Gunslinger Spawn #16 (Jan 11th, 2023) | Comic Book Review

Writer: Todd McFarlane
Artist: Brett Booth
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: January 11, 2023
Cover Price: $2.99

Publisher’s Synopsis: ‘Parts of Gunslinger’s storied past are finally becoming clear. But there are secrets being kept from him that, if revealed, might set him on a new path of vengeance!’


My Thoughts

I’ve been reading Gunslinger Spawn since it was launched back in October 2021. From what I’ve been hearing, this comic is the current bestseller among the four SPAWN comic titles. This probably has a lot to do with how good the art is by Brett Booth, month after month. Also, it’s written by Todd McFarlane and is probably the best thing he has written in a while.

I’ve found it to be a very entertaining story. It has fun with the “fish out of water” theme, or should I say “man out of time.” It’s funny to see Gunslinger trying to get his head around our modern world. He gets some help with this from Taylor Bartlett, a young man who Gunslinger saved from the dark forces his father was working for. The western tropes are appreciated, too, especially when we get glimpses into Gunslinger’s past. I’d like to see more of this in future issues.

Overall, Gunslinger Spawn is a comic I can kick back and relax with. Sometimes it’s a bit over-the-top with the violence but most of all this comic book is fun. Did I mention the killer art by Brett Booth?.. Recommended!

(Below is the story summary I wrote for my video review if you are interested.)


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The FLASH issue #790 (Jan 10, 2023) | Comic Review

Writer: Jeremy Adams
Artist: Roger Cruz
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: January 10, 2023
Cover Price: $3.99

I’ve never read The Flash comic before, but I kept hearing how good this latest run by writer Jeremy Adams is. Words like ‘bright’, ‘fun’, ‘positive’, and ‘hopeful’ were being used in regards to this series. Also, the strong focus on family, which refreshingly delivers a very positive depiction of what we used to call the “nuclear family.” You know, husbad, wife, a couple of kids plus a pet or two. And they love and care for each other. Incredible, right?!

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2023 is the Year of the Rabbit

That means anyone out there with even a slight interest in comic books or Japan has to read at least one issue of USAGI YOJIMBO by Stan Sakai this year. I’m sorry but no exceptions allowed!

I know I’ve written about this long-running comic series before, but I wish it got more recognition and press. Writer and artist Stan Sakai has been chronicling the adventures of his “Rabbit Bodyguard” since 1984. So it’ll be Usagi’s 40th anniversary next year. That is very impressive, especially for a creator-owned independent comic book. SPAWN has been getting all the press recently but Usagi Yojimbo has been going for longer than Todd McFarlane’s Hellspawn. Spawn does have more issues though, because its run has never been interrupted, unlike Usagi Yojimbo.

After a long run with comics publisher Dark Horse, Usagi moved to IDW in 2019. But Stan Sakai was rumoured to be unhappy with IDW’s approach to the character. In September 2022, it was announced that Usagi would be returning to Dark Horse Comics. There haven’t been any new Usagi issues published since September, but the word is that Sakai will be collaborating with some “new talent” and they will continue publication of the ongoing Chibi UsagiSpace Usagi, and the Color Classics series. I look forward to any future issues of the main Usagi Yojimbo series.

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2022 – A Blogging Year in Review

I devoted a lot more of my free time to growing my YouTube Channel in 2022, which led to more comic books read but less “proper” books completed. Despite this change in hobby priorities, I still published 48 posts in 2022. Of those posts, only 14 were book reviews, 9 were comic book reviews, and 8 were Movie or TV reviews. In total, 31 reviews compared to 34 the year before.

After a quick check on the Wakizashi’s Teahouse YouTube Channel, I see that I made 104 comic book review videos in 2022. Imagine if I’d also posted short written reviews of those comics on WordPress. Definitely something to consider for this year.


Stats

Click on the Image for higher resolution

In 2022, the Blog got 13,014 views, up 27% on last year. “Visitors” were up 28% compared to 2021. But “Likes” and “Comments” were both down. Most of my traffic came from the United States, followed by the U.K., Australia, Canada, and Germany.

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SPAWN Comics Flying High!

It has been just over a year since Todd McFarlane released Spawn’s Universe #1 which heralded the addition of three new monthly Spawn titles to the original Spawn comic. We now have Spawn, King Spawn, Gunslinger Spawn and The Scorched. McFarlane is writing Gunslinger Spawn and drawing occasional covers for some of the comics. Spawn is currently being written by Irish writer Rory McConnville who has been writing for the British weekly comic 2000 AD. American writer Sean Lewis is writing the remaining two titles, King Spawn and The Scorched.

It’s difficult to get hold of accurate sales figures for comics these days. But from what I’ve read online or heard in interviews, all four Spawn titles are regularly in the monthly top sellers. It appears that McFarlane’s efforts have really paid off with not only the new titles selling well but also the flagship Spawn comic receiving a substantial lift in sales. Before issue #300 of Spawn was released in September 2019, the comic was shifting around just 15,000 issues a month. Now it’s said to be closer to 45,000, a huge increase which is matched by each of the new Spawn titles.

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Daredevil Comic Relaunched AGAIN! | DAREDEVIL #1 (2022)

The Daredevil comic book will always have a special place in my geeky heart. It was one of the first American comics that I bought and read monthly. This is going back to the late 1980s when Ann Nocenti was writing it after Frank Miller’s famous run on the title. I was fascinated by the character of Matt Murdock, blind lawyer by day, devil-horned crime fighter by night. Despite losing his sight as a child, he developed incredibly heightened senses of hearing, touch, smell and taste. The fact that he kind of resembled a red ninja was another reason I got interested in the character.

After a long time away from the comic, I started reading Daredevil again in 2019 when Chip Zdarsky began his run. He was joined by Italian artist Marco Checchetto who brought a gritty yet eye-catching style to the book. His art is spectacular at times with both realistic character renderings as well as dynamic and fluid action scenes. Checchetto’s run as artist on Daredevil has garnered a lot of deserved praise. I highly recommend you check out his work on the title.

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Jurassic League #1 (2022) Comic Review

Do you remember when comics were fun? I do. I enjoy most kinds of comics except for the ones that talk down to me or try to preach some unwanted message in my escapist entertainment. I’m not reading them for that. If I wanted that, I’d spend more time on Twitter or watch the mainstream news. I read comics because I grew up loving them. I read for the spectacular art and fantastic stories. I also read for the compelling characters and their heroes journeys. This might sound controversial but I read comics for fun. In my best Bill & Ted voice, “No Way!”

I appreciate fun, especially when its backed up by a compelling story. While I haven’t been exactly enamoured by the state of modern American comics, particularly the recent output from the so-called “Big Two,” I wanted to share my thoughts on a brand new mini-series from DC Comics. Jurassic League is exactly what you think it is: a Justice League of Dinosaurs. C’mon, what more do I need to say?

Daniel Warren Johnson’s Cover
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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

I’m a big fan of director Sam Raimi, especially his earlier movies. I love Darkman, Evil Dead II, The Quick and the Dead, Spider-Man and the brilliant Spider-Man 2. I’d heard this film was flawed but I still wanted to see it. I mean, I’m a huge comic book fan, too. I’m also an eternal (foolish) optimist who is a sucker for some fancy visuals.

Wakizashi’s Thoughts

Yes, this film is flawed. The basic plot premise is ridiculous. It shows obvious signs of its reported 50~80% of reshoots. But you know what? I enjoyed it. There, I’ve said it. Unleash your rotten tomatoes. I have been honing my ninja skills for the last twenty years, so I’ll probably dodge most of them in slo-mo Matrix style.

I went in with fairly low expectations and came out smiling. People seem to be forgetting what this is: a comic book movie. I went looking for magical battles between sorcerers and a mad-as-hell Scarlet Witch and that’s exactly what I got. There are some spectacular on-screen depictions of magical moments that could be ripped right off a comic book page. And I was happy with that. Easily pleased? Perhaps.

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Ice Cream Man (2018~) by W. Maxwell Prince & Martin Morazzo

Writing: W. Maxwell Prince; Art: Martin Morazzo; Colors: Chris O’Halloran

The best weird original creepy inventive comic book you’re not reading! Ice Cream Man is a kind of Twilight Zone meets The Outer Limits comic book series. Each story works as a one-and-done short story. There are almost no recurring characters outside of the titular Ice Cream Man. The series tackles such subjects as love, family, murder, madness, sex, drugs, music, ghosts, superheroes, sickness, cults, game shows, word puzzles, reality, identity, and on and on.

In an interview with Comic Book Herald, writer W. Maxwell Prince talks about how we tell our children not to accept food or other things from strangers, yet the ice cream man is trusted and accepted. Do children still flock to the ice cream van/truck in summer? Who is the ice cream man? He could be anyone, for example a serial killer, an alien, an escaped prisoner, a spy, an assassin, or even a kindly old man.

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Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #1 (2022) by James Tynion IV, Lisandro Estherren & Yanick Paquette

As a huge fan of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic, I’m always curious to read any new titles set in the same universe. I bought a copy of Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #1 which came out today, Tuesday April 12th 2022 priced $3.99. It’s written by James Tynion IV and has art by Lisandro Estherren & Yanick Paquette. Here’s my initial reaction/review of the comic. I will be making a video review for my YouTube channel after I finish work tonight.

*Some SPOILERS for the first issue.*

I’ve read the issue twice and would rate it 6 out of 10, mostly for the gorgeous art. I don’t know what to make of James Tynion anymore. I used to think he was a good writer capable of exciting and compelling comic book stories. Now I’m not so sure. The first three pages of this opening issue read like a creative writing exercise. Tynion uses an abundance of text bubbles to describe a couple of main character Flynn’s dreams in less-than-thrilling detail. From this we learn that Flynn was bullied in high school and she currently believes the world is turning to crap.

It gets much more interesting on page 4 where funnily enough there is no dialogue. Instead we get a purely visual piece of storytelling in which Flynn appears to glimpse something weird and horrific at the party she’s attending. On the dancefloor she sees an obese creature with tongues hanging out of its eyes. It’s a creepy image and acts as a taster of things to come. Incidentally, I’ve heard in interviews that the creative team are returning Sandman to its horror roots, a direction I am looking forward to. Let’s hope they really do it.

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