COMIC REVIEW: SUPERGIRL ISSUE 1

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Continuing on from her triumphant return in Supergirl Rebirth the Last Daughter of Krypton debuts the first issue of her own ongoing series. This is a story of contrasts as writer Steve Orlando switches back and forth between life as Supergirl, life as her alter ego Kara Danvers and flashbacks to her childhood on Krypton.

This may sound potentially overwhelming but Orlando pulls it off with some deft switches of time and location meaning the reader never feels lost. Kara is trying to adjust to life on Earth but it’s not easy being a school student when the technology is archaic compared to what she is used to. Add into this a first meeting with media mogul Cat Grant (whose dialogue sounds just like it would be delivered by Calista Flockhart on television), the DEO trying to regulate her life and Supergirl has it pretty tough.

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This issue sees a new artist on board, Brian Ching’s art style is certainly unique. He paints Supergirl in a wide eyed and clearly Manga influenced way. This gives her a doe eyed and innocent quality which is a bit too childish to get across the gravity of the storyline. No other character has this look which means it stands out for all the wrong reasons and can be a distraction from the drama. Emanuela Luppacchino set a very high standard in the Rebirth issue and Ching is going to have to up his game considerably to reach her levels of excellence.

A mixed bag of an issue then with a great story full of interesting characters which is hindered by an inconsistent and not entirely satisfying artistic style.

Supergirl by DC Comics is an American comic so residents of other countries check your specialist comic shop or go online to purchase

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COMIC REVIEW: MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS ISSUE 6

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Variant cover by artist Christopher Mitten

 

After last months misfire regular readers of this site will be pleased to hear this month comic from BOOM Studios is back on track. After the delay tactics of the previous issue we finally get to see what happens to our heroes. The Command Center is in ruins, Alpha 5 is on the scrapheap and Zordon is nowhere to be seen.

To be frank what happens to them next isn’t good. The Rangers take a pounding from a new enemy who can seemingly strip their powers away. Peeling their costumes back with some sort of energy wave from its body all seems helpless. If this was an episode of the television series about now would be where someone leaps in to save the day. But writer Kyle Higgins isn’t letting you off that easily.

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The Power Rangers never surrender

The writer and his artists really get across the intensity of the action and it can be shocking to see the Rangers in so much trouble. And action is the order of the day in this issue with a battle that rages over several pages. The aforementioned intensity means you won’t get bored though, in fact your first reading will be at a very fast pace as you eagerly turn the page to see what happens next.

Be sure to go back and re-read again several times though so you can fully appreciate the incredible artwork from returning series regular Hendry Prasetya.

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The action scenes are incredibly well depicted

With another cliffhanger ending the next issue can’t come soon enough. The Power Rangers comic has it’s groove back and has taken it’s already outstanding quality up yet another notch.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers by BOOM Studios is an American comic so residents of other countries check your specialist comic shop or go online to purchase

COMIC REVIEW: SUPERGIRL REBIRTH

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Two wonderful covers for readers to choose from

 

WARNING! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS!

DC Comics Rebirth line continues this month with Supergirl. The famous publishers determination to take it’s most famous characters back to their more traditional depictions has been a success so far and with the Maid of Might they have scored another hit.

Towards the end of the New 52 era Supergirl found her powers to be in flux, randomly dropping out and often when she needed them most. We catch up with her as she joins the Department of Extranormal Operations (DEO); a government agency tasked with monitoring alien activity who will try and get her powers back permanently.

Readers who are familiar with the brilliant Supergirl television series will spot plenty of familiar faces here but the status quo is different enough to make the comic far from a retread of what’s happened on the small screen. The Danvers are present but no sign of Martian Manhunter (yet).

As Supergirl is sent away from Earth in an attempt to restore her powers an old threat from Krypton emerges. Supergirl and Superman will always be tied to the mistakes the people on their homeworld made before it’s destruction and some may even see another storyline of this ilk to be something of a worn out idea but this tale is told with such verve and good spirit it would take a real grump not to enjoy it.

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A new menace appears from The Phantom Zone

Supergirl has long been portrayed as potentially the strongest of all the superheroes in the DC Universe (stronger even than her famous cousin) but in this story once her powers are restored and goes face to face with this new foe she wins through not because of how hard she can punch but through compassion. When she first arrived on Earth (in the New 52 era) she was reckless and prone to violence; this issue shows a pleasing evolution and that she has learned violence does not solve everything.

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Supergirl is back and ready for action

By the end of the issue the reader is left with the perfect set up for future adventures which promise plenty of spectacle and drama. The artwork by Emanuela Lupacchino is really good; here’s hoping she sticks around for a good long run on this comic. Steve Orlando’s script is taut; a real page turner which perfectly balances emotion and action. This is a comic you will want to read more than once. Special mention to the two excellent covers readers can choose from; one by Lupacchino (with Michael Atiyeh) and another by Adam Hughes. Both are great and it will be hard to decide on one (your humble reviewer bought both).

Supergirl Rebirth by DC Comics is an American comic so residents of other countries check your specialist comic shop or go online to purchase

 

 

COMIC REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE REBIRTH

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WARNING THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SOME MINOR SPOILERS

DC Comics continues their one off Rebirth comics with Justice League. The Rebirth event has been a big success so far. Stripping away aspects of characters that had turned many readers off and having them embrace their legacies has renewed readers excitement for DC.

This one off Justice League tale almost acts as a mission statement for what the team is all about. Fighting planetary threats of incredible size while keeping the people of Earth safe. With Superman dead (well the most recent iteration, the pre-New52 Superman is back but not fully exposed to the world) the League finds itself without it’s most powerful member as a giant monster attacks and begins to enslave the human race.

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That’s one big monster!

Readers are plunged straight into the action with skyscrapers crumbling and hordes of smaller creatures unleashed on the populace. The action is huge and the only break is a visit to Superman and Lois (living under different names in the middle of nowhere) seeing the devastation and her convincing him to go and help. Writer Bryan Hitch doesn’t pile on the dialogue keeping it short and sharp so artists Daniel Henriques and Scott Hanna can focus on the action. Their environments and wide shots really sell the scale the only minus point is fluctuating quality of character faces. On one page they are great but then another they can look rather ugly.

The action doesn’t distract from the emotion of the tale, Wonder Woman is still mourning the death of Superman (they had been lovers) and her distress really come across. That’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom as when the other Superman joins up with the League to take this threat down it’s a celebratory feeling.

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Wonder Woman is still in pain over the death of her lover when another Superman appears

Justice League Rebirth is a strong start for DC’s premiere team and it will be interesting to see where they go from here.

Justice League Rebirth by DC Comics is an American comic so residents of other countries check your specialist comic shop or go online to purchase

COMIC REVIEW: MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS ISSUE 5

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Variant cover by Greg Smallwood

WARNING THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS

Last month’s issue of Power Rangers ended on an incredible cliffhanger with the command center being attacked by a huge monster. If you were excited to see how this turned out then dial your expectations down several notches as this issue isn’t going to show you. Instead writer Kyle Higgins and guest artist Thony Silas present a story of how Rita tried to tempt Zack into joining her before she recruited Tommy.

If you are scratching your head after reading that opening paragraph then don’t be concerned as this whole issue seems like a bit of a bizarre experiment. Zack is not feeling his worth amongst the team as the praise of destroying another one of Rita’s monsters is heaped on Jason. Sensing his unhappiness Rita spirits him away to the Dark Dimension and tries to tempt him into joining her ranks as the Green Ranger.

Yes you read that correctly, in the new comic lore Rita tried to make Zack the Green Ranger before she discovered Tommy. This may sound like a bold idea in concept but in execution it all seems a bit daft (and not daft in a good way like most of Power Rangers is). Having to fit character development around pre-existng events from television is never easy but if Zack knew about the Green Ranger powers and never mentioned them on the series when Tommy first showed up it renders the plot point in this comic moot.

Things are not helped further by the guest artist whose suitably to the characters varies wildly from page to page. Silas renderings of the Dark Dimension, Rita and her gang and the Megazord battle is absolutely superb. His work on Rita should be praised highly for conveying her ominous presence with real menace. What lets proceedings down is his portrayal of the Rangers in costume giving them very bizarre physiques and weird angles to the helmets which prove to be very distracting.

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Guest artist Thony Silas does a great job with Rita

This latest issue is an interesting experiment but when the drama is neutered by already knowing the outcome and with the art quality varying wildly it unfortunately proves to be a bit of a failure. It’s far from unreadable just nowhere near the quality of previous issues.

Each issue of Power Rangers has had many variant covers and showcased above is this months villain cover by Greg Smallwood. A frankly magnificent depiction of Lord Zedd without any text to distract from it. For your information Zedd has not yet appeared in the comic as the stories are taking place around the first television series.

So far the Power Rangers comic has been of an incredibly high standard and hopefully next month it can get back to those lofty heights.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers by BOOM Studios is an American comic so residents of other countries check your specialist comic shop or go online to purchase

COMIC REVIEW: MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS ISSUE 4

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The monthly Power Rangers comic continues in thrilling fashion as writer Kyle Higgins and artist Hendry Prasetya deliver another brilliant issue. The Rangers are divided, Tommy’s hallucinations have left the others suspicious and a familiar threat is poised to destroy the city.

Rita’s mysterious plan continues to unfurl and with the Rangers sniping at each other what hope does Angel Grove have? Tommy is benched and ordered to remain in the Command Center. The five Rangers leap into action and the ensuing battle takes up a sizable chunk of this issue.

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You may think this could lead to a lot of spectacle but little substance but that is not the case at all. As the Dinozords battle an old enemy we switch back to the Command Center as Tommy tries to battle his own mental demons so he can join the others without endangering them. This contrast in conflicts from the giant robot/monster mayhem to the quieter internal one is expertly handled and makes the issue a real page turner.

The artwork is fantastic, the Zord battle takes place late in the evening and partly immersed in the sea. The artist and colorist using heavy shades of dark blue and black to create a foreboding atmosphere.

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The artwork and colours are of an incredibly high standard

A later hand to hand fight is really dynamic as the combatants dominate each panel they feature in so the blows they inflict on each other leap off the page. A final page cliff hanger will leave you awaiting next months issues with bated breath. This comic is a must buy for all fans.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers by Boom Studios is an American comic so UK residents check your specialist comic shop to purchase a copy.

COMIC REVIEW: MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS ISSUE 3

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WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE PREVIOUS ISSUES

The monthly Power Rangers comic goes from strength to strength with another outstanding issue. Last month ended on another dramatic cliffhanger but as per that issue we open here on a different scene entirely before the writer gives us a resolution. You certainly won’t begrudge this though as a fan favourite makes his return. In another little nod these opening pages are set in the Dark Dimension which long time fans will remember from the Green with Evil episodes.

The Rangers are still at a loss as to explain what has been happening to Tommy so he undergoes an examination in an anteroom of the Command Center so that they might get to the bottom of things. This may sound dull on paper but as he lays inside the scanner he shares some great dialogue with Trini. More praise to the writers here for continuing to give the most under served of Rangers on television a lot more depth. She also mentions that there are a lot more ways to help people other than being a Ranger. Infamously she was written out of the television series along with Jason and Zack being sent off to a peace conference (after the actors fell out with the producers over wages) so perhaps this is priming the reader that future issues may not focus entirely on the original team.

The beauty of comics is the ability to tell stories from any time frame they please so future issues may well see Rocky, Adam, Aisha and Kat and if so this will also mean Tommy in his guise as the White Ranger. Have fun speculating at the possibilities but now back to the review.

Rita continues her nefarious scheme to power up a mysterious crystal by using the Green Ranger powers and things really step up a gear when she reveals what the crystal will help her control. She chants out a magic spell while creating an evil instrument and her words will be familiar to Zyuranger fans.

It’s really incredible how much this comic packs into one issue. The Green and Yellow Rangers are called into battle without warning and their morphing sequence is presented brilliantly. Alpha 5 finally gets some dialogue in this issue but also meets with an unfortunate incident, poor little blighter.

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While this action goes on the other Rangers discuss what they should be doing about Tommy and his weird behavior. Zack is particularly antagonistic and suspicious. It would have been tempting to give these lines to Jason (due to the Red & Green rivalry on the television series) but the Black Ranger after mentioning problems at home in a previous episode seems more troubled than ever. Kimberly is of course trying to see the best in Tommy but the writing is done so well here that you sense it’s not just because of infatuation with him but because she genuinely tries to see the best in people. It’s going to be very interesting to see how Zack’s story plays out in the next few months.

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Trini is a Tolkien reader in her spare time

Once the team are all back together in the Command Center Trini reveals her findings to the group about what’s happening with Tommy’s powers but before any action can be taken the alarm sounds and an old threat returns. One which the Rangers never thought they would have to face again, another cliffhanger that will leave you desperate to find out what happens next!

After the main strip comes the next two page installment of Bulk & Skulls’ misadventures. The more comedic art style and hair brained schemes that the pair come up continue to capture perfectly the essence of the characters.

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There is nothing cooler than the Dragon Dagger

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers by Boom Studios is an American comic so UK residents check your specialist comic shop to purchase a copy.