There are a few things that I want to go over before the reviews this week. First because of my vacation last week I will try to hit books from both this and last weeks releases. Second in an effort to cover more ground each week I am slightly changing the format of the review. I will no longer cover the plot synopsis from the publisher and get straight to the reviews of the books. This will hopefully save time each week and I will maybe be able to fit in more reviews. So there are a lot of books so let’s get cracking!
Dark Horse Comics Story Rafael Albuquerque & Mike Johnson, Script Mike Johnson, Artist and Colorist Rafael Albuquerque, Letterer Nate Piekos
Albuquerque is best known to most readers for his stint on Vertigo Comics American Vampire and now he has a new creator owned book courtesy of Dark Horse Comics. This is one of those first issues that jumps back and forth with the main character Joshua has lost his memory and the reader is caught off-balance as to what exactly is going on. That is not to say that it’s confusing but the issue is very much a set up for the series. The story by Johnson and Albuquerque is good but does veer a bit into familiar territory of a story that has been told many times before. While I liked the story there was not enough to blow me away. The second issue will really have to point in the direction of the series after this issues set up. The art by Albuquerque is really beautiful and I was very impressed with his decision to use a limited color palette to let colors stand out when needed. This is a really great looking book and that alone will get me to come back for at least a few more issues.
Is this book worth your time and money? The first issue is pretty much all exposition so it’s really hard to for a strong opinion about the story. It does get off to a good start but nothing amazing yet. There is however a fair amount of promise to the book. The artwork does help the story out immensely and this is a really good-looking book. I would say that it’s worth a read and hope that the second issue really punches the story and this could be a book to watch.
Joe Frankenstein #1
IDW Artist/Co-Writer Graham Nolan, Co-Writer Chuck Dixon, Colorist Gregory Wright, Letterer Chris Mowry
The second of our artist turned writer creator owned book. This time it’s from Batman artist Nolan along with veteran writer Dixon to help with the script. I liked the idea of the concept but the story didn’t quite rise above an average been there and done that story. The script hits all of the right beats it’s just that I have read a story like this a million times and Nolan and Dixon didn’t bring anything new to the concept. The art by Nolan is nice and does a nice job with the backgrounds and details. Nolan art does help the story to work a bit better than it should.
Is this book worth your time and money? While the book was a pleasant read in the end you have read this story many times before and Nolan and Dixon don’t really add much new to the mix. The book does look really nice and the idea has a bit of promise but unless the second issue does something really different I doubt that I would go more than one more issue at the most. It falls into the average read category.
Mister X: Razed #1
Dark Horse Comics Writer/Artist/Colorist/Letterer Dean Motter
Any new Mister X book that Motter does is for me a gift. I have been a fan of the book from back in the day when it started and glad that the book has found a new home at Dark Horse. While the Christmas themed stories are a bit late I really enjoyed the two stories and how Motter was able to weave the same theme in to both of them. The thing that I love about Mister X is the mixing of a number of genres, styles and periods and yet is able to keep it all so fluid that it becomes second nature when you are reading them. If you have never read a Mister X book before this is a good jumping on point because both stories are self-contained and there is a really good preface in the front to get you up to speed. Motter’s story and art are heavily steeped in noir and is one of the few creators that is able to pull it off so effortlessly. This is a gorgeous book that shows what a master artist that Motter is. He is one of those artist that looks simple on the surface but there is a lot of subtle detail to it. This is a great looking book. The other impressive aspect to the art is that it’s black and white with only grey tones and degrees of red that is very striking.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is a highly recommended book and very accessible to new readers. If you are a fan of noir or are looking for something different then you should really give this book a shot. Solid stories and wonderful art make this an excellent choice. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
The Multiversity: Mastermen #1
DC Comics Grant Morrison, Penciller Jim Lee, Inkers Scott Williams, Sandra Hope, Mark Irwin, Jonathan Glapion, Colorist Alex Sinclair and Jerony Cox, Letterer Rob Leigh
Morrison alternate trip through the pre New 52 DC Universe continues to hit the high mark again. This round he brings back the Freedom Fighters to an alternate world where the Nazis won WWII when Hitler found Superman as baby. The story by Morrison is a basic paying the price for all of your sins is a nice flip side to if WWII had went the other way. Of all of the Multiversity books so far this is the most straight forward story so far. For me any chance to see the Freedom Fighters back is a win in my book. I am a huge fan of them and would love to see them come back again someday. It’s pretty much a standard superhero story but as usual with Morrison there are some really nice plot twist that help keep it from being too standard. Lee’s artwork is nice but you can notice the difference in the inking styles with the four inkers on the book. It’s not a knock on the art just an observation.
Is this book worth your time and money? While I did really enjoy this part of the Multiversity it did come off a little more standard than the previous books. There didn’t seem to be as much connection to the overall blending of the universes like the previous books. The art is good but pretty standard Lee artwork, meaning nice but nothing outstanding from him. If you have been reading all of the Multiversity books this is solid if not a bit safe but still a fun and nice looking read.
Vertigo Comics Writer & Artist Lee Bermejo, Colorist Matt Hollingsworth, Letterer Jared K. Fletcher
We come to our third artist turned writer book this week and Bermejo really pulls off a really interesting concept with this book. The story does drift into some familiar territory with very noticeable Escape From New York themes that are pretty obvious. The good news is that there are some interesting story elements that are present and bring up some good ideas for the story down the road. There is a fair amount of set up in this first issue and there are still many questions to be answered but that aside there is a lot of promise to the book. Of course the main reason to pick up the book is Bermejo’s absolutely stunning artwork that really shines. The detail that he put into the art is simply amazing.
Is this book worth your time and money? While the first issue may not be a home run it does get off to a good start and does show a lot of promise. There are some interesting ideas that hopefully play out in the next few issues of the book. The art alone is worth the cover price and the story is pretty good if pretty much exposition. This has some really good potential if he mixes things up.
The Black Hood #1
Dark Circle Comics Duane Swierczynski, Artist Michael Gaydos, Colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick, Letterer Rachel Deering
Archie Comics is really breaking the norm lately with their line of books. There are relaunching their superhero books under the new Dark Circle banner and the Black Hood is the first one to hit and it gets off to a good start. This is one of those stories that burns slow but is taking it’s time to lay out the story well. Swierczynski does a nice job of setting up the mythology of the new Black Hood and while it may be a bit standard story wise he does try to give it a fresh approach. The thing that work out well is that he does a nice job on setting Gregory Hettinger’s character background up so that you get know him a bit before the end of the first issue. Gaydos does a nice job on the art and get the gritty part of the story done visually well. He does a good job on the characters and does some nice background work. There are two minor complaints with the book first Fitzpatrick’s color work might be a bit took dark at times. The color work is not bad it just sometimes overtakes the art instead of complementing it. When you have a dark book you have to be careful and not go to dark that it overtakes the line art. Also the letter was a bit to small for my taste and part of that problem is that sometimes there is a lot of panels per page and there is very little room left for the lettering. In this case it not a fault just a little hard to read at times.
Is this book worth your time and money? The book gets off to a good start and I want to read the second issue that is a good sign. The only worry that I have for the book is that it could turn into a standard vigilante book. So I do hope that they prove me wrong on that count. I would say that the book is worth a throw for a few issues to see where it’s going to land.
Mandrake The Magician #1
King/Dynamite Writer Roger Langridge, Artist & Colorist Jeremy Treece, Letterer Marshall Dillon
Lets be honest here the King/Dynamite line has been a real train wreck for these great characters and the only one left that I had any hope for was this book because Langridge is a really solid storyteller. Well the good news is that so far this is the most readable of the bunch. With that being said it does get off to a so-so start but has a good amount of promise. The problem is that the first issue doesn’t leaves you hanging a bit as to what is going on and what the motivation of the story is. Your not totally lost with the story I ultimately am not sure where it’s going beyond the basic plot. After reading the issue I did feel a little meh about the story. Not bad but not sure if I will come back for more. Treece’s art is a huge improvement over the previous King/Dynamite offerings but has both good and bad moments with it. I did like Treece’s style and he does give the book a distinctive look compared to the others. The problem that I had with it was it seems inconsistent throughout the issue.
Is this book worth your time and money. I will give Langridge and Treece that this is light years ahead of the other King/Dynamite books but it still has a fair amount of issues. I will say that this book does has some potential but I’m not super excited to get the second issue. In the end I would skip it unless you are a huge Mandrake fan.
IDW Writer & Letterer Ryan Ferrier, Artist & Colorist Valentin Ramon
This is the book of the week for sure. This book really surprised me and get off to a great start. The key to why it works so well is that the story admittedly has been told a million times before but, Ferrier has found a way to make it seem like new. The key is that he infuses a great character into D4VE and why it works so well. You can relate to D4VE’s mundane life and always dreaming for something better. It’s also a nice twist that after the robots conquer all living life that they end up becoming the very thing that they conquered. The thing that I really like about the book is that Ferrier has a really snappy script with really good dialog that keeps the story moving at a really nice pace. He also introduces some really nice set ups for the story in the coming issues. Ramon’s art is fantastic with a great amount of detail and does some really nice background work for the book. He also does a very rare thing in that he is able to show emotions in characters that have no facial expression and that is a very difficult feat to do.
Is this book worth your time and money? This was a digital comic from Moneybrain but it’s the first time in print so if you have already read this then you already know about it. For the rest of us this book a real treat and is a really solid book. This book fires on all cylinders perfectly and I can’t wait to see how the whole story unfolds in the future issues. This is the big winner this week. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!