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NUMBER 1 BULLETS: 08-12-15

 

We're trying something new with Number One Bullets going forward. Now, we're going to review as many first issues each week as we can possibly get our hands on from all publishers! The article will go up on Fridays instead of Wednesdays to accommodate, but we don't think you'll mind [Editor's Note: Yeah, we're a little late this time...] Let us know if you like the new format!

This week, the Number One Bullets team takes a look at Adam.3 #1, King Tiger #1, DC Comics Bombshells #1, Justice League: Gods and Monsters #1, Boy-1 #1, Garbage Pail Kids Go Hollywood #1, String Divers #1, X-Files Season 11 #1, Apollo IX #1, The Beauty #1, and Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #1.

 

 

Adam.3 #1 (Dark Horse)-

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(W/A/CA) Scott Kolins
Award-winning writer/artist Scott Kolins (Past Aways, The Flash, The Avengers) premieres his first original comic book creation: ADAM.3! A man born into a futuristic island utopia fights to save his troubled family as terrifying visions of a monstrous doom foretell the end to his Eden! Can Adam and his family survive S.E.E.D.S.?

I approached Adam.3 from Dark Horse Comics with little foreknowledge of what the book was about, and after finishing it I still feel completely lost.  Lots of comics these days use a cold open for a first issue, slowly filling in a sense of setting and place over time.  I am perfectly fine with this practice, but with this title it felt very off-putting.  Scott Kolins sets up a great mix of Sci-Fi and a jungle book aesthetic, yet there is zero indication of how this world works.  A large portion of the issue is dedicated to Adam and his conversations with the local animal life, then we are hit with an omen of dark things to come and finally the late introduction of a young man that is or is not his child and an attempted murder of his wife.  I want to like this more than I did.  The setting is fun, the art is amazing, and the intrigue is there, yet I just have no idea what is going on or who these people are.  I will give it one more issue to try and fill out some of these blank spaces before passing final judgement.  I will say that despite my misgivings, it is a very interesting title that readers should at least flip through and see if it grabs them. (Geoff)

 

King Tiger #1 (Dark Horse)-

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(W) Randy Stradley (A) Doug Wheatley (CA) Doug Wheatley
Blood, death, and fire—the darkest kind of magic. A monstrous secret from King Tiger’s past has found the mystic warrior, but can Tiger’s skills and sorcery triumph against an unthinkable supernatural obscenity linked to his own destiny? If the Tiger falls, the Dragon will rise!

Another one of those "walked into the film late" feelings. King Tiger #1 may be a first issue, but it's definitely not the first part of the story. I'm assuming that was in a title named Blackout. In any case, pick up the Blackout series before reading this, or at least the forth issue. All that said, the writing is solid, the art is pretty great, and the story sets up an interesting road for our hero, King tiger, and his cohorts to travel. The issue was fairly light on the Kung Fu action, which is what I was really hoping. But there's something good here. I'll track down Blackout myself and give this one more issue. Maybe you should, too. (Joe)

 

DC Comics Bombshells #1 (DC)-

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(W) Marguerite Bennett (A) Marguerite Sauvage (CA) Ant Lucia
The ultra-popular statues from DC Collectibles come to life in their own ongoing comic book series! Learn the story behind this alternate reality where the Second World War is fought by superpowered women on the front lines and behind the scenes! It all begins with the stories of Batwoman, Wonder Woman and Supergirl.

Fun! I wasn't expecting this digital-first title to be as enjoyable as it is. Witness the dawn of the WWII era hometown heroines! The Batwoman! The Wonder Woman! The Supergirl! The Star Girl! Picking up on cues left to us by history books, writer Marguerite Bennett takes a concept created by DC for a line of statues and turns it into something worth reading with an interesting take on a lot of familiar names. This isn't the first time you've seen DC's heroes in a WWII setting, but this is the first time it's been done in this fashion. Newcomer (to comics) Marguerite Sauvage brings her unique style to this project (though at times had a little difficulty with unique faces), and Ant Lucia kills it with his cover. Check these stories out. Nothing mind-blowing or groundbreaking, but s fresh and novel take on female heroes that many are sure to enjoy. (Joe)

 

Justice League: Gods and Monsters #1 (DC)-

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(W) J. M. DeMatteis, Bruce Timm (A) Thony Silas (CA) Darick Robertson
Prequel to the DC Universe movie Justice League: Gods & Monsters! Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman: three powerful and dangerous loners, drawn together by a man who claims he can bring humanity to the next level of evolution. But are Jackson Alpert and his immortal Forever People what they claim to be? Will they save the Earth-or conquer it?

Top-notch writing from DeMatteis, quite fitting art by Silas, and an interesting take on some somewhat familiar faces. But, I still don't care as much as I want to. When Gods and Monsters (the animated film) was first announced, I was curious. When I found out that the main characters were not just alternate versions of the DC Trinity, but altogether new characters (for the most part), my curiosity lessened. This story here sets up the film, and it is enjoyable. I guess I'm just not sold on the concept. All that said, I think the idea of Kirk Langstrom as Batman is intriguing and this comic did make me want to watch the film just a little bit more. Maybe it'll do the same for you... (Joe)

 

Boy-1 #1 (IDW)-

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(W) H.S. Tak (A) Amancay Nahuelpan (CA) Zach Howard
In the fast-approaching future, when the drug-addled heir of a genetic-engineering company begins to investigate his company's murky past, he discovers he is the catalyst in a terrifying global event that will transform him and forever alter the course of human evolution.

IDW Comics brings us Boy-1, written by H.S. Tak with art by Amancay Nahuelpan.  Jadas is a young, brilliant genetic scientist trying to drive his late father's company to the forefront of science via the creation of the super human, yet not is all as it seems.  Boy-1 grabbed me right from the start with a compelling main character and a near-future setting that just fit so well together.  The art compliments the setting and tone extremely well and not once did I feel pulled out of the story due to bad pacing or characters that were drawn too similar to tell apart.  I will not spoil the twist at the end, but I will tell you that I did not see it coming at all and it left me wanting to read the next issue.  The only fault with this story was the endless pop culture references.  Subtle references are fine, but for such a well-written story to beat you over the head with Sci-Fi movie name-dropping really pulled me out of the story.  You can write a story with a genetically modified Chimpanzee without referencing Planet of the Apes; and you can have a super computer in your story without likening it to HAL-9000.  It's lazy, stop it.  Everything else was gold ... check this one out! (Geoff)

 

Garbage Pail Kids Go Hollywood #1 (IDW)-

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(W) Bob Fingerman & Various (A) Jeff Zapata, Various (CA) Mark Pingatore
Everyone's a critic! Join the Garbage Pail Kids as they put the spotlight on summer's top GROSSing movies!

I'm going to waste as little of your time as possible. This new Garbage Pail Kids special focuses on Hollywood blockbusters old and new. Yet it feels exactly like every other GPK comic IDW has put out, and that is probably intentional. So, if you liked any of the previous GPK issues from IDW, then you'll enjoy this and should pick it up. Everyone else should move on (and I'm someone who finds fart jokes hilarious). (Joe)

 

String Divers #1 (IDW)-

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(W) Chris Ryall (A) Nelson Daniel (CA) Ashley Wood
Meet the String Divers! A renegade team called upon to save the universe from arcane threats at the sub-microscopic level! String theory made real, and real thrilling, in "Unified Chaos Theory," part 1!

You can say one thing for an Ashley Wood/Chris Ryall book:  They are just going to keep throwing things at the wall and every one of those things will be to make the book as fun as humanly (or in this case, androidly) possible.  These guys have no room for any rules whatsoever.  So when you read a book by them about Android explorers and adventurers who are set to test out string physics theory, you of course expect them to end up in a subatomic world filled with android insect/bat-type things.  What is "string theory" you may ask?  Doesn't really matter, it's really just an excuse to send robots into crazy worlds and have scientists watch.  And that's all we, as readers, really need to know.  Each of the androids is known by itss color and matching task.  The fighting robot of course wants to punch everything.  Things go wrong, calamity ensues, and more explorers are needed.  This is a book that is strictly designed to get you to turn the page and be amazed at what comes next and for the most part, it does exactly that.  The main downside to this book is that it's an Ashley Wood creation with no Ashley Wood artwork.  Not that it's poorly drawn, quite the opposite, but Wood is such a distinct artist you always wonder exactly what his real vision for the book was and what he could do with it. (Sam)

 

X-Files Season 11 #1 (IDW)-

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(W) Joe Harris (A) Matthew Dow Smith (CA) Menton3
Mulder has become a fugitive from a government that considers him a "secrets stealer" on the order of Julian Assange or Edward Snowden thanks to the mechanizations of "The Glasses-Wearing Man." It's up to Scully, and what allies Mulder has left, to work to clear his name and keep the government itself from falling further into the villain's clutches.

Writer Joe Harris and artist Matthew Dow Smith are bringing X-Files Season 11 to IDW Comics, and it's off to a pretty good start.  I feel the main hurdle in a comic like this is to find the voice of the characters, and in this issue I can definitely hear Mulder and Scully just as I remembered them from years of following the X-Files TV show.  The art is well done, capturing likenesses of the actors as well as keeping with the rather muted tone of the series.  The only fault in the art is a lackluster portrayal of one action scene that just felt completely out of place, like a poorly drawn 'judo chop' to the knee ... other than that it does a good job of pacing and moving from panel to panel.  The story is a good setup of a larger mystery, even pulling in fan-favorite guest stars The Lone Gunmen ... a trio of conspiracy theorists who have aided Mulder in the past.  My only real complaint with the the story is this Gibson character, who I assume is a hold over from the Season 10 comic which I did not read.  The X-Files has always flirted with the supernatural, but this character displays overt telekinesis, telepathy, and apparent communication with animals ... it just felt out of place to me.  Then again, this could have all been fleshed out and explained in Season 10 and that is just something I am missing as a new reader.  Over all I really liked the issue and it's a great time to get back into The X-Files with the new TV series starting in just a few months. (Geoff)

 

Apollo IX #1 (Image/Top Cow)-

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(W) Ashley Robinson (A/CA) Fernando Argosino
FROM THE PAGES OF IXth GENERATION! Apollo IX is a ruthless scientist who uses his beauty in order to get his work done for him. Eros and Psyche are two of his brightest protégés, but will they live to see their contributions to Apollo IX's latest experiment come to life?

These solo entries into the world of Aphrodite IX are getting better each month, and the world-building linking them together is bringing me back each time in anticipation for the new series.  Where as Artemis IX was a detached, ruthless dictator, Apollo IX is a scientist at heart who shows just enough of a glimmer of humanity to make him interesting.  Written by Ashley Victoria Robinson with art by Fernando Argosino, this latest number one issues from Image comics continues the walk through the world divided up between the various IXth Generation beings who rule over humanity.  As stated, the slightly softer touch of Apollo IX is a welcome departure from sheer ruthlessness portrayed by his siblings in the previous two issues.  However, this very subtle weakness is exploited in gruesome fashion by his kinfolk as well as his own underlings.  The art is a bit of a departure from the previous entries as it does not adhere to the Top Cow house style quite as much, but a side benefit of this departure is the fact that Argosino is far better at conveying emotion.  This was a fun read, the best in the series so far.  Next month we go under the sea with Poseidon IX, and I am definitely looking forward to that story. (Geoff)

 

The Beauty #1 (Image)-

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(W) Jeremy Haun, James A. Hurley (A/CA) Jeremy Haun
THE PILOT SEASON WINNER RETURNS! Modern society is obsessed with outward beauty. What if there was a way to guarantee you could become more and more beautiful every day? What if it was a sexually transmitted disease? In the world of The Beauty, physical perfection is attainable. The vast majority of the population has taken advantage of it, but Detectives Foster and Vaughn will soon discover it comes at a terrible price. Writer/artist JEREMY HAUN (Constantine, Batwoman) and co-writer JASON A. HURLEY offer up a startling reflection on the cost of looking good in this procedural science fiction tale.

So the first thing you should know is that this is a reprint, not a continuation of, the 2011 Top Cow Pilot Season winner, The Beauty. I did not know that till after I read it. Still, as that 2011 issue slipped under my radar, this was all fresh to me. And it is pretty damn good, people. A Sci-Fi twist on a societal study tale, The Beauty takes vanity and sex to a whole new level. It's a disease people want ... and I can understand why. Solid, procedural writing combined with engaging art and a high-level concept make a winner. If you missed the 2011 Pilot Season Special, fear not: BloodyDisgusting.com has it for you to read for free, so you have no excuse. And then come back next month for #2. I know I will! (Joe)

 

Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #1 (Image)-

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(W) Kieron Gillen (A/CA) Jamie McKelvie
The team behind the New York Times bestselling and Eisner-nominated smash hit THE WICKED + THE DIVINE return to the acclaimed urban-fantasy where they first made their names. Nearly a decade ago, Emily Aster sold half her personality for the power to rule a coven of phonomancers. I'm sure nothing could go horribly, monstrously wrong now. In a world where Music is Magic, a song can save or ruin your life. In THE IMMATERIAL GIRL, we discover what a video can do.

Okay, strange admission (which is how I start way too many of these reviews), despite absolutely adoring their Young Avengers run and considering Wicked + Divine the best book to be released in some time (basically since Young Avengers), I have never before read a Phonogram book.  Dunno how that happened.  The books are on my list of things to read, but with so much coming out, the pile that they are under just keeps growing.  Maybe now that this new series has started I'll get to them.  I probably should because there are most certainly things in this book that went over my head and references to the previous entries in the series that I missed.  I know this because, gasp, while this is a return to their first big breakout series, to me it felt like more of the same from our esteemed creators.  So many similar themes and ideas getting put out there, the crazy references to music, magic, fantasy, etc.  It felt really similar.  It's weird because I almost hate myself for not thinking this is a perfect book, but for the better part of it, I was slightly bored.  Like rewatching a movie you love and realizing that there are slow moments before the great scenes you rave about.  It's strangely tough criticism for a book as good as this is, the rare downside to being so good all the time is it raises expectations to such a high standard.  It comes around at the end like you knew it would and really creates some excitement for the rest of the series.  There's a reason people have been clamoring for this book.  It'll be worth it. (Sam)

 

Don't just take our word for it! Pick up the books yourself and share your thoughts and what you think of the new format for Number One Bullets!

 

More Reviews on MightyVille:

Number One Bullet Reviews: August 5, 2015

Number One Bullet Reviews: July 29, 2015

Number One Bullet Reviews: July 22, 2015

 

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