Category: Comic Books

I’m cutting it close on this one too, but I’ve been really excited to do my review of this issue. It might be my favorite yet. So, without further ado, here’s Ghostbusters: Answer the Call: What Dreams May Come issue 3. Enjoy!

Issue 3 What Dreams May Come cover

Knowing they would lose, the Ghostbusters fought the Schrechgespenst. They measured everything they had against him to try and save their city and the world. They fell short, were trapped in their own worst nightmares. When he’d had enough of their fear, he let them go. They weren’t even enough of a threat to keep trapped.

Three comics in and we’ve hit the point where our heroines start building back to fight the monster. It starts at as close to rock bottom as we’ve seen the team. They lost so completely that the bad guy just turned them loose and they’re still shaken from their personal nightmares. It’s expected at this point in the arc, but there’s a brilliance to the fact that it’s Erin trying to rally the other Ghostbusters. Erin, who’s terrified of being not enough, of being judged and found wanting, of so many things, is the one trying to get the rest of the team back into the fight. Likewise it works fantastically that Holtzmann, the one who couldn’t be kept down by putting a guy in a coma or her only prototype being run over by a train, is the most flattened by this.

I’m really enjoying the character work here. It feels like a good continuation of the characters from the movie without leaving them stagnant feeling.  They also don’t just get broken down to the nervous one, the mad scientist, the everywoman, and the true believer, which I appreciate greatly. Even Kevin is entertaining here.

Things of course are quickly worked out because it is way too soon to give up and the team gets back to it. Holtzmann has a gadget to work on. Abby, Patty, and Erin go back to researching Dr. Kreuger. It makes for really good set up as the What Dreams May Come arc heads into its second half. And it does that without ditching the humor that the last two comics have had.

The art has, of course stayed fantastic. Valentina Pinto’s work on the colors is especially good. Her work boosts the feel of both the action scenes and the creepy bits. Even if I wasn’t as into the story as I am, it would be worth the cover cost for the art.

So, yeah, volume three maintains the good bits of the arc so far while also promising more to come. I’m excited and super ready for the next issue. Ghostbusters: Answer the Call: What Dreams May Come issue three earns a five out of five. If you haven’t read it yet, this one’s worth tracking down.


I had this written last week I was ahead, and then I opened the file and wasn’t really happy with what I’d written. I did a rewrite and still feel like I could do better if only I’d ever seen the original Ghostbusters movie, but that’s a thing for later. Anyway, here’s the trade paperback of Ghostbusters 101: Everyone Answers the Call. Enjoy!

Ghostbusters 101 Everyone Answers the Call cover

The Ghostbusters are kicking off an internship program and, in addition to that, a day camp program. Why not, it’ll help them make a little money and find promising new recruits? It seems like a perfectly reasonable plan until their interns cause an accident that starts merging their New York with the New York of another universe. With another universe come more Ghostbusters ready to answer the call and help prevent reality from collapsing in on itself.

In concept I really like Ghostbusters 101: Everyone Answers the Call. I like the idea of the Answer the Call Ghostbusters and the classic Ghostbusters meeting up and working together. I like the idea of the contrast between the teams and seeing how their tech compares. This mini-series wasn’t exactly that though. While there was some fun interactions and nifty ideas this felt more interested in the classic Ghostbusters and setting up later comics in the shared universe than in the Answer the Call Ghostbusters. I don’t think this was something the team planned on so much as they were more used to and comfortable with the classic Ghostbusters and so tended to use them more out of habit. That isn’t a knock against the comic in and of itself, I just have no attachment to the classic Ghostbusters and that effected my enjoyment of the comic.

The stage is set when an intern sticks his hand through a dimension door and gets grabbed by a ghost leading to that ghost trying and pull itself back together, thus merging the dimensions. The effects of that dimensional merge aren’t really felt until the third chapter/issue and then the cast gets to know each other. In a longer graphic novel this approach could have worked well and built to the teams working together and learning from each other. This was six issues though, so we get some bits of the teams working together but fast tracked. Classic Ghostbusters have been at this longer and so have more of a grasp on busting ghosts, Answer the Call Ghostbusters are by turns interested in this and bothered by it.

This is where the thing I mentioned earlier comes in. I feel like the team on Ghostbusters 101 wasn’t much interested in the Answer the Call Ghostbusters or didn’t know much about them while writing this. So the Answer the Call Ghostbusters have a tendency towards feeling really flat, kind of like the writer was given a two sentence description of each and just went with that. I know that isn’t entirely fair to Erik Burnam, since he was juggling a pretty huge cast and these are fairly new characters. It still stands that the Answer the Call Ghostbusters can feel like parodies of themselves while the classic Ghostbusters feel a lot more rounded. Holtzmann, I think, probably gets it the worst with teasing from the movie having become a tendency towards out right rudeness and needling people until they’re desperate to get rid of her. Conversely, Patty had her historian aspect ramped up and gets a couple of nice moments related to knowing about the places they visit, so that was pretty cool.

The art here is interesting, it’s very stylized. There’s a level of cartoony-ness here that works in some places, like with the more monstrous ghosts, but then not in others, a lot of the expression work is strange. The character design as a whole is a little odd. There’s a fantastic array of different body types even in crowd clusters, but then there’s something about the faces that I can’t quite put my finger on. The backgrounds tend to be pretty awesome, with really cool detail work. The backgrounds add a lot to the feel of a scene, which is something I’m not entirely used to but appreciate.

There was a bit at the end that was pretty great, showing different possible worlds and iterations of events. I would have liked more stuff like that. Over all though, I’m a little cool on Ghostbusters 101: Everyone Answers the Call as a finished series. It isn’t bad, just not what I was looking for. It gets a three out of five, mostly for being one of those things that I would have probably enjoyed more if I had just happened across it rather than having spent a few months looking forward to it.

I’m back! A little down to the wire tonight but doing good and very reminded that I adore the Answer the Call Ghostbusters. Going to have to give that a rewatch sometime soon. Anyway, comic review, I’ve been looking forward to this for months. Enjoy!

Issue 2 What Dreams May Come cover

Everything is awful. Dr. Kruger has escaped his house, escaped the Ghostbusters, and is drawing ever more power from the people of New York. Things have never looked this grim. The Ghostbusters need a plan or, better yet, a weapon capable of stopping a rampaging class 7. All they have to fear is a spirit wielding fear itself. Sometimes though, sometimes, fear is enough.

Issue two of Ghostbusters: Answer the Call: What Dreams May Come is a fantastic follow up to issue one while still mostly being build up. That’s kind of to be expected though, this is the second of five issues so we’re going to see our characters hit a wall so that they can build to the triumphant finally. It works really well because this is where we’re shown just how powerful Dr. Kruger is.

This issue is the moment where we get the impact of how big a threat the villain, but it also gives us insight into our heroines. I have so, so many words about how much I love the nightmare sequences here. The sheer fact that we get these bits of how the Ghostbusters react to their fears and is a great thing for me, this is made even better by how the fears themselves are handled within the nightmares.

The art and colors here are expressive and fantastic, Corin Howell and Valentina Pinto do a great job. There’s this quality of not quite cartoony-ness to the art that results in a lot of nifty reactions without making the characters feel off model, for lack of a better term. Things are exaggerated when it fits the tone of a scene, most notably the nightmares, but otherwise is kept in the realm of regular human facial expressions. Dr. Kruger is a notable exception to this, being as he is a ghost and doesn’t have to follow physical rules. Even then though, the art for him does a great job of making him that much more threatening and other worldly while still maintaining a set form.

I am really excited to see where we go from here and how the rest of the What Dreams May Come storyline unfolds. I’ve read this comic something like seven times since picking it up earlier today and I’m still bouncing. This has been one of those reading experiences that I’ve enjoyed on all levels and am super ready for the next part, we’re getting into the meat of the story and I am ready. So, yeah, Ghostbusters: Answer the Call: What Dreams May Come issue two gets a five out of five. It was worth the wait.

So, this was meant to go up yesterday, unfortunately I was dead and did not manage to be up for much longer than it took to drink some tea. On happier notes, I do have the review. This one’s thanks to the nice folks at First Second here’s Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869. Enjoy!

Castle in the Stars The Space Race of 1869 cover

In search of the fifth element, aether, Claire Dulac flew to the very edge of the stratosphere. She promised her son and her husband that she would return.  But she never did, her hot air balloon disappeared leaving no trace of her behind. A year passed. Her husband, Archibald, was certain she was lost forever, going on with his life as an engineer as best he could. Her son though, Seraphin is certain that there’s still hope. A letter summoning them to Bavaria offers hope, someone’s found her logbook, a king who wants to fly. But with hope comes danger, someone else in the castle is after the secret of aether powered flight.

I’m not a hundred percent sure of how I feel about Alex Alice’s Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869. It is beautifully illustrated and the story has a lot of potential, but then that potential feels a bit mishandled in a lot of spots. It really needed to be slowed down and expanded on to let things feel less rushed.

That’s actually my big issue with the story. There’s a lot of ground to cover here and not enough space for it to be covered in. We get the introduction, Claire takes off on her fateful voyage, Seraphim hasn’t moved past it and is obsessed with aether a year later, then the letter arrives. We get introduced to the main plot and the other two young characters, Hans and Sophie, and the villain. But then the villain’s plot is revealed and we sort of zip from that to the climax of the story and the lead in for the next book.

I feel like that’s definitely to the book’s detriment. The story was interesting and I would have liked to have seen more of pretty well everything from it. This applies especially to the intrigue plot and the parts with Seraphin and the other kids regarding the aether ship. I liked the characters and would have liked to see more of them, but they’re left as mostly sketches instead of being fully realized.

Again though, I feel like the hands down best part of the book is the art. It’s got a soft almost watercolor feel to it. What’s interesting to me is that the art can be either very emotive or super cartoony without either feeling out of place. This is fantastic and not something I’m entirely used to, but I like it and would like to see more art like this in the future.

So, I’m left a bit cool on the actual plot of the story but like the ideas and really like the art. This leaves me in an interesting place where I’m interested in knowing what happens in the next book, but if I miss it then I wouldn’t be too terribly bothered. I want to know the rest, but I’m also a bit concerned that it would feel rushed again. That’s leading me to give this one a three out of five. The story is alright, the ideas are interesting, the art is good, but Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869 needs a little more.

I am in fact posting this a couple days late. The comic shop didn’t get their delivery until yesterday and then my car died and I kind of couldn’t write because stress. But that’s all cleared up now and I’ve got words for you all. Not a ton, because I’m still getting used to writing about comics, but words. This is part one of What Dreams May Come. Enjoy!

Issue 1 What Dreams May Come pt 1. cover

The ladies have saved the world, been to another dimension, and now they’re finally back home and ready to get back down to business. Unfortunately, while out on a routine bust something comes home with them. Something hungry and dangerous.

I’ve been waiting for this comic for literal months. This is the comic that I got a pull list again for. Does it stand up to my excitement? Yes, yes it does. But that is hardly a review and I really want to talk about this comic. So, here’s Ghostbusters: Answer the Call issue one.

Monthly comic books have always been somewhat difficult for me to review. Given that, by nature, they tend to be short and light on story content. That’s one of the points that issue one does really well for me, Kelly Thompson’s writing does a really good job of both capturing the characters and playing them off each other, something that a new reader or someone who hadn’t seen the movie would need. She also does a fantastic job of setting up the story, giving us plenty of build for our antagonist and an awesome lead in to the rest of the “What Dreams May Come” arc.

The writing is bolstered by Corin Howell’s art, which is emotive and fits the characters really well. There’s also some seriously great atmospheric bits that are improved greatly by Valentina Pinto’s work on the colors. This is seriously one of my favorite comics in a long time for visuals.

This comic leaves me bouncing with excitement, seriously literally bouncing. If you’re a fan of the 2016 movie, you’re going to enjoy this. If you aren’t a fan but enjoy comics, it’s definitely worth checking out. I’m giving it a five out of five, let’s see what next month brings.

So, I’m late again. We didn’t have water for most of the day today, old pipes and all, so most of the day was spend out and about to avoid dealing with that. That aside, I’ve got a review for you all. It’s a fun little comic courtesy of First Second, here’s the first volume of Cucumber Quest. Enjoy!

Cucumber Quest The Doughnut Kingdom

The peaceful Doughnut Kingdom has been conquered by the wicked Queen Cordelia and her minions as part of her plot to resurrect the Nightmare Knight. If she succeeds then the world will be helpless before her. The world needs a hero, a legendary hero at that. Luckily(?) nerdy wizard in training Cucumber’s weird pushy dad has decided that his son will be just the legendary hero that the world needs. So, teamed up with his much more heroic younger sister, Cucumber’s stuck on an epic quest to stop a tyrant and save the day.

Gigi D.C.’s Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom, is an utterly cute comic that gets very tongue in cheek about standard fantasy conventions. Cucumber is told repeatedly that he has to be the legendary hero instead of his sister, because younger sisters are never the hero. The Oracle protector of Dreamside had to look through the window while Cucumber read a letter from his dad to know that he was the right guy. What I’m saying is that it’s great fun to read.

Cucumber Quest reminds me of Saturday morning cartoons in a lot of ways, not a specific one mind but that nostalgic concept. The art is, as previously mentioned, cute as well as being very emotive. Color gets used a lot for impact. I feel like that might be overdone in some places, but it’s also something that didn’t really bother me until I’d already read the comic several times, so there’s that.

The villains manage to walk the line between feeling like an actual threat with Queen Cordelia and being bumbling morons with the BLT Trio. That matches our reluctant hero and the Saturday morning cartoon feel. As does the younger sister character, Almond, the knight in training. She who totally wants to do this adventure thing and fight the villain and be the hero. Part of me wants to compare her to Scrappy Doo, dragging Cucumber along on his adventure because she wants to be there. But she’s more than that. While she does do some bone headed stuff, Almond is basically the driving force of the story because Cucumber wouldn’t do the quest if he was left to his own devices.

Really all I’m left with now is scoring it. Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom gets a five. It’s a quick read and a fun one and I very much look forward to volume two when it comes out.

I have an actual reason it’s late this week! I messed up and left my laptop charger in Opelika after visiting for Labor Day, so I can’t get to the original file for this because the battery is dead. So, I’m rewriting it all in one go here because my gaming rig lacks word. This’ll be fun. This one is thanks to the nice folks at First Second publishing, this is Mighty Jack and the Goblin King. Enjoy!

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King cover

Jack’s sister Maddy was taken by an ogre. He was supposed to be keeping an eye on her, but she was taken anyway. Now it’s up to Jack and his friend Lilly to save Maddy before she’s fed to something known as the beast. But stories are never that simple and the goblin king in the kingdom below is as mighty as Jack and might be the ally he needs to save his sister and get home.

Ben Hatke’s Mighty Jack and the Goblin King is the second part of his Mighty Jack duology, so I am missing a bit of the story. That isn’t a huge problem though, the story does a good job of standing on its own and most of the references to the previous book can be hand waved as semi-standard fairy tale ingredients. Magic plants definitely fit a Jack story after all.

This is a very quick read, not a bad thing, but the story is enjoyable and I liked the characters. I would have actually liked to have seen more of them together, but I feel like that’s a side effect of missing the first book. Just a reason to try and find it.

Lilly gets separated from Jack fairly early on so, while he’s trying to plan how to save Maddy from the giants, she’s dealing with the goblins and their king. It kind of leaves the scenes with Jack feeling like they’re holding time until the goblin king comes to help save the day. That’s not really a complaint though, even as short a time as we saw the goblins’ hide out was cool and I like the idea of there being trash from every world in the under relm of a multiversal nexus. It’s a nifty idea.

The story is fairly straightforward and the art complements that. It’s fairly simple and a bit cartoony, but nicely emotive and it does a good job expressing what’s going on without feeling choppy. Again, the goblins are my favorite because they don’t seem to have any kind of uniform features while also being immediately identifiable as goblins. The colors are vibrant, the creature designs are fun and remind me a bit of Labyrinth, I very much enjoyed the art here.

So, what’s the verdict? I had fun with this comic from page one to the end and, while I have a few issues with the very end that’re probably more to do with having not read the first one, I don’t have any major  complaints. I’m giving Mighty Jack and the Goblin King a five out of five. It’s good and I’m likely to jump at the chance to review Hatke’s work again if I get the chance.

Early this week is kind of like late last week, right? I think that’s how that works anyway. I’ve got a review for you all thanks to the nice folks at First Second for sending me a review copy, it’s Spill Zone.

Spill Zone cover

Three years ago something happened in upstate New York. No one’s sure what it was or why it happened. It destroyed Addison’s hometown, leaving her alone to take care of her little sister. Armed only with a camera and her rules Addison dodges both the physics bending horrors within the Zone and the military blockade outside it. All for pictures. All to take care of her little sister.

Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland’s Spill Zone fits pretty squarely in my wheelhouse as far as story concepts go. It isn’t quite fantasy or horror, more something between the two. The format is a bit iffy for me, this is the first volume of a graphic novel so it winds up being largely introduction to the world and characters. In a straight up novel that would be a massive deal breaker for me, it’s a little more forgivable here but does still hurt the story as it stands.

Let’s actually start with that. This is the first volume of Spill Zone rather than the full story all at once and I feel like there are two views that I could take on that. One is to look at it like one of the trade paperbacks of monthly comics, where I know I’m getting an arc and some connective tissue for the main story. That’s the more generous option. The second option is to look at it more like a book that builds to a sequel but has little substance on its own. In a lot of ways I lean towards the second one more. There’s a lot of interesting stuff introduced in Spill Zone volume one, and I do want to know more about what’s going on, but enough is introduced that nothing gets a real in depth going over. That’s where I run into problems with Spill Zone.

There’s a ton of interesting stuff that looks like it’s going to be expanded on in later volumes, but it isn’t expanded on enough in this volume for me to be super into it. Things like Addison’s little sister and her doll. Little sister doesn’t talk, except when she does, but she and the doll have what are apparently mental conversations. Sometimes Addison seems to hear them, sometimes she doesn’t. The doll, Vespertine, gains power from the Spill Zone and seems to rely on regular charges to maintain herself. I would love to see more of that and maybe the mysterious buyer for Addison’s art, Ms. Vandersloot, and have the other Spill Zone in North Korea and all the stuff related to that be introduced in a later volume. Because, as it stands, I feel like that was all just left hanging and could have been done better later.

So, that’s the story as it stands, what about the art? I like it. There’s this slightly sketchy quality to it that lends itself to the comic, especially its more surreal moments. I feel like the art did a lot of lifting to make up for the writing not being super. It’s emotive and atmospheric and, I feel, one of the best things about the book.

Which of course leaves the wrap up. I want to read more of Spill Zone but I’m also really disappointed at how little content it feels like this first volume has. So this is one that gets scored more on where I’m hoping it goes, and what looks like a lot of potential, than its own merits. I’m giving Spill Zone a three out of five.

I’m late, it’s tomorrow already! Sorry everyone. Though I suppose it’s a good thing I’m reviewing the comic for a blast from the past. This is, again, a book that I received through NetGalley for review. Enjoy!

The Flintstones Vol 1 Cover

Meet the Flintstones, they’re the modern stone age family. You’re familiar with them. We all are. So let’s go back to Bedrock and see what a modern look at a stone age family looks like.

The Flintstones is something of a slice of life comic centering on, of course, the Flintstone family as well as the Rubbles and Bedrock itself. It’s anachronistic in a way that feels totally true to the old cartoon, while also turning a sharp eye on modern life, and also being a ton of fun. It also goes back to the cartoon’s sitcom roots, being aimed at an older audience. It feels weirdly subversive to see the concept for an old show turned to, more or less, current concerns. I like that quite a bit.

It’s also interesting to see what Mark Russell did with the characters. Fred and Wilma are more communicative, which is awesome in so many ways. The club Fred and Barney belonged to in the cartoon is a veterans’ society now, which ties into just how bedrock came about. Pebbles and Bam Bam are probably the most changed, being teenagers here rather than babies. They often provide a B-plot that reflects the main story in miniature. That’s more than kind of cool. I do sort of wish we’d seen more of Betty. Since she’s Wilma’s friend rather than Fred’s and most of Wilma’s screen time is with her husband, Betty gets pretty left out. I feel like I want the next book to focus more on Betty and Wilma, I want to see more of what’s going on with them especially after the response to Wilma’s art at the museum.

On to the art! Steve Pugh does a really cool job here. Characters from the original are, for the most part, immediately recognizable while also having dropped a lot of the cartoonyness from before. The random background characters have distinct looks. The coloring, done by Chris Chuckry, is vibrant and conveys mood well. My only issue with the art at all is that it does tend to combine massive beefy dudes with comparatively small women.  That honestly feels like it could be a throwback though given that the main characters are fairly set design wise and, as the comic goes, we get more body diversity in the background characters.

So, final thoughts. When I first saw that this was going to be a thing months ago I didn’t expect it to be much, mostly due to cherry picked panels and not really knowing what to expect beyond the old cartoon. I’m more than pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. The writing is solid, the art is good, and while it can be serious there’s always a thread of humor. I like the anachronistic stuff, especially all the little background stuff like store names, it fits and it feels like The Flintstones. So that’s a five out of five from me.

Batwoman #4

I’m slowly getting more used to trying to review comics, it’s still not the focus of the blog but I enjoy them and about half my daily views seem to be from people trying to find out when/if characters that I’ve talked about wanting to see in the DCnU will be showing up.  So, why not?

Issue four picks up almost immediately after issue three’s ending.  Bette Kane is back in the Flamebird costume ready to take down the scum of Gotham to prove herself to herself and probably her cousin.  Predictably, this does not go well and the reader is treated to  vibrantly colored scenes of Flamebird in a painfully one-sided fight interspersed with tasteful scenes of Kate and Maggie having comfort sex.  From there, Batwoman takes to the streets to track down the monster that’s been kidnapping Gotham’s children.  Meanwhile, Agent Chase tricks Bette into revealing her cousin’s name and, possibly, Batwoman’s identity.

Jumping right in, if Batwoman: Elegy hadn’t sold me on J.H. Willaims III’s art then this issue would have.  The Bette’s fight scene contrasts starkly with the clips of Kate and Maggie.  The bright colors of one really complemented the muted sketchy qualities of the other.  It makes what would have already been tender scenes all that much more so.  And the two page spread of Batwoman coming through that window where each scallop of her cape contains another panel was just awesome.

I find myself increasingly hoping that something really bad happens to Agent Chase.  On a logical level I know she’s just doing her job, but there’s a level of casual cruelty in the way she delt with Bette that just bothers me.  On the flipside, the more I read the more I like Maggie Sawyer.  She’s the beleaguered good cop here, the Commissioner Gordon to Kate’s Bat.  It makes me a bit less interested in seeing what happens when either she figures out that Kate’s Batwoman or Renee Montoya shows back up.

I’m impressed so far and I look quite forward to seeing what happens to wrap this arc up.