Whatever it Takes to Get 15 Minutes of Reading Time...

Whatever it Takes to Get 15 Minutes of Reading Time...

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

New Book Reviews: Lightning Round Edition Part Deux

I'm pleased by the reception of this page out there by you readers, thank you, thank you, thank yewwwwww...   Things are going well here and I've even booked an interview guest to appear at Confessions of an Old School Comics Nerd  in the near future, so keep coming back for that along with other goodies in store related to comic books.

It seems that last week's Lightning Round edition of my new book reviews was a hit, so let's have second helping, eh?

Betty Boop  # 1
Roger Langridge and Gisele Lagace
Dynamite Entertainment

Boop-oop-de-cute!  Retro is in and you don't get more retro than Ms. Boop, the queen of all animated divas.  If you can, think back upon a time when comic books were ruled by Little Lulu, Andy Panda, Fritzy Ritz, Felix the Cat, Popeye, plus long ago femme protagonists Katy Keene, Brenda Starr, Sheena and Phantom Lady.  Dynamite Entertainment returns to the platinum age of comics by sweeping Betty Boop into the 21st century...without changing a thing about her.  As one of the earliest feminists of pop culture, the enduring Betty Boop couldn't be more popular today.  In this debut issue by Roger Langridge and Gisele Lagace, Betty is hoodwinked by supreme creep Lenny Lizardlips, along with his pointy-eared wraith minions. They trick Betty's senile, would-be scientist Grampy by nudging him homeless as foreclosing reps from the hilarious The Completely Normal Bank of Normalness.  It's up to Betty, who's already skating on thin ice at the Oop-a-Doop Club to dash out from a gig and send Lenny and his scumwads running.  With zoot-tooting lyrics splashed along these pages like a vintage Betty Boop cartoon and usual cohorts Koko and Bimbo plus the swinging Scat Skellington, this revival series looks to be a way gone good time.

Rating:  8

Moonshine  # 1
Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso
Image Comics

Been missing the hell out of 100 Bullets?   Yeah, me too.   Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso rekindle their magic in this new book which could readily be subtitled 100 Shotgun Shells in the Appalachians.  Azzarello never was one to waste much time getting your attention and in Moonshine,  he thrusts his New York mobster Lou Pirlo into Deliverance,  Prohibition-era.  Pirlo is in search of Hiram Holt, reputed bootlegger with a knack for the east coast's finest hooch and no qualms in showing Fibbies their gory shallow graves.  Pirlo's leash rattler, Joe "The Boss" Masseria, has sent him on a business errand with the intent of buying in to Holt's shine operation.  Holt's response is, suffice it to say, something to rival anything Masseria can dish out.  Prior to, we've learned Holt has a few familial skeletons rattling from their proverbial closets.  This early-on standoff is brutal noir as only Brian Azzarello can deliver.  Within this first issue, the story is set for a wild voodoo twist, given where Pirlo ends up after being chased away by Hiram Holt.  As the late George Jones used to wisp, whewwwwwwwww, white lightning...  Thus far out the gate, perfection.

Rating:  10

Jessica Jones  # 1
Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos
Marvel Comics

She's a Netflix hit and further destined for a spotlight in the upcoming Defenders  miniseries.  In the Marvel U, she's the estranged wife of Luke Cage, Power Man.  After running with the New Avengers, she keeps her powers on the down low these days.  Having been released from prison and attempting to resume her fruitless life as a private investigator, she's being stalked by supers close to Cage.  For someone who was written as having borne witness to the epochal moment Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, Jessica Jones, once Drew, runs a parallel life culminated from Suckville.  Not just because she and Peter have seen their mutual share of Green Goblin attacks.  Fitting that Marvel and Brian Michael Bendis re-introduces Jessica Jones to comics in another mature format series, as the character debuted in 2001 in the Marvel MAX book Alias.  Having gone under such monikers as Jewel, Knightress and Power Woman, where Bendis places Jones in this new series is being chased around by Luke Cage and his friends in search of the couple's baby.  We're thrust into a skirmish between Jessica and Misty Knight and a subsequent run-in with Spider Woman, who tries to empathize with Jones having had her own child within the past year.   As Jessica's procured a bizarre case to work, it all leads to a nerve-wracking cutoff once Cage catches up to her while on stakeout.  Brian Bendis creates an edgy and sometimes crass Jessica Jones whom we know is holding back her true potential, despite what Misty Knight draws out of her.  Can't wait to see what hell is wrought out of Jessica from Luke in the next issue.

Rating:  9

DC Rebirth:  Flash  # 8
Joshua Williamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico
DC Comics

As successful as The Flash  television series has been on The CW, it's perhaps inevitable the comic series mirrors the show to slight extent.  Our Barry Allen here is the tried and true adult Flash, doubling as forensics expert.  In the Rebirth series, we've seen the same speed force phenomenon that turned Allen into The Flash affect a generous handful of people in Central City.  Dubbed "speedsters," the Rebirth story has moved like gangbusters as a new quasi-villain emerges, Godspeed.  In some ways, the genesis of Godspeed is similar to Zoom, whom we all know from this series and the television show, killed Barry Allen's mother way back when.  Godspeed is fanatical, believes in his own twisted ideals and gives Barry a purposeful trail of corpses to thread toward his identity.  At this point in the Rebirth series, we've learned Godspeed is Barry's partner on the police force, August Heart.  August, who violently lost his brother, considers himself an avenging archangel.  Hell-bent on snuffing Zoom as long-overdue justice for Barry, it's revealed in this issue August has killed the wrong person he believed killed his brother.  Enter the second Wally West, aka Kid Flash, whom Barry is starting to groom.  Together, they take down August, forming the foundations of a Flash tag team.  Considering the original Wally West effectively launched the whole Rebirth project, it'll be interesting to see the inevitable meeting of the Wallys down the road.

Rating:  8

Cannibal  # 1
Jennifer Young, Brian Buccellato and Matias Bergara
Image Comics

The creative team describes this series as an "anti-apocalypse story."  What that means is tapping into the human psyche ala the original Dawn of the Dead,  in the midst of a calamity set inside an Everglades region.  The concept is intriguing.  A hundred year-old hibernating yellow fever is uprooted and spread in the wake of a Category 5 hurricane from 1994.  This virus triggers the uncontrollable urge to consume human flesh.  Not exactly a zombie and certainly not third world Cannibal Ferox, those who have been affected and not treated by a Y-Pak treatment are susceptible to human eating frenzies.  The kicker here in this series is that remorse for the bloody consumptions come into play.  Beneath the expository carnage is the introduction of main character Cash and his stripper lover Jolene, aka "Candy."  Writers Jennifer Young and Brian Buccellato lead their readers to believe Cash is a psycho-sexual deviant in the way he kidnaps Jolene with a bag over her head, only to have it revealed the couple simply likes a danger element to their kink.  The intent to this series is to purposefully slow cook it with an assumed shit storm of skin chomping as it goes on.  We can assume Cash is going swing this plot hard after finding Jolene missing in the midst of a ransacking at the end of the first issue.

Rating:  8

Black Panther  # 7
Ta-Nehisi Coates and Chris Sprouse
Marvel Comics

Ta-Nahisi Coates is the laureate of comics.  Seriously.  I used to do a lot of open mike poetry and frequently at the coffee houses I read at, it was considered good form to recite others' work aside from your own, even if you were the feature.  Especially  if you were the feature, as I was a few times.  I can promise you if offered another feature slot on an open mike venue, I'll be toting one, if not two of Coates' triumphant Black Panther  books.  The kingdom of Wakanda couldn't be in better hands than this guy and Issue # 7 is split between traditional bad guy thumping and another of Coates' gorgeously-written parables en route to a tragic ending.  For the mondo team-up geeks, we have a super posse coming to the aid of King T'Challa, who is being challenged by Ezekiel Stane for his throne.  Enter "The Crew," consisting of Luke Cage, Misty Knight, Manifold and Storm, the latter sporting her rad Eighties mohawk.  Even with his hands cuffed behind his back, T'Challa is a supreme badass, and with a little help from his friends, Stane's coup is squashed handily, Marvel-style.  This naturally leads to the likelihood of a soul-powered team book and a damned good one by suggestion.  Meanwhile, T'Challa's sister Shuri continues to consult an astral form of her mother in learning more about the history of Wakanda via The Djalia, a collective subconscious recollection of the land's culture.  As a subplot, the reeling dagger comes from a betrayal upon Changamire by his son, Tetu, as this dynamic issue closes.  Just pass the Eisner here.

Rating:  9

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