Free Comic Book Day – Comic Reviews
If you haven’t heard of it before, Free Comic Book Day is an annual promotional effort by the comic book industry to attempt to bring new readers into independent comic book shops in order to pick up free comics. In it’s first six years, more than 2000 retailers in 30 countries gave away more than 12 million Free Comic Book Day special-edition comics.
Held on the first Saturday each May, Free Comic Book Day is like Boxing Day for nerds — you can go into your local comic book shop (or shops) for your chance to pick up some free comics, as well as enjoy great deals, some cosplayers and at some locations, even some BBQ. Some members of the GCE were able to get their hands on some free comics and have written reviews on them below!
Reviewed by Drew Comerford
With the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film from Marvel Studios, it wasn’t a surprise that the Guardians were a part of Free Comic Book Day 2014. What was a surprise was the introduction of a new member to the team from the ever growing Marvel roster.
The book follows Tony Stark, recently returned to Earth from his space romp with the Guardians of the Galaxy, looking to find a replacement hero to represent his planet on the team. He finds this replacement in Flash Thompson — Peter Parker’s childhood bully and the new Venom in the Marvel Universe. This issue does exactly what it should do. It introduces a relatively unknown team of heroes to the new audiences being brought in by the anticipation of the film. It’s written and drawn well, and is an enjoyable look at the lives of one of my favourite superhero teams. If you’re planning on seeing the movie in August and you know very little about the Guardians of the Galaxy, I would definitely recommend reading the FCBD book, which gives you just enough of their back stories to follow these characters on their first cinematic adventure.
The book also contains a fun little Spider-Man comic and a preview of the upcoming graphic novel “Thanos: The Infinity Revelation”. Both are great reads, making this issue one of my favourites to come out of 2014’s Free Comic Book Day and a must-have for every Guardians collector.
Written by Steph Mernagh
2000AD had some great marketing on their 48-page release, with the front cover teasing that Dredd was giving up the mantle of being a Judge with the line, “You crossed the line when you turned that perp into munce, Joe… from now on, Judge Dredd is no more!” But if you let your eyes wander the entire cover, you’ll see in the bottom right corner the admittance that the cover has absolutely nothing to do with the stories inside. Well played, 2000AD.
The first short comic titled Judge Dredd: The Badge introduces us to the ruthless world of Mega-City One. It’s so riddled with crime (and a chaos-bug outbreak), they’re tossing the cadets through the ranks just to get them out on the streets. The short features Stib Hartnell and his fight for survival. Of course, Dredd is there to get him through everything, but just barely. The comic gets you interested enough in Dredd to want to read more about him if you haven’t already, and the artwork by Chris Burnham is stylish and dark when needed.
The issue also includes Slaine, Rogue Trooper, Anderson, Psi-Division, Absalom, Durham Red and more.
Being a fan of Psi-Judge Anderson, I also read that short before writing the review. I hated the artwork but the story was alright; it definitely hinted at possible things to come and has me interested enough to look further into the psi-Judges storyarc. The book however is probably the best comic you can pick up for free as it introduces you to a bunch of different works from 2000AD.
Written by Dan Puchala
Rob Hood left Sherwood Texas many years ago to join the Navy and serve his country rather than live the outlaw biker life. But, when he returns for his fathers funeral, he’s pulled into the middle of a gang war that could see him risk his life to restore his families honor.
It sounds like, and it very much is, a modern day Robin Hood with bikers. The art really isn’t that great and the story seems weak, even for something that so far just reads as a retelling of a classic.
Unfortunately, the Boondock Saints comic doesn’t fair much better. The McManus brothers have recruited their long time friend Rocco to join their quest to serve as Gods vengeance against those protected by mans corrupt laws. Before the boys will consider Vincenzo a viable target, Rocco must first prove his worth with a tip about a boat smuggling drugs. The story just adds a piece that was missing into the original movie, giving us a little bit more about Rocco than the film did. Overall the story was alright but the artwork is atrocious! You are better off picking up something else.
Written by Jenni Sniffen
Skyward: Past Sins: story and art by Jeremy Dale. Te comic takes place in what seems to be like a post apocalyptic world. This story was more of an origin story; it starts with the tribes chieftain dying, and during the process shares some base history for the characters leaving two teenage children in charge of the tribe. I found the story interesting, the artwork was nice, and the dialog and scripting worked well. In my opinion while I did like the story, I just wasn’t intrigued enough feel like I need to continue reading. I understand this was just a sample of what the series will hold, however I felt thrown in the middle of a story I didn’t know and not enough was explained about it.
Midnight Tiger: story and art by Ray-Anthony Height. This was a pretty typical boy-becomes-hero story. In this comic, they refer to superheroes/villains as Metahuman. The main character is a teenage kid complaining that nothing happens in his town until a superhero enters fighting a villain, and lost. The superhero’s name is Lions Blood, to which you can assume what type of powers he has and before he dies, he give his powers to the kid. The kid orders a superhero outfit from a cosplay site and dons the name Midnight Tiger. Seems interesting enough, but also feels like it’s been done before. I think this is intended for and would be best for the younger generation just starting into the comic world.
Written by Jenni Sniffen
The look and feel of the comic lets you know that it’s about a steampunk version of Star Wars. While the characters and surroundings are very visually similar, and each item with it’s own steampunk flair, the names are changed. The artwork also has a very anime feel to it, which is not so bad. The story is rather typical; the empire is trying to find and squash the rebel alliance. Darth Vader’s character is called Lord Baron, and looks like some kind of robot pirate. Overall I can see the younger generations enjoying it, however the story is rather basic for the mature reader.
Written by Jenni Sniffen
All You Need is Kill: By Haika Soru, based on novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Visually, it’s a very nice comic but the story felt like it started in the middle and tried to explain everything afterwards. If I was able to read a complete first issue, I’m sure I would like it more. The story does a flashback to Earth when these creatures called “Mimics” arrived on the planet. This is also the base storyline to Edge of Tomorrow that Dante Harper adapted for the silver screen.
Terra Formars: Story by Yu Sasuga and Art by Ken-ichi Tachibana. This was in black and white, which normally I don’t mind. Also this seems to be a shojen turned into comic and translated; the wording doesn’t seem to be quite complete which makes me feel like it was translated. This is about astronauts who land on a planet and run into some cro-magnon form of the species that exists there. The story is very short and basically ends with them on the planet with the inhabitants there, leaving you to wonder ‘what will happen next?’
Did you pick up any comics during the Free Comic Book Day festivities? Let us know what your favorites were below!