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NUMBER 1 BULLETS: 10-28-15

 

A new week, a new batch of Number 1 Bullets! We've reviewed as many new first issues as possible to let you know which new series we think you should follow. Read on for our thoughts!

Today's titles are Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1953: Tha Phantom Hand & The Kelpie #1, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare #1, Art Ops #1, Skylanders: Superchargers #1, Transformers: Redemption #1,  Black Magick #1, Angela: Queen of Hel #1, The Howling Comandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1, and Oniba: Swords of the Demon #0.

 

 

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1953: Tha Phantom Hand & The Kelpie #1 (Dark Horse Comics)-
(W) Mike Mignola (A) Ben Stenbeck (CA) Mike Mignola

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Another flashback tale to Hellboy's younger days in the B.P.R.D., this one-shot collects two short tales: The Phantom Hand and The Kelpie, both by the same creative team. these are both solid reads that fit in well with the overall Hellboy Mythos. But, they came and went rather abruptly and I wasn't 100% satisfied by either. Stenbeck does a good job with the art, but doesn't maintain the level of moodiness we usually get with this title. Still, an entertaining read and anyone who's following the Hellboy saga should pick this up. (Joe)

 

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare #1 (Dark Horse Comics)-
(W) Paul Tobin (A/CA) Jacob Chabot

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Dark Horse Comics and Pop Cap are teaming up again for another Plants vs Zombies mini-series.  Written by Paul Tobin with art by Jacob Chabot, Garden Warfare takes the name from the popular multiplayer shooter and brings the mayhem to the comic book page.  The plot is nonsense, but that was the same case for the previous Plants vs Zombies mini-series, in the end it does not really matter as the subject material itself is paper thin.  The ever tumultuous town of Neighborville is once again under attack by Zombies, only this time there is time travel thrown into the mix.  The art is cute and colorful and the book is a fun read, though not really funny or engaging.  It is what it is, a light-hearted publicity tie-in timed with the pending release of Garden Warfare 2.  This is definitely aimed at young readers, so parents looking for kid-friendly comics should check this out, especially if they are fans of the video game franchise. (Geoff)

 

Art Ops #1 (Vertigo Comics)-
(W) Shaun Simon (A/CA) Mike Allred 

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A fun and very interesting concept that doesn't quite hit all the marks. This is an off-the-wall series about a covert team of "Art Ops" who travel the world and save people that live in works of art (yes, you read that correctly). Based on the cover, you can see who the "victim" of the first issue is. The book definitely had its moments and Allred's art really shines. In fact, I don't really see this title working under another artist. But the dialogue was extremely heavy on exposition in order to set up this gonzo world, and too many things were happening a little too quickly to underdeveloped characters, and I found it hard to care. There's a solid cliffhanger ending that ensures I'll come back for #2, but if things don't streamline a bit, I can't say I'm in for the long haul. (Joe)

 

Skylanders: Superchargers #1 (IDW Publishing)-
(W) Ron Marz, David Rodriguez (A/CA) Fico Ossio

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Another video game tie-in this month, Skylanders: Superchargers is published by IDW.  This new mini-series is written by Ron Marz and David Rodriguez with art by Ficco Ossio.  The newest expansion set for the the Skylanders video game franchise is Superchargers, this new game brings vehicles into the world and allows the minions to pilot them.  This comic is a tie-in for the new release and has all the characters that fans of the series love, headed by Spyro the Dragon.  As with Plants vs Zombies, also out this month, this comic is bright and colorful and aimed at the younger crowd.  It is fun and silly and allows children to follow their favorite Skylanders characters in a new adventure.  This book is an easy recommendation for parents looking for something for younger readers, so if you have a tiny Skylanders fan living in your house this might be a fun book to pick up for them. (Geoff)

 

Transformers: Redemption #1 (IDW Publishing)-
(W) John Barber (A/CA) Livio Ramondelli

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Or, as the writer admits to, maybe it should be Transformers: Fury Road. Sludge and some renegade Dinobots are dispatched by Barricade to transport a special cargo across hostile territory in a large truck. What is said special cargo? The Sparks of unborn (unbuilt?) Transformers! And now you see where the derivative plot stems from. This one-shot got pretty tedious and repetitive. There was quite a bit of action, but the art is so dark, I had a very hard time keeping track of what was happening and who was who and whether or not I Was reading a flashback. Ramondelli makes for a great cover artist, but his sequential storytelling needs some work. Convoluted, hard to understand, and dragging, this is unfortunately one Transformers comic you'll probably want to skip. (Joe)

 

Black Magick #1 (Image Comics)-
(W) Greg Rucka (A/CA) Nicola Scott

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Image Comics seems to have some of the best talent doing their own creator-owned work, and that trend continues with Black Magick from Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott.   Witches are real, and Detective Black is one of them.  Interrupted from her Equinox gathering by a hostage crisis, she would never have guessed the hostage taker was looking for her specifically ... and that he knows her true name and who she is.  Who is it that has power over this man?  Why has he singled out Detective Black? Who is it that she fears has returned?  These are all great questions that grab the reader and ensure I will be back for the rest of this series.  The art by Nicola Scott is amazing.  Incredible detail and emotion is conveyed in simple gray tones, but when magic enters the story the color shines brightly.  It's a great effect that really makes the few panels with color stand out.  This book is gripping and engaging with a main character I already care about and feel invested in.  Another hot shot, creator-owned slam dunk from Image; get in on this one now so you can enjoy it from the start. (Geoff)

 

Angela: Queen of Hel #1 (Marvel Comics)-
(W) Marguerite Bennett (A) Aaron Kim Jacinto, Stephanie Hans (CA) Julian Totino Tedesco 

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Marvel Comics relaunch rolls on with Angela: Queen of Hel written by Marguerite Bennett with art by Kim Jacinto, Israel Silva, and Stephanie Hans.  Angela's recent history with Marvel Comics has been a bit of a roller coaster with a rather fun introduction via Guardians of the Galaxy and then a rather mediocre title in her own short-lived ongoing  before the Secret Wars relaunch.  Queen of Hel picks up events after that initial solo arc, thus making this another title that basically picks up right where the old book left off without any big changes to the character.  Angela's fight through Hel to rescue Sera is broken up by flashbacks that fill in new readers on her backstory and the history of their relationship, these entries into the past are done by a second artist and it really breaks up the visual flow of the comic.  The decision to fill almost half of the issue with back story results in a rather thin main story, comprised of little but a fight and a tragic reunion.  However, while I understand this is more of an editorial decision to bring readers up to speed on a relatively unknown character, I feel the same could have been accomplished with a simple one to two page introduction instead of a cold open followed up by flashbacks.  Angela feels like a bit of a lost character in the Marvel Universe and this new attempt to introduce her to readers does not help the situation, I felt confused as I read through it and I actually read the majority of her Asgard's Assassin story arc. (Geoff)

 

The Howling Comandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 (Marvel Comics)-
(W) Frank Barbiere (A/CA) Brent Schoonover  

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Marvel Comics takes a trip into the weird with The Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D., written by Frank Barbiere with art by Brent Schoonover.  Following up the revelations from Original Sin regarding Dum Dum Dugan being an LMD, he is tasked with a key role in the newest division of S.H.I.E.L.D. ... S.T.A.K.E.  Made up of monsters and freaks, their mission is to investigate the strange cases of the world that fall through the cracks.  This is a fun book with a strange cast of characters, highlighted by Hit Monkey and a zombie version of Agent Sitwell that can't seem to stop blowing things up.  The story was not amazingly written, the art did not blow me away, and the characters were all paper-thin, but in the end it was still an enjoyable read.  I hope the format of this title keeps to short one-to-two issue arcs that see this crazy group of characters thrown into equally crazy situations, its the perfect vehicle to tell the strange tales of the Marvel Universe.  The first issue is a stand alone story so pick it up and check it out. (Geoff)

 

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 (Marvel Comics)-
(W) Ryan North (A/CA) Erica Henderson

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Marvel Comics has released its second number one issue for Squirrel Girl within a year, this time by Ryan North and Erica Henderson.  Picking up where the first volume left off, Squirrel Girl is in college and goes on adventures with her quirky pseudo superhero friends and long time pal Tippy Toe.  This book is designed to be quirky and funny, and at times it is, but overall the jokes just fall flat.  Comedy is very hard in comics ... there is no timing, no laugh track, and no jokes conveyed with body language.  While parts of this book were very charming, such as the embarrassing stories from Doreen's mother and the Deadpool trading cards, the attempts at awkward humor just did not work.  Squirrel Girl works far better in an ensemble cast like the current New Avengers in which her out-of-place antics add levity to serious situations.    But left on her own to tell silly stories of an odd superhero, she falters.  The art is adorable, the character is cute, and the situations she is placed in are comical; but in the end this does not add up to a story I want to keep reading. (Geoff)

 

Oniba: Swords of the Demon #0 (Aspen Comics)-
(W) Vince Hernandez (A/CA) Paolo Pantalena

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A decent start to a potentially interesting series. A lot of this introductory issue felt a bit trite. We've seen this samurai tale many times before. At one point that tale takes an interesting twist and sets the path for the future of the series. But outside of that, there's not much to this story. An angry, tough female lead, with some really nice looking art, on a quest to hunt demons (I gathered this from the title alone as it's not conveyed much in the issue). I will probably be checking out #1, hoping for a bit more meat to the story and characters. I appreciate backstory, but this may have worked better as a retroactive zero issue once the characters had already been established. (Joe)

 

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

 

More Reviews on MightyVille:   

Number 1 Bullets Comics Reviews: October 14, 2015

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: October 7, 2015

Number 1 Bullets Comics Reviews: September 30, 2015

 

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