I got all the comics save 1 from FCBD this year and I’m going to be taking a look at a lot of them. I’m not going to do full detailed reviews. I’m going to look at each and try to give an assessment of whether each comic made me want to seek out and but more comics. That is, I assume, the purpose of these free comics. They’re teasers to try to get a customer to want more. Let’s see how effective this year’s batch were; my ratings will be as follows:
Buy: This either made me want to buy what comes next, or it looked like it was enough to make “someone who likes this sort of thing” buy more.
Pass: The comic didn’t provide me a compelling amount of material that made me want to follow it to the next level.
Secret Wars (Marvel)
Buy: This presents a new story with Valeria Richards that was kind of slow and I’m not really sure it’s going to make someone coming into the comic cold (like from the movies) want to buy more. I liked it, but I’ve been reading Marvel. People already bought into Marvel should see this as a good precursor to Secret Wars, but like with anything, I’m sure some Marvel fans won’t like it. There was also a backup story where Marvel heroes battle the giants from “Attack on Titan”. Another story that should resonate with a really specific demographic but I’m not sure if it has general appeal.
Marvel is kind of a strange beast since they’re so visible in the movies and pop culture. I think people bring some baggage with them when reading a Marvel comic that an Indie book that is completely unfamiliar to them doesn’t have to deal with.
All-New, All-Different Avengers (Marvel)
Pass: Another new story with, as promised, a completely new team of Avengers; Ms. Marvel, Ultimate Spider-Man, Nova, the female Thor, Sam Wilson Captain America, Vision, Nova. It also had a story of the Inhumans (being set up to be the new mutants of the Marvel Universe). I’m having a hard time separating my personal opinion of this and being objective. Nothing here made me want to read more, in fact it helped me decide to NOT order the new Avengers book. I’m not sure how people coming in cold who have not been reading Marvel will react to this, it’s VERY different from what they’re seeing in the movies. I really like Thor and Ms. Marvel in their own books, they did nothing for me here. I’ll keep up with them in their solo adventures.
Tales of Honor #0 (Image)
Buy: Really nicely done new story about Honor Harrington set up with some informative intro text and pictures. Hard Sci-Fi at its best, I think this will hit a sweet spot for people who are looking for something different in their comics.
Savage Dragon Legacy (Image)
Buy: I have not read a Savage Dragon comic in years but this comic brought me back up to speed in the course of the narrative. And I seem to have missed a LOT! Erik Larsen did a good job here weaving a Savage Dragon history lesson into a new story. If a reader digs what they’re seeing here, they are getting the perfect setup for what Larsen does every month in the regular comic.
Terrible Lizard (Oni)
Buy: A reprint of issue #1 of the all-ages series that serves as a commercial for buying the collected edition. This tale of an orange time-displaced T-Rex imprinting on a tween girl and being set up for a modern day adventure end on exactly the kind of cliffhanger that will compel someone who liked this to want to get more.
The Stuff of Legend/Thanatos Diver (Th3rd World Studios)
Pass: The Stuff of Legend of a GREAT series, I enjoy it immensely. The pages presented here fall FAR short of conveying what really makes this book special. They would have been far better off putting in a complete short story to give a solid feel for the series.
Thanatos Diver is something I was really looking forward to based on the description I had previously seen. Seeing a full 12-page story was a disincentive for me. The art was not working for me, it felt incomplete/unfinished, particularly in the faces of many characters. Stylistic preference for sure, but it was not working for me at all.
Legendary Comics Sampler (Legendary)
Pass: Legendary has put out some great comics, but they really dropped the ball with this sampler package. Instead of presenting some solid samples of comics they have some textual marketing blurbs and pages of unlettered sample art. I’m sure I’ll end up liking some of the series advertised here, but this comic did nothing to make me want to seek out more. I think they would have been better off picking 2 properties and presenting fully produced intro pages/stories: Pacific Rim and Black Bag, for instance. Had I gotten some entertaining new material I would have come away from this with a “Buy” feeling.
Steampunk Goldilocks (Antarctic Press)
Buy: I’m clearly not the target demographic for this book, but it was a full issue of material and should be enjoyable for the people who are into this kind of thing. Reading this is going to provide a really solid decision point on whether you want fore of this stuff from Antarctic.
Dark Circle Comics (Archie/Dark Circle)
Buy: This was a good intro for people who had never heard of or seen these reboots. Pretty worthless for people who have already been checking out the reboots as it’s just reprints of stuff that has been out for a while. This reprints the 1st 11 pages of the new Black Hood #1 and Fox #1 comics. They give a good feeling for what these books look like and people who like what they see should be out asking their shop for the comics. I wish there had been more for the upcoming Shield book than the couple of pages of sketches presented.
The Phantom (Hermes Press)
Buy: This gives a nice capsule summary of the Phantom’s origin and presents reprints of a couple of Gold Key Phantom stories and one from Charlton (with Jim Aparo art). This won’t be for everyone, but for people it clicks with, they will know that they can go out & get reprints of these old comics from Hermes.
Worlds of Aspen 2015 (Aspen)
Buy: Nice art and dynamic action in a 13 page story for Fathom: Blue and 12 page story for Eternal Soulfire. As with other books, this was a good sample of what you’ll be getting if you pick up these books. I had not previously been planning to get Eternal Soulfire, but the preview here has sold me on the series.
Super Mutant Magic Academy/Step Aside Pops (Drawn & Quarterly)
Buy: B&W reprints of 17 pages of 1-page gag-strips with the students of the SuperMutant Magic Academy and 13 pages of strips from Kate Beaton’s latest “Hark! A Vagrant” collection titled Step Aside, Pops. Another great sampling of what’s in store for you, you’re either going to be entertained or not, but this is a free sampler and it’s pointing you in the direction of where you can get more if this was entertaining to you.
Bob Bretall: firstname.lastname@example.org
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