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New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 2/20/19

New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 2/20/19

High Level #1

Vertigo Comics Writer Rob Sheridan, Artist Barnaby Bagenda, Colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr., Letterer Nate Piekos

Vertigo continues to try and rebuild the line and has really struggled with mix results so far and this new series does show some promise but I wasn’t totally sold on the story with this first issue. Sheridan does a good job of setting up the dystopian world and gives enough characterization to Thirteen to care about her in this first outing. Where the book struggles a bit was with the set up in that this story you have read a million times before and at least in this first issue there wasn’t a lot that made it stand out from the cliche tropes of the same story structure. The one thing that did help this book immensely was Bagenda’s artwork that really gave it a wonderful visual tone and made the book feel stronger than the story and that was a huge help. Bagenda along with colorist Fajardo Jr. really gives this book a solid footing and added color when needed to make the story less typical dystopian and gave Thirteen a great look to her character. 

Is this book worth your time and money? Even though the story didn’t really blow me away there is enough that Sheridan does do in the story to give the book a few more issues to find it’s footing. I’m hoping that he is able to give this story a unique feel that this first issue didn’t attain here. The big win for this book was Bagenda’s artwork that was really gorgeous and helps moves things along a lot better than it really was. As far as a recommendation it’s a bit fuzzy on that one. If you like dystopian science fiction stories then you might give it a shot but if your not you might want to wait till see the reviews for the next few issues.

Sharkey #1

Image Comics Writer Mark Millar, Artist Simone Bianchi, Letterer Peter Doherty 

The Millarworld Netflix testing ground continues and while this book was much better than the last few ones that really fell flat, it was only slightly better. As with most of Millar’s output of late the story is one that is culled from other media and that is where most of the problems has been with his books, there simply not that original and are just pilots for Nexflix. I get that is what is going on with these comics but I wish that Millar would put a little more effort into them. So this story is a down on his luck bounty hunter that is given a chance at a big score but of course there are other bounty hunters into the fray and then you throw in the kid sidekick and you have pretty much read this first issue. Yea the plot is not much thicker than that here. Bianchi’s artwork on the book is good but didn’t really blow me away either. The one plus is that he uses a lot of color with the artwork that helps but the book has an overall drab color palette that fits the tone of the story that does help the so-so story move along better than it should.

Is this book worth your time and money. Look I get what Millar is doing here with creating content for Netflix via the comic book route but while this concept could make a middling television series it’s simply not good enough as a comic book. There is nothing original here and you could care less about any of the characters so that seems to be pretty much what these Millarworld comics are going to be. If you like them then your going to like this one but if your like me and want some depth and originality your not going to find that here. SKIP IT!

Stronghold #1

Aftershock Comics Writer Phil Hester, Ryan Kelly, Colorist Dee Cunniffe, Letterer Simon Bowland

On the surface Stronghold won’t grab you right away when your first flipping though it as I did but once you sit down and read it, it becomes quite a surprise and not what you initially expected. Hester has come up with a really compelling story here and while there are elements of other influences here and there, he definitely makes this all his own. What really impressed me here was that he really keeps you on your toes with some great plot twist and turns as the story goes along but instead of trying to make them into shocking surprises he simply gives them a good flow to the story for a solid read. What impressed me the most was the way that Hester gave this first issue a great flow that balanced both the exposition and the characters perfectly so that it was a very solid read. Cunniffe’s artwork was perfect for this book in a way that you might not notice at first. In a lot of ways his artwork has an old school comic book vibe from the 1970’s but in a lot of ways it really benefits the story in a very good subtle way. By it not being flashy or overdone, it actually gives the drama and the emotions a lot of visual weight that helps Hester’s script work even better. 

Is this book worth your time and money? I really enjoyed this first issue and Hester and Cunniffe give a lot of great reasons to come back for a second issue here. With an intriguing story and solid artwork make this a comic that is well worth checking out this week. RECOMMENDED!

Love Romances #1

Marvel Comics Writers Gail Simone/Margaux Motin & Pacco Dorwling-Carter/Dennis Hallum/Jon Adams, Artists Rogê Antônio/Margaux Motin & Pacco Dorwling-Carter/Annapaola Martello/Jon Adams, Colorists Jim Charalampidis/Lee Loughridge, Letterer Travis Lanham

While this one shot is billed as a classic romance comic, it ended up being more romance stories from the Twilight Zone but that is not a bad thing. If you have ever read romance comics from the 1960’s (and I really doubt that most have not) they are mostly like bad romance novels but in comic book form with the woman pining over a man and lots of overblown emotional drama. While there are shade of that here the writers have all gone a different route here and it was a very wise choice on their part. Simone and Antônio deliver a nice twist on the artificial intelligent romance story that has a nice little twist at the end and was well told with really gorgeous artwork that fit the story perfectly. Next up is Motin and Dorwling-Carter’s ghost romance story that was really bitter sweet but I loved that they told the story without words and made it much more impactful as a visual story. This one is a real charmer and was my favorite one of the book. Hallum and Martello’s French Quartered story was really creepy and was in a lot of ways a horror love story and on that level it works quite well and by the time you get to the end its really messed up how it comes together. The last story Gone Like the Wind by Adams is a nice twist on the careful what you wish for type of story and has a great dark sense of humor that has a really funny payoff at the end. 

Is this book worth your time and money? This was a real surprise in the senes that I expected more Harlequin Romance stories and for them all to have more of a darker tone was spot on for this book. The big takeaway from this is don’t shy away from buying this because you think that its just a sappy romance comic, on the contrary it’s a dark and charming look at romance that is sure to please. RECOMMENDED!

Naomi #2

Wonder Comics/DC Comics Writers Brian Michael Bendis & David F. Walker, Artist Jamal Campbell, Letterer Carlos M. Mangual

The first issue of Naomi really knocked my socks off and really got me excited to see where Bendis and Walker were going to take this book. While this second issue is a bit more low key than the first but does a great job of building on the story from the first. The bombshell reveal at the end of the first issue (no spoilers here) keep moving along here and builds great drama and characters to move the story along nicely. They are really giving readers a lot of story to get to know Naomi much better and this is really helping to build a great foundation for this comic. There is a lot more that is to come with the backstory of her and I like that they are peeling back the layers at a nice pace here in the story. Campbell continues to give this book a great visual look but infuses the book with great visual emotions to the characters that really sets this book apart. There are a lot of times in the book where the story is visually driven and Campbell shows that he can deliver the goods perfectly.

Is this book worth your time and money? I am really loving this book because Bendis, Walker and Campbell are really taking the time to let this book unfold very naturally and the only complaint that I can muster is that when you get done with the issue your really chomping at the bit for more and that is the sign of a really great comic in that your sad that you have to wait another month for the next part of the story. You can tell that there are some really exciting things to come from this book and this second chapter really seals the deal that this is becoming a must read book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Middlewest #4

Image Comics Writer Scotty Young, Artist Jorge Corona, Colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Letterer Nate Piekos

This comic has become quite the little surprise and I’m really loving how Young and Corona are building the story here. The real charm of this book is that the scripts are continuing to build on Abel’s character in the story and building this vast world that he is journeying though but also that Young is introducing the supporting cast like Bobby, Wrench and Maggie this issue that builds nicely as each issue comes out. What really sets this book apart is that the story on the surface is pretty basic but by using the setting of the Carnaval not only enhances the story greatly but allows Corona to give this comic a great visual charm that has a grand scope to it but is also able to make it feel intimate at the same time. You are able to feel the emotions in both the script and visuals because Young and Corona are perfectly in sync here on this book and that is one of the main reasons that it’s working so well. 

Is this book worth your time and money? This is one of those rare comics that dazzles you with it’s shame but leaves you with a smile while your reading it and that is what I love about it. It’s a grand fairy tale that charm and heart and leaves you wanting more with each passing issue. Great story and artwork make this a must read comic book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Aquaman #45

DC Comics Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, Penciller Robson Rocha, Inker Daniel Henriques, Colorist Sunny Gho, Letterer Clayton Cowles

DeConnick continues to build out her first story arc here and you can’t really judge this issue on its own because were in the middle of it. She does continue to deliver a solid first story here and the one thing that is a pleasant surprise is the mythology that she is building into Aquaman. She is somewhat wiping the slate clean here in some ways but not trying to reinvent the wheel here either. In a lot of ways she is asking the question of who really is Aquaman and that is a very good question. The idea of digging deeper into the character is a smart move and so far it’s been a solid ride. There is a lot of things that she is setting up here and we will have to see how it all comes together in the next two issues but so far its been an enjoyable read. Rocha continues to surprise and impress with the artwork in the level of detail that he puts into this book and the gods visuals are truly stunning and yet he handles the smaller dramatic moments just as well. This is the best Aquaman has look in quite a while.

Is this book worth your time and money? I’m enjoying what DeConnick and Rocha are doing with this first story arc and they are building a nice momentum here. It feels a bit like an original story but at the same time it’s not but we will have to see where it lands and where they go from here. I’m in for this first story arc and fingers crossed that it lands well.

Bitter Root #4

Image Comics Writers David F. Walker & Chuck Brown, Artist Sanford Greene, Colorists Rico Renzi & Greene, Letterer Clayton Cowles

Now were at the part of the story where all hell is breaking loose and we start to see where all of the set up had been leading up to and where the worlds of good and evil will have a showdown. This issue are heroes are faced with some really strong challenges and that they will have to pull together to see if they are able to keep the world from coming to an end. Walker and Brown deliver some great action here but wisely keep the storyline going though it all and never letting the story take a back seat. There is a lot of story going on with the action that made for a great read this issue and I was not expecting that. Greene really lets loose this issue and goes to town with the action and its quite impressive to look at. I love how he played with the layouts of the book with the drama and the action that had a great flow to it and really enhanced the story. This is one of those hang on because it’s a really bumpy ride here.

Is this book worth your time and money? Things have been leading up to this issue and by the end of this issue you can see that they are just getting started with where this book is going to go. There is a lot to take in here both story and visual wise but it’s one hell of a ride that leaves you excited and scared at the end of this issue. VERY RECOMMENDED!