Welcome to part four of my 2021 Free Comic Book Day reviews. My pals at Stormwatch Comics in West Berlin, New Jersey send me these FCBD comics so I can read and write about them in the bloggy thing. On three occasions, I have reached my goal of reading and writing about all the FCBD comics from a given year.. I'll have disappointing news for you in a bit.
When I read and review FCBD comics, I look at three areas.
QUALITY: Is the material worthwhile?
ACCESSIBILITY: Is the material presented in such a way that someone coming to it for the first time can follow it?
SALESMANSHIP: After reading the FCBD offering, would someone want and be able to buy more of the same?
I score FCBD offerings on a scale of zero to ten. Each category is worth three points with the tenth point coming from my interest in seeing more of what’s ever in the book.
Enter the House of Slaughter [Boom! Studios] featured 18 pages of what appears to be a spin-off of Something is Killing the Children. It’s written by the prolific James Tynion IV with art by Werther Dell’edera, color art by Miquel Muerto and lettering by Andworld Design.
QUALITY: When I sampled Something is Killing the Children a while back, it didn’t do much for me. Given that I like this story much better, I’m going to give Killing another chance. Enter the House is intriguing with some interesting storytelling techniques. I want to see where it goes from this opening chapter.
ACCESSIBILITY: It’s not as accessible as I would like and a little more back story and clarity would have been helpful, but there is enough here to get me into the story.
SALESMANSHIP: Excellent. There are several pages of ads for other Boom titles and, on the inside back cover, a list of comics shops in several states. It makes sense to promote the shops, since they are still the backbone of the comics industry.
SCORE: Nine points out of a possible ten points.
Kyle’s Little Sister by BonHyung Jeong [JY/Yen Press] presents a 30-page excerpt from a series about a little sister who doesn’t get along with her older brother. She’s jealous of his popularity and is something of a flake.
QUALITY: This comic has a decent premise, but the presentation is lacking. Neither the writing nor the art appealed to me.
ACCESSIBILITY: Barely okay. The inadequate storytelling and writing often made it difficult for me to distinguish characters from one another.
SALESMANSHIP: Poor. There’s a back cover ad featuring six series and that’s it.
SCORE: Two points out of a possible ten points.
InvestiGators: Ants in Our P.A.N.T.S. by John Patrick Green [01: First Second] presents the first three chapters of a graphic novel aimed at kids 7-10. I reviewed an earlier FCBD InvestiGators issue in March of last year. Like that comic book, this story is filled with puns and corny jokes, but also includes a lot of back story to previous books. The title characters work for S.U.I.T. (Special Undercover Investigations Teams), wear vests that are Very Exciting Spy Technology, are prone to mistakes and have comical foes like former teammate turned villain Waffledile, who is part crocodile and part waffle. Because why not?
QUALITY: Decent. The opening chapters include a dream sequence, a meeting of the various agents that serves as a what has gone before summary, an interesting look at a teammate and the start of their current mission. The writing and art convey the silly fun that is this series.
ACCESSIBILITY: Between the inside front cover test and the writing, no one should have any difficulty getting into this series.
SALESMANSHIP: Good. While there aren’t a lot of ads for this title and other First Second books, the ones that appear will be useful for readers who enjoy the issue and want more of the same.
SCORE: Eight points out of a possible ten points.
Stray Dogs [Image Comics] presents the first 34 pages of the truly amazing series by Tony Fleecs with artist Trish Forstner, colorist Brad Simpson and layout artist Tone Rodriguez. The question posed in this issue is whether or not the mysterious unseen man who seems to be rescuing dogs is actually the serial killer of their owners. As soon as I finish writing this review, I’ll be ordering the trade paperback collection of the first five issues.
QUALITY: First-rate. This is one of the best Free Comic Book Day issues I’ve ever read. Every part of the material works together flawlessly.
ACCESSIBILITY: This is the start of the series and brings readers into the story easily.
SALESMANSHIP: Excellent. Four pages of house ads for Stray Dogs and two other Image titles.
SCORE: Ten points out of a possible ten points.
I’m admitting defeat, my bloggy friends. With Free Comic Book Day 2022 just weeks away, and with my full schedule of various things I must do before I leave for a family vacation on FCBD 2022, I will not be able to finish my reviews of the comic books given away on FCBD 2021. I’m throwing in the towel.
However, like your favorite super-heroes, you can’t keep me down. When I return from the afore-mentioned vacation, I will dive into the Free Comic Book Day 2022 comics and do my darnest to read and review them before the Halloween Horror-Fest giveaways lurch into your friendly neighborhood comic shops.
In the meantime, I’ll be posting new bloggy things as fast as I can write them. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you soon.
© 2022 Tony Isabella
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