Luke’s IDW Roundup, Week of 2/25/15

Even before I started doing the Transformers (and now GI Joe) comic reviews, I tended to read a good portion of IDW’s output. Now that I’m doing comic reviews, it seems silly to not take advantage of it to start doing some quick rundowns of titles that catch my eye. As things progress and if there’s interest I might spin certain titles out into longer reviews. We’ll see.

Creature Cops #2CreatureCops002_pag00fc-col-659x995

By Rob Anderson and Fernando Melek
Welcome to the near future! Gene-splicing has created new animals–some adorable, some deadly, some on the loose! Enter the unlikely heroes of animal control! A handful of seemingly routine cases put them on the trail of an illegal animal- fighting ring, a murder, and possibly something far, far deadlier.
This book is fantastic. It’s full of wonderfully-illustrated hybrid animals that would make a Pokemon trainer jealous, overt and subtle character moments, deftly-handled humor, and some really sinister criminal drama underlying the whole affair. There’s a deceptively dense and lush world in the pages of this book; I’ve read the first two issues several times and still feel like I haven’t gotten my fill. I have the TPB on preorder already because I can’t get enough of it. I seriously love everything about Creature Cops. Wait, that’s not true–I hate that it’s only three issues!

D4VE01cvr-655x1000D4VE #1

By Ryan Ferrier and Valentin Ramon
Welcome to the near future! The Machine revolution has come and gone. The machines didn’t just win, they killed all the humans–and then everything else in the universe. Then… well, there wasn’t a lot to do. Being built by humans, they just sort of co-opted what was left of our society. D4VE used to be a big deal, a soldier and a war hero, but his glory days are behind him and he’s tired of muddling through his workaday life. What could possibly snap him out of this funk?
Ferrirer and Ramon have created an extremely likable character here. You don’t really mind that he killed your species and misses the fun he had. And the concept, an everyman robot having a midlife crisis, just lends itself to all sorts of amusing possibilities. Ramon’s art deserves a special call-out–his style is deceptively detail-rich, reminding me of Geof Darrow and Seth Fisher. This is a book I’ll need to read several times just to digest all the art, and the story is so engaging that I want to.

GQ02-cvrA-659x1000Galaxy Quest #2

By Erik Burnham and Nacho Arranz
Welcome to the–er, sorry. In the climax of the Galaxy Quest movie, our heroes inadvertantly caused a war to be lost. The losers have tracked down those responsible and insist that they make things right. Off into space they go again! [This flatly ignores the previous GQ comic by Scott Lobdell, which I’m extremely grateful for.]
I want to like this series a lot, and the premise is intriguing enough. It both extrapolates on and slightly rewrites the ending of the movie in order to work, but given that experimental time travel is involved I’m not going to quibble with the details. Where it loses me is largely in the art. Arranz largely does good work here, but either IDW doesn’t have likeness rights or he’s just not trying. I’m going with the former, and it unfortunately really hurts the look as I find it difficult to reconcile these depictions with the actors I know played the parts. Despite that quibble I genuinely liked the first issue, but this issue didn’t feel like it did a whole lot to advance the plot. About a third of it is taken up with a fight that’s probably supposed to look slapsticky and funny but really isn’t, then another third is rather clunky exposition to set up the rest of the arc. I’m going to stick with it for a few more issues and see if it picks back up, as I really want to see this book be as awesome as I believe a GQ comic can be.

JoeFrankenstein01_cvr-659x1000Joe Frankenstein #1

By Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan
Joe Pratt is having a bad night. He’s late delivering pizzas on his bike, so he’s supposed to give them to his customers for free. Too bad he’s on the menu for a nest of vampires. Suddenly he’s saved by a monster–a literal Frankenstein’s monster. The monster, it seems, looks out for… his family? Joe Pratt (or is it Frankenstein?) is having a very bad night.
This debut was really solid. Nolan and Dixon are both pros and when given free reign in their own world… it’s really just something else. You can tell they’ve put a lot of development into the concept and are playing to each others’ strengths in the creative process. There’s an instant charm to it, something of a teen comedy by way of Hammer Films. It’s a spiritual successor to the first few seasons of Buffy, yet I stress that Joe Frankenstien has its own path. I look forward to seeing where that path goes.

TMNT_Mutanimals01_cvr-659x1000Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutanimals #1

By Paul Allor and Andy Kuhn
A handful of mutants who have banded together for reasons I’m not clear on see their rightfully-kidnapped scientist friend(?) kidnapped from them by the mysterious Null Group. When mounting a rescue mission they find a lot more than they bargained for.
I confess, I’m not really caught up on the new Nick-based TMNT comics and largely picked this up because I liked the Mutanimals back in the Archie days. These are not those Mutanimals, which is not a bad thing, but does mean there’s a good deal of backstory that I’m just plain not aware of. However, while my jumping-on point my be unorhtodox I can happily say that this issue filled in everything that was necessary to understand it. There’s a good deal of bringing things up to speed while establishing our foes; like the Mutanimals themselves the Null Group and Mr. Null are holdovers from the Archie series, and I’m very intrigued by this new take. I’m not quite intrigued enough to go back and read all the Nick TMNT comics yet, but maybe soon.
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