This week in comics brought the launch of new books, and some eventful moments in a few well-known ongoing series. The two most notable comics for this week brought the return of Hellboy and the beginning of DC’s Justice league relaunch, and over-all it was a pretty good week for comics with a couple exceptions. We’ll starts with Justice league and work our way to the most disappointing titles.
Justice League: No Justice #1
Thus, begins the next relaunch for DC’s premiere superhero team, and it’s off to a decent start. Written by three different writers, their voice and vision feel cohesive when reading this comic. The premise is intriguing and the character dynamics are the most enjoyable part of the story. Francis Manapul’s art is expressive and perfectly in-captures the cosmic scope of the writers’ intended story. His page layouts are beautiful, and Manapul is the master of the double page spread. No Justice’s main problem is that – much like Dark Nights Metal – the opening of the series is mainly exposition. A low issue count means that there isn’t much space for the writers to work with, so using the first issue to set up everything the readers need to know makes sense. This aspect of the book can only be fully critiqued when viewing the entire series as a whole. One other thing about this comic that should be noted is just how similar it it to the Avengers relaunch that came out last week. Both are good books, but there is something to be said about the similarities between their respective antagonists.
Southern Bastards #20
After a brief hiatus, Aaron’s and Latour’s southern crime series returns for an explosive installment that brings many running plot threads to a head. Aaron’s script carries with it great emotional weight, and perfectly sets up the direction that Southern Bastards will take moving forward. Latour’s depicts the brutality of Aaron’s script with his powerful artwork and when a character moves for vicious attack it almost feels animated. A strong issue that delivers on Aaron’s careful plotting for the last nineteen issues that ends with the promise of greater things to come, definitely a book worth reading.
The latest issue of Monstress focuses on Maika and her more demonic half as they venture to a lab previously run by said demon. The issue expands on the series mythology in several positive ways, and further fleshes out Maika’s character. Monstress – in this humble writer’s opinion – is the most beautiful comic book available for readers. Takeda’s digitally painted art is always exceptional and compliments Liu’s writing well. The full page spread in this issue is something to behold and the coloring accentuates the ethereal feel of the flashback sequences.
BPRD: Devil You Know #6
This issue marks Hellboy’s full – yet reluctant – return to the BPRD, and it’s not what most would have expected. Alternating between the mounting tension between the various factions involved in the series and Hellboy’s return to earth, there’s a lot to like. It would be a disservice to reader if this review went into too much detail, as this comic has a few great surprises in store for readers. Well-written and beautifully drawn, BPRD continues to show why it’s one of the best comic books being published.
World of Tanks: Citadel #1
World of Tank’s second series proves why this video game tie-in is a comic book worth reading. They essentially serve as another vehicle through which writer Garth Ennis can tell the war stories he is known for, and this one does not disappoint. Set in 1942, the comic deals with troublesome tanks and the anonymous feeling that falls over soldiers when they’re about to enter the battlefield for possibly the last time. The issue establishes the core characters for the story and the setting, with Ennis’ usually crisp dialogue carrying the narrative. P.J Holden’s art is good, conveying the grit of world war 2 well without using an overly realistic art style.
Danny Cates and Ryan Stegman present a radical new take in the established Venom mythology in the debut issue of the anti-hero’s latest series. Cates returns to the ground he covered in his Image series God Country, but Venom is far more claustrophobic than the open fields Cates previously wrote. Through re-writing the history of the symbiotes on earth Cates creates a high-concept based plot that seems to be the beginning of a promising run. Cates has a great handle on Brock’s relationship with the symbiote, with their dynamic being the core component of this first episode. Stegman’s art is detailed and fits the rough feel of Cates script, with action sequences that crackle with energy. The only hiccup to this book is the break neck pace, with a conclusion that feels like it should have taken place two issue later. To achieve this set up, a sizable portion of the issue is exposition which could have played out over a longer period of time.
Oblivion Song #3
This Kirkman scripted series had a great premise along with stellar art when it started out, all shown in the first issue. Since then the series has lagged with each issue feeling like a retread of the first, as no real development has occurred thus far. None of the characters beyond the central protagonist are very interesting and due those problems, Oblivion Song made for a very dull read this week. That being said, this issue’s conclusion holds in it some hope for this fledgling comic book. As previously mentioned, the standout part of this series is the artwork, with Felici drawing kinetic action sequences whilst providing the best monster designs I’ve seen since Mike Mignola and Guy Davis.
Hunt for Wolverine: The Adamantium Agenda #1
Despite the ridiculousness of having four different comic series about Wolverine’s return, these comics are a reality so they must be reviewed. This series has the novelty of being a New Avengers reunion story, but nothing else going for it. Taylor’s story is fairly simple, and doesn’t offer much to draw a reader in. In terms of artwork, Silva does a fine job rendering Taylor’s script – though his figure work can be stiff and lifeless on a few pages. Over-all an unpleasant read that is not recommended reading.
What did you think of the comic industries offerings this week? Leave your thoughts in the comments and let us know. As always, stick with Talkies for more great content.