This Wednsday’s comics were a good batch, and included some notable Marvel issues, as new runs begin and old ones end. Let’s dive in to this week’s notable comics.
East of West #37
An interlude issue that breaks from the events of last issue, it catches readers up on a few characters who haven’t been present in the series as of late. The comic follows the Ranger’s rather brutal defeat from previous issue, with the story acting as set-up for what’s to come with his character. Despite not beig eventful, the determination in Ranger makes for a captivating read. Another interesting part of this comic is the brief moments we spend with Death and his son. Seeing the two interact has been one of the most engaging aspects of this book, and it makes up for the largely inconsequential nature of the issue. Dragotta’s art is always good and never falters, with each panel showcasing his vast capabilities. The opening splash page is gorgeous, the scenes between Death and his son rendered with the same amount of care the character’s have for each other.
Avengers #1 (LGY #691)
The Avengers return with a brand-new number one from a new creative team. This comic serves as an adequate re-introduction to the team’s core characters and establishes the foundation for a truly epic storyline. Where it falls flat is focus as the first issue attempts to introduce every member of the team, rather than let their introduction be woven throughout this first arc. This leads to choppy pacing mid-way through the story. Despite this Aaron weaves an enjoyable story that examines what it means to be an Avenger and has many characters contemplate this in light of previous hard times. McGuiness’ art is great, with his cartoony and detailed figures echoing the late great Jack Kirby.
Harbinger Wars 2 Prelude #1
The set-up one shot for Valiant’s next event series is an enjoyable read that presents a cohesive and effective story. Instead of feeling like set-up and not much else, the comic provides a well-rounded and satisfying read. The artwork is solid and offers nothing exceptional but the page layouts – despite being very dense at times – properly convey the story. They also cram quite a big of plot into one slim volume without the comic feeling oversuffed. Livewire is the center of this story – which is better off for it – and the other Secret Weapons characters are also given their own role to play in the issue. An over-all well put together single issue and creates excitement for the mini-series that follows it.
Star Wars #47
Gillen’s writing is strong and for the most part Larroca’s art is an improvement from previous installments. While the use of photo-reference is still noticeable at times, the figure work generally has improved in it’s depictions of the film’s characters. C-3PO’s excursion with the newest member of the Rebel Alliance offers levity and some thrill to the story. This latest story arc has put the focus on Leia, and Gillen perfectly captures the character’s voice. She’s a bad-ass with a strategic mind, and makes reading this book so enjoyable. This, and the tension built into the story make this a good read.
Sex Criminals #24
Fraction and Zdarsky’s sex comedy returned this week and provided an entertaining as well as deeply moving episode of the popular series. Fraction – after separating the characters as they are each put through their own dark moment – brings them back together as the series long running plot threads begin to intertwine. The character work is strong and John’s open honesty about his relationship difficulties makes this an amazing reading experience. Zdarsky’s art is always good and he and Fraction are a great creative pairing.
Stray Bullets Sunshine and Roses #34
Lapham’s acclaimed crime series is always a reliable comic and this new installment doesn’t disappoint. The art and writing are all excellent and as usual the story is kinds of tragic with a good deal of dark humor thrown in as well. Annie’s gleeful machinations are a joy to read and she is becoming one of my favorite recurring characters in this series. The story of the struggling junkie can easily feel cliche, but Lapham’s use of story structure and clever dialogue make it compelling.
Bendis’ farewell to a series that he has been writing since he began at Marvel has come to an end. How was that end? It was fine. The series wraps up Bendis’ storylines on the title and features various characters Miles has become connected to since he entered the main Marvel Universe following Secret Wars. There is a sense of conclusion to the Bendis’ long run – with a perfect final scene – but the comic isn’t very compelling. It largely consists of Miles seeeing all the characters that have impacted his journey and it gets repetagibe after a while. Bendis’ script isn’t gripping and despite some good art this comic is average at best.
Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darrius and the Rise of Alexander #2
This issue continues the story of Xerxes and the fallout of last issue’s epic battle. Miller’s writing is strong with the narrative captions being particularly engaging. Pages dedicated to beautiful cityscape shots add a sense of scale, and the double page spread used to showcase Athens is excellently rendered by Miller. The artwork in general is well done with powerful page layouts and Miller’s characteristically well-placed use of shadows. There is some lackluster figure work in some spots, particularly in background scenes, but it isn’t of great detriment to the over-all package.
What did you kind readers think of this week’s comics. Leave a comment with your thoughts, and even personal feelings. Safe space.