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New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 2/27/19

New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 2/27/19

Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #2

Dynamite Entertainment Writer Kieron Gillen, Artist Casper Wijngaard, Colorist Mary Safro, Letterer Hassan Otsmane

I was really caught off guard with the first issue and was quite impressed with Gillen’s story so I was excited to see where he was going to take the story after the solid first outing and not only did he build greatly on it but kept the momentum going and really built up the tension in the story. The one thing that Gillen goes with this book is not take the typical superhero route of a lame hero battling a lame villain but has crafted a story that takes a page from the what if superhero existed in the real world theory and plays with that here. While there are shades of other influences the most obvious is Watchmen. While the influence is strong I did find that reading this second issue was good and while it may not be the most original it was enjoyable. He also gives the script a sly sense of humor that was a nice touch here. Wijngaard’s artwork really gives this book a solid footing in that most of the story is dialog and he has to make it work visually without any fancy action scenes to fall back on and that is where he pulls it off is in the emotions of the characters. He also doesn’t try and overplay the artwork but his nice clean style fits the book quite well. The only faux pas that he does here is follow the nine panel layout made famous by Gibbons that was a bit too close for comfort.

Is this book worth you’re time and money? Is this story inspired by Watchmen, sure but I will give Gillen that he gives it a good spin so far that is working and hopefully it will continue to find its way as the story progresses. The big question going forward is will Gillen set this story apart from it’s obvious influences. I do like what they are delivering here but they need to be cautious of becoming just a carbon copy of other material.

Martian Manhunter #3

DC Comics Writer Steve Orlando, Artist Riley Rossmo, Colorist Ivan Plascencia, Letterer Deron Bennett

This is a book that just keeps getting better and better as it goes along. With this third chapter we get to the origin of J’onn J’onzz and how he got to earth and while some readers might know his origin, it was wise of Orlando to wait until now to tell that part of the story. One of the big reasons why this issue works so well is that Orlando mixes the origin with his current story so that it blends together perfectly and expands the story but doesn’t change it but does adds great depth to it. He also does a great job of capturing J’onn journey to become and understand humanity that has always been a strong foundation of the character and also shows how he is torn from his real identity and the one that he has had to create. Where this book shines is with Rossmo’s gorgeous artwork that show what happens when you take the road less traveled path with artwork. Rossmo unique style really fits this book perfectly and captures all of the subtle elements in Orlando’s scripts. The other thing that this book is strong is Plascencia’s color work that does a fantastic job of complementing Rossmo’s line work. He blends it all together that adds greatly to the overall look and feel of this book.

Is this book worth your time and money? I was a bit skeptical after the first issue but I have to hand it to Orlando and Rossmo that they are really firing on all cylinders with this book that just keeps getting better and better each issue. Martian Manhunter has always been a great character but has a spotty history as a regular series but Orlando has cracked it here and this is becoming a must read comic book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Black Hammer: Age of Doom #8

Dark Horse Comics Writer Jeff Lemire, Artist Dean Ormston, Colorist Dave Stewart, Letterer Todd Klein

This is always one of the hardest comics for me to review because how many ways can you continue to praise a comic that continues to surprise and impress with each passing story. Even with this issue that is basically exposition that will have you on the edge of your seat because even though on the surface there doesn’t seem to be that much going on but there is such a much deeper story that is unfolding here that is really mind-blowing. While the recent revelations about the farm were revealed Lemire has taken the fallout from that and taken the book in a direction that is really keeping readers on their toes. The journey of the Black Hammer cast just gets deeper and deeper and the tales of them getting back home continue to impress. Ormston is back in the artwork saddle and brings his perfect style back to the book and what has alway impressed me is how he is able to get so much emotion of stories like this issue where its pretty much pure dialog but is able to relay every thought and action even on the most subtle level and bring it though in the artwork is simply amazing. The phone conversation with Lucy at the pizza parlor really shows what a talented artist he is and how perfect he captures Lemire’s script.

Is this book worth your time and money? This is one of the damn best comics that your simply not reading now. Lemire and Ormston are taking the superhero genre to a whole new level with this book and with each passing issue it continues to deliver what comic book can and should be. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

Shazam #3

DC Comics Writer Geoff Johns, Artists Dale Eaglesham/Marco Santucci/Mayo “Sen” Naito, Colorist Mike Atiyeh, Letterer Rob Leigh 

This first Shazam story arc continues and Johns continues to build this new version of the Marvel Family out, so we are still seeing things come together. We do start to learn about Magicland and how it came to be. There is no doubt that The Funlands is modeled after Pleasure Island from Pinocchio. Johns is definitely playing this up in this issue but mixes in enough to give it a fresh spin that is much more of an homage than anything else. While were still not sure what lies ahead in the story we do get to see some nice buildout on the family with Mary making a strong impression this issue. Johns does get a little more action going by the end of this issue and we get a small glimpse of the other worlds at the end of the issue. The artwork is done by three artist and while the book looks great, I’m truly baffled that a book was started without a regular full artist on the book. My guess is that Naito does the flashback King Kid origin the rest works so that you cant tell Eaglesham and Santucci’s art apart and that is the saving grace is that their styles blend together well so that it has a solid and fluid visual that doesn’t distract. The party scene alone is the price of admission here and the book does look really good.

Is this book worth your time and money? The only issue that I have so far is that while the story is a nice read it’s not quite blowing me away as much as I would have liked it to. To be fair there is a lot of groundwork and world building that Johns is going for here so these middle story issues are not going to be as flashy (hopefully) once the story comes together. The artwork is good but I do hope that they would go with one artist on the book as the book goes along. This issue is a good read and I would still give the book to be worth buying but it’s a bit tough in monthly installments. 

Marvel Comics Presents #2

Marvel Comics Writers Charles Soule/Mark Waid/David & Maria Lapham, Artists Paulo Siqueira & Oren Junior/Djibril Morissette-Phan/David Lapham, Colorists Frank D’Armata/Dan Brown/Lee Loughridge Letterer Joe Caramagna

This reimagined version of the 1980’s bi-weekly series is back with it’s second issue and is a little mixed this issue. First up is Soule and Siqueira’s Part two Wolverine story that loses momentum in its second outing and part of that is the monthly schedule. The original came out every other week so a serialized story was easier to read because of the small gap. With this one a whole month for just ten pages makes it pretty easy to forget what happened last time and that didn’t do the stories any favors. This second chapter did not flow as well as the first one and I when I read it, I felt as if I had missed something along the way. It just didn’t connect as well as the first part. Siqueira’s artwork does help this story along well but couldn’t totally help the disjointed feeling that I had when reading it. Next up is Waid and Morissette-Phan’s Reed Richards story that was a great read that told a tale before he became Mr. Fantastic and gave some great depth to the past in such a short page count. This is the big winner of this issue and Waid really understands what a real superhero is even when they have no super powers. He also delivers the perfect twist ending that is the real icing on the cake with this story. Morissette-Phan artwork is perfect and gives the story a spot on look for the 1950’s when the story takes place that is gritty and dark and pure noir. Last up is Gorilla-Man by David and Maria Lapham that also stars Black Panther that is very interesting to read and its one of those stories that is a little slow while your reading it but once you get to the end it all flows together perfectly and all of the story elements fall perfectly into place. David’s artwork on the story as always is top notch and is a rare treat to see him draw a superhero story. 

Is this book worth your time and money? Overall this second issue is good but doesn’t quite inthrall me as the first issue did. I think where the issue was let down the most was the lead Wolverine story that just didn’t start things off well. The other two really made up for it but that is going to be both the blessing and the curse of a book like this is that there are going to be both hit and misses and it will vary from issue to issue. I would still say its worth buying if your budget allows but if your tight on money you could give it a pass. Good but not great.  

Freedom Fighters #3

DC Comics Writer Robert Venditti, Penciller Eddy Barrows, Inker Eber Ferreira, Colorist Adriano Lucas, Letterer Andworld Design

This is a comic that I never expect to see because of the delicate subject matter of what if Hitler had won WWII and turned the USA into Nazi run country. Well Venditti has really done a great job here where the book at times is very uncomfortable to read and that is what gives it such a great edge is that not only is there the surface Nazi story but the underlying things it brings up in the characters of the story. In a lot of ways it’s a pretty simple superhero story but when you throw in the social commentary this book really stands out. What has been working so well here is that Venditti is rolling out the story at a very nice pace and even with just three issues so far the book really breaths well and the pacing of the story is really well done. Barrows artwork is wonderful and he is able to not only capture the superhero moments perfectly like the Black Condor air duel but the more uncomfortable moments of the horrors of war that has to be delivered with a delicate touch. He gives a great balance to both and delivers a perfect emotional impact to the book that is a perfect match to Venditti’s script.

Is this book worth your time and money? I really have to applaud DC for doing this book because rarely in mainstream superhero comics today take many risks like this book. To even describe this story in our present day turmoil is a tough conversation at best but to do a comic that makes you uncomfortable and makes you think is quite impressive. This is a book that deserves to be read fa many reasons but one thing is for sure is that it really sticks with you long after you have read it. VERY RECOMMENDED!

West Coast Avengers #8

Marvel Comics Writer Kelly Thompson, Artist Gang Hyuk Lim, Letterer Joe Caramagna

In a rare feat Marvel has let Thompson go wild on this comic and it continues to pay off handsomely. I’ll admit that I have alway been a sucker for second string superhero groups that throw together a team that is a total mess but I have to give Thompson credit that she totally get it and uses it to her advantage here. While they many not be the strongest characters in the Marvel Universe she makes sure that they have depth but never let that get in the way of simply having fun. This really pays off in the script that has abundance of wit and charm that always makes this book a great little read. The other thing that the book does well is that this issue is a good jumping on point and while there is history to some of the story elements the overall story is easy to get into and enjoy. One of the best assets of the story is it’s sly humor that she gives the cast of characters that will always put a smile on your face and even make you chuckle. This issue she delivers a great twist to a simple spy mission that was really nice to see and will get you excited for the next issue. New artist Lim does a good job here of capturing all of the chaos of the script and is able to bring the humor and the emotions visually to life and that is not an easy task. He captures the very subtle visual moments that really add greatly to this book that make it that much more fun to read.

Is this book worth your time and money? Is this book going to blow you away, no but that is not what Thompson is doing here. She is simply delivering a fun and solid comic that hits all of the right beats and will leave a smile on you face. RECOMMENDED!