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Comic Report: 06/06/2018

Justice League #1 Review

All the groundwork that Snyder’s done in Dark Nights: Metal and No Justice has paid off as this is the first issue in a very promising new Justice League series.  If someone created a checklist that had every attribute a good Justice League story needs, this issue has that in spades.

First of all, the team is so much more diverse than it has been in years.  For some reason DC has not really shaken up the Justice League Roster since the New 52 began, and while this new series has that ‘big seven’ feel, it also expands the League’s membership in interesting ways.  No Justice assembled the team, so Snyder gets to play with all his toys and work on showing the team dynamics.

Martian Manhunter is used by Snyder as the issue’s POV character, as the writer stresses the important role J’onn plays in the Justice League.  This allows Snyder to add a human element that ground the cosmic level threats the league faces, as for J’onn the league is a surrogate for the family he lost on Mars long ago.

The threats are Justice League worthy, with the team battling an army of Advanced Cavemen, before revealing an even bigger threat that will serve as the first arc’s focus.  For the longest time the Justice League never faced cosmic level threats, with John’s only dabbling in this area with his last arc, Darksied War (which was very good).  The Justice League consists of the world’s most powerful superheroes, and Snyder has developed an antagonistic force worthy of such a mighty assemblage.

Rating: 5/5

 

The Man of Steel #2 Review

Along with his signature brand of dialogue, Bendis also brought his decompressed storytelling methods to Superman and it does not really work.  The last issue felt like a teaser for what’s to come and this next installment still fails to in that regard.  I am not even sure what this series is about to be honest as it appears as a collection of great scenes that as a whole, largely amount to nothing.  If anything, the plot is less clear than it was last week, as the series has yet to decide on the direction it wants to take readers.

Where this series seems to shine is in how Bendis writes the characters.  He has an excellent grasp on Metropolis and Superman’s supporting cast.  Bendis’ writing of Perry White in this issue was superb and brought a level of pathos to the character.  Bendis also does a great job in understanding what Superman is at his core, an inspirational force for good.  The problem is that Bendis has failed to make the character feel his own, as the Superman is this series is fine, but a tad generic.

Not much progress is made with Rogal Zaar, which is a shame as his scenes in the series’ premiere issue added new thematic levels to the world of Superman.  The first issue laid some impressive groundwork for the villain that this chapter fails to follow up on.

There is a lot of potential in this mini-series, so hopefully future installments manage to covey just what this story is about.

Rating: 3/5

 

Sword Daughter #1 Review

In a great debut for a promising new series, Brian Wood tells a painful tale of guilt and loss.  This issue is an emotional gut punch, as it t deals with a father and a daughter who don’t truly know one another.  The series lacks any high concept or element of the fantastic, but it instead about the troubled relationship between a parent and their child.  His attempt at forced bonding as they embark on a revenge mission is heartbreaking to watch and sets up a compelling new series.  The artwork and coloring perfectly captures the dreary atmosphere of the story along with the world it inhabits.  Mack Chater depicts each act of violence realistically, where the focus is the emotional impact it has verses any aesthetic appeal.

Rating: 5/5

 

Immortal Hulk #1 Review

Hulk’s back from the dead and more than once.  After his resurrection Banner’s back to his roots, traveling across America and leaving a path of destruction in his wake.  This revamp of the character adds an element of horror to the character, as Hulk returns to his movie monster roots which inspired the creature’s origin in his original 1960’s debut.

Hulk is well-known for his TV series from the 1970’s, and it seems an element of that is making its way into the comics.  Banner will soon be on the run, not just from his own inner demons but from other who fear what lurks inside him just as much as he does.

Ewing’s debut issue on the series also highlights the most interesting aspect of the Hulk, the duality inherent in the character.  Banner is one of two entities and much like in times past he is afraid of his alter-ego.  This is because the Hulk seems to be an avenging monster and seems to represent the darkest aspects of Banner’s personality.   In doing this, Immortal Hulk seems poised to venture into Banner’s psyche, which – based on this first issue – will be a though provoking reading experience.

The artwork perfectly balances the superhero and horror aspects of the series.  It is bombastic enough to showcase the more outlandish qualities of the character, but still retains that moody atmosphere that transforms the Hulk into something far more frightening then he has ever been before.

Rating: 5/5

 

Strangers in Paradise #4 Review

A quite issue that focuses primarily on Katchoo, one that works as the perfect next chapter in this series revival.  This series has been about Katchoo trying to prevent her past from returning to haunt the future she has worked so hard to build.

The character of Stephanie is also developed further in this chapter because in three panels Moore manages to add a level of sympathy that makes her a compelling obstacle in Katchoo’s quest to protect her family.

Tony Moore’s art is impeccable, as with each line he conveys more emotion than most can in an entire comic book issue.  His figure work and character acting are the highlight of his art and this issue is effective because of it.  Those silent scenes are the most powerful moments the reader can experience in this issue, and it’s because Moore can do so much with a minimalist approach and his impressive artwork.

The one disappointment with this revival has been its complete focus on Katchoo up until this point, with Francine merely serving as a motivating factor for role in the story.  Moore’s original work was at its core, an examination of Francine and Katchoo’s complicated relationship, so it is odd that this far into the story the latter has been relegated to the role of important cameo appearance.

Rating: 4/5

 

Recommended Reading:

Doctor Strange #1

A great new series that takes the good doctor to new realms of possibility and out of his comfort zone.  Waid brings a mythic quality to the series, which is backed up by Jesus Saiz’s breathtaking artwork.

Paper Girls #21

Fighting one’s future is a difficult task, one that this series explores in some interesting ways.  The over-arching plot for this series is never quite clear, but this piece of the large puzzle is highly entertaining and deeply moving.

Death and Glory #2

The follow up to a great first issue continues Remender’s socially relevant themes as his American crime saga brings readers in deeper.  This comic is by no means perfect as there is one scene that just seems excessive to prove a fruitless point, but it has heart and promise.  An over-all enjoyable read with fantastic art.

Batman #48

The beginning of the end for Batman’s bachelor status starts with a bang, as Joker puts his hat in the race for best man.  In a small scale and personal story, King and Janin examine the relationship between the two characters and how it’s about to irreparably change.

Star Wars #49

Gillen’s writing and Larroca’s art perfectly capture the look of films, and this issue is the penultimate chapter in an epic arc.  As usual Gillen perfectly capture the voices of everyone’s favorite rebels and presents a story that takes something unseen in the films and makes it spectacular.

X-men Red #5

This series has proven that the X-men’s themes of discrimination and alienation can be told with a new spin, as Tom Taylor crafts a story that takes the franchise in a new direction.  With great art by Asrar, this issue holds the promise of a bright new future for a franchise that’s suffered from stagnation over the last several years.

Doctor Starr and The Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows #4

Dark Horse’s latest addition to the Black Hammer Universe was not the most innovative comic you could buy and falls short of its parent series, but it does hit the right nerve for some readers.  If you like stories that deal with parental guilt and loss – a running theme this week, it seems – then you may want to check out this finale.  An emotionally heavy finale that focuses on character over spectacle – a Lemire highlight – that’s rendered with the same amount of care in which ii was scripted.

 

What did you think of this week’s comic book releases? Leave a comment and let us know!

 

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