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TMNT Villains Micro-Series #6: Hun [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com

Story: 4.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5

TMNT Villains Micro-Series #5: Karai [Review]

tmntvillainsmicroseries005karaiWritten by: Erik Burnham
Art by: Cory Smith
Colors by: Ian Herring
Letters by: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Cover: Tyler Walpole
Published by: IDW
Cover Price: $3.99

I tend to use the ComixologyPull List” app these days for keeping tabs on what’s coming out in a given week that I’ll be getting (mainly to know how much the week’s likely going to take from my budget). This issue’s release surprised me, as I don’t think I’ve even seen it listed–early or delayed.

Karai visits an old mentor for counsel, and we learn through their interaction of her background. Her father was not a good steward of the Foot legacy, and she found a way to bring back the Clan’s glory. Growing up, she met her parents’ expectations by day, though by night she secretly trained herself in the ways of the ninja, and eventually learned how she could restore the Clan, resurrecting a figure from the past–one she’d come to know as “Grandfather”–Oroku Saki. In the present, though, things have gone awry, and Karai has been “replaced” as Saki’s #2, and she finds herself facing the new #2–a corrupted Leonardo.

This issue continues to illustrate how well continuity can work between creative teams and series. We get a story focused on a major character, giving us some real depth that there truthfully would not be room for in the main series, yet the story ties in very nicely with the ongoing story (City Fall) such that one reading “everything” gets the broad picture, and one simply picking this up gets “a story” in one issue.

I like learning more about Karai’s place in things…this issue drives home just how central she actually is in IDW‘s current TMNT continuity, and casts her beyond some “named figure” for the sake of a named figure being present.

I really like Smith‘s art, and aside from the story, the visuals alone were a real treat to take in. Other than this not being an Annual or graphic novel-length issue, I have nothing negative to say about the art!

Two years in–and multiple Micro-Series minis and such functionally giving two ongoing series of TMNT books is (despite the $3.99 price point) very welcome, and keeping to the quality that’s (thus far) been maintained makes me think I’d wholly welcome a third such issue each month, just to continue with new expansion of the stories and characters that much faster, as my impatience grows to have a far lengthier “history” behind us with all this.

Ultimately, that means that IDW‘s doing something very, very “right,” not only holding my interest with more than one book per month but keeping me consistently eager for more.

TMNT Villains Micro-Series #2: Baxter [Review]

tmntvillainsmicroseries002baxterScript: Erik Burnham
Art: Andy Kuhn
Colors: John Rauch
Letters: Tom B. Long
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Cover: Tyler Walpole
Published by: IDW
Cover Price: $3.99

I hate the $3.99 price point. I’ve said that before, and I’ll keep saying it until it finally drives me to actually, totally give up on new comics completely. Broken record that I am, hating the price point is something that’s there, even when I don’t point it out this redundantly, even when talking about comics I otherwise enjoy.

I’m thoroughly enjoying IDW‘s TMNT reboot. I do kinda miss the classic stuff…and yet, we’re getting the monthly TMNT Color Classics series, which kinda scratches that itch. This new iteration is bringing together the strengths of numerous incarnations of the property, and making even the ridiculous, stupid stuff relevant and workable (take Krang and the Neutrinos, for just two examples). And I wish there was more. Maintaining its level of quality I’d be thrilled to have new in-continuity, pushing-the-overall-events-of-things-forward basically weekly.

But since we have a monthly title, I highly enjoy the companion series–first the “good guys” micro-series, then we had the Secret History of the Foot Clan, and now we’re getting a Villains micro-series. So I’m relatively content with that.

All of the above to get to the point here: this is another great issue of TMNT from IDW. Officially a #2 of a series spotlighting villains (the first having spotlighted Krang) this is also “the” Baxter Stockman “one-shot” or “micro series.”

We get some definite insight into Baxter here–but it continues his ongoing “subplot” in this continuity, as he works on tech stuff, assisting in the building of the Technodrome, the infamous war machine fans of the 1980s’ cartoon series will know quite well. But while the genius works on it, we see that he’s not just some simpering lackey, but has purpose behind his actions, and he’s not some fool playing into the end of the world with any true belief that he’d get anything worthwhile out of his current deal with Krang.

We see moments of Baxter’s past, his dealings with his father–who was a profound influence on him–along with the developments of the “present” plot points. We have the signature mousers about him in his lab, and we get a new toy–a “Flyborg,” a mutant fly armed with cybernetics…the fly being an almost too-obvious (to me) “nod” at the ’80s cartoon (and one that led me to fear Baxter’s fate in this issue). By the end of the issue we see Baxter’s agenda advanced, and pieces on the board have shifted ever so slightly as the ongoing battle situates itself for the larger things yet to come.

The writing keeps to the overall continuity, presents some insight into the character, and reminds me that this is a very good character, and I like it far more than I do the version displayed in the current tv series. I find Baxter far more interesting in control of himself, an intelligent (if a bit mad-scientist-y) individual, clever and not just some whining lackey or mutated bug or bumbling fool.

The art’s not entirely to my liking, though it’s not horrible. It comes off a bit cartooney, if not slightly abstract, and is done a great disservice by the fantastic cover that plants the idea of what the interior OUGHT to be. The story is conveyed and I’m not left scratching my head over what’s going on, really…but this issue definitely is carried on the strength of the story over the art.

Of course, as I’ve also stated numerous times–the TMNT get a sort of “pass” from me on things I typically won’t put up with in any other comics; one of those things is the visuals, as I’m more used to numerous visual interpretations of the characters, even issue-to-issue, due to the simple history of the characters and so many artists working on ’em.

While this issue certainly works best in context of the ongoing continuity, you still get a core story in and of itself in one issue; and if you’re following the TMNT stuff in general, this is well worth snagging.

Finally: this cover would be an excellent poster image…or at least, I’d not be opposed to having a poster of this image on my wall.

Dragonlance: Chronicles #6 [Review]

Quick Rating: Solid
Title: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (chapter 6)

Having been freed by elves from captivity, the companions find themselves witness to the decline of the Qualinesti elves; they also find their next quest in their journey toward saving the world of Krynn…

dragonlancechronicles006Story: Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
Adaptation Script: Andrew Dabb
Pencils: Stefano Raffaele
Colors: Djoko Santiko of IFS
Letters: Steve Seeley
Editor: Mark Powers
Cover Art: A: Steve Kurth and IFS, B: Tyler Walpole
Publisher: Devil’s Due

This is another good/standard issue of the series. It has been thankfully consistent–the story and art continue to work well together, to provide a true adaptation to the original novel (Dragons of Autumn Twilight). Perhaps in contradiction to that, this issue features art by someone other than Kurth. While a side-by-side comparison will undoubtedly reveal difference, taken by itself it works well here. In light of a certain other publisher often combining artists of late on a single issue, that the entirety of this issue is just one is refreshing.

This issue takes the story up with the companions having just been freed from Fewmaster Toede’s slave-train. Their elven rescuers lead them into Qualinost (one of the Elven homelands, but not the original Elven homeland–but that issue doesn’t rear its head til later and isn’t overly relevant here). Once in Qualinost, we view some of the past come back to haunt Tanis, and get to see Tasselhoff marvel at what must’ve been (in his eyes) quite the childhood for the half-elf. The companions then take on a task from the Speaker of the Sun and head for Pax Tharkas.

The story itself is faithful at its heart if not word-for-word to the source material. The only real gripe I have on that angle with this issue is that here we see Tanis deliberately acquire a particular sword, whereas the original novel had him fumble for a weapon, and belatedly realize what he’d acquired, which added a bit more wonder to the weapon as well as what the companions face. Ultimately it is a minor detail, one that works well in prose format, but like a movie, not every minute detail can be adapted, and it’s better that detail is cut than something more integral to the story.

This is a fantasy comic/story, and based on what Hickman himself considers the weakest of these original novels. As such, you will find aspects of the familiar here. The creature the companions face seems drastically out of place given the sort of story here (I can think of no other examples of such a creature encountered anywhere else in the Dragonlance mythos–if anyone else can, I’d be interested in having that noted). However, from a story that was based strongly on a new Dungeons & Dragons module at the time, such a creature is just another generic sort that gives an excuse for a fight. In this story, it serves to introduce a new aspect to a just-met character that will serve a much larger role later in the Chronicles saga, if not this specific arc.

We’re six issues in, and have covered a lot of ground. As I understand it, we’ve two chapters left to conclude this mini/arc. If you’ve not followed along thus far, this won’t be a particularly good point to jump in. If you’re following it, though, don’t bail now!


Story: 3/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Golly! #4 [Review]

The Coven of Candy Creek Court, part one

Story: Phil Hester
Art: Brook Turner
Cover: Tyler Walpole
Digital Inks & Colors: Bruce McCorkindale
Letters: Aaron Gillespie
Publisher: Image Comics

I’d nearly forgotten about this series–been a couple months at least sinced the last issue. Seems this is going to be one of those series that comes out sporadically–perhaps by the arc, with gaps between stories–so I’m a little bit iffy on keeping with it. Something about the series’ first three issues, though, had me interested enough to see where this concept could go beyond that initial story, so I wound up with this issue in my hands.

We pick up with the cast in a bit of slice-of-life type action around the carnival as they interact with attendees. However, they (relatively) soon figure out what their next “mission” is, and set upon its undertaking. This mission involves sex-vampires and their dark master, and leaves our “heroes” in an interesting situation when they visit the vampires’ apparent home–discovering their sustenance–and getting an up-close and personal meeting with their master.

The story and characters seem to be fairly stock figures, still…nothing all that deep. There’s potential, of course, but whatever I thought of the first arc, right now for this issue I feel like most of the plot is rather cliche. Amidst the cliche, there’s a definite irreverence to the story and characters. One who “gets” such irreverence should find plenty of fun gags and such throughout the issue.

The visuals are pretty good, and I have little trouble telling characters apart or following what’s going on…and I am thankful that a couple plot-points were kept mostly off-panel.

All in all, if friends who are part of a carnival traveling the country to participate in a mostly-aborted semi-Apocalypse sounds at all interesting to you, this’ll be your thing. For that matter, it actually does come off better than that sounds. This is no Hellblazer, but you could do far worse for your money.

And hey…it’s full-color-full-size issue, for only $3.50. I don’t like going above $3 for my comics, but for the moment I’ll make OCCASIONAL exceptions to support books that are slightly more reasonably-priced than a certain marvelous competitor.

Not recommended for the weak-stomached.

Story: 6/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 6.5/10

Golly! #3 [Review]

The Were-Hog of Siloville part 3

Story: Phil Hester
Art: Brook Turner
Cover: Tyler Walpole
Colors: Rick Hiltbrunner
Letters: Sean Konot
Publisher: Image Comics

Golly! is a rather…interesting…series. Mini-series, rather, as this is the third/final issue that I’m aware of. Basically, you have Golly–a “carny”–who has had an experience with a “divine entity” that told him about an aborted apocalypse that will be put on only to go through the motions, and that Golly gets to play a key part in the overall experience. Golly is imbued with great power (if very little responsibility) and a can of his best friend’s ashes–ashes “posessed” BY his friend (who is also a mentor-type). Golly has been tasked to deal with Brother Dare–a roaming televangelist-type by day, were-hog by night. Far from alone, Golly is backed by his carnival colleagues.

This issue opens with the group attempting to get one single drop of “holy water” into contact with the were-hog, the failure of which results in some fairly dirty innuendo. The townsfolk get their crack at the were-hog while Golly & co. form a plan involving bait and getting the were-hog to run up a slide…a plan that goes badly almost from the get-go. The ending was predictable, but well within-character as things have been set up throughout this mini.

The story itself is a bit crude, but somewhat interesting,if only for dealing with character-types I don’t usually find in comics. I can’t help but wonder, though, at the likely stereotypes found and how they’ll come across to others…especially given my distaste for the portrayal of Brother Dare and the stereotype that would seem to perpetuate.

This is yet another comic with art by someone I don’t recognize, so I’ve no point of comparison there. However, the art conveys the story very well and certainly fits it…enhances it. The story itself wouldn’t be at full strength without the visuals provided that set the tone/environment of events that unfold.

All in all, I’m not entirely sure why I picked up this series–I think that the first issue was discussed on the Alternate Reality podcast. At a mere 3 issues, I suspect that this will make a better “graphic novel” than it did “mini-series,” and unless you can snag all 3 issues at cover price or below, I’d recommend waiting for a collected volume. This definitely skirts the edges of my tolerance for its type of story, and certainly would not recommend this for kids nor the weak of stomach.

Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 7.5/10

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