Comics Briefly: American Vampire #28, Batman Inc. #2, Star Trek/Doctor Who #2, Superman Family Adventures #2, Wolverine and the X-Men #12

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I just haven't been getting much in the way of comics recently. Saga #4 (last week) was good, as was American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares #1 (2 weeks ago). This is the week that all the other titles I'm collecting come out, though.

Favorite Issue this Week: No idea. Everything was AWESOME. I may have finally cut down my pull list to just books I actually enjoy.

All issues new in stores on June 27

American Vampire #28 (The Blacklist, Part One)
Writer: Scott Snyder, Artist: Rafael Albuquerque, Colors: Dave McCaig

Woo! All our American Vampires together to kick ass at last! I just loved this. Pearl was gorgeous and fierce, Cal is a stand up guy, uh, vampire, and Skinner is back and better than ever. Give me an action-packed set-up like this and I'm raring to go!

Batman Inc. #2
Writer: Grant Morrison, Artist: Chris Burnham, Color: Nathan Fairbairn

This issue re-caps Talia. Yup, her whole story, more or less. While my husband was reading this issue, he started to laugh and said, “Morrison just broke the new timeline.” Because clearly, when Damian is conceived (11-ish years ago, by now?), Bruce was not only Batman, he was already world-traveling-super-detective Batman. So yeah, all the good Ra's-Talia-Batman stuff from Denny O'Neil's runs? Morrison's letting us know that as far as he's concerned, it's all still in. Suck it, reboot! I approve. Despite a couple of odd art choices here and there, this is a super strong issue and a nice profile of this title's leading femme fatale.

Star Trek/Doctor Who #2
Writers: Scott & David Tipton and Tony Lee, Art: J. K. Woodward

I take back every tentatively negative thing I said about this title last month. I loved the hell out of this issue. The painterly style really grew on me, I think because it works much better for the Next Gen crew than for the Doctor. Maybe the artist just has more experience drawing those actors? There's a lot more emotion and intention in the art for the Star Trek characters. Even the action panels were great this month! Issue one gave a bit of orientation about the Doctor, Rory and Amy for any living-under-a-rock types. This issue gave us a mini-adventure to establish the crew of the Enterprise-D, for any young newbies, and then picked up the crossover about halfway through. I really, really got a huge kick out of this, and the preview of next month's cover has me all sorts of excited.

Superman Family Adventures #2
Writing and Art by Art Baltazar & Franco

AW YEAH TITANS! That's what I have to say about that. Well, and that this issue made me giggle a lot. It's corny and adorable and it has affable, paternal Clark and Streaky the Super-Cat and I love it.

Wolverine and the X-Men #12
Writer: Jason Aaron, Penciler/Colorist: Christ Bachalo, Inkers: Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Al Vey & Victor Olazaba

Not quite as strong as the other issues this week, but still enjoyable. There are some really good moments here, both comedic and dramatic. This title deals with some interesting aspects of the Avengers Vs. X-Men developments, without being completely bogged down in the pedantic parts. The Phoenix Rangers (I can't be the first one to make that joke... to sum-up, over in the main AvX titles, the Phoenix arrived and hosted itself across 5 different characters, giving them ugly costumes, crazy powers and an unreasonable devotion to Cyclops's recent fanaticism, or something. Mighty Mutant Phoenix Rangers.) we see in this one are nicely creepy, though. Rachel Grey is decently highlighted here, although the more fun parts are scenes like Beast and Iceman trying to beat each other down, and Kid Gladiator taking on everybody.

Heat Wave

Monday, June 25, 2012

Heat Wave
Unknown Staff Writer, 2009

Premise: This licensed tie-in book is ostensibly the novel written by the character Castle on the show of the same name. The plot follows a murder investigation about a rich man pushed off a high balcony.

This book did amuse me a little, but mostly it was unintentional. It's funny that a lot of people bought this short, throw-away book. It's funny that some ghost writer got paid to crank this out over a weekend. It's funny that any editors or producer types gave this a pass to be put into production.

I know, I know, it's a novel created for the sole purpose of exploiting the TV show's fanbase. I am a fan of the show. I wasn't expecting brilliance. I was, however, hoping for competance. So sue me.

This is a somewhat spectacularly bad book, although not quite so bad for me to think that it might be bad on purpose.

My biggest problem with it is the terrible use of tie-ins to the show. If this were a stand-alone novel, it could merely be brushed off as hackneyed and boring. However, it isn't as though the author just took inspiration from the show- make Nikki sound a bit like Beckett, use a couple references, that sort of thing. It felt sort of like an episode, except that the plot was incredibly boring. I mean, I literally thought it was an episode that I had seen, but that had been rewritten badly. I checked the episode list, though, and I can't remember which one I'm thinking of. All of the main characters have terribly caricatured one-to-one correspondences. I couldn't take the book seriously for even a fraction of a second because I kept picturing how fast Castle would have been dropped by all of his officer friends the moment the book came out, because of how horribly they are all portrayed.

So, in conclusion: Boring, trite, and poorly connected to its source material. However, it skirts close to so bad it's funny.

1 star - Didn't Like It.

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, Day One)

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, Day One)
Patrick Rothfuss, 2010

Premise: Kvothe of the Edema Ruh has been called many things: student, arcanist, musician, street trash, 'Kvothe the Bloodless', 'Kvothe Kingkiller'... Soon after a mysterious attack by what the villagers agree is a spider demon, a man known as the Chronicler comes to the town of Newarre. He has come to speak to the innkeeper, a man who is more than he appears- he has come to get Kvothe's story.

This book was intensely long, but never boring. I really enjoyed reading it; the story was engaging, the characters intriguing, the world well drawn. The best part, however, might be the prose.

The prose was full of gorgeous poetry - yet it read effortlessly. From the prologue:
The third silence was not an easy thing to notice. If you listened for an hour, you might begin to feel it in the wooden floor underfoot and in the rough, splintering barrels behind the bar. It was in the weight of the black stone hearth that held the heat of a long dead fire. It was in the slow back and forth of a white linen cloth rubbing along the grain of the bar. And it was in the hands of the man who stood there, polishing a stretch of mahogany that already gleamed in the lamplight.

This is a very dark-edged fantasy, although it earns its darkness with heart and tempers it with humor.

Most of the book is a flashback narrated in the first-person, and I loved seeing those moments where the speaker chooses to emphasize or elide certain details of his story. The themes - the place in our lives for the stories we tell about ourselves, and the difference between legend, truth and memory - were fully explored without ever being overbearing. I especially enjoyed the layers of story-within-story as the book progressed.

I feel like I am not praising this book enough, but I'm not sure what else to say. It is expertly crafted and tremendously compelling. Just a wonderful story, well told.

The Name of the Wind is clearly only part one: there are exciting action scenes near the final pages, but I wouldn't say that they constitute a climax. I suspect for any closure we'll have to wait for Book Three. This is so well done, though, that I know I'm going to enjoy the entire ride.

5 Stars - An Amazing Book

Check out The Name of the Wind on

Wrath of the White Tigress

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wrath of the White Tigress
David Alastair Hayden, 2011

Free copy received  from for review

Premise: Zyrella is the last priestess of the White Tigress. The sorcerer Salahn has conquered the nation with his elite corps of warriors and is absorbing and destroying minor deities in his quest for immortality. Zyrella is trying to protect her goddess, but the Tigress herself is more concerned with a warrior named Jaska. He is the worst of the sorcerer's men, but could he be the Tigress's salvation?

A few unavoidable minor spoilers follow. Really, it's okay.

Sometimes I should listen to my first instinct. When I received the offer of this review copy, I did what I always do: I read the sample on Amazon. I thought it was interesting, with promise, but not enough to request the review copy. Later I was cleaning samples off my Kindle and I came across it again. I found that I was still intrigued by the concept, so I requested a copy after all.

Then I read it.

It's not a terrible book, but neither is it good. The characters are forced into some growth and change right at the beginning, but then their state is basically set for the rest of the book. The warrior, it turns out rather quickly, was hypnotized magically. He thought he was fighting for right and justice when he was torturing and raping villagers. So he's tormented by half-memories and still super-badass, and that doesn't change through the rest of the novel. The priestess is sad, yet hopeful and a bit ineffable. (Of course she's drawn to the warrior dude. Later there's an explanation for this. It's incredibly stupid.) The bad guys are evil. They think of themselves as evil and congratulate each other on how evil they are.

This can work: an author can make the villains a legion of crazy Caligulas, but it's a delicate balance to keep it seeming realistic. Why does this group hold power at all? There are no illusions: everyone knows they're evil. Why don't the other nations band together to stop them? The in-world explanation seems to be that Sorcerer-guy is too powerful already, but it seems odd to me that there aren't heroes breaking out all over.

None of the characters grow or change over most of the novel. They learn stuff, then proceed to a new area, then gain a new party member. It got a little silly. The ending wasn't satisfying, and there was occasional highly explicit violence that seemed to come out of nowhere.

The writing isn't bad on a technical level; the description is decently done and some of the ideas are really intriguing. However, for me the story never really delivered on its early promise. None of the races, magics, religions or back-stories seemed fully realized to me. The world-building felt merely superficial.

After all that, I still didn't hate this book, I just don't really think it was worth the time to read when there are so many novels in the world.

1 Star- Didn't Much Like It. 

The Man in the High Castle

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Man in the High Castle
Phillip K. Dick, 1962

Hugo Winner - 1963

Premise: It's 1962 in San Francisco. There are threats of war and planned Mars missions in the news, and the people of the Pacific States are uneasy. An art dealer, a government official, a machinist and others try to go about their daily lives. Most of these people are affected by two books: the I Ching, and a novel written by a reclusive author. In his novel, the world is different, and the characters are intrigued and disturbed by his vision of a world in which the Allies didn't lose World War Two.

I found this novel of alternate history to be enjoyable to read and intriguing to think about, although it didn't have much of a plot, per se. It is a highly meditative look at what life might have been like if Germany and Japan had split the world between them after World War II. The characters in the book hold widely divergent opinions on their governments, their history, and their hopes for the future. In 'The Grasshopper Lies Heavy' (the book-within-a-book), some see a dream of how life could have been, and others a warning of catastrophe that might have been; much the same things that readers in 1962 could have seen in The Man in the High Castle.

The characters' stories are interwoven gently: many only intersect each other's lives briefly or obliquely. Some are only concerned with their own livelihood, some are affected by world political affairs, while all of them contribute to the picture of life in this alternate timeline.

I was interested that in 1962, in America, Phillip K. Dick wrote about the hypothetical Japanese takeover with such a nuanced view. There is dissatisfaction, anger, and self-loathing from many of the American characters, but despite a few obviously horrible things – most notably, the re-institution of slavery – the government seems to run efficiently and with a surprising level of accommodation and care for the welfare of the conquered population. The Nazis, meanwhile, continue to be your normal crazy, evil, genocidal Nazis. It seems to be building toward war between the two new superpowers.

The book-within-a-book doesn't fully reflect our reality, but rather another version, in which some things are similar, and some things are different. It seemed early on to subscribe to a type of one-key-moment-causes-a-world-split timeline; the one key moment that is different in the two worlds is the assassination of FDR.

There are a series of little climaxes, some surprisingly action-packed, as the different characters resolve aspects of their stories. In one particularly interesting passage a character seems to briefly pass between worlds. The final climax of sorts is when one character actually meets the author of 'The Grasshopper Lies Heavy', but it mostly just continues the dreamlike quality of the whole work.

I enjoyed reading The Man in the High Castle, I thought the exploration of the alternate world was fascinating. Personally I prefer books with a bit more resolution, but this was a really interesting work.

4 Stars – A Very Good Book

List of Hugo Award Winners

Free Comic Book Day 2012, Part Two!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

See Part One and Intro Here.

Now, Onward!

The Intrinsic     Arcana  
Actually a FCBD issue from last year. Oops. Not terrible, a magic-based heroes-against-the-apocalypse book.    
Rating:     3     Buy another?      Probably Not

Marvel: Point One     Marvel  
Back Issue. This was released last fall as a sort of grab-bag update/teaser for upcoming happenings in the Marvel Universe. It's a pretty cool one, actually. This is a sizable issue, and each snippet is long enough to really get into what's intriguing about each plot. A couple of underwhelming apocalyptic futures, a couple cool character pieces featuring The Scarlet Spider and Doctor Strange, and an intriguing character introduction for some element-based sibling heroes. Not too shabby.  
Rating:     4     Buy another?      Possible

Mega Man     Archie  
Cute overall. I'm not sure the world needs a comic adaptation of Mega Man, but this seems like an okay one.  
Rating:     3     Buy another?      Nope

Mouse Guard, Labyrinth and Other Stories     Archaia  
All of the short pieces in this were at least interesting with maybe one exception. The Mouse Guard was lovely as usual, the Labyrinth piece was cute, Return of The Dapper Men was quite intriguing, Rust was really interesting and had nice poignancy, and Cow Boy was a funny idea. A really lovely sampler of titles. I also give them props, not just for putting this out as a slim hard cover volume, but for each sample being a new short piece instead of a context-less excerpt the way some free samplers do it. Archaia is in the business of producing lovely volumes with gorgeous art, and this piece definitely celebrates their strengths.    
Rating:     5     Buy another?      Yup

New-Gen: New Dawn     APNG Ent.
Back Issue. Okay, this one is apparently an issue (freebie? Unknown.) from last year's New York Comic-Con. It's signed, even. And wow, it's terrible. I mean, the art is just blah, not great but not awful. The writing is horrid. Kind of impressively, hilariously horrid. The phrasing is ridiculously clunky. Maybe.. maybe it was badly translated from another language? It doesn't say that anywhere, but that's the only excuse I can imagine at this point. And really, even that would not be adequate excuse. Plus, the layout is terrible. Narration, internal dialogue and off-panel dialogue are all represented by text boxes in a way that is difficult to follow. Did I mention that the writing is terrible? Really, really terrible? Here's one of my favorite lines of narration: “His brow is that of a tenured leader whose worries are those beyond a country's leader.” If the plot was a little more zany, I'd recommend it for laughs, though.  
Rating:     1     Buy another?      No Way

The Smurfs/Disney Fairies     Papercutz  
A collection of all ages shorts. The Smurfs was pretty lame, the Tinker Bell stories had cute art but boring writing. There was a collection of connected one-page gags from a series called Dance Class that wasn't awful, and a short piece called Ernest and Rebecca that actually had a lot of promise. That one had cute art and clever, touching writing.  
Rating:     3     Buy another?      Probably Not

Sonic the Hedgehog     Archie  
That was a pretty decent issue. Sonic and Sally breaking into Eggman's lair just in time to save the world... hopefully! Some pretty sweet moments here. I am curious about what happens next, but probably not quite curious enough to buy the next issue.
Rating:     4     Buy another?      Probably Not

Spider-Man: Season One     Marvel  
Okay, I guess the editors at Marvel are just idiots. If they think a straight, boring re-write of Spider-Man's origin is a compelling hook for new readers, even the often-ignored young readers, then I just don't know how to help them. Even the writers of the by-all-reports-terrible Ultimate Spider-man cartoon knew enough not to re-hash the origin straight off. This was a waste of paper and ink.    
Rating:     1     Buy another?      No Way

Star Wars/Serenity     Dark Horse
The Star Wars piece was okay, if a but dull. The art was weird. There's a short fantasy piece called Alabaster that is half here and half in the Buffy/Guild Issue. That was pretty neat. The Serenity piece was also okay, if also a bit dull
Rating:     2     Buy another?      Nope

Top Shelf Kids Club     Top Shelf
Kind of cute, but none of the pieces are really long enough to get any momentum going. Owly is always welcome, though.
Rating:     3     Buy another?      Probably Not

Transformers: Regeneration     IDW
That was better than I expected! I'm not one to get excited over Transformers, in general, but I liked this little re-cap issue. The idea is that a new story is picking up where the first Transformers comic left off... in 1991! Some of the elements here that didn't overlap much with the TV show (to my knowledge) are pretty neat.
Rating:     4     Buy another?      Probably Not

Ultimate Spider-Man #160     Marvel
Back Issue. This issue and the four following were being given away as a special promotion at Midtown Comics. This one features the death of Ultimate Spider-Man. It's pretty good, actually. Sad and beautiful and balanced. I liked it.
Rating:     4     Buy another?      Probably Not

Ultimate Fallout #1     Marvel  
Back Issue. This one was also pretty good, focusing on other characters' responses to Peter's death.  
Rating:     4     Buy another?      Probably Not

Ultimate Fallout #2     Marvel  
Back Issue. Less good than #1, but more of the same. I liked Thor's piece.  
Rating:     3     Buy another?      Probably Not

Ultimate Fallout #3     Marvel  
Back Issue. Okay, now it starts to meander off into Ultimate-verse stuff that I just cannot bring myself to care about  
Rating:     2     Buy another?      Probably Not

Ultimate Fallout #4     Marvel  
Back Issue. Yeah, despite the very cool (but very brief) debut of Miles Morales here, this mostly gets the same as what I said about #3.  
Rating:     2     Buy another?      Probably Not

Valiant 2012     Valiant  
This was only okay. Two very short excerpts and a bunch of creator interviews. Sorry, but that's just not enough to get me interested in your relaunched world  
Rating:     2     Buy another?      Nope

Witchblade: Unbalanced Pieces     Top Cow  
Not terrible, but not terribly compelling either. I appreciate one the one hand the urge to cram as much plot as possible into a free issue. It certainly beats the hell out of freebies that are just art samples. However, with all the re-capping going on, I didn't get any sense whether I would enjoy reading the actual issues.  
Rating:     2     Buy another?      Nope

Worlds of Aspen     Aspen  
Boring premises and skeevy art is par for the course for this company. Nothing new to see this year.  
Rating:     1     Buy another?      No Way

Voltron Force     Viz Media  
I admit to knowing absolutely nothing about Voltron, but did they always fight space elves? Because that's hilarious. Overall this little book was underwhelming. The writing was obvious and sloppy. Not awful, but nothing to seek out, either.  
Rating:     2     Buy another?      Nope

Yo Gabba Gabba     Oni Press  
Ugh. That was... not good. I'm completely unfamiliar with the show, and the dialogue and situations seemed like the type that could be rescued by clever voice acting or stylish animation, but on the page this fell flatter than flat.  
Rating:     1     Buy another?      No Way


Well, that's it for Free Comic Book Day 2012. I didn't feel like there were quite as many really strong books as there have been in years past, although there were a fair number of titles that might merit more investigation.

So, books I am definitely buying/buying more of:
Mouse Guard 
Superman Family Adventures
...although I was going to buy both of those anyway...

Titles I'll keep an eye out for, maybe give a try:
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Bad Medicine
DC: Trinity War (In DC New 52)
Finding Gossamyr
The Hypernaturals
Return of the Dapper Men (In Mouse Guard Sampler)
Rust (In Mouse Guard Sampler)
Ernest & Rebecca: My Best Friend is a Germ (In Smurfs/Disney Fairies)

The Wind Through the Keyhole (Dark Tower)

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Wind Through the Keyhole (Dark Tower)
Stephen King, 2012

Premise: Set between books four and five in the Dark Tower series, this stand-alone tale-within-a-tale-within-a-tale shares some of Roland's past, and a story from the early days of Mid-World.

This was a very interesting book, although not in the way I expected at all. Let me start by saying that Wizard and Glass, which is also primarily flashback, is not one of my favorite Dark Tower books. The idea of getting more backstory wasn't a huge appeal to me. However, I really enjoyed this read.

The book starts out in the “present,” with the main group traveling. Very quickly this frame story is done, and Roland tells the others the tale of a mystery he investigated in his youth. Eventually young Roland in the story tells another story, and actually over half of the book is this furthest-nested-in tale.

And that's just fine, because the tale of The Wind Through the Keyhole is a fable of Mid-World, and a great story. It reminds me quite a bit of Eyes of the Dragon, King's most fantasy-esque novel. The fable is about a young boy in a village on the edge of the forest, and the adventure that follows him after the death of his father. It starts small and expands, but doesn't become too epic. It's an intriguing glimpse into the history and myth of Mid-World itself.

While I enjoyed reading the book, it doesn't add much to the story of The Dark Tower overall. It stands fine as its own unique little piece, and for good or ill, it feels like King's just writing whatever he feels like getting down.

Although honestly, if there's any more Dark Tower to be had, I'd rather either have more in the vein of The Little Sisters of Eluria (Roland alone, but not young) or more short adventures of the entire ka-tet.

4 Stars – A Very Good Book (Although you can optionally remove a star if you aren't a huge Dark Tower fan already)

Check out The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel on

Free Comic Book Day 2012, Part One!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Another year, another stack of Free Comics. Here, in alphabetical order, are the books!

If this is your first FCBD with me, each issue is listed with its publisher, my short review, a numerical rating (out of five), and how likely I am to purchase another issue. Some of the books were back issues given away as extras at some stores, and they are noted. Titles with a slash in the middle are flip-books, where half the pages are one title and half the other.

Adventure Time/Peanuts     Kaboom!  
Not bad, overall. I don't have much experience with Adventure Time, but the first two stories were cute, although I found the third stupid. The Peanuts section was split between a couple of classic strips and a bunch of newer material. It was fairly underwhelming.  
Rating:     3     Buy another?      Nope

Anna & Froga/Moomin Valley Turns Jungle     Drawn & Quarterly  
These are okay little stories, I guess, but nothing really interesting. Just sort of dull.  
Rating:     2     Buy another?      No Way

Atomic Robo     Red 5 Comics  
Atomic Robo is a cute and snarky romp as usual. The Neozoic preview (ninja chicks and dinosaurs) is intriguing to me, while Bonnie Lass (Pirates? Unclear.) is trying way too hard.    
Rating:     4     Buy another?      Probably Not

The Avengers: Age of Ultron     Marvel  
This is a reprint of an issue from last year. Not a bad issue, fairly intriguing; it's a full story that ends in a cliffhanger. Is the followup to this cliffhanger (naturally, from the title, regarding the villain Ultron) coming later this year? Next year? After Avengers vs. X-Men? I couldn't find sure information anywhere. I'm just surprised that their free offering wasn't connected to the big Marvel event that readers can buy more of right now, instead of some future event.  
Rating:     4     Buy another?      Possible

Barnaby and Mr. O'Malley     Fantagraphics  
A really cute reprint collection of a comic strip from the 40's. Barnaby and his Fairy Godfather O'Malley get into silly situations and misunderstandings. It's light and comfortable, although the free book only gets halfway into a plot arc.  
Rating:     4     Buy another?      Probably Not

Bad Medicine     Oni Press  
Hey, this was pretty neat! I love finding neat books that aren't even on my radar. Doctor with a guilt complex comes back from studying super-science-ish stuff to help solve a paranormal medical mystery. I'm not in love with the art and it wasn't mind-blowing, but it was neat. I read that the writers are really into the idea of short, connected stories, and I really like the sound of that.  
Rating:     4     Buy another?      Possible

Baron Munchausen     Balum Rancum  
Back Issue. That was... odd. It had a few moments with promise; I like the society of fanciful 1700's characters. The writing is pretty awkward, though, and overall the piece is sort of blah.  
Rating:     2     Buy another?      Nope

Bongo Comics Free-for-All/Spongebob     Bongo  
There's a little memoir comic stuck in the middle of this book that is pretty good, but the Simpsons and SpongeBob comics are pretty stupid  
Rating:     1     Buy another?      No Way

Buffy/The Guild     Dark Horse  
The Buffy story here was cute, but not as amazing as it could have been. The Guild comic I found fairly underwhelming in the writing.  
Rating:     3     Buy another?      Probably Not

DC Nation All-Ages Sampler     DC  
I was hoping there would be more to the Superman Family Adventures preview here, but it was maybe one more page than had already been released online. The Green Lantern story was the longest, and it was boring. Pretty disappointing overall, although Superman Family Adventures is a series that I'm going to look into when it comes out.
Rating:     3     Buy another?      Yup

DC New 52 Special     DC  
DC had been really super cagey about what was in this book, and to be fair, I didn't guess all of it. The largest preview is for “Trinity War”, apparently next year's big event. It, honestly, looks pretty cool. Color me intrigued by that. I have to ask, though: next year? And you're teasing it now? Did you and Marvel make a weird pact? (See Avengers: Age of Ultron) Of course, the rest of the book is little 2-4 page previews of the Second Wave books coming out now, but there is not enough to any of them to make me interested in any title I wasn't already looking at. Also, the splash page teaser for The Ravagers is really stupid-looking.
Rating:     4     Buy another?      Possible

Dinosaurs vs. Aliens     Liquid Comics  
Wow. For something called Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens there were not enough Aliens in that. Or Plot. Not much in the way of plot. Or characters. Or Story. The art is nice, if kind of silly. Because, really? You're going to tell an action-metaphor thingy with Dinosaurs who look like they stepped right out of Dinotopia?  
Rating:     2     Buy another?      Nope

Donald Duck Family     Fantagraphics  
Nice. These are reprints of classic comic stories featuring Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge, and Huey, Dewey and Louie. Some of the most fun stuff I read in this whole pile.  
Rating:     5     Buy another?      Possible

Finding Gossamyr/The Stuff of Legend     Th3rd World Studios  
Ooh, Finding Gossamyr has a lot of promise. Pretty, if computer-y, art, neat fantasy magic-through-math premise. The Stuff of Legend is beautiful as always, but the excerpt is too short for me to judge whether the writing has gotten any stronger.  
Rating:     4     Buy another?      Possible

Graphic Elvis     Liquid Comics  
Blah. A bunch of photos and artist's interpretations of Elvis, plus a completely corny mini-piece with no plot to speak of. Blah.  
Rating:     1     Buy another?      No Way

Back Issue, so to speak. Not actually a comic. Actually a handful of crappy promotional art pieces. Whatever.  
Rating:     1     Buy another?      No Way

Hellboy     Dark Horse  
This is actually a FCBD issue from 2008. Oops. Still as good as it was then.
Rating:     5     Buy another?      Possible

The Censored Howard Cruse     Boom!  
I totally respect the CBLDF, and the work of artists who push the boundaries of the form. However, that doesn't mean I want to read them. Personally, I found this pretentious, revolting and boring by turns. Overall: unbearable.  
Rating:     1     Buy another?      No Way

The Hypernaturals     Boom!  
Hey, as new superhero stories go, this was pretty intriguing. It suffered a little from a few ugly panels (especially at the end), but it was an interesting sci-fi hero world. I'll keep my ear to the ground on this one.  
Rating:     4     Buy another?      Possible

Image Sampler     Image  
The samples in this sampler are awfully short, although I'm cautiously intrigued by a few of them. It Girl and the Atomics could be a cute superhero story, and Near Death looks like it might be a decent crime-action drama. It's really hard to tell from just a few pages, though.    
Rating:     3     Buy another?      Possible

Part Two Coming Soon!