Weekly Comic 100s: Radiant Black #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: Radiant Black #1
AUTHOR: Kyle Higgins
ARTISTS: Marcelo Costa, Becca Carey (Letterer). Cover by Michael Cho.
RELEASED: February 10, 2021

Having seen Kyle Higgins speak, and knowing a bit about him, I suspect Kyle Higgins injected a lot of his own story into Radiant Black. It’s about a writer who moves back in with his parents in suburban Chicago, and stumbles into becoming a superhero.

In addition to sporting a costume that’s pretty darn slick, the biggest thing Radiant Black has going for it is it’s heart. We feel for our main character, can sympathize with his failures and self doubt, and his rocky exchanges with an old friend feel very familiar. This one warrants a return for issue #2.

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

Weekly Comic 100s: Friday, Swamp Thing X-Ray Robot, 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
Talking about Friday on a Wednesday

Well how about that. Not only is this train still runnin’ despite weekly comics not hitting shelves, but we got two out in one week!

I highly encourage everybody to go over to Panel Syndicate and check out not only Friday, but all the stuff available there. It’s all pay-as-you-wish, i.e. if you want to pay $3.99 for an issue, you can do that. If you want to pay nothing for an issue you can do that too. Heck, if you want to be super generous and pay $100 for an issue, knock yourself out! Right now the comic book industry needs all the help it can get.

TITLE: Friday #1
AUTHOR: Ed Brubaker
Marcos Martin, Muntsa Vincente
April 2020

Courtesy of Panel Syndicate comes Friday, a “post-young-adult” story about two kid detectives (think Encyclopedia Brown or Harriet the Spy) who’ve hit adolescence. But when Friday Fitzhugh comes back from college, discovers she has at least one more mystery to solve with Lancelot Jones.

Lancelot Jones. Now that is a character name.

Thus far, Friday is your standard grounded and gritty Brubaker story. But I’m in love with the idea of child detectives grown up. The “glory days” of a certain innocence are over and now these kids, these former super-sleuths, have to face the real world.

TITLE: X-Ray Robot #1
AUTHOR: Mike Allred
Allred, Laura Allred (Colorist), Nate Piekos (Letterer).
March 18, 2020

Holy crap. Anybody got any weed?

By the time you close this issue, X-Ray Robot #1 manages to be a trippy experience. It’s part superhero comic, part B-movie, part psychedelic freak-out.

Apparently part of Mike Allred’s Madman Universe, X-Ray Robot is about a scientist who uses a robot to explore new dimensions. But an unexpected twist leaves him with a dilemma he never dreamed of.

I’m a casual Mike Allred fan, so I’ll have my eye out for this book once comics are hitting the stands again. It’s an…experience, to say the least.

TITLE: Capable #1
AUTHOR: Jonathan Hedrick
ARTISTS: Gino Kasmyanto, Periya Pillai (Colorist), Steve Ekstrom (Letterer)
RELEASED: April 22, 2020

Capable #1 is very much a low-level indie comic. It certainly reads like one in terms of dialogue. I understand high-schoolers have potty mouths. But being profane for profanity’s sake is obnoxious.

That said, the concept is compelling. Some kind of otherworldly occurrence gives disabled people around the world superpowers. Naturally some, like our main character Derik Davidson, use these abilities for good. Others for evil.

I’m inclined to give issue #2 a look. I want this book to live up to its potential. The only thing holding it back right now is some needlessly bush-league language.

TITLE: Space Is Awful #1
AUTHOR: Derek Moreland
Derrick Fleece
April 22, 2020

A black and white comic about a fat convenience store janitor in an outer space arena fighting a giant baboon and a robot that makes awful puns?

Sure. Why not?

Space is Awful reads like Clerks meets Coneheads meets a Simpsons Halloween special. It’s a comic that’s happy to bask in its own ridiculousness. I wish more comics could have the sense of unabashed fun that this one does. Very curious to see how they try to up the ante with issue #2.

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

Panels of Awesomeness: Her Infernal Descent #1

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

CREATORS: Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson (Authors), Kyle Charles (Artist), Dee Cunniffe (Colorist), Ryan Ferrier (Letterer)

THE SCENE: A middle-aged woman continues to mourn the loss of her family before quite literally taking a journey into hell.

WHY THEY’RE AWESOME: In storytelling of any nature, much is made of the narrative “hook,” i.e. what the author uses in the opening moments of the story to draw their audience into the story.

Her Infernal Descent is a modern re-telling of Dante’s Inferno. Desperately longing to see her dead family again, our main character Lynn is approached by the spirit of William Blake. Despite the risk, she descends into hell with him and begins her journey through its nine circles.

But before any of that happens, we spend a handful of pages with Lynn at home (shown at right). They’re absolutely heartbreaking. It’s all so excruciatingly realistic. Look at some of the backgrounds. The kitchen is an absolute wreck. There are dirty dishes in the sink as she eats a casserole out of the dish. All the boxes from packing up. The cluttered on the floor. The empty wine glasses. Dee Cunniffe’s colors are so beautifully muted. Even when Lynn sees the sun, there’s a bleakness to it. Note the details Kyle Charles gives us with her body language. Look at Lynn’s face. Look at her posture. The unkempt hair.

But what pushed these three pages over the edge for me was the script. I’m not sure how Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson broke down the writing duties. But these lines punch you right in the gut because they’re so relatable. The ones that really got me were the ones about the silence in the house:

“…the first thing I noticed was the quiet. I thought I could handle it. But I can’t. I wake up and there’s nothing. I’ve hardly said a darn word to anyone since. When I was with them, they drove me up a wall. Now I’d do anything to feel that again.”

I mean, holy crap…

From there we go into a two-page spread. It’s Lynn climbing up into the attic. There are so many memories up there, and she’s flooded with them. I wont’ show it to you here, because I want you to see the issue for yourself.

Her Infernal Descent #1 is published by AfterShock, and hit comic shops April 18. It’s also available on Comixology. The next issue is solicited for release on May 23.

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

A Geek-Girl #2 Review – What is It You’re Trying to Be?

geek-girl #2, cover, Carlos GrandaTITLE: Geek-Girl #2
AUTHOR: Sam Johnson
PENCILLER: Carlos Granda
PUBLISHERS: Sam Johnson, Markosia Enterprises LTD
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: December 4, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Cheesecake anyone? Or maybe Geek-Cake?

Ruby Kaye has been thrust into the spotlight as the superhero Geek-Girl. The mysterious supervillainess Lightning Stom has already hospitalized two of Maine’s established heroes, leaving Ruby to pick up the slack. Feeling the pressure, she does what any hero would do: She hits the bar with her best friend Summer. But drama follows, as Ruby has a crisis of confidence.

Here’s my big question with Geek-Girl: What does this book want to be? When I read it, I’m seeing two different things. On one hand, there are elements of a teenage superhero drama in here. Ruby stumbles on to superpowers and is in over her head, and at the same time has to deal with the popular kids not liking her, and guys not being into her either.

But at the same time, there’s an overt sexuality on these pages that can’t be denied. Almost every woman you see has big boobs, big lips, and Ruby herself is often drawn provocatively. This issue in particular has a story that could have been plucked straight from a porn parody. Depressed with how her super heroics have fared lately, Ruby goes to a bar to get drunk with Summer. At one point, the bartender offers to buy her a drink. But when she returns later with her Geek-Girl glasses on, he turns her down. She then comes close to sharing a kiss with a girl on the dance floor. A girl in a tube top with a cybernetic eye, no less! An impromptu sparring session between the two then takes place, and we get the following panel…

Geek-Girl #2, 2016, kick

So I’ll ask again, Geek-Girl: What is it you’re trying to be? Not every story needs to fit needly into a genre. But Geek-Girl goes too far in the cheesecake direction for me to take it seriously as a teen superhero drama. That it seems that’s what it’s aiming to be.

The name Geek-Girl is also a bit of a stretch. I had high hopes that Ruby would be a fangirl of sorts who somehow gains superpowers. Sadly, what we get is even more far-fetched. Ruby wins a pair of magic glasses in a game of strip poker, but a mean girl tells her she looks like a geek in them. Ergo, Geek-Girl. Not only does wearing glasses apparently make Ruby a geek, but it kills her sexual confidence.  I guess it’s amazing what a pair of glasses can do. Just ask Clark Kent.

I don’t take any pleasure in being critical of a little indie comic like this. But do yourself a favor and don’t show Geek-Girl to your wife or girlfriend. It’s not that kind of female superhero book.

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