Friday, November 25, 2011

My Week in Comics: November 25, 2011

It's been a VERY busy November for me...but not busy enough to buy comics and review the heck out of them here at Behold the Geek! You're in luck, because two of the best books in the stands right now are in my pull list this week! What did I get myself into? Read on to find out!

In The Sixth Gun #17, Gord Cantrell is given a sadistic choice between his past and his future, while Becky learns about the Sword of Abraham's true intentions and goes on a one-woman rescue save Drake Sinclair!

This ish reads like a darn good season finale it's crazy. The book wraps up the running "Bound" storyline in a very satisfying way. Gord Cantrell, someone whom I thought was just some guy in the series, came out of this arc as a deep, interesting character and quite possibly a major player in the destruction of the Six. Becky also gains access to one of the Sixth Gun's hidden powers, and the fact that she uses it to find the one person she's worried about the most makes it all the more sweeter.

Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree are their usual best here. The splash page at the end in particular is such a powerful dramatic image, worthy of hanging in an art gallery! It's that kind of quality that makes this book stand out from any comic in the racks right now.

The previous issues of the "Bound" storyline were pretty slow-moving, but I should have known better than to doubt Bunn and co. The payoff was well-done, so much so that issue 18 can't get here fast enough. This gets a 4 out of 5.

And so we come to Wolverine and the X-Men #2, which is quite possibly the most insane comic book issue of the year. The school literally rising up to attack the students and teachers, the Hellfire Club brats throwing Frankenstein monsters armed with flamethrowers at them...and that's just the first few pages!

Series writer Jason Aaron opens up a floodgate of whoop-ass in this issue, as Wolverine and the X-Men get thrown out of the proverbial frying pan and into a vicious and brutal attack that just might end their teaching and heroic careers for good. This ish ramps up the action quota by 200% (good news for those who thought the first issue was sorta dull), which is worth the cover price alone!

It's not all mindless action though. Aaron sprinkles in a few short and sweet character moments throughout, including one that might make longtime readers go "Yowza", and some Crowning Moments of Awesome courtesy of Iceman and even the Hellfire Club that would make you involuntarily fist pump out of glee. Heck, throw in one of the X-Men's earliest foes wrecking stuff and we have yourselves a winner!

The issue gets a boost from Chris Bachalo's frenetic and stylized art, though there is such a thing as too frenetic. Most of the time you don't know what's going on (the wild layouts don't help) but I guess that's what Bachalo was aiming for. What we do get is amazing, though, and elevates Aaron's story in a way no lesser artist ever could.

I don't think I've ever read a series where your mind is blown by issue 2. Issue numero dos, people! Wolverine and the X-Men #2 is crazy good, despite its minimal flaws, and deserves a 4.5 out of 5.

Awesome week in comics, if I do say so myself! What did you think of this week's comics? Leave me a comment below and let's talk about it. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Week in Comics: November 18, 2011

Girl comics are always welcome in my pull list, and this week's comics is a good example of why! X-23 may be gone, but there are a lot of comics starring girls out there that are worthy of your the latest entries to My Week in Comics! What did I get myself into? Read on to find out!

This week in Supergirl #3, Kara Zor-El still can't believe it's not butter Krypton is gone, and she goes off in search for clues in the 'pod' she came in when she crash-landed on Earth. But there's someone else interested in the pod - and in her little alien self - and it's going to take all of her power to survive them!

Supergirl is still slow-burning its way out of the introduction phase that most of the DCnU is in, which could be good or bad, depending on who asks. I think it's nice, if only because Michael Green and Mike Johnson writes an interesting Supergirl. She's a little impulsive, a little naive, but a potential female powerhouse, as seen in this issue. There are a lot of surprises here, including clues to Supergirl's new powers, which is pretty cool, but longtime DC fans could get knocked out of the loop. A new baddie in the form of one Simon Tycho, trillionaire scumbag extraordinaire, has some dastardly plans for our Maid of Might, and right now I'm genuinely interested to see what happens next.

Mahmoud Asrar's art in this ish could use some stronger inks. The style he used here has that unfinished, sketchy Francis Manapul look to it, which isn't so bad, but seeing how great Asrar's art looks when finished off with some inks made me wish it did have some. Nitpicky complaint at best, since it's still a pretty good-looking book starring a pretty good-looking heroine. If this keeps up, I could stand that slow-burn for a little while longer. This gets a 3.5 out of 5.

And so we come to a new debut here in My Week in Comics, Bonnie Lass! I heard good things about Red 5 Comics' Bonnie Lass during my daily internet dives, and I liked what I saw so much I hunted down the first two issues. Best idea I've had all year!

Last issue, Bonnie and her crew inspected a mysterious lizard statue that might hold the key to the treasure called the Eye of the Leviathan. It's the one treasure that Bonnie's father, the infamous pirate Cutlass, never found, and for Bonnie this is the perfect opportunity to make a name for herself and get out of her dad's shadow. Now in Bonnie Lass #3, the statue has revealed its true purpose, and Bonnie is in a whole lot of trouble. What's a buxom pirate to do?

Kick ass, that's what!

I really, really like Bonnie Lass, and not just because of her obvious, *ehem*, charms. I'm all for fun comic books, and this comic book is straight up fun. Writers Michael Mayne and Tyler Fluharty have made something refreshing and different with Bonnie Lass. It's a no-fuss adventure you can dive into and enjoy the moment you pick up an issue. It's a little rough around the edges though, especially when it comes to dialogue and storytelling, but the art makes up for it. Mayne's style is a mix of art nouveau and anime that just works. Art nouveau, man! Never thought I could say that word together in a sentence about a comic book!

It has its flaws like every comic does, but the sheer fun factor outweighs any negatives. Bonnie Lass #3 is more of the stuff I wish more comic books these days had. She gets a well-deserved 4 out of 5.

Great stuff all around! Bonnie Lass is my new favorite comic, I tell you what! Got any comments? Suggestions? Want to discuss the early years of the art nouveau movement? Leave me a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Week in Comics: November 11, 2011

Happy 11-11-11, fellow geeks! The auspiciousness of this date is suspect, but who am I to avoid the bandwagon? But I's time for the most verbose comic reviews around! What did I get myself into this week? Read on to find out!

The action reaches a fever pitch in Uncanny X-Force #17 as the team (or what's left of it) scrambles frantically to stop Archangel/Apocalypse from committing genocide on the entire planet!

A LOT happens in this issue, which is good and bad in itself. Wolverine and the rest of the still-functioning X-Force try over and over again to stop Warren from blowing up the entire planet, and to see them straining under all that pressure feels like you've been walking on a treadmill for hours. Even a surprise assist from the Age of Apocalypse X-Men isn't enough to stop this guy. Just what kind of hax does Archangel have right now?! But hey, like that old Magic: The Gathering card said, "The tougher to crack, the sweeter the snack."

At least Jerome Opena is still busting out that gorgeous art for this book. I love his take on Archangel here. He's never been as graceful, as regal, and as goddamn scary as he is right now. A plus however you slice it.

The ending promises a showdown of all showdowns next issue, and with how much Rick Remender is spoiling us with his writing so far, the expectations for the grand conclusion is astronomical. In a way, Uncanny X-Force #17 feels incomplete as a single book because of it. What we do have is nice, though, and deserves a 4 out of 5.

Never thought we'd see Artifacts as my pick of the week, but surprise surprise! Artifacts #11 did a lot of things right! With the Curator/Survivor on the verge of collecting all the Artifacts and destroying the world, it will take a miracle to save the day...specifically, a miracle like the 13th Artifact!

Ron Marz has been a bit all over the place these past few issues, but here his writing is tighter, his dialogue less corny and carried more weight, his action scenes are better planned and the result is just an exciting and enjoyable comic. The shift in quality from meh to great is so jarring, I had to double-check to see if I was still reading the right comic.

It's interesting how this all can be traced back at the very beginning, when The Curator first appeared, and how Marz orchestrated everything leading up to this event. This is literally years in the making, and I hope the pay off is as big as it promises! The art team of Jeremy Haun, Michael Golden and Sunny Gho capped it all off with some great art. The action is easy to follow and the book feels more finished than previous artists' attempts.

It's too bad that it took 11 issues for the creative team to bust out the big guns. but I guess it's better late than never. This gets a 4 out of 5.

Can't get enough of The Geek's reviews? Visit The Outhouse and check out my review of Magneto: Not a Hero #1! Magneto? A hero? Pish-posh, I say!

Good week is good! Who said comics don't surprise you anymore? Anyway, if you liked these reviews, or have any comments or suggestions for future ones, let me know by dropping a comment in the comment box below! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Top 10 Cool Comic Book Characters Who Wear Glasses

It's Top 5 Thursday, with a twist! Today we're featuring a guest post from Kimberley Newey, a "Canadian/British writer of comics, films and the occasional webisode". She's a huge geek, and I'm honored that she chose to contribute to this little blog of mine! Her guest post is a top 10 list of the coolest glasses-wearing comic book characters! Wanna know who she thinks makes the list? Read on to find out!


When I was growing up (in the 80s and 90s), glasses were seen as exclusively geeky and decidedly un-cool. These days with the influx of designer frames and celebrity’s donning many intricately created designer prescription glasses; they have emerged as a cool, chic and stylish accessory. As a result, many with an eye for fashion and style are choosing to wear glasses rather than contacts purely for the fashion statement a great pair of glasses can create.

In the world of comics however, glasses have always been seen as more than just an accessory or a sign of geekdom. Glasses, sunglasses, and variations in between have been used to define character attributes, maintain hidden identities, and cover up mutations or strange features.

Comic artists use glasses to demonstrate or emphasize aspects of a character, and this isn’t always down to whether a character is geeky, nerdy, or intelligent. The inclusion of glasses, sunglasses, or variations thereof on a character design can greatly effect how the character is interpreted and must be considered carefully by the artist.

Here in ascending order are the top ten “cool” comic book characters who wear glasses:

10. Kevin (Sin City)

This creepy cannibal psychopath should not really get any cool points except that he wore his glasses very well. His simple round frames have become iconic for their ominous implications. All of this earns him the bottom slot (and a good solid punch).

9. Thessaly (Sandman)

From Neil Gaiman’s magnificent epic comes this bespectacled bookish vixen, an ancient Greek witch who was once a lover to Sandman and, later, to one of the Endless, Dream. She is ruthless and proud, though not malicious. Her main focus is self-preservation and as such she would not hesitate to kill anyone who would seek to harm her. She is equally very passionate and has been known to have quite multifaceted emotions, which earns her cool points. She is a very interesting character. Just don’t get on her bad side.

8. Bruce Banner (The Hulk)

Bruce Banner is well known as a reserved and withdrawn physicist who unintentionally creates a rather large alter ego, The Hulk, with impulsive tendencies. Banner himself doesn’t embody much in the way of cool but for his deep capabilities of love. The Hulk is an incredibly heroic character who is an embodiment of the otherwise restrained aspects of Bruce’s personalities. With throwbacks to classics like Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, it’s hard not to give Bruce Banner and his glasses some quality cool points.

7. Matt Murdock (Daredevil)

This fearless vengeance seeking hero wears sunglasses by day and a mask by night. His blindness caused by a radioactive substance resulted in heightened senses and powers which aided him in becoming a hero. With his nickname “the man without fear” he has definitely earned himself some cool points (except when played by Ben Affleck).

6. The Corinthian (Sandman)

The Corinthian appears in a number of Sandman comics. Originally he was created by Dream as a nightmare. Unfortunately once created he goes rogue, failing to fulfil his design and becoming a true nightmare. He wears sunglasses due to the fact that he actually has no eyes; in their place are mouths with jagged teeth. He is most definitely not a good guy, but he is a very cool character and an impeccable dresser who is decidedly suave even at his most disturbing.

5. King Mob (The Invisibles)

From the brilliant mind of Grant Morrison, this character is named after a London “Situationist” group. He is the leader of a counter terrorist team, and a revolutionary ex horror writer. His complex personality, intelligence and unfortunate violent tendencies, which he himself is wary of, make him a very exciting and cool character.

4. Kitty Pryde (X-Men)

Probably one of the most interesting and understated female characters in the X-Men universe particularly in Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men series, Kitty Pryde will always have that element of mysterious cool down pat. She does not currently wear glasses but during the comic House of M, we find out that as a teenager Kitty went through serious headaches as part of her mutation. She wore glasses at this time. Despite not currently wearing glasses, she makes the list for being an incredibly cool and complex female character.

3. Clark Kent (Superman)

What list can include cool comic characters who wear glasses without mentioning Clark Kent? Clark’s magic glasses seemed to have the ability to disguise his true identity, while the silliness of such a claim is joked about to this day, the fact remains that Clark Kent is one of the most iconic glasses wearing comic book characters of all time.

2. Cyclops (X-Men)

Cyclops remains one of the most popular comic book characters for his loyalty, ethics, self-discipline and incredible leadership qualities. He wears a specially made visor which has changed shape and style over the years. He also wears ruby quartz sun glasses when not ‘on duty’.

1. Spider Jerusalem (Transmetropolitan)

Spider Jerusalem is the epitome of irreverent cool. Warren Ellis’ creation embodies a sleek cyberpunk style, following the life, battles, and misadventures of gonzo journalist (inspired by Hunter S. Thompson). Jerusalem is dedicated to fighting oppression, corruption, and abuse of power by the government in an attempt to prevent their world from becoming even more dystopian than it already is. Jerusalem is a flawlessly written character who is unquestionably cool and thus, he is undoubtedly the winner.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

I'm Too Sexy (for this book)

What do you expect out of a book called 100 Sexiest Women in Comics?

See, I saw this book in Previews the other month, and it was cheap enough to warrant a look-see. I was expecting something comprehensive, coming from guys as classy as Comic Buyer's Guide, but instead it was like reading one of my Top 5 Thursdays, only they're sold for $8.99 and probably just as fun to read.

The book's list had its share of sexy mainstays like Red Sonja (who tops this list at Number 1), Vampirella (#35) and Witchblade (#7). But then we get to entries like Triplicate Girl (who beat out Vampirella of all people at #33!), 1940's Patsy Walker (#95) and Harlequin (an old Green Lantern villain), characters who don't exactly come to mind when I think about the modern definition of sexy, and I start to wonder what it takes to get into this list. Why not Dawnstar or Princess Projectra instead? Or Angela Devlin from Codename: Knockout? or Medusa of the Inhumans? Or any of a dozen other 'sexy' females that bounce around comics these days? Who exactly are they making this book for?

And the art is making me scratch my head. I guess there's a historic value in using scans from vintage comics to accompany this list, but some of the choices seem arbitrary. Using Betty Cooper's modern look, but using Veronica Lodge's vintage one? And Alan Kupperberg's Venus is beautiful, but Carlo Pagulayan's or Leonard Kirk's version from Agents of Atlas reflects her modern appearances better. And it's not like they didn't have access to it...they used Namorita's modern appearance in the list, even from the same series Venus was in!

Okay, shutting up now.

Sorry. I just realized that lists are serious business for me. The book just had a lot of things that detracted from the fun to be had from a list like this. For $8.99 though, I guess I can't complain.

But as I type this, our company's on-the-job trainees (who are both girls) seem to enjoy browsing through it and discovering new comics characters. Shows you what I know.


Official Press Release


Karl Kesel— a writer and artist who has worked on many of Marvel and DC’s top titles, and come oh-so-close to winning a number of industry awards— launches his first creator-owned web comic on October 31, 2011. JOHNNY ZOMBIE debuts on his Mad Genius Comics site,

“I’ve wanted to do a zombie comic for many, many years,” Kesel said. “Excuse the pun, but I’m no Johnny-Zombie-come-lately to the living dead. I left in the middle of Romero’s Night of the Living Dead the first time I saw it in the late 70s, it creeped me out so much (I was a sheltered teen, okay?)— and then ended up in the front row to watch the original Dawn of the Dead during it’s opening weekend a few years later. Those experiences scarred me for life, I’m happy to say.

“About a year ago I wondered: could you do a zombie Christmas story? The two genres are so opposite— zombie stories have a core sense of hopelessness, and Christmas stories are all about hope. Almost instantly, however, an idea came to me. And I realized it was also a perfect story to feature a character that’d been kicking around in my head for a few years— Johnny Zombie.

“On one level, Johnny Zombie is the world’s biggest, baddest zombie fighter. His main weapons are a blue metal bat named ‘Babe’ (after Babe Ruth) and an armored glove he calls ‘Jawbreaker.’ His symbol is a kind of unsmiling smiley-face with a bullet hole in its forehead. And that stuff’s all very fun and very cool, but there’s a deeper level to the character, something going on below the surface, that I don’t want to say too much about. I want people to read the story and, hopefully, start to figure it out themselves.

“I actually pitched Johnny Zombie to a print publisher a few years back, but their “zombie slot” was filled, so they passed. That’s when I started eyeing the internet. I mean, the web’s the future of comics. And it’s probably the most exciting thing to happen to comics since… well, since the early days of the newspaper strips. Just like then, everyone’s making it up as they go along, trying to figure out how the pieces fit, what works and what doesn’t. I’ve told people I’m doing a web comic and they’re excited, sure, but the most exciting thing to me is how many of them say ‘I’ll add it to my list— I read so many web comics!’ These are people who don’t read “normal” comics— but they’re reading web comics!”

Kesel had been trying to figure out how to fit a web comic into his life for a number of years. “I’m not a fast worker, so don’t have a lot of free time to take on extra work. A web comic was always a ‘someday’ project.

“Then my wonderful wife Myrna and I decided to adopt a baby. That was the tipping point. It suddenly became about my legacy, and what I could leave behind for our son or daughter.”

Kesel named his site Mad Genius Comics (where he is “Using My Power For Good, Not evil. Mostly.”) because “I plan to do any number of characters and concepts at Mad Genius. Some of these comics will be drawn by others, some I’ll draw myself, and I wouldn’t rule out me drawing someone else’s story, but I’ll always own or co-own anything that appears on Mad Genius Comics. Remember— I’m doing this for the kid!”

Johnny Zombie’s first story is penciled by David Hahn, known for his art on BITE CLUB, SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE, MARVEL ADVENTURES: FANTASTIC FOUR, FRINGE, HERC, and ALL-NIGHTER. “I love David’s work, and knew his style had enough edge for a zombie story, but was also open enough to fit a Christmas story. And, selfishly speaking, I’ve always wanted to ink David, so this was one way to finally get that chance!” The story is colored by Grace Allison, a recent graduate from the Savannah College of Art and Design and one-time intern at Portland, Oregon’s Periscope Studio, where Kesel met her. “She’s got so much talent beyond coloring,” Kesel pointed out. “I’m lucky I got to work with her before the rest of the world discovered her.”

“I’m not expecting to get rich off Mad Genius,” Kesel laughed. “I’d be thrilled— and pretty surprised— to just break even! I’m following the ‘Iron Man Business Plan’— exist in obscurity for 40 years, then have a hugely successful Hollywood movie made and become an overnight sensation. Anything happens faster than that is icing on the cake!”

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