Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Book Review: Free Comic Book Day 2015 Titles

Here's a rundown of the free comics I picked up at Free Comic Book Day this year!

The books!

Dark Horse Comics had two offerings. First, Avatar: The Last Airbender features a story with Earth Bender Toph and Fire Nation Kyoshi Warrior Ty Lee. Ty Lee is tired of the sameness of the warrior life--same drills, same uniforms and makeup, same everything. She's excited to go with Toph to the circus. Only the circus turns out to be the one from which Ty Lee left to become a warrior and do something more important in her life. The ringmaster sees her and puts her back in her old act, which is full of surprises. The story is very enjoyable and the best of the Free Comic Book Day bunch. The issue includes stories from Plants vs. Zombies (which was okay) and Bandette (better than PVZ but not as good as Avatar).

Second, the more adult-focused offering from Dark Horse features three stories. First is Fight Club, based on the novel and movie. Author Chuck Palahniuk writes a sequel. If you liked the other versions, you'll probably like this. Second, The Goon visits a small southern town where they haven't given up on their antebellum ways. The story was fun and makes me more interested in reading The Goon at some point (I know the library has some!). Third is a story from Guillermo del Toro's The Strain, which was interesting but not compelling.

Image Comics's free issue is Savage Dragon Legacy. Savage Dragon is a half-human, half-alien cop in Chicago who uses his power to fight the bigger bad guys. His dad (the alien) is on death row for crimes he sort of didn't commit (it's complicated) and the son struggles to fit in with the world of normal people. The character has been around for a while (there's over 20 trade paperback of his adventures) but this is the first I've heard of him. He seems interesting but I'm not going to pick up more about him.

Titan Comics has three stories featuring three different Doctors from Doctor Who. The best story has the Eleventh Doctor (played by Matt Smith on the telly) fighting a living fiction entity that is spreading across the planet during Free Comic Book Day. Everyone who reads gets infected! The meta-nature of the story is fun even if the plot is often used on the show.

Marvel showcases two upcoming events. First is Secret Wars, where Marvel's regular universe will come in conflict with their Ultimate universe (one of the recent "reboots" of the characters). I'm not up on the Ultimates so it naturally looks a bit convoluted to me. And having groups of heroes fighting each other seems like reruns after Civil War and Avengers vs. X-Men. Second is the All-New, All-Different Avengers featuring all the new and semi-controversial versions of their heroes (you know, the female Thor, the Muslim teenaged Ms. Marvel, African-American Spiderman, the Falcon/Captain America). They've been around long enough to assemble as Avengers. This book also seems a bit like reruns. The second half of the book has a preview of The Uncanny Inhumans which follows some people being mutated by a gas cloud an recruited by the Inhumans. This story was the most interesting of the Marvel offerings with its new (to me at least) characters.

DC Comics has some preview of big changes for Batman and Superman along with a preview of their big upcoming event, Darkseid War. Apparently Bruce Wayne has died again (that makes three times in the past seven or eight years!) and someone else takes on the cowl. I find it hard to muster excitement at this twist that's already been done. Clark Kent is trying to live an anonymous life after he's been outed as Superman, though he has a hard time hiding. This story is more intriguing, if only because it is written by rising star Gene Luen Yang of Avatar fame. The Darkseid War preview provides an interesting twist on the big battle--two villains duking it out and the heroes trying to stop them at least from wiping out the Earth if not each other.

Dark Circle Comics is a new publisher of hero comics with three new heroes. The Black Hood is a gritty crime noir set in Philadelphia where a cop takes on a vigilante role to clean up the worst neighborhoods. The Fox is a lighter story with a photo journalist taking on a hero role for nostalgia reasons. The Shield is apparently a female version of Captain America but the book only provides concept art and the reassurance that the story won't just be "a mere gender-flip of an existing character."

Dynamite Comics has a bunch of short stories from the Bob's Burgers comics. Not knowing anything about the show, I found the stories amusing but probably would have appreciated them better if I was more familiar with it.

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