Looking Back at Free Comic Book Day: Jason’s Comic Reviews

Welcome back to my ever-evolving comic reviews. Each week I will review a few new releases you may have missed on new comic Wednesday. As things change, mostly my mood, so will this column. Some weeks may be several new comics from various publishers or sometimes just one. There might be a time when it’s a longer review for a book I’m really excited about, and every now and then I may throw in a review of a retro book from years past. You never know!

This week I take a look back at a few of the books I picked up on Free Comic Book Day.

H1 Ignition

  • Humanoids
  • Written by Mark Waid, Carla Speed McNeil, Kwanza Osjvefo
  • Art By Pilippe Briones

H1 Ignition is an introduction into a new line of ongoing series by publisher Humanoids. The earth, after years of pollution and war, has begun to turn on humanity. Constant weather phenomenons plague the planet. However, some humans have inherited new abilities. A young doctor has the ability to see a solution to every problem. A couple in China experience devastating consequences when they are separated. Several teens gain new powers after a school shooting. There are also some quick preview pages of upcoming graphic novels, which seem to be separate from the universe featured in the main story.

This was an interesting read. I am unfamiliar with Humanoids. However, with this Free Comic Book Day issue, it looks like this may be a good time to discover them. This is a single story but each character or group of characters will be in their own upcoming title. The purpose of this issue was to create a shared universe. After the main story, we get several text pages featuring concept art and descriptions of the characters and the series they will appear in. I found the opening act with the doctor to be the most compelling. Overall this was a good example of a Free Comic Book Day issue. A complete story with a lot of extras. The art was strong at the outset but gradually became a little over exaggerated for my tastes. The goal was accomplished by introducing us to a new universe. Some topical scenarios were featured in this issue. Depending on your political leanings, you may find it heavy-handed at times.

The series featured in the main story are Ignited, Omni and Strangelands. The upcoming graphic novels are Big Country, Meyer, and Nicnevin & the Bloody Queen. Hopefully, you snagged this issue. It is a perfect example of what Free Comic Day should be. Not all of it worked for me but overall it was still a pleasant surprise.

Ignition

  • Vault Comics
  • Written By Donny Cates
  • Art By Dylan Butler

On a distant planet, humanity welcomes their new leader into office. However, within hours his cabinet informs him that a war he long thought over is not going well. The human left earth long ago and inhabited a new planet. The vampires that ran them off have discovered the technology, finally, and are aiming for humanity’s new home. Their only hope is a young woman, trained for combat and armed in an anti-vamp mech suit.

This was a lot of fun. the reveal of the inept president, who appears to be eight years old but is really 65 was funny. Lots of off the wall concepts are tested here and most work. Some of the best moments are the new president’s cabinet trying to explain the situation to him. The art is fast and loose but it works for this sci-fi vampire tale.

This is only the first chapter of this story. However, it’s pretty dense and entertaining. It’s exactly what a Free Comic Book Day comic should be!

Spider-man FCBD 2019

  • Marvel 
  • Written by Tom Taylor, Donny Cates, Saladin Ahmed
  • Art By Ryan Stegman, Cory Smith

This issue features two stories. Eddie Brock, the original Venom, lands in Rykers. He says he is sans symbiote and warns of the symbiote god. However, his cries are unheard and he lands in maximum security prison. He is confronted by a former host of Venom. Eddie’s true intentions are revealed and as Carnage, he escapes (with a body count) and sets his sights on Spider-man. In the second story, Spider-men Peter Parker and Miles Morales quarrel over which establishment in New York has the best pizza. This is until they encounter the Shocker!

The lead story was entertaining, however, if I was reading Venom on the regular I would probably have enjoyed it more. It does serve its purpose of giving the audience a glimpse of what to expect. Ryan Stegman’s art in this story was fantastic as usual. The second story stole the show for me. It’s a very nice relationship building story between Miles and Peter as they argue who has the best pizza. I can relate, I’ve had the same argument with my friends. We see the two characters respect for each other as well their teamwork as they face off against the Shocker. Poor Shocker, he tries to be a real villain but is just a joke.

I’m a huge Spider-man fan, so my option is biased. The lead-in was OK, better if you have been reading Venom. The second story, however, was amazing.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

  • IDW
  • Written by Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz 
  • Art By Dave Watcher

The turtles are in a race of life or death. The four brothers must make it to the hospital before their friend dies. Aided by some allies, the turtles battle their way through New York. Each turtle must use their expertise to make it through safely, but will it be enough? In the backup story, we are given a recap of the turtles and their supporting cast over the course of their ongoing series. This issue falls right in with the current City At War arc. We see how the Turtles have gotten to this point.

Having not read the IDW TMNT series prior, this was a new experience. However, it felt like visiting old friends. The first story is action packed with some ol’ fashioned teenage mutant action. The art is solid, though the Turtles’ heads look a little odd to me. The second story was long but a pretty nice summary of what has occurred in previous issues. It was enough for me to seek out previous issues of this IDW series featuring some of my favorite characters. We also get a nifty timeline at the back.

This book was fun. It reminded me why I am a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan in the first place. This was a good pick up for fans of the ongoing series and turtle fans in general. However, I’m not sure if a casual fan would be as interested.

I’m going to be lazy here. All four issues were a treat for me. They had pros and cons but all reminded me why I love comics and Free Comic Book Day. Therefore I am regarding all books this week the same rating! 

Hope you enjoyed this week’s reviews. I’ll be back with a new crop of reviews. For more comic reviews, insight, and commentary on comics old and new check out the Drawn & Paneled podcast wherever you get podcasts!

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About The Author

Jason Jason is a "not quite GenX'er." He's a self proclaimed comics expert, film buff and beer aficionado. All of which are true in his own mind. Jason has also been accused of being a pizza snob. Those accusations are not without merit.

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