28 Mar, 2014

THREE-VIEWS: Three New Titles Worth Checking Out!

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Midtownies! Raph is back, here with three more recent releases you should check out, and to be fair, they are three books from three different comics.


Written by: Bryan JL Glass

Art by: Victor Santos

Furious is a new serious (Issue #2 was released on Feb. 26th, 2014), from Bryan JL Glass (Mice Templar) that deals with a lot of themes of our pop culture, such as celebrities and their downward spirals. Furious is a new superheroine, and a violent one at that, but she has her heart in the right place. In a world where superheroes don’t exist, the spotlight is white hot on her, and what that spotlight does to a person. We also hear in snippets about the fall of a child star named Cadence Lark, which involved debauchery, an accident and the death of her parents, and (spoiler) how Cadence and Furious are actually one and the same. A thought provoking commentary on celebrity culture wrapped in a superhero shell.

Bryan Glass’ dialogue for Cadence is a bit brusque, but that fits the attitude of our socialite turned would-be hero: she’s not the greatest person in the world, but she’s trying to do some good despite the darkness in her past. Victor Santos’ art is terrific as well, I’m hooked in for this downward spiral that is the life of Furious, and you can expect that her fall will fit her nom de guerre.


Written by Amanda Connor & Jimmy Palmiotti

Art primarily by Chad Hardin

This book had a controversial beginning, with a poorly timed contest that had artists drawing an image in poor taste, but the quality of the book shines despite that ugly beginning. Harleen Quinzel, former doctor at Arkham Asylum turned psychopath, has be bequeathed a building in Coney Island, replete with tenants from the local freakshow, and tons of space for her extracurricular activities. Harley’s early adventures mostly consist of fairly innocuous things: rescuing animals from being put down, finding a refrigerator to put dead corpses, all with her trusty partner: a stuffed, talking beaver. The humor is a bit reminiscent of early Looney Tunes (the crass stuff that they don’t put on TV because Bugs and co. are for kids now), or even a certain Mouthy Mercenary… but Harley has always been an offbeat, out there character.

Jimmy Palmiotti is a known quantity when it comes to writing. I’m not sure how much I’ve read of Amanda Palmer’s work, but I know that she has drawn some of the best cheesecake in comics, and that includes pieces with Harley. She seems to have a decent grasp of the character, the four issues (zero issue included) were written fairly well and they felt natural to our favorite nutjob. Chad Hardin’s art is pretty evocative of artists like Stephane Roux and Todd Nauck, two artists whom I enjoy greatly. If you were turned off by the whole controversy last year, check the book out, it’s an enjoyable, fun book.


Written by G. Willow Wilson

Art by Adrian Alphona

Another book that got a lot of media attention, Ms. Marvel features the first Muslim-American character in a lead role. What is she like? How is she different from everyone? How much do they emphasize her “Muslim-ness”? Just what is Kamala Khan? Well it’s really quite simple: she’s a normal person.

More specifically, Kamala Khan is a teenage girl obsessed with superheroes. Wouldn’t you be, living in an Avengers world? Kamala’s family is from Pakistan, and she is a second generation American (first to be born here). Her culture comes up almost immediately as she faces discrimination from the popular kids in school, to having a more religious older brother, to the conservative parents. But is that inherently a Muslim experience, or is that more of a universal immigrant experience? I’m also a second generation American, and I could identify with a lot of what G Willow Wilson put into this first issue.

Speaking of G. Willow Wilson, she wrote the fantastic series Air, which I’ve read, and Cairo (which I have not). Her writing is a draw for me, and this series is no exception.  Kamala has a distinctive voice, and her struggle to fit into two worlds (and now a third: the superhero world) is very poignant and feels real. The additional twist of how Kamala gets her powers (spoiler) via the Terrigen Bomb Black Bolt unleashed in the page of Infinity (end spoiler) also adds another wrinkle to this complex character we’ve only barely gotten to know.

Add on top of this the art of Adrian Alphona, co-creator of the Runaways, and you have a dynamic team and a beautiful book. Mr. Alphona’s art has been a favorite of mine since his days on Runaways, and I haven’t seen it often, but I’m glad to see it on a book of this quality. This book is one of the better All-New Marvel Now launches, worth a look beyond the original hype.

So that’s my perspective, definitely give these books a look at, and feel free to comment below, and get a dialogue going. If there’s anything you’d like to put out there for others to check out, feel free to mention it the comments too. Thanks for reading!

31 Jan, 2014

Mark Waid and Dean Haspiel on The Fox and Red Circle’s Comeback!

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Bloggerinos! We here at Midtown enjoy any opportunity to see characters return to the pages of comics, and Red Circle has made it’s comeback. The imprint was created by Archie and is now back in their hands. I had the opportunity to read The Fox and it’s an unconventional, unusual story, one that is a welcome change of pace for comics in general, and a good example of high quality work that can help Red Circle thrive in the industry. I also had the opportunity to ask the creative team of the Fox, Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid, some questions about the series.

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05 Nov, 2013

REVIEWS: Velvet #1, Scribblenauts Unmasked and Captain America: The Winter Soldier Trailer

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Bloggerinos! Raph here, with reviews of a comic, a new game and the new trailer that debuted for Captain America: Winter Soldier! Thoughts after the break.


Velvet is the latest from the hard hitting noir team of Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting, whose last collaboration is the subject of my third topic. Velvet revolves around a fictional spy organization, reminiscent of James Bond and M.I. 6, the agents of A.R. 7 are the best in the best, the Batmen of the spy world: hidden in mystery, known only as legend… until one of their agents, X-14, is killed on a mission. This has never happened before, and the search is on for what’s gone wrong. Stuck in the middle of this is Velvet Templeton, a secretary at A.R. 7… or so we think. The mystery is just starting to reveal itself in issue one, and it’s pace is incredible. If you love Brubaker’s previous works, and are a fan of spy fiction, Velvet is a must have. Be sure to take a look at our own Midtown Exclusive Cover as well!


Scribblenauts is one of the most entertaining games I’ve ever seen: you enter words into a magic notebook, and out pops whatever you can think of. From Godzilla to Grilled Cheese, I don’t own the game, but watching friends play it always was an entertaining experience. So when the game makers announced a sequel, and one featuring the characters of the DC Universe, my interest was definitely piqued.

I’ve only played through about an hour or two worth of the game, but it’s already highly entertaining. You play as Maxwell a young boy with a magic notebook, and you are flung into the world of DC Comics, along with your twin sister Lili. Starting off in Gotham City, Maxwell explores the DC Universe, summoning weapons, items and heroes as needed… and the variety is mind boggling.

In one instance, I had Kyle Rayner as Ion, Saint Walker, The Spectre, Electric Red Superman, Zauriel, original Azrael and Azrael-Batman on the screen at one time… AMAZING! It’s definitely for fans of the DC Universe, regardless of era (everything defaults to New 52, but you can bring different versions of the characters out to play)

The game is available on Steam (PC Digital Download), Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U.



The Captain America: Winter Soldier trailer debuted recently, and I have to say, it definitely got a few squeals of joy out of me.

The story is based pretty heavily on Brubaker and Epting’s initial Captain America run, with a few changes to accommodate the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The plot revolves around two things: Cap being a man out of time, and the seeming return of his thought to be dead best friend Bucky. Robert Redford is supposed to play a senator who might have ties to Bucky’s resurrection, and both SHIELD and Black Widow seem to play big parts in this Cold-War style thriller. I am really excited to see this movie, but I’ll have to settle for the big dude with the hammer hitting people really hard with said hammer.

Until Next Time,

–        Raph

24 Jul, 2013

REVIEW: The Wolverine

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The Wolverine heads into theaters on July 26th, and will mark Hugh Jackman’s 5th appearance on screen as the character (6th if you count his brief cameo in X-Men: First Class), and with the films script based loosely on the beloved Wolverine mini series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, fans are expecting the best Wolverine their ticket price can buy. But does this tale of ninja and samurai warriors deliver? For the sake of ease in weighing the good with the bad, it behooves us to make a list. (Spoilers ahead.)
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13 May, 2013

Iron Man 3 Review (SPOILERS)

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Midtown Bloggerinos! Raph here, with a review of one of the most controversial superhero movies in recent memory: Iron Man 3! The movie debuted last Friday, and saw the 2nd best opening in history, behind The Avengers, which is a precursor to the events of the movie. A warning, dear Bloggerino, there will be MASSIVE SPOILERS. If you’re the one guy who hasn’t seen it yet, I suggest you avoid the parts marked spoilers.

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25 Mar, 2013


Posted by in: Blog|Reviews | Comments Off on VALIANT RISING: REVIEWS PART 2!

valiant logo

Bloggerinos! Raph here, with another round of reviews for the relaunch of the Valiant Universe. This time, we’re going to look at Archer & Armstrong, Bloodshot and Shadowman! Valiant has been doing an amazing job relaunching these core titles, and I want to highlight these wonderful books. Check out my thoughts after the break.

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