COMIC REVIEWS FOR THIS WEEK!
Comic reviews by the Part Time Henchmen, of comic books which were released this week! Let’s see if these issues are the stars of their run, or headed for the bins!
X-Men Red Annual 01
Writer – Tom Taylor
Artist – Pascal Alike
Price – $4.99
Jean Grey’s return to the Marvel Universe hasn’t been the heralded mega-event you would expect. She’s quietly returned with a new mission. Meanwhile, X-men annual takes the difficult task of the little moments that Jean takes for herself as she acclimates to the current status quo.
Tom Taylor takes Jean to several places and characters to say the “hellos” and “goodbyes” for events that have taken place in her absence. She meets Hound (Rachel Summers), Black Bolt, Wolverine (Laura Kinney), Gabrielle, and visits the grave of Cyclops. There is a lot of exposition in this book, however, it is all necessary as readers old and new get a glimpse into the mind of Jean, and what she thinks of things. This book is without real action and that isn’t a bad thing. It does adequately fill the gap between Phoenix: Resurrection and X-Men Red.
The art, though, didn’t quite work for me. The shapes of faces could change, and the expressions were flat and lacked any sense of exertion or effort. Also, some of the attempts at dynamic poses and images looked stiff. I’m not familiar with Pascal, and I wouldn’t say his art is “bad.” However, he does need some time in a series to get used to a roster. I will say that his sense of body proportion is pretty solid.
The art is a distraction and this isn’t the action epic that casual fans look for on a rack. With that said, long-term X-Men fans will appreciate the classic X-woman regaining her sense of duty and family.
Justice League: No Justice #04
Writer – Scott Snyder
Artist – Francis Manapaul
Price – $3.99
I reviewed the first issue and thought this would be the event that made me regain interest in the DC lineup. Now the event is over a few weeks later and… no.
I have now read the Dark Nights: Metal and No Justice comics. After both, Snyder is building a pattern of starting strong, however losing focus late in the events. Like Metal, No Justice suffers from seeming to have a complicated problem that is solved in ways that feel overly-simple and don’t require most of the characters present. You can summarize his stories as justice through sheer power.
Manapaul’s art is very distinct and stylized. Conversely, there isn’t much by the way of standout visuals in this comic. I can’t say if that was Manapaul’s choices or DC Editorial’s, but either way, there weren’t many chances taken here in the look of this book. It doesn’t do much to take advantage of the cast or the uniforms that will be cast off after this event.
Like Metal, this book feels more like a gateway to get DC’s stories to a new place, but the road to get there wasn’t given enough time or thought. I’m hoping that the new Justice League and Justice League: Odyssey make this worth the path.
Cyber Force #3
Top Cow/Image Comics
Writers – Bryan Hill & Matt Hawkins
Artist – Atilio Rojo
Price – $3.99
The third Cyber Force series may indeed be the charm.
This issue introduces us to the current version of Top Cow’s Aphrodite. I admit to never knowing much about this comic character. Hill and Hawkins make a being that has power and pathos. Her current origin echos current conversations in the business world about artificial intelligence. It’s good to have a story that makes you more curious for future issues, as well as a story that makes a solid single issue.
The art is close to terrific, albeit just short of there. Rojo’s imagery has a visceral, near frightening quality when appropriate. He’s finding his footing well here, and would be a gift to horror comics, as well. Facial expressions occasionally become too exaggerated or eyes are larger than what you’d find in My Hero Academia. It’s the one point where I had trouble in this comic.
I miss the original Cyber Force series to this day, but I know that’s mostly just nostalgia talking. The current Cyber Force is a worthy successor and it can be the series to bring these characters into the modern day.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Man of Steel #1
Writer – Brian Michael Bendis
Artist – Ivan Reis
Price – $3.99
If you know anything about my reviews, I do not like Superman, though I’m a big fan of Bendis. I really didn’t expect to like this series, let alone the first issue.
Bendis has been working hard to create a new footprint and jump-in point for readers and has done a great job here. He doesn’t change anything about Superman regarding his power, his stature in DC, or his mild-mannered behavior. Bendis does add a bit more context into how Superman uses his bevy of powers and how effortless it can be for him to assist in certain situations. He did add a new Fire Chief, Melody Moore, that has a bit of a crush on Big Blue. I’d be curious to see how that develops.
Ivan Reis is one of the best artists working in DC today and that reputation is well-earned. His version of Superman is powerful without being too swollen. You can see when characters are concerned or unhappy and he has an exceptional technique when it comes to showing an age range. Additionally, Reis knows just the right amount of detail to get his art to pop without overburdening the page with shadows. Visually, this comic is a master class on superhero drawing.
Bendis and Reis are a super team in modern comics. I’m not a fan of Superman or DC, though that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good book when I see it. Maybe THIS will be what makes me a fan of Superman. Either way, I’m enjoying the start.