Friday, June 15, 2018

Frontline Reviews For Week Of June 13, 2018!

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 BrantChris JayJesseJustin & Kat giving reviews for books from Aftershock, Archie, AspenBOOM! StudiosDark HorseDC Comics, Dynamite EntertainmentImage ComicsMarvel Comics, Titan Comics, and Zenescope! 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: Donny Cates
Art By: Garry Brown
Colors By: Mark Englert
Letters By: Taylor Esposito
Cover By: Garry Brown with Mark Englert
Price: $3.99

Babyteeth #11 is a solid issue that establishes the true dangers of The Red Realm, which is essentially hell. Sadie does everything in her power to save her son. This is the moment where most series would have a fun training montage and the hero would be ready to join the good fight, but I like that Babyteeth doesn’t go that direction. Sadie trains, and is still a pretty horrible fighter. As always, Garry Brown and Mark Englert does a great job at building a dark world, but adding enough color to allow the visuals to not feel too muddy. Babyteeth continues to succeed by showing realistic elements in a world filled with demons. Kat

Verdict: 4 Stars

Written By: Frank Mastromauro
Pencils By: Marco Lorenzana
Inks By: Mark Roslan
Colors By: Justice
Letters By: Taylor Esposito
Cover By: Marco Lorenzana & Justice
Variant Cover By: Mauricio Campetella & Jesse Heady
Price: $1.50

Aspen has been in a state of reawakening, at least for me. The past year or so they have been restarting series, and launching new ones, and so far I have been on board, and Awaken Skies is the next title to be added to my pull list. I love the set up here, we have the mystery of what was on the drive and where does Mira and her dad fit into it all. I love their relationship, something we don't see much, usually with a teen book you either hide from parents or they are their to provide cause for teen angst. The designs are AMAZING and Turner would be proud of them for sure, they have his signature look while also being something totally unique. This is a nice sampler of the series.

Verdict: 4 Stars

Written By: Jamie Lee Rotante
Art By: Jean Vaughn
Colors By: Elaina Unger (Pages 1-11) Matt Herms (Pages 12-20)
Letters By: Rachel Deering
Cover By: Jean Vaughn
Price: $3.99

I love Archie, let me say that right now. I grew up reading classic Archie books and continue to buy and read everything the company does, including Betty & Veronica Vixens which takes what we know about the Riverdale heartbreakers and flips it on its head and I love it. This issue was really good setting up some new twists while furthering the overall plot. Maybe it is Riverdale, or Vixens but I am really finding myself drawn to both Cheryl and Toni with each issue. My one problem is the cut scenes, they are just jarring, if they were smoother this would read better, but still as is, it is still a good read. ~ Jay

Verdict: 3 ½ stars

Written By: Greg Pak
Art By: Takeshi Miyazawa
Colors By: Jessica Kholinne
Letters By: Simon Bowland
Cover By: Takeshi Miyazawa And Raul Angulo
Price: $3.99

WOW!!!! This issue just gives you chills! I felt like I was watching a high action Mech Anime and I couldn't take my eyes from the screen, that is how great the story and the art is here. The cadets and the Engineering Corps are taking on the Sharg Mothership and they let command know. The Suprarobo is just one heart away from being activated but the group isn't ready to sacrifice one of their own or all of their own and destroy the mothership and when they do they see eight more. To save everyone, especially Sanford, Blue leaves him with the group and heads to Earth to give up his heart to save everyone else. Again, chills.  ~ Jay

Verdict: 5 Stars

Written By: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Art By: Phillip Sevy
Colors By: Michael Atiyeh
Letters By: Michael Heisler
Cover By: Hannah Templer
Price: $3.99

I feel obligated to preface this with, I never played a Tomb Raider game, I'm not a gamer, and I usually do not pick up books based on games, but something about this one intrigued me, and I am glad I did. Lara Croft is amazing here. I love the voiceovers here talking about the hunter and the prey, and Lara's own inner monologue had me getting to know more about a character I never knew before. This book is a nice set up for what I hope is an excellent payoff. We have the mystery, the hunt, the danger and a lot of action. Top all of that with great art and you have officially created a Lara Croft fan. ~ Jay

Verdict: 4 Stars

Written By: Tim Seeley
Art By: Minkyu Jung
Colors By: Jordie Bellaire
Letters By: Dave Sharpe
Cover By: Rafael Albuquerque, Dave McCaig
Price: $3.99

Batgirl Vs. Riddler marks the third part of Batman Prelude to the Wedding. Next to the Harley Quinn one-shot, this was my most anticipated book for this event. The issue is a fun story as Batgirl uses her mind to defeat The Riddler at his game, making her use analogue instruments to solve his riddles. The pencils by Minkyu Jung are very solid, delivering a good action packed story. The issue provides a promising ending with Babs possibility rekindling her relationship with Nightwing, but the cliffhanger with Harley Quinn felt out of place. The next issue is Red Hood Vs. Anarky, so what’s with the Harley Quinn ending? Batgirl Vs. Riddler is somewhat forgettable and doesn’t add much to the wedding plot, but if you're a fan of these two characters it’s worth the read. Kat

Verdict: 3 ½ Stars

Written By: Robert Venditti
Art By: Clayton Henry
Colors By: Pete Pantazis
Letters By: Dave Sharpe
Cover By: Stephen Seovia & Romulo Fajardo Jr. 
Variant Cover By: Tyler Kirkman & Arif Prianto
Price: $2.99

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps continues to be a strong title with solid direction from Robert Venditti.  This issue pushes the Darkstars Rising storyline a some rather deep direction as we look into the childhood of Guy Gardner and see his pain and suffering.  It’s great to see this title tackle tough issues while still giving us the space adventure we so look forward to in a Green Lantern Corps books. We also see Kyle trying to recruit the New Gods, and John Stewart getting what he needs from Zod. Hal’s part of the story is the most intriguing as we are left with a massive cliffhanger for the next issue.  Overall this issue does a great of developing and driving the story forward. ~ Justin

Verdict: 4 Stars

Written By: Robert Venditi
Pencils By: Bryan Hitch
Inks By: Andrew Currie & Bryan Hitch
Colors By: Alex Sinclair
Letters By: Starkings & ComicCraft
Cover By: Bryan Hitch & Alex Sinclair
Variant Cover By: Stjepan Sejic
Price: $3.99

This was a great first issue. It perfectly sets up who Hawkman is, which is complicated but Venditi does a great job condensing it. This issue fdelt very Hawkman to high flying Indiana Jones adventure, but also had this great underlying mystery to it. Venditi does a great job bringing in all of Carter's lives, but I have to admit I love Catar-Ol of Krypton. Could Catar-Ol be a part of the Nightwing myth of Krypton? This was a great start and I can not wait to go on this dig with Hawkman!  ~ Jay

Verdict: 4 Stars

PLASTIC MAN #1 (of 6)
Written By: Gail Simone
Art By: Adriana Melo
Colors By: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters By: Simon Bowland
Price: $3.99

Plastic Man #1 is by far one of my favorite books that were released this week. Gail Simone did an amazing job reintroducing old and new fans to who Plastic Man is and who he was before. Plastic Man has been absent in the DCU for a (far too) long time, I’ve always been a fan of his goofy, always joking personality. Gail Simone sends Plastic Man on an undercover job as his former mobster self, Eel O’Brian, to discover the truth about his last heist with his mob friends...that he apparently forgot. There was a murder so he wants to know who out of all of them did it. At first the finger is pointed at him, and then an even greater mystery opens up towards the end of the book. Is a super hero in the DCU actually evil!? Plastic Man will find out! The art by Adriana Melo was amazing, PM never looked so good. I would highly recommend this book and I’m excited to see what happens next. ~ Chris

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

Written By: Dan Abnett
Art By: Sergio Davila, Vicente Cifuentes, Brent Peeples, Matt Santorelli, Brian Ching, Nicola Scott, Max Raynor, Ben Oliver
Colors By: Luis Guerrero, Marcelo Maiolo, Michael Atiyeh, Jordie Bellaire, Dinei Ribeiro, Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters By: Dave Sharpe
Cover By: Brandon Peterson
Price: $4.99

Titans Special #1 works as a transition issue between DC Rebirth Titans and the next era of Titans connected to the new Justice League relaunch event. It’s your standard story that brings the roster of the new team together. I like the chemistry of the group so far, but I wish the issue spent more time with the Titans’ members that left the team. It’s hard to rate the artwork, since there were so many pencillers that took part in this issue. I liked that there was a separate artist for every new member Nightwing asked to join the team, but there were no stand out art styles. Titans Special #1 acted as a solid issue to introduce the new team, but I wish there was more closure for the previous Titans run. Kat

Verdict: 3 ½ stars

Written By: Kelly Thompson
Art By: Jenn St. Onge
Colors By: Triona Farrell
Letters By: Ariana Maher
Cover By: Tula Lotay
Price: $3.99

Nancy Drew is not what I expected after reading and enjoying Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie, but that’s not a bad thing. This version of the character is set in the modern world, is full of spunk, and is surrounded by a great supporting cast. The Hardy Boys are present, as Drew is drawn back home as we see a mystery emerging. She and her childhood friends, all grown up now, team up once again to get to the bottom of it, figuratively and literally as it happens.

Kelly Thompson brought us Hawkeye and Rogue & Gambit in recent memory, so I knew I would be getting a story with great, fleshed out characters and strong relationships. The book is full of charm and personality from the first page to the last. Jenn St. Onge’s  art, while jarring at first, really fit the story and drew me in (pun intended) once I understood the tone of the book. Pair that with the gorgeous cover art by Tula Lotay and you have a very solid first issue that has me clamoring for more. Brant

Verdict: 4 Magnifying Glasses

Written By: Meredith Finch
Art By: Vicente CiFuentes
Colored By: Triona Farrell
Lettered By: Cardinal Rae
Cover By: Sergio Davila & Triona Farrell
Variant Cover By: Vicente CiFuentes & Triona Farrell
Price: $3.99

Meredith Finch has managed to capture all the action adventure, unique brand of comedy and charm of Xena: Warrior Princess which is something a lot of comics based on TV shows don't do. The battle between Xena and Callisto was like watching Lucy Lawless and Heidi Hudson Leick going at it on screen again. Vicente CiFuentes did a great job at capturing those signature twisted mentally unstable looks that Leick would make as well as the expressions Lawless and O'Connor made. Every character is so in character that after reading each issue I have to watch the show again to get more, which is what every comic based on a TV show should accomplish. Jay

Verdict: 4 ½ Chakrams

Written By: Michele Fiffe
Art By: Michele Fiffe
Colors By: Michele Fiffe
Cover By: Michele Fiffe, Rob Liefeld and Dan Fraga
Price: $3.99

An origin story 25 years in the making, but does it deliver?  Bloodstrike issue zero gives us the origin story of the team but focuses in on Deadlock and how he became a part of Project Rebirth and the Bloodstrike. We also get the team making fun of Youngblood, which was probably the best part of the story truthfully.  This issue is great for anyone who enjoyed the original series from Image way back in the early 1990’s but as a fan today this issue may leave you wanting more or less as it were. While the story is decent, the art really took me out of this book and dropped my overall rating. ~ Justin

Verdict: 2 ½ Stars

Written By: Mark Millar
Art By: Olivier Coipel
Colors By: Dave Stewart
Letters By: Peter Doherty
Cover By: Olivier Coipel
Variant Cover B By: Olivier Coipel
Variant Cover C By: Adam Hughes
Price: $3.99

Ever since Harry Potter blew up, we’ve seen magic come to the forefront in all forms of media as a trend or a fad tends to do. Some are unique in their approach, others try to capitalize on what has come before, and poorly so. Thankfully, The Magic Order is the former and not the latter. Millar manages to capture your attention at the onset with the use of a child, which sets the stage for this magical murder mystery. We are introduced to a group of linked players, each different from the next, each equally engaging and flawed. The art is moody and atmospheric, and somehow both loose and tight at the same time as Coipel marries rustic scenery with polished figure work. And Stewart’s colors add to the mood and tone beautifully. This is an impressive beginning to a rich story set in an intriguing version of our world filled with interesting characters I want to know more about! Brant

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

ROSE #12
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: Loobydave
Variant Cover C By: Dawn McTeigue
Price: $3.99

Every month I look forward to dive into the world of Rose, where magic and honor are real. Meredith Finch created a world that I can not wait to read and a main character that inspires all in and out of the book. this issue did not disappoint in any of those regards. Rose really steps up here becoming the Guardian she is destined to be, but oddly enough I am really becoming attacked to Simon, I want to know more of his story, and see him every month as well. With Rose, Simon, Felix, Ila and Artus take on some Dark Guardians and their Khats I need to read the next issue now! ~ Jay

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars 

Written By: Cullen Bunn
Art By: Mark Bagley
Inks By: John Dell III
Colors By: Edgar Delgado
Letters By: Joe Sabino
Cover By: Mark Bagley, John Dell & Val Staples
Price: $4.99

Two things. The Demon Head ninja really needs a breath mint and Cullen Bunn knows how to write Deadpool.  Bunn is a veteran when it comes to bringing the regenerating degenerate to life. He knows how to give us Deadpool's off-the-wall humor and sensibilities but in a way that is tempered and not too obnoxious.  Bunn and Bagley are smart not to deviate from that for this first issue of the mini-series. If you just watched Deadpool 2 and would like to read something in that style, then this is a book worth reading. The pace is quick, the story somewhat non-linear (a la the Deadpool movies) and full of dynamic action sequences brought wonderfully to life the Mark Bagley.  However, if you are annoyed by Deadpool or turned off by gratuitous violence then you will continue to be annoyed and turned off.  But you do get some Weasel Waffle Cereal on display in this issue. If that doesn't do it for you, I don't know what to say. ~ Jesse

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #2
Written By: Chris Sims & Chad Bowers
Art By: Gang Hyuk Lim
Letters By: VC's Travis Lanham
Cover By: Skan
Variant Cover By: Mike McKone & Rachelle Rosenberg
Price: $3.99

As this issue opens up, Miranda is expressing her concerns over Chris’ actions to the reader, and to Chris once she sees what he’s up to. I felt this was much needed character insight for her in this issue. The banter between Darkhawk and Death’s Head, and the added commentary by Miranda really made this opening scene one of the strongest of the issue. The other being the ending with the fate of Chris Powell at hand. I felt this was in line with how Powell typically reacts, which is a bit disappointing considering he should have matured more than this by now. The outcome of his confrontation with the Raptors, though, and them not being exactly what he thought was appropriately intense and uncomfortable. Not sure I like the design of this new entity, but aside from that, the art was a nice animated style that was simplistic, yet hit all the emotional beats and facial expressions it needed to in order to convey the feeling in each part of the story. Overall, a solid effort, but not quite as strong as the opening issue. Brant

Verdict: 3 ½ Amulets

Written By: Devin Grayson
Art By: Georges Duarte
Colors By: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters By: VC's Clayton Cowles
Cover By: Gurihiru
Variant Cover By: Stacey Lee
Connecting Variant Cover By: Rian Gonzales
Price: $4.99

Marvel Rising Alpha is a part of Marvel's new multi-platform animation franchise starring the next generation of Marvel heroes, this is the first issue (other than FCBD's #0 issue) that ties into the shorts and the upcoming animated movie. This issue was pretty cool, but maybe too much "next generation" for some. There is a lot of video gaming talk (like tech stuff), and a lot of texting going on that it almost distracted from the main story. Emulator reminds me a lot of Video-Man from Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends, this story actually reminds me of that episode too. I love the art it feels like an animated series, which ties into that side of this multi-platform franchise. I can't wait to see where Ms. Marvel discovering Squirrel Girl's secret identity and Emulator herself go.

Verdict: 3 ¾ Stars

"God Of Thunder Reborn"
Written By: Jason Aaron
Art By: Mike Del Mundo
Color Assists By: Marco D'Alfonso

"The Grace Of Thor"
Written By: Jason Aaron
Art By: Christian Ward
Letters By: VC's Joe Sabino
Cover By: Mike Del Mundo
Price: $5.99

Thor #1 continues the epic Asgardian tale that Jason Aaron has been weaving for a long while now.  We get the direct continuation of Thor’s journey to become worthy again in his own eyes.  Plus, we get a far flung future Thor story from what seems to be the end of the universe as a whole.  The first story finds us with Thor as he continues to recover powerful objects that need to be returned to Asgard. This leads him on a furious collision with the Juggernaut, who is more powerful than ever thanks to one of those objects. We see Thor call down a storm of Hammers from the Dwarf Screwbeard. The second story gives us Thor and his three granddaughters as they look over Midgard and the creation of new life on the long barren Earth.  While the art in the first story took some getting used to, reading the pay off at the end of the second story makes it worth it.  The last page was completely unexpected and awesome. If you’re a Thor fan this book is definitely for you. ~ Justin

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

Written By: Donny C. Cates
Art By: Ryan Stegman
Inks By: J.P. Mayer
Colors By: Frank Martin, Jr.
Letters By: VC's Clayton Cowles
Cover By: Ryan Stegman & Frank Martin
Price: $3.99

I have to say I am really enjoying this direction that Donny Cates and his team are taking the symbiotes and Eddie Brock. It is another title from mainline Marvel that would sit comfortably in the Marvel Max line of books.  I really feel like Cates has found a balance with understanding Brock's voice and his back story coupled with pushing him and the symbiote mythos in to scary new directions.  This issue brings us right to the precipice of a showdown with the symbiote-eating dragon, with Spider-man and with Venom himself.  I will be curious to read Cates' take on Peter Parker and how that plays off of his take on Eddie Brock. Cates leads us down a dark pathway from cover to cover, I hope you're prepared! ~ Jesse 

Verdict: 4 ¼ Stars 

Written By: Sylvain Runberg
Art By: Juzhen
Translated By: Ivanka Hahnenberger
Cover By: Alex Ronald
Variant Cover By: Juzhen
Price: $5.99

Ok I had no idea what this book was, at first I thought it was based on a video game, since Titan has a lot of those type of books. I don't usually get them, just because I am not into video games. This isn't based on a video game, but I didn't know that until after I decided to try it because it looked so cool. Man I am glad I did! I love mythology, I love old epic stories like Beowulf, stories from the Bard and such and this story is epic! If you like Beowulf or Shakespeare or for more modern times, if you like Disney's Gargoyles this is a book you would enjoy! King is dead. Brother Vs Brother. A kingdom in a civil war. Centaur wars. All of that and so much and the art is so phenomenal that it makes the scenes come to live before your eyes. My one downfall would be for someone not into these type of stories the back and forth and names could be jarring, but I loved it. Jay

Verdict 4 Stars

Written By: Joe Brusha
Art By: Lucas Meyer
Colors By: Jorge Cortes
Letters: Taylor Esposito Of Ghost Glyph Studios
Cover By A: Sheldon Goh & Sanju Nivangune
Cover By B: Riveiro & Ceci de la Cruz
Cover By C: Mike Krome & Ula Mos
Cover By D: Harvey Tolibao & Ivan Nunes
Prices: $3.99

Camelot is coming to the Grimm Fairy Tales universe and Oberon is in the mix! I think this is a step in the right direction for this title. We have the exciting action and adventure here from the previous volume, but it seems to still be lacking the character depth from it. Just give us more character depth and development and this would be a five star book easily. I love Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table, all things Arthurian can't wait to see how this plays out and the art is always great in this book. ~ Jay

Verdict 3 ¾ Stars

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  1. Thank you Jesse and great job to you as well!

  2. Cool Reviews! My Appreciation for the wide Selection of Comic-Books, very well Done!

    1. Thanks, Holger!

      And great reviews, everyone. Just got around to reading the rest.

    2. Thank you Holger! We enjoy a wide variety of comics and are trying to have that reflected in the reviews!

  3. This is not Frontline Live...which is good. FL is fantastic but this is a whole different experience we have here. It's nice to hear from new voices like Jesse and Justin. I enjoy hearing Justin's passionate take on Thor and Jesse's personality shines through when I read his Deadpool review. But even the voices that I do know from Frontline are different from the show. I feel like I'm sitting with you guys one on one in a room and you're talking directly to me about what this book is and what it means to you. Many of these were beautifully written as you painted a great picture on a blank canvas. It's nice going along for the ride. This batch of books took me back to highschool, to the frozen tundra, apocalyptic madness and deep deep space. Through worlds of magic and murder and finally a mythological battle searching for redemption. Can't wait to hear more about these books on Frontline Live. Well done.

    1. Thank you Jordan (Scotty)! Thanks for all the kind words and support!