After a few smaller weeks of new comic books the flood of comics has returned with both new series and returning ones that made the read pile this week a real challenge. Let’s get to it.
The Old Guard #1
Image Comics Writer Greg Rucka, Artist Leandro Fernandez, Colorist Daniela Miwa, Letterer Jodi Wynne
Rucka is on a real roll lately with not only his Wonder Woman comic over at DC but continues to come up with a lot of great creator owned books and you can add The Old Guard to the list. One of my favorite things about Rucka’s scripts is how is able to take a run of the mill story and by the end of the first issue throw a wonderful curve ball at the reader and makes you rethink what you just read. The Old Guard starts off as a really solid mercenary team and on that level it’s a very solid story but once he reveals the twist you are even more intrigued with where the book can go. What makes it work so well is that Rucka doesn’t try to shock you with the twist and that is what makes this book so satisfying. The other strength of the book is that again Rucka lead is female that adds a great deal to the story but shows that a strong female lead can be just as good if not better than a male if written well. I was very impressed with Fernandez’s art on the book. He has a very distinct style that is unique and powerful all at once. His bold line work and layouts add a great visceral feel to the story. I must add the great color work of Miwa who really brought Fernandez’s line work to life and gave the book a great fell with her color work.
Is this book worth your time and money? While the first issue is not the greatest comic that you will ever read but what sets Rucka apart from a lot of other writers is that he always delivers a great set up to a series and this book is no different. While you read through the issue you like it but by the end your hooked and that is what I loved about it. Solid story and art make this a book to watch to see where they take it. RECOMMENDED!
Justice League of America #1
DC Comics Writer Steve Orlando, Penciller Ivan Reis, Inkers Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, & Julio Ferreira, Colorist Marcelo Maiolo, Letterer Clayton Cowles
I was not super overwhelmed with the JLA Rebirth issue a few weeks ago and while this first “real” outing of the title is a little better, the first issue gets off to a so-so start. The biggest problem with Orlando’s script is that there is nothing here that you haven’t read before. This first issue is such a by the numbers affair that while it’s not terrible but it doesn’t really try to do anything beyond basic first issue storytelling. Batman sets up team, bad guys from other planet come to take over the world, new league gets their ass kicked and then Batman sacrifices himself. I know I was super shocked too (NOT)! I do like the team line up in the book this first issue doesn’t really give you much reason to care or come back the next issue. The only solid thing that the book has going for it is Reis and companies gorgeous artwork that is sadly wasted on a by the numbers script that even the art can’t save. I will give the book is that it’s better than the Bryan Hitch Justice League book but that is not really saying a lot.
Is this book worth your time and money? I have read a lot worse books than this but it’s sad to see the Justice League books with Rebirth be such disappointments. Orlando is a better writer than this and using such a weak and simple story plot on this book is just lazy. I would hope that the book will get better but I can’t imagine many readers sticking around to find out. SKIP IT!
Darkness Visible #1
IDW Writers Mike Carey & Arvind Ethan David, Artist Brendan Cahill, Colorist Joana Lafuente, Letterer Shawn Lee
I honestly picked this book up on a whim because it was on sale this week at my local comic shop and I was quite surprised how much I liked it. Carey and David gave a nice little twist to the tried and true cop genre and while the book doesn’t break too much new ground, I did find that it was a nice little read this week. What really helps the book is that they keep things moving along nicely in this first issue and do a good job of introducing the characters and setting up the story. I found it to be one of those comics that didn’t try to be more than it is, meaning that it aims for the middle and hits it perfectly. They also do a nice job of blending genres in the book. Cahill’s artwork is decent and gets the job done and while it’s fairly standard stuff here overall it was pleasant enough and did the job. I did like his take on the demons in the book that were classic and fun.
Is this book worth your time and money? There are some good ideas here in this book and it gets off to a good start. A nice first issue that gives you a decent reason to come back for the second issue. The book is fun and charming and worth checking out.
Kamandi Challenge #2
DC Comics Writer Peter J. Tomasi, Artist Neal Adams, Colorist Hi-Fi, Letterer Clem Robins
I liked the first issue of this round robin book that has each issue build from the previous creative team and finish the cliffhanger left from the previous issue. This issue Tomasi picks up the story and comes up with a quite impressive story that you never see coming. The way that he solves the cliffhanger was pure genus and in no way do you see coming. For me Tomasi is a writer who can run either hot or cold but here I have to say is one of the best scripts that I have read from him. One of the great charms of the script is not only his smart use of the Kirbyverse but he drops fun little DC Universe easter eggs along the way for the longtime DC fans that was a very nice touch to the book. Joining Tomasi is one of the greatest comic artist of all time the legendary Neal Adams that really brings his A+ game here. What he brings to this issue is not only great scope that the story has but the emotional impact of it at the same time. This is some of the best Adams artwork that I have seen over the past few years and a great tribute to a fellow comic master.
Is this book worth your time and money? Kamandi Challenge is a book that in a lot of ways is hard to review compared to a regular series. What is going to make or break each of these stories is how well the reader feels that they have been rewarded by the creative teams solving of the previous teams cliffhanger. In this case Tomasi and Adams simply blew away my expectations and pulled off a rare feat of actually coming up with a solution that you never see coming but simply knocks your socks off. This book stand to be not only a great tribute to Jack Kirby but this issue the King himself would have enjoyed reading. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
The Power of the Dark Crystal #1
Archaia Writer Simon Spurrier, Artist Kelly and Nichole Matthews, Letterer Jim Campbell
I am a huge Jim Henson fan and I am glad to see that his great legacy of storytelling is living on in new stories inspired by his genius. This comic is based on a screenplay by Annette Duffy and Davis Odell and further developed by Craig Pearce and is a direct sequel to the original film. Spurrier adaption and fleshing out of the screenplay gets off to a bit of a bumpy start. I think that one of the problems is that the first issue is bogged down by exposition and is also a bit on the confusing side. I found myself kind of board with the first issue because of the extremely slow pacing of the story. I do think that there is a good idea here and I can see why the original script was being developed. The biggest problem is that Spurrier didn’t adapt the beginning of the story well into a first issue of a comic book. I will give Kelly and Nicole huge props for the gorgeous artwork on the book that is far superior to the script.They really try their best to help the bloated script move along and they succeed to a point but they were able to only do so much.
Is this book worth your time and money? In a weird way I don’t want to totally write the book off but this first issue was a real slog to get through but I will say that there is a ray of light. The concept of the story is interesting enough for me to give the book a chance with the second issue. I really wish that Spurrier had done a better job with this first issues script to draw the reader back into the world of the Dark Crystal. The artwork by Kelly and Nichole Matthews is the real story here and for them I will give the book another chance.
Supergirl Being Super #2
DC Comics Writer Marilo Tamaki, Artist Joelle Jones, Colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick, Letterer Saida Temofonte
I really enjoyed the first issue of this book but I have to say that not only does the second issue exceed that one but it does something that you rarely see in superhero comics. Most of the time with retelling an origin of an established character like Supergirl a writer would take the original premiss and change a few things to make their take original. Tamaki wisely doesn’t follow that pattern but takes the core of Supergirl’s origin and has crafted a brilliant and heartfelt story that goes beyond your typical superhero comic. What she infuses into the book is simply a solid and deep story with a strong emotional core. Sure you could just say that it’s a basic coming of age/teen drama but Tamaki makes it much more than that. There are so many times (without giving away too much) where she could have simply taken the easy route and a great example is at the funeral ceremony where Jen’s sister Beatrice talks about her could have been a calculated tear jerking moment but Tamaki doesn’t go that easy route but instead quietly underplays it to have a much deeper and touching impact to the overall story. A story like this needs an artist that can capture every little subtle moment in the script and Jones does it with such skill that is her best work to date. She is not afraid to take visual risks with the artwork and gives the script a wonderful flow while your reading it. There are many times in the story where an artist could have overplayed it but not Jones who gives great care to every line that she draws to make sure that it all fits perfectly into place. Another win for the book is the wonderful color work by Fitzpatrick that on the surface you don’t notice but that is why it so good. She does a perfect job of complementing Jones line work and gives the book a great visual tone.
Is this book worth your time and money? Tamaki and Jones have simply crafted one of the best Supergirl stories of all times and were only on the second issue. This is one of those books that really sticks with you because it doesn’t try to be bigger than it is. What makes it work so well is the care and emotions that the story delivers to the reader. It’s so much more than either superhero or teen drama that some would see in the book. It shows that no matter how super you are that you are never perfect and simply have to do the best you can. This book is a must read and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Highlander The American Dream #1
IDW Writer Brian Ruckley, Artist Andrea Mutti, Colorist Vladimir Popov, Letterer Chris Mowry
I am a huge fan of Highlander and not ashamed to admit that I love the second one too (the director’s cut of course) so I was very excited to see this new comic. This comic is simply a disaster. The biggest problem with the book is the flat and boring script by Ruckley. The flaw is that the basic structure of the story brings nothing new to the mythology and every element of the story you can see coming a mile away. There simply no originality to the story and is simply a real chore to read through. With such rich concept it’s a shame that Ruckley couldn’t come up with a more compelling story here. Artist Mutti artwork is a bit mixed here with times she does a good job and other times it’s a bit on the weak side. Overall she does a decent job and with a little more consistency she has potential. She also does her best with the weak script that she had to work with so she get good brownie points for that.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you’re a fan of Highlander then steer clear of this mess of a comic. With it weak and basic script that simply sinks this book out of the gate, you can throw this on the huge pile of poor adoptions of good movies that seems to be piling up lately. IDW needs to really take a look beyond the license on books like this. You have a good property here that is sunk by a mediocre creative team. AVOID THIS BOOK!
Wonder Woman #17
DC Comics Writer Greg Rucka, Artist Liam Sharp, Colorist Lara Martin, Letterer Jodi Wynne
Rucka and Sharp have really struck gold with this second story arc. One of the great pleasures of this book is that they are not afraid to take chances with a superhero comic. They could have simply done the villain of the month and had huge fights and blowing up crap but Rucka thankfully avoids that here. Telling a story about Wonder Woman and not actually having Wonder Woman in the book is pure genius. He has chosen to tell much deeper and character driven stories here. What makes this story arc so great is the subtle layers that the story is delivering. Rucka is spinning a lot of plates story wise but you never get lost or sidetracked because it all flows together so effortlessly. Sharp continues to impress because there is such big and subtle dramatic emotions in Rucka’s script that in lesser hands would not work as well as it does. Sharp does a great job of underplaying the Diana dream sequences that some might have gone the over the top route but this is where the huge strength of Sharps skills really shine.
Is this book worth your time and money? I have been a strong supporter of this book from day one and each issue of both storylines continue to impress and surprise and that is a very special thing in mainstream superhero comics. Rucka and Sharp are a well oiled machine here and is one of the few books that I really look forward to every two weeks. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!