Tag Archives: mystery comics

Comic Block October 2015

Comic Block Web Clipping

It’s that time of the month again, well it was three weeks ago but I’m just getting in to writing this now.  Let’s start off with the glamour shot of everything in the box.

Comic Block 6 - Full 2

Here’s the rundown of everything inside:

  • Heroes: Vengeance 1 from Titan Comics (Comic Block Exclusive Variant)
  • Back to the Future 1 from IDW (Nerd Block Exclusive Variant)
  • Lara Croft Frozen Omen 1 from Dark Horse (Comic Block Exclusive Variant)
  • Spawn T-Shirt
  • Venom Art Print

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Still no sign of the allusive graphic novel but every issue in this month’s box was a exclusive variant cover.  Here is a look at the art print, it’s probably my favorite of these types so far, I just wish they had listed who the artist was on the preview card.

Venom Art Print

Heroes: Vengeance 1

Heroes Vengeance 1 - Comic Block Exclusive Variant

My history with Heroes is pretty brief.  I watched the first season probably 7 years ago and never bothered to watch any of the other seasons.  I remember liking the first season but outside of the whole “save the cheerleader, save the world” thing I don’t remember much.  I like the concept of Heroes and with my love of all things comics it seems like it would be right up my ally.

So what was I expecting from Heroes: Vengeance?  Some new Heroes with cool and interesting powers?  The old Heroes gang getting back together?  We got neither, instead we got a story about a vigilante in a luchador mask with no powers at all.  This is a prequel comic so I can only assume it has something to do with the new rebooted show, however as a stand alone comic it was incredibly boring.

Heroes - Pic 3

The only thing of note was there were two different newspapers with headlines about an incident in Odessa TX, which I assume is related to the reboot series.  Outside of that though it was a pretty dull story about a real life vigilante which I’ve seen done better in numerous other stories.  I wasn’t excited for Heroes: Reborn before and this pretty much put the nail in the coffin for me.

Back to the Future 1

Back to the Future 1 - Comic Block Exclusive Variant

This comic actually is two different stories in one.  The first is the telling of the first time that Marty McFly meets Doc Brown.  Some local bullies steal Marty’s guitar and make him get a transducer tube for their amp in order to get it back.  It turns out the town is sold out of tubes and the person who bought them all up was none other than Doc Brown.  Marty outsmarts Doc’s security and gets in to his lab.  Doc is so impressed with Marty that he offers him a job, which Marty immediately accepts.

The second story is of Doc meeting with Robert Oppenheimer where he is joins the Manhattan Project.  I guess this is part of the Back to the Future lore that Doc worked on the Atomic Bomb that I was unaware of.

I didn’t really care for the comic.  The two stories are really different and have completely different art styles to the point that I didn’t initially realize the second story was part of the comic.  I thought it was just a preview of some other comic and almost skipped it entirely.  The first story was really cheesy and didn’t add enough to the mythos to justify telling the story.  The second story was just weird and reading a story about Doc Brown working on the Atomic bomb is not something I have any interest in.

Back to the Future Variants

On the bright side I do really like that IDW puts all the different variant covers inside the comics.  I do have something of a variant cover problem but for the most part I’m more than content just seeing all the different covers.  DC Comics used to keep the variant covers of issues in the back of digital issues when the New 52 started and even updated them as more came out.  However they dropped this practice only a few months in.  I really wish Marvel or DC would pick up on this and start including a preview of all the covers out there for each issue.

Lara Croft Frozen Omen 1

Lara Croft Frozen Omen - Comic Block Exclusive Variant

With Rise of the Tomb Raider coming out this month it is no surprise that Dark Horse is releasing a new Lara Croft series.  The main story is that one of the curators at the British Museum is acting out of character and steals a priceless carving on a piece of Woolly Mammoth tusk.  Lara tracks down the curator to Belize where he appears to be in some sort of trance.  After seeing Lara he snaps out of it and seems to have no memory of traveling to Belize or stealing the artifact.  A weird vine ensnares the both of them and we get a “to be continued”.

Lara Croft - Pic 3 - Crop

There’s also a weird devil guy.

Lara Croft - Pic 1

I really enjoyed this comic.  They usually skimp out on the art for these licensed properties but for this the art was fantastic and reminded me of John Romita Jr.  I thought the story was interesting and overall was a great first issue.

Lara Croft - Pic 2

They gave the reader just enough to set up the story while also keeping enough mystery to leave me wanting more.  I usually don’t like these licensed property comics but I might have to make an exception for Tomb Raider.

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Mystery Comic 9: Day of Vengeance

Comic (9)

We have now reach Comic number 9 of my 25 part Mystery Comic series with 2005’s Day of Vengeance 1.

I’ve never heard of Day of Vengeance before.  So I had to look them up on Wikipedia, which made me feel better that it wasn’t some long on going series I had never head of.  Day of Vengeance is a limited series that came out as a prelude to DC’s Infinite Crisis event.  Reading up on Wikipedia revealed there ate some complicated steps that happen before we get to Day of Vengeance 1.  It centers around some stuff left over from Identity Crisis that is so comiplicated that I don’t really understand it, and don’t want to get in to it.

The long and short of it is that Day of Vengeance centers around The Spectre and the magical characters and elements of the DC universe.

Comic 9 - Image 5

The comic opens up with a vague scene of a woman locked up in a weird mansion.  She is possibly getting tortured?  It’s unclear what is going on and it ends with her putting a crystal to her chest and transforming into some sort of magical wizard or something.  I’m assuming the series was purposefully vague about all this and it will come into play later on.

Comic 9 - Image 1

The comic then cuts to an introduction to Ragman which I appreciated, because I had never heard of him before.  It was a pretty cool introduction, it shows him in action and gives the reader enough context to figure out what his deal is.  The art is really fantastic and managed to make a character with a lame name like Ragman a interesting character.  After our introduction Ragman is sent to help out The Enchantress who has been buried in a forest as collateral damage during a battle between The Spectre and Blackbriar Thorn.

Comic 9 - Image 2

Enchantress is like we have got to GTFO and Ragman transports the both of them to the Oblivion Bar (a hangout of magical folks).

Comic 9 - Image 3

Enchantress tries to gather a group of people together to fight The Spectre who she fears will lead to the death of every magical person.  No one at the bar seems eager to take on one of the most powerful members of the magic community except Detective Chimp (yes a talking Chimp) who is ready to go.

Comic 9 - Image 4

The comic then ends with an allusive scene involving some mystic sending out SHAZAM to take out our new team.

Overall I enjoyed the comic.  The story telling was engaging and had a good mix of exposition along with vague foreshadowing.  The art was fantastic and did a good job of helping tell the story itself which helped cut down or pure expositional text.  I think the mystical / magical side of DC is intriguing and would like to be more familiar with these characters.  If I see Day of Vengeance collected in trade at a Half Priced books I will definitely pick it up.


Mystery Comic 8: Blackest Night R.E.B.E.L.S. Issue 10

Comic (8)

I’ve never been a big Green Lantern fan, so most of my knowledge of the “Green Lantern Universe” is the broad cliff notes. From what I know (and Wikipedia backed up) the Blackest Night event centers around the rise of the Black Lanterns which embody death. This lead to a whole bunch of formerly dead DC characters rising back to life in zombie form. While I don’t know much about Green Lanterns, I know much less about R.E.B.E.L.S. or L.E.G.I.O.N.  Although this is Issue 10 in it’s series it is the first issue of R.E.B.E.L.S.’ Blackest Night arc, so that was helpful. There were a lot of characters in this issue that were introduced. Like a lot.

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From the best I can tell the story centers around Brainiac’s Son, Vril Dox, and Grandson, Lyrl Dox. Brainic’s son (Vril) becomes aware that his child (Lyrl) was becoming uncontrollable.  Vril uses his powers to put mental blocks in place to limit the amount of his mind Lyrl could use. This leads Lyrl to resent his father. So when Staru’s gang comes to kidnap Lyrl, he decides to go with them willingly. Staru was able to take down the mental blocks in Lyrl that Vril put in place giving him his full mental capacity.

Staru’s gang are still after Vril and his gang so they take off and are found by a group of Yellow Lanterns. These Yellow Lanterns are currently being attacked by a group of Black Lanterns so they try to take over Vril’s ship to escape. During the conflict Vril’s ship is destroyed and one of the Yellow Lanterns is killed by a Black Lantern Harbinger who then turns it’s attention to attack Virl. Vril is in a protective pill like object that momentarily distracts the Black Lantern Harbinger. The issue ends with the Yellow Power Ring of the recently killed Tribulus finding a new host in Vril and giving him the power of a Lantern. Also one of Vril’s gang Stealth who had been dead is reanimated as a Black Lantern and around during a lot of this.

Comic 8 - Image11

This is a lot to take in. I could, for the most part, follow along what was happening. However, this whole series deals with an entire group of comics I am unfamiliar with. I did recognize Staru from the cover of the classic Justice League 29.

Comic 8 - Image10

Justice League of America Vol. 1 Issue 28

I gleamed that this whole Blackest Night crossover deals with dead characters coming back to life as Black Lanterns. This is interesting and would much cooler for a series I am familiar with to see some dead characters back in action. A weird thing is that the Black Lanterns are basically zombies but still manage to be weirdly sexy. I don’t think I have ever seen sexy zombies in any of the many different interpretations of zombies I’ve seen.

Comic 8 - Image13

Overall this was a decent issue. I don’t think I’ll read any more from R.E.B.E.L.S., but I may read more from Blackest Night. At the very least I’m glad to be exposed to both and can add them to my base knowledge of comics.

I only have one ad for this issue I wanted to post.  It is for Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days for the Nintendo DS.  I played this game a few years ago and its a poster child confusing and complicated hot mess that Kingdom Hearts has become.

Comic 8 - Image12


Mystery Comic 6 and 7

Mystery Comic 6: Hammer of God: Sword of Justice Issue 2 of 2

Comic (6)

This book is terrible. It is the second issue of a two issue arc and I’m not going to pretend I bothered trying to read the back up that explained what happened to this point.  This book is chock full of the things I hate about Science Fiction writing the most.  It goes out of its way at times to try to create a its own futurist system of slang only to abandon it just as quickly and use slang of the time that is all ready dated.

The story is based around a monkey / human hybrid called the Hammer.  I don’t really know why he’s important or care enough to find out.  The first half is spent talking about how Hammer (the monkey guy) is coming and they need to prepare, and the second half is him attacking this Brain ship.  He eventually defeats the brain ship which has a whole city inside it and they re-purpose it for themselves.  Is it the end? I don’t really care.

I don’t really have much to say about this book.  It’s by far the worst book I’ve read so far out of these mystery comics.  There weren’t really even any funny ads.  I went back and forth if I should scan more pictures of the inside but nothing was crazy enough or good enough it seemed it deserved it.

Mystery Comic 7: Squalor Issue 4 of 4

Comic (7)

Wow.  I thought Hammer was a terrible book but Squalor is unreadable.  I would sum things up but I honestly have no idea what was going on.  This is part 4 of a 4 part story but still, I couldn’t even get a glimpse of what the plot was suppose to be.  Here is a sample of what the comic is like.

Squalor

Every page is like this.  It mostly takes place in this dream world which the characters just speak in non-sense.  When it does cut to the real world it makes even less sense.  I have nothing else to say, so far Squalor is the clear front runner for the worst comic in this entire batch.


Mystery Comic 5: Catwoman 1 (1993)

Comic (5)

This is actually the first issue of the first on going Catwoman solo series that they ever created. It also happened to take place during the middle of the Batman Knightfall major event. If you don’t know that would be the event that lead to Batman’s back being broken by Bane and a guy named Jean-Paul Valley briefly taking over the cowl. This is important to note because there are a lot of references to Bane and him being in control of Gotham throughout this comic. I don’t think following along the Knightfall titles is necessary but it does put this book into context.

Comic 5 Pic 1

The overall story is pretty straightforward. Catwoman is up to her jewel stealing ways and is giving all that she steals directly to Bane. She isn’t pleased with this agreement but it seems like it’s what she’ll have to do for now. Other crime lords in the city want to attack Bane so they do so by attacking Catwoman who they describe as his love. I don’t remember there being a love story between Bane and Catwoman so its probably a misunderstanding they deal with later. Either way the book ends with them finding Catwoman’s apartment and shooting it with a rocket launcher. The last panel is an explosion with a to be continued.

Overall it was a pretty good book for a first issue. There was a cool part at the beginning where Catwoman tricks a guy into thinking she’s his wife and steals all her jewels. Catwoman is a badass in this book and while it ties into Batman she is her own strong black woman. There was one part that was especially amazing and that was Catwoman’s fence (person who sells her stolen goods) who wears crazy cat lady tee shirts. At least I think she was Catwoman’s fence, she doesn’t seem to have a real purpose other than she lives with or possibly just hangs out with Catwoman.

Comic 5 Pic 2

Comic 5 Pic 3

And lastly here are our two comic ads, first we have a grand opening of a Mile High Comics with Rob Liefeld! And then we have the greatest of fighting games on the Genesis.

Comic 5 Pic 4

Comic 5 Pic 5


Mystery Comic 4: Wonder Woman 178

Comic (4)

Wonder Woman 178 is a good example of how confusing a comic can be if you try to just pick up a random issue. It’s hard to say what exactly is happening in this issue because I have no context for what is going on.

It starts off with a teenage girl and her friend reading through fan mail. We are told this is Cassie Sandsmark and she is the new Wonder Girl. We don’t really get much other information about her other than that. When going through her fan mail she finds a letter from her father which she is upset/surprised about? It looks like she hasn’t talked to her father in a long time but we really get no information about it. That’s pretty much the entire story involving Cassie.

New Skitch 3

So sandwiched between this story is a Wonder Woman story. And it revolves around Wonder Woman going on a date with a guy named Trevor Barnes, who is not Steve Trevor. So their date is them going to dinner and they have a snowball fight afterward. Trevor comes back to Wonder Woman’s place where some sort of dimensional warp or something has opened and some guy named Garth appears. He tells Wonder Woman that he needs her help to recover Aquaman’s trident which has been stolen. She agrees and tells Trevor they will finish their date when she gets back and the comic ends with a hydra coming through the dimensional portal and attacking Trevor.

There is also a backup story in this comic too called “Troia in Post Cards from the Edge”. It stars Donna Troy who is Wonder Woman’s sister and Wonder Girl (or generally is, who knows with this Cassie situation). The backup is only a couple pages and its Donna visiting Themyscira and taking pictures. She going to the training area where they convince her to suit up and spare with them, and when she does suddenly Fury is there and beating the shit out of her friend Rhea.

So the Cassie story is pretty confusing, I guess something recently happened that made her Wonder Girl and they have some plans for that but they don’t give you a lot to go off of. We also don’t know why she’s Wonder Girl and not Donna Troy.

The Wonder Woman story isn’t really very interesting either. I don’t know who that guy is she’s dating or really care that she’s going on a date. The only interesting thing to happen is this new quest she gets to find Aquaman’s trident but that is at the end and left as a cliff hanger.

New Skitch 2

The backup was all right but again really just raises a lot of question and not much happens.

I think this is one of those strange in between arc issues where they are sort of wrapping up a previous arc and sort of going into a new arc. It’s like those episodes of Dragon Ball Z where they just flex a lot and get ready for a fight and absolutely nothing is moved forward story wise. When done well this can be an opportunity for a comic series to have a good one off story in between major story arcs. However in this case it’s just an issue where nothing really happens. The art is also very so-so. The cover is done by Adam Hughes and is gorgeous, but the interiors are done by Roy Allan Martinez and very bland. It’s not the worst art and at times looks good but has this weird style that when it’s of close ups of peoples face makes them look like aliens.

New Skitch 1

It reminds me a little of Tim Sale’s art which I have the same on the fence feeling for where I can’t decide if I don’t like it because of how stylized it is. The story is pretty lame. I’m sure it makes more sense in context with a few issues around it but as a stand-alone comic it doesn’t really work. The rule is that any comic is some one’s first issue and it should give the reader enough to follow along with no context. This book could have done that with a little more explanation and with how little actually occurs in the issue its confusing why it didn’t.

Lastly, here are the two best ads from the comic, one for Rollerball and one for Disney channel.

Wonder Woman 178 Image 3

Wonder Woman 178 Image 5


Mystery Comic 3: War Heroes 1

Comic (3)

War Heroes is a six part mini-series written by Mark Millar (writer of Wanted and Kick-ass). It was released in 2008 by image comics. First of all let me say that image comics does a great job with this issue in presentation, not only does this book have a nice hard stock cover but it also doesn’t have any ads within the story. At first I thought it was a fluke but there really aren’t any ads in the book until the end, and even then there isn’t an ad on the back cover. I can’t remember the last book I have seen without an ad on the back cover! Hell DC is even putting ad banners on the front cover of a lot of their books recently so it’s nice to see a company give a shit out their product looks.

So the basic premise of this book is an alternative world take on the war on terror. Past the 9/11 attacks the USA has been attacked several more time in increasingly devastating attacks, starting with an attack on the capital. As the attacks escalate the response of the USA has increased as well. Martial law was declared after the being attacked in Washington DC and within six weeks the USA has invaded Iran. Later the USA has sent responses to Syria and other Middle Eastern countries. While increases in recruits occur after every attack the war is extremely unpopular and the government is having a hard time getting new recruits. In an effort to get new recruits the government has been giving new recruits super soldier drugs which give them comic book like super powers. Super strength, speed, and flight are included in some of the powers. The book ends with a small glimpse of several new recruits on their last evening at home before being sent to boot camp.

So it’s a little disconcerting that the first page has a Muslim with a bomb strapped to his chest blowing up Washington DC. That being said this book is definitely not pro-war propaganda such as Frank Miller’s Holy Terror. There is clearly some stuff going on under the surface and it is apparent that some of these attacks on US soil were clearly inside jobs.

“Even black Tuesday when two and a half thousand Americans died in three separate chemical attacks, failed to bring the country back together like the president expected”.

Clearly more is going on and I’m assuming it gets into all of this throughout the series. I have been a big fan of Millar’s work on other series and this seems on par with some of his other works. He often likes to mix genres and which comic books. This really fits along those lines of what if soldiers had super powers. He’s done stories like this before with Superman Red Son, Wanted, Kick-ass, and Jupiter’s Legacy. It’s repeating himself for sure but he also does a good job and each one of these stories feels pretty unique and deals with different issues.

It wasn’t enough really to peak my interest into reading more but it does seem like an interesting story.

I did some digging on wikipedia and this series is famous for never completing.  It was suppose to be a 6 part series but ended abruptly after only 3 issues without a conclusion (it made it on Newsarama’s list of Comic Book Cold Cases).  The first issue was released in June of 2008, the second in September of 2008, and the third in October of 2009.  The series was optioned by Sony in 2008 for the film rights but being its been 6 years since any word we can safely call this series dead.


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