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NUMBER 1 BULLETS: 8-26-15

 

It's another All-New, All-Different Number One Bullets, where we get our hands on as many first issues as possible each week and share our thoughts to let you know what new series to follow. This was a great week for comics, people!

Today, we're taking a look at Over The Garden Wall #1, New Mind MGMT #1, Zodiac Starforce #1, Batman: Arkham Knight Genesis #1, Swords of Sorrow: Pantha & Jane Porter #1, Black Tiger #1, Drive #1, Sherlock Holmes: The Seven Per-Cent Solution #1, The Last Days of Ant-Man #1, Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra #1, Stringers #1, and Book of Death: The Fall on Ninjak #1. 

 

 

New Mind MGMT #1 (Dark Horse Comics)-

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(W/A/CA) Matt Kindt
Matt Kindt brings his game-changing masterpiece MIND MGMT to its astonishing conclusion in this unforgettable one-shot! The war is over. The world has been changed. But into what?!

Well, that was unique.  Not really a new number one issue as per our usual review, New MGMT is a one-shot finale for Matt Kindt's Mind MGMT from Dark Horse Comics.  Described by the author himself as an attempt to draw readers in to be complicit in the destruction of the story, New MGMT is a deep read that will mostly be lost of new readers.  Suffice to say, it's not a jumping on point despite the shiny #1 stamped on its cover.  However, those who have been following this strange journey for 35 issues will find the ending quite gripping and it will definitely make you think about it once you close the final page. (Geoff)

 

Zodiac Starforce #1 (Dark Horse Comics)-

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(W) Kevin Panetta (A) Paulina Ganucheau (CA) Marguerite Sauvage
An elite group of teenage girls with magical powers have sworn to protect our planet against dark creatures . . . as long as they can get out of class! These high-school girls aren't just combating math tests. They're also battling monsters! But when an evil force infects leader Emma, she must work with her team to save herself-and the world-from the evil Diana and her mean-girl minions!

Dark Horse Comics latest number one issue is Zodiac Starforce, written by Kevin Panetta with art by Paulina Ganucheau.  This felt like a fun mix of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sailor Moon, but bringing in the best components of the two.  A fun comic about four girls granted super powers to fight off monsters from a dark dimension who have since parted with their super heroic way, now suddenly thrown back into the mix together.  Some have moved on, others have emotional trauma, and another who just cannot let go of the past.  It all feels very fun and very high school, with fantastic art to match.  The colors and designs are bright and vibrant and revel in the "teenageness" of it all.  It just works, from start to finish.  This is a fantastic choice for any young female readers out there, though I honestly feel any comic book fans will find something to appreciate in this series.  The first issue sets the tone and establishes our characters with a cliffhanger that sets the stage for dramatic reunion of the team.  Check this one out at the local shop and if it catches your eye give it a shot, I think you will like it. (Geoff)

 

Batman: Arkham Knight Genesis #1 (DC Comics)-

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(W) Peter J. Tomasi (A) Alisson Borges (CA) Stjepan Sejic
Witness the birth of Gotham City's newest villain, the Arkham Knight, in this stunning new 6-issue miniseries written by Peter J. Tomasi, the man behind the hit series BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT and BATMAN AND ROBIN!

Fans of the Arkham series of video games and comics are really going to dig this. As will most Batman fans. Tomasi and Borges bring us the origin of the Arkham Knight! Spoiler: It's Jason Todd. Which is odd (ha!). I never made it past the original Arkham Asylum video game, but I am pretty sure Jason Todd fits into the picture as the Red Hood, too (which I assume will be addressed). Anyway, it's a re-telling of a familiar story that is near and dear to me, with a clever use of the Hush character. It's handled very well, and there's enough changes and mystery to making it intriguing to even the most well-studied Jason Todd fans. Tomasi handles the script well, hits all the right beats, and adds in plenty of video game elemnts to remind you what world we're in. I dug the art, too. I haven't seen much of Alisson Borges work before, but it fits really well here. It's clean, yet still stylized and dirty and a pretty great fit for the book. This is just the beginning of Todd's story, so I'm sure a death and resurrection await us. I wonder if Superboy Prime is involved? Anyway, pick it up! (Joe)

 

Drive #1 (IDW Publishing)-

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(W) Michael Benedetto (A) Antonio Fuso, Emilio Lecce (CA) Antonio Fuso
A hard-boiled pop-culture sensation re-created for comics. In L.A., there's one man you want behind the wheel. Just tell him where and when. He doesn't take part, doesn't know anyone, doesn't carry a weapon. He drives, and he's the best. Ride along as James Sallis' lean nü-noir masterpiece unfolds onto the sun-bleached streets of Los Angeles in this exciting 4-part comic book adaptation.

IDW Comics brings James Sallis' Drive to yet another format, and it works incredibly well.  First a novel, then a hit pulp movie, and now a 4-part mini-series, Drive is the story of a man who plays the game via a strict set of rules.  He is not interested in the score, the planning, or the heist; he is just there to drive.  Adapted by Michael Benedetto and Antonio Fuso, the adaptation of this story was handled with great care and really keeps the mood of the film in tact.  The art is muted and dialogue is spares, but all the story beats are easy to follow and keep the subdued tone of the source material.  The art used to depict the driving scenes is really a high point because that sense of speed and controlled chaos is essential to the story, this book would not work without a sense of speed in the driving scenes and it is pulled off very well.  Even if you have seen the movie I think this is worth checking out, it was a fun read. (Geoff)

 

Sherlock Holmes: The Seven Per-Cent-Solution #1 (IDW Publishing)-

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(W) Scott Tipton, David Tipton (A) Ron Joseph (CA) Kelley Jones
The best-selling Sherlock Holmes novel by writer/director Nicholas Meyer comes to comics! The real story behind Sherlock Holmes' final confrontation with Professor Moriarty is at long last revealed! Who is the real Moriarty? Why did Holmes disappear for so long? The game is afoot!

A thinking man's comic. This caught me by surprise. I was somewhat aware of Meyer's take on the Sherlock Holmes story, but didn't know the details. The Tipton brothers handle the adaptation very well, though the pacing could use a little work. It stalled at times. The art worked really well, with Ron Joseph channeling cover artist Kelley Jones. In this tale, Moriarty is not the man we have known (though I think there's more going on there than is let on) and Holmes is a bit of a drug-addled mess. Okay, so maybe more than a bit. John Watson takes the lead, as he usually does, and embarks on a global journey to cure Holmes of his addictions and  get to the bottom of the Moriarty issue once and for all. And hey, is that famed cocaine addict and researcher Sigmund Freud? Sure is! This comic isn't for everyone, but it as a solid read, albeit missing some of the irreverent fun from the recent films that I was hoping for. (Joe)

 

The Last Days of Ant-Man #1 (Marvel Comics)-

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(W) Nick Spencer (A) Ramon Rosanas (CA) Mark Brooks
When a local clairvoyant predicts the end of the world, a mysterious woman sends Scott on a vital mission! An old foe (okay, maybe more like annoyance) shows up - and Scott's going to regret it! What do you do when you think the world is about to end? What do you think? Doesn't anybody else remember 1999? You party! Everything dies? Pfft. Everything DANCES.

It's the end of the world as we know it, and Ant-Man's feeling just fine. This late lead-in to Secret Wars closes the book on Scott Lang's adventures before he's rebooted in an all-new, all-different Astonishing fashion. Nick Spencer brings his very keen superhero sense of humor and it works just as well here as it has in the rest of the series. Scott Lang reads like a real person. Ramon Rosanas does a great jo with the art, conveying emotions well in a simplistic style that reminds me a bit of classic Kevin Maguire. There's action, there's laughter, there's romance and most of all there's fun. If you like Ant-Man, you should definitely pick this up. If you like Secret Wars, you should pick this sup. And if you just love comics, then you will probably love this too. (Joe)

 

Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra #1 (Marvel Comics)-

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(W) David Mandel (A) Michael Walsh (CA) Amanda Conner
Hey there, comic reader! Have you ever wondered what Hydra agents do during their downtime? No? Well...then, uh, go read HAIL HYDRA. For everyone else with a burning desire to see a Hydra agent letting it all hang out, THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU! BE THRILLED as Hank picks up his kids from school! BE AMAZED as Hank talks with Hydra's HR department! And BE STUPEFIED as Hank wishes he had picked a different line of work! From CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM executive producer David Mandel, Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra will have you looking at faceless henchmen in a whole new light.

A new number one from Marvel Comics spilling out of the Secret Wars event, Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra #1 is a very welcome comical touch set in the midst of a overly dramatic event.  Written by David Madel with art by Michael Walsh, Hank is a run of the mill Hydra goon just trying to keep his wife and kids happy while avoiding getting knocked out by Nick Fury on a weekly basis.  I loved this book, it was funny and simple with plenty of little in-jokes and references that brought a smile to my face as I read it.  His kids are obnoxious, his wife is a bit pushy, and Hank himself is a bit of a mess, but it all works so well.  A simple story that unfolds over 24 pages with art that really fits the tone, this is an easy book to recommend for all Marvel fans.  (Geoff)

 

Black Tiger #1 (Graphic India)-

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(W) Chuck Dixon, Sharad Devarajan (A/CA) Graham Nolan
From the legendary Detective Comics creative team of Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan, comes their newest superhero collaboration - Black Tiger! As a kid, Rajan Shah lost his parents to a hit-and-run driver. Resigned to a life of poverty, Rajan is stunned when a mysterious benefactor pays for his education. Determined to make the most of his good fortune, Rajan becomes a lawyer to fight for justice. But Rajan quickly learns his benefactor is not what he seems and that some forms of justice must take place outside the law! Available with covers by Nolan and Mukesh Singh.

Well ... I appreciate that they were trying for something racially diverse. But Bane creators Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan can't quite pull off a first issue that can sit shoulder to shoulder with most titles today. What they've done here is basically create a Batman for India, and that in and of itself is pretty cool. But everything is a generic cliche: the plot, the dialogue, the direction. And the art feels like it hasn't matured a day past 1995 and still feels rushed at times. None of the characters actually look like they're from India. I hate to give this type of attempt such a low rating, but I really can't recommend this title to anyone who's note a hardcore fan of the creative team, as nice as it is to see the two of them still working on stuff. (Joe)

 

Book of Death: The Fall of Ninjak #1 (Valiant Entertainment)-

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(W) Matt Kindt (A) Trevor Hairsine, Ryan Winn (CA) Kano
So let it be written, so let it be done... In the ruins of his mansion, Colin King hunkers down as the last living member of Unity after the Third Armor Hunt - or so he thinks. A visit from an old friend and a peace offering present the chance for Ninjak to break the cycle of death and escape the horrible fate foretold in the Book of the Geomancer. Will he betray his dead friends or will THE FALL OF NINJAK come to pass and give rise to a very familiar future... The superstar team that brought you DIVINITY - New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt and blockbuster artist Trevor Hairsine - reunite to reveal an essential new chapter of BOOK OF DEATH, ripped from the future of the Valiant Universe! 

Another glimpse into the future of Valiant! This was a solid read with solid art from a solid creative team. But ... it should have been a little better. In the far flung future when Earth has lost many of its protectors, Ninjak still stands strong ... sort of. With a little help from some old friends, Ninjak holds his own against a surprising new threat from a familiar face. Kindt writes the characters well and Hairsine does as great as he usually does when dealing with the martial arts. But Ninjak felt a little lost in his own story and it ended rather abruptly. it would have benefited from a little more room to brathe. Still, a worthwhile read for Valiant fans and the Book of Death saga in general is something you want to be on board for. (Joe)

 

Over The Garden Wall #1 (BOOM! Studios)- 

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(W) Pat McHale (A) Jim Campbell (CA) Jim Campbell, Carey Pietsch
What's to Love: Airing last November, Pat McHale's Over the Garden Wall was Cartoon Network's first-ever original animated miniseries. We loved the eerily sweet story of two half-brothers trying to find their way home so much we published a companion one-shot that was quickly snapped up by folks who just wanted more of this world to experience. Now, we're expanding the world of Over the Garden Wall with McHale and returning artist Jim Campbell with a full-length story. What It Is: A new Over the Garden Wall story set between episodes 3 and 4 of the animated series! Wirt and Greg are trying to hitch a ride out of schooltown but end up having to walk. Soon, they come upon two girls playing, and wind up having to keep them entertained so that they don't wake their giant father!

Ummm ... Okay! This was really weird and I did not know it was based on a Cartoon Network mini-series till just now. But, just because it was weird doesn't mean that a lot of folks won't dig it. It's silly and irreverent and I found myself thinking "WTF?" a number of times. Like I said, I was unaware of the animation, but I assume the feel and art match the show very well. I actually don't know what more I can say. It's a bizarre story featuring two elf-like half-brothers who get themselves into some trouble by unwittingly trying to help some girls with their chores. things don't go well, they get out of it, and move on to their next misadventure, coming next month. It's a solid book for younger readers, with some clever moments that adults will appreciate. If you're a fan of the Cartoon Network series, this will probably be something you really want. (Joe)

 

Stringers #1 (ONI Press)-

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(W) Marc Guggenheim (A/CA) Justin Greenwood
Paul and Nick are the guys who shoot the news. Filming car chases, fires, and shootouts in their busted-up rig, they put their (uninsured, unsalaried) lives on the line every night so that the good citizens of Los Angeles can get their daily update. But when a firefight between the LAPD and the MS-13 goes wrong, Nick and Paul find themselves on the run.

A new number one comics from ONI Press, Stringers involves two freelance video journalists out the get the latest raw footage and the series of circumstances that land them in hot water.  Written by Marc Guggenheim with art by Justin Greenwood, Stringers opens with two friends who have carved a niche for themselves bringing hard-hitting video to the local news stations.  The more violence the better, and as the news is always looking for ratings their services are well-rewarded.  However, one small step too far for the best shot and our duo becomes the targets of something much deeper than the latest high speed chase down an Los Angeles freeway.  This was a fun read with a very quick pace and even quicker dialogue.  Our two main characters are constantly back and forth, a dynamic love-hate relationship if there ever was one.  The fast pace of their snappy banter is right in line with the action as they fly down the freeway, it's well written and feels like a natural conversation between good friends.  Overall, I liked this book. Many will be quick to draw similarities to the recent movie Nightcrawler which covers the same subject, but the author himself acknowledges this head-on in the comments section of the first issue and states they are going for a different take on the material.  Like I said, this was a fun read and worth checking out so give it a shot. (Geoff)

 

Swords of Sorrow: Pantha & Jane Porter #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)-

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(W) Emma Beeby (A) Rod Rodolfo (CA) Mirka Andolfo
Ancient Egyptian demon hunter and shape shifter, Pantha, is thrown across a Rift into the early twentieth century London, straight into the path of Jane Porter, American explorer, aviatrix and new wife to Tarzan. Pantha hasn't come alone, however, as London is plunged into chaos by the appearance of a Great Pyramid in the sky... and what it contains. Up against gods, monsters, Purgatori, and each other, the pair need all the help that ancient magic and modern aviation can supply to stop London from turning into a new hell on earth. Writer Emma Beeby (Judge Dredd, Doctor Who) and artist Rod Rodolfo (Battlestar Galactica, John Carter: Warlord of Mars) reimagine these two characters - complete with all new costumes - in this turn-of-the-century pulp-action one-shot adventure.

The Dynamite cross over event continues this month with the latest number one entry, Panthra and Jane Porter.  Emma Beeby and Rod Rodolfo bring together Jane from the Tarzan myth and Pantha, ancient Egyptian goddess.  Their paths cross as Purgatori seeks to unlock the gates to the demon world, but she is foiled when the heroines from different time periods worth together with their individual Swords of Sorrow in order to foil her plot.  These various spin offs have had their ups and down, and this issue is definitely on the lower end of the scale.  For me, it starts with the characters involved, I fully admit to having no idea who Panthra is and this book gave me no reason to care for her as a person.  Even though I know of the character Jane, her introduction is paper thin and both are completely one-dimensional "tough girls".  The art is serviceable, but while the character art is good, the action is poorly paced and from panel to panel it can be difficult to follow ... the best way to describe it is that it does not flow naturally.  In the end, this issue just feels like very forced storytelling. We needed a reason to throw these two together, but there is nothing beneath this veneer to engage the reader.  While the opening of the gates by Purgatori feel like a major plot point of the over all story, I think this is an entry fans of Swords of Sorrow can skip. (Geoff)

 

Don't just take our word for it! Pick up the issues and share your thoughts below...

 

More Reviews on MightyVille:  

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Number One Bullet Reviews: August 19, 2015

Number One Bullet Reviews: August 12, 2015

 

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