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Free Comic Book Day 2015 Reviews – Part One

A warning.

There are undoubtedly spoilers to be found within these writeups, but the same spoilers will be readily available to anyone with access to a comic store and $0 on this coming Saturday, Free Comic Book Day (!) .

FCBD LOGO

But if you’re unsure what book should be top priority, which ones are safe for kids, or what you’d be getting yourself into, take a look at the following reviews. Free Comic Book Day can get a bit intense at the right store, and to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles FCBD 2015

FCBD TMNT

This book is pretty much everything FCBD issues are supposed to be. Sure, bringing the reader up to speed on years of continuity in half an issue can come across as blatant exposition, but it’s handled fairly well in this one. Framed initially as Splinter’s recollections, then as a conversation between Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Raphael (Donatello isn’t in fact dead but still comatose after the events of TMNT #44). Now, and this is likely covered in Issue #45 (On sale today!) but Donatello’s consciousness has apparently moved over to Metalhead’s body, which is pretty neat. The tech-savvy member of the team is now effectively a robot, and the new Metalhead design is pretty sharp.

FCBD Donatelhead

So we’re looking at a book here with a wide appeal. Thirty year olds have fond memories of the original comics, cartoons, and toys while kids today are privy to their own iterations of all three. And while this book probably wouldn’t be able to secure an All Ages rating on account of the violence, there’s definitely nothing wildly inappropriate in it’s pages. I’d recommend readers of all ages pick it up.

And Then Emily Was Gone #0

FCBD And then Emily

A two-in-one offering from Comix Tribe , the first half of which is a taste of the completed mini-series And Then Emily Was Gone. Now, I’d heard of the title before but the issues were a surprise hit at my local comic shop, so I’d never actually seen the interiors. I have to admit, the story seems interesting enough and while the art is very unconventional and doesn’t seem like a good fit for the sequential format it actually works pretty well. Nothing too intense actually transpires but the dark subject matter and the horror theme make it a book better suited for teens. If you’re into Indy comics and surreal horror, this book is definitely worth a look.

FCBD Oxymoron

The other side of this comic is an Oxymoron story. I’m not sure how I feel about this one. It’s really not half bad but I feel like the titular character is reaching for that Deadpool/Joker fanbase that really irks me. The humor of the book isn’t genuinely funny, but its also not obnoxious. I’m really not familiar with the character of the previous stories but I’ve seen some of the art here and there and this new series blows the old stuff out of the water. The artist is actually quite talented and the production is better than decent. Surprising for such a small publisher.  This one’s a hard Teen rating for some violence violence and parts of the subject matter. And you know what? I think I’ll say check it out. I certainly never expected Oxymoron to be in better taste than Batman.

Secret Wars #0

FCBD Secret Wars

As has become standard practice, one of Marvel’s books this year is an introduction to their next event, Secret Wars. If you’ve been away from comics for 30 years, you probably won’t be surprised a lot has happened since the last Secret Wars series. Also, it does seem as if this series shares only a name with the former series, so if you need to get caught up in time for next week’s #1, listen to little Valeria Richards. If you haven’t been following the career of Jonathan Hickman, you’re going to need a crash course in order to make heads or tails of the upcoming Summer event, and since you won’t have time to read his runs on Fantastic Four, Avengers, and New Avengers (and maybe S.H.I.E.L.D?) you’ll have to settle for ten pages of summary (there are a ton of in-house ads in this issue). So, since I’ve been a very avid reader of Hickman’s Marvel work, this issue didn’t have much to offer other than a refresher, but I’d file it under “Necessary Reading” for the uninitiated. And while the FCBD comic is Rated T+ (you’ll find out why in a moment) this issue doesn’t feature anything inappropriate for any child who can read. I mean, unless you have a really bright kid who starts wrestling with the moral dilemmas introduced in the pages of New Avengers, I guess.

FCBD Titan

The other half of this issue (and the half that’s less appropriate for young readers) is a reprint of Brutus Magazine’s Attack on Titan/Marvel crossover.  Now all I really know about Attack on Titan is that it features giant naked humanoid monsters running amok. And that I always think the cosplayers are dressing up as Slim Goodbody, and am always disappointed when I learn otherwise.

FCBD Slim

And this issue didn’t really shed a whole lot of light on the subject. I still know that they’re giant naked people monsters, and then the movie Avengers are there and are equally baffled. And then the movie Guardians of the Galaxy show up, and I’m even more baffled than before. I guess if you’re a fan of Attack on Titan and a completist, then you’ll want the book for this half. Nothing inappropriate happens, but there are inside out naked people, so if you have a budding serial killer for a child then steer clear!

Bongo Free-For-All 2015

FCBD Bongo

Feels like an X-Men 100 homage to me.

This one delivers year after year, always a hit. As a passionate fan of the Golden Age of The Simpsons, I love taking a peek at the comics where that world is still more or less maintained. The short story format is great here, too, as the stories play out more like Looney Tune cartoons than full length Simpsons episodes, and thus only need to focus on one story and one primary punchline. The art fluctuates as usual, and one story is sort of jarringly different from the others, but that’s another reason why the short story format is so effective here , you only have to look at it for a few pages. No Futurama stories in this one, but there’s a nice pinup on the back of the issue.

FCBD Leela

This one feels safe for All Ages to me, but maybe that’s just because I cut my teeth on old Simpsons. Still, this is far less edgy than those were, and they were on TV 20 years ago.

The All-New, All-Different Avengers / The Uncanny Inhumans

FCBD ANADA

This one will be a hit no matter what, and the first half of the book definitely deserves it. Mark Waid is on top of his game here, writing a fun team book starring teenage heroes that doesn’t feel forced. Sure, it’s only a tiny preview and a few of the characters (Vision and Thor) don’t do much at all, but the new talent: Nova, Ms. Marvel, and Miles Morales all shine as they join the ranks of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Mahmud Asrar keeps getting better and better, and I’m glad he’ll continue to work on books that I’m interested in reading. I know there’s some debate as to whether or not the person in the Iron Man armor is Tony Stark, and the figure is certainly a bit slight, but he/she does briefly mention having been present in the early days of the Avengers. If there’s a twist here, I look forward to finding out as this book continues on a monthly schedule. Once again rated T+ and once again totally unnecessary. Cartoon violence and good triumphing over evil, no reason a child can’t enjoy this.

FCBD Uncanny Inhumans

I’d like to say that I’d like to like the Inhumans. See if you can follow me on that one. I like the X-Men. I’d like to say that I like the Legion of Super-Heroes. I can’t even muster that level of enthusiasm for the Inhumans. I appreciate the old stories, but every modern take on them has left me thoroughly unimpressed, and I’m even more annoyed by Marvel editorial’s persistence of late in trying to make them the new X-Men. When I read a comic about the Inhumans fighting Hydra, I can’t help but taste the awful flavors of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D being forced down my throat. I ain’t into it, Marvel! Take a hint. Still, this issue is definitely relevant to things to come in the Marvel universe and it’s not terrible. Brandon Peterson’s art gets a little shiny, as it often does, but it’s solid enough and its nice to know that the Fantastic Four still exist post-Secret Wars, even if they are independent of one another.

We’ll have more reviews of this year’s  books throughout the week, but remember to stop into your local comic book shop and check out the offerings this Saturday! It’s a great chance for those who have been away from the world of comics to get caught up and an even better way to hook new readers.

Free Comic Book Day Issues Courtesy of:
Earthworld Comics
537 Central Avenue Albany NY 12206
earthworldcomics.com

All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners. Please click on the “About Us” tab for our takedown policy.

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Posted on April 29, 2015, in COMICS!, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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