Review: Black Bolt #1 Promises A Fine New Series

The new Black Bolt comic from Marvel is finally here, and it’s pretty great.

Written by Saladin Ahmed with art by Christian Ward, Issue #1 kicks the series off into a strangely lit, dark direction. I’ve been a fan of Ahmed’s writing ever since I picked up his novel Throne of the Crescent Moon, during one of my “read all the Hugo nominees” phases, and I’ve been looking forward to this book for months. It was worth the wait.

Black Bolt #1 feels like the start of a big, mythic story about escaping a strange Underworld. Black Bolt, king of the Inhumans, has woken up in a prison thanks to the schemes of his mad brother, Maximus. I love stories with chthonic themes, so this was a happy surprise.

The exposition at the beginning of the story plays with poetic devices, reading almost like song lyrics (very metal lyrics), using a repeating mechanism as Black Bolt slowly regains awareness.

He is a king but he walks in filth and darkness…

He is a king, but he wakes in filth and agony…

Black Bolt wakes in filth.

The sequence is pleasantly disturbing, Ahmed’s words laid over Christian Ward’s art, a psychedelic nightmare outlined in creeping pink lines.

This new book promises to be weird and disturbing and a damn good read. I want more. 

Pull List Review – Black Panther, Wicked+Divine, and More


Things are slowly getting back to normal, and better than normal, around here. I’m almost caught up on a huge backlog of comics and will be posting reviews again.

Here’s a rundown of last week’s pull list and what I do and don’t recommend you spend your money and time on.

Black Panther #1

Ta-Nahesi Coates (writer) and Brian Stelfreeze (artist) with Laura Martin (colorist)

It is always exciting to get a comic in my hands that I have been waiting to read for months. There has been a lot of buzz about this comic and the first issue lives up to it.
Black Panther #1 gives a strong start to this new run of the title. Wakanda is being ripped apart by internal strife while T’Challa struggles with politics and peace. I an onboard for this story arc.

The art is lovely. Brian Stelfreeze was a smart pick by Marvel to get Coates through writing his first comic.

Stelfreeze is all about the minimalist Black Panther costume. His design of Wakanda and the golden city is beautiful. The way he visually communicates highly advanced Wakandan tech is subtle and inspired by true African cultural elements and aesthetic. There are several panels that I wouldn’t mind having a print of.

I recommend picking up Black Panther #1.


Black Widow #2

Chris Samnee & Mark Waid (writers), Chris Samnee (artist), Mathew Wilson (colorist)

This is going to be a kickass run of Black Widow. We’re two issues in now and it is all action movie all the time. Explosions, crazy fight scenes, betrayals and lots of complicated spy stuff.

Something about the art and the dialogue just feels like Mark Waid and Chris Samnee are having a lot of fun with this book.

I love the art. With sparse dialogue, Samnee’s panels are doing the heavy lifting with the story and it works so well. Wilson’s colors work some serious magic is setting the tone in each scene.

Pick up this run of Black Widow if you haven’t done so already.


The Wicked + The Divine #18

Kieron Gillen (writer) Jamie McKelvie (writer)

Yes, oh hell yes, it’s finally happening. If you’ve been reading this book, that thing we’ve all been waiting for is here. It all goes to hell. All of it.

I love it.

If you aren’t reading The Wicked + The Divine, you probably need to re-evaluate your entire life up to this point.


Spider Women Alpha #1

Robbie Thompson (writer), Vanesa Del Rey (artist), Jordie Bellaire (colorist)


I had high hopes for this issue that were dashed very quickly.This is the kickoff issue of a crossover between Spiderwoman, Spider Gwen, and Silk, all of which I enjoy.

The humor falls flat and the art is terrible. Del Rey tends to draw people that look like dead eyed fish. She goes with that art pencils style that can be really interesting when done well, but is a distracting turn off when it isn’t done well.

I’m disappointed. Not looking forwarding to this arc invading three comics I currently read.

I advise only picking this one up if you’re a cross over completest.


Rough Riders #1 (Aftershock Comics)

Adam Glass (writer), Patrick Olliffe (artist)

The nice folks at Austin Books and Comics were very insistent that I give Rough Riders a shot. They were right. They’re almost always right.

Rough Riders is an alternate history piece where Teddy Roosevelt is basically a steampunk Batman who recruits an American version of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to invade Cuba, using the downing of the USS Maine as a cover for dealing with some X-Files level weird stuff.

The dialogue is good, the art is fun, and the story is intriguing. I will definitely keep an eye out for #2.

Spiderwoman #5 – The real story starts here

Alright y’all, the Spiderverse crossover is over at last and we can finally, finally, get this party started.

Jessica Drew, aka Spiderwoman, has decided to quit the Avengers and go have herself some ‘figure out who the hell I am’ time.  She’s awkward and unsure of herself, but manages to feel great in an awesome new outfit.

She’ss a fun character, relatable in how she deals with the world, and truly enjoyable to read. I want to know how this whole thing with quitting her job to go freelancing turns out.  The mystery that immediately drops in her lap to set up this next arc is also intriguing!

There is a joke buried deep in this issue about that hideous variant cover of Spiderwoman #1 by Milo Manera that so many people were grossed out by.  So many points for writer Dennis Hopeless.

This is a great issue, and not only because you don’t have to read 20 other comics to understand what the hell is going on.  If you haven’t picked up the series yet, just start here. Don’t worry about issues 1-4 unless you’re committed to reading all of Spiderverse.  That is a thing that is absolutely worth doing, by the way.

If you’re going to pick up a new series this month, I cannot recommend Spiderwoman enough.  This is the issue to jump in.

Review: Thor #5

Thor #5
Thor #5 by Jason Aaron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my favorite issue in the new Thor series so far.

Odin is out of his mind, the All Mother is still trying to protect her kingdom, and Odinson-formerly-known-as-Thor has become surprisingly chill about the whole thing and wants his crazy dad to drop the obsession with getting the hammer back.

Thor herself is just trying to do the super hero thing, fighting crime in NYC and all that. There’s a fantastic dig against all the Lady Thor haters out there that had me cracking up.

If you haven’t picked up this series yet, you’re missing out.

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Review: Captain Marvel #12

Captain Marvel #12
Captain Marvel #12 by Kelly Sue DeConnick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the most intense issue the series has had in a while. Cat-napping, black hole TARDIS jokes that never end, and Carol doing very impulsive Carol things that don’t work out when punching things isn’t the solution, accent the tension of the very bad things that are happening.

I’d say that this particular issue could be a great jumping-in point for anyone who isn’t currently reading the series but would like to. It has a little bit of everything, from showing off Kelly Sue Deconnick’s sense of humor to jumping right into a new serious arc.

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Review: Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #3

Angela: Asgard's Assassin #3
Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #3 by Kieron Gillen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series is young at its third issue, and I have been waiting for that first issue to come through that finally bursts forth as something I can point to that says “This is what Angela: Asgard’s Assassin” is all about.

She’s still being chased down by Thor, but it also turns out that she has a heart that has sacrificed for what she loves!

Angela is a strange character, raised in a culture with some seriously screwed up values. It makes for good science fiction, but it takes some warming up to wrap one’s head around it. But I think we’re finally at that point, with a glimpse into the history between Angela and her dearest friend Sera.

It is with this issue that Angela’s story finally leaps away from the She-Ra The Movie / Red Sonja mash up feel that had put some serious drag on my excitement for this book. No that there’s anything wrong with that mash up, because I would absolutely read that. But Angela is complicated, and a little crazy. She is definitely driven by very different things than either of those iconic lady warriors, and that difference is the story I’ve been waiting for.

Kieron Gillen starts in this book to make good on that promise.

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Review: Darth Vader (2015) #1

Darth Vader (2015) #1
Darth Vader (2015) #1 by Kieron Gillen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I kind of just want to fangirl at Kieron Gillen after reading the new Darth Vader (more than I already did).

I mean, everyone’s had soooo many feelings about Disney buying Lucas Films, about Dark Horse losing the rights to publish Star Wars titles, but Marvel knows what the hell they’re doing, and they’re good at it.

For one thing, they put the brilliant Kieron Gillen on the Darth Vader title. It starts out with the Emperor being super pissed at Vader after the Death Star blows up, busting him down and telling him to do whatever that guy Vader force choked in A New Hope tells him to do.

So Vader’s in a bad mood. And because Vader is really Anakin Skywalker, moody Vader is dangerous, hyper focused, psychokiller Vader. Making deals and scheming while still implementing the will of the Emperor, then catching some sites on his old Tatooine stomping grounds.

I do recommending picking up Star Wars #1 and reading it before this title. The time lines intermingle and there’s pertinent information. It’s so worth it.

Seriously, this start to the Darth Vader series is everything I hoped for. No slow burn story build up, just light sabers cutting off limbs and grumpy space wizards being conspiratorial. I love it.

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Comic Review: Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1

Angela: Asgard's Assassin #1Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1 by Kieron Gillen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It feels like a good start to what I hope will be a strong series. There’s plenty in here for both fans of Asgard stories and general comic readers, though the dialogue as always is a bit thick for non-Thor readers.

I think this issue effectively establishes some distance from her Original Sin origin story, which was basically the plot of the 80’s cartoon She-Ra pilot (though I admit I kind of loved that). The values she was raised are really screwed up and I like the weird gray area she exists in morally.

This issue does have something of a Red Sonja feel to it, but I know we can trust writer Kieron Gillen to take that aesthetic somewhere new and interesting, if Marvel will allow it. Or put some clothes on her…

I look forward to next issue and reading what Kieron Gillen will do with this character.

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What I read today March 27th

Behold the glory of the Poster Posse’s ‘Godzilla’ fanart project, an interview with Nathan Edmonson, writer of the Marvel comic Black Widow, NASA made a time-lapse video of the unending freak hell winter of 2013-2014, a new Austin-based magazine published my friend Michael Walker’s poetry, Zapier has some great advice about video and email marketing, the shocking revelation that at least one entire demographic doesn’t ‘get’ the most recent Aronofsky film (Noah), and Michael Bay has excavated yet another of my childhood memories from its cold grave in order to create a monster of dubious purpose and quality.

jenga cat

Blurrpy: EXCLUSIVE: Poster Posse Project #7 Releases The RAGE With Phase 2 Of Our Fan Art Project For “GODZILLA”

Green and black image of a giant reptile breathing fire

Comic Book Resources: Edmonson Drops the Hammer on Black Widow 

“Phil came up with Molot Boga; I took what he sketched and described and ran with it. You’re right on the money about the disparity between their apparently similar motives; Molot Boga, we will find, is someone whose motives have been exploited. He’s nothing if not loyal. He will keep killing until the end.”

NASA: Satellite Time-Lapse Movie Shows U.S. East Coast Snowy Winter

“A new time-lapse animation of data from NOAA’s GOES-East satellite provides a good picture of why the U.S. East Coast experienced a snowier than normal winter. The new animation shows the movement of storms from January 1 to March 24.”

Velvet Dust: Of The Ribboned Heart

Velvet Dust is an online, Austin-based quarterly magazine dedicated to the arts and the community. We explore art, fashion and culture through editorials, design, interviews, video art, and other forms of digital media. We are dedicated to emerging artists and to providing a platform for quality work from up-and-coming talent, both in Austin and throughout the world.

Zapier: One Easily Overlooked Way You Can Increase Email Click-Through Rates by 300%

“Customers and potential customers really liked seeing information conveyed through video. It’s a richer, more concise way for people to learn about you, your company, or your product. It gives your site visitors a taste of your personality or company culture, helping them develop a connection with your brand.”

Mother Jones: “Noah” Film Inspires Flood of Religious Freak-Outs

Aronofsky has dubbed his $160 million epic the “least biblical biblical film ever made.” “

YouTube: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES – Official Trailer (2014) [HD]

Wow. I… I don’t know how I feel about this. I’m a child of the late 80’s/early 90’s, which means I was the target demographic of the original TMNT show. And now Michael Bay, who did what he did to Transformers, has taken hold of another of my very favorite childhood things.