Comic Books Quick Hits

Greetings heroes and heroines, and welcome to Comic Book Quick Hits!  Every week I’ll be writing a “Quick Hits” review piece to give some brief highlights to a handful of great comic books that have come out in the last week or two, so you can swing by your local shop and snag an issue or two while they are still hot on the shelf.  I’ll also be writing “Comic Cluster” reviews, which will be focused on 3-6 consecutive issues of one specific title, so that you can get a more in-depth feel for an over-arching storyline, art, etc., to see if you’d like to commit to a specific series for a longer haul.  Here are your Quick Hits for the week of June 29!

coverxomanowarX-O Manowar #47

Publisher: Valiant
Release Date: June 29, 2016
Physical Cover Price: $3.99
Digital Price: $3.99

Quick Hit: While the future Valiant-verse is having a grand old time in the year 4001AD, the “regular” characters in the current chronology must soldier on; fortunately for readers, the non-special-event story arcs in Valiant comics are every bit as engaging as their fast-forwarding Summer counterparts.  X-O Manowar #47 provides a great jumping-on point for readers who don’t have any exposure to this title yet.  X-O has always been an intriguing character to me, even from back in the days of the “classic” Valiant of the 1990s: 5th-Century Visigoth warrior Aric of Dacia gets abducted by aliens but escapes their homeworld years later after stealing the sentient X-O Armor, only to return to Earth to find that 1600 years have passed and he must adjust to present-day life.  Issue #47 sees Aric forced to join forces with his original alien abductors, the Vine, to face an even greater threat to both Earth and the galaxy.  It’s superb superhero entertainment on a cosmic scale!

coverdeadlettersDead Letters Vol. 3

Publisher: Boom! Studios
Release Date: June 29, 2016
Physical Cover Price: $19.99
Digital Price: $14.99 (at time of posting)

Quick Hit: Originally published as a 12-part maxi-series, ‘Dead Letters’ is an intriguing mash-up of the hard-boiled detective noir-ish type of tale with a dash of supernatural fiction thrown in for good measure.  Volume 3 collects issues 9-12 of the series, but combined with the first two volumes (available extremely affordably in digital format), the whole series really does strike a unique tone that can be hard to find in comics these days.  When one of the two gangs’ leaders is known as “Ma Thuselah,” you know you’ve got a writer for the story who can subtly weave both genres together effectively, and Christopher Sebela does good work here.  Add in some really cool artwork by Chris Visions, and you’ve got a dozen issues of a comic that will satisfy fans of both visuals and content.

coverStarTrekMDStar Trek: Manifest Destiny #4 (of 4)

Publisher: IDW Comics
Release Date: June 22, 2016
Physical Cover Price: $3.99
Digital Price: $3.99

Quick Hit: Listen, this whole mini-series has essentially been one big Federation/Klingon fight – and there ain’t a damn thing wrong with that!  Each issue has taken the action somewhere that Trek fans normally haven’t seen; I reviewed the first issue in a previous installment of Quick Hits, and Kirk & crew were fighting Klingons hand-to-hand in the cold emptiness of open space.  The theme of Mortal Kombat-style fighting has progressed throughout the mini-series, culminating here in the final issue with a donnybrook aboard the Enterprise herself.  As Judge Mills might have said back in the ’90s, let’s get it on!

coverddpunisherDaredevil/Punisher #2 (of 4)

Publisher: Marvel
Release Date: June 22, 2016 (print)
Physical Cover Price: $4.99
Digital Price: $1.99* (see review)

Quick Hit: It’s great to see Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, back in action in print.  The story contained herein, “Seventh Circle,” originally appeared earlier this year in digital-only form on Marvel’s comic-reader app, but it’s now getting the full-print treatment, fortunately.  A word of warning if you go looking for the story digitally: it appears that every two or three digital issues have been combined into one print issue, so what sits as a 12-part story digitally at $1.99 apiece will end up on the printed page as a 4-issue miniseries with a cover price of $4.99 each.  As they have many times in the past, The Punisher and Daredevil cross paths and are at odds, even though they are both technically “heroes;” in this story, Frank wants to eliminate one of the people that Daredevil’s alter-ego, lawyer Matt Murdock, is defending, so this naturally puts the two men on opposite sides of the fight.  It’s a classic “stuck between a rock and a hard place” type of story, and these kinds of tales are, quite frankly, what The Punisher excels at.  This is good, hard-hitting fun.

coverdw9Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #3

Publisher: Titan Comics
Release Date: June 29, 2016
Physical Cover Price: $3.99
Digital Price: $3.99

Quick Hit: While Titan is working hard to ensure that Doctor Who fans have plenty of options in the comics for which iteration of the time-travelling Time Lord they prefer, it feels to me that the comic-book storyline of the Ninth Doctor is the one that hits closest to what audiences are used to seeing on TV (with the Twelfth Doctor’s arc coming in a close second).  This is likely helped by the fact that, while the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors’ titles feature all-new companions, Nine has gotten to traverse the printed pages with none other than Rose Tyler and Captain Jack Harkness, two classic characters pulled directly from the TV series.  And in this issue, the trio take on familiar bad-guy threat the Slitheen, no less!  If you’re a hard-core Who fanatic, there’s no better place for you to be than with your nose in this book.  Fantastic!
horizontal lineIf Tony Schaab had unlimited funds and Hollywood connections, the first film he’d make would absolutely be ‘Plan 10 from Outer Space.’  A lover of most things sci-fi and horror, Tony is an author by day and a DJ by night. Come hang out with Tony on Facebook and Twitter to hear him spew semi-funny nonsense and get your opportunity to finally put him in his place.