Digital Overload – Week of November 16, 2012

Since getting back in to comics last August, I’ve pretty much only bought digital comics. A lot of it is a storage issue, but I have quickly found that this is a much more enjoyable way of reading comics for me. Every Wednesday, I buy my comics first thing in the morning, load them on to my tablet, and I can carry them anywhere I want.  And since most companies (SHAME ON YOU, MARVEL) offer discounts if you buy digital comics a few weeks after release, it has allowed me to read many more comics.

In the beginning of the year, DC announced it’s intentions to relaunch Batman Beyond as a digital first comic, which would later be collected into physical copies.   Quickly DC expanded this and currently releases a new digital first comic each day of the week.

Over the last few months, more and more publishers have gone this route, including IDW releasing Transformers: Autocracy. Even more interesting is that some companies like Thrillbent and Monkeybrain have been releasing series that are purely intended for the digital audience with no real direct plans to do any physical copies at all. And to further accommodate these kind of digital initiatives  Comixology has started a Comixology Submit program allowing comic creators to submit their work directly to Comixology for digital publication.

I love all this focus on digital comics, and felt it was a good time to launch a column that looks at some of the terrific digital comics that have been coming out lately. Future columns are going to spotlight some of the more interesting happenings in the digital market like Thrillbent’s unique use of the medium and the digital publication of Cerebus. And each week I will do mini-reviews of the digital releases that came out.  This column is planned for Fridays, so will typically cover all the books from Friday to Thursday.

Digital First Releases On Comixology this week

DC Comics

Ame-Comi Girls #10

Written by: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by: Eduardo Francisco
Colorist: Wes Hartman
Letterer: Wes Abbott

Ame-Comi Girls doesn’t typically seem like a book I would normally enjoy. Not a huge fan of manga-inspired art, and some of the characters seem rather cheesecake (why exactly is Power Girl have a giant chain across her breasts?). But I like Palmiotti and Gray quite a bit, and I think it’s important for female characters to get much more spotlight. In the Ame-Comi universe, pretty much all the superheroes are females, which I think is a pretty unique idea.

For the most part, this has been an excellent comic, though I thought issue 9 was a little weak, with Jimmy Olsen being portrayed as a bit of a Mary Sue who used to be Carol Ferris’s boyfriend and is now with Power Girl. But all in all, this second arc which has started introducing the different “Lantern Corps” has been a lot of fun. I absolutely love Jade, who seems to have a little F-Sharp Bell in her. A deaf character who uses sounds in unique ways to serve as a Green Lantern provides some really unique storytelling opportunities.

My biggest disappointment in this issue was that the “Sinestro Corps” member who appears on the cover doesn’t actually have any part in this issue. Plus, I thought the formation of Wonder Woman’s superteam and how the world was reacting was a major part of this series, but it didn’t come up here at all.

That said, these are really just minor gripes. The fight between Power Girl, Star Sapphire, and Green Lantern was really well done, and they definitely toned down the “Jimmy Olsen is so awesome” volume on this one. And I loved the last page reveal of a female version of the Atom.

Rating: 8.0/10

Arrow #6
Story by Marc Guggenheim & Andrew Kreisberg
Script by Ben Sokolowski & Lana Cho
Art by Mike Grell
Colored by David Lopez and Santi Casas of Ikari Studio
Lettered by Wes Abbott

I have been a fan of Green Arrow for a very long time. I have been thrilled that the character has gotten so much mainsteam exposure through Justice League Unlimited and Smallville, but I really never expected that he would get his own show…or that show would be doing as well as Arrow has been! Yes, they did change the character some, but I think this version of Arrow works really well, giving the character a little more of an edge to him really reflects back on Mike Grell’s work on the character, which I still consider Ollie’s golden age.

This is why I was so happy to see Grell contributing art for the tie-in comic. Unlike most of DC’s digital comics, so far each issue of Arrow has been very stand alone. A quick 15 or so page story providing a little background for some of the characters seen in the show (the issue about Ollie’s bodyguard “Diggle” has been by far my favorite issue so far) or giving a little one off adventure about what “the Hood” does between episodes of the show.

This issue follows Ollie and Diggle to Russia where they disrupt a human slave trading operation that sends girls to Ollie’s Starling City. I do think this was a strange departure from what we’ve seen from the show, but it really did work well. Actually, it reminded me a lot of the Huntress mini-series that was part of the new 52.

Along with a good story, Grell’s art was just gorgeous as always. It’s a shame he only does about a third of this series. I would love to see him do them all.

Rating: 8.5/10

Justice League Beyond #14
Written by Derek Fridolfs & Dustin Nguyen
Pencils by Dustin Nguyen
Inks by Derek Fridolfs
Colored by Randy Mayor
Lettered by Saida Temofonte

Batman Beyond was actually one of the comics that really got me back into being a regular comic reader (THANKS GREY!). When they turned Batman Beyond into a digital first comic and expanded the line to include Justice League Beyond and Superman Beyond, I was pretty excited, and so far, these books have all been terrific. This issue is the climax of the first major arc in Justice League Beyond with the team working to stop Kobra from destroying Earth the way they already destroyed Apokolips. Issue 13 had a brilliant ending with Bruce letting Terry use his secret weapon…a book of magic spells that turned Terry into THE DEMON!

I have to admit, I was so hyped up by that ending, that it was pretty inevitable that this issue would kind of disappoint in comparison  Don’t get me wrong, it was still a great ending to a terrific arc, and still one of the best comics I read this week. But it didn’t have that HOLY SHIT moment issue 13 gave me.

Rating: 8.0/10

Batman: L’il Gotham #2
Written by Dustin Nguyen & Derek Fridolfs
Art by Dustin Nguyen
Lettered by Saida Temofonte

Oddly enough, this showed up as a new release on my tablet, but not on Comixology’s website. If you are looking for this comic, click here.

Batman: L’il Gotham is very much in the vein of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoon, a light-hearted look at Batman and his world, but still manages to inject a lot of emotion and care into the stories. The first issue focused on Halloween, this issue is a Thanksgiving story. Penguin decides to liberate turkeys during the Gotham City Thanksgiving parade. After Batman and Robin save the day with some help from giant balloons, we see what Thanksgiving dinner is like at Wayne Manor and Arkham Asylum.

I love these fun little one-shots. They have some genuinely funny moments, but still pack in a lot of characterization and heart. Plus they acknowledge the existence of Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, so that is one big advantage over most Batman titles.  The next one is scheduled to be a Christmas story on December 18th. Definitely will be buying that!

Rating: 8.5/10


Spirit of the Law #2

Written by Brandon Seifert
Art by Michael Montenat
Colors by Ron Riley

We will be talking a lot more about Monkeybrain in the next few weeks, which has quickly become one of my favorite comic publishers. They have embraced the digital market completely and seem to have a publication plan that is digital only. Their books for the most part are less than a buck, and feature some of the top creators in the industry. Along with Thrillbent, I see Monkeybrain as a major player in reshaping the comic market!

Spirit of the Law is about a fortune teller named Daisy Dumont. In the opening issue, she is killed by the mob, and ends up returning as a spirit of vengeance determined to get payback on her killers in the most violent way possible. This issue started with the mob using a medium to try and find a way of killing Daisy. Daisy quickly turns the tables on them.

This comic seems a throwback to the 70’s where characters like Spectre, Madame Xanadu, Man Thing, and Ghost Rider brought back horror and revenge stories to the comic industry. I loved the way this issue slipped in a lot of the back story without coming across as overbearing exposition. We get a sense of why Daisy was killed and how she managed to come back. I am not sure what the long term plans for this book are, but the first two issues have been great!

Rating: 8.5/10

Other digital books that came out this week that I didn’t read:

Complex #4

Rust Vol. 2 #5
Space: 1999 Classics Remastered #4
Spera vol. 2 #5
Hawken: Genesis #1

Intrinsic #4
Becoming Collected Edition
John Henry Collected Edition
A Ninja Named Stan #2

Archie: The Vampire Saga
B&V Friends: Girls Rule!
The Adventures of Hot Dog

Farmhouse #5

Batman: Arkham Unhinged #51
Legends of the Dark Knight #24

Memorial: Imaginary Fiends #4

ComiXology New Releases for the Week of November 13th, 2012

New Digital Comics for Tuesday, November 14th

Same Day as Print

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Vol. 7

New & Noteworthy Back Catalogue

Avengers #21 – 30
Marvel Zombies: Dead Days #1
Deadpool Team-Up #883 – 888
Exiles #20 – 25

New Digital Comics for Wednesday, November 14th

Same Day as Print

Mega Man #19
Sonic Super Special #5
World of Archie Double Digest #23
Archie’s Giant Kids’ Joke Book (GN)

Executive Assistant: Assassins #5

Tribute: Elizabeth Taylor #1
Walter Koenig’s Things to Come #2

Fanboys vs. Zombies #8
Extermination #6
Marceline and the Scream Queens #5

DC Comics
Batgirl #14
Batman #14
Batman & Robin #14
Deathstroke #14
Demon Knights #14
Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE #14
Green Lantern Corps #14
Green Lantern: The Animated Series #8
Grifter #14
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #4
Legion Lost #14
Phantom Stranger #2
Ravagers, The #6
Suicide Squad #14
Superboy #14
Team 7 #2

Vampirella The Red Room #4
Red Sonja #71
Lord Of The Jungle #9
Witchblade Demon Reborn #4
Damsels #3
Evil Ernie #2
Dark Shadows/Vampirella #4
The Boys #72

Prison Pit #4

Chasing the Dead #1
Popeye Classics #4
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #184
Locke & Key: Omega #1
The Zaucer of Zilk #2

Elephantmen #44
Great Pacific #1
Grim Leaper Collected Edition
Hack Slash #20
Hoax Hunters #5
Invincible #97
Peter Panzerfaust #7
Point Of Impact #2
Saga #7
Thief Of Thieves #10
Walking Dead #104
Where Is Jake Ellis #1

Amazing Spider-Man #697
All-New X-Men #1
Avengers Assemble #9
Fantastic Four #1
First X-Men #4
Gambit #5
Red She-Hulk #59
Marvel Universe Vs. The Avengers #2
New Avengers #33
Thor: God Of Thunder #1
Ultimate Comics Ultimates #18
Venom #27
Wolverine & The X-Men #20
X-Men Legacy #1
X-Treme X-Men #6

Oni Press
Courtney Crumrin #7

Red 5
Atomic Robo: The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #4

Bloodshot (2012) #5
Archer and Armstrong (2012) #4

Punk Rock Jesus #5
Saucer Country #9

Wonderland #5
Mankind vol. 2

New & Noteworthy Back Catalogue

How to Draw Magic and Fantasy
How to Draw Super Villains
Gold Digger #78 – 80

Betty and Veronica Digest #179 – 180
Betty and Veronica Double Digest #156
Archie New Look v5: Goodbye Forever
Sonic Archives Vol. 10
Sabrina Manga #13 (70)

100 Girls #3 – 7

Soulfire: Search for the Light – Hope
Soulfire: Search for the Light – Despair
Soulfire: Search for the Light – Faith
Soulfire: Search for the Light – Power
Soulfire: Search for the Light – Grace
Soulfire: Search for the Light Collected Edition

Aardvark Vanaheim
Cerebus High Society #6 – 7

Satan’s Circus of Hell #2 – 3 (Web Only)

Judo Girl: So You Want a Revolution? #4
VSS: Nemesis Rising #5
Wrath of the Titans: Revenge of Medusa #3

Simpsons Super Spectacular #3
Simpsons Comics #51

Monster Myths

DC Comics
Action Comics (1938-2011) #797 – 802
Batman: Gotham Adventures #27, #34
Booster Gold (2007-2011) #22
Catwoman (1993-2001) #11 – 12
Checkmate (2006-2008) #7 – 8
Flash, The (1987-2009) #72 – 73
Green Lantern (1976-1986) #172 – 173
Green Lantern (1990-2004) #3 – 6
Impulse #33 – 34
JLA: Classified #38
Jonah Hex (2006-2011) #58
JSA (1999-2006) #25
Justice League Task Force (1993-1996) #23
Justice League Unlimted #9 – 10
Legion of Super-Heroes (1989-2000) #38
Suicide Squad (1987-1992) #7
Superboy (1994-2002) #44 – 45
Wonder Woman (1987-2006) #131 – 132

All the Time
You Get an Angel

Army of Darkness v2 #10 – 14
The Boys Vols. 1 – 9
The Boys Omnibus Vol. 3
The Shadow Blood & Judgement Collected Edition

The Girl from HOPPERS

Prisoner of the Tower

Transformers: Animated Vol. 7 – 9
Transformers: More than Meets the Eye Vol. 2

Ant #1 – 3
Haunt Vol. 1

Inazuman vol. 2

Sore Thumbs #12

Maximum High
Divine Wind

Honey West #4, #6-7

Hardy Boys Vol. 6
Hardy Boys Vol. 7
Nancy Drew Vol. 13
Geronimo Stilton Vol. 5

JLA: The 99 #3

Top Shelf
Every Girl is the End of the World for Me

XO-Manowar (1992) #27 – 33

DMZ #67
Doom Patrol (1987-1995) #1 – 2
Hellblazer (1988- ) #255 – 257
House of Mystery (2008-2011) #36 – 37
Madame Xanadu (2008-2011) #14
Sandman Mystery Theatre (1993-1999) #7
Shade, The Changing Man (1990-1996) #15

Grimm Fairy Tales Myths and Legends #22
Grimm Fairy Tales Giant-Sized 2012

New Digital Comics for Thursday November 15th

House of M: Uncanny X-Men
Iron Man Vs. Whiplash
Siege: Thor
Ultimate X-Men: Vol.9 – The Tempest
War Machine Vol.2: Dark Reign
X-Men: Inferno

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