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Comic Pick of the Week (December 10, 2014)

Guest blogger Ken Lee makes this week’s selection for us, and it is actually a book that was released last week.  We have decided that to ignore it would be criminal and thus……

Great Stories selects……

Tooth & Claw #2 (Image)

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Tooth & Claw is back this month with a new-ish name but more of the same high-quality, high-fantasy action that we were treated to in issue 1.

For those of you who missed last month’s spectacular 44-page debut, the recently re-named Autumnlands Tooth & Claw tells the story of a society of anthropomorphic animals set in a magical world. Magic’s power is fading from that world and it is having devastating effects upon their way of life. While leaders and wizards from across the land gather to discuss how to address the increasingly dire situation, a group of rogue mages devise a plot to restore magic back to the world by summoning the legendary warrior, the Great Champion.

Writer Kurt Busiek had a lot of pages to work with in issue 1 and many of those pages were used to build out a detailed fantasy world with rich, varied cultures and complex social problems. The second issue of the series returns to a standard twenty two page format and the action is tighter as a result. It spends little time before throwing the reader headlong into their first bloody conflict.

Magic and steel collide with flesh and hide in issue 2 and the results are predictably violent. One of the things I really like about this title is the animalistic dichotomy. Beneath its occasionally cute and cuddly exterior, Autumnland Tooth and Claw is dark and unapologetically brutal in nature. Illustrator Benjamin Dewey’s use of heavy lines and kinetic style captures the action with dramatic results. His battle sequences are well-paced and *ahem* graphic. And then there’s lots of gore too.

And though none of the environments in issue 2 are nearly as breathtaking as the views from the floating city of Keneil,

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Dewey’s artwork continues to amaze and delight. I love the painted splash pages that nod to the illustrated fairy tale books and I love the way animal faces are rendered naturally yet are still capable of conveying subtle reactions and emotions.

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There are spiritual undertones in the Autumnlands, ones that speak of death and change and fear. It’s refreshing to see a comic book dealing with these issues upfront although they sometimes feel a bit clumsy. The revelation of the Great Champion’s true lineage probably caused a bit of controversy but maybe not necessarily for the right reasons. The reinforcement of religious themes is heavy-handed at times and often made at the expense of character and plot these events development. After two issues we still know very little about our young protagonist or where the events are leading him.

We have more mysteries than answers at the moment (what is up with those ravens on the inside of the front cover?) but I am thoroughly enjoying this series and excited to see what happens next to my hairy, furry and feathery friends.

Issue 2 of Autumnlands Tooth and Claw came out on December 3 and could still be found on the shelves at your LCS. Issue #1 is sold out at the distributer level and will go to reprint. The second print drops January 7, 2015 alongside the release of issue #3 which introduces a new character.

Enter: Goodfoot the Sly. Is she here to help the wizards…or herself? [Hint: herself.]

Kaark, Truth finder! Kraak!

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Comic Pick of the Week (November 26, 2014)

Great Stories selects….

Gotham By Midnight #1 (DC)

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Darkness, dread, and isolation are not themes unfamiliar through the vast landscape of Batman titles of yesteryear and today, but this week’s newest entry into the lore certainly ranks very highly in all of the aforementioned categories.  And for that we applaud the creators, including writer Ray Fawkes and artist Ben Templesmith.  Templesmith’s images are beautiful and disturbing in one, which only makes the story all the more effective.  And what is that story?  Well, if it were possible to blend seasoned bits of Constantine, X-Files, and Sherlock Holmes into one Gotham Goulash, you might be on to what is being cooked up for your eyes.

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Fans of the supernatural, macabre, and dark world of Batman should give themselves an early Christmas present and pick up this book.  You really won’t go wrong.  And for the weak-kneed, sheltered lot of us out there, there’s always that My Little Pony book….just kidding.

Great Stories are everywhere!

-Chris

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Comic Pick of the Week (October 15, 2014)

Great Stories selects…..

Death of Wolverine #4 (Marvel)

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Charles Soule and Steve McNiven have been tasked with bringing to an end the run of the most iconic of X-Men we know.  Wolverine’s healing power has been taken away and it just goes to show that all good things must come to an end eventually.  Logan has made many enemies over the last century of life and his number has come up.  If you have not been following this mini-series, it is not too late to go back and find those back-issues and get yourself caught up on the biggest X-Men event in many years.

The week is not without other fine releases.  The much beloved Manifest Destiny got its latest installment, as well as Greg Rucka’s rhodent-inspired yarn, Veil.  These have to be considered the undercard to Marvel’s main event, however.

Great Stories are everywhere!

-Chris

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Comic Pick of the Week (September 24, 2014)

Great Stories selects….

Aliens: Fire and Stone #1 (Dark Horse)

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Coming off the heels of the well-received Prometheus comic a couple weeks ago, Aliens: Fire and Stone tells the tragic tale of what befell the mining colony LV-426.  The Prometheus and Aliens franchises are inextricably tied together in a natural and flowing chronological symphony that whets the appetite of sci-fi horror fans in a way that previous cross-overs Aliens/Predator never could.  We are excited to see what the future holds, even if it is ironically in the past, as it were.  Dark Horse is serving us up a treat and it makes us wonder what Ridley Scott may have in store for us as we have been hearing more buzz about a Prometheus sequel.

Great Stories are everywhere!

-Chris

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Comic Pick of the Week (September 17, 2014)

Great Stories selects…..

Manifest Destiny #10 (SkyBound)

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Chris Dingess continues to weave a wonderful tale featuring the historic figures Lewis and Clark as they trek across the American wilderness and encounter some of the most outlandish fiends and threats one could imagine in the Brave New World.  They each bring their own complimentary elements of brains and brawn, but is it enough to keep their crew of soldiers and prisoners together for the greater good……or even just mere survival?  The art continues to astound through Matthew Roberts and Owen Gieni.  If you have not picked up this book, run out and get the first trade paperback and then catch up with the rest of us, because we hate so much to have this much fun without you!

-Chris (for the Great Stories team)

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Comic Pick of the Week (August 27, 2014)

Great Stories selects……

 

Thunderbolts #30 (Marvel)

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Frank castle continues to wage war on his former team, as this series goes out with a bang.  More than we can say for most of the entirety of this disappointing run, but at least the creative team that brought us the wonderful Annual (for this same title) has given us a chance to find something redeeming to take from this latest incarnation of the team that brings Justice Like Lightning…..Oh, I guess they don’t use that phrase anymore.  While General Ross figures out how to deal with his Punisher problem, we will appeal to Marvel to take some time to think about the roots of what made Thunderbolts such a great title back in the day.  Perhaps they will come to understand the value of featuring their C-list stars in a team book which brings the reader more unexpected surprises and unpredictability than what can be produced with another team book full of players everyone is all too familiar with.  We have the X-Men and Avengers for that Marvel!  Throwing together a team of beloved loners may have been appealing to the creative powers that be, but in the end, it defied the true nature of the subject material and felt too awkward and forced.  Let it burn, and be reborn!

 

-Chris (for the Great Stories team)

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Comic Pick of the Week (July 30, 2014)

Great Stories selects……

In the House of the Worm #1 (Avatar)

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George R.R. Martin is famous for his writing of the epic Game of Thrones series, but there is more to the man and his writing than tales of Lannisters, Starks, and Dothraki. Martin has opened the vaults to some other fantastic stories, and Avatar has grabbed some talented writers and artists to adapt these tales for our enjoyment. John Miller takes on the writing duties and Ivan Rodriguez provides the illustrations for this tale of ill-fated revenge in the ruins of an other-worldly metropolis.

After the wonderful adaptation of Skin Trade, Martin’s lycanthrope thriller, we are excited to see another dark fantasy tale unfold on these pages. Check it out!

Great Stories are everywhere!

-Chris

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Comic Pick of the Week (July 23, 2014)

Hello Everyone…we apologize for our one day delay on our pick, but Great Stories was busy working out details for an exciting partnership which we will talk about on the blog shortly!  But without further adieu……

 

Great Stories selects……

Detective Comics #27 (DC)

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Commemorating the first ever appearance of the iconic vigilante 75 years ago, DC has decided to grant us all the 27th copy of the more recently re-launch New 52 version of Detective Comics for free!  Even more exciting is that this issue not only features the expected current story arc, but also a retelling of the very first Batman story, “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate” created by writer Bill Finger and artist Bob Kane!  A taste of the old and the new for the fans out there, and all at the affordable price of…..FREE!  We did mention that before, right?  Well, we just can’t help but like it enough to say it twice.  Go find your copy before they sell out….wait, does that even make sense? 

Great Stories are everywhere!

-Chris

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Comic Pick of the Week (July 9, 2014)

Great Stories selects…..

Coffin Hill #9 (Vertigo)

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As you may already know, we are big fans of this series here at Great Stories.  Ex-cop and former Coffin Hill troubled girl Eve is helping her former friend and current town sheriff Nate track down the killer known only as the Ice Fisher, while Nate’s mysterious brother show up in town (and he’s not alone!).  What does it all mean?  Well, go out and buy this book now, and got get caught up with all the back issues, because if you haven’t been following along, you have been missing out on a great story from writer Caitlin Kittredge and artist Inaki Miranda!

 

Great Stories are everywhere!

-Chris

 

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Comic Pick of the Week (July 2, 2014)

This week our anticipation runs high for reading the new Guardians of the Galaxy spin-off…..

Legendary Starlord #1

 

As you may have seen in the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer, the “legendary” aspect of the character may be a case of tongue firmly planted in cheek, but it is with that off-beat humor that belies the charm of the subject material.  Maybe it is just the news that J.J. Abrams is entering the ring to save the Star Wars franchise that has us chomping at the bit for some intergalactic fun, but Marvel may actually be experiencing an unexpected hit with this property and we are most interested in learning more about these characters before they hit the big screen in August.  Not to mention that this character has more appeal to us than that raccoon sidekick of his that also has a book debuting this week and also has the advantage of a huge buy from a certain vendor who shall remain nameless that granting it an automatic 100K in sales.  Let’s show everyone who the best Guardian of the Galaxy there is, and sing Stalord’s praises (peanut gallery: “who is Starlord?”) from one end of the milky way to the other!  Who is Starlord?  Ah, forget it.  😉

 

Great Stories are everywhere!

 

-Chris