Reviews: Free Comic Book Day 2014

Free Comic Book Day is coming up, and The Fellowship was fortunate enough to obtain copies of most of this year’s selections. There are some high quality books available this year. Here are twenty of the ones that caught our eyes…

(W/A) Jimmy Gownley
Comic creator Jimmy Gownley recounts how he tried to win a date with the cutest girl in school. Will his best friend Tony’s idea help Jimmy’s chances?

This is a real cute (and true) story from the man who brought you AMELIA RULES. These are very relatable characters and would recommend this to anyone.

(W/A) Ted Naifeh
Holly is new to Hillsborough and tries to befriend Courtney Crumrin; the girl everyone thinks is a witch. Courtney reveals the creatures and magic that exists in the town.  Holly shows an interest for learning magic spells, but which one of the girls will regret this?

Although darker than other all-ages tales, this was a great read. I love Naifeh’s art style; it’s cute with an edge to it…very appropriate for the story. I want to read more of this character!

(W) Robert Venditti (A) Doug Braithwaite
They are here! The Hunters have arrived on Earth looking for that particular suit of armor, and woe to those who stand in their way! The book also includes: previews to X-O MANOWAR #24 and RAI #1, interviews with the creators, and a roll call of the Armor Hunters.

I've been excited about this upcoming event from Valiant. Venditti and Braithwaite’s quick, but action packed preview just amps it up. The publisher has been knocking it out of the park since their return, and I see no signs of slowing.

(W) Tom Scioli, John Barber (A/CA) Tom Scioli
The G.I. Joe team attacks a COBRA base in order to eliminate their latest weapon, creeper bombs. Meanwhile, Bumblebee is being pursued by Starscream and arrives in the area of the conflict. Things are about to get more complicated.

Scioli and Barber captures the 80’s vibe perfectly; both with the script and the art. I expect this to be a great crossover, with a lot of action. Great grab for any fan of either toy lines or all things 80s.

(W) Fred Van Lente (A/CA) Michael Broussard
Jim (Captain Midnight) Albright and Matthew (Brain Boy) Price join forces to retrieve a biological weapon that was taken from a secret facility in Nevada. That’s easier said than done. And what does this have to do with the mysterious agency “Project Black Sky?” 

The building of a shared, Dark Horse Heroes universe continues here with this action packed FCBD selection. I love Van Lente’s dialogue; Price is so disrespectful (yet funny) with his comments to Captain Midnight. I want to see more of them together, and it looks like that will happen.

(W) Jeremy Dale,  Ray-Anthony Height,  & Dewayne Feenstra (A) Jeremy Dale, Ray-Anthony Height
SKYWARD – The history of The Berserkers is revealed and why they hate outsiders. Too bad Quinn and the others are heading their way!
MIDNIGHT TIGER – Gavin is going home when he encounters a battle between a hero and villain. The aftermath will change his life forever and a new hero is born!

SKYWARD has been a topnotch book from the beginning and I’m glad is is becoming  an ongoing. MIDNIGHT TIGER has the promise of a superhero book that rivals the early days of Marvel. Keep your eyes on this title.

(W) Brian Clevinger, Jay P. Fosgitt, Scott Chitwood (A) Jay P. Fosgitt, Scott Wegener, Danny Luckert
ATOMIC ROBO – Robo must once again save the day while the group is investigating in the small town of Centralia.
BRODIE TROLL – Brodie is asked to steal a pumpkin for Miz Bijou. Since the patch is called No Man’s Patch, you know it won’t be easy.
A teaser for HAUNTED is included as well.

ATOMIC ROBO is always a blast to read. Its old-school comics that is suitable for everyone. Highly recommended! BRODIE TROLL is another cute, all ages title about a troll who’s cute, but wishes he was ugly. HAUNTED is not for the kiddies, but looks intriguing by the little preview that is shown here.

(W) Shane Berryhill, Troy Duffy, J.B. Love (A) Daniel Hillyard, Toby Cypress
SHERWOOD TX - Rob Hood has returned to Sherwood to get revenge for the murder of his father. Are Prince and the Nobles biker gang behind it? What about the crooked Sheriff of Nottingham, TX?
BOONDOCK SAINTS - The MacManus brothers bring their brand of justice to the criminals of Boston in this short story co-written by the director of the cult-classic film.

The SHERWOOD story intrigues me; it’s a modern day take of the classic Robin Hood tale. There is a “Sons of Anarchy” vibe to this story which is cool and I see that being a draw for some. 12 GAUGE puts out some great modern crime titles and SHERWOOD TX appears to be a worthy addition.

(W) Joe Brusha (A) Sheldon Goh
The flashback tale demonstrates the awesome power the Bloodknights have and why the Dark Queen is trying to bring them back. Sela truly has her work cut out for her.

The book gives you a peek of the current “Ages of Darkness” event going on in several titles. Zenescope puts out some quality stories and art. Honestly, I’m a little behind on AoD, but overall Zenescope is an excellent publisher.

(W) Brian Michael Bendis, Jim Starlin, Dan Slott (A) Nick Bradshaw, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Starlin
WELCOME TO THE GUARDIANS OF GALAXY – Corporal Flash Thompson, also known as Venom, is recruited to join the Guardians as an Avengers representative. But does either side realize just what they are getting into?
THANOS: THE INFINTY REVELATION – Thanos decides to pay a couple of visits, neither one go real well.
SPIDER-MAN: STAGING AROUND – On another Earth in a different universe, Spider-man plays to a sold out Globe Theatre. It goes downhill from there.

The Spidey tale teases the upcoming “Spider-Verse” storyline coming this fall, while the Thanos tale is a preview for the upcoming graphic novel by the man who created him – Jim Starlin. The Guardians’ tale introduces one of the new additions to the team…and newest headache. All tales are pretty good, but the Starlin Thanos tale is what I’m most excited about.

(W) Max Davidson, Nathan Kane (A) Nina Matsumoto, Tone Rodriguez, John Delaney
“With Great Power” – Bart and Milhouse try to gain superpowers by recreating their heroes’ origins. It’s definitely not safe thing to do. “Mr. Burns to the Rescue” – Smithers is missing, and Mr. Burns must go down to the catacombs that lie beneath Burns Manor to find him…and whatever else is there. “Synchronicity for Two” – Professor Frink and Bart wind up in an alternate dimension with no way back.

I admit this is my first time reading Bongo Comics, and these stories were fun. They are a little more all-ages than the TV series the books are based off of, but that’s ok. Really had a blast with all of the in-jokes throughout the stories, the Mr. Burns one in particular. Good stuff!

(W) Jason Ciaramella (A) Joe Mulvey
While Crosswords is establishing a powerbase in Europe, he gets a call from Vegas concerning his goal of getting revenge on his old crew. In the backup tale, Pint is trying to get a satchel containing diamonds from a Russian gangster. Head up to the bar, old buddy!

It’s cool that Crosswords and Pint get the spotlight in this preview. I mean a guy who gets enhanced strength, endurance, etc. by continuing to drink alcohol is a rare thing to read in comics (I believe Pint pre-dates Dark Horse's BUZZKILL). Two real cool stories that should get you interested in the main book SCAM. (By the way, we have already reviewed Epic #0, Comixtribe’s other FCBD offering. You can check it out here.)

(W) Sean O'Reilly, Chris "Doc" Wyatt (A/CA) Thu Thai
What does The Intrinsic, Arcana’s team of protectors from otherworldly threats do on their downtime? You won’t have time to find out as the team encounters the next big threat. And why does the Council of Philosophers want to shut the team down?

This is a follow-up to last year’s team up of characters across the entire publishing line. The team is a little offbeat and I kinda like that. This is not a traditional superhero team and I’m curious to see what is next?

(W/A) Fred Perry
The Resistance has stolen the plans for the ultimate power source called the Warp Coal. Duchess Imoen escapes the clutches of Hegemonic Crux thanks to the help of a hot shot pilot, a bear, and a gold-plated English tinman. Our heroes’ ship crashes on a swampy planet and all looks lost. That is until a young man with a storm foil appears…

As you can see this is a steampunk version of Star Wars. However - it’s not a rip-off, but a very nice homage to the classic space tale. Perry retains the spirit, but does things his own way and I loved what he did.

(W) Jeff McClelland (A/CA) Duane Redhead
The Tick and Arthur are having a quiet meal when all of the sudden the city disappears! A being called The Hoarder has shrunk the city and put it in a bottle. Can our heroes stop this madman from collecting everything in the universe and restore their beloved city?

Well, what can I say about this? If you know The Tick, you know you are in for an off-the-wall and fun little adventure. This year’s FCBD entry is no exception. If you don’t know anything about this book, do yourself a favor and pick it up. You won’t regret it.

(W/A) Kean Soo
We meet 10 year old Portia and how she finds her pet monster that she names Jellababy. Other adventures include a game of tug-o-war that goes awry and sailing the high seas as pirates.

This is incredibly cute and fun to read. If you don’t enjoy these tales, you have no heart. Definitely something the kids (and their parents) would like.

(W) Meryl Jaffe (A) Matthew Holm
RAISING A READER is the perfect guide for parents and teachers to use comics and graphic novels to get children to learn how to read. Have questions? This little guide will have the answers.

This is a great little guide that should be in every school and home. Not only will it open kids to the world of comics, but more importantly the world of reading. Highly recommended!

(W) Vince Hernandez, Peter Steigerwald (A) Mirka Andolfo, Peter Steigerwald
DAMELS IN EXCESS – Meet the princesses of the five realms; each one as beautiful and unique as the land they rule. But they all have one thing in common: THERE ARE NO MEN. But that is the least of their worries…
ZOOHUNTERS – Meet Minalara, a hunter of unusual creatures. After fulfilling an order for Qaurec, she eyes a Bycatch that she wants. All she has to do is do a favor…

Aspen publishes great stories featuring strong female characters, something that I know readers cry out for.  DAMELS IN EXCESS and ZOOHUNTERS are the latest and worthy additions to that legacy. And I haven’t even mentioned the beautiful artwork… check this out!

(W) Frank Beddor, Liz Cavalier (A) Ben Templesmith
The Hatter (a royal bodyguard) has arrived in 1859 Paris, France. Unfortunately, he’s missing two things: his hat and the princess he’s supposed to protect. He must avoid getting captured, find his hat, and locate the future Queen.

What a strange, crazy, but interesting tale here. And what can I say about Templesmith’s art? It sets a beautiful, yet eerie mood so appropriate for the story. An unusual, but enjoyable piece of fiction.

(W) Various (A) Various
GIANT-SIZE THRILLS -  In "Darchon," Lester Bensink sees monsters ever since childhood. He finds out that his favorite comic book character is real, but does that mean they be real as well? Then in "Shadow Children," two kids who have had a tough childhood now live in another realm, being trained for a mysterious purpose.
GIANT-SIZE ADVENTURE - In "The First Daughter," Tasha Tasker is the latest in a line of Presidential daughters who have a special destiny. But is she up to the task?Then in "Magika," a young boy named Niko lives in a unique land with special friends, but no one is more unique than him.
GIANT-SIZE FANTASY - In "Duel Identity," Andromeda is a a super-heroine by day, spy at night. What happens if her lives intersect? Then in "Pandora's Blog," Pandora is a normal teen blogger who meets someone who has a dark secret.
GIANT-SIZE ACTION - In "Wayward Sons," young people with special abilities are being brought together, but for what purpose? And who are they? Then in "Tesla," a group of men want Telsla's invention for some evil purpose. Can he stop them?

First off, big props to Red Giant for doing four flip books for FCBD. That’s a bold move and I like it. These are great little stories full of action, drama, mystery, and great story telling. I’m not familiar with this publisher, but I will keep my eyes on them. There's some good stuff here.

Those are some of my picks, but check out as many of the books you can. You won't regret it. HAPPY FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!