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Home  >  Features  >  Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: October 7, 2015

NUMBER 1 BULLETS: 10-07-15


It's ground zero for the launch of the All New, All Different Marvel Comics, and Number 1 Bullets is there! We've reviewed as many new first issues as possible to let you know which new series we think you should follow. Excelsior to a huge and awesome week for comics!

This week's titles: Dead Vengeance #1, Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen #1, Batman and Robin Eternal #1, Survivors' Club #1, Telos #1, Axcend #1, Paper Girls #1, Saints #1, All-New, All-Different Marvel Point One #1 The Amazing Spider-Man #1, Avengers #0, Contest of Champions #1, Doctor Strange #1, Invincible Iron Man #1, The Misadventures of Grumpy Cat #1, Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor: Year Two #1, Jughead #1, The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #1, Rowans Ruin #1, and A Train Called Love #1. 



Dead Vengeance #1 (Dark Horse Comics)-


(W) Bill Morrison (A) Bill Morrison, Keith Champagne (CA) Bill Morrison
It's 1940, and a phony body on exhibit in a carnival sideshow suddenly springs to life and shambles away. Not so phony after all, he is John Doe, radio commentator and archenemy of Detroit's notorious Purple Gang! But why did he disappear in 1930, and why did the mayor, the mob, and the cops all want him dead?

Oh man, how does a story about a man coming back to life after being preserved as dead for 10 years become so boring?  The story starts off innocently enough, with a carnival barker selling tickets to see his collection of oddities.  Then a few kids make a mistake, say the wrong thing and the dead man comes back to life, scaring everyone off.  If the story had ended there, it would have been fine.  If writer/artist Bill Morrison just gave snippets of the man trying to find out who he was, that might have worked too, but instead he wants to throw everything into this tale.  The entire backstory told in quick burst of dialogue heavy exposition.  And after a couple pages, it just becomes too much.  We get the gist of it pretty quickly, the man was a radio host who went after a corrupt government, but Morrison fills in every last detail.  And there are so many details that, spoiler alert, we don't even get to the guy's death in this issue.  When, exactly, will the vengeance begin?  The real shame is that Morrison is a pretty skilled artist, he just needs to learn to not cover up his work with so many words.  Let the story, and the reader, breathe a little bit.  Most importantly, cut some of the ideas down, we don't need everything. (Sam)


Lara Croft and The Frozen Omen #1 (Dark Horse Comics)-


(W) Corinna Bechko (A) Randy Green, Andy Owens (CA) Jean-Sebastien Rossbach
An all-new Lara Croft miniseries begins with Corinna Bechko at the helm! It's up to Lara to stop a group of cultists from causing worldwide cataclysmic devastation, and ancient ivory artifacts hold the key to both salvation and destruction! It's a race against time in Lara's new quest, filled with incredible action, dual pistols, and high-spirited adventure.

Why would you take “Tomb Raider” out of the title of a Lara Croft adventure?  Well, I guess when there’s no actual tomb raiding and only the basic tenants and beginnings of adventure in the book you don’t want any false advertising.  There are so many questions one wants to ask when reading this book.  What exactly is Lara’s job?  How does she pay for all these excursions and adventures?  How many of the same exact outfit does she own and how does she make it work in every single environment?  Besides all of that this book seems to unnecessarily complicate itself.  It spends way too long in the beginning on an overwritten prologue that has no bearing on the rest of the book and just throws characters out there under the assumption that the reader should know who everyone is.  The story isn’t deep enough where it matters but it does remove any need to care about anyone in there, aside from the titular character.  If nothing else the artwork is pretty.  Randy Green does his best to make the book enjoyable and almost succeeds. (Sam)


Batman and Robin Eternal #1 (DC Comics)-


(W) James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder (A/CA) Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea
It's here at last-the sequel to the blockbuster weekly series BATMAN ETERNAL! Five years ago, Batman and Robin worked the most disturbing case of their crimefighting careers-bringing down the organization of the ultimate human trafficker, the mysterious woman known only as Mother. At the time, Dick Grayson never quite understood the scope of that case, but now its darkest secrets are coming back to haunt him and everyone else who ever worked with Batman! With  Bruce Wayne now lost to them, Dick and all his allies are out in the cold! Who can they trust? Is someone among them not who they say they are? And who is the deadly, silent young woman in black who's come to Gotham City looking for Batman?

Batman and Robin Eternal is the latest #1 issue from DC Comics.  Co-authored by James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder with art by Tony Daniel, this issue brings the Bat Family together after the loss of Batman to face a sin from Bruce Wayne's past.  Reunited in Gotham City, the Bat Family is being hunted by Mother via some form of mind-control and they are all in danger and must work together, along with the re-introduction of Cassandra Cain.  Her long-awaited return to the Batman universe is very welcome and was handled with great style.  This was a fast-paced ride from start to finish, full of great action, an awesome character reveal, and a shocking twist that will ensure all readers come back for issue two.  Tony Daniel's art is on-point and absolutely fantastic cover to cover.  This is some of the best Batman storytelling DC has done outside of Scott Snyder's main Bat-Title in a long time, don't miss it. (Geoff


Survivors' Club #1 (Vertigo/DC Comics)-


(W) Lauren Beukes, David Halvorson (A) Ryan Kelly (CA) Bill Sienkiewicz
One was possessed by a poltergeist. Another was trapped in a haunted house. A third had a killer doll. Ever wonder what happened to these children of the 1980s? Find out in SURVIVORS CLUB, a new series cowritten by renowned horror novelist Lauren Beukes and videogame journalist Dave Halverson, with art by Ryan Kelly (NORTHLANDERS). Having found each other over the internet, six grown-up survivors are drawn together by the horrors they experienced in 1987 when a rash of occult events occurred around the world-with fatal results. Now, there are indications that it may be happening all over again. Is it possible that these six aren't just survivors-but were chosen for their fates?  

This is an interesting concept. Playing off the trope that most horror films from the '80s seemed to feature children, this story picks up with "Where are those kids now?" Apparently, seeking each other out on the Internet to combat a new threat (I think). The writing and art are both solid, and this definitely feels like a Vertigo comic. The story does get a little convoluted and sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the characters. I think this title has a lot of promise, but this issue didn't do a great job making me really care about these characters (save for one that plays quite nicely into the cliffhanger). I'm on board for a few more issues, it's strong enough for that, but if things don't pick up, or if the characters don't start displaying some sort of uniqueness, then I may move on. (Joe)


Telos #1 (DC Comics)-


(W) Jeff King (A) Carlo Pagulayan & Various (CA) Carlo Pagulayan
The villain of the world-shattering CONVERGENCE event stars in his own new series! Set loose from his planetary tether at the end of the best-selling CONVERGENCE, Telos finds himself free and able to traverse space and time via a sliver of Brainiac's powers. As this epic begins, he embarks on an odyssey, journeying across time and space in search of his past.

Spinning out of the DC offices moving event that nobody wanted comes a new title based on Telos, a character nobody cares about.  Yes, I am a bit salty about Convergence, but after reading all eight issues of the main title and most of the spin off books, I felt it served no purpose other than a nostalgic trip down memory lane with some old characters, and then make them fight!  Now we have Telos #1, written by Jeff King with art by Carlos Pagulayan, and we can follow the further adventures of the tortured soul who was keeping watch over Brainiac's planet of lost cities.  In his weakened state after the events of Convergence, Brainiac is no match for Telos, who is out for revenge after discovering the fate of his family. The two strike an uneasy deal, Brainiac will help Telos find his family if Telos agrees to return to Colu to retrieve Brainias's backup storage files.  The book lacked any real depth for Telos, his only driving motivation being to find his family and exact revenge.  If just feels flat, and by the time I was done reading the issue the biggest question I had was, "Who cares?" I will say that the art was quite good with great coloring, but the design for Telos is uninspired at best.  I did not like this issue, not so much that is did something egregiously wrong, but that it feels like a story that does not need to be told. (Geoff)


Axcend #1 (Image Comics)-


(W) Shane Davis (A) Shane Davis, Michelle Delecki (CA) Shane Davis
Superman Earth One co-creator SHANE DAVIS returns to comics for an all-new ONGOING SERIES! What happens when a video game decides to come to our reality to play? When there are no extra lives, and Armageddon looms on the horizon, when your life revolves around gaming like teenager Eric Morn, you Press Start. Writer/artist SHANE DAVIS (Superman: Earth One), MICHELLE DELECKI (JLA,Venom) and MORRY HOLLOWELL (Civil War, Old Man Logan) bring you  an epic sci-fi/thriller that's like Tron meets Inception with a cheat code! This s pecial introductory issue features 28 full pages and no ads! Each issue of the series will feature a VS. linking cover variant by  DAVIS showcasing the book's cast.

Hmm ... Okay, so there's a lot to like here, starting with Shane Davis' stellar artwork. Hell, even the premise, while somewhat unoriginal, is entertaining. But the script & characterization need a lot of work. There are some nuggets of of interesting prose here, but Davis is definitely more an artist than a writer. I mean, the comic opens with a high school bully beating on someone for lunch money. Has that happened since 1985? There's also a lot of "Character talks to self to explain stuff to the audience" going on, which usually takes me right out of a story. There's also a classroom discussion regarding the possibilities of world peace, which didn't seem like a topic that a high school class would engage in, at least not at that level. But, like I said, the art tends to make up for most of the faults in the writing. As I was about a third of the way into the issue, I felt like this was a Tron clone. But, as I worked through it, I noticed there was more there. And with the ending, I noticed we're getting ourselves something different and possibly quite interesting. But we're not quite there yet. This issue is worth picking up, but need to strengthen up the writing a bit if it wants staying power. (Joe)


Paper Girls #1 (Image Comics)-


(W) Brian K. Vaughan (A/CA) Cliff Chang
SAGA writer BRIAN K. VAUGHAN launches a brand-new ONGOING SERIES with superstar Wonder Woman artist CLIFF CHIANG!  In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time.  Stand By Me meets War of the Worlds in this mysterious young adult adventure, starting with a spectacular DOUBLE-SIZED FIRST ISSUE for the regular price of just $2.99!

When is an alien invasion not an alien invasion story? When it's written by Brian K. Vaughan and starring a cast of newspaper delivery girls set in 1988. This comic was a breath of fresh air. Even though the main cast is a group of pre-teen girls, I did not feel alienated at all (granted, I was about that same age in 1988). Not much to say about the plot: a group of girls stumble across some sort of extraterrestrial device that makes quite an impact on the girls and their surroundings. Where did it come from? Why it is here? Who are those creepy, alien-looking ninjas that seem to be part of the conspiracy? I have no idea, but I think I'm going to enjoy finding out. Great characterization and dialogue by Vaughn, damn near perfect art by Wonder Woman's Cliff Chang ... this is a comic I would recommend to just about anybody. I know there's some controversy surrounding the use of an F-word in the issue, but if you actually read the comic, you'll see that it's the victim of yet another false Internet outrage moment. (Joe)


Saints #1 (Image Comics)-


(W) Sean Lewis (A/CA) Ben Mackey
Award-winning playwright and This American Life personality  SEAN LEWIS teams with red-hot artist BEN MACKEY for an all-new ONGOING SERIES!  Dexter-style action collides with  a Preacher-esque sensibility in this crime/horror series for mature readers.  Blaise, Lucy, and Sebastian discover a Holy War is erupting and they, unwittingly, are the next generation of Saints poised to fight for a heaven that God has abandoned. The occult rises in  a spectacular, action-packed first issue crammed full  of heavy metal, sex, and deadly one-liners. 

Written by Sean Lewis with art by Benjamin Mackey, Saints is the latest #1 issue from Image Comics.  Set on a background of religious iconography and subtext, Saints first issue gets off to an incredibly rocky start.  For the first ten pages I had no idea what I was reading, the main character lost in a jumble of death metal and groupie girls.  However, once we are introduced to the second main character with other worldly powers, the book really comes together in a hurry.  By the end we have met three very interesting individuals with nothing in common at all, save for the fact they all represent various saints of the church.  Ending with a rather gruesome sacrifice and establishment of a villain and conflict the table is set for a very interesting story.  The art is stylized with very thick line work but works well for the subject matter; muted colors suit the tone, yet when flare is needed the colors really pop off the page in a way that capitalizes on their importance.  I think my lack of knowledge of various saints or religions impacted my enjoyment of this book as I had no real idea of the significance or characteristics of these protagonists, but the book still brought me in and I want to see where it goes.  The beginning is a little rough, but stick through to the end and there is a cool story waiting to be told. (Geoff


All-New, All-Different Marvel Point One #1 (Marvel Comics)-


(W/A) Various (CA) Mike Del Mundo
In the aftermath of SECRET WARS, it's an All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe, and this is your one-stop entry point to the changes and mysteries that have developed during the eight months that have passed! Featuring new stories of DAREDEVIL, CARNAGE, CLASSFIED, CLASSIFIED, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. and CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS! 

This Point One release from Marvel Comics serves the same role as the Avengers #0 issue.  It is comprised of snippets of various titles from their creative teams, all tied together with a narrative starring The Maestro and The Collector.  However, unlike the Avengers issue, this one falls rather flat.  The narrative hook that drives the story is based on the weakest of the new Marvel titles, and that is the Contest of Champions book.  The Maestor and The Collector voice their opinions on fighters to recruit and we the readers are shown small bits from various titles like Carnage, Daredevil, Rocket Raccoon and Groot, Inhumans, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  The individual titles all have talented creative teams and I am looking forward to their inaugural issues, but read as a whole in this format ... it was not very interesting.  Avengers #0 worked due to the Squadron Supreme framing, and without it this feels like a cohesive hook is missing.  As I said, the titles covered in the issue look promising, but I would skip this Point One preview, there is nothing here that is essential for the ongoing plots of those titles, so your money is better saved to put toward the actual #1s when they come out. (Geoff)


The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (Marvel Comics)-


(W) Dan Slott (A) Giuseppe Camuncoli, Various (CA) Alex Ross
Spider-Man has gone global! Parker Industries is more successful than ever, with offices in New York, Shanghai, London and San Francisco and Peter Parker is racking up the frequent flyer miles with his "bodyguard" Spider-Man in tow, of course. But success breeds enemies and a reinvigorated Zodiac have also widened their scope to threaten the whole world. Join Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli as they take Spider-Man to the next level! This huge first issue also includes stories featuring Silk, Spidey 2099, Spider-Woman and much more! 

Marvel Comics continues the roll out of the first wave of new #1 issues with Amazing Spider-Man, by Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli.  Out of all the relaunched titles, this one feels the most similar to the pre-Secret Wars universe, and this makes sense as Dan Slott is continuing the writing duties on the title.  The major difference is that instead of a tech start up, Parker Industries is a world-wide corporation with global impact and Spider-Man is one of their best clients.  All the returning side characters from the lab are present including one robot protector that is hiding a secret that serves as our final page cliffhanger, and its a great one.  I was initially worried about fancy Spider Buggies and a global Spider-Man, but those fears were easily put aside with this extremely fun read.  Slott is at the top of his game with Spider-Man and the art is just as good.  The slight bit of color added to the costume really pops off the page and the action scene with the Spider Buggy was beautifully rendered and conveyed a real sense of speed.  This book is a hit, go check it out. (Geoff)


Avengers #0 (Marvel Comics)-


(W/A) Various (CA) Kenneth Rocafort
The kickoff to the All-New AVENGERS line begins here, with new stories of the ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS, SQUADRON SUPREME, A-FORCE, NEW AVENGERS, ULTIMATES and UNCANNY AVENGERS! Someone is carefully studying the movements of the Avengers and those in their orbit-but do they mean to harm, or help? Find out the first clues in this special launch issue!

Avengers #0 is the ideal jumping-on point for the Marvel Comics relaunch.  The zero issue sets the table and offers a quick introduction to the five main Avengers titles as well as Squadron Supreme.  In fact, the Squadron Supreme serves as the back drop for this title as we watch the newly formed team discuss how they might have to deal with the different groups of Avengers.  The Squadron feels like it is being set up as the kind of team that will do anything it takes to save the world, regardless of borders, ethics, or politics.  In that I am instantly reminded of The Authority and that is a good thing.  Too many good artists and writers to name, but the zero issue was a lot of fun and a an easy recommendation for all readers jumping on the Marvel relaunch. (Geoff)


Contest of Champions #1 (Marvel Comics)-


(W) Al Ewing (A) Paco Medina & Various (CA) Paco Medina
Welcome to the BATTLEREALM--a broken section of space-time where cosmic beings gamble for the ultimate power while their unwilling pawns fight for their lives and a chance to return back to Earth. Who will survive... THE CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS?

A new title from Marvel Comics that brings the experience from the iOS game to the comic, Contest of Champions pits Marvel's greatest heroes and villains against each other for the amusement of The Maestro and The Collector.  Written by Al Ewing with art by Paco Medina, this comic brings the game to the page and features a host of Marvel characters duke it out in an area style battle set outside of the new continuity (or is it?).  This issue presents itself as exactly what it is .. a Marvel "Fight Club" that is part silly story and part advertisement for the game.  There is not much more too it than that, so just know what you are getting into when you pick this one up. (Geoff)


Doctor Strange #1 (Marvel Comics)-


(W) Jason Aaron (A/CA) Chris Bachalo
Who do you call when things are coming out of your dreams and trying to kill you? Or when your daughter is cursing in Latin and walking like a spider? Or when your dog keeps screaming at you to strangle your neighbors? Doctor Strange, of course. He's the only person standing between us and the forces of darkness, but has he been paying his tab? Every act of magic has a cost and Jason Aaron (THOR, ORIGINAL SIN) and Chris Bachalo (UNCANNY X-MEN) are going to put Stephen Strange through hell to even the scales.

The Marvel Comics relaunch begins this week with the All-New, All-Awesome, All-Weird Doctor Strange.  Written by Jason Aaron with art by Chris Bachalo, this issue is a great jumping-on point for all readers.  Whether you are a long time fan of Doctor Strange or know of him only from his recent participation in the Avengers titles and Secret Wars, this book has got you covered.  An expertly drawn first page gives us a succinct recap of the Doctor Strange origin with new art and text set upon a background made up of panels from the original origin of the character.  From there, Aaron throws readers into the start of a new mystery that is plaguing the mystic realm: creatures are fleeing the netherworld and taking up residence in our dimension, but what could have them running scared?  That is what I will definitely be sticking around to find out. This first issue grabbed me with great characterization and fantastic art.  Bachalo's style can be hard to follow at times, but it is a perfect fit for the other-worldly adventures of Doctor Strange.  One set of images in particular has stuck with me, as Strange uses his Third Eye to view the world as only he can, and a crowd of New Yorkers going about their daily lives are completely unaware of the mystic parasites feeding off of them.  This book was great and with an all star team like Aaron and Bachalo it is a comic all readers should check out. (Geoff)


Invincible Iron Man #1 (Marvel Comics)


(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A/CA) David Marquez
Exploding out of the pages of SECRET WARS, one of the most popular super heroes in the world gets a gigantic new series. From the creators that brought you ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN comes new armor, new supporting cast, new villains and a new purpose that is going to tear itself across the entire Marvel Universe and beyond. with a shocker of a last page that will have everyone talking and the return of one of Tony's biggest nemeses, you will not want to miss this!! Also, who are Tony's biological parents? The quest begins here!

All-New, All-Different Invincible Iron Man from Marvel Comics is a new start for the character, and a really good one at that.  Written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez, this is a great jumping on point for fans of the character that picks up after the events of Secret Wars.  Iron Man is has been the breakout start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and there is an obvious push here in regards to voice, tone, and style that seems to be drawing the comic incarnation closer to that archetype, and I think it works very well.  Tony Stark is confident, charming, and on-point with his witty remarks.  Even the artistic design decision from the movies of having Tony's face portrayed with the HUD from the suit overlaid on the black background is brought in, and it all just works so well [Editor's Note: That was actually introduced in the seminal Iron Man: Extremis story].  A new suit design, and new girl to chase, and a classic villain that needs to be stopped in the form of Madam Masque.  Throw in a surprise guest on the last page and it seals the comic with a cliff hanger that will be bringing me back to issue two for sure.  The art is on point as well with a very sleek design for the new suit and great emotion from Tony's face.  Pick this one up people, this first arc looks like it is going to be great. (Geoff)


Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor: Year Two #1 (Titan Comics)-


(W) Simon Spurrier, Rob Williams (A) Simon Fraser (CA) Alex Ronald
New series! New writing team! New laser-filled, time-mangling, galaxy-sploding dynamic! Accused of a genocidal crime he (probably) didn't (possibly) commit (oh hell, he totally did it), the Doctor and Alice - along with a unique new companion! - go on the run. But extreme hyperviolence-for-hire is hot on their tail, tracking them wherever and whenever they go. With chainswords! It's a race to clear our tricksy Time Lord's name and spare the lives of his friends, with the only answers burnt in the fiery footsteps of the incarnation he can never acknowledge: the War Doctor. Breathless twists abound as the Eleventh Doctor series jumps into a new gear, for a new year!

Titan Comics is continuing the story of the 11th Doctor, and this first issue kicks off their second season with a story line titled "The Then and The Now".  Written by Si Spurrier and Rob Williams with art by Simon Fraser, we see the Doctor confronted with events that transpired before the hit relaunch of the current running BBC show.  The 8th Doctor, played briefly by John Hurt, was the War Doctor.  It was his incarnation that fought in the great Time War, a dark point in his history often referenced through the series.  This title weaves a fascinating story that brings some of the repercussions of those events back to haunt the 11th Doctor.  It felt very much like an episode of the show, both in pacing and the voices of the characters.  The art, while not amazing, was serviceable and flowed well from panel to panel to capture the action and move the story along.  Overall this was a very fun read and as a Doctor Who fan I was hooked as soon as I saw the first likeness of John Hurt's 8th Doctor.  I definitely recommend this title for any fans of the show as it shows that even the Doctor's best intentions can have terrible consequences when the effects of those events are spread over a thousand years. (Geoff)


The Misadventures of Grumpy Cat #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)-


(W) Ben McCool & Various (A) Steve Uy, Ken Haeser (CA) Ken Haeser
Dynamite proudly presents The Misadventures of Grumpy Cat #1, featuring "The World's Grumpiest Cat" and her brother, Pokey! With her ever-present pout and sassy disposition, Grumpy Cat has won the hearts of people everywhere. Grumpy Cat is the perfect combination of unbearable cuteness, instant fan appeal, and established multimedia presence. If you love the memes, the videos, and that irresistible scowl, then get ready for the wildly fun antics of Grumpy Cat and Pokey in Dynamite's all-new, all-sensational Grumpy Cat comics! Grumpy Cat's global following includes 7.6 million Facebook fans and over 31 million YouTube views. Since her photos first went viral in 2012, Grumpy Cat has gone from Internet star to real-life celebrity. She has two New York Time Best Selling Books, her own Lifetime movie Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever (voiced by actress Aubrey Plaza), has made numerous appearances including the MTV Movie Awards, American Idol, The Bachelorette, The Today Show, SXSW, Good Morning America, and even hosted WWE Monday Night Raw. Grumpy Cat is Friskies official "Spokescat", has filmed videos with Disney and Sesame Street, and appears in commercials for McDonald's and Honey Nut Cheerios.

I'll be honest, I went into reading this book expecting to not like it at all.  I mean, a Grumpy Cat comic?  We're making comics out of internet memes now?  What could this possibly be about that would make it interesting?  Well, the answers are everything and snarkiness, respectively.  It would probably be easy to paint yourself into a corner with Grumpy Cat stories, but somehow the creators here avoid that and tell a varied group of stories containing everyone's favorite frowning feline.  And to match her constant scowl, the creators gave Grumpy Cat a tremendous amount of snarkiness and cynicism (which, in many ways, matched my exact emotions upon opening the book).  Which gave the creators of the book a chance to mock the comic industry, films, and the Grumpy Cat explosion itself.  And this book seriously needed that self-awareness to be successful.  It wasn't all great though, as there were times reading this book where it felt like it was just a re-purposed collection of Garfield stories (the original Grumpy Cat, as it were), but there's still enough to get a few laughs and enjoy the proceedings. (Sam)


Jughead #1 (Archie Comics)-


(W) Chip Zdarsky (A/CA) Erica Henderson
In the grand tradition of comic book reboots like Archie #1, Archie Comics proudly presents Jughead #1 from the comics dream team of Chip Zdarsky (Howard the Duck) and Erica Henderson (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl)! Riverdale High provides a quality education and quality hot lunches, but when one of those is tampered with, Jughead Jones swears vengeance! Well, we mean, he doesn't "swear." This is still Archie Comics after all.

Man, I haven't read an Archie book in years, so it was nice to get my hands on one of the newly "re-imagined for a new generation" Archie Comics, this one spotlighting everyone's favorite hamburger eater, Jughead. I'll be honest ... other than a change in the art style, this still felt like a classic Archie-type story, for better or for worse. At times, (quite) silly, at times touching, this issue is a bit of a mixed bag. Jughead comes into his own here, after being apathetic to all the goings-on at this school, something occurs that gets Juggy's blood a-boiling. High jinks ensure. Story ends. So ... if you're a fan of Archie Comics, whether part of the new reboot or the classic stuff, you'll dig this. Otherwise, this is mainly for people looking for something very light-hearted and fairly unrealistic. (Joe)


The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #1 (Aspen MLT/Big Dog Ink)


(W) Tom Hutchison (A) Allison Borges (CA) Alisson Borges
Take a trip back over the rainbow to an Oz you never knew existed! Dorothy Gale slips on her ruby spurs after falling out of the sky and is sent off to follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City. The only problem is the road is gone! Oz itself has been transformed into a wild west landscape: Flying monkeys and scarecrows still walk the plains of Oz, but in ways you would never have imagined! Featuring re-mastered content, an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of Legend of Oz, a special foreword by L. Frank Baum's great-great grandson, Marc Baum, creator commentary and more! Don't miss out on the start of Aspen's newest BDI launch with the premiere of LEGEND OF OZ: THE WICKED WEST #1!

Before I get into this review, I want to point out that this is a re-mastered reprint of the 2011 Legend of Oz mini-series, rather than a new volume. Still, it's my first encounter with the title, and it fits well in the Aspen stable of comics. IT's quite a concept: a mash-up of the Wizard of Oz and a spaghetti western. That in and of itself is pretty tops. The execution is a little rough. The dialogue is pretty hit or miss from page to page, and suffers a bit from "trying too hard" symptoms. And the art works, but isn't anything mind-blowing. But it's nice to see a sexually diverse creative team. Gale (playing off of the Dorothy Gale character)is a lone drifter, wandering the towns of Oz, trying to follow a broken Yellow Brick Road in hopes of finding the Wizard. Why? We're not quite sure, but I assume it's so she can get back home to Auntie Em. She runs afoul of whispering, haunted scarecrows, chained up lions, and flying gorillas. And who is the lawman intent on following her on her journey? We'll find out! Like I said, I really dig the idea, but the writing and art feels like a first-time attempt. And while that's okay, I'd like to see things pick up a bit quality-wise, because this title can really shine if given the chance. (Joe)


Rowans Ruin #1 (BOOM! Studios)-


(W) Mike Carey (A/CA) Mike Perkins
What's to Love: The team of Mike Carey (Suicide Risk, The Unwritten) and Mike Perkins (Deathlok) come together for the first time since 2005's Spellbinders for a taut horror thriller set in their native England. If you're a fan of horror films like Insidious and The Conjuring, or comics like Curse and Nailbiter, you'll love how Rowans Ruin unfolds as it slowly clues you in on the terrifying secret that is at the heart of the story. What It's About: Katie has always had things pretty easy, growing up in comfortable circumstances in Florida. But when she finds herself with a long summer break before grad school, she decides to do a house-swap with a British girl, Emily, as a way to vacation relatively cheaply-and to get out from under her parents' attentiveness. England is great, so different from Florida, and the house, called Rowans Rise, is charming. But soon she starts having nightmares-really, really, strong ones. Curious, Katie researches the owners of the house, and discovers it may have more of a sinister history than she thought...

BOOM! Studios has a horror hit on their hands with Rowans Ruin.  Written by Mike Carey with art by Mike Perkins, Rowans Ruin is a simple story about a young girl who choose to swap houses as a means to a cheap vacation to England. However she is unaware of the houses' dark past.  The tale is told so well, in one short issue we learn everything we need to know, not only about the main character, but about her counterpart in the house swap as well even though she barely appears on page.  The lead up and slow build of tension is expertly done and very creepy.  Horror and tension is so hard to convey though this medium and this might be the first book besides Scott Snyder's Wytches that really made me feel uneasy from page to page.  The silhouette in the window, the brief flash in the mirror, and the creepy wards of protection found in the house all serve to build a sense of dread.  One image in particular, an unmentioned panel that shows a window haphazardly nailed shut from the inside, tells so much about the fear of the young women who lived in terror in this house.  The art is solid, but not amazing.  It fits well with the story being told and the detail in it helps to set the sense of place needed to convey fear.  I really liked this book an any horror fans should check it out, its a short mini series so don't miss it! (Geoff)


A Train Called Love #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)-


(W) Garth Ennis (A) Mark Dos Santos (CA) Russell Braun
Valerie's getting dirty phone calls, but when she goes to take revenge she meets Myles, the man of her dreams. But Myles is up against Emil and Gustav, mentally unstable guns for hire. And Valerie's sister Penny's friend Marcy just wants to play her own songs, but no one in the bar tonight cares- least of all Penny's loser boyfriend Marv and his buddies Chip and Jev, who want their homeboy Mike to play the race card in a dubious scheme to get rich. But Mike has just fallen foul of a certain organisation with a lot of Ks in its name. And then there's Mister Fluffy. 

As most know, I am a huge fan of writer Garth Ennis. While his stories have been hit or miss of late, his talent can't be questioned (thanks to comics like Preacher or Punisher: MAX). This story, drawn by the talented Mark Dos Santos, is pretty great. It reminds me a bit of those late '70s and '80s caper movies with an ensemble cast. The issue never faulters due to said large cast, and everyone has a unique voice to keep them interesting. This is something a bit different for both the writer and the artist, each bringing something new to the table. Witty dialogue, interesting and relatable characters, foul language, violence, playful nudity, and more than one laugh-out-loud moment make this issue a winner. I'm excited to see where they go with this. I'd recommend this to anyone, whether they read comics or not. (Joe)


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Which New #1 this week are you most excited about?

SIDEWAYS #1 (DC Comics) - 15.8%
DEATH OF LOVE #1 (Image Comics) - 5.3%
KICK-ASS #1 (Image Comics) - 5.3%
STAR WARS THRAWN #1 (Marvel Comics) - 5.3%
ATHENA VOLTAIRE 2018 ONGOING #1 (Action Lab Entertainment) - 5.3%
BABY BADASS #1 (Action Lab - Red Zone) - 5.3%
BLACK BETTY #1 (Action Lab - Danger Zone) - 0%
CHARISMAGIC VOL 03 #1 (Aspen MLT) - 0%
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