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New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 2/19/20

New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 2/19/20

Wonder Woman: Dead Earth #2

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

After a stunning first issue it was going to be hard for Johnson to top it and yet he does here but not in the usual way. What he does so well here is build greatly upon the first issue and then starts to throw little story elements that start to put the mystery of what has happened and how Diana come to deal with it. It’s hard to describe the story in a review because there are so many surprises in the story that I certainly don’t want to give anything away but I will say that Warren gives this story so many twist and turns that will not only surprise you but impress you because the story has such great emotional impact to the very core of what makes Wonder Woman such an iconic character. He also taps into the mythology of the Amazons that adds many more layers to this already great story. What makes this comic even greater is Warren’s artwork that captures the grittiness of this post apocalyptic world but captures the subtle emotions of the characters that brings this story to life so well. It has such a visceral look and feel that makes it stand out from the standard fare of most comics today and that makes it that much more special. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? With the new Wonder Woman film coming out this summer there is sure to be many more mini series and specials that will highlight her but I can safely say that none of them will probably come close to this brilliant story and artwork that Johnson has crafted here. This is one of those rare comics that shows that you can do a deeper and more though provoking story with superheroes and it rarely gets better than this. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

Wolverine #1

Marvel Comics Writer Benjamin Percy, Artists Adam Kubert & Viktor Bogdanovic, Colorists Frank Martin and Matthew Wilson, Letterer Cory Petit 

Normally I avoid Marvel’s overpriced first issues that have a regular main story and a bunch of filler in the back so that they can jack up the price but my comic shop noted that this is actually two issues in one. The stories are separate but both are written by Percy. The first builds upon the new relaunch of the X-Men books but does stand on its own if you have not read any of them and gives you enough backstory to get you up to speed. The story is a basic Wolverine vs the drug cartel and its a decent story with moments but not something that really grabs you in this first issue. Kubert’s artwork is good here but it seems a bit subdued compared to his more recent work. Overall its nice artwork but didn’t really stand out as special. The second story fairs a bit better with Wolverine vs the Vampires and it probably helped that it was a more action heavy story than the first one. It’s a more fun story than the first and there were some nice story touches here and there that gave it a better reading experience. Bogdanovic’s artwork is quite nice here and overall was more exciting and added greatly to the look and feel of Percy’s story. Of course when you have a moody vampire story you are bound to have more fun with the artwork and Bogdanovic lets loose here nicely.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I will say that for eight bucks you get two full stories here and that makes at least the cover price more palatable. The question is Marvel is promoting this book as all new and all different and quite honestly there is little of either here. That is not to say that its bad but it doesn’t really stand out either and that is where it should have gone. Percy had a chance to bring something new to the characters and while I’m guessing that its more of an editorial decision to go in the direction that these two stories go in and that is where it was disappointing for me. If you simply want straight forward Wolverine then this is what you are getting here but, if you want something new and different then this is not the comic that you are looking for. 

BANG! #1

Dark Horse Comics Writer Matt Kindt, Artist Wilfredo Torres, Colorist Nayoung Kim, Letterer Nate Piekos

This is an interesting comic that has a lot of James Bond elements to it on the surface but there are some nice little plot twist that make it intriguing. This first issue is a bit hampered by exposition because Kindt is setting up a lot here and the pieces of the puzzle have to be put into place and by the time you get to the end of this first issue you start to see why it was set up that way. There is a little bit of keeping you off balance here in this first chapter and while I noticed it at first as you read the story it will start to come together with the reveal at the end but there are still mysteries to unfold from here and Kindt builds that well here. Torres artwork on the book has a nice clean style that fit the spy story well and I can see why Kindt chose him as the artist for the story. He does a nice job of visually moving things along in the story and helps with the exposition here. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I like the concept of this story but I will admit this first issue is a bit slow because of the exposition but it does show a good amount of promise by the end of this first issue. If you are a fan of spy stories then you should give this one a try but more mainstream readers this one is a tough sell. I will give it a few more issues to see where Kindt and Torres take this one.

Superman Smashes the Klan #3

DC Comics Writer Gene Lue Yang, Artist Gurihiru, Letterer Janice Chiang

The final chapter of this amazing comic comes to a fantastic end and there are many great twist and turns in the story in this final chapter. What has made this comic so special is that Yang has given the cast of characters such depth and emotions that make this so much more than just another Superman story. He takes the time to build everyone out because they all have a part to play in the story both big and small that has made this such a great reading experience. While the story is set in the 1940’s to match the period of the original radio program that the story was inspired by, Yang makes it feel so timeless with his script that you never feel as if its a period piece beyond the period visuals such as the cars and the clothing. It’s also perfect timing for this story with the events in the world today that show how important that we all be superheroes in one way or another to each other. Its one thing to have a great story but you need an artist to bring it to life and Gurihiru has done it so well here that has really added to the enjoyment of this comic. He does a spot on job of capturing the emotions of the story here but keeps it on point and never over plays the drama but makes it alway feel so natural.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? There is so much to like here and one of the best is that Yang doesn’t overplay the story that could have become to preachy or political but he simply tell a great character driven story that has social commentary but doesn’t hit you over the head with it. He also infuses the story with culture that will help people understand the period of history in the United States that was not a proud moment but should never be forgotten because if we do were doomed to repeat it. This is not only a great book but an important one that will stand the test of time and because a treasured story for many generations to come. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

Archie Meets the B-52s #1

Archie Comics Writers Alex Segura & Matthew Rosenberg, Penciller Dan Parent, Inker J. Bone, Colorist Glenn Whitmore, Letterer Jack Morelli

Here is another fun crossover with music superstars and the Archie gang as the B-52s come to Riverdale. What always makes these fun little reads is that Segura and Rosenberg keep things simple with the story and having the B-52s have to get the Archies band back together is as charming as it is simple. This is simply a nice throwback to the old school Archie stories and that is exactly what you get here that is no more and no less. Parent and Bone do a great job of bringing the B-52s to the comics world and do a great job of capturing them visually. They visually capture all of the fun of the music and Riverdale in a pitch perfect way that delivers a great and fun comic.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? What I always love about these crossovers is that they are short and sweet and sometimes reading a comic like this is just what you need. It’s not more than what it is and that is why I enjoy them so much. If you are a fan of the B-52s and Archies then you will get a kick out of this fun little romp. 

Dceased Unkillables #1

DC Comics Writer Tom Taylor, Penciller Karl Mostert, Inker Trevor Scott, Neil Edwards & John Lives, Colorist Rex Lokus, Letterer Saida Temofonte

This is one of those comics that was super successful and now DC is cashing in on the surprise hit of the first mini series and this has some mixed results. It’s not that this comic is bad but it really didn’t bring a whole lot of new things to the table here. Taylor’s script is decent and there are some good moments but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that this story wasn’t really necessary in the long run with this first issue and feels more like a side story from the first story. Mostert’s artwork is nice here with lots of detail that is very apparent during the fight scenes that are a real bloodbath that we have come to expect from this story. There were a few times when the characters are standing still where the artwork feels a bit stiff but overall the visuals are nice and over the top violence.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? This story is certainly not bad by any means I just felt that it didn’t have the same impact that the first one did and that is where I was underwhelmed with this story. It’s not to say that it might have something to say as it goes along but I will give it a second issue to see if Taylor brings a bit more to the table than this first issue did. 

Skulldigger + Skullboy #3

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

This third issue of this great Black Hammer spinoff really gets to the meat of the story and we start to see how all of the players are connected and how we see what and why Skullboy fits into the story. Lemire does a great job hear of weaving the past and present storylines into a wonderful story here and as the prices of the story puzzle fall into place. The story is a real whirlwind and there is a lot to take in after the events of this issues story that will truly impress. I am really enjoying Zonjic’s artwork on this story and the way that he captures the subtle moments in the story is where it really shines. Of course the big battle scenes are just as impressive too but its the great way that the layouts of the story that add so much to Lemire’s script.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? The Black Hammer comics have always been a great joy to look forward too and this is one of the best because it’s a more urban story and less superhero centric that is really refreshing and add a new dimension to the overall mythology of the Black Hammer Universe. This is one comic that you don’t want to miss. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Plunge #1

DC Black Label/Hill House Comics Writer Joe Hill, Artist Stuart Immonen, Colorist Dave Stewart, Letterer Deron Bennett

The last of the current Hill House Comics line is one of its best and that is saying a lot because they have all been very strong titles. Hill’s story gets off to a great start with setting up the story and the mood right out of the gate and continues to show that old school horror is alive and well and that is what I have loved about the Hill House Comics. The one thing that I wasn’t expecting was the biting humor in the story that gave it a really nice edge and balanced the overall story very well here. Hill reveals just enough here to set up the story but gives you good reason to come back for more. The big win for this comic is Immonen’s gorgeous artwork that really makes this comic shine. It’s been quite a while sense he has done interior artwork and this one was well worth the wait. He really captures the subtle mood of Hill’s script in this first issue that subconsciously gets under your skin and you don’t even realize it at first and that is what makes this book so great. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? It’s hard to believe that every one of the Hill House Comics has been so great and it was a very smart mood to leave this one for last because of Immonen’s artwork a publisher would have normally wanted to put this one out first but Hill wisely saved it for last so that the other series could get going and not over shadow each other. Saying that this comic is the best in the line is a big disservice to the other fantastic titles but if you haven’t been reading any of the other titles (shame on you) this is a great one to pick up and see why Joe Hill has brought back horror to comics in a great way. This is not a comic that you want to miss. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Red Mother #3

Boom! Studios Writer Jeremy Haun, Artist Danny Luckert, Letterer Ed Dukeshire 

This has been a great little gem of a comic that continues to deliver a nice creepy story with a subtle hand. What I like about Haun’s story here is how it continues to wash over you and is more of a subtle read that adds greatly to the unnerving story. While the heart puzzle from the end of the last issue ask more questions than answers that is why it works so well is the slow unfolding tension of the story and what is going on with Daisy. Luckert’s artwork continues to shine here and what is most impressive is the detail that he infuses with the characters emotions and expressions that is making this story work so well. Because of the subtly of Haun’s script Luckert captures all of that in the artwork that is no easy feat and that is why this story is so intriguing.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? For a lot of readers this comic will seem to slow and that is exactly why it is working so well. Haun and Luckert are letting this story wash over you slowly and lets it seep into you as you are reading it. While there are more questions than answers so far there is a lot you are able to see just under the surface of this and that is what is making it a pleasure to read.  

Joker: Killer Smile #3

DC Black Label Writer Jeff Lemire, Artist Andrea Sorrentino, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, Letterer Steve Wands

The last part of this great story comes to a satisfying end that has been a great decent into madness and one mans journey to escape it. Lemire crafted a great story here that has been so much more than the typical Joker story in that he plays the game in a much more methodical way with this story. What has been fascinating about this story is how Lemire has played Ben as a character in this decent into madness and showed how you can change on the surface but it’s you’re inner core that will make that final decision of good or evil. Sorrnetino artwork on this series has been some of his best and how he doesn’t follow the normal manly layout in favor of letting the visuals go with the flow of the story and throw conventional comic artwork out the window and goes all out here. There are so many great visual moments in this final issue that will truly leave you breathless and that is the mark of a great artist.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? This has been a great ride on many levels and Lemire and Sorrentino have delivered a great Joker story here. There is a lot to take in with this final chapter and really makes you think about how good and evil are not always black or white but more of a grey area and that is what has made this book so great. VERY RECOMMENDED!