Comic Review: Warlord of Mars, Vol. 1

Published: October 12th, 2011
Written by: Arvid Nelson
Art by: Lui Antonio
Based on: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Dynamite Entertainment, 275 Pages

Review:

I never was a big fan of the Barsoom stuff by Edgar Rice Burroughs. That’s probably because I never read the books and have just had vague knowledge of the characters John Carter and Dejah Thoris. However, since Thoris has been appearing in lots of crossovers with other characters I’m a fan of, I wanted to check out her earliest stories. Also, with the Star Wars, Star Trek and Doctor Who franchises putting out a lot of bullshit the last few years, maybe it is time to give the Barsoom franchise a shot.

This was a cool story and I like the world that these characters live in. I also recently watched Disney’s John Carter for the first time, as I wanted to compare two different versions of this same story. Both this comic and that movie are adaptations of the first Barsoom novel, A Pricess of Mars.

For the most part, the film and this comic are pretty close, narratively. There are some small differences and I’m not sure which is closer to the novel but I definitely prefer the look of the Martians in the comic and the more adult tone. Here, the Martians look like four armed Hulks with orc-like heads and tusks. In some ways, it reminded me a lot of the Planet Hulk storyline.

The story is well presented and it flows nicely. My only real complaint about this was the art. It’s not terrible but it feels rushed and a bit overly fantastical. Also, Dejah Thoris is basically naked minus her pasties and loin cloth. I’m not sure if that’s how she appears in Burroughs’ book but it felt a bit unnecessary and I’m no prude. I’m a fan of boobies for sure but I felt like an old perv reading this while waiting for my order at Five Guys.

Warlord of Mars was amusing and entertaining though. I’ll probably check out more of these stories by Dynamite, in preparation before reading some of Dejah Thoris’ crossovers with Vampirella and Red Sonja.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: Dynamite’s other Barsoom related comics.

Comic Review: Jungle Comics, Issue #1

Published: May, 2019
Written by: Chuck Dixon
Art by: Kelsey Shannon

Antarctic Press, 32 Pages

Review:

I backed this on Indiegogo awhile ago but I guess I could’ve just bought it off of the shelf before it actually shipped to me. But that seems to be the case with most crowdfunded projects that get picked up by Antarctic Press.

Still, this was pretty inexpensive and I was pretty happy with the end result once I got this in my hands.

I’ve been reading comics by Chuck Dixon since the ’80s and the guy wrote one of my favorite runs on G.I. Joe, so I’ll support most of the projects he’s involved in.

Plus, I’ve really come to enjoy the art of Kelsey Shannon. When the dude is on his A game, he’s one of the top guys working today. In fact, I’m surprised more people aren’t scooping him up. Unless they are and future projects haven’t been announced yet.

This comic is like a time machine though. It takes the reader back to an era where jungle comics were actually a thing in pop culture. It was a popular genre back when Tarzan was a popular fictional character in the mainstream.

This does feel like a more modern take on the genre and the second story in the comic has a sci-fi twist to it. But it still captures the spirit of the pulp stories from over a half century ago.

If future issues come out, I’ll probably give them a shot. This is listed, officially, as part 1 of 4, so I guess we’ll see.

Although, I don’t know if Dixon and Shannon are involved going forward.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: I guess future releases of Jungle Comics by Antarctic Press.

Comic Review: Wolverton: Thief of Impossible Objects, Issues #1-2

Published: 2018-2019
Written by: Michael Stark, Terrell T. Garrett
Art by: Derek Rodenbeck (Issue 1), Jackie Lewis (Issue 2)

44 Pages

Review:

What a refreshing comic book to read! I’m really glad that I backed this on Kickstarter awhile back and finally got my copies of this wonderfully fun comic.

It reminded me of the first time I read the Hawaiian Dick comic. Not that they’re all that similar but they both tap into a few genres and styles that are underrepresented in modern times while bringing them all together in a nice, near perfect package.

Wolverton is part Indiana Jones, part swashbuckler and part heist story. It is also set back in the day when the world was much cooler, much more stylish and seemingly, a lot more fun.

This comic captures all of these things well and it is an entertaining read on top of it.

I like the character, I love his quips and frankly, I’d love to see this on the big screen someday. And while it started as a film script, as many comics do, it maintains its cinematic feel and scope and displays as much imagination as the films of Spielberg and Lucas in their heyday.

Plus, Wolverton, the character, looks like a cross between Errol Flynn and Vincent Price, which gets a lot of bonus points from me, as both of those men are two of my favorite actors of all-time.

This has that old school Hollywood feel to it and it just feels special.

Additionally, the art is done by different people in both issues but I like both styles. They’re not too dissimilar but they hit the right notes and achieve the right sort of tone and vibe.

Crowdfunding can be risky but this was money well spent and when and if there is a third issue, I’ll be first in line to throw down my cheddar.

Rating: 8.75/10
Pairs well with: ’80s Indiana Jones comics, as well as swashbuckling comics.

Comic Review: Wolverine Vs. Blade – One-Shot

Published: July 10th, 2019
Written by: Marc Guggenheim
Art by: Dave Wilkins

Marvel Comics, 40 Pages

Review:

This was a comic book that I didn’t know I wanted until I saw it hit the shelves. It came home with me immediately and I gave it a read, twice.

Now it’s not a classic and probably won’t be heralded for years to come but for a Marvel comic in 2019, this was some solid f’n stuff! But maybe it would’ve worked better as an annual. Granted, I don’t think Wolverine or Blade have regular titles, right now. Wolverine has just been in a lot of recent miniseries, as Marvel just resurrected him after being on the shelf for a few years.

Anyway, this is a badass comic. Marc Guggenheim, now mostly known as the guy behind all the CW superhero shows, penned a cool story that understood its characters and gave them real life. The banter between Blade and Wolverine was entertaining and they made a formidable pair.

Now calling this Wolverine Vs. Blade might have been a bit of a stretch. The two fight but it’s pretty short and they realize that they need to team up to stop a vampire threat.

The big twist as to who the big villain is, is pretty neat. I don’t want to spoil it but it makes sense for the story and for being a good match for the combined powers and skills of the heroes.

Also, there is a Doctor Strange cameo in this.

But apart from my satisfaction regarding the story, I also loved the art. Dave Wilkins created a beautiful looking comic.

In fact, I’d like to see Guggenheim and Wilkins work together again. Marvel should just greenlight a sequel to this or let these two work on some sort of team up miniseries.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: other Blade stories, as well as mid-’00s X-Force featuring Wolverine leading the team as a black ops group.

Comic Review: The Maxx (Original 35 Issue Run)

Published: March, 1993 – August, 1998
Written by: Sam Keith, Alan Moore, Bill Messner-Loebs
Art by: Sam Keith, Chance Wolf, Tony Kelly, Kell-O-Graphics

Image Comics, 840 Pages

Review:

I used to love The Maxx when I was a teenager. I never fully understood it, as I was young and it was a batshit crazy comic book at times but it always captivated me. I became an even bigger fan of the comic book after the animated TV series and because it was being put out by Image, which had my undying allegiance, at least in the first half of the ’90s.

What always drew me in was Sam Keith’s art. He has a style all his own and it was unlike anything I had seen before it. Sure, lots of people have come and gone and mimicked Keith’s style but no one has quite hit the mark for me in the same way.

Reading this now, I’m not as captivated by it but I still enjoyed it and it was like a trip down memory lane for me. It brought me back to where I was at 14 years-old when I first picked it up.

I think what initially made me fall in love with the comic was how dark it could be. I hadn’t experienced that in comics, really. But moving on from standard superhero books like the ones from Marvel, DC and the earliest titles from Image, The Maxx was where I came to understand that comics can be so much more than that.

This deals with some tough subject matter but it does so in an interesting and satisfying way.

I don’t think that Keith’s style will resonate with everyone that picks The Maxx up but for long time comic readers that haven’t given it a shot, it’s definitely worth a look.

Rating: 8.5/10
Pairs well with: other ’90s indie comics that were a bit out there like MadmanBoneScud, etc.

Comic Review: Annihilation

Published: 2005-2007
Written by: Dan Abnett, Keith Giffen, Andy Lanning, Simon Furman
Art by: Mitch Breitweiser, Scott Kolins, Ariel Olivetti, Kev Walker, Renato Arlem, Jorge Lucas

Marvel Comics, 850 Pages

Review:

I’ve wanted to read Annihilation for a long time. The thing is, it’s absolutely f’n massive! Also, the collections for it back in the day were pretty expensive. But it was a long story that stretched over two years and across multiple titles.

I love most things that are cosmic Marvel though, so I felt that it was time to delve in. Plus, I took advantage of a big sale on Comixology and got all of them for about $16.

To start, the art is pretty stellar throughout the event. I especially loved the parts that were done by Mitch Breitweiser.

In addition to that, the writing was good when you break it apart and look at each miniseries within the crossover mega series.

But the hugeness of this kind of wears on you by the time you get closer to the end. There is just so much here and the story is organized in a way where you jump to a big four issue arc about one set of characters and then you go to the next four issue arc. Eventually, it all comes together at the end but some of the miniseries within the mega series felt inconsistent in overall quality.

This had some hiccups and lulls throughout but the end result was still enjoyable and this event had some incredible moments. Seeing Galactus defeated, captured and being farmed for energy was pretty breathtaking, shocking and a game changer for the plot and the story’s threat level.

Annihilus is one of the greatest villains in Marvel Comics history and seeing him basically be a god here was damn cool. Hell, seeing Thanos being forced to play Annihilus’ game was another epic narrative shock.

Ultimately, this series was massive in size, massive in scale and was one of the most grandiose tales Marvel has ever told. If you dig the cosmic stuff, you really should give this a read.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: other big Marvel event stuff but mostly those that spend most of their time in the cosmos.

Comic Review: X-Men ’92

Published: 2016-2017
Written by: Chad Bowers, Chris Sims
Art by: Mirati Firmansyah, Coby Hamscher, David Nakayama (cover)
Based on: the X-Men animated series by Fox Kids

Marvel Comics, 240 Pages

Review:

If you were a kid in the ’90s, you probably watched the X-Men cartoon that used to be on Fox on Saturday mornings. It was solid, did a pretty good job of adapting some of the comic book’s big storylines and introduced a lot of non-comic reading kids to the X-Men franchise.

It ended after a few seasons and never really had a proper follow up. Well, that is until recently, as the show moved into the medium it was born out of: comic books.

Maybe this took its cues from DC Comics and how they came out with Batman ’66, a comic book series that revisited the 1960s Adam West Batman TV series. But one can’t deny that Batman ’66 was a cool comic, a great idea and with that, should have inspired other comic books that continued the stories of comic book characters as they were presented in other mediums. Hell, I’m still waiting for that Batman ’89 comic that was once teased and then had those teases retracted.

But this is about X-Men ’92, which was a decent follow up to the animated series.

Overall, this was a fun read but it didn’t wow me in the same way that Batman ’66 did. Where that Batman comic felt tonally right and as if it was a true continuation of the series, X-Men ’92 throws some weird curveballs and also tries to force in way too many characters just for the sake of the creators trying to give you the animated series’ versions of these characters.

Maybe they knew this series would be short lived and therefore, they wanted to wedge in every character they could but it really becomes too much to process in the second half of this series. Also, I wasn’t a fan of devoting so much time to a Dracula/vampire story. None of that was central to the core of the cartoon and it shouldn’t have been central to the core of this comic.

Also, this feels like it is just borrowing the visual style of the TV show but it doesn’t seem to understand the tone or the spirit of it.

It’s still entertaining for fans of the source material but I wouldn’t call it a must read or all that necessary. Die hards should check it out but I can see why this didn’t make it a year where Batman ’66 has still been hanging on for quite awhile with a long running series and several crossovers.

Rating: 6.75/10
Pairs well with: the animated series it’s based on, as well as ’90s X-Men comics and various spinoffs.