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CSBG Archive

Free Comic Book Day Comics Review!

The definitive word on the quality of comics you can no longer obtain. I believe President Obama would call it “The Horse Is Already Out Of The Barn Comics Review”.

Just to not make this completely pointless, I’m going to grade all of these comics I picked up on two criteria. The first is whether I liked them or not, but the second is whether it makes me want to purchase the comics they’re advertising on this, the greatest/only comic nerd holiday, at least until we can get Jack Kirby’s birthday and R. Crumb’s sexual deviance day declared as such, as the rightfully should be. Well start with the gimmee of the lot:

Love And Rockets
Did I Like It? Yes. It’s Love and Rockets.

Will I Buy More Of This Series? Yes. It’s Love and Rockets. Okay, I haven’t read it yet, but c’mon, it’s Love and Rockets! By now, your only concern with appraising it should be whether you like Beto or Jaime more, or simply have no soul.

Now the rest.

The Avengers
Did I Like It? Yeah, it was okay. It was a perfectly good self contained Avengers story, especially considering that sort of thing isn’t playing to Bendis’s strengths. It seems like as good an entry level story for the current Avengers/Marvel U as possible, as it establishes the status quo of the two Avengers teams well (and even gives a plausible reason for Osborn’s team to let the outlaw team go). Other than some annoying narration from Spider-Man, nothing really bothered me about it. Nice to see Jim Cheung on interiors too, especially on a fairly high profile comic, especially since Bendis gave him some cool visuals to work with.

Will I Buy The Series? Maybe. I’ve been fairly underwhelmed by what I’ve read of Bendis’s Avengers in the past; I haven’t thought it was terrible, but it’s nothing I’d want to buy monthly. Part of that is my general apathy for the Avengers. That said, I like most of the New Avengers cast and one of my favorite artists, Stuart Immonen, is taking over pencils on that comic soon, so I may give it another try soon. Didn’t do much to make me care about Dark Avengers, but that’s an uphill battle, even if I thought the first issue was okay.

Wolverine: Origin Of An X-Man
Did I Like It? Yeah, I did. It’s basically Marvel Adventures: Wolverine by Fred Van Lente and Gurihiru, so it was kind of hard not to. Van Lente’s Wolverine is a little bit more of a wisecracker than I’m used to, but it worked for the tone of the story. It’s also pretty funny that Wolverine uses the power of cognitive psychology to win the battle, which makes it more useful to him than my experiences with it have been to me.

Will I Buy The Series? Well, if Van Lente ever does writer Marvel Adventures Wolverine, maybe. I found it pretty easy to drop the similar Wolverine: First Class despite the fact that a Wolverine and Kitty Pryde Team-Up book set during the days when Kitty first joined the team was pandering really heavily to me. The fact that they turned Kitty in to a furry in the last issue I purchased probably did the trick there, though. Provided this is more than a one off, I’d be more than willing to pick up an all ages Wolvie comic with this creative team every once in a while, when I’m in the mood for good, self contained, and light hearted superhero comics and had an extra $3 in my pocket. Did I qualify that enough?

Blackest Night #0
Did I Like It? Not really. Two old guys who used to be dead mope around in a cemetery and talk about how they used to be dead. Then they talk about bunch of their super friends are dead now. Then, some dude I’m vaguely aware of shows up and is going to turn those dead super friends in to zombie lanterns or something in the big summer crossover I have no interest in following. That’s your plot synopsis right there. There are also some pinup Secret File entries about the color spectrum lanterns, and not even Doug Mahnke art can make me take that concept seriously.

Will I Buy More Of The Series? No, because it’s leading in to a big summer crossover I have no interest in. That and I think both Hal and Barry should be dead, as I’ve only ever found them interesting in stories set in the era they were created for. Oh, and it’s by Geoff Johns, a writer who winds up being overrated by the people who think he’s great and underrated by the people who think his work is radioactive shit poison. When I meet him in the middle of that, he tends to underwhelm me. I do feel like I haven’t given the man a fair shake and should read more of his work, but this isn’t going to be the series of comics where I do that.

Resurrection/Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen Oni Two-In-One
Did I Like It? Resurrection, an alien invasion story by Marc Guggenheim and Justin Greenwood, was a good self contained lead in to the forthcoming re-launch of the ongoing. It tells a full story set in the world Guggenheim and Greenwood have created while leaving enough mystery to make me want to find out more about what they’re up to. So that was actually pretty great, given the purpose of FCBD. The Tek Jansen back up had a couple of cute jokes, but wasn’t nearly as funny as the animated shorts that inspired it.

Will I Buy The Series(es)? I may very well give Resurrection a shot at some point. The fact that the trade of the 2007 version of the series is $7 is another incentive. That, and I’ve generally enjoyed Guggenheim’s Spider-Man, so that’s another mark in its favor. I think I’ll get my Tek Jansen fix from the actual Colbert Show installments, if I ever actually need a Tek Jansen fix. The joke of a conservative pundit writing self indulgent fiction about a thinly veiled version of himself only works there, I think. The creative team’s creator owned book, Maintenance, sounds like something I might like, though, so I promise to give that a fair shot.

Red 5 Comics Sampler (Well, that’s what I’m calling it)
Did I Like It? Not Atomic Robo, no sir. I did not like it. Can’t say that at all.

I LOVED IT. If I had an Eisner vote, it would be my front runner for best short story of the year. Which could be why I don’t have an Eisner vote, sure, but that’s just because those elitist fat cats are too stupid to acknowledge the genius of a story called “Why Atomic Robo Hates Dr. Dinosaur.” I won’t spoil it for you if you either didn’t get the issue of haven’t read it yet, but either way, you’re in for a treat when you do experience it for the first time (I’m sure it will be in a future trade, just like last year’s story was). The other two stories are vignettes from two new comics, Drones and We Kill Monsters. They establish the premise of each series well, and are both solid pieces of work, but neither really wowed me.

Will I Buy The Series(es)? I already bought an Atomic Robo trade and enjoyed it immensely, so yeah, I will be buying more AR volumes in the future (I know a new mini started this week, but I’m waiting for the trade, as I do with all Hellboy style “wise assed, working class supernatural pulp hero” style comics. I’m set in my ways there). If the other two series get good word of mouth I may give them a shot, but Robo was really the star of the show here.

Love and Capes #10
Did I Like It? Yeah. I received a review copy of the series months ago and enjoyed it. Everything I said about it then holds true now (on a side note, I am so sorry for all the typos in that review. I make no apologies for any in this one). It’s a well done, pleasant slice of life/superhero book. If you’re the kind of person who judges the quality of your comics by panels, Zahler’s got you covered there, too, as he uses a lot of eight panel grids.

They used to make a lot more of these at the beginning of the decade, didn’t they? Nice to see someone still at it and making an organic story out of it instead of a thinly veiled attempt at appealing to the superhero and indie crowds. Oh, and it had this ad, which is the single greatest thing ever.

Will I Buy The Series? Yeah, I could see getting the trade easily. I was especially impressed that Zahler offered a full issue of the series here instead of a short story or excerpt. That’s nice to see, and I should probably reward him for it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1
Did I Like It? Yeah, although I was looking at it more as a historical curiosity, really. I was in the age group where Turtle mania spread virally, and was a big fan for years, so it was interesting to see where that whole phenomenon started. It was also interesting to see how big the Frank Miller influence really was, although it’s not like they were trying to hide it, between the dedication at the front of the book to the Daredevil allusion. For a self published black and white indie comic from two amateur, it’s decent work, although it’s kind of amazing they made a franchise out of it that still endures today.

Will I Buy The Series? I’m tempted to get what the “Essential” style collection of the black and white issues they advertised in the back, but probably won’t. This sampling of what they were like before they became mass marketed was fine, but I’m not sure I want to read too many more grim ‘n’ gritty TMNT comics.

So, those are my thoughts on the free comics I picked up yesterday. I wish I had a final thought like Jerry Springer or Dr. McNinja, but I do not. Other than that I should totally write some fan fic about Dr. McNinja appearing on Jerry Springer’s show now.

34 Comments

TMNT and Love and Rockets were the big ones for me going in, but I think Owly and Friends has been the highlight of what I got so far. I definitely want pick up some more Owly, Korgi, and Yam.

Hmmmm…I’ve never given much thought to the free comic/”will I buy more” connection, since I have a pretty strict regiment of what I get. From the 4 books I got (Avengers, Blackest Night, Archie, and DC Kids Sampler), I’ll be getting more Blackest Night. The “DC Zombies” prospect intrigues me as a Marvel Zombies fan (realizing that they’re two completely different stories).

I already get Tiny Titans and Brave & The Bold for my kid, so the DC Sampler was just more of the same on that front.

Kevin Childs

May 3, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Your comments about Geoff Johns and Green Lantern are not even worth merit or attention. You must have your pencil stuck up your arse or something.

Actually, even though I’m somewhat looking forward to Blackest Night, his comments are fairly accurate and even-handed.

I found Blackest Knight to be the most interesting of the main franchise offerings, but purely for the back-up material detailing the multi-colored Lantern Corps. There’s a lot of potential to those weird, emotionally-chromatic alien characters; I’m even disregarding the fact that the main story was effectively just two old men whining about their mortality because the designs in the back were so compelling.

The Avengers book was effective if not particularly unique, and the tie-ins to movies and cartoons were largely forgettable, but a free issue of Thomas Zahler’s Love and Capes strip was compelling enough to make me want to read the comic on Zahler’s site; excellent slice-of-life superhero story with a great art style, and recommended to any fans of love or capes. And my store was giving out free copies of the ” After Watchmen ” first issues of various DC-published classics, so if I were a new reader, I could see myself getting hooked on Preacher, Transmet, and ASS.

Kevin:

Really? I thought the Johns/GL comments were pointed and well-deserved. I was kind of interested in Darkest Night until I read that book. I keep trying to get into DC’s events, presumably like most FCBD shoppers. This one (yet again) just doesn’t make sense to me. I was particularly annoyed by the weird preemptive apology by Geoff Johns at the end of the story. “I know, events suck, but I promise this one is good, because I’m writing it, please please buy it.”.

Anyway, as always, the Owly story was great. I was especially excited to see the Johnny Boo stories. The FCHS Adhouse book was a little disappointing. ALWAYS love a good Nancy story, though, so thanks for that one! Finally, I grabbed a Gemstone EC sampler, but I swear I’ve read those stories before – maybe my LCS put out an old freebie.

How perfect that such a juvenile comment would come from a guy named “Childs”.

I thought the Savage Dragon free issue was the best of the bunch. I’ve never read Dragon before, and I was really impressed by it. It’s sort of an old school feel and I like how events which changed the status quo actually seem permanent. The kids grow up, the wife stay dead, etc. I’m definitely going to check out future issues if I can find them.

Blackest Night #0 was pretty awful, honestly. I can’t see it appealing to anyone that wasn’t already completely sold on the Blackest Night event long in advance of reading it. It’s a gigantic block of whiny, self-pitying exposition between Hal and Barry followed by the reveal of the Black Lantern Oath, not exactly thrilling to new readers.

Compare this to something like Warhammer Online: Prelude to War, BOOM!’s FCBD offering, which has a similar goal of establishing the setting for a massive fantasy war story. In this, we get a good deal of exposition about the forces of chaos as well as a clear delineation between the ideologies of 3 of the Gods of Chaos, but it’s given in a series of action sequences that would grab and hold people’s attention far more than two grown men in spandex costumes standing around a cemetary talking to each other.

I only picked up one free comic and that was Love & Rockets. Since its my all time favorite comic I loved it. Seeing any new L&R work before the yearly solicit made me happy. The LCS owner threw me a copy of the Bongo Comics one too. I love that Bongo does a new comic for thier free comic day; very humorous and cute.

An unexpected favorite for me was the Nancy/Melvin Monster flip book, for sheer production quality alone.
I’m also psyched about the TMNT, Love & Rockets, and Savage Dragon books.

Mike Loughlin

May 3, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Atomic Robo was great. I’d never read any Atomic Robo books, despite the good reviews, but I’m going to get the trades at some point. Nancy/ Melvin the Monster was good fun. I’d buy an affordable collection on John Stanley’s work. Blackest Night was pretty blah, but, for some reason, those stupid rainbow lanterns intrigue me. It must be the Mahnke art. My 4 year-old son picked out the Wolverine book (we arrived late in the day, and only half the FCBD offerings were left, so no Owly) and liked it.

My 2 year-old grabbed the Avengers book, and ripped a few pages out. Maybe she was annoyed by Spider-Man’s narration, too.

Events don’t suck. They are the only thing keeping superhero comics alive. Events create enough interest to raise sales so that sales don’t drop too low.

Many people come online to complain about events, but sales always soar during events.

@Kevin:
When You Are Ready To Have A Serious Conversation About Green Lantern…
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/25842

Did anyone pick up “The Stuff of Legend”? That was pretty sweet, and the art is amazing.

And I don’t know, man, “The Blackest Night Prelude” is good primer. A few weeks ago, I got hooked on Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, and I gotta tell ya, man, I’m freakin’ stoked. I avoid crossovers as well, but the War of Light is looking to be the shit.

Well, I say to each their own.
I enjoyed all of Blackest Night #0 because I care about the characters in it, which made the “whining” between the two “old men” of interest to me. This book was obviously just to whet the fans appetites, and it did its job. This big event is probably the first I can recall that I am looking forward to not because it is a big event per se, but because of the story it is going to tell. It really looks to be a blast!

Green Lantern (and to a slightly lesser extent GLC) is one of the few DC books that remains consistently good every week and hasn’t been completely screwed over in one way or another in the last year or two. While not everything in GL has blown me away Rebirth really hooked me into the Green Lantern lore, Sinestro Corps was probably the best example of how to do an “event”, and both GL books have remained quality titles that I enjoy each month. The Blackest Night preview was interesting but nothing spectacular, but when it comes to GL I’ve learned to give Johns the benefit of the doubt. I think over the last few years with the title he’s earned that much.

Meant “every month” in the above post.

Kevin Childs

May 4, 2009 at 5:44 am

Firstly, Apodaca, I’ve had comments about my name for many years. It’s never been imaginative or funny. (Is that a drawn-on eye on your head?!)
Secondly. I agree with Randy B. What Geoff Johns has done for the Green Lantern mythos in his corner of the DC Universe is superlative compared to most other hero output over the past few years. I await with great excitement!

As I’ve whined elsewhere, my LCS of choice didn’t offer LOVE & CAPES, which I’ve been buying, reading & loving from pretty close to Day One. Oh, well.

I’m hoping one shows up for sale at a normal price, &/or Thom Z. brings out a regularly priced reprint (as was the case last year, when the other LCS here *did* carry the FBCD ish … I wound up giving away my copy to another customer who’d missed getting one, then buying the regularly priced ish when it came out later, simply because I am, in some ways, an utterly awesome individual.)

Do the Green Lantern Corps even DO any actual policing anymore, or are the two books so tied up in stories that “impact” the Corps?
That’s what I always found to be Johns fault with JSA. I actually enjoyed quite a few of his stories on that title, particularly in Volume 1. But when you look back at the book, it’s all about “so and so villain’s plan to attack the JSA this week.”
Honestly, I think the world would have been a lot safer if the JSA actually disbanded.
That’s what his Corps has become. I read the newest Green Lantern Corps book from the start when Gibbons was the writer and occasional artist through Sinestro Corps War. Honestly, I thought Gibbons and Johns did a good job rebuilding the concept.
And Gibbons in particular had some nice stories about the Corps actually going out and doing police work.
But as soon as Gibbons left the book and it became clear Johns was making it ABOUT the Corps mythos as opposed to about STORIES involving the Corps, I was out.
As far as I can tell, every recent issue of the Corps or Green Lantern for the past year has been about introducing a new “color” Corps or about milking the Sinestro Corps war even further.
For some reason it’s like DC just CAN’T get the GLC concept right.
Pick up some of the recent trade collections of the old GLC backup tales. One or two parters that told neat little sci fi yarns involving some cool, in many cases quite inventive (Mogo) alien lanterns.
That’s what the GLC book should be about. Exploring new worlds and races and neat little police procedurals and mysteries etc etc etc. Instead it’s all about the Corps and threats to the Corps. Bleh.

And John Stanley is a freaking genius, one of the five-or-so best writers in ‘Merican corporate comics, like, ever. (According to me.) Melvin Monster is probably my most anticipated comic of the next twelve months.

This is going to be weird-sounding, but Blackest Night 0 felt more like it should have been a low-priced book a la the Batman ones they used to kick off Murderer / Fugitive, not something for FCBD. I liked the backup material a lot more than the main story (my admitted bias towards Kyle and Wally coming into play there), and next year I kind of want DC to just put out a Who’s Who as their FCBD offering.

The Avengers issue was everything I don’t like about the Bendis-era Avengers wrapped up in one neat package, with the exception that, for once, a plot that should be dealt with in one issue is actually dealt with in one issue. But does anyone at Marvel have the guts to tell Bendis “okay, this dialogue is cute, but it’s unnecessary to tell your story” anymore? You could read every second dialogue balloon and probably still get most of the story.

Brian is totally right about how Gleen Lantern Corps series has been damaged by the necessity to support all these big events. I really liked how it started, how Gibbons wrote these “small”, occasionally light and humorous sci-fi/police stories, and how he used the multiple protagonists nature of the series to develop all sorts of weird and cool characters. The current writer isn’t bad at this either, but I think GLC really suffers from needing to tie in with the Multicolour Lantern hulabaloo taking place in the main book. GLC is still better than the main GL book, mainly because the writing is better and GLC actually has some interesting characters, whereas GL has Hal Jordan, one of the dullest superheroes ever. I think GLC would really benefit if the stories were told on a smaller scale again, because the whole concept works better when it’s character-driven rather than event-driven. So I’m hoping that after The Blackest Night the GL books will go into some sort of status quo, and no Big Crossover Event will disrupt that status quo for at least a few years. GLC could then be a nice read again.

>>This is going to be weird-sounding, but Blackest Night 0 felt more like it should have been a low-priced book a la the Batman ones they used to kick off Murderer / Fugitive,<<

Maybe that’s why my LCS was charging 50 cents a copy for anyone who didn’t already have Blackest Night on their pull list. (At least, they announced that’s what they were going to do … I [a] didn’t care — I avoid all the events from both companies & [b] didn’t see any copies by the time I made it to the store).

The Stuff of Legend… The art work was amazing! This was a new publisher for our comic book shop, if not for Free Comic Book Day never would have found it. Did anyone have thoughts on it?

Personally, I found the “Love and Rockets” book incomprehsible to the point of being irritating. Yes, the art was very nice, but I’d like something a little less self-referential.

The highlight for me — by far — was the Stanley book. I loved “Thirteen Going on Eighteen” as a kid, and it wa s treat to re-read “Nancy” and “Melvin” after all these years.

“Firstly, Apodaca, I’ve had comments about my name for many years. It’s never been imaginative or funny. (Is that a drawn-on eye on your head?!)”

It wasn’t meant to be imaginative or funny. It was meant to be derisive and dismissive. I think it succeeded pretty well.

Yes, it is. Gasp! A symbol of enlightenment! How shocking!

I managed to miss Free Comic Book Day for the fourth year in a row!

John Stanley’s wonderful run on Little Lulu is in print from Dark Horse in 18 affordable collections. Mike Loughlin and everybody else should check them out here.

“Maybe that’s why my LCS was charging 50 cents a copy for anyone who didn’t already have Blackest Night on their pull list.”

This violates the terms and spirit of FCBD. Please report them to Diamond. Publicly out them, too.

My LCS had no TMNT, no Love & Rockets, no Atomic Robo, no Love and Capes. Except for TMNT, i have not read any of those others and would have loved to give them a shot. And I don’t know about anyone else, but the Owly they were offering was the same as last year!

They did have plenty of Avengers and Blackest Night, both of which I actually enjoyed, not following either series. Cars was good too.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

May 6, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Your comments about Geoff Johns and Green Lantern are not even worth merit or attention. You must have your pencil stuck up your arse or something.

Yeah Curran, you fascist Nazi!
How dare you say some people love him a little too much, some hate him a little too much, and you yourself only find him alright !
Who do you think you are, you judgemental, condescending arse pencil sitter!

Firstly, Apodaca, I’ve had comments about my name for many years. It’s never been imaginative or funny. (Is that a drawn-on eye on your head?!)
Secondly. I agree with Randy B. What Geoff Johns has done for the Green Lantern mythos in his corner of the DC Universe is superlative compared to most other hero output over the past few years. I await with great excitement!

He wasn’t really making fun of your name, he was making fun of what a sad sack, lacking perspective androids dungeon style of fan you seem to be.
I’m enjoying Green Lantern, but it saddens me to enjoy something that you also enjoy.

[...] Comic Book Resources Did I Like It? Not Atomic Robo, no sir. I did not like it. Can’t say that at all. [...]

[...] Brad Curran, CBR… It’s a well done, pleasant slice of life/superhero book…They used to make a lot more of these at the beginning of the decade, didn’t they? Nice to see someone still at it and making an organic story out of it instead of a thinly veiled attempt at appealing to the superhero and indie crowds. [...]

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