COMIC REVIEWS BY THE PART-TIME HENCHMEN!
After a break, we are back for a look at the latest comics on the racks!
Immortal Hulk #4
Writer – Al Ewing
Artist – Joe Bennett
Price – $3.99
When Bruce Banner died in the second Civil War story, it was a given that he would return. However, I doubt anyone expected a return like this comic gives us.
Al Ewing handled the writing and has given us a new spin on Bruce Banner with the addition of a new spin on Walter Langowski (Sasquatch). Ewing has provided a story that shows both the similarities and differences between the two men and their monstrous counterparts. His dialogue added to the mythos and personalities of both men and the supporting cast. Once you find the mood this book tries to set, it can be pretty suspenseful. In Netflix terms, think more Stranger Things than Defenders.
The art turned out to be more distracting than helpful for the story. Joe Bennett does make the full forms of the Hulk and Sasquatch appropriately broad, sinewy, and foreboding. The problem is though, that they make up a very small percentage of the visuals here. When drawing normal faces, Bennett has a habit of either making them close to expressionless or overly expressive with no middle ground. There were times I thought Langowski was either high or on Joker gas with his extreme, constant grins.
There is very limited action in this book, so I do not think I can give a proper opinion there.
This series has a lot of promise. Meanwhile, I will grant the caveat that this creative team is relatively new. I hope that the art catches up to the higher bar set by the story.
Writer – Tom King
Artist – Lee Weeks
Price – $3.99
We now live in a post-Batman #50 world. It is a world Tom King has built and he has given us a glimpse of what lies inside it.
This is the second issue of a story where Bruce Wayne is on a jury deciding the fate of a villain he, as Batman, put in this position. Moreover, Bruce Wayne thinks the Batman has misinterpreted the facts and most of this issue is Wayne convincing 11 jurors Batman is wrong. This story turned out a lot less dull than that description. King has presented a story where Batman is tortured by Catwoman leaving him and he has taken it out on Mr. Freeze during an investigation. Afterwards, he realizes his mistake and has to explain to other people that Batman is not infallible. King is adding more layers on a character that has almost become a parody of himself in the last couple decades and I am loving the deconstruction.
Though this is dialogue heavy, all of the characters sound like actual people. That can be hard when balancing a number of characters. Not all of the jurors spoke in the deliberations, but King has a talent for making them sound different from each other. Some of the conversations about Batman’s mental skills sounds like a debate you would hear inside your local comic shop.
Lee Weeks art will definitely be a point of conversation between fans. His facial expressions have a good subtlety in them and convey emotions and turmoil very easily. He doesn’t have overly thick lines and he doesn’t add too much detail to anything. Meanwhile, I had trouble with the flashback scenes involving his time as Batman. There was so much black, I wasn’t sure if Weeks was in a hurry or conveying the time difference, but it almost felt like Batman exists in a world without a color pallet. Again, this was a personal opinion… but, still.
Weeks is a good partner to take on the complicated stories that King is consistently delivering with this comic. This is one of the few stories in the Rebirth era that has my attention on a consistent basis.
Writer – John Layman
Artist – Nick Pitarra
Price – $3.99
I do not say this often, but I think one issue is more than enough in this series.
I get the feeling that John Layman had more to say than was in this comic, however it did not come across. We are introduced to a lot of relatively thin characters and they die so quickly, I didn’t feel that a lot of work ever really went into their creation. It had a couple of genre jokes that are well worn by now and we are left with a paint-by-numbers giant monster story.
The art was even more disjointed than the story. Nick Pitarra’s style remind me of some independent comics I have read, although it seems to become more outlandish with every panel. Characters can seem to age from page to page and some expressions are wildly out of sync with the dialogue in the same frame. Even the shape of certain character’s heads felt like jokes I wasn’t understanding while reading the issue. I would expect this kind of art from a Beavis and Butthead comic, not a kaiju story.
I picked this issue on a whim and could not find much to keep me going for a second issue.
PICK OF THE WEEK
COSMIC GHOST RIDER #2
Writer – Donny Cates
Artist – Dylan Burnett
Price – $3.99
You were probably expecting this part of the review to be about Infinity Wars #1. There really is no comparison between the two. This issue was so much more fun than Infinity Wars.
Donny Cates is becoming extremely busy at Marvel and he is juggling a number of projects. While you may think that would make him less attentive to this mini-series, Cates has found a unique voice for this version of Frank Castle that is hilarious despite his madness. The conversations between this Cosmic Ghost Rider and baby Thanos and the attempts to make Thanos into a more moral character are downright side-splitting. How does a man who made murder his calling card convince anyone not to murder anyone? Cates doesn’t shy away from the question and he has written a few surprises into this comic that makes it more than worth the cover price alone.
Dylan Burnett’s art produces some thicker lines than I like and his characters come across as lanky. However, the further I went in this chaotic story, the more I realized the chaotic art is a good match for Cates; writing. Burnett’s characters are very dynamic and he is careful to position his characters to show their interta. Meanwhile, he does the subtle, normal motions well, too. When you can show expression from a character with a skull for a face, you have a good knack for art.
Though this limited series could easily have been a cash grab or a throw away passion project, these creators have made something so much more than the sum of its parts! This comic will already worth the romp! I plan to read more just for the debut of the Juggerduck.
That’s not a typo.
Do you have any comics to recommend? Let us know in the comments below! Also, we have added a link to the latest episode of our comic news and reviews podcast, the Part-Time Henchmen!