Comic Review – The Life of Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“I’ll beat down the memories so hard they’ll never come back” Captain Marvel

Cover art by Julian Totino Tedesco

It may not be out until next year, but I am very excited to see Captain Marvel when she’s released into the MCU. In the meantime Marvel are building up the hype for her character with a new short series exploring her origins. Not the alien experimentation/power obtaining origins though, her childhood, family life and what makes Carol Danvers Carol Danvers. Both the premise of this story, a more in depth analysis of a fascinating super hero, and the art style on the front cover (which I’m sure you’ll agree is excellent) drew me in to pick this up.

This comic is bought to us by:

  • Writer – Margaret Stohl
  • Penciler (present day) – Carlos Pacheco
  • Inker (present day) – Rafael Fonteriz
  • Colourist (present day) – Marvio Menyz
  • Artist (Flashbacks) – Marguerite Sauvage
  • Letterers – VC’s Clayton Cowles
  • Cover Artist – Julian Totino Tedesco

The story begins with the Avengers doing their thing and knocking a few bad guys around. As the battle progresses though we see that Captain Marvel isn’t really battling her enemy but her own trauma. It’s father’s day and that’s brought with it a whole range of memories and challenges that Carol is doing her best to repress without much success. She decides she has to face her past and goes home to her family. While the battle is dynamic and very much a spectacle as always the real conflict in this story is a very personal one, providing insight into a hero that isn’t usually offered in mainstream comic books.

The series appears to be following two primary plot threads – Captain Marvel in the present reconnecting with her family and looking back on her upbringing and Carol as a child and revealing the challenges she faced and a family life that wasn’t as ideal as she pretends it was. Stohl’s characterisation of Carol is gripping and makes her feel very human.

Art by Pacheco Fonteriz, Menyz and Sauvage

The art in this comic is fantastic. With two art teams there’s a risk the styles will clash or one will seem out of place, however both feel very realistic – in the modern day both Pacheco’s pencil work and Fonteriz’s ink work provide detailed and grounded feeling scenes while the colouring from Menyz is vibrant and brings the pages to life. However, the muted colour pallet adopted by Sauvage during the flashbacks makes them feel dream like or as memories are, something very separate to what is currently happening. For me, all of the art is of a very high calibre in this issue, both styles complimenting each other and suiting each other (young Carol in Sauvage’s work really looks like she’ll grow up to become Captain Marvel), however Sauvage really steals the show with outstanding work during the flashbacks.

Final Verdict

I’ve owned this comic for about 6 hours and read it twice. If you want a little more depth to your super heroes, especially if you want to get to know Captain Marvel better then you should absolutely pick this up.

Final Score – 9.5 Alien Cat Things out of 10

Comic Review – The Immortal Hulk #2 (Marvel Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“All that a man hath will he give for his life.” – Job 2:4 (also the opening quote to this issue)

The Hulk has never been a hero I’ve properly engaged with. Too often it seems that his stories are more about how invincible he is and watching him beat people up rather than anything of substance. I figured this was a good time to try to engage with big green a little and see what more he had to offer, especially after reading the premise for the new ‘Immortal Hulk’ series. It turns out that originally it wasn’t anger that set the Hulk off, it was night time. Bringing this idea is bought back for the modern Hulk with an interesting twist – the Hulk comes back at night. Every night, even if Banner is dead (explaining how he recovered from a vibranium arrow to the face). This comic is bought to us by:

  • Writer – Al Ewing
  • Penciler – Joe Bennett
  • Inker – Ruy Jose
  • Colour Artist – Paul Mounts
  • Letterers – VC’s Cory Petit and Travis Lanham

The tone of this comic isn’t what I would have expected from a Hulk storyline. We’re presented with an internal horror tale, of a man trying to survive the beast that will come out at night, leave a trail of destruction, leave him with nothing only to start again the next evening. Banner is a man running from the inevitable desperately trying to do some kind of good with the beast inside him, while trying to keep under the radar.

There’s a lot of internal monologue during the issue while we’re dealing with Banner and not big green. I really enjoyed this as it built the atmosphere, seeing his internal battle and getting to know the guy a lot better. Banner comes off as very human and as a man very much trying to do the right thing in very difficult circumstances. When the Hulk does rear his head he comes off as monstrous and scary more than anything else and this is something I very much enjoy.

Art by Bennett, Jose and Mounts

By his very design the Hulk is meant to be monstrous though, however this side of him seems to be even more emphasized in the way Bennett, Jose and Mounts have done the art. His stance is consistently unnatural and beast like and his piercing eyes seem to leap out of the page (very good work by Mounts for that!). Hell, the villain of the issue spends much more time terrified of the Hulk than the Hulk is of it. Additionally with such a monologue-heavy issue, a high calibre of lettering was required. Petit and Lanham team up well to weave the reader’s eye through the pages and keep them engaged.

Final Verdict

I’m glad to have picked this story up, I’m a fan of horror and it’s a great way to get to know a character I’m a little unfamiliar with still. The villain of the issue feels like a bit of a throw away, and the way the antagonist is shaping up could either result in a very interesting reflection of the Hulk, or feel a bit like an unnecessary inclusion for the sake of it. That’s the thing though, the real antagonistic force in all this is Banner’s lack of control over his life and struggle to cope with the Hulk, coming out every night like clockwork and even death cannot stop it.

Final Score – 8.25 Simple Pleasures out of 10

Indie Comic Review – Battlecats #1-5 (Mad Cave Studios)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week I’m reviewing the first volume of Battlecats from Mad Cave Studios, which collects the first arc of the series ‘The Hunt for the Dire Beast’ and contains issues #1-5. Battlecats was created and written by Mark London, with art on issues #1-4 by Andy King and on issue #5 by Michael Camelo, colours on issues #1-3 by Alejandro Giraldo and on issues #4-5 by Julian Gonzalez, and lettering and book design by Miguel Zapata.

Battlecats takes place in a fantasy world of anthropomorphic animals, mostly cats, where the titular force of highly trained warriors protect the realm of Valderia on the orders of King Eramad III. He has tasked them with slaying the legendary Dire Beast, so the Battlecats travel to the region of La Marque to fight the monster. But along the way they must deal with the rebellious Darkats, the freezing cold, and a target that may not only be too much for them to handle, but also more than it seems.

Battlecats is a very compelling read. There is a lot here that is fairly well trodden ground, but London manages to tell the tale in a way that it is fresh and original. There is a real 80s cartoon feel, but with a depth of storytelling that was often missing from those shows. London even takes an issue to backtrack and explain the world after setting up the characters and action, which at that point feels necessary rather than expository, before returning to the action. The result is a world that feels brimming with life, leaving the reader wanting more. The only drawback is that the actual Battlecats aren’t given much room to breathe and feel developed yet, but after 5 issues there is still plenty of scope to do this in future stories.

The feeling of 80s cartoon nostalgia continues into the art as well, with big fantasy action, snarling cats and powerful and terrifying monsters all deftly brought to life by King and Camelo. The action is the particular strength is this series in fact, and Giraldo and Gonzalez bring a clarity to the proceedings with their colours, with the variety of garb depending on home nation creating vibrant differences between each Battlecat.

Battlecats surprised me with how quickly I was hooked on the story, and it is well worth your time checking out. Issue #5 was out this week, with the collection of this first arc coming out next month on July 25th.

Indie Comic Review – Little Heroes Comics Charity Anthology #2

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

Following my last review of the Little Heroes Charity Anthology Volume 1, I’ve been fortunate enough to be offered a review copy of Volume 2, which is currently on Kickstarter (link here)

Full disclosure, I’ll be backing this on Kickstarter myself!

To provide a brief reminder of what the Little Heroes Comics Charity is for, the publisher is raising funds by selling these issues. Little Heroes was started by Aaron Rackley to distribute comic-making kits to children following his own experience of cancer.

The second anthology is entitled ‘Family’ and was written by talented comic book creators who provided a wonderful range of stories that make up the anthology. This anthology was bought to us by:

  • Galland and Amos – Creator – Rob Barnes
  • Escape from Casa Kaiju – Writer – Forrest C. Helvie, Artist – Joseba Morales, Letterer – Adam Wollet
  • Supermom & Catdad – Story – Rob Andersin, Artist – Rahil Mohsin
  • Vampire Squid Boy – Story – Dwight and Rebecca Macpherson!, Artist – Matt Sandbrook, Logo and Letterer – Simon Robins
  • The Mountain Wolf – Creator – Tom Roberts
  • Hot Lava Monster – Writer and Letterer – Eddy Hedington, Artist – Fares Zoghlami
  • Mandy the Monster Hunter in The Crocodile in the Carpet – Story – Mark Adams and Matt Warner, Script – Matt Warner, Artist – Lyndon White, Letterer – Nikki Foxrobot
  • Tooth and Claw – Creator – Claire Spiller
  • The Cov Kids – Creator – Nick Shingler
  • Oh God – Writter – Stu Perrins, Artist – Tom Curry
  • Family Fun – Creator – Kev Brett
  • The Vital Ingredient: A Late Knights Story – Artist Matt Stross, Story – Jon Laight, Letterer – Ken Reynolds
  • The Tale of the Chemonster – Story – Samuel London, Artist – Sarah Milman
  • How to Think When You Draw – Creator – Lorenzo Etherington

As before the comics are a lot of fun. They are aimed at the children who may well be reading them from a hospital bed or while recovering from one treatment or another. They aim to inspire a feeling of togetherness and family. The stories are told usually from the perspective of a child or a parent in a variety of family situations. This includes families with the one parent or more strained relationships as well as the usual two parent set up. There are stories of adventure on grand scales, imaginary games, more simple challenges and it does get a little heavy in places (a very good thing!)

The art varies with each comic, providing a unique style to tell each story. This ranges from more cartoonish to heavily detailed. For me, the art of Lyndon White for ‘Mandy the Monster Hunter’ and Claire Spiller with ‘Tooth and Claw’ really stood out. Each of the artists though brought their stories to life and the work throughout is excellent.

Due to the huge number of artists I’ll have to forego my usual ‘can the artist draw hands’ question otherwise I’ll be writing this all night! Needless to say though, across the board they definitely can.

Final Verdict

These comics are important, they provide an opportunity for children going through challenging times some much needed escapism through fun, heart-warming stories. I strongly encourage you to back this on Kickstarter or at least pick up a copy once it’s released.

Back it on Kickstarter here!

Score: 14 out of 10, keep up the incredible work!

 

Got an indie comic for us to review? Email us at lostlighthouseindie@gmail.com

Comic Book Review – Thor #1 (Marvel Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week I read Thor #1 from Marvel Comics, the latest relaunch for the God of Thunder under Jason Aaron. Mike del Mundo provided art for part one, ‘God of Thunder Reborn’, with colour assists from Marco D’Alfonso, and Christian Ward drew part two ‘The Grace of Thor’, with letters on both by VC’s Joe Sabino.

The Mighty Thor is dead. Long live Thor. In ‘God of Thunder Reborn’, after the defeat of Mangog and the destruction of both the hammer Mjolnir and Asgardia, Jane Foster has reluctantly stepped down as Thor to finally focus on the treatment she needs for her cancer. The Odinson has taken up his old mantle again, with a fancy new golden arm and a lot of hammers, and with Jane’s direction he is tracking down displaced Asgardian artefacts before they fall into the wrong hands. Meanwhile, the bifrost is under repair, and until it is fixed there is no way of accessing other realms – a big problem, as Malekith the Accursed wages his War of Realms and Thor is powerless to stop it.

In the second story, ‘The Grace of Thor’, a one eyed old Thor and his grand daughters are watching over a rebooted Midgard. After all life ended on the planet long ago, now over 200 years have passed since they seeded life there once again in the forms of ‘Jane’ and ‘Steve’. As Jane dies, Thor sombrely reveals the state of the afterlife, before flying to the edge of the universe, which is rapidly ending. And there he meets the final incarnation of the Phoenix.

I hope Jason Aaron keeps writing Thor comics for a good long time yet, regardless of who Thor actually is. The arc of Jane Foster as Thor was wonderful, and enjoyed a satisfying wrap up too while not ending her story within this world. The Odinson slipping back into being Thor seems effortless, but to maintain his God of Thunder status he seems to be effectively supported by his own version of MI6, with Jane filling the role of M, and Odin and Screwbeard outfitting him with gadgets and magics in place of Q. It means that the usual brawns over brains approach needs to be taken with an element of improvisation rarely seen from this Thor. Aaron’s script is excellent, unsurprising as these are characters he has been in charge of for years now, but the new status quo of Thor and his supporting cast is still fitting in to the ongoing narrative of the plot he has been driving for a while now.

Mike del Mundo’s art is otherworldly, and yet feels very at place here. I feel that he is even better placed on Thor than his recent run on Avengers. There are some stellar action scenes in ‘God of Thunder Reborn’, but the quiet moments in the Brooklyn resettlement of Asgardian refugees works very well too, bolstered by the warm colours that often accompany del Mundo’s pages. For ‘The Grace of Thor’, Christian Ward’s skills are perfectly suited to the grand space sequences on display, from fighting a space shark to speeding to the universe’s end, and these pages are awash with cleaner colours than the first part that suits the story just as well. Rather than feeling jarring having two stories in one issue, the two artists sync right up with their respective tales, enabling them to complement each other.

To say Thor #1 is a great start would be disingenuous and a disservice to all that came before it from Aaron and the other great artists who have shaped his run on Thor. More this is a great continuation that may serve as a jumping on point for anyone who has slept on the series up until now (but if you have you should absolutely go back and read it all in trades). I’ll miss the Goddess of Thunder, but I suspect that we haven’t seen the last of her. Regardless, get this at your local comic book shop or online!

Score: 9 Asgardian Artefacts out of 10

Comic Review – Justice League #1 (DC Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“It would escape us, Ganthet. Besides it is not up to us… it never has been.” Stranger

DC are rebooting the Justice League in time to save the univ/multi/dark/insert-prefix-verse. It’s been a while since I dabbled in the Justice League and this seemed like a very good place to hop on board, especially with the likes of Scott Snyder at the helm with the writing. The front cover promises a new era for the League, and with everything that has been happening in the DC Universe it will be interesting to see what this ‘new era’ will bring. This comic is bought to us by:

  • Writer – Scott Snyder
  • Pencils – Jim Cheung
  • Mark Morales – Inks
  • Tomeu Morey – Colours
  • Tom Napolitano – Letters

The DC Universe has been a busy place for large scale cross-overs. The Dark Knights Metal series in particular bought the ‘dark-multiverse’ into play. Additionally for those who have been following along there have been some very significant moments in the DC Universe which have been leading to this story. There is a hole in the source wall, the edge of the universe which traps any who try to pass it, and something has come through. It has rushed through space and time to the present day where the Justice League must respond to it, whilst the likes of Lex Luthor and Vandal Savage have other ideas.

You can probably tell by my opening sentence that the stakes have never been higher. Honestly, I couldn’t help but find this point miss the mark a little. While its meant to ramp tension and show how monumental this event is it’s no different than a comic once upon a time saying the universe was at stake. We’ll need to learn more about the threat our heroes face in subsequent issues before I pass judgement on the threat the League face.

The art is very detailed and adds a serious, gritty tone to the proceedings. This suits the atmosphere in the comic, of oncoming doom and potential disaster. Cheung and Morales’ work on the lines provide the detail necessary, both in action scenes and in expressions during conversations. Luthor in particular comes off as particularly intimidating when he steals the show. Morey’s colour palette also ties into the mood of the comic and the lettering from Napolitano weaves seamlessly throughout the story without distracting from the artwork.

There are one or two issues that this comic urgently needs to address though. One action by the League in particular is going to have pretty catastrophic events, unless its addressed incredibly quickly.

Final Verdict

This has my interest, the story has some potential flaws and plot holes, although they can be addressed in later issues. Additionally while this is heralded as a ‘new era’ those without a familiarity with a lot of recent DC events won’t find much meaning in some of the key plot points. Otherwise I am most curious to see what happens with the sometimes super villain, sometimes anti-hero Lex Luthor as well as the Justice League lead of the story – the Martian Manhunter who had a particularly engaging arc this issue.

Final Score – 8 Batman Impressions out of 10

Comic Book Review – Justice League: No Justice #1 (DC Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week I picked up the first part of DC’s Justice League: No Justice mini series, the next big thing following on from Metal for the DC Universe. I dropped off Justice League a little bit after Rebirth because something about it just wasn’t clicking for me, but with writers Scott Snyder, Joshua Williamson and James Tynion IV on board for this series, and art from Francis Manapul, I was certainly interested in checking this out! Colours on this issue were provided by Hi-Fi, with lettering by AndWorld Design, and cover art by Manapul.

Cover by Manapul

Following on from the Metal event, the Source Wall surrounding the universe has been destroyed. While the Green Lanterns have gone to investigate, one of the biggest villains in the DCU has wasted little time in attacking Earth – Brainiac. And he has come to warn of a far greater threat on the way, the Omega Titans, cosmic gods and world eaters that have been awoken or set in motion by the shattering of the Source Wall. And Brainiac has come to rally the heroes and villains of Earth to save his home planet of Colu and stop the Omega Titans.

No Justice kicks off pretty quickly, and while the first issue of many events like this are often full of set up and are a little bit of a slow burn, Snyder, Williamson and Tynion IV manage to set the scene while still moving the plot forward. The cast of characters is such that no one really gets much chance to shine, maybe Damian Wayne and the Martian Manhunter get a decent amount of time, and a few of the characters do feel a little out of place here, but its a nice spread overall and the set up of the plot should force some interesting team dynamics. The story itself with the Omega Titans has a lot of potential too. Think Galactus but if there was 4 of him.

Art by Manapul, Hi-Fi and AndWorld Design

Manapul’s art is very strong superhero fare in this issue. His experience in superhero comics is on full display here, juggling an array of varied characters easily with a real sense of scale to the world shaking events and some great splash panels. Hi-Fi’s colours are very vibrant, with the colourful costumes and a couple of green skinned characters so distinct it almost pops off the page.

The story is an interesting start, possibly a little impenetrable to new readers, but those familiar with the DCU, especially recent events, will get a lot out of this. The art from Manapul is very nice, and the potential for some great action sequences moving forward is very high. Check out Justice League: No Justice #1 at your local comic shop or online now!

Score: 8 Nodes out of 10