Frontline Reviews For The Week Of October 03, 2018 – Believe It Or Not!

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 BrantJayKat, & Louis giving reviews for books from AftershockBOOM! StudiosDC Comics, Dynamite EntertainmentImage ComicsMarvel Comics, and Zenescope Entertainment! 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!

 THE LOLLIPOP KIDS #1

 “A Walk In The Park”

Co-Created & Story By: Adam Glass & Aiden Glass
Written By: Adam Glass
Art By: Deigo Yapur
Colors By: DC Alonso
Letters By: Sal Cipriano
Cover A By: Robert Hack
Cover B By: David Lopez
Variant Covers By: Juan Doe, Francesco Francavilla, Shawn Martinbrough with Andre Szymanowicz & Patrick Olliffe with Gabe Eltaeb
Price: $3.99

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched folkloric and literary monsters of your homelands. That is what 14-year old Nick Motley discovers about the settlement of the “New World” when he meets the titular Lollipop Kids. First I have to say I love that this story was created by a father and 14-year old son team! But the story itself is truly unique and worth investing in. Nick is such a regular and relatable character who is not just dealing with dyslexia, but he is also a bi-racial child who is dealing with the lost of his mother and now disappearance of his sister when he enters this world. Glass really builds this world in this first issue making this New York as alive as the true one. Yapur’s art helps with this making each page feel more like a work of art than a page in a book. Truly a unique story that grabs the imagine of your inner child and encourages it to go on another adventure with the Lollipop Kids.  ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate 

Verdict: 4 ¾ Stars

SPARROWHAWK #1 
Written & Created By: Delilah S. Dawnson
Art By: Matias Basla
Letters By: Jim Campbell
Cover By: Miguel Mercado
Variant Cover By: Stephanie Hans
Price: $3.99

This title is described as “Teen Victorian Fairy Fight Club” and it delivers that and then some! The book takes place in 1851 England where we meet the main character Artemisia, an illegitimate daughter of a Naval Captain, who has never fit in with her father’s family. But when she has to marry off to save that family she is targeted by the Faerie Queen and pulled into another realm, she has no choice but to try and save the world that has always hated her.  While this book is set in the 19th century and in a fantasy realm a lot of the themes that Dawnson brings to light are very relatable in today’s world. I also love that while Artemisia is a half-black young woman in the late 19th century she has this inner strength that we see as she stands up for the rights she deserves as a person in a world not yet ready to hear her. Basla really delivers the authenticity of the era on the page where each character feels like they stepped out of a Victorian painting. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ¼ Stars

WWE #21
Written By: Dennis Hopeless, and Andy Belanger & Andrew Stott (backup story)
Art By: Serg Acuña, and Andy Belanger (backup story)
Colors By: Doug Garbark, and Serge Lapointe (backup story)
Letters By: Jim Campbell, and Serge Lapointe (backup story)
Cover By: Dan Mora
Variant Covers By: Adam Riches, Brent Schoonover & Nick Filardi, Marco D’Alfonso
Price: $3.99

AJ Styles is one of my favorite wrestlers of all time. I saw him in WCW briefly, but it wasn’t until TNA/Impact that I really took notice of him. Never great on the microphone, but truly phenomenal in the ring, AJ stood out to me and became the standard bearer for that company.

Fast forward to 2016 when he finally walked into the WWE during the Royal Rumble, and has since made himself one of the top stars of the company. And I couldn’t be happier about that. So getting to read about his journey in this issue of WWE from BOOM! Studios was a real treat for me.

The issue obviously doesn’t touch on TNA, but it does go all the way back to his beginnings in wrestling and other sports before it, through WCW, the indies, even Japan and finally WWE. I love how they portrayed his meeting with Triple H in International waters to avoid press, and AJ still turning them down when they offered him NXT. Now, I know the series is a bit embellished, telling the story beyond the ring as if it continued from the ring storylines. But I know there’s some truth to it, and it’s pretty cool that someone who’s never been in the WWE, the major leagues, would still turn it down when not offered the opportunities he felt he deserved.

This was another fantastic installment of this series showing us the inner thoughts and behind the scenes motivations for another popular star in the WWE with gorgeous art by two creators that really get the world of professional wrestling, and the voices of these characters portrayed on the programming each week. Kudos to Hopeless and Acuna for taking wrestling comics to the next level.

The Braun Strowman/Roman Reigns backup story was a fun little fantasy tale of the Big Dog and the Monster Among Men as well. These backup stories are always over the top, but a fun little aside and extra bonus. BRAAAAAUUUUNNNNN! 🙂 ~ Brant @BrantFowler

Verdict: 5 Stars

ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #3
“Action Detectives – Part Three”
Written By: Peter J. Tomasi
Pencils By: Carlo Barberi
Inks By: Art Thibert
Colors By: Photobunker
Letters By: Rob Leigh
Cover By: Dan Mora
Price: $3.99

Finding themselves aboard the Gang’s ship with Superboy split in two and fighting each other, the Super Sons must save themselves and the Gang from crashing into their planet Cygnus. Tomasi has done something special with this book, he has brought the fun and joy back to comics. The art team manages to take the spirit of Tomasi’s story and bring them to magical life. Adventures of The Super Sons brings back those feelings you have as a kid reading your first comic book, the feelings of fun, joy, action adventure, and that no matter how improbable anything is possible. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ¾ Stars

BATMAN #56
“Beast Of Burden Part 2”
Written By: Tom King
Art By: Tony S. Daniel
Colors By: Tomeu Morey
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover By: Tony S. Daniels And Tomeu Morey
Variant Cover By: Francesco Mattina
Price: $3.99

If there’s one word that should always be associated with Batman it’s determination. In order to find KGBeast (Who shot Dick Grayson in the head last issue), Batman goes through every lead that ultimately takes him to a cabin in the middle of a blizzard. Even with his plane down and Alfred encouraging him to stop, Batman treks through the snow to find the man who shot his adopted son. Also Tom King continues Batman’s violent streak seen in the last couple of issues. Obviously Dick getting shot only a few weeks after Catwoman left him have pushed the Caped Crusader back to edge. Also since Dick was trying to make Bruce feel better, this makes Dick’s injury much more tragic to longer readers. Plus since the fallout of Dick’s injury is being explored in his title, this allows King to focus more on BAtman and KGBeast during this current arc. Unfortunately KGBeast’s part of this story is the only thing that doesn’t work. While this issue attempts to provide some backstory for KGBeast, it ultimately falls short and feels a little repetitive. Nevertheless, while this isn’t Tom King’s greatest work, this issue is still an entertaining read. ~ Louis @SpiderMan1991

Verdict: 4 Stars

NIGHTWING #50 
“Knight Terrors Part One” 
Written By: Benjamin Percy
Art By: Travis Moore, Chris Mooneyham & Klaus Janson
Colors By: Tamra Bonvillain, Nick Filardi, & John Kalisz
Letters By: Carlos M. Mangual
Cover By: Chris Mooneyham & Nick Filardi
Variant Cover By: Jonboy Meyers
Price: $4.99

Nightwing was shot in the head in Batman #55 which resulted in him losing bone, blood, brain tissue, and cerebrospinal fluid and suffered severe vascular swelling. But that is the physical, he also has memory loss, mood swings, blackouts, seizures, and loss of motor function. Percy has took the book in a real different direction with the book which is a real risk but man did he do it big. What I thought was done so well was the emotion here, Dick is broken, the very core of what makes us all love Dick Grayson, his heart, his jovial personality, his empathy is all gone and it breaks our hearts just as it did Babs’ heart in this issue. Percy puts us right in her position and delivers a powerful anniversary issue. There are a few art teams here, but they manage to work together to bring us nice clean transitions to them. This is a great look at who Dick Grayson is to the Bat Family, Bludhaven, himself, and to us.  ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate 

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

WONDER WOMAN / JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1 
“The Witching Hour Part 1” 
Written By: James Tynion IV
Art By: Jesus Merino
Colors By: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters By: Dave Sharpe
Cover By: Jesus Merino & Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Variant Cover By: Riccardo Federici
Price: $4.99

After the events of Wonder Woman #55 where we saw Diana possess a new ability tied to a sigil on her forehead, we find out here that it was branded onto her years ago by the Goddess Hecate and made her one of her Witchmarked. Diana and Zatanna tell the Justice League about the problem with magic and the Upsidedown Man but kept her part in it silent as she does not know what happened. Tynion does a great job creating this magical world within the heroic world while at the same time not losing site of the personal story. Merino does a great job with the and along with Fajardo Jr. does a great job setting the mood with the art. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ¼ Stars

THE LONE RANGER #1 
Written By: Mark Russell
Art & Colors By: Bob Q
Letters By: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Covers By: John Cassaday & Jose Villarrubia, Mike Allred, Francesco Francavilla
Price: $3.99

In 1883 with the advent of barbed wire a corrupted state senator in the Texas panhandle conspires to make land unnavigable for ranches and the native tribes. I grew up watching the reruns of The Lone Ranger with my dad on TV and Russell has found a great way to bring back the classic feel of the show while tying it to modern elements. Bob Q does a great job riding this line as well making the art feel both modern yet harking back to the classic. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 Stars

BLACKBIRD #1
Written By: Sam Humphries
Art By: Jen Bartel
Colors By:Nayoung Wilson & Jen Bartel
Letters By: Jodi Wynne
Cover By: Jen Bartel
Variant Cover By: Fiona Staples
Price: $3.99

“All your life you were only waiting for this moment to arise.” – The Beatles

Nina has dealt with back-to-back tragedies, which has led her down a road of pill addiction and an unhealthy obsession with magic. The theme of addiction was what really hooked me to this first issue. Blackbird is not your cliche magic story. This is especially showcased at the end of the issue where Nina is desperate to be a magic wielder, but instead it’s Nina’s sister who is captured by a bright magic being. In your average adventure story this is the moment we find out our main character is special, but Humphries and Bartel instead put this trope on it’s head. Nina’s first thought is, “damn it, why can’t it be me”. Then it’s, “Oh shit, my sister might die.” It’s so great getting Jen Bartel for the interiors for this book. She has done some great cover work in recent years, and that quality is on full display with this title. Blackbird #1 presents a flawed main lead, and that’s exactly why you should pick it up. ~ Kat @ComicUno 

Verdict: 4 Stars

PAPER GIRLS #25
Written By: Brian K. Vaughn
Art By: Cliff Chiang
Colors By: Matt Wilson
Letters By: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover By: Cliff Chiang
Price: $3.99

Paper Girls #25 is an emotional rollercoaster that adds a new twist to the Paper Girls’ time traveling adventure. Every character shines in this issue! KJ and Mac finally kiss and admit their feelings to each other in an extra awkward/sweet first kiss scene. The collaboration between Cliff Chiang and Brian K. Vaughan showcases these two emotions perfectly, especially with Chiang’s eye work. I’ve really grown to love KJ and Mac’s dynamic, and the creative team really hits a sweet spot with this scene – well then of course, by the end it’s revealed that the girls will be separated. The biggest move was having Erin land in our time once again, but things have changed since Vaughan’s last “our time” story. This is now Trumps’ America, and I can’t wait to see what commentary Vaughan delivers in the next arc. This was a subtle and maybe unintentional way to showcase how much things can change in a short amount of time. Another scene that sticks out from this issue is the death of older Tiffany. What does this mean for Tiffany? How would you feel if you saw yourself die? These racing thoughts are on full display by Vaughan and Chiang. Paper Girls #25 was literally an explosive issue that had shining character moments and jaw-dropping cliffhangers. This is how you write a comic issue with an upcoming hiatus. I’m desperate for more! ~ Kat @ComicUno 

Verdict: 5 Stars


SUPERIOR OCTOPUS #1
Written By: Christos Gage
Pencils By: Mike Hawthorne
Inks By: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors By: Jordie Bellaire

“Check In”

Written By: Jed MacKay
Pencils By: Mark Bagley
Inks By: Craig Yeung
Colors By: Dono Sanchez-Almara & Photobunker
Letters By: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover By: Travis Charest
Price: $4.99

Otto has relocated to San Francisco and adapted a new identity as Elliot Tolliver and the Superior Octopus, becoming the superior hero he believes himself to be. While the back up story fills us in on how the Inheritors get free and how it ties to Otto. Gage does a great job respecting what has come before in Slott’s Superior Spider-Man while making a clear fresh start in the life of Otto. He also does something I felt Slott struggled with, which is tempering his rampant ego with some much need humility and he uses his feelings for Anna Maria to convey this. MacKay does an equally nice job following on something from the main story to build a reasonable case on how they escaped. The art in both stories are really solid. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 Stars

TONY STARK: IRON MAN #4
Written By: Dan Slott
Art By: Valerio Schiti
Colors By: Edgar Delgado
Letters By: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover By: Alexander Lozano
Price: $3.99

Iron Man and the Wasp are back together and that’s the only interesting thing from this issue Dan SLott does an amazing job showing the chemistry between these two Avenges. Also there’s a clever reference in the dialogue to Tony and Janet’s first courtship. Plus Tony shows off another new Iron Man suit but this one can also turn into a scooter. Really big props to Valerio Schiti and Edgar Delgado for the design on the Iron Vespa (not the official name but should be). Unfortunately the rest of the issue’s plot is not as entertaining. Basically the employees of Stark Unlimited start using a new dating app and all their matches turn out to be data mining robots. What follows is another robot smashing montage and another failed infiltration of Tony STark’s company. Honestly this feels very repetitive and something Iron Man comics should start to move away from in terms of plots. Despite the positive showing of the Iron Wasp relationship, this issue feels like the weak point of Dan Slott’s run. ~ Louis @SpiderMan1991

Verdict: 2 ½ Stars

WHAT IF FLASH THOMPSON BECAME SPIDER-MAN #1
Written By: Gerry Conway
Art By: Diego Olortegui
Ink Assists By: Walden Wong
Colors By: Chris O’Hallorian
Letters By: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover By: Patch Zircher
Variant Cover By: John Tyler Christopher
Price: $3.99

The issue proposes a simple question: What if Flash Thompson became Spider-Man? Through Nick Fury, now known as The Unseen we get to see a world in which this happens. I have to preface this with the fact that I loved Flash as Agent Venom and I appreciate that Conway doesn’t try to use that Flash here. This is a Flash that never had those experiences and is still that selfish conceited jock he was in High School. What I really enjoyed was using Fury to narrate it and tie his experience in the military to give this contrast to what Flash never had in his life in this world. Olortegui does a great job giving us a modern classic feel to it. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 Stars

RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT! #1 (OF 2)
“Framing Sequence”
Written By: Ben Meares
Art By: Deivis Goetten
Colors By: Ceci de la Cruz

“A Tale AS Old As….”
Written By: Howard Mackie
Art By: Hakan Aydin
Colors By: Fran Gamboa with J.C. Ruiz

“Fact Pages”
Written By: Ben Meares
Art By: Renzo Rodriguez
Colors By: Bobby Bevard

“I’ve Been Working On The Railroad”
Written By: Fox Kavanagh
Art By: Daniel Maine
Colors By: Marko Lesko

“The Ride Of His Life”
Written By: Dale Mettam
Art By: Allan Otero
Colors By: Jorge Cortes

“Mother Nature”
Written By: Victoria Rau
Art By: Pat Broderick
Colors By: Robert H. Epps

“49 Lives”
Written By: Ben Meares
Art By: Marcelo Basile

Letters By: Charles Pritchett
Cover By: David Seidman
Price: $5.99

This issue was really fun in that weird Ripley sort of way. Each story does a great job delivering a classic Ripley’s Believe It Or Not feel to it including the little reveal at the end of each, but adds the bonus little fact about Ripley. The art for each story was really solid doing a nice job delivering the right tone for each one.  ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 Stars

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