So were going to try something a little different this week and not only review this weeks new comic books but do a little catch up on some series that continued this week with a review that covers multiple issues at once. With so many comics coming out each week a lot falls to the way side with reviewing them but not for the lack of reading them. So hopefully this will help both you and me catch up on some of them.
Justice League Annual #1
DC Comics Story Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, Script James Tynion IV, Penciller Daniel Sampere, Inker Jaun ALbarran, Colorist Adriano Lucas, Letterer Tom Napolitano
I remember when annuals used to be self contained stories that were special in either the story or the artist and be a nice little story that was fun and self contained. Well that theory is thrown out here with DC still beating the Dark Metal storyline that never seems to end on a lot of the main superhero titles and Snyder and Tynion deliver what starts off as the final story but instead throws in yet another story that continues the saga that no one really seems to want or care about. The biggest problem with this story is that its so basic and you can see the whole thing coming a mile away that make it a pretty boring read and less than shocking ending and in fact I was actually mad that they wont just let this story die. This is what is really turning me off to the the big two and their pointless sales boost crossover events. I just want to real a good Justice League story here not some never ending saga that just is trying to keep me to buy a comic that I wouldn’t have bought otherwise. Honesty Snyder and Tynion are better writers than this by the numbers story here. The only thing that helps this from being a total train wreck is Sampere’s artwork that is really quite nice and he really puts a lot of great detail into the artwork but sadly it’s wasted here and not by his doing. I was really impressed with the huge battle scenes and the titans at the gate are quite spectacular and is really sadly the only highlight to this book.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you call beating a dead hose enjoyable then your in luck here but honestly for both new and regular readers of Justice League you are not missing anything here by skipping this one. SKIP IT!
The Quantum Age #5 & 6
Dark Horse Comics Writer Jeff Lemire, Artist Wilfredo Torres, Colorist Dave Stewart, Letterer Nate Piekos
I will be very honest here and say that at first I was disappointed in this mini series compared to the other spin off titles in the Black Hammer Universe but once you read the whole story it all comes together quite well. While this may not be my favorite one it does however fit very well into the main Black Hammer storyline of the main book in a way that you would have never guessed when it first started. Issue four introduced a twist that really changed the direction of the book but when you looked back at the story you understand that Lemire was setting up a new Black Hammer team that is both connected and distant from the current main cast. Issue five gets the team all together again and leads into the final issue that has a nice twist with the “fake” ending but the big reveal is much more subtle and very much more satisfying. Lemire always finds a way to make something small work better than going for the typical cliche ending that plagues so many mainstream superhero comics today. The reason that this book works is because Lemire follows the formula but gives it space to be its own story and still be a fun superhero comic. What I liked about Torres’s artwork here is that his style has a more old school silver age style that really fit this story very well. While it’s not flashy that is one of the big reasons why it works so well in that the art matches the story so well here because its simple and clean.
Is this book worth your time and money? You should know by now that I am a huge Black Hammer fan and in the end this book really came together. While it may have not been my favorite Black Hammer spin off, it did however come together in the end and was very satisfying and fit very nicely in to the mythology. I’m guessing that we are going to be seeing more of the Quantum Age team in the future. RECOMMENDED!
Wonder Woman #60 – 63
DC Comics Writer G. Willow Wilson, Artists Cary Nord & Mick Gray/Xermanico/Emanuela Lupacchino & Ray McCarthy, Colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr., Letterer Pat Brosseau
Issues 60, 61, & 62 finish off the first story arc The Just War and I really have to hand it to Wilson for really turning this book around with her first outing and bringing back what is to me the real path that this book needed to go after the first year of Greg Rucka’s run. Wilson has brought back so many great story elements but the one that desperately needed the most was a sense of hope and strength that is the core of what makes Wonder Woman so great. She gets not only that but the mythology and the human aspect of both Diana along with Steve and Etta. The Just War was a great kick off story that drew on many classic elements but also shook things up with the disappearance of Themyscira but also adding in some of the Greek Gods into the mix as well. One story element that can be a bit tricky is the social commentary that has been a staple of Wonder Woman from the beginning and Wilson has a great talent for putting those very important elements in but making sure that they have a purpose in the story and not just to be politically correct or timely. She also shows that winning a war may not be as cut and dry as one would like and also is a long term story element that can’t just be wrapped up in a neat little package at the end. In issue 63 she starts a new story arc but take the elements from the Just War story and builds upon them greatly here. I find it fascinating when a writer tells a story about immigrants and her Wilson uses a fantasy element to tell a story that is not easy to tell due to the current climate but that is a reason that it needs to be addressed and it works exceptionally well here. When you mix in fantasy elements it helps it to be less depressing that straight up reality but she wisely doesn’t hit you over the head with social commentary. You still need to have it be a superhero story and she blends it all together quite well here and has a nice little surprise at the end of this issue that was a good cliffhanger. Nord does the art for issue 60 and I’m a fan of his work that has a great pulp feel that really worked well for the story. Xermanico comes in to finish the story off for issues 61 & 62 and brings a great style to the book and has a bit more softer look than Nord but is very pleasing and one thing that really impressed me was the facial emotions that he brings to his artwork here and hope that he comes back to the book soon, Lupacchino kicks off the new story arc and she brings a nice sense of humor to this story that is needed to this one and pull it off nicely here especially with the animal characters that not an easy task to do and she does it well here.
Is this book worth your time and money? Wilson in just her first story arc really gets this book back on track and makes this comic worth buying again. The only issue that I have so far is the changing of the artist on the book. No artist can keep up with a bi-weekly comic and DC really needs to look to drop this idea. One thing that makes comic book so great is the teaming of the writer and the artist and how they work together. While all of the artist here do a great job respectively they all have different styles that break the continuity of the story and can be a bit jarring for some readers. With that minor complaint is the only issue and its far from being a problem for me. Overall Wilson has hit the ground running and the newest issue (#63) shows that she has a lot more up here sleeve and I hope that she stays on the book for a good long run because I’m really enjoying and has jumped back on the pull and read first list. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #1
Dynamite Entertainment Writer Kieron Gillen, Artist Casper Wijngaard, Colorist Mary Safro, Letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
I was leery on this book because I know that Dynamites poor track record for reviving old comic book heroes have nearly always failed miserably but I have to give Gillen that he pulls of a pretty decent twist at the end of this first issue that will get me back for at least one more issue to try. At first the story is a very by the numbers affair here and goes though the motions and is a pleasant read but nothing memorable but what he does at the end give the story a nice twist and makes you go back and rethink the whole story that I certainly was not expecting. While the twist wont blow you away, it does however show that Gillen is not jus going to half ass it here with the story. Another shocker here is Wijngaard’s artwork that is way above average for a Dynamite title that quite honestly has some pretty sad artwork but he does a really nice job here with the artwork. There were a few times where the backgrounds were a little sparse but conceding that the emotions of the characters were good and the line art was solid its a minor complaint. Overall a good looking book that added nicely to the story.
Is this book worth your time and money? This was a pleasant surprise this week and well above average for a Dynamite title. A solid story and good artwork make it well worth checking out.
Heroes In Crisis # 3 – 5
DC Comics Writer Tom King, Artists Clay Mann/Lee Weeks, Colorist Tomeu Morey, Letterer Clayton Cowles
What I am finding fascinating about this series is how King is letting this story unfold at a methodical pace and breaks from the normal “event” comic and that is really a good thing here. As with a lot of King’s stories he is going for the long run here and reading three issues at a time just shows that this story is going to work best in one sitting. You simply cant rush through this story and you need to take your time to let it wash over you. The other fascinating thing is the more unknown characters that are in the story have so much weight that is surprising because they are so rooted into the story that you care about them and that shows what a strong writer King is. One of the best moments so far in the story is Superman giving a press conference and how King weaves it in and out of the story to tell other parts of the story is sheer brilliance and this is where Mann comes in. For this story to work as well as it is you have to have a strong artist and Mann along with Weelk’s in issue 3 wonderfully capture the raw emotions of the story that give this book such heft and weight. Mann gives each panel so much attention to detail and it’s the very small things that he does with King’s script that you really have to take you time to take both the story and the visuals all in. You have to let the story and artwork wash over you.
Is this book worth your time and money? In a lot of ways this is not a superhero story but it is just as much at the same time. King and Mann are going outside the box here to dive into much bigger and deeper issues about what makes a superhero. For some readers they are going to struggle a bit with the unfolding of the story that is not the typical “event” comic but that is what is making this so good is that you can see the long game here and each page tells vast amounts of story that you may not realize until later. This is what a good event comic can and should be. Well thought out, engaging and the perfect marriage of story and artwork. VERY RECOMMENDED!