Weekly Comic 100s: Batman #90, Marvel #1, and More!

***”Weekly Comic 100s” keeps it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

A few leftovers from last week mixed in here. That’s what happens when you get struck by the flu. Not the Corona virus, I assure you. Just the flu…

TITLE: Batman #90
AUTHOR:
James Tynion IV
ARTISTS:
Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)
RELEASED:
March 4, 2020

This issue has stirred up a decent amount of buzz because of a plot point involving the Joker. While I’m very much into what Tynion is doing, Batman #90 has been drastically over-hyped.

Via a flashback from Catwoman, we’re led to believe that the Designer, a mysterious villain we’ve just now learned about, inspired the Joker to evolve from clown-themed criminal to murdering psychopath. There’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s too early to herald it as this amazing development in the Batman mythos. Ask me after a few more issues have come out. Then we’ll talk.

TITLE: Marvel #1 (of 6)
AUTHORS: Alex Ross, Steve Darnall, Frank Espinosa, Sajan Saini, Kurt Busiek, 
ARTISTS:
Ross, Josh Johnson (Letterer), Espinosa, Clayton Cowles (Letterer), Steve Rude, Steven Legge (Colorist)
RELEASED:
March 4, 2020

Here we have the first installment in what was Alex Ross’ original vision for Marvels: An anthology of stories done by creators picked by Ross. Many of whom are working in the Marvel Universe for the first time.

Frank Espinosa turns in a lovely Spider-Man story. Given his style, he’s perfect for a project like this. But I was partial to Marvels author Kurt Busiek’s old school Avengers tale, drawn by the one and only Steve Rude. “Hulk-vengers.” Is that only now a thing? Either way, I love it.

TITLE: King of Nowhere #1 (of 5)
AUTHOR: W. Maxwell Prince
ARTISTS: Tyler Jenkins, Hilary Jenkins (Colorist), Andworld Design (Letters)
RELEASED: March 4, 2020

Every once in awhile, you find yourself holding what’s essentially a giant smorgasbord of bizarre, freakish, and random. Have I seen freakier than this? Yes. But not lately…

Our main character Denis wakes up near the small town of Nowhere, essentially a living acid trip filled with the creatures you see on the cover. Adventures ensue, and then we get a little hook at the end to bring us back. It’s not a particularly strong hook. But frankly, she simple question of “What the actual #$%Q is going on?” might just be the only hook King of Nowhere needs.

TITLE: Ghostbusters: Year One #2
AUTHOR: Erik Burnham
ARTISTS: Dan Schoening, Luis Delgado (Colorist), Neil Uyetake (Letterer)
RELEASED: March 4, 2020

This issue sees the Ghostbusters follow up on their very first spectral encounter: Eleanor Twitty, the librarian ghost. Thus, I’m forced to ask the heart-wrenching question of whether Ghostbusters: The Video Game is still canon in the IDWverse.

We also get a cute, and surprisingly heartwarming college flashback where Venkman introduces Ray and Egon. And of course, Schoening draws Egon with the late ’70s/early ’80s Harold Ramis afro. Because how could you not?

TITLE: Batman/Superman #7
AUTHOR:
Joshua Williamson
ARTISTS:
Nick Derington, Dave McCaig (Colorist), John J. Hill (Letterer)
RELEASED:
February 26, 2020

“The Bottled City of the Dead.” That’s fun. I like it. Even if the cliffhanger we get does border on unintentionally funny.

Nick Dergington’s art is the star here, supported wonderfully by Dave McCaig’s colors. To call it “simplistic” looking sounds like a dig. It isn’t. It’s easily digestible. And again, it’s fun.

Williamson’s writing of the rapport between our titular characters is the strongest its been yet in this issue. I’ll admit it’s a bit awkward, though appropriate, that they call each other by their hero names. It feels like they should call each other by their first names. But of course, they’re in the field…

TITLE: TMNT: Jennika #1
AUTHORS: Braham Revel, Ronda Pattison
ARTISTS:
Revel, Jodi Nishijima, Pattison (Colorist), Shawn Lee (Letterer).
RELEASED: February 26, 2020

I like how Revel draws Jennika with a slimmer, dare I say more feminine figure. In theory it sets her apart from the other Turtles that much more. Revel’s style is also mildly reminiscent of the 2012 animated series. It makes for an interesting style shift from the main series.

There’s a decent amount of meat to this story. The best of which involves the awkward romantic tension between Jennika and Casey Jones. It’s an impossible conflict that I’m dying to see how they resolve. Or at least if they can resolve it without making Casey look like a heel.

TITLE: Suicide Squad #3
AUTHOR:
Tom Taylor
ARTISTS:
Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas (Colorist), Wes Abbott (Letterer)
RELEASED:
February 26, 2020

What has surprised me more than anything about Tom Taylor’s Suicide Squad run thus far is how much he’s actually delivered on the whole suicide mission premise. By only having two heavy hitters (Deadshot and Harley), and having the cast consist mostly of original characters, he can raise the stakes seamlessly by making the missions more costly.

As far as those new characters are concerned, I remain partial to Fin. Especially after seeing him exact some deliciously gruesome revenge this issue.

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Weekly Comic 100s: Wolverine #1 is EIGHT DOLLARS, and Also Reviews…

***”Weekly Comic 100s” keeps it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Eight dollars for Wolverine #1.

EIGHT. DOLLARS.

This is the latest volume, mind you. We’re not talking about something historic or particularly significant. This is simply the latest adventure of everybody’s favorite clawed Canadian.

Why eight dollars? Because it’s just a thing Marvel does with a good percentage of its #1 issues. And readers are, for reasons I will never comprehend, willing to fork that money down.

Well, not ALL of them. I was happy to leave that one on the shelf, bub. If Marvel is going to give me the finger, I’m willing to give it right back to them. I just wish others were willing to say no.

If I’m going to put down eight bucks for a Wolverine comic Hugh Jackman better be leaping off the damn page singing Greatest Showman songs as he’s taking out my garbage.

TITLE: Batman #89
AUTHOR: James Tynion IV
ARTISTS: Guillem March, Danny Miki, Carlo Pagulayan, Tomeu Morey (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer). Variant cover by Francesco Mattina.
RELEASED: February 19, 2020

In essence what we’re getting here is a follow-up to Death of the Family. Definitely a hell of a way to start Tynion’s run. But Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, and that whole crew did a masterful job of putting that genie back in the bottle. How do you do that again? Or do you?

There’s a panel in this issue where Lucius Fox refers to the Joker, the Riddler, and the Penguin as members of Batman’s “Classic Rogues Gallery.” *thud* Yeesh. Did somebody from marketing slip that in?

Loving the perspective on this variant cover.

TITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #103
AUTHORS: Kevin Eastman (Consultant), Tom Waltz (Consultant), Sophie Campbell (Script)
ARTISTS:
Campbell. Ronda Pattison (Colorist). Shawn Lee (Letterer). Variant cover by Eastman.
RELEASED: February 19, 2020

Quite the emotional issue this month. They really try to yank at our heartstrings.

I came away from this issue thinking about Sophie Campbell. She turned in a highly impactful script, and her drawing the issue obviously allows her to accentuate and emphasize certain things.

Campbell also does a tremendous job getting the Turtles to emote, sometimes without any dialogue to support her art. Case in point: The Raphael/Jennika argument. Look at the anger in Raph’s bulging eyes and clenched teeth, or the quiet defiance from Jennika.

Um, are they giving Michelangelo depression? If so, that’s…really cool, actually.

TITLE: The Low Low Woods #3
AUTHOR: Carmen Maria Machado
ARTISTS: Dani, Tamra Bonvillain (Colorist), Steve Wands (Letterer). Cover by Sam Wolfe Connelly.
RELEASED:
February 19, 2020

I’m not in love with this book. The texture of the art is “sketchier” than I tend to like. But the haunted small-town setting keeps me coming back. I’m finding myself wanting to meet more people from the aptly yet ridiculously named Shudder-to-Think, Pennsylvania.

For instance, we meet a thousand-year-old witch in this issue. But she has the body of a young girl. Then we unpack the revelation from issue #1, and things get really weird.

In this case, weird is good.

TITLE: BANG! #1
AUTHOR: Matt Kindt
ARTISTS: Wilfredo Torres, Nayoung Kim (Colorist), Nate Piekos (Letterer)
RELEASED:
February 19, 2020

It’s James Bond meets Doctor Who. I can’t tell you how without spoiling the issue. But you’ll get it.

BANG! is apparently connected to one of Matt Kindt’s previous works, Revolver. I’ve heard of it, but never read it. How it’s connected to BANG! isn’t immediately apparent. But it’s perfectly accessible on its own.

Like The Low Low Woods, I didn’t expect this story to hook me the way it has. As is often the case, issue #2 will be the clincher.

TITLE: Go Go Power Rangers #29
AUTHORS: Ryan Parrott, Sina Grace
ARTISTS: Francesco Mortarino, Raul Angulo (Co-Colorist), Eleonora Bruni (Co-Colorist), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Cover by Eleonora Carlini.
RELEASED: February 12, 2020

There’s an opening battle sequence in this issue where Tommy, who is now the team leader, freezes up. Jason, the former leader, quickly yet briefly steps back into his old role. I like that. By this point, Tommy had been in positions to lead. But he’d never been the leader. There should be some growing pains there.

Jason also has a conversation with Zordon that I’ve wanted to see for over two damn decades. They talk about why Jason was replaced as leader, and whether or not he wants the job back. Some great character work in this one.

TITLE: Ghostbusters: Year One #1
AUTHOR: Erik Burnham
ARTISTS: Dan Schoening, Luis Delgado (Colorist), Neil Uyetake (Letterer)
RELEASED: January 22, 2020

You’ll never hear me complain about Burnham and Shoening doing more Ghostbusters comics. Ever.

While I wouldn’t count this issue among their best work, there is one bit that I love. We’re looking at Winston’s first year on the job, and he only gets a few minutes of training, shooting a single proton stream before he’s shoved on to a job. That’s perfect. Despite the Ghostbusters being established and experienced, Winston still gets the same seat-of-his-pants training they did. It obviously lends itself to this being a comedy at heart.

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Dan Schoening Easter Egg Hunt: John Candy and the Rottweilers

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Before Little Shop of Horrors, Spaceballs, or Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Rick Moranis pestered Dana Barrett and became the Keymaster in Ghostbusters. After more than 30 years, his performance still makes us laugh. (“Yes, have some!”)

But the Louis Tully character could have been very different. Legend has it that Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis originally wanted Louis to be played by none other than John Candy.

In the pages of Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History, producer Joe Medjuck explains that the character was originally supposed to be more flamboyant, much like Candy’s SCTV character Johnny LaRue. But seemingly not wanting to go that route, Candy suggested something that in hindsight seems downright bizarre: Giving Louis a thick German accent and two pet rottweilers.

Decades later, Erik Burnham, Dan Schoening, Luis Delgado, and the IDW Ghostbusters crew gave us a hell of a “What if?” moment in the pages of Ghostbusters #4.

Naturally, the first arc in the series used a lot of familiar elements from the movies. Case in point, in issue #4 we once again find ourselves at 55 Central Park West, as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man stomps through the city. Ray races through the building, frantically trying to get in position to deploy the “megatrap.”

Ray kicks down the door to room 2206 (Dana’s old apartment), and who does he find but a portly German fellow with two pet rottweilers and a very familiar face.

While you can’t take anything away from Erik Burnham’s script, Luis Delgado’s colors, or anything else the IDW team brought to the table, Dan Schoening was really the star of this page. One of the things that sets his take on the Ghostbusters apart from everyone else’s is his distinct style. It’s obviously cartoony. But he incorporates enough of the actors’ likenesses to make it feel like you’re watching an extension of the movies. John Candy gets the same treatment here. It’s so plainly him, and it really warms your heart.

It’s enough to make you wonder what it would have looked like seeing John Candy become a terror dog…

For more Dan Schoening Easter Eggs, check out Martin Short and Grandma Winslow, and Eddie Murphy at Ghostbusters HQ.

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.

Dan Schoening Easter Egg Hunt: Martin Short and…Grandma Winslow???

***Dan Schoening’s art is filled with delightful Easter Eggs and winks. Here at “Dan Schoening Easter Egg Hunt,” we shine a fresh light on things you might have missed the first time around.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This hidden gem comes to us from 2014’s Ghostbusters #14, and the wedding of Winston Zeddemore. The boys in gray are about to face the heart-wrenching wrath of Tiamat. But in the meantime, Winston has some really interesting wedding guests.

I’ve always remembered this panel because Schoening slipped in, of all people, Rosetta Lenoire. Modern audiences know her best as Grandma Winslow from Family Matters. And low and behold, there she is in her Family Matters get-up. It somehow makes sense, doesn’t it? On the show, her son was Chicago Police Officer Carl Winslow. Carl was, of course, played by Reginald VelJohnson. VelJohnson also had a small speaking role as a prison guard in Ghostbusters. If you know enough to connect the dots, that’s an epic ’80s reference.

Then it was pointed out to me that standing next to her is Frank Eggelhoffer, Martin Short’s character from Father of the Bride. Yeah, I had no idea on that one. Makes me think I need to go back and watch that movie again.

And because we needed another ’90s reference, Schoening threw Roland from Extreme Ghostbusters in as well. Happy to see the team at IDW giving that show some love. Highly underrated, in my view.

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.

A Ghostbusters International #6 Review – The Legend of La Llorona

Ghostbusters International #6, 2016TITLE: Ghostbusters International #6
AUTHOR: Erik Burnham
PENCILLER: Rachael Stott
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: June 29, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

If you’ll permit me, I’d like to gush about Dan Schoening some more.

I’ll never discount the work of Erik Burnham, Luis Delgado, or anyone else who has contributed to these IDW Ghostbusters books. As a lifelong fan, they’ve been an absolute joy to read. But what truly sets them apart is Dan Schoening’s stripped down, animated take on the world. That’s been the case from the start. So when a guest artist steps in to try and fill his shoes, they’ve practically been set up to fail.

Rachael Stott, for my money, is the first artist to buck that trend. The issue misses Schoening, but Stott fills his shoes better than any artist ever has.

This issue takes Egon, Kylie, and Melanie Ortiz to Puerto Rico to face the legendary La Llorona. What follows is pretty standard Ghostbusters fare. Exposition, search, discover, battle, capture. It’s not great, but it’s fine. I’ve never been enamored with the Melanie character. She’s always struck me as a very bland Dana Scully wannabe.

Ghostbusters International #6, 2016, Rachael StottThat being said, Melanie does have the best line in the issue. When a hospitalized teenager says “I thought [the Ghostbusters] were all guys,” she replies with a sigh and an eye roll. I think that’s a tip of the hat to the cast of the new Ghostbusters movie.

Stott’s characters look more like real people than Schoening’s ever do. It’s an interesting deviation from the norm. Her Kylie Griffin is particularly strong. But what really endeared her to me was her take on Egon. You can easily see Harold Ramis on these pages. Oddly enough, that doesn’t seem to be the case with the rest of the team. Though we only see them in a brief interlude.

I’m consistently impressed by how much research Erik Burnham puts into these stories. I had never heard the story of La Llorona prior to this issue. But its a significant piece of Mexican folklore. Though as Egon points out, similar legends exist in other parts of the world. Incidentally, I wouldn’t recommend Googling La Lorona if you’re by yourself at night…just saying.

There’s been so much unrest lately about the Ghostbusters remake, with people being upset that it’s not what they remember. As sexist as many of those complaints have been, I wish I could direct all those people to these IDW books. In a lot of ways, these are the sequels we never got. They have their flaws. But as a whole, I really can’t say enough good things about them.

Interior Image from comicsasylum.com.

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A Ghostbusters International #2 Review – Bustin’ on Location

Ghostbusters International #2, cover, Dan SchoeningTITLE: Ghostbusters International #2
AUTHOR: Erik Burnham
PENCILLER: Dan Schoening
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: February 24, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Erik Burnham, Dan Shoening, Luis Delgado, and the folks at IDW have been doing this Ghostbusters thing for awhile now. And as I’ve said before, they’re the best comic book team to ever take on the boys in gray. That’s why I was surprised when Ghostbusters International #1 largely felt like…business as usual. Mind you, business as usual for this book is still pretty good. Perhaps they were simply setting the table before the twist at the end. Either way, there was seemingly no new element of intrigue.

Thankfully, Ghostbusters International #2 both ups the intrigue, and sends our heroes across the globe!

Ghostbusters International #2, Dan SchoeningErland Vinter, a wealthy Scandanavian businessman, wants to buy the Ghostbusters. But while the boys aren’t for sale, Walter Peck arranges for Vinter to have access to them in the short-term. Ergo, Peter, Ray, and Winston find themselves in Italy for a case involving the haunted island of Poveglia.

As usual, the star of this series is Dan Schoening. Granted, one can’t undercut the importance of Erik Burnham’s witty writing to the longevity of the Ghostbusters books. But Schoening’s art is always what has made them pop. Yes, it’s cartoony. But Shoening’s Ghostbusters have always resembled the real actors enough that you buy them as the characters. What’s more, Shoening has never gone too over the top with his renderings. So his work on these books has always had a certain animation-meets-pseudo-realism effect to it. It’s a hell of a lot of fun to look at, especially with all the ’80s Easter eggs he tends to toss in there for the sheer fun of it. You can tell he’s having fun, so you inevitably have fun with him.

Ghostbusters International #2, Dan Shoening, RaySending the Ghostbusters around the world is a fine concept. But I can’t help but wonder how long they’ll stick with it. A few years ago they relaunched this series as The New Ghostbusters, which saw the boys banished to another dimension, forcing Janine and a new team to take over. By issue #4 the boys were back, and the so-called New Ghostbusters would rotate in from time to time. I say this not because The New Ghostbusters was a bad story. I’m just wondering how the Ghostbusters will say “international.” As Burnham wrote in issue #1: “Everything about the Ghostbusters involves New York.”

Still, seeing the boys in Italy is fun thus far. Frankly, I’m just happy to have Burnham, Shoening, and this team writing the Ghostbusters again. These guys were seemingly made to write these characters, and if it were up to me, this series would have continued uninterrupted since it began. I suppose fans can take some solace in the idea that IDW would be stupid not to have a Ghostbusters book on the stands with the new movie coming out this July.

For more from Burnham and Shoening, check out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtes/Ghostbusters

Image from comicbookresourcescom.

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A Back to the Future #4 Review – Questions and Answers

Back to the Future #4, Dan SchoeningTITLE: Back to the Future #4
AUTHORS: Bob Gale, John Barber, Erik Burnham
PENCILLERS: Ryan Browne, Erik Evensen. Cover by Dan Schoening.
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: January 13, 2016

***Check out where we started in Back to the Future #1.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

When you get right down to it, IDW’s Back to the Future series is about answering questions most people wouldn’t think to ask. For instance, in this issue we learn how Marty and Jennifer got together, and what Doc Brown did when he got to the year 2015. Still, if you’re a Back to the Future fan the answers are pretty cool.

Our first story, “Peer Pressure,” takes place about a year before the events of the first film. We see how Marty got involved with Jennifer, and how both Doc and Needles factored into their romance blossoming. Then, in “Emmett Brown Visits the Future,” we pick up with Doc after he travels to 2015 for the first time. To say the very least, Doc is in a strange new world. But how does he grow accustomed to the future? What does a time-traveling scientist from 1985 do for money in 2015? Chances are it’s not what you think it is.

Back to the Future #4, Ryan BrowneWhat this Back to the Future series has opened my eyes to more than anything is just how similar Marty and George McFly are. In the movies, particularly the original, Marty seemed like the black sheep of his bloodline. George was cowardly, and so was Marty Jr in Part II. While Marty did share George’s self consciousness about his creative outlet, he always seemed cool and confident. But as we see in “Peer Pressure,” before we met him in the first movie, he wasn’t so confident. He has a similar dynamic with Needles that his father had with Biff Tannen. But he has a father figure of sorts in Doc Brown, who helps him become the young man he is in 1985.

I’m wondering how new this concept is. Was it created for the comic, or did Bob Gale and Robert Zebecks have it in the back of their minds as they were making the movies? It’s pretty logical, if you think about it. As far as we know, George didn’t have many (if any) friends when he was Marty’s age. It makes sense that having Doc in his life would make Marty braver and more outgoing than his father was. And as such, he wins Jennifer over.

When I got to “Emmett Brown Visits the Future,” I wondered if this was actually an adaptation of the short film Doc Brown Saves the World from the series Blu-rays. Rather, it’s a simple look at what Doc did when he visited 2015 for the first time. This one has it’s tongue firmly planted in its cheek, but that’s fine. The resolution to Doc’s money problem is funny, but not necessarily worth the trip. It’s one of the few times this series has disappointed thus far.

Back to the Future #4, Doc BrownFrom an art standpoint, it’s pretty tough to beat Dan Schoening’s cover. His art is tailor made for a series like this. But I can only assume he’s busy with the upcoming Ghostbusters International, and I’d rather have him there. As for our artists here, they both have their strengths. Erik Evensen has a more of a sleek, clean style. But he also has less to work with in terms of character and story. Browne has most of the main characters, and Marty’s struggle is very relatable. So if we look at this as a competition, the edge goes to Browne by virtue of the subject matter.

IDW’s Back to the Future was originally supposed to be a four-issue miniseries, but is now an ongoing title. Given what we’ve seen so far, I’m okay with that. They’ve got enough fertile ground to keep this going for at least a little while longer. I’m still waiting for our introduction to Marty from the alternate 1985. And how did Biff end up working for the McFlys? For children of the ’80s and ’90s, these kind of questions make Back to the Future a worthy pick-up.

Image 1 from majorspoilers.com, Image 2 from bleedingcool.com.

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