Saturday, December 15, 2018

Frontline Reviews For The Week Of December 12, 2018 - Tie-Ins Be Damned!

Join us on the Frontlines with our weekly review roundup. This is where we have assembled to give our thoughts on various issues that are released each week. This week we have Brant JayJustin, & Kat giving reviews for books from Archie ComicsBOOM! StudiosDC Comics, IDW PublishingImage Comics, and Marvel  Comics! Check out the reviews below and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Twitter. Welcome to the FRONTLINE  REVIEWS, hope you enjoy the experience!

Written By: Greg & Meg Smallwood
Art By: Greg Scott
Colors By: Matt Herm
Letters By: Jack Morelli
Price: $3.99

Vampironca #5 marks the last issue of the mini-series as Veronica has to fend off her worst fears to save her friends. Sadly, this is a pretty by the numbers finale. I was a bit disappointed that everything turned back to normal by the end, but I’m hoping there are some vampire remnants for the upcoming Jughead: The Hunger crossover. The artwork isn’t as strong as Greg Smallwood moves his efforts on just writing duties. The book lost some of its charm with this switch. I rather the series be delayed than have this rushed ending. ~ Kat @ComicUno
Verdict: 3 Stars

Written By:  Ryan Parrott
Art By: Eleonora Carlini
Colors By: Raúl Angulo
Letters By: Ed Dukeshire
Main Cover By: Dan Mora
Intermix Cover By: Miguel Mercado
Preorder Cover By: Audrey Mok
Homage Incentive By: Natacha Bustos
Retail Price: $3.99

Trini is the new Red Ranger and Jason is the new Yellow Ranger. And… there might be some other complications too. Concurrently, Rita reaches the Green Power Coin. Ryan Parrott does an excellent job writing Go, Go Power Rangers the reason being he achieves the optimal balance between plot, character, and action. He also has clear defining voices of each character that picks up where the actors left off on screen and dive deeper. Parrott takes these character and makes them more complex and enriching every aspect of them. Carlini's art is on point. We get glimpses of the actors' expressions while completely embracing the more animated adventures that the comic and Parrott have created for the Rangers. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 3/4 Power Bolts

"The Laughing House Part 1"
Written By: Scott Snyder
Art By: Jock
Colors By: David Baron
Letters By: Sal Cipriano
Cover By: Jock
Variant Covers By: Greg Capullo & FCO Plascencia
Price: $4.99

The Batman Who Laughs is back and he brought a new deadly friend. I am torn on this one. I find myself liking part of the story like the mystery of the dead Bruce Wayne, and the new "Punisher" Batman, but then things like the toxin in the Joker's heart and a few other things like Gordon not connecting Batman to the dead Bruce Wayne body takes from the story. Overall though this is a gripping issue that makes you want to return for more. The art was at times dark but very fitting for the mood and setting of the book.   ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate
Verdict: 4 Stars

Written By: Robert Venditti
Art By: Bryan Hitch
Inks By: Bryan Hitch and Andrew Curry
Colors By: Jeremiah Shipper
Letters By: Starkings and Comicraft
Cover By: Bryan Hitch
Variant Covers By: Julian Totino Tedesco
Price: 3.99

Hawkman issue #7 tells the Origin story of how Hawkman, KTar began his journey through time and space and what came just before that moment.  The true Deathbringer is revealed and it’s not what we expected.  Robert Venditti continues to give us a story worthy of a long history like that of Hawkman’s. The art by Bryan Hitch with Andrew Curry is epic in scope and emotional reflections.  Certain panels will pull you into the pain that KTar is in and the truth he is starting to realize.  Overall, a great issue that tells us what Hawkman fans have always wanted to know, how did it all start.  Next up for our hero, a trip to Krypton! ~ Justin @ExileState
Verdict: 4 Stars

"Origin Story"
Created By: Brandee Stilwell
Written By: Brandee Stilwell
Art By: Ron Randall
Colors By: Ross Campbell
Letters By: Dave Sharpe

Written By: Brandee Stilwell
Art By: Gustavo Vazquez
Colors By: Chris Sotomayor
Letters By: Dave Sharpe

"Unsolved Mysteries"
Written By: Brandee Stilwell
Art By: Gus Vazquez
Colors By: Ross Campbell
Letters By: Dave Sharpe

"Neighborhood Watch"
Written By: Brandee Stilwell
Art By: Gus Vazquez
Colors By: Ross Campbell
Letters By: Dave Sharpe

"Arrest And Relaxation"
Written By: Brandee Stilwell
Art By: Gus Vazquez
Colors By: Ross Campbell
Letters By: Dave Sharpe

"Smoke And Mirrors"
Written By: Brandee Stilwell
Art By: Gus Vazquez
Colors By: Ross Campbell
Letters By: Dave Sharpe
Cover By: Ben Caldwell
Price: $7.99

Meet the newest detective in town, Tonya Littlefoot, the Sasquatch Detective. I LOVE this book! I thought this was a nice fun-filled throwback to the classic Hanna-Barbera era of shows. The first story, the largest in the book tells about how Tonya became the Sasquatch Detective while the remaining ones tell us more about her life after joining law enforcement and her cases. I already feel like this new character is one that I grew up with because of the way the issue was done. The art was perfect both Caldwell and Vazquez styles blend so well that it never felt like there was a change to the art. I hope the final page means we will be seeing more of Tonya Littlefoot in the future.  ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate
Verdict: 4 ¼ Stars

"The Unity Saga Part 6"
Written By: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils By: Ivan Reis
Inks By: Joe Prado & Oclair Albert 
Colors By: Alex Sinclair
Letters By: Josh Reed
Cover By: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, & Alex Sinclair
Variant Covers By: Adam Hughes
Price: $3.99

It is Superman and Zod Vs. Rogol Zaar and some of the vilest criminals in the Phantom Zone. For the most part, I have been enjoying Bendis' run on Superman, but I have to admit, this is his weakest issue. We spent five issues working to this showdown and it is rushed and explained away through dense exposition filled splash pages. For the most part, I love the art, but I think a lot of the splash pages were weakened by the blank space used for the exposition text. While the overall story had a few highlights it wasn't until the end of the book with Jon returning older than he should be is where I felt Bendis got back into the grove with Superman that he once had in previous issues. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate
Verdict: 3 ¾ Stars

Written By: Brian Azzarello
Art By: Lee Bermejo
Letters By: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover By: Lee Bermejo
Variant Cover By: Jim Lee & Alex Sinclair
Price: $6.99

The Joker is dead, or is he? Batman must navigate the dangers of Gotham to get to the truth about what happened. While I thoroughly enjoyed the last issue this one, not so much. This issue demonstrates the downside of Azzarello's writing for me. He takes a premise as interesting as "Did Batman kill the Joker?" and makes it too out there. I don't want nor need even an implied Jason Blood/Etrigan as some underground Gotham rapper, the tainting of the Waynes' marriage, or the reason why Batman doesn't use a gun. It feels like he wants to reinvent the wheel so he makes an impact in the industry, this style doesn't appeal to me. But the writing isn't the only issue I had here. While I did enjoy the art for the most part, at times it was a bit muddy and chaotic. The lettering also has its weak points with the narration, the font choice leaves much to be desired because at times it makes it hard to read. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate
Verdict: 2 ½ Stars

Written By: Vita Ayala
Art By: Harvey Tolibao
Colors By: Joana Lafuente
Letters By: Christa Miesner
Cover By: Ken Lashley
Variant Covers By Tyler Kirkham
Price: 3.99

Magic: The Gathering - Chandra issue #1 is exactly what you need in an introductory issue to a series, whether the reader is a long time Magic: The Gathering (MTG) fan or if this is the first MTG related product that they have ever picked up. This issue introduces us to Chandra, gives a great explanation of what she is and her abilities as a Planeswalker. While along the way we see several different planes as Chandra goes out on her patrols to protect and help those in need.  Vita Ayala and Harvey Tolibao both do a great job on this first issue and I will be checking the next issue to see where this story continues to go from here. ~ Justin @ExileState
Verdict: 3 ½ Stars

"Only You Can Save Yourself"
Written By: Dave Baker
Art By: Nicole Goux
Colors By: Miquel Muerto

"Consider Eternity"
Written By: Brandon Easton
Art By: Josh Hood
Colors By: Thomas Deer

"My Human Is Not"
Written By: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Art By: Sonny Liew

Written By: Matthew Dow Smith
Art By: Matthew Dow Smith
Colors By: Shaun Steven Stubble
Letters By: Neil Uyetake
Cover By: Josh Hood & David Garcia Cruz
Paid By: $7

Four "Short Treks" spanning the franchise's long history. Each team did a great job here, we begin with the interesting way they dealt with Ezri Dax communicating with her previous hosts and the animated style of art that accompanied it. The next story with Q meeting the now omnipotent Decker/Ilia/Voyager Probe being which leads to Q discovering Picard, and the nice DS9 nod. This one had my favorite art in it, with the characters looking so much like their counterparts. The most touching may be the one with Spot and Data, giving us a new perspective on their bond. Finally, we close on a story set a thousand years after the Federation end. a familiar story of a young alien questioning the validity of his people's history which paints the Federation as conquering warlords. I had a great time reading this special one-shot and hope for me of these in the future. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate
Verdict: 4 ¼ Stars

ROSE #15
Written By: Meredith Finch
Art By: Ig Guara
Colors By: Triona Farrell
Letters By: Cardinal Rae
Cover By: Ig Guara & Triona Farrell
Variant Cover B By: Jon Lam
Variant Cover C By: Gerald Lange
Price: $3.99

Drucilla brings Simon to where she is holding Rose and brings in the captured Thorne to kill them both. Meanwhile, Artus and Will search for the cure for Fel, but could they be too late? Meredith Finch is a mistress of the cliffhanger, which I simultaneously love and hate. Every issue leaves me with the need for the next, yet I know I must wait a whole month for it. This issue highlights another mastery in Finch's storytelling arsenal and that is character growth and development. We see each character further developed making us even more engaged and invested in them. I want Fel to be saved as much as I do Rose. Guara continues to bring solid art this issue making this world and its characters come to life all the more. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate
Verdict: 4 ¼ Stars

Written By: Nick Spencer
Pencils By: Ryan Ottley
Inks By: Cliff Rathburn
Colors By: Laura Martin
Letters By: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover By: Ottley & Martin
Variant Covers By: Giuseppe Camuncoli & David Curiel, Gabriele Dell’Otto
Price: $3.99

In this issue, Spencer kicks off the holidays with fights over Galactus dolls, fancy banquets, interrupted holiday dinners and throwback villains! The central focus of the issue, though, is the rocky relationship between J. Jonah Jameson and Peter Parker/Spider-Man. The two have been through many, many ups and downs over the years, but recently, we’ve seen JJJ caring deeply about the wallcrawler and wanting to help him as best he can. Here, though, we see that relationship start to splinter a bit as JJJ gets some footing of his own. His old personality flaws start to rise to the surface once again, and it all feels very fluid and organic the way Spencer writes it here.

Ottley’s artwork is top notch as usual also, especially the fight scenes with Hippo and the close-up shots of JJJ screaming either into a microphone or at Spidey.

I love that this book has brought back so much focus on Spidey’s supporting cast, and this issue is certainly no exception to that. We are getting back to basics with death traps and kidnappings, and B and C list villains crashing the party. Love the direction this team is taking the book so far, and this was another great example.

My only word of caution would come in making sure the representation of their (JJJ and Spidey) relationship is consistent between books, but the way Spencer handled it here, breaking down and all, made perfect sense to me. I’m curious to see where it goes from here. ~ Brant @BrantFowler
Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

"(Invisible) Girls Gone Wild"
Written By: Gail Simone
Art By: Laura Braga
Colors By: Jesus Aburtov
Letters By: VC's Joe Caramagna

"Father Figure"
Written By: Dan Slott
Pencils By: Mark Buckingham
Inks By: Mark Farmer
Colors By: Matt Yackey
Letters By: VC's Joe Caramagna

"The Puppet Master's Lament"
By: Fred Hembeck
Colors By: Megan Wilson
Cover By: Carlos Pacheco & Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Variant Covers By: Marcos Martin; Mike McKone & Matt Yackey; Artgerm; Pasqual Ferry & Chris Sotomayor
Price: $4.99

Before they can walk down the aisle, every couple has traditions and rights of passage to go through and that isn't any different for Ben Grim and Alicia Masters. This is a nice fun, misleadingly titled book. There is no actual wedding here, this is more about the Bachelorette Party for Alicia which introduces readers to her non-powered and powered besties which takes up the bulk of this special. The remaining stories focus on Alicia's stepfather the Puppet Master, the first one with Ben going for his blessing was my favorite of the two. The second story while amusing felt like padding to justify the extra cost of the issue. The art in all three worked splendidly with their accompanying stories. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate
Verdict: 4 Stars

Written By: Saladin Ahmed
Art By: Javier Garron
Colors By: David Curiel
Letters By: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover By: Brian Stelfreeze
Variant Covers By: Marko Djurdjevic, Lee Garbett, Adi Granov
Price: $3.99

I’ve been looking forward to this book since it was announced. I’ve been really curious how other creative teams sans Bendis would handle Miles in his own series, and so I couldn’t wait to check it out. And for the most part, I feel like Ahmed did a pretty good job capturing the essence of Miles and his supporting cast, even with a few clunky moments here and there.

The use of a mandatory school journal to recap Miles’ origin and story so far was quite clever and really worked within the framework of this story. Instead of just getting your standard origin recap, we were treated to a natural way to include it in the story that ties into a part of Miles’ everyday life. The only thing story wise I didn’t care for as much was the heavy-handed message of fighting the injustices of deportation and detainment of children immigrants. Not that it’s not an important issue, but it felt a little from out of left field and was then too conveniently connected to other parts of his life the very same day. That said, the twist with the heist made it a little more forgiving.

Art-wise overall was nicely done. Great, dynamic panels with a great sense of movement, on point facial expressions, gestures and mannerisms, and accurate depictions of the characters, save for Ganke. Not loving the new hairstyle or lack of screen time for Miles’ best friend. Also, there were a few panels when Miles was in his costume that the webbing on the face looked a little off, and the coloring at times was dingy and flat, which is quite unusual for Curiel’s work.

All in all, I enjoyed this issue and am looking forward to reading Miles and his supporting cast again. I just hope this creative team gets their feet under them a bit more and continues to grow with the series. ~ Brant @BrantFowler
Verdict: 3 ¾ Stars

"The Uncanny Spider-Force Breathe" 
Written By: Priest
Pencils By: Marcelo Ferreira & Ibraim Roberson
Inks By: Roberto Poggi, Ibraim Roberson & Craig Yeung
Colors By: Guru e-FX
Letters By: VC's Joe Sabino
Cover By: Shane Davis, Michelle Delecki & Morry Hollowell
Price: $3.99

The Spider-Force has Solus Crystal now they have to prevent Verna from killing them, taking it from them and resurrecting her father, which we already know happens thanks to Spider-Geddon #4. Having the ending spoiled or not didn't diminish my enjoyment of the journey to that endgame. This issue felt a bit more disjointed than the previous two and was a bit too dependent on Spider-Geddon to wrap this and all the other tie-ins up. I am also pretty worried about the fate of both Kaine and Charlie. The art is surprisingly solid here despite two pencilers and three inkers. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate
Verdict: 4 Stars

Written By: Jodie Houser
Art By: Andres Genolet
Colors By: Jim Charalampidis & Triona Farrell
Letters By: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99

Spider-Girls has so much potential but just doesn’t have the panel time to fully flesh itself out. The series does a solid job at tying back to Spider-Geddon while seeing some exciting action sequences between the girls, but the most enjoyable aspect of the issue was the small heart-to-heart Annie and May are able to have about what they’ve lost within their family. On pencils, Andres Genolet delivers some of the strongest and most stylish artwork I’ve seen for both Mayday and Annie in a long time. Spider-Girls #3 may have been created because of Spider-Geddon, but the event ends up being the biggest disservice to the series. ~ Kat @ComicUno
Verdict: 3 ½ Stars

Written By: Seanan McGuire
Art By: Rosi Kampe
Colors By: Ian Herring
Letters By: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Price: $3.99

Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider is the strongest story to come out of Spider-Geddon, and has the smoothest conclusion as all of the tie-ins transition into Spider-Geddon #5. Issue three allows this world to have a complete story by also giving us hope that this won’t be the last we’ve seen of Goblin Gwen. The strongest aspect of this issue is MJ’s connection with Goblin Gwen. I like that Seanan McGuire uses MJ to take Gwen out of her trance, even if the switch to good was a little rushed. Rosi Kampe's pencils are pretty solid throughout the issue but could've delivered stronger facial expressions for the more emotional scenes. Overall, I’m very excited for Gwen to return to her universe because I miss her supporting cast, but I’m surprised by how much I’m going to miss this new world. This is a sentiment to how well McGuire was able to build these new characters in only the span of three issues.~ Kat @ComicUno
Verdict: 4 Stars

Find out where these books and more fall in the Frontline Six's Top 5 on this week's Frontline LIVE Tuesday, December 18th at 10:00 PM ET!

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