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New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 12/18/19

New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 12/18/19

There were so many new comic books this week that I was only able to review some of them. Fear not I will catch up with more of them next week because its going to be a very light week because most of the publishers shipped everything this week. I covered the newest releases and some returning ones, so lets get to it.

Wonder Woman: Dead Earth #1

DC Black Label Writer and Artist Daniel Warren Johnson, Colorist Mike Spicer, Letterer Russ Wooton

Wonder Woman has always been a tough character to get right and so few have done this. The last was Greg Rucka with the Rebirth Year One story back in 2016 and has struggled on and off sense then. Johnson who recently delivered Murder Falcon that was amazing has delivered one of the best Wonder Woman stories that I have read. While this is more of an Elseworld type stories he never loses sight of what the core elements of the character is. While the story isn’t necessarily original he does make it feel fresh and new and that is why it works so well. He really captures Diana and how this dystopian future is a mystery to her but, she never forgets why she is the heroine of humanity and Johnson captures that perfectly in this story. Not only is the story great but his artwork is perfectly suited for this story. He has a gritty style that is perfect for the dystopian future but what he does so well here is capture the emotional core of the characters and this is another great reason why this comic works so well.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? This comic really hits the ground running in this first issue and delivers a grand and emotionally great story with gorgeous artwork that brings it all together. I have been a fan of Johnson’s work but this might just be one of the best comics that he has delivered so far. This is a truly must read comic and will leave you wanting more. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

Skulldigger + Skeleton Boy #1

Dark Horse Comics Writer Jeff Lemire, Artist Tonci Zonjic, Letterer Steve Wands

Any new journey to the Black Hammer Universe is always a cause for celebration. I’m a huge fan of the main series but with these spinoff side stories take the universe to a whole other level. This new mini series introduces a new character Skulldigger and its more of a vigilante hero that you could compare to a darker Batman that doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to criminals. What I liked about this story was that on the surface it seems to be a story about Skulldigger but its actually about his sidekick and that is where the real story is going to be for this book. This first issue gets off to a good start with the story that sets things up and leaves a lot of the mystery to unfold in the coming issues. Zonjuc’s artwork captures the story very well here with the dark tones of the story and he really brings it to life. It’s the little subtle things in the script that he does so well with his artwork where many times there is no dialogue but he is able to convey everything without a word and its impressive. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I enjoyed this first issue and while there is mostly set up here, Lemire gives you good reason to come back for more. I was impressed with Zonjic’s artwork and if you are a fan of the Black Hammer comics then this is another winner. If you have never read any of the previous comics, don’t worry because this does stand on it’s own and is a good introduction to the universe. RECOMMENDED!

Gung-Ho #1

Ablaze Publishing  Writer Benjamin Von Eckartsberg, Artist Thomas Von Kummant, Translation Ivanka Hahnenberger

Reprinting the 2013 German graphic novel and now fully translated to English makes its American debut courtesy of Ablaze and I can see why it was brought over here. This first issue is pretty much exposition to the story but while that can sometimes drag a first issue down, here it ends up being nicely paced and moves along nicely. Eckartsberg’s story while not super original does set things up well as a first chapter. The characters are a bit on the cliche side of it but it didn’t hurt the story overall. It’s a bit unclear where this story is going to go because the end of this first issue feels very cut off because it’s broken up from the original graphic novel. The big reason I picked this comic up was the gorgeous artwork by Kummant that has a sudo painted style that really makes this comic stand out. The only issue that I had was that when you set a story in a post apocalyptic world it’s a bit hard to take seriously when all of the young girls look like super models and the two boys are a bit on the too pretty side also. It is a bit jarring visually but that is just my opinion but is not totally fatal to the comic.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I did like this comic even with the few issues that I had with the story and artwork. I am curious to see where the story goes in the next issue and hopefully it’s a little less cliche after this. It’s worth checking out. 

Suicide Squad #1

DC Comics Writer Tom Taylor, Artist Bruno Redondo, Colorist Adriano Lucas, Letterer Wes Abbott

I nearly didn’t pick this one up this week because on the flip through it didn’t really catch my eye but the guy at the comic shop said it was better than he expected and he is not a superhero guy by any means. I have to say that he was right and while this is far from the best comic that I read this week it was a nice little surprise. Taylor hot off of his DCeased series breaths new life into the book and the team in this first issue by shaking things up and killing some members of the team in this first issue. One reason it works is because he introduces new characters into the book and some fresh blood really gives this book a nice boost. The story is pretty basic here because Taylor is setting things up but there is a good amount of action to keep things moving along that gives this first issue a nice pace. Redondo’s artwork on the surface is not flashy but he does a great job where it counts. He does a solid job on the facial expressions and that is where the book shines is that because of the story there is a lot to take in and Redondo handles it nicely here. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? If you are not a fan of the Suicide Squad then this book is not going to change you’re mind but if you are like me and are willing to give the book a chance I think you will like it. Taylor shakes things up in the right way here and that is a good thing because a lot of endless relaunches just do the same thing over and over and he avoids a lot of that here. The key is going to be the next few issues and see where he takes it. It’s off to a good start.

The Low, Low Woods #1

DC Black Label/Hill House Comics Carmen Maria Machado, Artist Dani, Colorist Tamra Bonvillain, Letterer Steve Wands

The third new title in the Hill House line is quite a wild ride and Machado story is a lot to take in with this first issue. While I’m not totally sure of where this story is going to go, Machado does tell you the back story of the town of Shudder-To-Think and that is where things get really strange with the set up of this story. What she does well here is with introducing Octavia and El in the story so that while all of the weirdness in town is going on the two girls ground the story very well. The artwork by Dani give the story a nice creepy feel with the visuals that capture the mood and look that works well for the story. While her style has a sketchy quality to it but she makes sure that the facial expressions are spot on. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? The story sets up a good mystery and that is what works well here. The characters are done well here in this first issue and Machado give you a good reason to come back for a second issue. This comic didn’t blow me away it did however peak my interest to give it a few more issue a try and is worth checking out.

Folklords #2

Boom! Studios Writer Matt Kindt, Artist Matt Smith, Colorist Chris O’Halloran, Letterer Jim Campbell

There was a lot to like about the first issue of this title that took the typical fairy tale premise and switched it around and the second issue builds well here but doesn’t quite fully grab me quite yet but that is not to say that its not working. What Kindt is doing here is building the characters in the story and that is why the story is intriguing. We also start to see familiar stories start to pop up in the story that adds a new twist to things. Smith continues to impress with his artwork on the book and does a great job of capturing the emotions of the characters and the mood of the dark woods. He helps keep things moving along with the dialogue that is pretty dense at times but he smooths it out visually that is a big help.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I’m liking this comic but not quite loving it yet. Kindt is rolling out the story at a methodical pace here and that can be both good and bad for some readers. There is a lot that he opens up the world with in this issue and the cliffhanger is quite good this issue. I hope that we get a little more in the next issue so we will see where it goes from there. Still worth checking out here.

Family Tree #2

Image Comic Writer Jeff Lemire, Penciller Phil Hester, Inker Eric Gapstur, Colorist Ryan Cody, Letterer Steve Wands

I really am digging this story that Lemire is telling here. The first issue set things up well but this second issue really hits the ground running. What we start to learn is that this story goes back to Loretta’s father in law Judd and how it connects the past to the present. I wont spoil anything here lets just say that at the end of this issue a lot of the story starts to fall into place. But there is still a lot of mystery as to what the disease that has happened to Meg and why are people coming after them. Lemire weaves the past and the present stories perfectly here and that is a tough trick to pull off well but it really works here. Hester’s artwork style fits this story perfectly because of the mood and feel of the story needs to have a more rougher edge to it and he does that perfectly here. He captures both the smaller dialogue driven scenes but really impressed with the action scenes in this issue. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? This book is a real winner this week. Lemire builds quite well here and unfolds the mystery of the story and builds it out nicely and gives you good reason to come back for the next issue. Hester and Gapstur deliver great artwork here and brings it all together. This is a story I cant wait to see unfold. VERY RECOMMENDED!

Superman Smashes the Klan #2

DC Coimics Writer Gene Luen Yang, Artist Gurihiru, Letterer Janice Chiang

This might just be one of the most important comic books of our time and yet its based on events in the past. Beyond that Yang is a great writer and has infused this story with both heart and soul but its the fact that a story from the past is more relevant today than the period when it takes place in. On the surface Yang’s story is a simple black and white issue but what he has done here is show that reality is not so simple. For sure there is right and wrong and common sense should prevail on that but the world is more of a grey area a lot of the time and he really captures that with the kids in this story. What is making this story so good is a lot of the subtle story elements here such as trying to fit in and perception of how the media portrays people. There is a lot to take in with this story and yet as tough is the subject matter is there is a lot of hope that fills this story. Sure Superman is a hero but Yang shows that we can all be heroes one way or another. The other great element of this story is both family and friendship that make us who we are. The other reason why this book is working so well is Gurihiru’s artwork that has a simple style and yet there is so much subtle detail at the same time. The artwork helps temper the reality of a lot of the story and in a way softens the blow but not the point of it. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? This might just be one of the most important comics that should be read by everyone. The thing that impresses me the most is that Yang is telling a story about the past and yet it is exceptionally relevant to today and that is the point of history. History is neither right nor wrong but if we don’t acknowledge the past we are doomed to repeat its mistakes. He uses Superman here to show that even the best of humanity can’t always be there but we all have to be heroes in our own way as to be kind to one another and work together to fight evil. Yang and Gurihiru are crafting a story that is difficult to tell but one that needs to remind us of that we need to be better than out past. This is what comics can and should be. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!