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New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 2/26/20

New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 2/26/20

Amethyst #1

DC/Wonder Comics Writer and Artist Amy Reeder, Letterer Gabriela Downie 

I was a big fan of the original Amethyst series back in the 1980’s and have been intrigued with her appearing in the Young Justice but there are so many characters in that comic it was hard for her to stand out. Thankfully this issue has been remedied by DC thanks to Reeder who I can’t think of a better creator to bring her back into her own story. She wisely does a quick recap of her origin story and then gets right to the new story and it starts off very well here with dropping readers right in to the mystery of something strange going on in Gemworld. Using a simple mystery elements in this story to set things up was a wise idea that allows Reeder to chart her own story but still using all of the elements of the original series that makes the characters so great. What Reeder does very well here is capture the youthful exuberance of Amy Winston and that is also her Achilles heel because she is young and inexperienced but that is a key element that works really well here. Reeder the artist is perfect for the the comic because she brings a great visual touch to the book that captures the fairy tale aspect of the book perfectly. She gives the chapters great visual and emotional depth with the artwork and is also carefully using the color to give each kingdom a distinct look and feel that is one or the big charms of the story and the Gemworlds. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I was very impressed with this first issue that Reeder delivered. It keeps all of the elements that made the original so great and yet she makes this new series all her own. This is one of those comics that gets off to a great start but is a wonderful all ages books that can be enjoyed by everyone but is especially great for young female readers that are far too underserved in comics. There is a lot to like here and Reeder give you a great reason to come back and find out what the mystery is all about. VERY RECOMMENDED!

Hidden Society #1 

Dark Horse Comics Writer Rafael Scavone, Artist Rafael Albuquerque, Colorist Marcelo Costa, Letterer Bernardo Brice

This is one of those first issues that shows a lot of promise but there is so much exposition here that keeps you from totally embracing it at first. Scavone does one thing very well here and that is set up each of the team members and that is where thing work really well here. The only issue is that because he takes the whole issue up with the introductions it leaves little space to tell what the story arc is going to be that is a little frustrating but not totally fatal. The real win for this book is with Albuquerque’s artwork that really shines here and he gives the introductions to each of the characters a great visual sense that matches their characters and personalities. I love how he captures the subtle emotions of the characters in their facial expressions especially Orcus that is a real charmer in the story. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I did like this comic but didn’t love it because while Scavone set up the characters very well here I felt that he should have balanced the story with a little more insight to why they were all called together. There is nothing in this first issue that tells me what the point of the story is and that is a real flaw for a first issue and tough for a lot o readers. On the flip side you do get to know the characters very well so I’m willing to give the book another issue to see if they can get the story going. While Albuquerque’s artwork is a big draw for a lot readers to this book the artwork is not going to help with a slow start like this. 

Fantastic Four: Grimm Noir #1

Marvel Comics Writer Gerry Duggan, Artist Ron Garney, Colorist Matt Milla, Letterer Joe Caramagna

This is a really interesting story that Duggan and Garney tell here and who doesn’t like a book starring Ben Grimm and this is a nice little surprise. The basic story structure is a play on the nightmares fueled by a villain that you have read a million times before but Duggan does a good job here of making it feel fresh and new with some nice little twist and turns that keep it moving along. If there is one minor complaint is that I felt that the last act of the story was a bit on the rushed side that I felt threw off the balance of the story a little but not by any mean fatal. Duggan does a great job of capturing Grimm that made this story such a joy to read because he is the most underrated of the team and yet has the best backstory and emotions because of his more drastic change than the others. Garney does a great job here with the visuals on the book and really steps out from the behind the superhero artwork that he is best known for and brings a great heft and weight to this story with his artwork here. He does such a great job of capturing the emotions of the story here that are really impressive. He keeps a great balance of keeping the story from becoming too sappy here and keeps the story emotionally grounded with the visuals and makes it a great visual treat here.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I don’t know that this story really fits all of the noir elements but that aside this is a really good story with striking visuals that made it a very good read this week. It’s not a story that will blow you away but it will however leave you remembering it after you have finished. RECOMMENDED!

Basketful of Heads #5

DC Black Label/Hill House Comics Writer Joe Hill, Artist Leomacs, Additional Pencils Riccardo La Bella, Colorist Dave Stewart, Letterer Deron Bennett

These Hill House Comics continues to be some of the best ones out there and this is one of my favorites. What I love that Hill is doing here with each passing issue is slowly peel back the layers of the story and it reveals more secrets of the small town of Brody Island that continues to add new twist and turns to the story that always keep you on you’re toes. Leomacs continues to impress with his artwork on the book that gives a great visual for the subtle horror elements of the story that have added greatly to the look and feel of the story. I really like the way that he captures the emotions of June in the story and you are always rooting for her in this crazy situation and he gives her so much visually here that is very impressive.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? This is a comic that I look forward to each month to see where Hill and Leomacs is going to take the story. There is so much richness in each panel of this story that the only disappointment is that you have to wait 30 days for the next chapter of the story and that is a good sign of a great story. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Ant-Man #2

Marvel Comics Writer Zeb Wells, Artist Dylan Burnett, Colorist Mike Spicer, Letterer Cory Petit

The first issue of this story was quite a surprise and I am very happy to say that this second outing does not disappoint. Wells keeps the story in humor and fun mode that fits Ant-Man like a glove and that is what is making this mini series so fun is that it straddles the fine line between standard superhero fare and pure comedy gold and that is why its working so well. Wells keeps the story moving along nicely here and while there is lots of great humor here there is a lot of solid emotional core that he infuses to Scott Lang and that brings it all together so perfectly here . Burnett is a real win for this comic in that he is able to capture all of the zany story elements that Wells throws at him and he is able to not only capture the big fight scenes but the subtle humor elements in the emotions of the characters so well here. The fact that he is able to get emotions out of a swarm of bees tells you all you need to know that he has a lot of talent here.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? It’s so rare for a Marvel Comic to go outside the box and I’m glad this one does because that is what makes it so charming is that you don’t quite know what is going to happen but is sure is one hell of a ride. Wells story hits all of the right beats with the pacing of this story and with Burnett’s spot on artwork here this is a big winner and one hell of a fun comic. VERY RECOMMENDED!

Tommorrow #1

Dark Horse Comics/Berger Books Writer Peter Milligan, Artist Jesús Hervás, Colorist James Devlin, Letterer Sal Cipriano

OK lets be honest here that when you read the first issue of this you are gong to notice many similarities to DC Comics DCeased but no zombies. The premise of the end of the world plague is not new but the question is always what does the writer bring to the story to make it feel fresh and different and Milligan does a pretty good job here in this first issue set up. The wise decision to focus on the characters in the set up does help this story because that gives you a reason to care what is going on in the story. The one thing that I appreciated was that he doesn’t have everyone running around like a chicken with its head cut off in total panic mode that is very cliche in these stories. I liked that Oscar was calm and more in shock that gave it a nice touch in the story. Hervás artwork on the book is quite nice and where it really shines is the facial emotions on the characters that really help sell the story. He also doesn’t overplay the craziness when the plague hits that helps tempter the story so that it doesn’t feel as forced as it could have come off as. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? This first issue shows promise but while there are some new ideas here Milligan is going to have to bring more to this story with the next chapter. There are good ideas here but not as ground breaking as I would have liked so we will have to see what the next issue brings.

X-Men + Fantastic Four #2

Marvel Comics Writer Chip Zdarsky, Penciller Terry Dodson, Inkers Rachel Dodson with Karl Story & Ransom Getty, Colorist Laura Martin, Letterer Joe Caramagna

OK lets be really honest here in that this is a basic superhero crossover with very little originality going on here but somehow Zdarsky give the story just enough to make it worth reading. It follows all of the basic tropes that you have in a crossover with a thin reason that the X-Men and FF are crossing paths. Introducing a classic villain Doom into the mix is no big shock here but I think that the thing that is saving this whole thing is having the story focus around Kitty Pride and that is a big plus for long time fans of the character from the Claremont and Bryne ere of her introduction. This feels like the classic Kitty but she is more mature as well she should be. There is a lot of nostalgia that Zdarsky taps into here and that is keeping it from falling off the rails here. Of course Dodson’s artwork helps this comic greatly because it simply looks amazing and it really helps sell the so-so story visually that is a big plus.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? Look Zdarsky and Dodson are not re-inventing the wheel here and this is pretty basic storytelling but if you are willing to forgive a lot of basic story tropes here then its a nice nostalgia ride that has pretty artwork and it is what it is.

Suicide Squad #3

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

With so many takes on this group and the last version being pretty bad my expectations for this one were quite low but I have to say that Taylor has really shaken things up here and that is a really good thing that this title needed. Beyond new team members there is a real sense of change for this book and while it’s not the most original story concept, it is however something that this titled needed. Taylor is setting things up with this first storyline and he is not afraid to shake things up here with yet another member dying in this issue and he is really racking up the body count here. There is also a lot of subplots that he is peppering into the story that is paying off as the story goes along. Redondo’s artwork here is not flashy and that is what I really like about it is that it’s pretty classic superhero art that works perfectly here. One of his best assets is the emotions of the characters that sells this story and that is another reason why its working well here.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? While this comic wont blow you away it does however bring some good ideas and a fresh perspective to this book that desperately needed it. Taylor and Redondo are setting up things nicely and give the book some nice twist and turns that is making for a fun read and still worth checking out.

Finger Guns #1

Vault Comics Writer Justin Richards, Artist Val Halvorson, Colorist Rebecca Nalty, Letterer Taylor Esposito

I try and check out smaller publishers like Vault out when something looks promising and Fingers Guns on the surface looked interesting. The script by Richards has some good ideas here and while this first issue was a little slow he did take the time to set up the characters so that you care about them and while it mostly works there is more that will need to be worked on as the story goes along. The artwork by Halvorson has a bit of a cartoony look that works for the story and while it simple he does a nice job with the facial expressions for the characters that captures the emotions of the story well. The only thing that was a big disappointment was the color work on the book that was garish and flat and didn’t complement Halvorson’s line work at all. It was too bright and the color choices really hurt the look of the artwork. Color in a comic can make or break a comic and sadly it doesn’t work here well at all.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? The story shows promise and there are things to like here but there were some issues that are troubling. The story wasn’t super strong out of the gate but there is enough here to give it another chance with the setup. The color work is simply not good here and really took away from the visuals of the comic. I might give the second issue a shot but it’s on thin ice here.