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New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 8/19/20

New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 8/19/20

I’m back! So the good news is that I’m covering this weeks new comic books, the bad news is that I still haven’t caught up with the ones from a few weeks back that I’m still working on so please be patient with me on that one. I blame the sun exploding and setting L.A. on fire this last week. So without further ado…

Wonder Woman: Dead Earth #4

DC Black Label Writer & Artist Daniel Warren Johnson, Colorist Mike Spicer, Letterer Rus Wooton

To say that this mini series has been one of the best Wonder Woman stories is a grand understatement. Johnson has been firing on all cylinders with each passing issue that has left readers hanging on grand cliffhangers with each chapter and now we finally get to the finale and it ends with an all out climactic conclusion that was not only worth it but I’m still recovering from it. What Johnson has done here with the story is made it visceral that it takes you on a ride of emotions from start to end and that is a rarity in mainstream comics today. He also took chances with both the story and the artwork on this book and that is why it works so well. This last chapter is a real rollercoaster ride of emotions but what sticks with you the most is how he captures what makes Wonder Woman such a great character. Johnson gives you hope with this story of a post apocalyptic world and that is one of the most important emotional core of her character. I have been a huge fan of Johnson’s artwork and he has really topped himself here. With the larger size of the book he really opens up the grandeur and scope of the story but its also the more intimate moments in the story that really get to you emotionally that will stick with me from this story.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I have been raving about this comic from day one and it certainly never disappointed me with each issue. This last penultimate chapter was even more than I could have hoped for and there is a possible chance that there could be more with the way it ends. Without any spoilers he ends the story here but leaves things open if he wants to do more in the future. Wonder Woman has always been a tough character to get right and Johnson simply nailed it here. This is seminal comics and if you have missed it then there is a collection coming soon and its a truly must read! HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

Maestro #1

Marvel Comics Writer Peter David, Artist German Peralta & Dale Keown, Colorists Jesus Aburtov & Jason Keith, Letterer Ariana Maher 

28 years after the groundbreaking Hulk Future Imperfect story by David and George Perez, David is finally telling the origin story of Maestro and this first issue gets off to a very good start. The one thing that I appreciate is that David has not lost his touch with writing the Hulk and it feels like stepping back into time to when David was riding high on his run of the Incredible Hulk and for me that is a good thing. There were a lot of stories that David wrote for the Hulk but there was something special about the Future Imperfect story that really was special and now reading his full origin is off to a great start here. Even without the nostalgia this is a solid story but you certainly need to have read the original story before you start this one. While it does stand on its own there is a lot of subtlety that you would miss if you haven’t read the original. Leave it to David to bring M.O.D.O.K. into the story and that was a nice treat indeed. While this first issue is a primarily a set up to the story there is a lot to like here because David has a great knack for delivering exposition without it feeling like it. Keown draws the opening sequence to the story and that was a nice touch being that his big break was on the series back in 1989 and does a nice job of setting the tone visually at the start. The main story artist is Peralta who I was familiar with on the R.L. Stine Man-Thing mini series from a few years ago and he brings a lot to the story with his very nice artwork. The one thing that is very impressive is the level of detail that he puts into each panel with not only the big dramatic moments but the smaller emotional moments that really bring David’s script to life. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I was a huge fan of David’s Hulk and this is off to a great start. Maestro was a great character and I’m very intrigued to see how David fleshes out his origin with this mini series. When you throw in Peralta’s great artwork you have a real winner here. VERY RECOMMENDED!

Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1

DC Comics Writers Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua WIlliamson, Chip Zdarsky, Becky Cloonan, Vita Ayala, Priest, Artists Doug Mahnke & Jaime Mendoza, Khary Randolph, Becky Cloonan, Dan Panosian, Eduardo Risso, Colorist David Baron, Emilio Lopez, Tamra Bonvillain, Luis Guerrero, Eduardo Risso, Letterers Tom Napolitano, Dave Sharpe, Steve Wands, Ferrando Delgado, Willie Schubert

As with all of these special Death Metal one shots there is a main story is a side story to the main Death Metal series and this one leads into the crossover with the Justice League Legion of Doom storyline that tells the story of the fall of Earth 1 by the Batman Who Laughs. It’s a better story than the last one shot because it has some real meat to the story and the artwork by Mahnke really helps this one out immensely. While not entirely needed to the main story it was a nice side story. The big win for these one shots are the short stories after the main story and this is where the real fun is. Zdarsky and Randolph’s Harley Quinn story was a fun little story that has a great and funny ending that was a real charmer. Cloonan’s Aquaman story was bitter sweet and shows the stakes that our heroes have to overcome the threat of Batman Who Laughs. Ayala and Panosian wonderful Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy story migh just be my favorite one because it shows that both the heroes and the villains are in this together and the lines have been blurred between the two. The final story by Priest and Risso was a bit on the weird side but that is why it worked because it was pretty far out there but that’s what made it intriguing and any chance to see Risso’s artwork is always a win.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? In the grand scheme of things you really don’t necessarily need to buy these one shots to read the main Death Metal mini series but I have to say that the short stories have been the real win for these so far because it allows a wide swath of different writers and artist to do wild and unique stories and artwork that are very fun to read and that for me has made them a reason to buy. The irony for me is that so far the short stories are more exciting than the “main” story. Overall they are worth checking out. 

Dead Day #2 

Aftershock Comics Writer Ryan Parrott, Artist Evgeniy Bornyakov, Colorist Juancho!, Letterer Charles Pritchett

It had been so long sense the first issue of this comic had come out that I had to go back and re-read it before I read this second issue to get back up to speed and I have to say that the concept continues to intrigue. The book has turned into a bit of a murder mystery/heist story along with the whole dead day thing going on. Parrott does a nice job here of balancing all of the storylines that are going on and keeps them moving along at a nice pace. He is unfolding the Dead Day story with nice pacing that is wisely not revealing things too quickly that is letting it build up. Bornyakov’s artwork continues to impress here with nice facial expressions with the characters faces that conveys the story quite well. With the amount of dialogue he is able to keep it moving along visually that complements Parrott’s script nicely.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I’m still enjoying this comic and there are some really good ideas here. There are a lot of revolving stories going on here but they are moving along well and keeping you intrigued with what is going to happen. This one is still worth checking out.

Harley Quinn #75

DC Comics Writer Sam Humphries, Artists Sami Basri, Nicola Scott, Emanuela Luppachino & Ray MCCarthy, Ramon Villalobos, Ngozi Ukazu, Joe Quinones, Riley Rossmo,

Colorist Hi-Fi, Annette Kwok, Tamra Bonvillain, Riley Rossmo, Letterer Dave Sharpe

In her “Final Issue” (Yea right) this round robin story that has Harley in a This is You’re Life multi part stories within the main story is not really groundbreaking but it sure is fun. Humphries doesn’t try and deliver a deep reading experience here but what he does do is have a lot of fun with it and writes stories that take advantage of each artists style and that is what make this work so well. Harley has always worked better in short story burst and this is what makes this final issue so much fun. The best thing about this issue is the artwork that really shows off each artists talents and they really bring their A game to this one. It was nice to see Villalobos’s artwork again after the whole Border Town fiasco and the big surprise was Ukazu’s artwork on a the young Harley story that was a big surprise and very nice. There is also a short Joker War tie in story by Humphries and Rossmo and any time you get to see Rossmo’s artwork is a cause for celebration. It a nice little side story with Harley and Punchline that is not a major addition but adds a nice bit of back story. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? The good thing is that this is a done in one or in this case done in five comic. It stands on its own and shows that Humphries is able to capture what makes Harley so much fun. Overall this is a really fun comic that for now closes the current run on the book. I imagine that this isn’t the last regular comic that we will see with Harley Quinn. This is well worth checking out for the artwork alone but has a fun story to goe with it too.

Catwoman #23 & #24

DC Comics Story Blake Northcott & Sean Murphy, Script Blake Northcott, Artist Cain Tormey, Colorist FCO Plascencia, Letterer Tom Napolitano

After a quick sell out of issue #23 DC wisely did a second printing of it to go along with this weeks new issue. It really works out because this two part story introduces a new creative team on the book and while it didn’t blow me away, it did deliver a good story to get things started. I think that the problem is that Selena is a good character but I’m not totally sure that she needs her own ongoing series. I will give Norhcott that this first story has a lot going for it in that it does a good job of getting new readers a good jumping on point and gets you up to speed on Selena as a character and what she is all about. The story on the surface is a simple heist story but I like that Northcott adds a nice dose of sly humor and that Selena is not necessarily a villain per say. While she is definitely stealing as a lot of times it turns into robbing from the rich to give to the poor. I did enjoy Tormey’s artwork on the book he brings a a good balance to the book and while his artwork isn’t super flashy, that is not what this story requires and that is why it works well. I liked that he was able to capture the subtle emotions of the characters with his artwork especially with the facial expressions that he does quite well here.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? While this first story was good it was a bit on the basic side. It goes through the motions but is just average but I will say that there is some nice promise here. Northcott does get a good handle on Selena and that is a tough thing to get right. The question is will she be able to expand on it with future stories? Tormey delivers some nice artwork here and really helped elevating the story that was a big plus for this new creative team. Overall I liked it but didn’t love it but I will give it a few more issues to see where the team takes it.