Secret Wars: Secret Love #1
Marvel Comics Writer/Artist Michel Fiffe, Writer/Artist Felipe Smith, Writer Jeremy Whitley, Artist Gurihiru, Writer Marguerite Bennett, Artist Kris Anka, Letterer Clayton Cowles Writer/Artist Katie Cook
Most of the Secret Wars book have been very disappointing but there have been a few rare gems that have sneaked through and this week brings us Secret Love. The book has five short stories and they are all very charming, sweet and a lot of fun. It’s been a long time that I can remember that Marvel published a romance book and it would be nice to see a book like this come out a few times a year and have fun with the Marvel Universe. The good news is that all five stories are very good but for me the two big stand outs were Misty and Danny Forever by Whitley and Gurihiru and Squirrel Girl Wins a Date with Thor by Bennett and Anka. The Squirrel Girl story has to be one of the wildest stories that I have read and made me laugh out loud. I liked that fact that the writers stuck to the slice of life motif for the stories and they all worked well together. On the artwork side Fiffe’s Daredevil story was visually one of the most imaginative and very impressive. The other was of course Cook’s Ant-Man story that is simply adorable. While this book is not going to be for everyone but the thing that I really liked about it was the good feeling I had after reading the book and that is what made it special. RECOMMENDED!
Welcome Back #1
Boom! Studios Writer Christopher Sebela, Artist Jonathan Brandon Sawyer, Colorist Carlos Zamudio, Letterer Shawn Aldridge
A lot of Boom book tend to be a real mixed bag, some are good and some not so good. Welcome Back lands in the good category. Sebela does two thing right in this first issue. First he gives a nice introduction to the characters and then sets up the story with a well paced first issue. The key to he book working is that you get to know Mali before all of the weird stuff starts to happen to her so that when the story kicks in you go along with her on her journey. Sebela weaves the multiple layers of the story together very well and while your thrown off a little by the flashbacks they are meant to do that just as they throw off Mali. Sawyer’s artwork is very nice and really puts a lot of detail into the art. The art gives a great boost to the story and makes the book work so well. This book was a real surprise this week and has a lot of good things going for it. There is also a nice set up to the next issue that leaves you wanting more that is a huge plus. The book gets off to a solid start and I am intrigued to see where this story goes. RECOMMENDED!
Midnight Society: The Black Lake #2
Dark Horse Comics Writer and Artist Drew Edward Johnson, Colorist Daniele Rudoni, Letterer Steve Durto
The first issue of Midnight Society got off to a good start and the second issue will give some readers mixed feelings. After reading the second issue there are two things that Johnson is doing. First the story is not really reading well as a monthly book. The reason is that they story will work better as a whole than as four monthly issues. Second the noir tone of the book is a very deliberate and some will find it slow but again it goes back to the breaking of the story up that is throwing it off a bit for some. For me I appreciate the “old school” aspect to the unfolding of the story. Johnson is letting the story flow over you instead of the instant gratification that so many comics suffer from today. On the art side is where the book is really special. While I still wish that it was in black and white the color work by Rudoni does a good job of not overpowering the Johnson’s artwork. Overall I am still enjoying the book but this book is not going to be for everyone. If you’re a fan of older mystery and science fiction movies and books then this book is for you.
Archie Comics Writer Mark Waid, Artist Fiona Staples, Colorist Andre Szymanowicz with Jen Vaughn, Letterer Jack Morelli
With a strong debut first issue Waid and Staples deliver an even better second issue that is a rare feat in comics. This new re-imagining of the Archie Universe is simply one of the best books being published now. Waid really gets what made Archie work so well in the first place but he just brings the cast into the current world but still makes it feel just the same. The one thing that has always been missing from Archie is a real sense of story. Almost all of the story were simple and fun but didn’t really have much depth to them. This is where this incarnation really shines. Waid gives readers a reason to care about the residents of Riverdale and give them more than a regular 20 page story that begins and ends ever issue. We now have a great reason to continue to read the book. I don’t think that there could have been a better artist to start the book off than Staples. While it will be sad that she is only doing the first four issues it will be a real benchmark for all other artist that will follow. She brings such a fresh approach to the book but keeps things the way that they need to be to make the book work perfectly. She gives the book a tremendous amount of emotions and heart with her artwork that it’s simply charming that captures the youthful spirit of the story. If you are not reading this book because it’s Archie then you are missing one of the most enjoyable reading experiences each month. This is a must read book and simply perfect. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
DC Comics Writer Heath Corson, Artist Gustavo Duarte (with guest artists Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba), Colorist Pete Pantazis, Letterer Tom Napolitano
The road trip of the century continues with this issue landing Bizarro and Jimmy Olsen in an old west tourist trap town that is inhabited by ghost. Corson has a lot of fun with the whole wild west theme of this issues story. I love how he is having each issue be a stand alone type story but still is adding to the overall road trip aspect of the book. This issue was a real blast with the ghost and western theme that made for a mix of humor that has been one of the great trademarks of this book. Corson keeps the story rolling along quite nicely and that he keeps the story on the simple and light side. Duarte’s art is simply wonderful. His cartoony approach to the artwork makes the book such a visual treat and this issue is one of his best. He is having a ball drawing the old west theme this issue and seeing Bizzarro in the poncho is priceless. I love this book and the fact that each issue is a different theme along the road is the best part of the story. It allows Corson and Duarte to do and go wherever they please with the book and that is why it’s one of the best of the new crop of DC comics. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Howard the Human #1
Marvel Comics Writer Skottie Young, Artist Jim Mahfood, Colorist Justin Stewart, Letterer Travis Lanham
This is a book that is a great idea on paper but doesn’t quite work as well as the idea. Young can write well as we have seen with his Rocket Raccoon book but I think where the book misses the mark a bit is that it’s a straight forward detective story and the characters are just flipped. Howard’s a human and the inhabitants are animals and that is it. The story is a decent read but in the end is nothing special. It seems that Young has missed the point of how and why the original Howard the Duck worked so well. This book has a similar problem that the regular monthly Howard book had, it misses the point of Howard being the outsider. In this story he human and nothing else. Young didn’t play up on any of those elements in the story. The only thing that does work in the book is Mahfood’s art that really visually gives the book the bite that is missing from the script but he can only do so much because of the story that he has to work with. Overall the book is not bad but it’s nothing special either. It’s worth picking up for Mahfood’s artwork but it’s a slight recommendation at best. This book could have been a real treat but in the end it is just average.
Image Comics Writer Ales Kot, Artist Matt Taylor, Colorist Lee Loughridge, Letterer Clayton Cowles
I was very intrigued by the first issue of this book, but sadly the second issue has me questioning where the direction of the book is going. Kot’s pacing on this issue really treads water here and is surprising considering how well the first issue was paced. Another fatal mistake is that when you have characters talk with speech impediments the reader still needs to understand what is going on. There are two scenes the first being the worst that suffer from this problem. The bigger issue with the story is that nothing really happens in this issue. There are some good ideas that do occur but the book just sits there while your reading it. Taylor’s artwork seems a bit more sparse this issue and he does one of my big pet peeves in that color is not a background. I don’t mind minimalistic artwork but it felt as if there was not a lot of effort beyond the characters. This book is on really shaking ground and has about one more issue unless the next issue make up greatly for this disappointing second issue.
Invader Zim #2
Oni Press Writers Jhonen Vasquez & Eric Trueheart, Penciller Aaron Alexovich Inker Megan Lawton, Colorist Simon Trussellier with J.R. Goldberg, Letterer Warren Wucinich
Zim is back and this issue concludes the first storyline from the first issue and keep the quality spot on. Vasquez and Trueheart make sure that the comic feels as much like the television show as possible. I do like how they get that the comic book canvas is infinitely open and you have an unlimited budget and they really use that this issue. Having Dib visit the space roadside attraction is pretty genus and makes for silly fun. Where this book really nails it is the ending which I won’t spoil but it is perfect. This comic is like having the show back with all of the things that made us love the show in the first place. The comic hits all of the weird beats that the animated show did but with none of the network interference. Alexovich and Lawton should get hazard pay for having to draw all of the crazy stuff that the scripts throw at them. They are doing a wonderful job of keeping the comic as close to the style of the show but push the visuals to a new level of weird. My only worry about future issues is that Vasquez is only writing the first two issues and hopefully Trueheart is up to the task with future issues. I really have to give Oni props for doing this book and getting Vasquez to kick off the book. This book is a rare feat that not only is great but keeps the things that made the animated show so special, and now we have this book that is just as special. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Marvel Comics Writer Gerry Duggan, Artist Nik Virella, Colorist Lee Loughridge, Letterer Clayton Cowles
One of the other fun Secret War books that there are so few of got off to a great start with this What If type story. Duggan story idea for this book is simply fantastic because he can use any character in the Marvel Universe and give them a fun spin in the wild west setting of the story. Like the Secret Love book this week it’s nice to see a western comic back again. The best aspect of the story is that Duggen doesn’t try and change any of the characters for the story. They all fit perfectly in this world but he gives a different perspective of them. After the events in this issue I am very excited to see where he is going to take the story. Virella’s art gives the story the grit that it visually needs to work. The gunfight scene was very well laid out and did an nice job of balancing the drama with the action. This is a really good looking book. This is a fun book and with the twist and turns in the story I am eager to see how it’s all going to work out in the end.