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Home  >  Features  >  Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: January 25, 2017

 

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Another week and another batch of number one issues for us to take a look at. Check out our thoughts on D4VEOCRACY #1, LOOSE ENDS #1, BIFF TO THE FUTURE #1, KISS: THE DEMON #1, KAMANDI CHALLENGE #1, JLA REBIRTH: KILLER FROST #1, and ODYSSEY OF THE AMAZONS #1.

 

 

D4VEOCRACY #1 (IDW Publishing)-

3.0 Stars

It is time for another trip back to the crazy robotic world of 34RTH with D4VEOCRACY #1 from IDW Publishing. Ryan Ferrier and Valentin Ramon team up again to bring readers the latest in an odd series chronicling the adventures of D4VE, just an average robot who has saved the world twice and now he must save it again. On this 34RTH of the distant future humanity has been replaced by sentient robots full of personality and emotion. D4VE has found solace away from the spotlight but is called back into action upon the death of President Roombo. As with our world political and corporate interests are conspiring to take short cuts that would put the planet at risk to boost profits and the assassination of President Roombo was just the first step. D4VE steps in as a populist candidate to fill the role of his departed friend.

Ferrier yet again pens an absurd book set in an absurd world while at the same time making parallels to our current culture. The language, the mannerisms, and the design of the characters are all strange and over the top but as a storytelling device it all works well together. Hell, President Roombo is a fucking Roomba... literally. Instead of global warming being the looming threat in this new world it is an overuse of the core power grid. The names might be different but the players are the same, old out of touch giants of industry breaking the law and risking the lives of everyone in search of a higher profit margin. It is a little on the nose with its message but done in such a silly was that it never feel preachy. The addition of the internet given life, S4M the robot, is another story. Imagine if every single horrible meme and internet forum troll was brought together into a living body and given voice and you would have S4M. the characters is extremely obnoxious but i guess that is the point.

The pencils from Valentin Ramon have always served the story well while not being anything to swoon over. It is competent storytelling at its best with clean lines, clear character creation, and good panel to panel layouts. In the end D4VEOCRACY #1 is for fans of the series who have stuck through the previous volumes and have gotten attached to D4VE and his antics. The story is topical while not being political but after having read two of the previous volumes I think it is my time to get off this particular train. Out of all of them this issue grabbed me the least and during a time of constant news barrage and endless bitching from both sides the last thing I want to read for pleasure is more of the same

 

LOOSE ENDS #1 (Image Comics)-

5.0 Stars.gif

Jason Latour is taking another trip through the dirty south in LOOSE ENDS #1 from Image Comics. A man of many talents, Latour handles art duties on the other big book from Image that takes a dark look at life in small southern towns; Southern Bastards. This time he is writing a self described tale of crime and romance. Sonny is a young man who has fallen on hard times since his return from the War in the middle east. Adrift in the middle of nowhere, running drugs for money, and being a deadbeat father to his only son. His life is turned upside down by a trip to visit the bar that employs his former girl friend, Kim. While attempting to stop two drunk rednecks from raping Cheri, the bartender, Kim is shot and killed leaving Sonny and Cheri on the run.

Jason Latour laments in a letter to readers that this book has been something he has wrestled with for years. As someone who lives in rural North Carolina I can totally see why. The cities and big towns of the south are just like anywhere else in America full of chain restaurants and suburbs, but the small dead towns full of broken industry and closed down farms are truly something else. These places are left to the old and the poor who just could not escape and that entire vibe is captured perfectly in this book. The bar scene is amazingly creepy as soon as it starts. Two pretty young girls working the bar and two deadbeats far past their high school football prime is a recipe for disaster. Mix that with a broken war vet and a lot of beer and things go downhill just as you knew they would the first time you glimpse the scene on the page. This was a great first issue establishing character and setting quickly and really grabbing the reader.

All of this is helped by the beautiful art from Chris Brunner with Rico Renzi on colors. You can almost feel the sticky hot summer weather by looking at the page, the kind of heat you cannot escape no matter what you do. That coupled with the spot on character designs and bar setting does an amazing job of really selling the atmosphere. The art in this issue conveys character and personality just as well, if not better, than the words. This along with the use of filtered backgrounds for flashbacks and fantastic coloring make this one of the best looking books I have seen in awhile. At only 4 issues for the mini series this is a title every comic book reader needs to pick up an experience.

 

BIFF TO THE FUTURE #1 (IDW Publishing)-

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IDW Publishing has been having success with its Back to the Future comics and now is moving on to tell the untold story of Biff's rise to power in the tangent timeline featured in Back to the Future II. BIFF TO THE FUTURE #1, scripted by original screenwriter Bob Gale and Derek Fridolfs, begins with the fortuitous meeting wherein old Biff hands the sports almanac to his younger self. From that point on we follow young Biff trying to figure out how to place pets while still underage. Beginning with his Grandma, who is just as surely and cantankerous as you would image, Biff begins to see small returns while keeping the book a secret. Things that a surprisingly dark turn with the murder of Grandma Tannen and escalates when Biff kills the a shady character trying to steal his prized almanac. Finally of age Biff makes his first millions in the horse racing bet featured in the film and sets off to Hollywood to enjoy the good life.

This issue gets off to a great start while revisiting a familiar scene from the movies. That repeated dialogue and setting bring the reader back in and immediately makes you feel like you are watching another part of Back to the Future. Biff has always been a ridiculous antagonist and you can hear his voice plain as day when reading his dialogue. When he bludgeons a slimy gangster who tries to steal his book my first thought was what a sudden and dark turn for a series that has always been rather light hearted. However, the more I think about it the more apt it is because Biff admits to murdering George McFly in Back to the Future II so it should not be a surprise that this alternate Biff would turn to violence so easily. Besides that one dark twist this was a fun read that does a solid job of bringing readers back to a world that most of us are very familiar with.

The stylized cartoon art by Alan Robinson was a good direction to go especially with over the top nature of Biff Tannen as a character. He is larger than life and the caveman-like look that he gets in this series feels like a perfect fit for the not to bright thug that has plagued the McFly's throughout history. The colors are bright and really pop off the page making the art a nice addition from cover to cover. All that said this is still a book for a rather small audience of Back to the Future fans looking for more out of the story. Having Bob Gale attached to the project is a huge bonus and lends itself to establishing the authenticity of the story. If you have enjoyed the other Back to the Future offerings from IDW Publishing than you should definitely check this issue out as it is one of the better installments and it fills in a side story that nobody has ever seen before.

 

KISS: THE DEMON #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)-

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The gods of rock are back this week with KISS: THE DEMON #1 from Dynamite Entertainment. Written by Amy Chu and Erik Burnham this issue focuses on three kids and how their love of KISS helped shape the world. Sam Blackwell is the son of a powerful family that are lords of industry. Isolated as a child and resentful of his father, Sam finds solace in the world of rock and roll. When he finally connects with two other KISS fans they form a small band and Sam finally finds a sense of place and purpose in the world. In a fight with his father Sam screams for all to hear that he truly wishes his father was dead only to find out that his desires have come to pass. A mysterious brake failure results in his father's death and now Sam is in charge of the company with some ideas on how to shape the future.

The story present is mildly interesting and technically well written but by the end of the issue I could not be bothered to care about what happens next. I assume there is some darker plot being teased about the dark powers of KISS based on the title and the mysterious death of the villainous father but none of that was brought to bear in this issue. Without that hint of things to come to grab readers this comic basically becomes the story of an angry kid who, against his family's wishes, likes to rock and eventually takes over the company he hates after his father's early death. The KISS property itself is barely used so I would imagine even hardcore fans that would come to this issue for KISS alone would be left wanting.

The art by Eman Casallos has well rendered characters that looks great and emote well yet lacks any background detail. Panel to panel the actors of the book look fantastic but there is little to nothing going on behind them. The result is a lack of depth and thus a very flat look for the entire book. Oh, and one side note about the small glimpse of the band. Gene Simmons must have cut the artist a hefty check on the side because he is drawn with a body that would put Arnold Schwarzenegger to shame. I cannot really recommend this book to anyone but KISS fans itching for a story to read about their favorite band. Even then I would point them towards the recently released KISS #1 that features a more scifi take on the effect the band has had on the world.

 

KAMANDI CHALLENGE #1 (DC Comics)-

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A unique project was started this week with the release of KAMANDI CHALLENGE #1 from DC Comics. Designed as a 12 part maxi series featuring the classic Kirby character this comic will feature a rotating cast of authors and artists in which each issue will end on a cliffhanger and the 'challenge' is for the next creative team to find a way to get Kamandi out of trouble and then end their issue with the last boy on Earth again in dire straights. The first issue has a prologue followed by a main story so that readers can get a sense of how the hand off between talent will work. The prologue is written by Keith Giffen with art by Scott Koblish and establishes Kamandi as a character. Raised in an isolate dome made to look like a classic American suburb Kamandi is given a harsh wake up call as to the reality of the world he is really living in. The dome is shattered by anthropomorphic creatures and everyone Kamandi thought he knew turns out to be robots designed for one sole purpose, to ensure the survival of the last boy on Earth. Taken to Tiger City and thrown into a gladiatorial match against a giant ape, it is now up to Dan Abnett and Dale Eaglesham to figure out what happens next. They allow Kamandi to get the lay of the land and learn his new place in this world only to leave the story with their own gripping cliffhanger.

This is truly one of the more unique ideas to come out of comics lately and I think it is off to a great start. Kamandi is not a character I have a huge affection for or even one that I care about but this first issue grabbed me and I will be picking up the rest to see where it goes. The format of having various creative teams trying to one up each other by leaving the titular character in ever increasing sticky situations is a brilliant way to tell a story. An additional letters page in each issue will feature the alternate way out of trouble that the initial writer came up with. Thus readers can enjoy the issue and cap it off with a sort of 'what if' recap that explains how things might have gone had one writer stuck with it and written the next issue. As much as I have been praising the writing talent on this issue I must mention the art as well. Both the prologue and the main story are beautifully drawn with a slight hint of the older style in which Kamandi was originally conceived. Bright colors and a huge cast of colorful characters round out this issue that is just overflowing with talent. This is a book I had thought about skipping due to my indifference to the characters and as it turns out it might be the best book I have read this week. If not the best it is definitely the most creative and it is something that everyone should pick up.

 

JLA REBIRTH: KILLER FROST #1 (DC Comics)-

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The last of the JLA Rebirth one shots comes out this week as JLA REBIRTH: KILLER FROST #1 from DC Comics. Co written by JLA author Steve Orlando and the amazingly talented Jody Houser JLA REBIRTH: KILLER FROST #1 will bring new readers up to speed on Caitlin Snow and her new place in the DC universe. Former villain and current resident of Belle Reve Penitentiary, Killer Frost is trying to make a new name for herself. Given cold powers by a freak accident Snow turned to crime and murder to feed her need for heat. To stay alive Killer Frost must draw upon the heat of others and this often meant draining her victims until they died. Having served a stint in the notorious Suicide Squad Caitlin caught the eye of Batman and is being offered a road to the light side via joining the new Justice League of America. However, known hard case Amanda Waller does not want to let one of her hardest hitters go and pulls every string she can to bait Caitlin into killing again so that she can keep her in Belle Reve and continue to use her as part of the Suicide Squad. Not taking the bait almost costs Killer Frost her life but in the end she passes the test and sees the light of day though she might not be as reformed as she lets on.

Orlando and Houser pen a good tale of a character trying to make right after so many wrongs. The current Flash television show features Caitlin Snow as a major character and thus has propelled the character to new heights across all forms of media. She had a large role in the animated Batman: Assault on Arkham film, she is a character in the Injustice video games, and now is becoming a member of the Justice League in DC Comics. She is written to be strong yet vulnerable and that is a way to make the audience immediately relate to her. Waller is written to be cruel to an extreme degree and right from the beginning of this issue the reader to meant to hate her and root for Caitlin as she tries to avoid the obstacles Waller has placed in her way. She has been softened but not completely lost her edge. There is a nice touch towards the end of the issue wherein the reader learns that Killer Frost might not be as pure as she seems. Her need to absorb heat will always be there and she has found a way to feed off others while not taking their lives. How this will play out in the long run is no doubt a subject that will be covered in the upcoming JLA series but it is nice to see a long time DC villain has not been instantly redeemed in one issue.

The art by Mirka Andolfo is really strong and hopefully we will see more of her work in the near future. Her pencils are extremely clean and she features fantastic character design work. Frost looks great, feminine and fierce while not being over sexualized. She is also drawn with the slightest hint of vulnerability which really comes through due to Mirka's ability to covey emotion through the faces of her characters. Out of all the JLA Rebirth one shots this one is the best to look and really helps sell Frost as an up and coming character that readers will be keeping an eye on. Overall the JLA Rebirth one shots have been hit or miss but this final installment nails the landing and I am looking forward to reuniting with these characters again in February when the series kicks off with a Rebirth issue of its own followed by the number one issue that will start the main story line. Fans of the Flash TV show should also check this issue out to get a slightly different take on a character they know and love from the show.

 

ODYSSEY OF THE AMAZONS #1 (DC Comics)-

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DC Comics is taking a trip to the past with ODYSSEY OF THE AMAZONS #1. Written by Kevin Grevioux this issue is set in the distant past before the Amazons of Themyscira abandoned the world of men and sought out isolation. A group of Amazon warriors led by their general, Hessia, have been traveling the globe recruiting powerful women from different cultures and acting as ambassadors of peace. Before embarking on their final voyage home the group is set upon by a group of giants from Jotunheim. Now the Amazons must take on a perilous quest to the bitter cold of Viking territory to rescue their lost companions.

There is a solid and compelling story to be found in this six issue mini series but it is hampered by an extremely long winded introduction and a cast that is too large. The core elements of the book are really strong. Grevioux is forging new ground in Amazon legend by telling a tale from a time never mentioned in the Wonder Woman comics. Hippolyta is still Queen but this is long before Diana was born, a time when new Amazonians were actually recruited from cultures all over the world. The realm of gods and monsters is continued with the introduction of Viking mythology to the mix. Long the domain and Thor and Marvel Comics it will be really interesting to see where this series go when the Amazons come into conflict with Odin and Asgard. Both of these ideas are new and fantastic but they are buried in a book that takes way too long to get started and has far to many characters to keep straight. The comic is wordy to a fault, cluttered with extensive narration and dialogue. The opening battle scene takes up almost two thirds of the issue and the intriguing part of the story does not kick off until the last few pages. The front of this book is a slog but the ending is truly epic.

Ryan Benjamin does a great job on art with the only caveat being the difficulty of separating who is who. With a cast of almost 20 brand new characters of rather uniform design it becomes hard to tell who is who and keep track of everyone. Hessia is a stand out character in both presence and design but after closing the final page I could not tell you another name from the group of Amazons or pick them out of a lineup. It all blurs together into a mix of pretty faces and confusing names. While I am sounding rather negative I do think there is real potential here for a killer story, it just took way too long to start. I will be in for issue number two for sure, with the introductions out of the way hopefully the main plot can kick into great and we can see the Amazons taking on the gods of Viking lore and that is a fight I don't want to miss.

 

Don't just take our word for it. Grab the books yourself and let us know what you think!

 

More Reviews on MightyVille:

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: January 18, 2017

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: January 11, 2017

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: January 04, 2017

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