A bit smaller week of new comic books that is a nice change of pace so it makes this weeks reviews a little easier. So let’s get cracking shall we.
Helena Crash #1
IDW Writer Fabian Rangel Jr., Artist Warwick Johnson Cadwell, Letterer Ironbark
This is one of those books that kind of comes out of nowhere and is both unique and odd at the same time. What you first notice is the visual style of the book and I’ll get to that in a minute but what I liked the most about this book was the story. Rangel script is simple and sweet and gets the book off to a fun start. On the surface the plot is basic and been done before but as with any story like this it’s where you can bring it a fresh feeling and this is where Rangel does a nice job of keeping this first issue moving along nicely. The other thing that works well for the book is that it doesn’t try to be more than it is. In a way it aims for the middle and nails it. So many comics try to create this elaborate premise and it never lives up to it. In the case of Helena Crash it keeps things simple and the story unfolds nicely and gives you a good reason to come back for the second issue. Visually is going to be not for everyone but I really liked Cadwell’s kinetic artwork that has a nice underground vibe to it. This gives the story a nice visual punch that does a nice job of pulling the story together. I also enjoyed Cadwell’s color work on the book that added a lot to his line artwork. While I would have like to seen some more backgrounds in the art it didn’t distract too much from the visuals.
Is this book worth your time and money? While the book didn’t knock my socks off, I did find it rather charming and fun. Keeping the story simple really helped out a lot but the best part was that the story is centered around a very simple premise that makes it work so well. Cadwell’s artwork is very bold for a fairly mainstream book and gives the comic a great visual boost that makes it standout. If you looking for something different and fun you should give the book a try. I did and I liked it.
X-O Manowar #1
Valiant Entertainment Writer Matt Kindt, Artist Tomas Giorello, Colorist Diego Rodriguez, Letter Dave Sharpe,
One of my gripes with Valiant is that a lot of their books are not new reader friendly and that has really not helped them breakout beyond their core audience. But lately they have really made some strides in helping with this problem. Faith was a huge hit but was very new reader friendly. Kindt is one of my favorite current writers but a lot of his none created comic have been a bit flat for me. While this book I don’t think is as good as his own books, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by it. While there is references to previous stories, he does not let it get in the way of things and gives the book a very fresh start. What I liked about this first issue is that Kindt takes a nice pace to the story and if unfolds very naturally. The story does a nice job of setting things up and yet keeps a lot of things close to the vest for future issues. I never read the previous incarnation of the book so I’m starting fresh here with no previous connection to the character or story. I would have liked a bit more character development with Aric but hopefully that will come over the next few issues. The story has a nice mix of action and philosophy that blend together for a good read. Where the book really shines is the artwork by Giorello. This is a fantastic looking book that exudes style and detail that gives the book a grand epic feel and look. Where it’s most impressive is the dramatic moments in the story that give great emotional impact. I want to also mention Rodriguez’s gorgeous color work on the book that blends perfectly with Giorello’s line work. It’s one of the better looking color jobs that I have seen in a while that you really notice how much it stands out in a very good way.
Is this book worth your time and money? I rather enjoyed the first issue and will defiantly give the book a few more issues to see where they take it. Kindt and Giorello work really well together and have crafted a very solid comic that is a great jumping on point for new readers. Worth picking up this week.
Will Eisner’s The Spirit: The Corpse-Maker #2
Writer/Artist/Letterer Francesco Francavilla
I was really knocked out by the first issue of this mini series and this second issue does not disappoint. While the first issue had a great start, what I loved about this second issue is how Francavilla digs deeper into the darker elements of the story and is slowly peeling back the layers of it and makes for a very enjoyable read. One thing that Francavilla pulls off masterfully is the balance of story and artwork that Eisner did so well with The Spirit. The reason why the book works so well is that book has the perfect balance of story and artwork that blends into a great reading experience. This is a book that takes it’s time to let the story seep into you while you read it and savor the artwork. This is where the book really shines because Francavilla take the essence of what Eisner did with The Spirit but makes it all his own. It’s a great balance of homage and originality all in one.
Is this book worth your time and money? What better way to celebrate Eisner’s Spirit than having Francavilla craft a book that brings The Spirit to a whole new generation of readers. As a fan of Eisner’s Spirit I can safely say that Eisner would have love his interpretation of the character. This is a book that comes along rarely and shows what make the comic medium so great and important. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Black Hammer #7
Dark Horse Comics Writer Jeff Lemire, Artist Dean Ormston, Colorist Dave Stewart, Letterer Todd Klein
Black Hammer is one of those rare books that delivers a story each issue that might just be the best yet. We finally get the story of what happened to the Black Hammer and it might just be one of the most touching superhero stories that I have read in quite a while. Lemire script perfectly unfolds the origin and death of him in a way that delivers a really emotional experience. What really knocked my socks off with this issue is that even though you know the ending your still surprised by it and hits you really hard in the heart. While the story is fantastic it’s Ormston’s artwork that brings this heartfelt story to life. I loved how he gave the two stories a slightly different art style that was very subtle but helped with the build up to the final payoff of the story. Rarely does artwork deliver this amount of emotions in a “superhero” comic. This is what is making this book so special is that it’s a perfect blend of story and art that is simply magical.
Is this book worth your time and money? I have been a fan of this book from day one but this issue is a real stand out. The emotions, characters, and story come to life in a way that delivers one of the best reading experience of the week. This book is not only a must read but is one of the best series going now. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
Wonder Woman #19
DC Comics Writer Greg Rucka, Artist Liam Sharp, Colorist Laura Martin, Letterer Jodi Wynne
When I was reading this issue I discovered that this story arc is like a great espionage film. While not entirely like a spy film but the elements of the overall story feel that way and that is what I’m loving about this book. Rucka is taking Wonder Woman in a variety of stories and elements that have really put a fresh spin on not only Wonder Woman but superhero comics as well. Where this book has really excelled at is the wonderful pacing that Rucka delivers each issue. The story while dense has a great flow while your reading it and this issue delivers in spades on that. It also leads up to an amazing cliffhanger that will have you speechless at the end and wondering how are they going to pull this off. Sharp continues to deliver some of his best artwork yet. What makes this book work so well is the subtle and dramatic artwork that he brings to this book. Sure he brings a great flashiness to the action scenes but was I really love is how he captures all of the little details in Rucka’s script and brings them all to life.
Is this book worth your time and money. Wonder Woman is hands down the best of the Rebirth titles. The fact that we are getting two great story lines each month makes each issue special and a treat. It really is having the best of both worlds. The Rucka and Sharp stories continue to deliver a level of quality that mainstream comics has been sorely missing. This book is proving that superhero comics can be that good. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!