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411’s Comic Reviews: The Avengers #1, Venom #1, More

May 10, 2018 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Avengers 1

Hello and welcome to 411mania’s weekly Comic Book Review Roundtable! Each week we’ll be serving up a warm dish of reviews from Marvel, DC, and anything else that captures our interest. What did you pick up this week? Let us know in the comments.

Want to write a review? If you can write at least one review a week, consistently, email me at [email protected]!

Yesterday we discussed The Best Avengers Villains!

Now on with the show!

Hot Lunch Special #1

Preview by Stephen Gustafson

From Eliot Rahal, the writer of Cult Classic, The Paybacks and Quantum & Woody comes HOT LUNCH SPECIAL, with art by Jorge Fornes (Amazing X-Men, Wolverine, Magnus)! A midwestern noir series set in the harsh landscape of the northern Minnesota Iron Range—Hot Lunch Special is all about family, food and the fight for survival.

The Khourys are a classic immigrant success story: A fractious and quarrelsome Lebanese family who carved their slice of the American Dream by becoming the largest distributors of vending machine sandwiches in the upper northern Midwest.

Unfortunately, the Khourys gains have been ill-gotten and a branch of the Chicago Irish Mob has come back to collect a past debt. Fealty is demanded, shots are fired, and long-hidden family secrets are fully revealed. Now, Dorothy Khoury, the daughter of the family patriarch is forced to unite her splintered bloodline and fight back.

Only one question is worth asking…is blood thicker than sandwiches?

Writer Eliot Rahal spoke about the premise of Hot Lunch Special: “HOT LUNCH SPECIAL is, in its simplest terms, a story about a small-town family with big dreams that gets a little too big for their shoes. They take on more than they can chew, and end up getting into a bloody and merciless war with one of the most feared Irish crime syndicates in America.

Here’s the sort of elevator pitch:

“The Khourys are sandwich Kings of Minnesota. These All-American Arabs are a delicatessen dynasty stretching back over eighty years that rules over the entire upper northern midwest. And now… they’re under siege. An ancient contract has been broken and the Irish Mob has come to collect a debt. War has been declared. And Dorothy Khoury isn’t so sure that her father, the family patriarch — Jordan Khoury Senior — is capable of doing what it takes to claim victory. It’s parent against child, brother against sister. The frayed family must unite in order to survive, but one question casts doubt: “Is blood thicker than sandwiches?”

But the book is also so-so much more than that. This is a story I’ve been trying to tell for a very long time, and to be perfectly honest I’m really nervous. The characters, who have been so beautifully brought to life by Jorge Fornes, are inspired by the kinds of people I grew up around. The people I was raised by–my family It’s incredibly personal. But because of that, I think people are going to be able to really connect to it. Many millennials, such as myself, have a complicated relationship with their parents and siblings. Most can relate. No one can piss you off more than your loved ones. So I’m trying to bring as much of that into this story. HOT LUNCH SPECIAL is about the people that define us, and how we find our individual identities despite them. This story is all of the crazy stories that grandparents pass down to their children. It’s about our best and worst birthdays. It’s about the pain. The joy. And the love.

Oh, and also. Listen. All those words and feelings are cool and whatever. But seriously…. You just need to buy this book because of Jorge. I mean. Every page is just so dang pretty to look at. And that Robert Hack variants? Get the fuck out of town! So good.”

Warhammer 40,000: Deathwatch #1

Preview by Stephen Gustafson

Written by Black Library superstar Aaron Dembski-Bowden!

The best of the best and the most dangerous space marines from every chapter are called to the Deathwatch! They alone have the strength of mind and body to wield alien weapons and battle the enemy across the universe, manning the wall to defend humanity from the Xenos that would destroy them. When a tide of savage Orks sweeps across the galaxy, a Deathwatch squad is dispatched to stem the flow… Whatever the cost!

Farlaine the Goblin: Book 6: The Winglands

Review by Stephen Gustafson

“Farlaine the Goblin has spent years wandering the very many Oddlands of Wug in search of a forest to call his own.

He only has 5 lands left.”

I just had the pleasure of being introduced to the world of Farlaine the Goblin not too long ago and found the books to be dazzling to a degree rarely seen in Independent books.

I can honestly say that each and every page is filled with beautiful artwork and a story that will have a smile on your face from beginning to end. I have to say (again and again) that Farlaine encompasses everything that is fun and good about the comic book medium.

A mix of genres is masterfully balanced, giving the reader a tale of adventure, humor, and magical delight. Farlaine the Goblin is one of those rare books that everyone should be reading because it offers something for the lighthearted in all of us.

I’m at a loss of words on how writer/artist Pug Grumble is able to do it all.

You don’t need to know much in order to enjoy this book but I urge you to start at the beginning. You simply won’t find a better value in comic books today.

The book follows a small tree Goblin named Farlaine who is searching for a forest to call his own. Along the way he encounters a variety of characters who help, and sometimes hinder, his search.

Book 6 finds Farlaine the Goblin traveling to The Winglands, a flying land where everything grows wings! From butterfly wings to fairy wings to grasshopper wings, this is a land full of flapping.

The story engages all-ages and the art will make you stop and stare in its detail and clean form. Each page is layered with wonder that’s meant to be discovered and appreciated. A true delight to the eye.

Again, I cannot do this book a disservice by comparing to anything else on the stands because it easily stands out on its own. This book perfect to introduce kids to what comic books offer or for the seasoned reader who needs a reminder of how fun comic books can be.

Grab this on Amazon and tell your friends, Farlaine the Goblin truly deserves a larger audience. And cross your fingers that Mr. Grumble continues to write and draw for many years!

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Murder #1

Review by Stephen Gustafson

Warning: this story contains graphic violence and mature language.

Murder #1 is not for the faint of heart but when you look at the subject matter and the message, it’s a book people need to read.

A thrilling mix of sci-fi and drama, Murder throws us into a world where domesticated animals are linking together physically, one species at a time. We also meet The Butcher’s Butcher, who stands out as a truly striking character. The Butcher’s Butcher is the only human on earth who can hear the thoughts of theses animals and communicate back telepathically with them.

The book revolves around the bond between humans and non-human animals and how their lives touch daily. Rodeos, dairies, hatcheries and farm animal sanctuaries, this book will make you look at the minute details of the mundane world of service animals in a new light.

World building, especially in Independent comics, can be a tricky thing and usually writers attempt to do too much, forgetting to anchor the reader with a memorable character. Co-authors Matthew and Brittany Loisel take the challenge and set up the reader for a thoughtful, gripping journey.

The first issue does exactly what it’s supposed to do. Set the stage and give us an idea of where things might be going. You’ll find yourself in the minds of dogs, cats, chicken, and cows. While you might hesitate, I can assure you this book delivers in its presentation.

Artist Emiliano Correa takes the story and presents a clean, easy to navigate style, which is a must when it comes to an unknown project. The mood of the story is clearly read through the art and compliments both quiet and action scenes.

Issue #1 of Murder is expected to be released early-Summer 2018 so keep your eyes peeled. Even if you’re not the biggest animal lover, it’s message resonates long after you put it down.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10

The Avengers #1

Review by RobF

Iron Man. Thor. Captain America. These 3 heavy hitters make up the nucleus of the greatest super team of all time (sorry Justice League). Add the Black Panther, Dr Strange, She Hulk,
Ghost Rider and Captain Marvel and you have unparalleled power. Will it be enough to stand up to a Celestial killer? Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness are no strangers to epic storylines and this one is shaping up to be one of the classics.

The story begins with a little taste of what we saw in Marvel Legacy #1. I for one want much, much more of the 1st Avengers. We then move to the present, where Stark, Odinson and Rogers are contemplating the need for an Avengers team, whether they should reunite. Before they can decide they are interrupted by a galactic event, so large they will need their collective firepower to handle it. Will it be enough?

This is an event of titanic proportions, so you need a writer with experience in these types of stories, so Jason Aaron is a great choice. It jumps back and forth from the past and the present, as have many of Aaron’s stories, and it works here. It helps that the art team of Ed McGuinness and Mark Morales bring their ‘A’ game as well.

With the movie fresh in the public consciousness the spotlight is on the Avengers. This comic is a great jumping on point for new readers with enough nostalgia for us old school fans. I highly recommend this issue.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Venom #1

Review by John Pumpernickel

Not too long ago I reviewed Venomized it rated it a shaky 7.5 out of 10. It felt overloaded and was a bit too much so I picked up Venom #1 with a hesitant feeling.

I didn’t need to be.

Writer Donny Cates and artist Ryan Stegman.kick off the first issue in stellar fashion and keep things focused and moving. This is one of those instances that I can recommend this for both old fans and newcomers drawn to learn more after watching the Venom movie trailer.

For a character that’s been around for 30 years, spun-off from Spider-Man, and over-saturated back in the 90s, Venom #1 felt fresh. The art over-delivers on every page and you’ll find yourself going back to take it all in.

The book sets the right tone and the art his the darker mood of the character. Eddie Brock is battling poverty and finding it difficult to control his erratic symbiote self.

A hearty thumbs up and another one to add to the pull list.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

That’s all the time we have. Tell us what you’re reading below and see you back here next week! Youcan now find our reviews on!