A surprisingly light week of new books with only a few new number one issues. I’m glad I get to catch up on more running series for the reviews for a change.
Power Man and Iron Fist #1
Marvel Comics David Walker, Artist Sanford Reed, Colorist Lee Loughridge, Letterer Clayton Cowles
That 70’s duo is back and gets off to a decent start. Walker’s script does a lot of right things in this first issue but is a bit hampered with the first issueitis. There is a lot of exposition that does slow the first issue down but Walker does a good job of keeping it flowing even with this hurdle. One thing that has plagued many of the new Marvel book is the Secret War continuity nightmare that rears it’s ugly head again here with dragging non readers of that series into things that make very little sense. Walker does his best to avoid dwelling too much on this thankfully. One thing that he really nails on the book is the humor that he infuses into the story that gives the book a nice goofy side that gives a lot of warmth to the characters and the story. One of my favorite bits is the way that the book gets around the swearing problem that is pure gold here. Reed’s art is good but there are times where it has a little too much anime look to the characters and creates some visual continuity issues. While they are not fatal it just took me out of the book a few times. That aside the art has a nice gritty style that does give the book a nice flavor and Reed handles both the dramatic and action well. Is this book worth your time and money? While the first issue didn’t blow me away there is a lot to like here and the first issue ends on a good note that does have me coming back for a second issue. Walker has a lot of baggage to deal with in the story and does his best with the situation. Reed’s art is good and I hope that his consistency improves as the book goes along but a nice job overall with only minor bumps in the road. This book has potential but it’s going to take a few issues to get going. It’s well worth reading and while not perfect does have a lot going for it.
Snow Fall #1
Image Comics Writer Joe Harris, Artist Martin Morazzo, Colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick, Letterer Michael David Thomas
Snow Fall is one of those books that has a been there and done that to it. Harris’s script fails to really develop a real sense of direction and has too much of a feel of other similar type stories. The whole planet faces doom and corporate take over of things is a tiered story and sadly Harris doesn’t bring anything fresh or new to it. The other problem is that it never seems as if there is much going on in the story. The ideas are not strung together very well and the story just falls flat by the end of the issue. It also has a bit of disjointed feel to it. Morazzo’s art is nice and he tries to help the book along but with the troubling script there is little he can do to save it. There is a bit of stiffness to the artwork with the characters and times where the background are blank and just filled with color that was disappointing. Is this book worth your time and money? While the book is not a terrible read it really just kind of sits there. Harris’s treads familiar water with the concept and brings nothing new or noteworthy to the concept. Morazzo’s art is decent but nothing memorable either. SKIP IT!
Archie Comics Writer Mark Waid, Artist Veronica Fish, Colorist Andre Szymanowicz with Jen Vaughn, Letterer Jack Morelli
Archie continues to be a real pleasure to read and I am loving the way that Waid is building the story with great pacing and emotions. He is taking the time to really develop the story of Riverdale and all of the cast. Each issue continues to build on this and this issue does a nice job of introducing Reggie Mantle as the trouble maker for Archie and his pals. I also like that he is treating Betty as a strong female instead of the typical dumb blond. Waid’s script is snappy and fun and gives the gang a new and fresh feeling without losing what made them great in the first place. I am really glad that Fish is the new artist on the book and this issue really proves what a great asset she is. She really nails the Archie getting hit with the ball with great visual fun that brought a lot out of Waid’s script. She effortlessly bends all of the emotional elements perfectly that is making this book work so well. Is this book worth your time and money? I have been praising this book from day one and it continues to impress. This issue is a real game changer with the story and brings some great new elements to the book. Waid and Fish are blending perfectly together and this book is always a great read each month. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Superman: American Alien #4
DC Comics Writer Max Landis, Artist Jae Lee, Colorist June Chung, Letterer John Workman
This book is what Superman needs to be on a regular basis, good. While the format of the done in one story is a huge plus, it’s Landis’s take on Superman that is fresh and exciting. While this is the first issue that has story elements from issue three you could have not read that issue and still understood this story. While some could say that the reason that the book is working is because it’s not a standard Superman being super in the story, but I say that it’s good writing that makes it and not the spandex. Landis gets the elements that makes Superman such a beloved character. He really captures the innocent that is the core of Superman. Sure he is a boy scout but if you keep true to the characters then build a solid story around it you have something. He is also weaving in other DC Universe characters like Batman and Green Arrow into the stories that are adding a nice flavor to the story. This issues artist Lee really brings a great visual style to the story. The thing that impressed me was the layouts of the art that give the story a great flare and look that captured the emotional elements of the script. Lee hasn’t done interior art recently and after seeing this book he is sorely missed on a regular book. Is this book worth your time and money? This book seems to get better every issue and Landis really take full advantage of Lee’s incredible art style and builds a wonderful story to match them. Telling stories that add fill in elements to the Superman mythology is a real win for this book and shows what a great Superman story looks like. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
American Monster #2
Aftershock Comics Writer Brian Azzarello, Artist/Colorist/Letterer Juan Doe
I wasn’t totally sold on the first issue of this series and the second issue presents more questions than answers but I am still very intrigued by the book. Azzarello is building a lot of elements in the book and while there seems to be some disjointed elements to the book this second issue does flow a bit better than the first issue. Azzarello is still setting up all of the elements to the story and we are starting to see some of the clues as to why Theodore has come to town and things are not quite a simple as they should be in this small town. The story is going for the long haul and is tough to read on a monthly basis because the story is to be read at the same time and you can really see that in this issue. Doe artwork is quite impressive and the layouts to the art is really great. There is a lot for him to juggle with the script and he help visually keep things moving along nicely. Is this book worth your time and money? This is going to be a tough book for a lot of readers because you have to see the bigger picture to the story. This is a slow burn book and as long as you know this your going to enjoy it but, if you’re looking for a more simple and standard book then you need to go elsewhere. I am liking the slow burn approach to the story and am very intrigued to see where Azzarello and Doe are going to take the story to.
The Shield #2
Dark Circle Comics Writers Adam Christopher & Chuck Wendig, Artists Drew Johnson, Ray Snyder, and Al Barrionuevo, Colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick, Letterer Rachel Deering
It’s really hard to review this second issue of The Shield because it’s been nearly four months from the first issue and it makes it tough to remember what the heck is going on. Dark Circle/Archie comics has really struggled with the schedule on their books and it’s sadly not doing them any favors. The second issue is more of a middle part of the story and was a little more of a slow burn than I normally would have liked. Christopher and Wendig are building some good elements here but unless the book comes out more often it’s not going to help with the building of it. Thankfully there is only one time jump in this issue and then we start to get going on the present day elements of the story. They do leave us with a pretty wild ending to this issue and opens up a lot of questions. The artwork on the book is done by two artists. The first half is Johnson and Snyder that is really wonderful and strong artwork. They bring a great energy to the story and the two page spread is really impressive. The back half of the book is by Barrionuevo and is good but is tough to follow Johnson and Snyder and while he does a decent job it’s just not as visually exciting and a bit of a letdown on the book. While not a disaster the styles do not mesh that well together but is not fatal in the end just a little disappointing. Is this book worth your time and money? While I still enjoyed the book the delay really affected my enjoyment of the story. You are just lost with the delay and trying to remember what the hell happened in the last issue. The mis-matching of the artwork didn’t do the book any favor either. This book is a tough call because there is a lot I like about it but there are some real drawbacks to it also. It’s too close to make a call but I still think if you enjoyed the first issue you should pick this one up too.
Dynamite Writer Rick Remender, Artist Jonathan Wayshak, Colorist Jordan Boyd, Letterer Rus Wooton
I was pleasantly surprised by this book and the second issue does a so-so job of building on the story and introducing more characters into the arc. Remender does maybe spend a little too much time in the fort it does give a glimpse into what the world has become and how trying to survive is a real challenge. The only issue that the book might be having is that Remender is following a story that has been told better and he is not yet brought anything super new to it. While still a fairly enjoyable read I was hoping for a bit stronger second issue with the story and it didn’t add many new elements to the story as I would have liked. The real win is Wayshak’s artwork that make the story a lot more interesting than it really is. He brings a great look to the world and has a great EC art style that make the book look very impressive. He certainly made it move along better. Is this book worth your time and money? This second issue was more fill in than really advancing the story. Remender should have brought more than he did with the story and while there are elements that are good, there were thing that didn’t advance the story and could have been cut out of the story. It makes you wonder if the story was shorter and then dragged out to make the series longer. I think that it need a bit more editing before it went out the door. The next issue is really going to have to bring it for this book to make the cut.
Silver Surfer #2
Marvel Comics Writers Dan Slott & Michael Allred, Artist Michael Allred, Colorist Laura Allred, Letterer Joe Sabino
I have to really give props to Slott and Allred for bringing the Surfer back to Earth and doing a great job of building the relationship of Norrin and Dawn but still doing a great job of mixing the fun and action in a great balance. The scene with Alicia Master and Dawn is priceless and is a nice little love triangle. Add in the wrong addresses for the Baxter Building and the Avengers Mansion give this issue some great humorous moments. While the book seems is quirky it really has a great flow to it. Slott and Allred continue to impress with making this book fresh and exciting and you never quite know where things will go or who will show up and in this issue there is quite the surprise at the end of the issue. Allred always brings his A game to this book with the artwork and there is a lot of different story elements that he balances perfectly. While it’s a bit cartoony at times but then he really nails the dramatic moments and pulls it together very effortlessly that makes this book such a pleasure to read. Is this book worth your time and money. You would think that bringing the Silver Surfer to earth would make for a pretty boring story but leave it to Slott and Allred to prove that very wrong. They really squeeze a lot into this issue and yet it never feels rushed or slow. The story is unfolding at a very nice pace and is a real joy to read each month. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!