So… Is It Good?

A blog featuring the various writings of E. H. Lau.

Archive for the ‘Comic Reviews’ Category

Spooooooky Comics

Posted by cyberpfalcon on October 20, 2016

An article I did for the company newsletter for their upcoming Halloween Edition.

***

Well, it’s near that time of the year, where spoooooooooky things happen.

Okay, not really, but, in keeping with the theme, here are some comics to go along with the Halloween spirit.

I’ve decided to list series, instead of one off stories, so that you can carry the spookiness with you throughout the year, if you find something that you like.

 

The Walking Dead

Alright, let’s just get it out of the way. Pretty much all of you have heard of The Walking Dead. It’s good, it’s written by the great Robert Kirkman, and they made a TV series out of it that’s currently on its 8th season. How could I not recommend it?

For those of you that haven’t heard of it, The Walking Dead follows Rick Grimes, a deputy who awakens from a coma, only to find himself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. What follows is Rick’s quest to find his missing family, and the drama that ensues as he meets other survivors.

 

Outcast

New on the scene is a comic called Outcast. It’s good, it’s written by the great Robert Kirkman, and they made a TV series out of it that’s currently on its 1st season. Yes, that’s right, Kirkman now has two ongoing horror comic books adapted for TV. Told you he’s great, didn’t I?

While The Walking Dead focuses more on drama, Outcast focuses more on horror. This one’s about Kyle Barnes, a man who, with the help of a local clergyman, fights the demons that possess his fellow townsfolk.

 

Locke & Key

About the three Locke children, who move into the Locke family home called Keyhouse after the murder of their father. However, this house is full of keys that grant magical powers…

 

John Constantine, Hellblazer

To be clear, I’m talking about the series originally known as Hellblazer, which is currently being reprinted as John Constantine, Hellblazer. Not any of the new ones.

This series follows occult detective John Constantine as his cons his way through a world of magic, demons, and more.

 

Hellboy

For those of you who like your spooky comics with a bit of superhero flavouring, we have Hellboy, of course. A demon raised by humans since the end of World War II (he was summoned by Nazi, but was taken by the USA, long story…), Hellboy works with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense to battle occult threats to humanity.

 

Justice League Dark

For those of you who REALLY like your spooky comics with LOTS of superhero flavouring, we have Justice League Dark. Basically, the supernatural version of the Justice League, bringing together popular DC characters such as Constantine, Deadman, Zatanna, and others, to fight against supernatural threats that the normal Justice League can’t handle.

 

Ghostbusters

And, last, but not least, for those of you that like your spookiness with a dash of humour and fun, we have the Ghostbusters series, the one published by IDW.

Follows the Ghostbusters from the first two movies and deals with their continuing adventures, busting ghosts!

 

Honourable Mentions

Because I always run out of room for these things, here are some honourable mentions: Revival, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Spawn, American Vampire, Coffin Hill, Ghosted, and All-New Ghost Rider.

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A Look at Other Comic Book Publishers Besides DC and Marvel

Posted by cyberpfalcon on October 20, 2016

Another article that I wrote for my company newsletter.

***

For the past two articles, I’ve mostly talked about DC and Marvel. And it’s no surprise, since they’re currently the two biggest North American comic book publishers.

For this article, however, I’d like to introduce you to some other comic publishers that I think are worth taking a look at as well (we’ll be sticking to North American publishers for this article).

 

Image Comics

Image Comics was founded in 1992 by eight creators who were frustrated with Marvel’s work for hire policies, and wanted ownership and creative control over their work. Although their line-up was initially mostly dominated by the typical 90’s superhero comics, Image Comics has made a name for itself for being the publisher of many critically acclaimed creator-owned works, offering quality as well as variety.

Recommended Titles:

  • The Walking Dead – the original comic written by Robert Kirkman that the well-known zombie TV show is based off
  • Chew – set in a world where all bird meat is banned after a catastrophic outbreak of the bird flu, Chew follows Tony Chu, a detective who is also a Cibopath (one who can see what has happened to an object by taking a bite out of it)

Other Recommendations: Invincible, Spawn, Savage Dragon, Revival, Saga, Morning Glories, Thief of Thieves, The Wicked + The Divine

 

Valiant Entertainment

Founded in 1989, but went on a long break until 2012, when they brought back their superhero universe, revamped for the new era. One of the rising stars of the comics industry; they’re preparing to launch the “Valiant Cinematic Universe” as well, with movies based on Harbinger and Bloodshot.

Recommended Titles:

  • Harbinger – teenaged Peter Stanchek discovers his psychic powers and set out with a bunch of newly powered teenagers to make the world a better place; but they come across Toyo Harada, the most powerful psionic in the world, whose definition of “better” mean taking over the world as dictator…
  • Bloodshot – a near invincible soldier with the power of regeneration thanks to nanites in his stream, kept under control with constant memory wipes; until he breaks free, of course, and sets out to discover who was responsible for his condition

Other Recommendations: Quantum and Woody, Archer and Armstrong, X-O Manowar, The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage

 

Dark Horse Comics

Used to have its own superhero universe, but that faded away. Now known for publishing both creator-owned comics and comics based on licensed properties.

Recommended Creator-Owned Titles: Hellboy, Sin City, Usagi Yojimbo, The Umbrella Academy

Recommended Licensed Titles: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Season Eight and Nine), Conan

 

IDW Publishing

Best known for their many comic series based on licensed properties, IDW has taken many universes and have expanded them to great acclaim.

Recommended Titles: Transformers, G.I. Joes, Ghostbusters (with the cast from the first two movies!), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

 

Dynamite Entertainment

Also known for their comic adaptations, but their more well-known titles take older superheroes and revamp them for the modern reader.

Recommended Titles: Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet, Project Superpowers, Red Sonja (particularly Gail Simone’s run), The Shadow, The Lone Ranger

 

Oh, no, I’m running out of room! Uh…, quick honorable mentions with recommended titles in brackets!

Top Cow Productions (Witchblade, Switch), Archie Comics (Archie [the reboot], Sonic the Hedgehog), Oni Press (Scott Pilgrim, The Sixth Gun), Udon Entertainment (Street Fighter), Chapterhouse Comics (Captain Canuck)

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A Superheroes Comic Book Buying Guide

Posted by cyberpfalcon on December 14, 2015

I wrote a little superheroes comic book buying guide for work (hence, the references to work), and I thought that I’d share it here.
It started off as a joke, and probably won’t get accepted. XD

 
 
So, you decided, that maybe for 2016 (this newsletter is coming out way too late for holiday buying), you would give superheroes comics a try. Or maybe you just want to buy for someone else. Well, here’s a handy dandy guide for you to start with!

I assume that most of you are going to skip this (I mean, c’mon, a comic book buying guide in a work newsletter?), but if you do decide to read this, the following message is very important:

Pay attention to the age ratings given.

Yes, it was so important that I had to make the font bigger and bold. Seriously, if any of you give a copy of The Killing Joke or Watchmen to a little kid, and then complain to me about it when the aftermath happens, I’m going to laugh at you, and then be very cross with you, and then point you to the big, bold words above.

So, with that out of the way, let’s get started with…

Perennial Classics
This is it. The classics. The ones that have withstood the test of time. The ones that are pretty much ALWAYS in print.
Obviously, I can’t name ALL the classics, or this would go on for several thousands pages, but here are a few.

Batman: Year One (written by Frank Miller, art by David Mazzucchelli)
Batman: The Long Halloween (written by Jeph Loeb, art by Tim Sale)
Batman: Dark Victory (written by Jeph Loeb, art by Tim Sale)
Age Rating: All 12+ Only
These three comics are three of the most influential Batman stories ever written. They make their mark in nearly every adaptation of Batman, and have had a profound effect on the Batman mythos.
Year One takes a look at Batman’s… first year as Batman; The Long Halloween focuses on the relationship between Batman, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Dent; while Dark Victory introduces Robin.

Batman: The Killing Joke (written by Alan Moore, art by Brian Bolland)
Age Rating: 15+ Only
Oh boy. This is probably one of the most brutal stories about the Joker ever printed, and probably one of the best. A personal favourite of mine, this story depicts an attempt by the Joker to drive Jim Gordon to insanity, and Batman’s desperate quest to stop this.
I know it says 15+, but I’m taking these from comiXology… Word of advice, this story is not for the faint of heart.

All-Star Superman (written by Grant Morrison, art by Frank Quitely)
Age Rating: 12+ Only
Widely considered to be one of the best Superman stories of all time. It all starts off with a plot by Lex Luthor and… saying any more would just be spoiling it!

Spider-Man: Death of the Stacys (written by Stan Lee and Gerry Conway, art by Gil Kane and John Romita Jr.)
Age Rating: 12+ Only
I… honestly wished this book had a less indicitive title, but yes, this book is about the death of the Stacys. This is one of the best, and most tragic, Spider-Man stories ever told.

Secret Wars (written by Jim Shooter, art by Bob Layton and Mike Zeck)
Age Rating: 12+ Only
Note that this is not the 2015 series with the same name. Whether or not that one will become a classic remains to be seen.
This one, however, is a great, fun crossover with a ton of Marvel Superheroes! A being known as the Beyonder places a bunch of heroes and villians on Battleworld, and the winner gets a wish!

Watchmen (written by Alan Moore, art by Dave Gibbons)
Age Rating: 17+ Only
This is probably the most well known title from one of the greatest comic book writers ever, Alan Moore. The story focuses on the investigation of a government sponsored superhero, which pulls several other superheroes out of retirement, as well as the personal and moral struggles of said superheroes.

Recent Recommendations

The Dark Knight Returns (written by Frank Miller, art by Frank Miller)
Age Rating: 15+ Only
The classic Batman vs. Superman movie, this one sees a retired Batman coming out of retirement to face an even more decadent Gotham after a decade of his absence. If you want to get hyped up about the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, get this one!

Justice League Vol. 1: Origins (written by Geoff Johns, art by Jim Lee and Scott Williams)
Avengers Vol. 1: Avengers World (written by Jonathan Hickman, art by Adam Kupert and Jerome Opeña
Age Rating: 12+ Only
Two great starting points for the two premier teams of DC and Marvel respectively!

Jessica Jones: Alias Vol. 1 (written by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Michael Gaydos and Bill Sienkiewicz)
Age Rating: 17+ Only
The original comic that the new Marvel TV series, Jessica Jones, is based on. This comic focuses on a retired superheroine who is now working as a private investigator. Volumes 2 and 3 are already in reprints, with 4 coming out early next year!

Not Recommended

Civil War (written by Mark Millar, art by Steve McNiven)
Age Rating: 12+ Only
To be honest, I actually like this comic.
However, I can’t recommend it to you, even though the upcoming Captain America: Civil War is based on it. It requires a lot of background knowledge leading up to the event to enjoy, and, while the idea of a Superhero Registration Act dividing the Marvel Superheroes into two sides is great, it is marred by a somewhat flawed execution. Not to mention that this story does not properly end, since Marvel was using it as a big “status quo change” for their universe.
Here’s to hoping that the upcoming Captain America: Civil War doesn’t mess it up as well!

Signing Off
Well, I hope you enjoyed that list.
I wanted to include more, but, unfortunately, I could only pull from DC and Marvel this time.
If I get to do this again, expect to see more from other publishers, and probably more recent recommendations over the classics. And it would be nice to not stick to only superheroes as well…
Until then, read more comics!

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So Is It Good? – Annihilation: Book One

Posted by cyberpfalcon on August 29, 2013

Answer: Yes
Rating: 9/10
Quick Summary: A great start to a space epic with Marvel’s space heroes.

+ Great for those interested in Marvel’s lesser known space heroes.
+ Introduces the characters very well. I was able to get into the plot without knowing who most of the characters were beforehand.
+ Nova is awesome.
+ Great writing and art work that work together well to tell the story.

– The villain is the standard alien villain that wants to destroy everything. There doesn’t really seem to be a motivation for this yet. It may be fixed in Books Two or Three.
– Some characters only get one or two panels, and then disappear for the rest of the book, like the Silver Surfer or Super Skrull. They are all expected to return in Book Two, which collects the mini-series that focuses on them. However, these one off panels just seem sort of out of place when in a collected format.

Notes: Annihilation: Book One collects Annihilation Prologue & Annihilation: Nova #1-4

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Truth, Justice, And The Superman Way (Review of Action Comics (Vol. 1) #775)

Posted by cyberpfalcon on July 6, 2012

Since Sheryl Holmes is taking a break this week, I thought I might do a review.
This time though, I’ll be doing a “podcast with pics” type of thing instead, because it’s easier to just vocalize my thoughts when reviewing something, and this way I can spend more time on writing the novel.

These are just meant to be short, little videos that I can make easily, so I won’t be editing them a lot.

This week, we’re reviewing Action Comics (Vol. 1) #775.

So, please enjoy the first So… Is It Good? podcast (with pics)!

Note: Wow, I tried to get this onto YouTube for 2 nights, but to no avail. I tried using VideoPad, Windows Movie Maker, Windows Live Movie Maker, Prism Video Converter, Any Video Converter, and a ton of other applications to convert and encode the video in formats like WMV, MP4, MPG, AVI, and even FLV. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

[Update on Aug. 13,2013] This video/podcast is no long online. The link in this post has been removed.

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