The first reviews of 2017 and while it was a pretty small week, there were some good and not so good reads this week.
The Flintstones #7
DC Comics Writer Mark Russell, Penciller Rick Leonardi, Inker Scott Hanna, Colorist Chris Chuckry, Letterer David Sharpe
I have been a huge fan of this book from day one and each issue Russell continues to build an imaginative world with humor and satire. This issue may be one of the best for a whole other reason. While I was reading this issue I initially found it to be a little pedestrian. But Russell had another trick up his sleeve on this issue. He uses the entire issue to set up a truly brilliant payoff at the end and pull all of the threads of the stories together. It ended up being a really sweet story that ends up warming your heart because you don’t expect it. Leonardi and Hanna fill in for Steve Pugh this issue and they do a wonderful job on the book. This was a tough story for an artist because of the subtle dramatic elements of the story but they do a fantastic job of capturing it.
Is this book worth your time and money? Just when I thought that this comic couldn’t get any better Russell comes along and delivers an out of left field story that really shows how great this book can really be. The key is to have strong characters and a compelling story then that allows the artist to bring it to life and all of the other pieces to fall into place. Rarely does a comic book surprise me anymore but The Flintstones continues to do just that. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
The Unstoppable Wasp #1
Marvel Comics Writer Jeremy Whitley, Artist Elsa Charretier, Colorist Megan Wilson, Letterer Joe Caramagna
Flipping through this book at the comic shop showed a lot of promise and was looking forward to reading it. While the book is not a train wreck it sadly never quite takes off. Whitley has some good ideas here but reading the first issue is like plot was written by a teenage girl of her collected tweets. The whole issues story is disjointed and the dialog at times feels forced and tries way too hard to be hip and trendy. I understand that Nadia is new to things but repeating the same thing over and over of her discovering things simply stops working after the first few times. I just felt that the first issue fell flat and never quite gels the way that I would have liked. On the plus side there is some positives here with some bright spots in the story with her interaction with the other heroes. The other positive is Charretier’s artwork and her style really fits the tone of the book. It had a nice Steve Ditko quality to it but very much her own style with a very poppy art deco feel to it.
Is this book worth your time and money? I was disappointed in this fist issue, I am willing to give the book a second chance with the next issue. Hopefully Whitley is able to correct the course of the book now that the exposition is out-of-the-way. If he can focus the story and find a groove for it this could be a good comic. Charretier really saves the first issue with her wonderful artwork so that is another reason to give the book another chance.
The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #1
DC Comics Writer Cary Bates, Co-Plotter Greg Weisman, Artist Will Conrad, Colorist Ivan Nunes, Letterer Saida Temofonte
With the DC Rebirth in full swing we are starting to get to the secondary characters in the DC Universe getting their own book and Captain Atom is back not with a bang but with a whimper. The biggest problem with the book is that Bates script is simply boring and pedestrian. It’s a standard first issue that throws a lot of things out that simply don’t add up to much. The story plods along and by the end you really don’t care what happened or want to bother reading another issue. The script is basic and you will stumble over story tropes along the way that you have read a million times before. The only thing that made this book not a total loss was the nice artwork from Conrad but there is little that he is able to do with them mediocre script that he has to work with.
Is this book worth your time and money? While it’s not the worst book that you will read but at this point in comic book history an average by the numbers superhero comic is not going to cut it. SKIP IT!
Marvel Comics Writer Al Ewing, Penciller Paco Medina, Inker Juan Vlasco, Colorist Jesus Aburtov, Letterer Chris Eliopoulos
When is a first issue comic not good, when your fill the whole issue with character introductions and exposition and forget to tell a story that will want readers to come back for the second issue. Sadly Ewing forgot to bother to tell any story here and you end up with 20 pages of introduction and barely anything else. After reading this book, I didn’t really get to know any of the characters or really care anything about them. He simply threw seven characters in a blender and hit go and you end up with mush in the end. There is simply no real story here to read and nothing happens either. The only plus is the artwork of Medina and Vlasco that is simply wasted here on a book that is not very good. Marvel keeps throwing out these team books and they simply are not good and this is one of the worst.
Is this book worth your time and money? Not only is there no real story here, there simply is not much point for the book either. Ewing doesn’t really give any reason for all of these heroes to be together at all and using the “oh were under attack” overused plot is simply lazy and sloppy. Book like this clog up the space that could be used for a comic that is actually worth reading. This book was a complete waste of time and money. AVOID THIS BOOK!
Justice League of America: The Atom #1
DC Comics Writer Steve Orlando, Artist Andy MacDonald, Colorist John Rauch, Letterer Clayton Cowles
With the new Justice League book around the corner DC is giving characters their own one shots to get readers up to speed on them. This first one with the Atom was a decent read but not very fulfilling in the end. As with a lot of the rebirth zero and first issues this is pretty much an origin story that is OK but that’s about it. New JLA writer Orlando handles the scripting here and we get a new Atom with Ryan Choi that is a by the numbers affair with Ray Palmer suddenly disappearing and he has to take over as the Atom. This is very basic storytelling that is really not necessary to read before the new JLA series starts the next month. The art by MacDonald is OK there is a bit of stiffness to his artwork but it does have a nice pleasing look. He does well with the characters emotions and if he is able to grow his art style he could be quite a good artist.
Is this book worth your time and money? I hope that this is not a sign for the other one shots that lead up to the new JLA book. The biggest problem is that after you read the book it’s simply not very memorable. Not bad just OK in the end.
Marvel Comics Writer Kelly Thompson, Artist Leonardo Romero, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, Letterer Joe Sabino
Most of the new Marvel Now relaunch has been less than stellar in the quality department but there are a couple of gems that have really stood out and Hawkeye is one of them. Thompson got the series off to a very solid start with the first issue and the second issue proves that it was no fluke. She builds on the story from the first issue and continues to craft a smart, funny and exciting comic book. What I love about her writing on this book is that she keeps it simple and straight forward. She never lets the story drag on or overplay it. The pacing of the scripts are quite nice and the book has a great flow. What works so well here is that she infuses Kate with a great smart ass quality that is nice to see in a strong female character. She doesn’t put up with any crap and is smart and confident. Romero’s artwork continues to impress with a bold and simple style that really captures the tone and subtle moments of the story that really make this such a strong book. One thing that really impresses me is his layouts for the book. He is not afraid to use bold and different approach to the book and makes for a striking visual look.
Is this book worth your time and money? I haven’t been this surprised by a Marvel book in quite a while and Thompson and Romero are crafting an exciting and fun comic that so far has been very impressive. I can’t wait to see where they take the first story arc. I can’t wait. VERY RECOMMENDED!
DC Comics Writers Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason, Layouts Ivan Reis, Finishes Joe Prado, Colorist Marcelo Maiolo, Letterer Rob Leigh
I wasn’t very impressed with most of the main Superman Rebirth titles but decided to give the book a try this month because they are using Grant Morrison’s Multiversity elements in this new story line. While the book didn’t blow me away, it was a huge improvement over the first few issues. Tomasi and Gleason do a decent job of setting up the story of the Multiverse introduction into the current continuity. The bigger question is how are they going to end up using it? They do set up some interesting ideas at the end of the issue and give you a reason to come back in the next issue to see where it goes. Reis and Prado deliver some very nice artwork to the book and really deliver some great action scenes in the book.
Is this book worth your time and money? The big question is if Tomasi and Gleason can come up with a story that is able to capture the excitement of Morrison’s Multiversity series. This issue is all about the set up so it’s too early to call if they pull it off. I will give them that I’m intrigued with the direction of the story so I will give it at least one more issue.
DC Comics Writer Tom King, Artist & Colorist Mitch Gerads Letterer Clayton Cowles
King has been delivering a nice little run on Batman so far and was excited to see this two-part story that is a good jumping on point for new and lapsed readers. King takes Batman and Catwoman’s relationship to a new level with this story. While we have always assumed that they had a sexual relationship this issue puts it out there front and center. And while that is what everyone will talk about, it’s the lead up that is the real story here. King unfolds each layer of their relationship in the script and shows that they are as similar as they are rivals. He does a great job of exploring the grey areas of the story that is what makes this such a good read. Gerads delivers some really nice artwork that really brings King’s script to life. His bold panel layouts and captures the emotions of the story perfectly.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is a nice little story that is simple and fun. It’s really nice to see a nice little two-part story instead of some 12 part epic that is too long. King and Gerads keep things sweet and to the point and that is why it works so well. Well worth buying this week.