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The Next Issue Comic Reviews for January 29, 2014

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Thor God of Thunder #18

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: Dan Pastoras

Reviewer: Aitch Cee

So, a god and a dragon walk in a bar…well not exactly but they DO wake up in a village to a big misunderstanding.  Before I jump too far ahead, let’s make it clear that this book is a one shot story.  It’s happened a few times in the past as Jason Aaron crafts his works.  He does a major storyline and after the conclusion, gives the reader a chance to breathe with a quick story before whisking us off to the next major arc and this is what you get here and boy is it funny. The one point towards Aaron in doing these type books is although these come off a ‘throwaway one-shot stories’, because of how he crafts his writings, this story is anything but because this brief interlude feels more like it adds just a bit to the mythology that is Thor and you never know when some of these stories may return as something bigger.

As to story itself, a drunken Thor and drunken dragon wake up in a village to a major misunderstanding that nearly gets the dragon killed until it’s found out that the dragon was allied to Thor.  There was a fight, some trolls bought it an axe got buried in a nose,  shenanigans ensued and the rest is a blur’ in other words a typical young Thor night out. The villagers aren’t buying the alliance telling Thor that dragons can’t be trusted and Thor takes the dragon’s side. Upon proving their point they go their separate ways until later it’s shown in a sad and yet heartbreaking way, that yes, some dragons are what they really are no matter how much they try to fight their nature.  I personally enjoyed the dialogue and pace of this book especially the opening which really made for some chuckle-worthy moments.  It was good banter throughout and with the way this story was written I was indeed rooting for the dragon. We also get to see a younger Thor who while brash, also tries to make good decisions in understanding that things are not always what they seem or how we want them to be so he is forced to make a decision that he may not like.

Outside of that, again the book was good but my only criticism was with the art.  Esad Ribic’s works so far has given Thor GoT an epic feel yet this book kind of misses that feel.  Dan Pastoras’ art to me is ok but inconsistent.  Thankfully however, it’s not a jarring experience to the reader but all the same it’s immersive enough along with the storyline to get you to the end.

This book is a very well written book that readers will have fun with until next month’s epic storyline starts up again so if you can, grab this book and even though it’s a one shot, don’t pass this up.

3.75 out of 5 stars


Black Science #3

Writer: Rick Remender

Artist: Matteo Scalera

Reviewer: Ray Willis

Black Science issue #3 picks up where issue #2 left off with Grant and his team using The Pillar which was later found out to be sabotaged to go through to a new dimension filled with an ongoing war between unknown forces. Grant is still fighting for his life after being critically injured by the war that is ravaging on the planet. With the circumstances becoming dire Security Chief Ward, Grants assistant Shawn, and their boss Kadir are go on a rescue mission into the enemy trenches to save Grant life. Let me just say that I really loved the art in this series its really good from the detail of the characters and the dark ravaged world they landed in. This issue is a rescue mission but you get to know a little more about Grants life like more about the affair that’s going on between Grant and Rebecca and how Grants team ends up getting lost in space. The writing has been really good and get see how each character gets a little bit more fleshed out each issue and the ongoing on who was the saboteur and how is everyone dealing with the situation they are in. Even Kadir has a cool moment but he’s still a bit of slime ball. Also there is a cool shaman scene and I love the style of the armors they wear. I didn’t really have any problems with this issue and I can’t wait for the next issue to come out.

5 out of 5 stars


Hactivist #1

Writers: Alyssa Milano, Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly
Artist:  Marcus To
Reviewer: Lee Gordon


Or Boom, there goes the Dynamite

I swear I will never collect anything but Marvel.

I’ll let that sink in. I mean seriously, is Marvel that good? Is it possible that one day a bunch of artists will team up and give comic books a whole new Image? My first comic book was from Marvel. The first comic book I collected was from Marvel. The first maxi-series I loved was from Marvel. And the First CGC graded comic book I purchased was a Marvel comic book. I will most likely be buried with a Marvel comic book; of course that’s getting a head of myself. Times change, I still love Marvel, but I am no longer just a Marvelite. There are other things out there, other stories to be read and explored.

As a reader I want to be entertained. Do I care about the characters? Is the artwork any good? Does the story flow? And how about the letterer, can I read what’s in the “balloons”? Recently, Image had me try multiple titles. IDW solidified the thought of it can be a good story with “Locke and Key” and Boom Studios caught my eye with “Day Men”, a vampire story without the sparkle.

After a snow storm and a single day of withdrawal, I visited my father for the latest BBC Mystery Theatre. We both watched season three of Sherlock Holmes before I left to visit my LCS in Philadelphia.  As I perused the store I caught notice of a brand new comic book. The cover is simple, much like “East of West”. The book is the latest from Archaia Black Label, a relatively newer company which merged with Boom Entertainment. I know this because it says so after the story is over instead of a letters page, after all it is the first issue.

I normally read my comic books on the public transit trip home. I skipped reading “Hactivist” on the bus, not wanting to damage it. Unfortunately after I did get home and I prepared to read it, I realized it would never get a 9.8 from CGC. The damaged corner would keep it from the most sought after grade. But, what about the inside? What is it about? Is it worth the $3.99? And on a side note, the price is on the back with the UPC code, I love getting a comic book with a full cover. Marvel please follow suit and put the barcodes on the back cover…thank you in advance and I still love you guys.

Now let’s get back to Hacktivist #1 without spoiling it, because I hate spoilers. The book is good. Damn good. Two guys want to change the world and have the ability to do so. They aren’t super heroes or politicians. They aren’t maniacal (at least not yet) or glamorous. They are simply two multi-billionaires that own a social media website that puts Facebook to shame. In fact, I think they could be each other’s worst enemies.

I am looking forward to seeing where this leads and am inclined to read more of what Alyssa Milano created. Yes, the “Who’s the Boss” star, and subsequently my teenage crush, created the idea behind this twenty-six page comic book written by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing. The two artists should also be named, Marcus To and Ian Herring. Each one I have never heard of before this day, but suffice to say I will look for them from now on.

Know what else is great about it…No ads until the very end and they only show what else is to be published by Archaia and Archaia Black label.

That’s the long of it (I could go longer). The short of it is, buy it. As for a grade I am going to pass on the typical four out of five stars and rate this one Near Mint.


Saga #18

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Reviewer: Oz Longworth, Jr

Anyone that reads my weekly blog (HINT HINT) knows that, of all the books that I’ve reviewed, Saga consistently receives my highest praise as the best thing happening in comic books right now. Brian K. Vaughan lives up to the name he’s made for himself with nigh-legendary titles such as Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina. For the most part, the conclusion to Volume Three of this sci-fi/fantasy epic doesn’t do much to impede its momentum.

Vaughan, known for an engaging “slow burn” approach to plot lines at times, put a number of character journeys into play early on that feel natural in their convergence this month. The main players in this series are always delights to read for various reasons, but the MVP award here in this installment definitely goes to Izabel, Hazel’s sassy ghost nanny. You begin to realize that for a character that doesn’t physically affect the living, she certainly comes through in clutch moments. Maybe she should try out for the Lakers. However, the plot point that will almost certainly receive a side eye from some female readers is that of Gwendolyn, Marko’s jilted ex-fiancee. The great thing about Saga has always been (as I’ve mentioned before in my weekly blog…HINT FUCKING HINT) that you feel as if you know these people or, at least, people like them. You know women like Alana, who seem to be fantastic mothers, despite their constant protest that they have no goddamned idea what they’re doing. You know mainly goodhearted kids like Izabel who, even when they’re being decent, make you want to tell them to watch their fucking mouth. Gwendolyn starts out with that feeling and maintains that for the better part of the story arc but, at one point in this issue, gives you a satisfying moment that still sort of makes you want to yell “Oh, come the fuck on!” It’s a fair argument that she didn’t quite live up to her potential to be a force of nature in the big picture, but don’t we all know people like that, too? And it’s not set in stone that we’ve seen the last of her either, so there’s a pretty good chance for redemption. Ultimately, Vaughan does a masterful job of offering a sense of completion while still leaving you longing for what happens next with our heroes (and villains) which is what any good comic book SHOULD be doing (I’m FOREVER looking at you, Spawn).

Fiona Staples’ artwork is consistently NOTHING but praiseworthy. Her penchant for detail and “just plain weird” is second to none. The greatest thing about her art is how the expression and emotion from characters that either a). have no dialogue (Lying Cat) or b). have no face (Prince Robot IV) is every bit as powerful as characters who get ALL the good lines. The standout scene in particular this month is (as spoiler free as possible), by far, battle ready Alana, her gun cocked with one hand with Hazel in the other.

All in all, this series is pretty much a Haley’s Comet in the industry right now and this issue is a pretty damn good indicator of why.

4 out of 5

“Oz Longworth Jr. is a writer, blogger and poet based out of Houston Texas whose weekly blog has been praised by David Mack (Kabuki, Daredevil). He is also the three time Thumb War champion of the world. His goals include writing his first book and ensuring the survival of John Connor. You can find his weekly comic blog

About Armand (1270 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill

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