COMIC REVIEWS BY THE PART-TIME HENCHMEN!
Comic reviewing is a fun job and we get to do it! What kind of stories are on the racks this week?
Writer – Ed Brisson
Artist – Pepe Larraz
Price – $4.99
Being an X-Men fan, I have been waiting for this event to begin. Has it lived up to its billing?
Ed Brisson has started off this mini-series event with two characters being shuffled off the mortal coil. I am honestly surprised at the loss of one since they have been central to the X-Men’s web of characters for almost three decades. You will need to be more familiar with the X-Men’s overall status to understand everything, however, Brisson does a good job of summarizing everything and he does not wait before he brings the crazy carnage and putting the heroes on their heels.
Pepe Larraz has worked in a few series I have read. I don’t remember him being this good! One of the better working artists today is Stuart Immonen and I have no problems comparing them. Larraz’ detail work can be a bit inconsistent when it comes to faces. The facial proportions change in noticeable ways. However, that was my lone complaint. His action scenes are energetic without being burdensome. Larraz also has an uncanny eye for composition and positioning, making even a scene in the audience of a play look screen-worthy.
Extermination may not be as good of a jump-on point as the upcoming Uncanny X-Men and their Disassembled story line. Meanwhile, Extermination may be the kind of primer that most series desire before their run starts.
Writer – Dan Abnett & Rob Williams
Artist – Joe Bennett
Price – $3.99
I’ll admit it… I loved the New 52 Aquaman series. The character was relatable and powerful. Meanwhile, I needed to see where DC’s Rebirth has taken the Son of Atlantis.
Dan Abnett and Rob Williams are dealing with the outcome of Dark Nights: Metal. While I do not think Metal did DC any favors, Abnett and Williams have the beginnings of a pretty interesting story. Mera is the Queen with Aquaman trying to keep his distance. I applaud the changes here since they put Aquaman’s entire world in direct contact and opposition with the rest of Earth. Moreover, the voices on both Mera and Aquaman are determined and well-defined without either one feeling inferior to the other.
Joe Bennett’s art feels like a work in progress in this issue. His body proportions and facial features are fine and his action scenes flow well. However, the problem is how Bennett does detail. He prefers to use cross-hatching instead of solid inks or handing off to the colorist. This makes his facial features seem a bit vague and distracting. Meanwhile, using cross-hatching instead of shadows clutters up scenes that would be great imagery.
This is the kind of engaging story Aquaman is often left out of in DC in favor of other heroes who aren’t used in negative memes. This team is giving both Aquaman and Mera the spotlights they deserve.
The Wicked & the Divine #38
Writer – Kieron Gillen
Artist – Jamie McKelvie
Price – $3.99
I read the first two full volumes of this series and was wrapped in the story! A couple conventions and disruptions made me forget to keep going. I picked this issue to try to catch up.
The story appears to be moving at a good clip, however, I was completely lost. The Wicked & the Divine is a great tale that mixes a lot of different mythologies. The problem is that it is a tight story and missing a few issues leaves you far out of the loop when it comes to current statuses and motivations. I will say that Gillen, despite myself being lost, still crafts mysterious and enthralling stories.
Jamie McKelvie is still a great artist. His work is the epitome of “less is more.” His work is very light on detail. Meanwhile, his characters are extremely expressive because McKelvie manipulates the details of the face to bring them to life. He also knows how to build suspense in his images and that is a skill I want to see in more artists. I would recommend that aspiring artists study McKelvie to start developing a style.
I usually don’t like a story when I feel lost, however the Wicked & the Divine is a very ambitious story. Even with my lack of understanding, I can feel the motivations of the characters while I lack a lot of context. It does inspire me to go find the prior volumes.
PICK OF THE WEEK
WEAPON X #22
Writer – Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente
Artist – Yildray Cinar
Price – $3.99
Weapon X has not been my favorite series. Usually, the roster, the story or the art isn’t one I like, so I tend to look over it. With the Weapon X-Force story starting, I took a chance and I’m truly glad I did
Although this comic is filled with characters that do not rate highly on my preferences, Pak and Van Lente have made this into the latest series where these unrepentant rogues have more personality than they should. None of the characters overlap in their behavior and their dialogue and voices are easy to tell apart. There is a strong sense of the thrill that these mercenaries feel in the moment. The writers should be proud of not making this into just another group of redeemed thrill seekers and letting the characters breathe as they are.
The art inside the book by Yildray Cinar is much better than the cover would have you believe. I cannot say that Cinar is an artist I enjoy, however, his is work is serviceable to the story and his is consistent. The action moves well and the detail work doesn’t clutter the page. Cinar is another character that uses crosshatching for finer detail, although not as aggressively as Joe Bennett in this week’s Aquaman comic. Finally, the scene where Mystique is changing faces to confuse bodyguards in a fight is one of the best uses of her power I have ever seen.
Weapon X #22 is the kind of story you don’t expect to pull you in, although the sum of this comic is much more than its parts. I’m not sure if this team can bring more to the story of a set of one of the more popular X-Men and 4 of their long-term villains. This issue has earned them the benefit of the doubt for the issues to come.
Which comic should get a review? 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!