Free Comic Book Day 2015 Reviews – Part Five (And This Time It’s Personal)
Free Comic Book Day has arrived, boys and girls, and if you’re still not sure which books you want enveloped in your greedy little mitts, keep on reading…
Fight Club/The Goon
This book opens up with a preview of Fight Club 2, the… well, I’d like to say hotly anticipated, but let’s just stick with “the sequel to the smash hit novel/film from the 90s”. If this book came out ten years ago, when the source material was still fairly fresh, it would be the talk of the whole industry, but as it is I’m not sure it will perform to their expectations. And it’s a shame, too, because Chuck Palahniuk is actually writing the thing and they’ve got astounding interiors by Cameron Stewart. And it’s really not bad. The story picks up after the novel ends. Or is it after the movie’s ending? They never make it quite clear, leaving it open to interpretation by readers who are only familiar with one or the other. The small taste one gets from this preview is definitely interesting, so between that and the relatively short length of Fight Club 2 I’m on board for this series, after all.
Next up is a preview of the 50th issue of The Goon. 50 issues in 13 years, and you’re supposed to thank them for it! Anyway, Eric Powell’s art only gets better with time, so I suppose one could argue that it’s worth the wait. That being said, not a whole lot happens in these pages and I feel like if you weren’t already on board for The Goon this wouldn’t make a difference.
Lastly, we have a six page preview of The Strain. There’s some pretty dark stuff going on here, and I haven’t read any of the previous stuff or seen the show so I must admit I was a bit lost. I’m not sure if its the most intriguing glimpse into the series, but its also true that most people interested in this sort of thing are likely to already know a thing or two about the premise.
This anthology preview comic is the first FCBD book I’ve encountered that might be considered an Adults Only book. Violence all around, a sex scene (wherin nothing is actually visible) in Fight Club, and some gore in The Strain. Personally, though, I’d say your average 13 year old is mature enough for what these pages hold.
Savage Dragon Legacy #1
As much as I enjoyed the first hundred or so issues of Savage Dragon I must admit that I haven’t made it far past that point. The publication schedule was, for a time, wildly erratic and while it’s shaped up I fell off in the interim. So I was actually excited to have a jumping on point for this book, and it definitely does its best to catch up the lapsed reader. A whole lot has gone down since I let go of the series, and while I knew bits and pieces the issue does a good job of telling the story so far in a pretty natural way. After the exposition is finished, we see a little actual plot development and a touching moment at the end. As a bonus, there’s a backup story where Larsen gets a chance to go Full-Kirby with a Galactus/Celestial type character. It’s long been clear that Larsen loved Kirby, as most artists worth their salt do, but he can actually do a serviceable impression, too. The style is a lot looser and it’s definitely clear that it’s not Kirby, only heavily inspired by him, and that to me is greatly preferable to just aping the style of the King.
Overall, a good jumping on point and an issue you could show to the whole family. Now, as far as giving a child a taste for the monthly series? That might not be as wise.
Scooby-Doo Team-Up / Teen Titans Go!
Scooby-Doo Team-Up wastes no time in getting into the story, I’ll give it that. At the opening of the book the Super Friends and the Mystery Machine gang are already working out a plan to scare off the ghosts who’ve taken up residence in the Hall of Justice. This book has all of the supernatural clowning around you’d expect from a Scooby Doo episode as well as the over-expository ham-handed superhero action you’d get from an episode of Super Friends. Now, while I advise you keep in mind that both of those shows are pretty terrible and only enjoyable ironically, it still makes for a good free book and as a brightly colored and comedic easy reader probably an enticing taste of the already-in-print trade paperback for young readers. Totally safe for kids and highly appealing to them as well.
The other side of this book is devoted to the newly resurrected Teen Titans Go! series. While this book is fun for all, I’ve always liked how there’s a certain je nais sais quoi that seems to appeal just a tad more to young girls than boys. And I think that’s great, it’s a book that doesn’t pander to the female demographic but certainly works for a market that was, in my childhood, almost entirely disinterested in comics. You really ought to be picking this book up for any kid at all interested in superheroes.
This issue also has a fun coloring and activity section in the middle between the two sides of the flip book. That bumps it from recommended reading to a Must Have for any kid who’ll be at Free Comic Book Day.
Fuck. I’ve been so into most of these book, and I haven’t even needed to fake it. And then comes this one, where DC continues it’s recent
trend vice of going darker and darker with their characters and perhaps irrevocably stirring things up. While, in principle, I like the idea of lasting change in comics, I have to say that when it belies the spirit of the characters, it’s being done for the wrong reasons. Especially, let’s not forget, when it is no more permanent than any other change in the comic book status quo.
And it’s not the Robocop-esque turn that Batman has taken in this preview that irks me. With Batman believed dead after the events of Batman #40, the city is in need of a hero and turns to Power International (a tribute to Batman Beyond, I hope) and the GCPD’s joint project to create a new Batman. And that new Batman, in fact a man in an bat-themed exoskeleton, is none other than former police commissioner James Gordon. And he has a mohawk. But whatever, I guess.
Now, I love a good Elseworlds story, back when they were allowed. But I don’t like it when those Elseworlds type stories are shoehorned into the mainstream continuity with no regard of their long term impact or repercussions on other books. Lois Lane outing Clark Kent as the extraterrestrial Superman and destroying his civilian persona is going to be hard to come back from. And I know that both DC and Marvel have made moves like this before, whether it be Hal Jordan going evil, every character dying, or Peter Parker being a clone. And none of those stories were undone gracefully. The world is a far more cynical place all of the time, and even if these devices are used to tell a good story, it disillusions a lot of readers and alienates the fanbase. For instance, I think that Brand New Day, the relaunched Spider-Man continuity that came about after One More Day was a great time to be reading the comic. However, most people refused to look at it on principle. They should be prepared for that.
The third story in this preview book prominently features Wonder Woman (or at least takes place in her world) and I wonder if that’s true of the storyline it teases or if it just felt appropriate to make the FCBD book a triptych featuring DC’s signature trinity. We get a look at what’s to come here, and it’s the same as it ever was. And both of the Big Two companies are naturally guilty of this, but it’s definitely teased in the DC style. Everything falls apart, the New Gods are involved, villains become heroes and vice versa. The art does look nice, I’ve seen some of Jason Fabok’s art before and never really paid attention. He’s got the chops of an Ivan Reis or a J.G. Jones, so the series should look nice. We’ll see, I guess.
Totally appropriate for kids, but why not let them have the cheerier DC book marketed toward them? This book will be a big draw, and it definitely gives the reader a first look and what will undoubtedly be some major stories, probably even make the actual news. So Mission Accomplished, DC.
Valiant 25th Anniversary Special
Previews of upcoming Valiant books. Check Valiant out if you like superhero comics and are looking for something a bit different. The important thing here? the Kano poster that serves as a centerfold is very nice, but if it were a Paolo Rivera poster it’d be that much sweeter. Still, Valiant comics has a very clever practice of finding underappreciated artists at other companies and putting them in their (relatively tiny) spotlight. It has certainly brought them some damn fine talent.
You could do a lot worse than these previews, but I sort of wish Valiant had gone the way of TMNT of Savage Dragon and given out a “Story So Far” type deal so people would be more interested in the universe as a whole. As usual, wholly appropriate for everyone but definitely pitched at an older audience.
Stuff of Legend/Thanatos Diver
Another Stuff of Legend FCBD offering, eh? At least this one would fit in a regular comic box, so I suppose there’s that. I cannot get into this book. The sparsely worded storybook preview doesn’t change that, either.
On the other hand, Thanatos Diver intrigued me quite a bit. I love science fiction, but hate thenotion of “world-building” over storytelling. A good story doesn’t need a glossary of terms because an interested reader will fill in the blanks and a good writer can tell a story without laboring over the background. Now, I’m sure more will be revealed about the future(?) shown in Thanatos Diver as the story goes on, but I know enough without having the terminology broken down for me. The forbidden zone is forbidden. Never in the course of a normal everyday discussion would anyone mention why it was forbidden, so we aren’t told just yet. The world is different than the one we know. But it’s the same as the one the characters know, so they never call attention to the differences. The setting isn’t the story on this one, because the story has it under control.
I have no doubt that the art will turn some readers off, and I frankly am a bit surprised that it doesn’t bother me at all. It may not be uniform, in fact character models fluctuate greatly from panel to panel, but I never have any doubt of whom I’m seeing, so I’ve got no complaints. In fact, if I weren’t such a big proponent of supporting my local comic shop (you know, the kind of people who hold annual events wherein they give away free comics to the public) I’d scoot off and buy the digital issues right now, but I’ll wait for the print collection.
Don’t Delay! Get your asses and the asses of all those whom you hold dear down to your local comic shop today! And if you’re in New York’s greater Capital Region and don’t mind seeing sexy things, come see us down at Earthworld Comics in Albany.
Free Comic Book Day Issues Courtesy of:
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Posted on May 2, 2015, in COMICS!, Reviews and tagged 2015, Batman, COMICS!, Dark Horse, Darkseid, DC, Earthworld Comics, Erik Larsen, FCBD, Fight Club, Free Comic Book Day, Geoff Johns, Guillermo Del Toro, Image, Ninjak, Rai, Stuff of Legend, Superman, Teen Titans, Thanatos Diver, The Goon, the strain, Valiant, Wonder Woman, X-O Manowar. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.