5 Things You Should Read on ComiXology Unlimited – 5/30/2016

Here we are with another edition of “5 Things You Should Read on Comixology Unlimited” Memorial Day Edition

Most people know me for my love of superhero comics, but as I have gotten older I have branched out and read comics of other genres; and found some really great reads.  Here are five in no particular order:

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5 Things That You Should Read on ComiXology Unlimited

In case you haven’t heard already, ComiXology has launched a service called ComiXology Unlimited. Similar to the Kindle Unlimited service from Amazon (ComiXology’s parent company), ComiXology Unlimited. “allows you to read freely from thousands of titles, including comic books, graphic novels & manga.”

In the case of CU, you can read anything and everything in the ComiXology Unlimited. catalog for $5.99 a month, after a 30-day free trial.   However not everything is in ComiXology Unlimited..  At the time of launch, just about every major comic publisher has titles to read , except for DC Comics and Marvel.  Now, you might get a lot of varied titles to choose from in the new service, but in a interview with ComiXology CEO, it is revealed that you will only get some of any particular title.  The idea being that if you start on a new title that you like, you would probably be willing to pay to read more.

With that in mind, you are probably wondering if this is a good deal and worth checking out. I signed up myself to check out what was available, and it didn’t take me long to find 5 things that I recommend to read on ComiXology Unlimited.

Here they are in no particular order:

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Comic Review – The Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw Vol. 1

When I see the words “Kurt Busiek” and “new series” used in the same sentence, I take notice.  Kurt Busiek has been one of my favorite writers ever since I took a chance and read the first Astro City trade, to see what all the fuss was about.  Since then I have really enjoyed just about everything that Busiek has put out since.  The numerous Astro City stories, his run on Avengers with George PerezJLA\Avengers, his work on Superman, and one of my personal favorites Superman: Secret Identity.
His work with Benjamin Dewey on The Autumnlands Vol. 1: Tooth and Claw is no exception.
This is a work of fantasy, with some sci-fi elements as well. This contains issues #1-6 of the first story arc,  and tells a tale of a world whose residents are humanoid animals.  The higher caste of society uses magic like technology to serve their gods, while the “lesser ones” provide all the labor that is need for whatever that magic can’t provide. The tension between the two grows daily.  When one wizard realizes that their magic is fading the faster they use it, she convinces their greatest talents to band their magic together to bring back the Great Champion that legends told brought magic to their lands.  The plan, however; does not go as they wished.
I really enjoyed this series, and read it as it came out originally.  When I saw that the trade that collected the series came out soon after the first arc ended, I had to have in my library.
Once again Kurt Busiek uses his skill at world building to put together an engaging tale that was hard to put down.  The art from Benjamin Dewey is the master stroke that makes this series all the more enjoyable to read.  One of my favorite parts of this series is that somewhere in the beginning of each issue there is a piece of what I assume is painted art, accompanied by a piece of prose that fleshed out some bit of the world that the book is set in.  I am not sure if that has ever been done before, but it really adds a lot to the experience.  At least to me.
I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys fantasy, or at the very least the work of Kurt Busiek.  You will not be disappointed.
This is rated R, for language, nudity and violence.  So it’s not really safe for the kids.

Comic Book Review – Black Science Vol. 1

Black Science Vol. 1
Once in a while I read something that makes my brain buzz with a kind of euphoria its just so good. When it is a comic book it has to be something pretty unique. Such was Black Science Vol. 1 by Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera.

Anyone that knows me knows that my usual MO in comic books is the superhero genre.  However, I am also a big fan of science fiction, and when I read the description of the this book on Comixology during a half off sale; I just had to give it a shot.
Collects BLACK SCIENCE #1-6 Anarchist scientist Grant McKay has done the impossible! Using the Pillar, he has punched a hole through the barriers between dimensions, allowing travel to all possible universes. But now Grant and his team are trapped in the folds of infinity, the Pillar sending them careening through a million universes of unimaginable adventure, sanity-flaying danger and no way home… Presenting the first mind-warping chapter of the critically acclaimed sci-fi epic by superstar creative team of writer RICK REMENDER (Uncanny Avengers, Captain America) and artist MATTEO SCALERA (Secret Avengers).
One thing Comixology has been good at since it started is exposed me to all kinds of different material that for whatever reason I wasn’t exposed to or just never heard of.  I have picked up several good reads over the years in sales like this, and ended up finding books I continued to read past my first exposure.
To say that I was pleasantly surprised with this book is a gross understatement.  Saying that the story grabbed me by the balls and got my undivided attention would be a more accurate description.  Without giving away any of the plot I would call it a cross of the late 90’s TV series Sliders and Game of Thrones TV series.  This series about dimension hopping scientists has a breakneck speed that is completely unpredictable from one moment to the next, and much like Game of Thrones; no character is safe from a horrible fate. Besides the sci-fi elements, it is the raw (almost savage) way that the story is told that left me feeling at times that I was run over a truck, but in a good way. I enjoyed  this book so much, that after reading this in digital format, I immediately ordered Vol. 1 and 2 in print, and preordered Vol 3 so I could add it to my collection.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who is a fan of adult science fiction, and tales of adventure.  For those that do podcast, the guys and I did a read of the first issue, and you can find it here: Episode 197: Spotlight on Image Comics: Black Science #1 (2013)
I give this book (using the movie scale) an R rating for language and violence, so it’s not safe for the kiddies.

Comic Book Reviews: 18 lines about 9 comics – 7/26/2015

From Caleb Gerard:

Another edition of the non-musical 18 Lines About 9 comics.

Green Lantern #42 continues to give readers the post-Convergence life of Hal Jordan. Taking a page from the decompressed world of Marvel not a hell of lot happen in this issue and we find out almost next to nothing about how Hal got long hair however the dialog was incredibly engaging and was enhanced by the amazing Billy Tan art.

Action Comics #42 is the next chapter in the strangely published out of order life of Clark Kent. Said it before and happy to say it again Greg Pak has refound a fan in me with his plotting and dialoging of this latest version of Superman.

Omega Men #2 could be the 2nd issue of DC’s latest awesome superhero political thriller. Rarely has Kyle Rayner been more intriguing to me which is in no smart part due to his being a part of team rather than a solo character… he is not a marquee character, just saying.

Guardians Team-Up #7 gave me the unlikely teaming of 2 of my current favorite MU characters: the doofus-driven Ant-Man and the humorless-Drax. “Convoluted” is the path that leads Drax to Miami and is forced to work with the hung-over Scott Lang to retrieve one of Marvel’s most iconic destructive devices.

X-Tinction Agenda #2 is a Secret Wars tie-in using one of the my least favorite of the many x-overs from the last 20 years of many x-overs. This is one of those examples of a comicbook that is elevated by having a marvelous artist presenting an otherwise just-OK story so I’m giving this a relook just to check out Carmine di Giandomenico’s art even if I really don’t care much what happens.

Secret Wars #4 is a Secret Wars tie… no wait, this is the main series, my bad. This issue finds most of the “survivors” from the old universe finding each other and comparing notes and smacking each other around while trading engaging dialog thanks to Hickman’s plotting and dialog.

Ultimate End #3 gives a couple of the Ultimate architects, Bendis and Bagley, a chance to close the door on this innovative direction. New York is one crowded town usually but never more-so than when the regular MU heroes and the Ultimate heroes are all crammed in there… let the misunderstandings explode while Ultimate Nick Fury acts like a big douche.

Batman Beyond #2 is taking this title just where I hoped it would as we find that the world is NOT all post-apocolyptic. As the very-fallible adult Tim Drake blunders his way through the future world that he really should not be in this part-time fan of the cartoon gets to see him get his ass kicked by my favorite villain from the ‘toon: Inque.

New Suicide Squad #10 focuses on some of the core members of the team as they attempt to infiltrate one of the MANY “secret” terrorist groups in the DCU. This comic, for me, is proof that there are NO bad ideas if a great writer gets their hands on them… Sean Ryan knows exactly how to engage me as a reader which means I need to find more of what he’s written to this point.

Comic Book Reviews: 18 lines about 9 comics – 8/5/15

From Caleb Gerard:

18 more lines about 9 more comics… and the beat goes on…

Constantine: The Hellblazer #2 is solidly in it’s post-Convergence life. For all those mourning the demise of “Hellblazer” from Vertigo or, like me, missing the New52 “Constantine” this comic is meeting the needs of both audiences AND making me wonder if we are due for “mature readers” label for this and a couple of other mainstream DC books.

X-Men ’92 #4, a Secret Wars tie-in title. I’ve said it 3 times before and it doesn’t lose it’s potency to state the Scott Koblish truly understands the power of the digital comic format as each panel is built on the last and leads to the next sort of like those flip-page cartoons some of us would make as kids when bored showing some astronaut dealing with decompression and exploding (or was that just me?).

The Walking Dead #144. This had, for me, the biggest “holy shit” sequence in the history of this comic or even any comic in recent memory.

Inferno #3, a Secret Wars tie-in title. To be honest this issue is on this list only because of some truly inspired dialog from Dennis Hopeless like “We all have our crazy and yours is very specific” or “Illyana happened”

Civil War #1, a Secret Wars tie-in title. Charles Soule takes the divide of conscience from the Civil War event to the next logical place as the U.S. is divided in to two territories in a way that is (probably intentionally) reminiscent of Israel/Palestine.

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #2, a Secret Wars tie-in title. Peter Parker’s only mission in life is to make those he loves safe and sound and in this “what if” world from Dan Slott that truly hates the vigilante that would be Peter’s wife and daughter who he is willing to sacrifice his freedom and even his life for.

Batman/Superman #22 is running with the ongoing Clark Kent story in the Super-titles while integrating the new Batman status quo. Batman really comes off looking like a newbie at being a hero let alone a super one.

Lando #1, a Star Wars tie-in mini, no duh. Charles Soule makes the play list a second time this week with this heist-gone-wrong story that is worthy of a Guy Ritchie movie using most everyone’s 2nd favorite Star Wars rogue in role of lover-not-fighter in my now-favorite current Star Wars comic.

Archie #1… “Archie”??? Archie with Betty always felt righter to me than the other option and as Waid and Staples bring Riverdale in to the 21st century with this 1st person narration of the demise of their relationship I have never felt more vindicated.

Comic Book Reviews: 18 Lines About 9 Comics – 8/7/2015

From Caleb Gerard dated 8/7/2015:

This edition of 18 Lines About 9 Comics goes out to all the young lovers in the audience.

Squadron Sinister #2, a Secret Wars tie-in. Squadron Sinister be bad, they don’t take no $#!& from no Frightful Four or forget that no matter how bad@$$ they are Doom and the Thor Corps are supreme.

Saga #30 is the end of the current coda? All the hanging threads somehow get tied up to my satisfaction in just 1 issue as some of my favorites from the series are given a chance to catch their collective breath even though this reader knows that it is far from over… thank goodness.

Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos #2, a Secret Wars tie-in. If someone Gerry Dugan could take just a small iota of his incredible dialog and transfer it to his plotting this could easily surpass Squadron Sinister as the dark horse of the a Secret Wars tie-ins, but as it stands this book’s clear strength that gives it re-readability and cranks the fun up to 11 is the interaction of the characters.

Doomed #2 has already moved away from it’s post-Convergence set-up to stand all on it’s own. Still the biggest pleasant surprise to come out of all the new comics from DC as our main character has no idea what is going on and all he wants to do is some good in a world that thinks he’s the villain of the piece.

Korvac Saga #2, a Secret Wars tie-in. I’m honestly not certain if this infection idea is a new one however Dan Abnett makes it feel familiar while taking time out to give the Guardians (the originals) as well as a handful of Avengers also-rans decent story-beat moments.

Armor Wars #3, a Secret Wars tie-in. Armoring up the Marvel Universe puts me in mind of the Iron-Spider period however James Robinson takes a left turn and gives us a reason WHY everyone has to wear the armor then throws in a brother-versus-brother story that underlines why Tony Stark is one of the cornerstones of the MU (in most realities) and THEN makes me chuckle after a fight sequence beautifully choreographed by Marcio Takara.

Robin: Son of Batman #2 finds our hero on day 2 of redemption for a “year of blood”. Pat Gleason steps up as the next artist-turned-artist/writer and, at least this month, nails Damian Wayne’s pacing and dialog like an old hand which probably says a lot for his editor (editors?) as well.

Black Canary #2 takes our hero and her band of… um… bandmates on the road. This is one of the few books that I’ve enjoyed more because the art is so in tune with what the book is about which is a band on the run who just happen to be fronted by a superhero, so a HUGE thank you to Annie Wu who seems to be so in writer Brenden Fletcher’s head that they could be one person.

Secret Six #4 and only 1 month after #3 (he adds as unnecessary snark). If somehow Gail Simone could live off of writing only 1 book a month I would vote for this one because it is such over-the-top fun and games that I would vote for blowing up the rodent too then slap a “mature” label on the cover.