Review: The Flash Season Zero #2 (DC Comics)

 

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Publisher: DC Comics
Story by: Andrew Kreisberg
Script by: Brooke Eikmeier & Katherine Walczak
Pencils by: Phil Hester
Inks by: Eric Gapstur
Colours by: Kelsey Shannon
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

While I enjoyed issue one of The Flash Season Zero, even though it was mostly setting up background on our hero and the evil circus arc, the second installment felt a bit weighed down by Barry’s unrequited love.

Issue #2 picks up after Barry’s confrontation with the Strongman as he heads back to S.T.A.R Labs to explain what happened and have his ankle set (or rebroken and set). Its a great few pages, the banter between the characters is great and I expect to see that interaction replicated on screen. When Barry goes back to his other job, we see him spend a lot of time pining over Iris. I suppose its necessary to show, as its part of who Barry is, but it feels like there are a lot of panels devoted to it and it adds no value to the story. I want to be reading a superhero comic, not a love story. Barry’s identity crisis is something I can see him struggling with, though perhaps if we saw of his Flash-life conflicting with his regular Barry-life in some way, it might feel a bit more warranted.

The villain for this issue is a snake charmer who not only charms snakes, but all the animals at the zoo, sending some of them on a rampage. I like her better than the Strongman, though her purpose for getting all the animals under her thrall remains to be seen, hopefully we’ll find this out in the next issue.

The art bothered me a little more this time, with Barry being drawn way more bulky than the actor who plays him on the series, it feels odd. But I like the style of the art and the panels with the snake charmer are by far the best, especially the page with all the animals from the zoo.

One thing I have to mention is the title of this issue “Who Let The Chimps Out” and at the end we’re told next issue “Who Let The Cats Out” surely the creative team can come up with something better than a play on a tiresome early 2000 phrase?

Overall, a good issue, but I am hoping for more in number 3.

Have you read the second installment of The Flash Season Zero? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Buy The Flash Season Zero #2 from Comixology.

Review: Arrow season 2.5 Issue #2 (Blood part 2: Descent) (DC Comics)

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Publisher: DC Comics
Written by: Marc Guggenheim
Pencils by: Joe Bennett
Inks by: Craig Yeung
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

In issue one we left Roy falling unconscious from a plane at 30,000 feet, will Oliver save him in time?

Spoiler alert: He does. With the help of a handy new arrow which opens like a parachute.

With the boxing arrow in issue one, and now the parachute arrow, I’m now keeping a tally as to how many elaborate and creative arrows Marc Guggenheim has come up with for these comics. I’m expecting great things.

As Oliver takes Roy to safety and tends to his gunshot wound, issue two gives us a look at where the TV series left us with Quentin Lance. Seeing him in the previews for season 3 of Arrow, we know he survives, but I’m glad the inbetween parts have been addressed without us having to suffer the tedious hospital drama on screen.

We also see Caleb again (the young man introduced in issue one) now presumably homeless and finding comfort in the bottom of a bottle. He is picked up by a well dressed stranger who you instantly know is up to no good. He takes Caleb to a rundown building – “a refuge for the lost” – where he shows him their saviour and who will be our main villian for the comics.

There isn’t a lot I can say about issue #2 that wont feel like I’m repeating myself from my review of issue one. Once again its a wonderful read, penned by Arrow writer Marc Guggenheim with more story to sink your teeth into. There are some great moments from Felicity, where she awkwardly offers Oliver her bed for the night – which feels exactly like it would play out on screen.

Just like issue one I love the full page action panels, particularly where Oliver jumps out of the plane. The artwork again is just fantastic and the colours have that dark moody feel from the show without being dull.

If you’re not reading Arrow Season 2.5 you’re missing out. But if you are reading it, tell me what you think in the comments below!

Review: The Flash Season Zero #1 (DC Comics)

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The Flash Season Zero #1: Freak Show Part 1 “The Strongman Cometh”

Publisher: DC Comics
Story by: Andrew Kreisberg
Script by: Brooke Eikmeier & Katherine Walczak
Pencils by: Phil Hester
Inks by: Eric Gapstur
Colours by: Kelsey Shannon
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

I have to admit, my knowledge of The Flash is limited to two things. 1) He runs fast. 2) Sheldon Cooper likes to dress up as him in The Big Bang Theory. But I like superhero stories, so I’m excited by another hitting our screens with a new comic to coincide.

While issue one is said to be set between the pilot episode and episode two, it spends about half of the pages setting up Barry’s story, just so we know how he became who he is and what he spends his time doing now – apparently rescuing a surprising number of dogs (the dog lover in me ‘aww-ed’ over that, I admit). All while maintaining his regular life as a CSI for Central City Police Department – and still as ungraceful as ever.

I like his narration in the comic, it feels in character to what we’ve seen of Barry Allen from all the awesome CW trailers for the series and gives those who havent been watching them a good, quick insight to the show and characters.

When a call comes in about a robbery at the National Bank, Barry spings to action. It’s there that we meet one of our villains for the comic – a strongman wielding a huge barbell. After an altercation, where Barry and his superhuman abilities actually come off second best, we see the Strongman return to a circus where he gives a shadowy figure the item he took from the bank and tells him all about Central City’s new hero.

Its a good start to The Flash comic series, even though a lot of the issue tells the reader Barry’s story, the pacing was good and it didn’t drag at any point for me. Much like the Arrow comics, The Flash benefits from having one of the shows writers (Andrew Kreisberg) on the creative team. The comic series promises those budget breaking stories and effects that we wont be able to see on the show, so I am looking forward to what the writers may come up with for this evil circus and seeing them come to life on the pages.

The artwork is bright and colourful, with lots of full page action sequences – including the full page dog rescue (aww!). The characters were drawn perhaps very cartoon-ish which didn’t bother me as I am not familiar with the on-screen counterparts, but what I do know of them, they were recognisable. Except Barry, who was maybe a little more bulky than he looks on the TV series.

Overall, a great set up to The Flash series, a good read for someone like myself who isn’t familiar with any previous Flash stories and wants to get into the TV series.

 

Have you read The Flash Season Zero #1? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Review: Arrow Season 2.5 Issue #1 (Blood Part 1: Return) (DC Comics)

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Publisher: DC Comics
Written by: Marc Guggenheim
Artwork by: Joe Bennett
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

Promising to bridge the gap between seasons 2 and 3, Arrow Season 2.5 #1 delivers an action packed first digital release. It feels like a short first issue, mainly consisting of Oliver and Roy taking down a gang of drug runners on their plane – while it’s in the air.

It opens with the usual Oliver Queen voice-over that every episode famously starts with, and flashes back to six years ago where we see a young man named Caleb witnessing his parents die in a murder-suicide.

Flash forward to present day and the rest of the comic features some wonderful action sequences with Arrow and Roy (currently being called Speedy) taking down the drug plane. There is an introduction of a very clever new arrow named “the boxing arrow” and of course interaction from Felicity and Diggle, assisting from Arrow headquarters.

The issue ends on a rather maddening cliffhanger that has me already anticipating #2.

Overall I really enjoyed the first installment of Arrow season 2.5. It feels exactly like the opening of an episode of the TV show, which was its intention by having Marc Guggenheim at the helm. It clearly benefits from having a writer from the show voicing the characters on the page.

The full-page action scenes really come to life with the artwork and amazing colours. My only complaint is that Joe Bennet has drawn our four main cast all very square-jawed. What little we see of Roy’s face looks almost the same as Oliver and the only truly recognisable character is Felicity, perhaps only because of her blonde hair and glasses. This is only a small gripe because the artwork really is fantastic otherwise.

Definitely for fans of the series, as Guggenheim has promised the comic, with its “limitless budget” will include all the action, adventure and sets they cannot afford on the show. I would also suggest it to new fans who may have limited or no knowledge of the series as a way to get started before season 3. But personally, I think you should also go out and get seasons 1 & 2 for a proper catch up, as the show is fantastic.

Review: The X-Files Year Zero #2 (IDW Publishing)

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Publisher: IDW Publishing
Written by: Karl Kesel
Artwork by: Greg Scott and Vic Malhotra
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

While I continue to struggle with the main X-Files releases, The X-Files Year Zero remians the shining point in the X-Files comic universe.

In issue #2 Mulder and Scully are still on the hunt for the mysterious Mr. Zero and the connection it has to the very first X-File while in 1946 Bing Ellington and Millie Ohio continue to do the same.

The story opens with Mrs. Sears recounting her visit from the mysterious Mr. Xero. Its a strange confrontation that turns into a conversation about PB&J. It is potentially disturbing as we learned from the last issue that she is apparently killed by Mr. Xero. Bing and Millie conclude from their conversation with Mrs. Sears and the message from ‘her friend’ that they need to go to Montana to further investigate their case. Once there, they come face to face with something more terrifying than they were expecting.

In the present, Scully shoots down Mulder’s theories about the cases being connected in typical sceptical-Scully fashion. That is until they start to close in on their Mr. Zero and she starts to see some connections for herself.

I enjoyed both sides of the story, and felt that once again, Mulder and Scully were captured true to character by Karl Kesel. Their rational/single-minded dynamic is perfectly in tact and dotted with their usual humour. However, for me, I felt their story slowed down a little in this issue. It wasn’t until their encounter with Mr. Zero that I felt that it really started to move forward again.

It was Bing and Millie who stole the show in this issue. Their story moved along at a much more steady pace and I enjoyed them encountering more action than they bargained for. I like that their dynamic is very similar to Mulder and Scully – both females being strong and perfect counterparts to their male partners – but Bing and Millie feel distinctly different and I am just as invested in them as my two favourite modern day agents.

I like that Bing and Millie’s case has connections to the season 1 episode “Shapes” (a highly underrated episode in my opinion) rather than the mythology that the season 10 comics are tackling.

The artwork once again is great, but there isn’t a lot of difference in design or colouring between the two eras which doesnt really set them apart. The standard cover for this issue is probably my favourite out of all the new comics. Carlos Valenzuela continues to amaze me with his beautiful artwork for this series. And Robert Hack has created another wonderful pulp novel cover for the subscription variant.

The series is a definite for fans, but also those who were casual viewers of the show and just want a good X-Files story.

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Review: The X-Files by Frank Spotnitz, Marv Wolfman and Doug Moench (WildStorm Comics)

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Publisher: WildStorm (2009)
Written by: Frank Spotnitz, Marv Wolfman and Doug Moench
Artwork by: Brian Denham
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

THE X-FILES lives on in this new collection that serves as a lost season of the smash-hit TV series. Mulder and Scully are sent to San Francisco to solve a string of murders, then become targets of the Tong underworld and travel to the mysterious Badlands to investigate a series of disappearances in this title collecting THE X-FILES #0-6.

In 2008/09 following the second X-Files movie, WildStorm released seven comics based on The X-Files television show which were set to further expand on the series. The first three issues are penned by X-Files executive producer and writer Frank Spotnitz which is where this collection shines. Telling two different stories of possession, Spotnitz talent as a writer on the show easily translates to the pages of a comic. They felt like they could have been two missing episodes from the series.

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Book Review: The Rule Of Knowledge by Scott Baker

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Author: Scott Baker
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Length: 422 pages
Genre: Thriller / Adventure

At Sydney Supanova in June, I attended a writers panel where Scott Baker spoke about his debut novel The Rule of Knowledge. The promise of it being a cross between Indiana Jones and Back To The Future was instantly appealing to me and it wasn’t until I opened the pages that I was delighted to discover there were also elements of Spartacus/Gladiator and The Da Vinci Code. I was also fortunate enough to get the very last copy available that weekend and have it personally signed.

The Rule Of Knowledge is an epic adventure of Shaun Strickland, an every day guy turned hero by necessity.

Shaun is a happily married high school teacher who receives a last-minute invitation from Cambridge University to present a paper on the relationship between time and space, something he has been studying his whole life. As he and his wife are travelling through the night to make their flight, their car slams into something that appears suddenly from the bushes.

From that moment on, Shaun’s life is changed forever. On the run and being hunted by killers, a strange book holds the key to the mystery slowly unraveling before him.

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Review: Good Dog, Whiskey by K. Kobi

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Written by: K. Kobi
Artwork by: K. Kobi
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

Good Dog, Whiskey is a heart wrenching story created by Kent Kobi about a dog who has been loyally sitting by his owners grave for some time, mourning the loss of his friend. When Whiskey finally curls up and closes his eyes, he opens them to find the grave now a mysterious opening with stairs leading down into darkness. Whiskey is confused but he knows his friend is down there. Now he has a chance to search for him and be reunited.

Kobi says the story came to him in a dream which he awoke from feeling unsettled, like the sole survivor of an event that he had to retell. I personally, am very glad he did. The story is a must for any dog lover, or for anyone who has known the loyal companionship of a pet. Its touching, sad and will most likely have you reaching for your tissues, but the journey is worth it.

The beautiful high contrast artwork adds a wonderful layer to the story, capturing the emotions of the dog perfectly.

You can buy Good Dog, Whiskey from Kings Comics (Sydney), Amazon, or The Book Depository.

You can find Kent Kobi on Twitter: @kentkobi and Good Dog, Whiskey on Facebook

Review: Doctor Who. 10th Doctor #1 (Titan Comics)

49141Publisher: Titan Comics
Written by: Nick Abadzis
Artwork by: Alice X Zhang (cover) and Elana Casagrande
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

I was very excited to learn there would be new 10th Doctor adventures coming our way this July and Titan Comics haven’t disappointed.

Gabriella Gonzalez is stuck in a dead-end job in her family’s New York Laundromat, dreaming of college and bigger, better and brighter things. So when a strange man with an even stranger big blue box barges into her life on the eve of the Day of the Dead celebrations – talking about an infestation of psychic aliens – she seizes her chance for adventure with both hands.

After Donna’s tragic exit, the Doctor thought he was done with new companions. But Gabby Gonzalez is going to prove him wrong… if she survives the night!

A lot of the first issue tends to set up our new companions background, with minimal input from The Doctor, but its still an enjoyable enough read. Gabriella ticks all the boxes as a companion, so I am looking forward to starting this journey with her.

What we do get to see of the Doctor is exactly what you’d expect from an episode. Nick Abadzis captured the 10th Doctors voice well, and even threw in one of his quirky gadgets.

The mystery slowly builds throughout the story, coming to an exciting climax as The Doctor jumps in to save the day – hopefully.

The artwork is crisp and colourful, and really attracts the readers attention. The Doctor actually looks like The Doctor, which is always my one gripe with TV-to-comics, artists interpreting a well known character so much it barely looks recognisable.

Overall, I think Doctor Who fans will enjoy this latest installment to the Who world and even those who have never read comics before will enjoy the journey too.