A nice light week of new comic books hit the stands and only a few new #1 issues with some returning series to the review pile.
Swamp Thing #3
DC Comics Writer Len Wein, Artist Kelley Jones, Colorist Michelle Madsen, Letterer Rob Leigh
It’s rare in comics today for a book to come out of the gate and not only hit the ground running with the first issue but keep the momentum going and building on it with each issue. Swamp Thing is not only proving that it can be done but continues to impress me with each issue and the third issue is no different. Wein continues to weave the mythology of the character and nicely fitting in the mystic side of the DC Universe into the story that makes it feel really natural and has you wishing that DC would let him run that part of the Universe. This issue he brings back Matt Cable from the original run to try to help Alec become human again. Wein nicely weaves in other mystical characters like Mister E, Felix Faust, Enchantress and the big guest star Zatanna. There was a lot of exposition that Wein had to get through with the story and yet when you read the book it flows so effortlessly that your surprised how much information was packed into it and how well it worked. This was one of the few times recently where Zatanna has been used with a more horror tone that is a nice change from her just saying spells backwards and served the story perfectly. Jones once again gives the book such a great moody feel that adds to the horror elements of the book with a great visual feast that perfectly complements the story. The thing that he pulls off so well in this issue is the subtle facial emotions of the characters that really give the book such a heartfelt touch that does a brilliant job of embellishing Wein’s script. I was very impressed with his visual interpretation of Zatanna that made her work better in the story as a real sorceress instead of a superhero with magical powers that she is usually played as. He gave here a real sense of darkness that you rarely see with her. I must also mention again the wonderful color work by Madsen that compliments Jones artwork and keeps the more black and white tone that he creates with his artwork but uses color when needed. Is this book worth your time and money? Once again Wein and Jones deliver a book that not only brings back classic horror comics to current comics but are weaving a truly great comic. They have created a comic that is simply a fun and thoroughly wonderful read that continues to build on the story with each issue with wonderful cliffhangers. There have been many attempts to bring horror back to comic over the past few years but none have been as satisfying as this series is. If you’re not reading this book then your missing one of the best comic that will be hard to top as one of the years best comic. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
Black Widow #1
Marvel Comics Writers Chris Samnee & Mark Waid, Artist Chris Samnee, Colorist Matthew Wilson, Letterer Joe Caramagna
The team who brought a wonderful new spin to Daredevil have now set their sight on Black Widow that has become hugely popular in Marvel films but has always struggled in the comic world. Now thanks to Samnee and Waid Black Widow has found a solid footing in the comics world. The first issue gets off to a bang with little story but a lot of action that gives the book a good start. While I would have liked a little more meat on the story they do set up the elements of the first story arc quite nicely. There is very little dialog in this first issue and this is where Samnee’s gorgeous artwork comes into play. It’s very difficult to do storytelling with visuals alone in comics but leave it to Waid and Samnee to nail it perfectly. The action plays out wonderfully and Samnee’s layouts for the story are quite amazing. Is this book worth your time and money? This first issue is a quick read but it’s nicely satisfying and leaves you with a nice cliffhanger at the end. While the direction of the story is pretty simple knowing Waid and Samnee you ain’t seen nothing yet. It takes a lot of balls to do this style of story out of the gate but they pull it off very well and leave you wanting more. RECOMMENDED!
Predator: Life and Death #1
Dark Horse Comics Writer Dan Abnett, Artist Brain Albert Thies, Colorist Rain Beredo, Letterer Michael Heisler
Predator comics have always been a little hit or miss over the years and now we are getting another round and it gets off to a bit of a so-so start. Abnett does a decent job on the script but the problem ends up being a been there and read that story. The biggest issue is that there is really nothing new brought to the table here. The story unfolds as a paint by the numbers affair that sadly didn’t bring anything new to the table. The only thing that worked for me in this was that Abnett wove the Alien and Prometheus mythology into the story that was nice but didn’t add anything new to the story. Thies’s artwork is nice but nothing flashy. It’s a competent if uninspired artwork that does the job but with the weak story it’s not like he had a lot to work with here. Is this book worth your time and money? This book is not terrible but it’s not terribly good either. Abnett brings nothing new to the Predator universe and after reading the first issue I have no desire to read the rest of the series. Add in the average artwork and there is not much to recommend here. It’s a shame because there have been good Predator comics in the past but this is not one of them. SKIP IT!
Scooby-Doo Team-Up #15
DC Comics Writer Sholly Fish, Artist Dario Brizuela, Colorist Franco Riesco, Letterer Saida Temofonte
Scooby-Doo Team-Up continues to be a fun little read each month. Guest starting The Flash this issue takes the gang to Gorilla City to solve the mystery of the Ghost Ape. Fish continues to write scripts that work for both younger and older fans of Scooby-Doo and brings in the fun of The Flash and his rouges gallery. The story is basic but fun and a nice break from the dark and brooding DC Comics of late. Brizuela does a great job on making the artwork look like the animated style of the cartoon but still brings a comic book sense to it. Is this book worth your time and money? I have been a fan of this book from day one and while it maybe aimed at a younger crowed there is a lot to like about this book for an adult reader. Fish and Brizuela deliver a nice and fun story and artwork that make this book a nice escape each issue with fun team ups.
The Discipline #1
Image Comics Writer Peter Milligan, Artist Leandro Fernandez, Colorist Cris Peter, Letterer Simon Bowland
Milligan always seems to come up with some of the most interesting and strangest stories in comics and The Discipline is an interesting first issue. Milligan’s story is one of those where you’re not quite sure what you just read but you like a lot of it. While the script has some basic tropes to the story there are some interesting ideas presented in this first issue. Milligan is a writer that does a long-term story and you can alway decide on the first issue on some of his books and this is one of those. Your not quite sure where he is going with the story and yet there is something that is compelling deep down in the story that you can’t quite put your finger on. Fernandez’s artwork has a nice moody quality that fits the tone of the story. There were a few times where there were some slight inconsistent artwork but nothing fatal. He does some nice layouts with the art that gives the book a nice visual while your reading the book. Is this book worth your time and money? This is one of those books that is really hard to make a call on. While I liked it but didn’t totally love it, there were some good ideas put across in the script to get to the second issue. I’m not sure that I can or can not recommend the book because it’s going to be a different read for each person. If you’re a fan of Milligan then I would say it’s worth a look.
DC Comics Writers Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher, Artists Horacio Domingues, Babs Tarr, Roger Robinson, Ming Doyle, & James Harvey, Colorists Serge Lapointe and James Harvey, Letterer Steve Wands
In this second part of a three-part story leading up to issue #50 has Frankie and Diana trying to restore Barbara’s memories and finding out who is behind the destroying of Burnside. Stewart and Fletcher script does a nice job of flowing through her memories in the story while blending the dream world and the real world of trying to save her. While the story has been done before and it may not be the best version, it was still a pleasant read and a nice set up to the finale in the next issue. Having different artists do different memories with Tarr doing the framing artwork really give the book a nice extra punch to make the story flow better. It really helps the reader visually from getting lost in the story with the blending of the memories. It makes for a very nice looking book. Is this book worth your time and money? I still enjoy the direction the book is going I hope that after the final chapter of this story the direction of the book builds and take it in a new direction. While I still applaud the book for bringing in new readers, I would wish that they would go a bit deeper with the stories while keeping the elements that make is accessible. I would like a little more long-term storytelling that they have tried to do but haven’t quite nailed it yet. It’s still worth reading and am intrigued to see how the finale comes together in the next issue.