW origin of a TMNT legacy character on to the last page. Beyond that, between issues #2 and #3 Burnham is able to give us two very different stories. Issue #2 has its comedic moments, but airs on the dramatic side, while issue #3 is a lot more fun and comedic. Particularly with Michelangelo, who wins his pirate comrades over with his version of an “inspirational” speech.

Out of all the artists working on Turtles in Time, the name I was most excited to see was Dan Duncan’s. His work on the first 12 issues of the main series is some of the best the property has ever seen. Coming into the fourth issue of Turtles in Time, I was hoping for more of the same with the unique flavor of it being in a futuristic setting. Ronda Pattison, the colorist he worked with on the main series, being along for the ride only seemed to sweeten the pot.

The performance Duncan turns in is superbly creative, with Turtles that are as expressive as ever. But it’s not quite as evocative of those first issues as I’d hoped. Oddly enough, this issue once again looks like it was inspired by Nickelodeon show. It makes you wonder how much these creative teams were influenced by it, if at all. Still, Duncan has the tall task of drawing a Manhattan strictly populated by mutants, all of which he had to design himself. So this issue in and of itself is a tremendous achievement.

Issue #4, written once again by Allor, introduces us to an elderly Donatello. With his brothers now gone, he refuses to take part in a rebellion against an America ruled by the Foot clan. Donatello is an interesting choice for that role, as given the choice of all four Ninja Turtles, I doubt he’d the one many would bet on as the sole survivor of an apocalyptic scenario. It makes perfect sense, though, if you think about it. And of course, having Don meet an older, more jaded version of himself makes for great character development, which would soon be reflected in the main series.

When you get right down to it, Turtles in Time is perfectly skippable. It doesn’t add anything integral to the main series, and is just a fun little romp through different time periods. The latter, however, is also its greatest appeal. It takes the Turtles out of their element and lets a variety of talented people play around with them. Much like the video game, it’s an exercise in creativity and fun. At the end of the day, it’s hard to hate on 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: Power Rangers Unlimited: Heir to Darkness #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: Power Rangers Unlimited: Heir to Darkness #1
AUTHOR:
L.L. McKinney
ARTISTS:
Simone Ragazzoni, Igor Monti (Colorist), Sabrina Del Grosso (Color Assistant), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Cover by Dan Mora.
RELEASED:
March 31, 2021

This story, which nicely explores Astronema’s origins, seems a little confused about its timeline. It alludes to she and the rest of the villains not knowing where Zordon is. But I wasn’t under the impression Zordon’s location was a mystery. Particularly as he and the Rangers are defending Earth from Lord Zedd.

Still, this is pretty well executed. I’d enjoy seeing more stories published under the Power Rangers Unlimited banner. There’s no shortage of material.

Early in the issue we see Astronema fighting Rangers wearing the suits from the Super Sentai Choushinsei Flashman. Stuff like that is always fun.

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