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Adventure Time Presents Simon and Marcy #1 Review

Writer: Olivia Olson

Artist: Slimm Fabert

Cover: Brittney Williams

Adventure Time’s latest comic, Marcy & Simon, is set right after the tear-jerking 11th season finale with Betty bring Simon back from the Ice Crown’s control to the awkward scientist only seen before and during the Mushroom War. In this issue, Simon decided to go on an apology tour around the Land of Ooo to apologize to princesses and creatures alike for his actions against them as the Ice King. Starting with Princess Bubblegum and the Banana Guards, Simon apologizes for the constant princess thieving and other grievances against the Candy People and goes on to give stolen treasures back to our favorite characters including: Party God, Lemongrab, and BMO. At the end of this grand tour, he gathers the rest of Adventure Time’s minor and secondary characters to apologize, but he seems to begin forgetting princesses’ names: Lumpy Space Princess, Finn, Jake… and even Marcy? Is Simon losing the memories he gained as the Ice King? By the end of this 6-issue run, will Simon even remember little Marcy anymore? Pick up Kaboom!’s #2 of Marcy and Simon at any one of the Ultimate Comic locations!

Simon and Marcy allow me, a diehard Adventure Time fan, to continue to ignore the fact that the show is over with new content that provides more character development for those secondary characters of the show that had some major emotional baggage to them. Ice King was one of those characters that was a joke at the beginning of the series, but slowly grew on us with his tragic history with Marceline and his mental maze faced during his time as the Ice King. I personally look forward to being able to learn more about Simon as a character and see his recovery progress with finally being separated with his creepy alter-ego.

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Mysteries of Love in Space Review

Space is a common theme in the DC Universe with adventures stretching from Sector 2814 to the Phantom Zone. But the beloved heroes are no stranger to love with iconic couples such as Clark and Lois, Bruce and Selina, and Diana and Steve.


Just a few weeks shy of Valentine’s Day, DC has released an eight story one shot anthology, Mysteries of Love in Space. Seven of the tales are new features, but the final entry is an encore printing of a classic Adam Strange story.


Despite the brevity of the featured stories, each one is familiar in a way that speaks to anyone who has ever been in love. Featuring both new and well-known characters that are staples to the DC universe, some of the tales are tender and heartwarming, others doleful accounts of manipulation and heartbreak. Reading through the narratives will draw a smirk and then a sigh as you sympathize with godlike and extraterrestrial beings struggling to cope with very human emotions.


The art for the volume is a more realistic style with the characters drawn in a way that feels natural for conveying expressions and body language. The Adam Strange encore story features the art styles that is typical to early silver age comics.

This issue is an enjoyable read showcasing out of this world adventures with relationships and connections that are down to earth.

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Crypt of Shadows #1 Review

Writer: Al Ewing

Artists: Garry Brown, Stephen Green, Djibril Morissette-Pham

Colorist: Chris O’Halloran

Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

Cover: Kyle Hotz and Dan Brown

Amid a sea of superhero titles the Marvel horror one shot, Crypt of Shadows, is a distinct read that is fun and gratifying, harkening back to horror anthology comics and TV shows like Tales from the Crypt and Creep Show. Readers not familiar with the vast Marvel superhero universe (or perhaps who just want something different) can pick up and enjoy this singular issue with a small cast of characters unique to this story. Even though there is not much gore, the issue is sufficiently creepy as a psychological thriller.

The story is told in narration through a therapy session between a psychiatrist and patient. As the patient recites the tales that have fueled his cynophobia, (fear of dogs) we bounce back and forth between the relative calm of his therapist office and the spooky scenes that he sees drawn out in his head. The beautiful artwork drives chills as the story unfolds and the coloring is suitably dark without making the story hard to follow. As we’re taken through various accounts we get the sense that the protagonist is captivated with ghost stories, which is appropriate for a horror comic but drives understandable skepticism from his therapist. As his story comes to a climax we see how the dramatic tales lead back to the source in a satisfying twist.  

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Iron Heart #1-2 Review

Writer: Eve. L Ewing

Artist: Kevin Libranda and Luciano Vecchio

Colorist: Matt Milla

Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles


Tony Stark…genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. Riri Williams…. genius, college student, awkward nerd, concerned citizen.

After a run in Invincible Iron Man, Riri Williams gets a new suit and a new title; Ironheart. Though she is a superhero in her own right, Riri still struggles with feelings that she doesn’t belong. In her first bout, the villain Clash antagonizes her with deliberate mockery against her age calling her Barbie Dreamhouse Iron Man and suggesting that she is from the “JV squad”. Even in her community, she is constantly correcting people who reference her as Iron Chick and Little Iron. As the only undergraduate student at MIT with her own lab she is subject to the spontaneous and uninvited visits from the Dean as he brings in spectators, affirming that her space is not really her own. Unlike Tony, she doesn’t have a billionaire inheritance and the dean reminds her that her innovations have costs.

Writer Eve Ewing brings relatability to the character by giving a realistic sense to Riri’s introverted and geeky nature making references to her Star Trek cosplay and her love of hip hop music. From her internal musings to her conversations with an old friend from home, Riri feels like someone we could know (or perhaps someone we do know). And with her successes, we also get to see Riri stumble as she works through making updates, enhancements and repairs to her suit. She develops a self learning artificial intelligence to assist her on missions and, to her surprise, it manifests itself as a version of her childhood best friend who was shot and killed and with whose death Riri is still struggling.

Ironheart is a great read so far with two solid issues that would appeal to pre-teen to adult readers.


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Modern Fantasty Trade Review

Writer: Rafer Roberts

Artist: Kristen Gudsnuk


Roll for entertainment and relatability. Modern Fantasy is set in the D&D-esque world where instead of traveling on fantastic adventures with your gang of chronic good (and bad) pals, life is just as ours is- crappy desk job, annoying coworkers, and lazy roommates. Sage, a human girl, works a mind-boggling desk job and dreams of the adventures bestowed in fantasy novel where she would decapitate goblins and win over her love interest Darquin, a struggling elvish actor trying to get away from the stereotypical elf roles. However, her real life is upturned when her roommate’s dark-elf thief boyfriend, Fentax, steals an amulet needed to preform a ritual to bring a destructive fire demon to their world, from a mobster. Sage must find herself a group of bad-ass warriors to kick ass and save the world… but makes do with her rag-tag group of semi-lovable friends and hopes they don’t die.

Modern Fantasy provided a new take on the fantasy world of titles like Rat Queens Scales and Scoundrels, introducing new perspectives to the age-old tales of Dungeons and Dragons. I found Sage to be personally relatable with the crap she puts up with in her life and with her friends, and her companions being funny and realistic. Modern Fantasy not only had a fun story line with quirky characters, but also had real daily problems more than one of us probably face.

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Bitter Root #1-3 Review

Writers: David Walker and Chuck Brown

Artist: Sanford Greene

Colorist: Rico Renzi and Sanford Greene

Letterer: Clayton Cowles


“One of the greatest horrors we face is racism”


Bitter Root follows the Sangerye family of demon hunters during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Despite it’s heavy topic, the comic does not feel heavy in tone. The story opens up with the central team of Sangerye’s practicing various parts of their craft. We see through their work that have a tenuous relationship with the few members of law enforcement that are aware of their supernatural activities. They have been fighting local Jinoo, humans who have morphed into dangerous creatures when their souls have been corrupted. The Sangerye’s are used to battling simple Jinoo, but something bigger is coming and along with it a major threat to the family. The comic features great pacing and seamless transitions to various parts of the story. We see several other characters who have an interest in the Sangerye’s but who are working to an end that is yet unclear.


Sanford Greene’s distinct art style is uniquely suited to this type of story. It is gritty in a way that speaks well to the horror genre but the overall feel is light enough that you can follow the story with a sense of excitement as though you are adventuring along with the characters. His splash pages are particularly magnificent which lend to lingering over the art to it soak in. The main covers of each issue connect to provide one large panel featuring the Sangyere Family.


And don’t skip the back matter of each issue. In addition to a character design feature from Sanford, there is a short essay of historical relevance to the story by cultural studies professor John Jennings. Jennings has an impressive list of works to his credit including the art for the Eisner award winning graphic adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred.  




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The Green Lantern #3 Review

Writer: Grant Morrison

Artist: Liam Sharp

Colorist: Steve Oliff

Letterer: Tom Ozrechowski

Variant Cover: Jae Lee and June Chung


When DC’s The Green Lantern series was announced, writer Grant Morrison described his pitch as a more grounded take on the character. Hal Jordan is a space cop and this 12 issue series would be treated as a police procedural, one that focused on the day to day rather than the apocalyptic storylines that the corps has been known to deal with. Naturally that means the third issue features Hal Jordan trying to arrest God.


No, not that God. Just an alien that happens to look like the God from the Old Testament. The Earth has been put on the black market and along with characters like Steppenwolf from the planet Apokolips, this Shephard is an interested buyer. No one is buying the Earth if Hal has anything to say about it.


This issue is another fantastic entry in this must-read series. Morrison continues to buck against the decompressed storytelling that has become the norm in comics. Each issue is meant to serve as a near self-contained story that adds to an overarching storyline told throughout the 12 issue series. Meaning that any reader can grab any issue off the shelf and hop in without feeling lost or feeling like they were cheated out of a full story.


While facing off with God may not sound like typical police procedural fare, Morrison has done a great job making the series feel like a grounded take on the character while keeping the surroundings and plot lines as strange as one would expect from a Morrison sci-fi comic. It strays far from feeling like a typical superhero comic. This is classic British science fiction comic book storytelling. Think old school 2000 AD rather than DC Comics.


Issue 3 is filled with high concept science-fiction goodness. It somehow manages to be politically relevant without issues feeling forced or out of place. The creatures from Dhor that play a prominent role in the issue are Randian caricatures, showing the result of an amoral society built around a rampant free market. There’s a ncie allusion to our society’s apathy towards an increasingly dismal looking future on planet Earth. And the ending and next issue might promise some comment on police brutality.

Liam Sharp is the perfect artist for this book. His work is again something out of 2000 AD mag. Every panel is so intricately detailed that one can spend chunks of time picking out new favorite details. Sharp’s work on this series has been some of the best in comics right now. You can tell he is leaving everything on the page.


Green Lantern #3 is a stand out issue of an excellent comic series and is a must read for any fan of the medium. Check it out and grab issues #1 and 2 to catch up on one of the most rewarding series in comics coming out right now!


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Conan the Barbarian #1

Writer: Jason Aaron

Penciler: Mahmud Asrar

Colorist: Matthew Wilson

Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

Cover: Esad Ribic


By Crom, Conan is back, and at Marvel no less! This month you’re going to notice that Marvel is going all in on Conan. Marvel’s launching two new ongoings with Conan the Barbarian and Savage Sword of Conan done by Gerry Duggan and Ron Garney, an Age of Conan mini-series done by friend of the store Tini Howard and Kate Niemczyk, and a full month of Conan True Believers! For those new to the character that may seem like a lot, but Conan was once a Marvel Comics staple. With Marvel celebrating its 80th anniversary, bringing Conan back to the fold feels right.


Now I will fully admit that my Conan credentials may seem light. My dad was a big Conan fan. I remember reading through some late 70’s Conan as a kid, but I always preferred Thor. I was, however enthralled by the Arnold Schwarzenegger Conan movies. In those movies, Arnold succeeded in making Conan larger than life and while a bit silly at times, the sense of adventure always kept me coming back for more. Besides, the sequel had Grace Jones as a badass warrior and Wilt Chamberlain…nuff said. Despite my eternal disappointment that Conan the Destroyer’s ending teaser was never followed through, I had never been motivated to check out the comics until now.


It was writer Jason Aaron’s enthusiasm for the source material that got me excited to give Conan a try. When the series was announced, he tweeted a photo of his bookshelf filled to the brim with Conan novels and comic collections. Since his Thor is one of the best comics coming out right now, I knew I had to give Conan a try. This issue did not disappoint.


Aaron’s love for the character radiates off of the pages. The book opens with a beautiful two page spread with art from the original Marvel era of Conan. It was nice to see the homage, but Aaron makes sure to deliver his take on the character. Similar to his Thor run, we aren’t seeing a story from just one period of Conan’s life. The Life and Death of Conan starts off while Conan is still just an adventurer but threads into his life as King Conan of Aquilonia. Aaron delivers a fast-paced and bloody first issue, filled with the brawls, and pulpy dialogue you’d expect from a Conan story.


Mahmud Asrar’s art more than keeps up with the pace of the story. Conan is the statuesque and legendary figure of myth, but the art remains kinetic and energetic. Matthew Wilson sticks with a heavy red and brown color palette helping set the tone, underscore the violence, and build the world.


This issue was a great start to the series, perfect for long-time Conan fans and new readers. I’m excited to see the rest of the new Conan line. If you’ve been jonesing for a fun fantasy romp, don’t miss this issue.

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Batman #50 (SPOILERS)

Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janin and Other Special Guests
Colorist: June Chung
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC

Thanks to the New York Times, a reviewer spoiled the ending to one of the most anticipated
comic book issues of our time four days ahead of its release. The bleeping headline spoiled it!
Many fans, and Tom King, understandably expressed their anger on Twitter.
Alas though, here we are. The seminal issue of King’s Batman run is on stands today, with
many shops hosting special events to celebrate the much-anticipated wedding of Batman and
Catwoman. And since America’s finest news source already ruined the twist ending for
countless readers, I’ll also be diving deep into spoiler territory here. At least I have the decency
not to do so in the headline.
The wedding of the century didn’t happen.
After months of build-up and presenting the possibility that Batman might actually find
happiness once and for all, King crushed everyone’s hopes by having Cat leave him at the altar
(or in this case, the rooftop).
It was a sobering, gut-wrenching conclusion to one of the most fascinating storylines in the
character’s nearly 80-year history. Was it a bad move to destroy the hopes of many readers out
there? Maybe, but I would still argue that King, Mikel Janin and the long list of guest artists like
Mitch Gerads, Joëlle Jones, Tim Sale and even Frank Miller delivered a pretty remarkable comic
with this issue.
Coinciding with the more cerebral tone of King’s entire run, Batman #50 delivers plenty of great
emotional scenes, my favorite being when Bruce asks Alfred to be his witness at the wedding
and the two share a heartfelt father and son embrace. Likewise, King delivers some rather
poetic prose to coincide with splash pages by the various guest artists. There are just some
genuinely beautiful moments throughout this issue, which will move readers regardless of how
they feel about the ending.
Ultimately, it’s a very King ending. Part of me does wish he had committed to something so bold
and unconventional, but at the same time I am excited to see where the story will go from here.
The ending also paves the way for the new Joëlle Jones Catwoman series, which debuts today.
Perhaps the Bat will always be broken, as Bane puts it here. Yet if King’s run does go a hundred
issues as planned, then there are still plenty of possibilities and potential storylines.

If you’d like to continue this discussion, hit me up on Twitter at @kwschaef, and be sure to pick
up the Ultimate Comics Nick Derrington exclusive cover.

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Venom #1

Writer: Donny Cates
Penciler: Ryan Stegman
Inker: J.P. Mayer
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

So, if you haven’t heard Marvel just rebooted…again. Get ready to see a lot of Marvel number
ones in the coming months, including Doctor Strange, Deadpool, The Immortal Hulk and the
recently launched Avengers title by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness.

Regardless of your feelings toward this reboot/relaunch/whatever-you- want-to- call-it, the new
Venom title is one you don’t want to miss. In conjunction with the thirtieth anniversary of the
iconic Spider-Man nemesis’ first appearance, the new Venom comic is both a love-letter and the
start of a brand new story.

As Eddie Brock struggles to control his alternate ego while holding down his reporter job, he
soon encounters a mysterious ex-military operative. Here, Eddie learns new details about the
origins of the Venom symbiote, details that could change everything and bring about powerful
new enemies.

Despite my skepticism about the whole Marvel relaunch, I was intrigued by this title solely
because of the creative team. Donny Cates has become one of my favorite comic writers over
the last year, with horror titles like Redneck and Babyteeth. Since joining Marvel, he’s not only
been able to provide fantastically entertaining revamps of Doctor Strange and Thanos, but also
give these books a darker and edgier aesthetic.

The same is true of Venom. Cates and the brilliant Ryan Stegman deliver a tour de force in this
comic, combining supernatural horror with a character-driven narrative. This first issue sets up
an exploration of the legacy of Venom, from Eddie Brock to Flash Thompson to other possible
hosts. As Eddie wrestles with his inner-demons and encounters new foes, the storytelling is a
culmination of internal conflicts and bombastic action sequences. Coupled with the griminess
and cinematic touch of Frank Martin’s colors, this is one to dazzle both longtime Venom fans
and newer readers.

Time will tell if the Sony-produced Venom movie in October will thrive or flop, but regardless
Marvel fans have this gem to indulge in.