Published: May, 2021
Written by: Kyle Ritter
Art by: Kyle Ritter
All Caps Comics, 48 Pages
Starblades is one of the Comicsgate associated, crowdfunded comic book campaigns that I was most looking forward to getting in my hands. I backed this quite awhile ago but I’m glad that it finally reached my mailbox.
The entire thing is written, illustrated, inked and colored by Kyle Ritter, a stupendous artist whose work I only know from being the colorist on Ethan Van Sciver’s modern Cyberfrog graphic novels.
I’ve got to say, Ritter is an accomplished artist outside of just being a highly skilled colorist. In fact, I’d say that his art gives Van Sciver a run for his money.
As far as the book goes, I liked this story for the most part. It plays as more of a setup for things to come and with that, I wish we got to see more of these characters in action but I’m still pretty happy with the limited time I got to spend with them, thus far.
At the end of the day, this was pretty satisfying and it made me want more. I hope that future installments can come out at a bit of a quicker pace. However, I will still patiently wait for them, as long as they maintain this level of quality.
Pairs well with: most likely its sequels, as well as other recent crowdfunded indie comics.
Published: May, 2021
Written by: Mike Baron
Art by: Todd Mulrooney, Elias Martins, Marcelo Salaza, Val Mayerik, Ichsan Ansori
Based on: Florida Man – The Novel by Mike Baron
Braly Image Group Studios, 64 Pages
I read Mike Baron’s Florida Man novel not too long ago and reviewed it. I enjoyed it and thought it did a good job of capturing the batshit insanity that my home state and its locals are known for.
The graphic novel covers part of the story and its pretty condensed but that works due to the difference between the two mediums.
I liked seeing these characters come to life in comic book form and the art was really damn good. I especially liked the colors.
Most importantly, this kept the spirit and vibe of the novel alive and it had a great balance of humor and action, as these characters continually tried to scheme their was to legendary greatness in the Sunshine State.
Sadly, there wasn’t a cameo by Ron DeSantis flying an Apache helicopter that dropped alligators on New Yorkers moving to my state but hey, this thing’s probably got a sequel coming and you can’t shoot your biggest load in the first story.
Pairs well with: the novel it’s adapted from, as well as Mike Baron’s other comics and literary work.
Published: October 11th, 2017
Written by: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Art by: Mateus Santolouco, Sophie Campbell
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird
IDW Publishing, 129 Pages
After reading sixteen volumes in the IDW era Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, I took a fairly lengthy break.
I’m glad that I did, though, as this volume was really damn good and felt like a return to form of when the series was at its peak for me.
A lot happens in this volume but it’s also building towards something larger, which I anticipate will be a really awesome, epic story for all of these characters.
This was also one of the more emotional stories of the series. Something bad happens to a beloved character and it has a tremendously adverse effect on the Turtles and all their allies.
We also see new villains gain more power while getting a strong upper hand over the heroes.
I wasn’t sure how much I’d be invested in the series after the death of Shredder but Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz have written some really good shit.
All in all, and despite my sabbatical from it, it says a lot when I’m still reading any comic book series that’s gotten to seventeen collected volumes.
Pairs well with: the rest of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run.
Published: May 27th, 2015
Written by: Jim Zub
Art by: Max Dunbar, Sarah Stone
Based on: Dungeons & Dragons by TSR
IDW Publishing, 130 Pages
This is the first modern Dungeons & Dragons comic that I’ve read that didn’t feature Drizzt Do’Urden. Apart from those stories, which I have already reviewed, this is the first D&D comic I’ve picked up since some of the classic issues from my childhood.
The main reason for me checking out this one before some of the others was due to it being written by Jim Zub. I like Zub’s writing, especially in regards to fantasy and sword and sorcery type tales.
So I wasn’t disappointed and I liked this quite a bit.
Mostly, I really liked these characters and the bond they develop over this story, as they form a team of heroes that has to stop an evil sorcerer from doing evil sorcerer things.
After finishing this, I hoped there would be more comic stories with these characters. I’m not 100 percent sure if there are but I’ll seek them out if they exist.
Zub brought his A-game, here, and I love how he creates a real sense of camaraderie between his characters. He also writes in a way where you can tell he enjoys his work and crafting stories in these sort of settings. Frankly, it’s kind of infectious and with that, makes you want to keep supporting the guy.
Anyway, this was a pretty fun and cool read. It left me wanting more and that’s what a comic book story should do.
Pairs well with: other Dungeons & Dragons comics, as well as fantasy adventure comics written by Jim Zub.
Published: March 25th, 2014
Written by: Brandon Choi
Art by: Jim Lee, Tim Sale
Image Comics, Wildstorm, DC Comics (reprinted), 292 Pages
Back when I was pretty hardcore into Image Comics, the company was still fresh, new and helmed by the coolest creators of the early ’90s. I used to buy everything I could get my hands on.
Jim Lee’s Deathblow was one of those titles and I remember first seeing the title character in the Darker Image one-shot, which was used to introduce a few characters with a darker or harder edge about them.
Deathblow really stood out, even though most people remembered that comic for bringing Sam Keith’s The Maxx into the mainstream.
There was just something super cool and brooding about this character, though. He felt like a much darker version of a Stallone or Schwarzenegger character with a bit of Punisher sprinkled in for extra flavor.
However, Deathblow’s solo series never really resonated with me like I had hoped but as I got older, I thought that it might have had a lot to do with my age at the time. So I always wanted to go back and read it to see it with fresh eyes and a few extra decades of life experience.
Unfortunately, this didn’t blow me away and I actually found it kind of boring once I got to about the midway point of this beefy collection. It just didn’t captivate me and it felt too much like a product of its time, embracing certain tropes, but not really offering up anything unique or different.
However, I have to point out that the artwork is absolutely stupendous and some of the best work I’ve seen from Jim Lee, a real legend in his field. I loved the muted colors and the high contrast and it was the cool art that at least kept me engaged where the story waned.
Looking back and also having read some of the Image Comics stuff as an adult, I think that this was really the issue with a lot of their comics. The art was always top notch and incredible but the stories were always kind of lacking. Maybe this is why Image never became another Marvel or DC, focused on superhero stories, and eventually moved well beyond that genre with things like The Walking Dead, East of West, Paper Girls, Chew and Saga.
Pairs well with: other comics from Jim Lee’s Wildstorm universe.