Lots of comics to get to this week. The relaunch of Vertigo Comics starts this week and it’s off to a good start. Two more Bendis creator owns comics lands from DC Comics this week also. Overall a pretty big week with lots to get to so let’s get going shall we.
Border Town #1
Vertigo Comics Writer Eric M. Esquivel, Artist Ramon Villalobos, Colorist Tamra Bonvillain, Letterer Deron Bennett
The new reliance of the Vertigo imprint at DC beyond the Sandman Universe starts here with Border Town that is first out of the gate and gets the revamped line off to a very good start. While Esquivel has to deliver a pretty good amount of exposition here in this first issue, he does keep the pacing of the story moving along nicely. While there are still some mysteries to the elements that he presents here he sounds the story nicely with Frank and gives the reader a solid footing into this world. There is a fair amount of social commentary that goes along with the story but it’s not entirely the center of it. The one thing that I really enjoyed about the story is how he blends current events with mythology and urban legends and makes it feel fresh and exciting. There is a lot to take in with this first issue and you will find yourself a bit lost as to what is going on but in a way that is exciting because it dares you to want more and as we see at the end of this first issue is that he is just getting started. One of the big reasons that this book works so well out of the gate is the brilliant artwork by Villalobos that brings this book to life perfectly with a level of detail that is sure to impress readers greatly. The one thing that he does very well is facial expressions that is one of the reasons that the book works so well. There is no doubt that the monster aspect of the story is what will stand out to a lot of readers but its the smaller more dramatic scenes that is what really impressed me. I have to give props to Bonvillain’s color work on the book because she not only complements Villalobos’s line work quite well but captures the feel of Arizona’s rich color palate that really stands out.
Is this book worth your time and money? It’s been sad that once Fables ended at Vertigo that the line sort of lost it’s way. That is not to say that there were not good comics that came out post Karen Burger and Shelly Bond era but, there was a lack of focus and if this book is any indication that Mark Doyle is getting things back on track. Esquivel and Villalobos have delivered an exciting comic that is both timely and mysterious at the same time. I really liked this first issue and cant wait to see where this ride will take us. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
James Bond: Origin #1
Dynamite Comics Writer Jeff Parker, Artist Bob Q, Letterer Simon Bowland
I was excited when this book was announced because it could be a great James Bond story that have never been told before but sadly it was disappointing. It’s not to say that Parker’s script is bad but the problem is that it just doesn’t feel like a Bond story and that is where the problem lies in that it’s a pretty generic story that if you took the James Bond name off of it, it could work with any other name. The story is a very by the numbers affair here and there is not much that is really compelling to make you want to come back for a second round. I get that there is not going to be the classic Bond tropes but a basic school boy who is good at Judo is not the stuff of legends. Parker is a good writer and I’m a huge fan of his Future Quest comic over at DC but this sadly is simply pedestrian scripting that doesn’t make for a compelling or memorable read. Bob Q’s artwork is decent and a bit above average for a Dynamite book but there is an inconsistency problem that he struggles with that is noticeable throughout but his color work helps but really can’t save this book in the end.
Is this book worth your time and money? Fans of James Bond or even casual readers won’t really find much here. As we have seen with Young Indiana Jones going back to tell stories about famous action icons doesn’t work out all that well. It’s not that the book is bad but honestly it’s pretty forgettable and with many better comics to choose from it’s a pass. SKIP IT!
Bully Wars #1
Image Comics Writer Scottie Young, Artist Aaron Conley, Colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Letterer Nate Piekos
Young as an artist has been great but his writing has been both hit and miss but with Bully Wars he has found a good idea and nice execution with it. The one thing that we can all relate to is a bully even if you have never been bullied before. While the subject can be a bit touchy with the whole wave of political correctness (and that is not to say that I condone any level of bullying) but trying to tell an amusing story about it is going to be a tough nut to crack. What he does with the story twist was quite ingenious and wisely gives the story a not so serous tone but simply a fun little diversion. While on the surface the cast of characters are caricature of familiar tropes but you will find that they have a streak of real life to them and it creates the perfect balance of the two. Young keeps the story simple and fun that defiantly adds to the charm factor of the book. Conley really makes this book shine with his fun and adorable artwork that adds a nice cartoony style that is not only visually pleasing but captures all of the small nuances of Young’s script and brings it perfectly to life on the page and is a visual feast for the eyes.
Is this book worth your time and money? The best thing about this book is that it doesn’t try to be more than it is. It’s simply a fun little book that is both charming and visually adorable and well worth checking out. They also give a good reason to come back for a second issue with a nice little cliffhanger that is sure to please. RECOMMENDED!
The Vigilant #1
Rebellion/2000AD Writers Simon Furman/Bruce Leslie/Karl Stock/Aaron Slack, Artists Simon Coleby/DaNi/Henrik Sahlstorm/Warwick Fraser-Coombe & Staz Johnson, Colorists Len O’Grady/John Charles, Letterers Simon Bowland/Sam G
I love when publishers bring back long-lost heroes from their past and try to do something new with them but this book is sadly one of the biggest messes that I have almost ever read. The main story by Furman and Coleby is simply too confusing to make any sense of what is going on and there are so many characters that are running around and have no idea who they are and what they do. While in the front cover of the book there are small synopsis for each hero but that does little to make sense of the so-called story here. There is little motivation in Furman’s script to what is going on beside the bad guys are doing bad things and the heroes must stop them for some unknown reason beyond the typical saving the world. There is a bunch of fight scenes and a lot of dialog that makes things even more confusing than you already are. It’s like a six issue mini series that has been chopped up and squeezed into 24 pages. The there are three short stories that take place in-between the main story that really doesn’t add anything to the main story and ends up being filler for this mess of a comic. The artwork on the main story by Leslie is good and conceding the lack of script that he had to work with it’s amazing that it came off as well as it did. The back ups stories look OK but I will say that Coombe and Johnson’s artwork on the Steel Commando is the best of the bunch overall.
Is this book worth your time and money? I have no idea what Rebellion was thinking with this book. Reviving little known British characters to a modern audience is not a terrible idea but this truly half assed attempt was simply embarrassing all around. It’s hard to tell who’s to blame for this mess but the one thing is for sure is to make sure that you don’t waste your time or money on this train wreck. AVOID THIS COMIC!
Jinxworld/DC Comics Writer Brian Michael Bendis, Artist David Mack, Colorist Zu Orzu, Letterer Carlos Mangual
Cover is an interesting read because by the end of the issue you’re not quite sure what the heck is going on but you will like what you read. If you have ever been to a comic con then you will find a lot of familiar elements that Bendis pulls from in the story but the mystery of Julia is where the book takes a unique turn and gives this book an intriguing footing. You actually not sure what to make of this story from just this first issue but there is an underlying intrigue that does want you to find out what is going on with Julia and why she is stalking Max and what the end game is going to be. There is both a lot going on and at the same time moving forward slowly but the pacing is spot on. I really was impressed with Mack’s work on this book and how he was able to change the art style to fit the flow of the story was simply brilliant and give the story a etherial look and feel that was a visual feast. It helped greatly with the flow of the story and with the use of color from Orzu really made this a wild ride.
Is this book worth your time and money? While I’m not sure where this story is going I did really enjoy what this first issue sets up for the book. I do think that this is going to be a story that is going to read better in one sitting than as a monthly but that just a guess with this first issue. Visually is where this book shines and Mack does some of his best work here and it’s going to be interesting to see where they take it from here. Worth checking out.
The Dreaming #1
Vertigo Comics Writer Simon Spurrier, Artist Bilquis Evely, Colorist Mat Lopes, Letterer Simon Bowland
The first book to spin out of the Sandman Universe Special and gets off to a decent start but there are some minor bumps in the road. I did like Spurrier’s script but there were a number of times where the dialog was simply too dense and struggles with the pacing. In some ways it came off as a poor mans Neil Gaiman script but Spurrier is not able to master the words and dialog as well as Gaiman. This has happened before where Sandman spin-off books tried to hard to copy his writing style and not let the book be its own thing. Luckily this first issue does more right than wrong and overall I think that Spurrier finds his footing well by the end of the issue. There are some very nice twists and turns that he does with the story and the cast of characters is quite good and I really like Dora and how she is a bit of anti-hero in the story and it will be interesting see where her story goes in the future. I really love Evely’s artwork and she really shines on this book. The one thing that she does very well here is bring the worlds to life with lots of detail and visual flair that captures the tone and mood that the book excels at. She brings a great sense of style to this book that made it a real pleasure to read.
Is this book worth your time and money? While I wasn’t blown away by this first issue it does show promise. I think if Spurrier finds his voice and footing on the book it could really be good but there are a few times it stumbles but thankfully not fatally. The gorgeous artwork from Evely is reason enough to buy this book but for new readers it might be a bit rough with this first outing. If you’re a Sandman fan it’s worth checking out.
United States VS. Murder Inc. #1
Writer Brian Michael Bendis, Artist Michael Avon Oeming, Colorist Taki Soma, Letterer Carlos Mangual
So far this is the most accessible of the previous released Jinxworld titles because even if you’re not familiar with the previous stories Bendis and Oeming deliver a fresh start that will please both old and new readers to the fold. It’s both a starting point and a continuation all at once and works on both levels. This is how you start a revival of a comic that a lot of reader may not be familiar with. Bendis lays some great framework for this story and the world that it inhabits. What makes this story so good is Rose and Jake and their relationship and the father and daughter blended together with the mob angle makes for a very exciting story and there is a lot that happens in this first issue and a very well executed cliffhanger for the next one. I’m a very big fan of Oeming and his recent work on Cave Carson really pays off here with this one. He really stretches and fills every nook and cranny with art that oozes with noir that makes your eyes pop and your brain spin. What pulls the visuals together is Soma’s color work on the book that adds so much to Oeming’s line work that is where this book shines. There is so much to talk in with the art that you really want to take your time to let it all wash over you and not rush through it.
Is this book worth your time and money? I loved this book and so far is my favorite Jinxworld title to date. This is a book where the script and artwork really intertwine and create a great comic that demands that you sit up and pay attention. This is not only a good read but a visual feast that is a winner this week. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Image Comics Writer John Layman, Artist Nick Pitarra, Colorist Michael Garland
I’ll be very honest that I was pretty underwhelmed by the first issue of Leviathan. Felt that while it was fun with great visuals there was not much beyond the basics with the script. The good news is that Layman digs in better with the script on this second outing and brings some nice characterization to the book that was missing with the first. By no means is this book that deep but at this issue has more story than just dinosaurs on the rampage. Sure the story has a lot of basic story tropes but Layman does add some neat twist to it with this second outing. While I still would have like to seen more of Ryan’s story that is still a little on the thin side but the other story elements move things along well. The big win for this book is still Pitarra’s artwork that is simply amazing with the amount of detail that he puts into the book. One thing that I really like in his work here is the humor that he brings to the book and adds greatly to the fun of it all.
Is this book worth your time and money? While I’m still not totally sold on this book yet I have to give Layman that this second outing was a big improvement and will give the book another chance. There is no doubt that Pitarra’s artwork is well worth it and glad to see that the book builds on the story nicely here. It will be interesting to see where the third issue goes.
DC Comics Writer Tom King, Artist Matt Wagner, Colorist Tomeu Morey, Letterer Clayton Cowles
I won’t go into the whole colorist back story on this one because you can go online and read the story about it, I just will review this issue on what I have before me. With that out-of-the-way King delivers another great stand alone story that have been great high points in his run. This story centers around Dick Greyson and adds some very nice touches to his origin but King really focuses on his relationship with Bruce and how they both ended up being good for each other when they both needed it. The other great part of this story is the present part of the story that takes on some of the shall we say sillier villains in the Batman rogues gallery that adds a nice touch of humor to the story and Dick’s sense of humor. The big win for this story is of course the beautiful artwork by Wagner that has been long overdue in superhero comics. He brings a nice subtle touch to this dramatic story that really captures the emotions of King’s script that have so many great dramatic moments that Wagner is always spot on with his artwork. His simple yet detailed style fits this story perfectly and its obvious that King wrote the story with him in mind and you can see that they work very well together.
Is this book worth your time and money? I wish that more comics from the big two would do more stand alone stories. While longer stories are fine and have a place, the lack of anthology comics that I grew up with and got me into comics in the first place are great for both new and longtime readers. King has done this many times in his run and they are always greatly appreciated. This particular one is an extra special treat thanks largely to Wagner’s gorgeous artwork that is simply perfect for this story and its nice to see him back if only for one issue. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!