COMIC REVIEWS FOR YOUR HOLIDAY READING!
The Part-Time Henchmen review comics that hit stands on July 4! Will any of these issues be the fire to ignite your fireworks?
Writer: Mirka Andolfo
Artist: Mirka Andolfo
Cover Price: $3.99
I had never heard of this story before flipping through the racks today. It is an original Italian story translated and released by Image Comics. I took a shot on this series, and found some intriguing work.
Mirka Andolfo’s tale starts with a story that centers around the pressures college age people feel growing up. At what age are you no longer a young person with everything ahead of them? Andolfo address that in a world of anthropomorphic animals, which is relevant after the last two years of our current world politics. Despite the cute or provocative images, you see a situation that we could be working towards here, and that runs a chill down my spine.
When writers do their own art, it can feel indulgent. However, Mirka Andolfo appears to have worked hard telling his story with the art as much as the dialogue. He varies body styles well, and uses a number of influences -from comics, manga, and pop culture -to push his narrative forward. Everything meshes well to add an extraordinary flair to very normal problems.
Unnatural is not a book that belongs in the hands of all readers because this is a tale of twenty-somethings and involves touches of sexuality. Meanwhile, nothing here feels gratuitous, and I definitely want to add this series to my pull list and see where this sparkling dystopia leads.
GREEN ARROW #42
Writer: Mairghread Scott
Pencils: Matthew Clark
Cover Price: $3.99
I can admit, I am not a Green Arrow fan. Additionally, I can admit, this issue was a near-perfect issue.
Mairghread Scott’s name is appearing more and more in highly rated books, and this issue is a perfect example why fans need to know her name. She wrote an Oliver Queen that is as confident and brash as most people think of him in pop culture. Meanwhile, he is also methodical and caring, even for the Parasite for which he is looking. In fact, this issue catches you up on the current story so fast, I felt very comfortable a few pages in. I give Scott full credit for the heartbreaking dialogue and a scenario that should make people second-think the potential treatment of super criminals and super victims.
The art here was by Matthew Clark. His style is very modern and he has a lot of great qualities. His body proportions are very even and his details are distinct without overpowering the characters or scenes. He has a terrific sense of impact, weight, and even expressions in difficult faces, like Parasite. However, early in this issue, I had trouble understanding the flow of action . I want to let my imagine take the images and create a moving picture in my mind. The problem was the first few pages just didn’t make sense from one panel to the next.
I hope Scott and Clark stay a team on this book for a while to come. Scott’s scripts dig into the cracks of current canon and exposes the flaws to create a better whole and world. Clark has a good chance to be one of the better artists working once you smooth over the edges. Together, they have made a story that has me thinking about reading another issue of a character I do not like. That’s saying something.
Weapon X #20
Writer: Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente
Artist: Ricardo Lopez Ortiz
Cover Price: $3.99
The solicits for September show this series going through a shift in roster. With that in mind, I waned to see one of the issues before the transition. In a word … wow.
I love Greg Pak’s work on Planet Hulk. I do think he’s trying to write a story of intrigue and Shakespearean choices between family members. However, I didn’t feel the weight of all of that in this issue. I am familiar with the players involved (Sabretooth, Deathstrike, Domino, and Omega Red), although I just couldn’t find a connection to any of them in this story. The dialogue is fine, but it tends to feel like it is just going through the motions.
The art by Ricardo Lopez Ortiz yanked me further from the story. I can see some of the Japanese influence in his art and characters. His characters can go from flat to cartoonish on the same page. And, their faces shift a lot. In the end, I had to double check the creators on this book to make sure that there wasn’t someone else making the art so inconsistent.
I’m intrigued by a story of a group of villains trying to do something more positive, and that story will come with issue #22. Until then, I can’t recommend this comic.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Captain America #1
Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
Cover Price: $4.99
Before I start, I want to put my cards on the table. I prefer Sam Wilson with the shield. I didn’t think I would, but I do. With that said, this first issue made me think a lot more than I usually do while reading a comic.
Ta-Nehisi Coates is fresh off of a critically-heralded run on Black Panther. This book proves that Coates’ talent can be applied to a lot of different characters. Steve Rogers’ inner turmoil over being mistrusted by his country is palpable, as well as his sadness on apparently being left out of the new security apparatus the American Government is building with S.H.I.E.L.D. down and out. Coates is also not resting on telling the same Cap’ tales as he is building a new, powerful group of villains, starting with long-time X-Men villain Selene. I adore when a character’s dynamics shift.
One of the people who made the Civil War story famous, Leinil Francis Yu, is currently on the art. It doesn’t have the same dark feeling and thick lines that were in the Civil War, and I think that would help here. Yu’s line work in Captain America is thinner and it exposes a few times characters’ features can seem too large or lean. Meanwhile, Yu’s work evens out by the end of the issue, and you can see good things ahead visually. If anything, the action scenes have punch and a wild energy can be felt everywhere.
I find that Captain America is a character that everyone has an opinion and preference on. My own is not with Steve Rogers, although this creative team is more than enough to make me a reader. And -at least- get through the first story arc to see what comes next. This comic echoes the mixed feelings we have about politics, and shows how people struggle when they are left behind in a fast-moving world.
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