Tag Archives: Comic books

Comic Quick Review: Sideways #1 (2018)

There have been quite a few cool new series starting up over the last few months.  Some, like Silencer and Mister Miracle, have been cool fresh starts on older, largely-forgotten comics.  Sideways is a new hero from DC that has branched off from events in the ongoing Dark Knights Metal series and is now part of DC’s “New Age” lineup.

Sideways is the story of Derek James, a seemingly-unremarkable teenager who is the adopted son of a family who, due to previous events in DC’s “Metal” run, have grown to be extremely over-protective.  What they do not realize is Derek, after facing down the darkness, has been imbued with the power to create “rifts” and teleport freely to just about anywhere on a whim.  This comes at a cost, however, as someone (or something) has become aware and disturbed by Derek’s abuse of the space time continuum, so now he has become a target of forces that are not of this world.

Sideways does a good job of establishing its characters early on through quality sequential storytelling and very solid artwork.  Even though each of the core characters are in their own ways archetypal, they are written in a mostly-naturalistic fashion which makes them far more convincing.  The world in which this story is set feels somehow more real than many of the more over-the-top settings we see so much in comics, despite taking place in DC’s own Universe.  There is a human quality to things that can sometimes be lost when dealing with superhero stories.

In its first issue, Sideways establishes a cast of individuals that I look forward to following in the future.  If you have a chance to hit the comic shop, give Sideways #1 a shot!  It’s worth a read and shows the potential for a huge plot with real stakes.  I look forward to #2, which is slated for a March 14th release!

Help out the site and check out Sideways via our affiliate links below!


Please share, follow and like us:

Comic Quick Review: Damage #1 (2018)

As part of an ongoing push by DC to resurrect the Dark Age of comics, 90’s B-list anti-hero Damage makes a return to shelves.  As (one of) DC’s answers to The Hulk, Damage was meant to have the combined power of a number of DC’s most powerful heroes.  Now he makes a comeback as the failed experiment that feels no pain, shows no mercy and will not stop…

The comic opens with American solider named Ethan strapped to an exam chair, busting free as a clock showing one hour is printed in frame.  From here, we see him take the form of Damage and leave miles of destruction in his wake as he combats a specially-trained mech-driving solider sent to stop him.  The army’s attempts to stop him have failed and now, after Damage is the last man standing, Ethan finds the briefest respite.  He is now left hiding, stranded, and he can only wait until his alter ego returns for another hour-long rampage.

Damage is 90’s comic insanity done right.  Issue #1 doesn’t have a whole lot of exposition, it just opens with carnage and destruction then ends with a tease.  The upcoming issue promises a brawl with the Suicide Squad, who is sent in after Damage once Amanda Waller sees the military (and Damage’s creator) fail to stop this “walking, talking weapon of mass destruction.”

Back in the day a lot of the time the first issue will just be a chaotic brush with death to get the reader excited about what is to come.  There would be exposition and story, but the focus was on showing us what the hero can actually do.  Damage does a good job at this and while it is certainly not thought-provoking and intellectual, it is insane, entertaining action.  Sometimes that’s all I want.  Comics do not necessarily have to be deep, they do not always have to start a conversation or represent any particularly meaningful political topic.  Many times, fans just want their comics to be fun.  Damage #1, in all of its muscle-headed madness, has me excited to see what’s ahead.  The thought of seeing this gray monstrosity face off for an hour with Harley Quinn and the gang in the next issue is enough to get me pretty excited.

The art in Damage is pretty solid, too.  At points the quality takes a sudden decline but it isn’t often enough to really hurt it.  Also, there were a few points where I thought the action could have been drawn to appear a little more dynamic.  That said, it looks great, you can tell what is going on, and the character Damage really does come off like a force to be reckoned with.  Also, the cover is 100% “Badassitude!”  Give this one a read if you want some dumb, chaotic, rampaging violence in your week!

Please share, follow and like us:

Comic Quick Review – Avengers Infinity War: Prelude #1 (Updated!)

It’s safe to say the comics industry has been struggling over the past few years.  Sales are down, turmoil brews in the form of a cornucopia of controversies, characters are being replaced and storylines are intersecting to the point of incomprehensibility.  Marvel has been the tip of the spear here and the fallout has been deafening.  I have not been a fan of Marvel’s comics for a while now (not since the mid-aughts), as I think their storytelling abilities have been on a pretty steady decline as their writing staff was steadily replaced over a period of about ten years, leaving only a handful of cynical veterans behind.

Despite their more recent failings as a comic book company (with mainline books selling well-below 30k in units shipped), Marvel has shown consistent resilience in their movie brand.  Even the weakest of Marvel Studios’ films often have moments of enjoyment and the focus seems so far to have less about weaving together a complex universe and more about being fun adventure movies; Which I suppose is all a movie fan can really ask of them.  So, in preparation for the hotly-anticipated Avengers: Infinity War, I decided to give their tie-in comic “Prelude” a read.

Avengers: Infinity War - Prelude #1 (2018; Marvel)

Prelude is a combination of three things: A lead-in from the end of movie “Captain America: Civil War”, a tie-in to the upcoming “Black Panther” flick, and lastly a way to connect these two movies to the impending galactic struggle against Thanos in the titular 2018 Summer blockbuster.  The story opens with Cap and Stark’s confrontation at the end of the movie “Civil War” and sloppily leads into Cap’s rescue of his allies from a Hydra prison.  Then bounces haplessly to an over-long, boring exposition scene about Bucky as told by a Wakandan doctor that goes on for roughly seven pages!  Lastly we get more flopping around to Cap-and-company busting up a terrorist arms deal selling Chitari weapons.  If you didn’t gather it from my hastily-thrown-together synopsis, this book is a hot mess!

The sequential art is all over the place.  It switches between dull, mannequin-esque posing to rough, sloppy sequential action scenes.  Things happen quickly from panel to panel and it is often difficult to tell just what is going on without a second or even third look.  The seemingly-random series of events is merely a rush to force all of the plots of these films together while trying to introduce us to the Wakandan scientist Shuri, who is simultaneously the most boring and most unlikable character in the issue, due to her long monologing and sheer, abrasive arrogance (or should I say “the writer’s arrogance?”).

As for the art: It’s bad.  It looks like roughs used for storyboarding; not print-ready art.  The often-fanart levels of ugliness on display is unsurprising given Marvel’s present state, but seeing it come together like this in a comic that is meant to tie into the superior Cinematic Universe just makes it stand out even more.  This is the crux of this book’s problem, too.  I have a feeling the very existence of Prelude may only prove to intensify the apparent rift in competency between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Marvel Comics’ publishing arm.  The contrast on display is glaring with art that varies in quality from page to page to visual storytelling that is occasionally confusing.  The writing is a bundle of exposition clumsily written into page-filling dialogue balloons as if to reassure us that these are the words of the characters we are reading and not an anonymous fanboy’s drunk IMDB plot synopsis.

So much is wrong with this obvious cash-in, and I definitely can’t give it a recommendation.  This is the comic book equivalent of a movie trailer.  It’s slashed to bits, vague, clunky, and I cannot foresee anyone reading it and finding it enhancing their enjoyment of the upcoming movies in any real way.  This is just shelf-bait hoping to grab disgruntled comics fans who are more excited about the upcoming movies than they are about anything pouring out of Marvel’s presses these days.

UPDATE – 2/16/2018:

Less than a month after writing this review, I forgot I had even read this book.  So, there’s that.

Please share, follow and like us: