REVIEWS OF THIS WEEK’S COMICS!
Comics released this week reviewed with the Part Time Henchmen! Do these comics belong in your long boxes?
Justice League #1
Writer – Scott Snyder
Artist – Jim Cheung
Price – $3.99
DC Comics has brought back its biggest heroes for another volume of its most well-known team. They brought one of their biggest writers and one of the most well known artists of this century to work on it. What did we get?
Scott Snyder is a name that DC and Batman fans know well, however I’m questioning why that is. I know he has brought his vision to some of the more notorious stories in the aforementioned series, but after reading Dark Nights: Metal, No Justice, and in addition this issue, I have not seen a pattern of good story writing. There is adequate build of the characters in this series, but the story throws you in at the deep end and its upon the reader to understand all of the references. Despite reading the last two events, There are aspects of this story that lost me. This removed part of the love for me.
Jim Cheung … I can’t tout enough about his art. He has a tendency to make characters of varying ages look very fresh-faced. In Justice League, he adds more cross-hatching to create gradient and shadows. I am not absolutely sold on the technique. Some characters look like they are on the wrong end of a sandpaper fight. Moreover, Pages 4 and 5 are the kind of strong images I expect from Cheung and his version of the League.
Justice League #1 is not the home-run I was looking for with the relaunch. Snyder may play well for long-term DC fans, albeit he may turn away casual readers by digging too far into DC’s mythos. The art is great, but Jim Cheung isn’t drawing every issue. Jorge Jimenez is picking up the art with the second issue. This is not the place to get to know the DC multiverse.
Paper Girls #21
Writer – Brian K. Vaughan
Artist – Cliff Chiang
Price – $3.99
I read the first volume of Paper Girls a while ago after getting a recommendation from another fan. While I didn’t follow up with the series, I do like how it started. I am very sorry I haven’t kept up.
With that being said, Brian Vaughan has a terrific writing style. It gives just enough exposition through dialogue that you can catch up fast. This issue is not a great jump-on point for new readers. However, it is rare that an ongoing series gets prior readers caught up within 22 pages. Additionally, Vaughan has further crafted his time-hopping heroines, and with this, you have a book that feels a bit like the Goonies and Back to the Future mixed together with a hint of Rick & Morty.
Cliff Chiang has grown into the story he helped start with Vaughan and his art style is well suited to this comic. His style is dynamic and detailed. Moreover, he leaves out enough detail to let the imagination of the reader fill in the light details and the story has a chance to come fully alive. In addition, the art can be a bit of a nostalgia kick to those of us that remember Saturday-morning cartoons.
From the first issue to the current issue, Vaughan and Chiang appear to have created a consistent story tone and characters in their run. Additionally, this series has won a lot of awards. So I cannot say that the story will be obvious if you start with Issue 21. I can say that this series should be part of your pull list with its trade paperbacks on your shelf.
Ant-Man & The Wasp #1
Writers – Mark Waid
Artist – Javier Garron
Price – $3.99
Neither character is the first to have their particular code names. Neither character is even much like the originals, either. That is probably the biggest strength for both here.
Mark Waid has a reputation for taking existing properties and finding another level that a lot of other writers do not. I think that reputation is well earned because of how he has taken two well established characters and ever so carefully modifies their attitudes in line with their previous stories and actions. The result is that the characters appear fresh and new without expunging their history or having inexplicable forces changes their personalities. As a result, this book is impressive.
Javier Garron’s art can take a bit to grow on you. While his bodies and action scenes have a lot of energy and motion the faces on his characters almost appear narrow. I think it has to do with the distance he places between a person’s eyes and their mouth. The art is just what is needed for this adventure in the Microverse. Can you describe art as “sassy?” Because that is the word I want to use here.
I know this book was timed for the release of the Ant-Man & the Wasp movie in July. Do not let that ploy turn you away from a book that redefines its title characters. This is a comic that works on a lot of levels for a lot of ages, and therefore has a lot of reasons to be part of your pull list.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Cloak & Dagger #1
Marvel Comics (via Comixology)
Writer – Dennis Hopeless
Artist – David Messina
Price – $2.99
With the new TV series on Freeform and this series only released on Comixology so far, this has all of the earmarks of a simple comic cash grab on a property that has had mostly niche appeal in Marvel’s library. This comic has me excited to see more about a pair of characters that are usually a footnote in most of Marvel’s stories.
I adore Dennis Hopeless’ work. From Spider-Woman to Jean Grey to Cloak & Dagger, he has a great instinct for dialogue for women of a range of ages. And he’s created a new dynamic for the title heroes by starting the story with them split, not by outside forces or an agreement, but because one of the pair needed time away from the other. This creates the most noteworthy growth for both characters, positive and negative, and brings the pair to a new place that I have never seen before. So, for me, the story isn’t a game breaker, but the characters are so new and different that it hardly matters.
David Messina had a hard job on the art. A new comic needs to crush the art to get casual readers to take notice. Messina comes very close to that. There are some slips when it comes to the supporting characters. They can lack enough detail to feel like part of the story. That being said, he does a great job getting the main players to pop visually and he even took a very difficult job in redesigning Dagger in such a way that she is very recognizable. Furthermore, it does not move so far away from her signature look that she’s unrecognizable. With time, I think that his art will improve on a good start.
While this is far from the first tales of Cloak & Dagger, this is the jump-on point that a lot of casual and new readers look for. Meanwhile, Waid & Messina do not disappoint in their efforts. Furthermore, I now have interest in characters I have not had interest in before and that speaks volumes. Finally, the only question I have is why did Marvel decide to only release this series on Comixology?