Tag Archives: San Francisco

Review : America’s Got Powers #1 – Should you care?

America’s Got Powers #1

Story By: Jonathan Ross

Art By: Bryan Hitch

Review Score: 7/10

Jonathan Ross and Bryan Hitch’s America’s Got Powers is an interesting new series from Image. It dances between being too self aware for its own good and having its finger on the pulse of our current culture . It’s both refreshing and frustrating at the same time.

Jonathan Ross pulls a page from fellow writer Jonathan Hickman and introduces you into his world by utilizing a web page dedicated to America’s Got Powers and the chat room responses after the announcement which of course generate tons of hate for choices the creators made from season to season. Ross does a great job establishing a cynical yet honest tone in the books first page. Ross’s explanation for how the mass population of San Francisco gets their powers and is a bit comical. A crystal lands into the heart of San Francisco and erupts which affects women who are pregnant all over the city causing them to immediately give birth to baby’s and those children are born with superpowers.   The book starts off rough story wise but definitely pulls itself together for the last two-thirds of the book.

Fast forward to one year ago and Tommy Watts who is known as a “Stoner” aka one of the children who registered 0% powers with the government is watching his Brother Bobby Watts compete in the season finale of Americas Got Powers . After a brutal fight Bobby wins but loses his life in the process .

Present day Tommy has been getting by working at the same stadium where America’s Got Powers films . He’s your typical rebellious teen who constantly tries to see how much he can get away with while toeing the line of being a honest and decent human being. There’s a sub plot involving the government and creator of the series that falls a bit flat but overall the story is its strongest when it follows the narrative into reality TV territory.

Bryan Hitch definitely blows this book out of the water with page after page of beautiful and detailed artwork. You see a bit of repetition with the costume design and a few of the facial expressions seem static but overall this is an extremely diverse and detailed book. Action sequences pop , and there a few panels that are truly jaw dropping. Hitch really lets loose having the freedom to draw what he wants in this book. I for one welcome it , his work is a lot stronger when compared to his last work I saw in New Avengers. The colors aren’t too saturated on the page and overall Hitch is the perfect choice for the book. He definitely makes the book feel grounded in reality but can switch it up on the next panel to Robots fighting Superheroes with ease.

Bryan Hitch continues to draw pretty pictures in America's Got Powers

The producer’s of the show this season want better ratings and so they have decided to increase the level of violence on the show and change the rules for the contestants to make things interesting. This seasons premier televised event gets out of hand and our main character Tommy  runs out  on the Battlefield against the Paladin’s to protect an Innocent child. It’s a welcomed character moment that shows us another side of Tommy other than the rebellious brat that border lines on the cliché. The issue ends with a great display of power and the promise that our “Stoner” character just went from zero to hero and is the hands on favorite to win America;s Got Powers.

I enjoyed the premise of the story and really enjoyed the art . However the beginning execution definitely feels stunted and jarring. I see a lot of potential in this book as long as the focus stays on Tommy and not the Government corporation responsible for the show and infected  in the first place. Ross I think captures the worlds preoccupation with vanity and Reality TV very well but sometimes takes me out of the story with his characters.

Overall this was a very imaginative book that I’ve enjoyed reading but sometimes I find myself rolling my eyes at the dialogue. It seems a bit too childish for a book that deals with the systemic decline of our culture. I’m definitely interested in Tommy’s story and that’s why I feel strongly enough to recommend this book to you. Ross takes his first major step in building a world here using social commentary to build an interesting story and Bryan Hitch continues to produce the amazing artwork hes known for.

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots



Todd McFarlane Image Expo interview – comics, steroids in baseball, hockey and t-shirts

Saturday morning after an IGN interview Todd McFarlane traveled over from San Francisco for the Image Expo and an interview with the Comic Vault. McFarlane talked about the meaning of the Image Expo, baseball collectibles, steroids in baseball, his favorite football player and his future.

Wait for the random guy who walks in the back ground with a giant Spawn poster.

Review: Wolverine #19

Wolverine #19
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Ron Garney, Jason Keith (Colors)

So last issue, Wolverine (who has been moonlighting as the Black Dragon) and Gorilla Man were joined by the Immortal Weapon Fat Cobra in their underground adventure to get Wolverine’s money back.  If you remember way back to two issues ago, they ended up underground after Kung Fu Master Po informed Wolverine of an underground (deep underground) drug smuggling ring, operated by Jade Claw, that was using dragons to traffic opium.

Are you still with me?

It’s a lot to take in, and it’s hard to wrap your head around at times, so maybe you should just leave your head at the door for this one if you didn’t figure out in issue 17 that this arc requires that.

Anyhow, at the end of the last issue, the odd trio were pulling a Trojan Horse move by sneaking their way into the Jade Claw’s underground compound in the bellies of dragons.  Wolverine #19 begins with the trio emerging from beneath the ground in front of a bar, carried by a dragon, with Wolverine’s money.  The rest of the issue is a flashback of the story’s resolution.

To sum it all up, there’s more fun dialogue interplay between Wolverine, Gorilla Man and Fat Cobra, and Wolverine’s journalist girlfriend Melita Garner gets a job at New York’s finest newspaper.  Oh, and one of the D-list villains from last issue (whose name I’ve already forgotten…Soul Striker or something, right?) lets things get out of hand.

This arc was a fun read overall, but I prefer a little less cartoonishness in subject matter with Wolverine.  When things get a little too supernatural/magical, like this arc and last year’s “Wolverine Goes to Hell,” things start to wear on me a little bit — although “Goes to Hell” did have a rewarding payoff.  By comparison, this arc is lighthearted filler.

To be fair, though, Aaron has had a lot on his plate with the stellar X-Men: Schism event book this past summer and the new Wolverine and the X-Men ongoing series launching last month.  This story basically served as a transition to Logan’s return to New York, and the upcoming arc involving Kingpin and the Hand seems promising.

STORY: 7/10
ART:   8/10

Review: Wolverine #18

Wolverine #18
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  Ron Garney
Color Art:  Jason Keith

Wolverine’s impromptu team-up with Gorilla Man last issue ended with the two, along with Wolverine’s kung fu master and some kid who made me think of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, in a series of caves deep below San Francisco’s Chinatown where the Jade Claw is using dragons to mule drugs.

That’s a lot to wrap your head around.

This issue opens with a battle royale involving the villains Razorfist, Soul Striker, Darkstrider and Rock of the Buddha.  Wait…Who?  I’m not exactly sure who any of these guys are, save for maybe Razorfist, who I seem to remember being killed by Logan in last year’s X-Force: Sex & Violence limited series.  Regardless, it’s mentioned that he was killed by Wolverine before…just not killed well enough.

Anyhow, the dragons eventually become involved, and Wolverine and Gorilla Man end up tied between two of them as Soul Striker (these villain names are killing me) recites a villainous monologue before knocking the old kung fu master into a pit and taking the kid away to serve in Jade Claw’s underground poppy fields.

This leads to another villainous monologue later in the issue where Jade Claw explains to the kid that she plans on ruling the world from below ground by controlling the drug trade above ground.  Jason Aaron does a lot to establish Jade Claw’s villainy, but so much of it is ridiculous and over-the-top that it’s hard to swallow.  (Her least expensive bra costs enough to feed an entire family and she has her feet washed in the still-warm blood of women who fancied themselves more beautiful?  This is b-movie grade cheese.)

As a matter of fact, that combined with the banter between Logan and Gorilla Man (and later Fat Cobra, a sumo-ish guy from the Immortal Weapons who randomly shows up this issue) makes this story arc the comic book equivalent of a comedic kung-fu buddy cop b-movie.

I’m not used to having this much humor in Wolverine, but Aaron pulls it off nicely.  I’d be interested in seeing him write Spider-Man at some point, perhaps in a limited series.  The art by Ron Garney and Jason Keith matches the tone of the story, as well.  It’s somewhat gritty, but bright and stylized.  Overall, this arc has been a fun ride so far and  a nice change of pace from the typical Wolverine fare.

Story:  7.5/10
Art:  8.5/10 

[amazon_link id=”B00632XWFY” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]BUY Wolverine #18 on Amazon[/amazon_link]

Wolverine #19 – 3 page preview

Marvel Comics released a three page preview of Wolverine #19.

This is the post-Schism era of Wolverine. What have you like about Jason Aaron’s take on Wolverine?

Someone has Wolverine’s money and he’s determined to get it back in your first look At Wolverine #19! From the fan favorite creative team of Jason Aaron and Ron Garney, X-Men Regenesis continues deep in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown as Logan finds himself paired up with Immortal Weapon Fat Cobra and Gorilla Man. Except when the three have to go up against the world’s newest and most powerful drug dealer…what’s waiting for them at the gates of his underground stronghold is not at all what they expected. Want to know what Wolverine and crew are up against and if they’ll all make it out alive? Find out this December in Wolverine #19! – Marvel Comics

Follow Matthew Sardo on Twitter! @comicvault

Uncanny X-Men #2 – 3 page preview

Marvel Comics released the first three pages of Uncanny X-Men #2 Friday morning.

After a critically acclaimed first issue, Marvel is pleased to present your first look at Uncanny X-Men #2 as X-Men: Regenesis continues! The fan-favorite creative team of Kieron Gillen and Carlos Pacheco pull out all the stops as Cyclops and his new Extinction team go head to head against the deadly Mr. Sinister. And with Sinister controlling the all-powerful Dreaming Celestial in San Francisco, his destruction has no limits. -Marvel Comics

Kieron Gillen is the author of Uncanny X-Men with artwork by Carlos Pacheo. What do you think of the new series?

Follow Matthew Sardo on Twitter! @comicvault

Review: Wolverine #17

Wolverine #17
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  Ron Garney & Jason Keith

Jason Aaron’s run thus far on the relaunched Wolverine has been nothing short of what fans of the Marvel Universe’s favorite clawed berserker want.  It gives them all the claw popping ultra-violence the character’s solo series have become known for without sacrificing a more fleshed-out approach to Logan’s personality.  After all, Wolverine is not a cold-blooded killer so much as a failed samurai, or a man with a noble idea of who he wants to be and yet doesn’t realize he is already that person.

From the stories that began in Aaron’s earlier book, Wolverine: Weapon X, to today’s Wolverine #17, everything has felt streamlined and there has been a great balance between fast-paced, energetic storytelling and deeper exposition.

Having just returned from his isolation following what happened at the hands of the Red Right Hand over the course of the first dozen or so issues, Wolverine finds himself at a crossroad at the beginning of this story.  If you’ve kept up with the events in the wider X-Men universe, there was a falling out between Wolverine and Cyclops during the Schism event.  Logan, feeling it wasn’t right that Scott expected the children on the X-roster to become warriors, ultimately decided to return to Westchester, New York to restart Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters (which, if you haven’t been keeping up, was destroyed during the “Messiah CompleX” crossover a few years ago).

Before he can leave San Francisco, however, Logan has a few loose ends to tie up — like letting his reporter girlfriend know that he’s leaving and ending his masquerade as Chinatown’s kingpin the Black Dragon.  Upon visiting Kung Fu Master Po’s dojo, however, he discovers the money he had stashed in a safe there has been stolen by a gang involved in a Chinatown drug war.  This is the money Logan planned to rebuild the school with.  (Yes, he has that kind of money.  He’s been around for like 200 years, you know?)

Needless to say, he’s pissed.

The pace of the issue is rather fast, feeling much shorter than it actually is.  It sets up a team-up with Gorilla Man, including some fun back-and-forth banter (not just with Gorilla Man, but with Po, as well), and introduces some elements of Chinese mysticism.  Ron Garney and Jason Keith’s art continues to fit the tone of the book well, whether Logan is slicing and dicing his way through a hail of gunfire or having a heart-to-heart with Melita.

That said, I’m not really sure how I feel about mythical elements and Wolverine being together.  I’ll be honest and admit it took me a few issues to wrap my head around “Wolverine Goes to Hell” last year.  This is only part one of the story arc, and a fun read regardless, so I’m willing to further suspend my disbelief to include those elements for the time being.

Story:  7/10
Art:  9/10 

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B005WX41AA” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”0785156399″ /]