MORE COMICS IN OUR WEEKLY REVIEW!
The Part-Time Henchmen review the latest comics on your local shop’s shelf!
Writer – Robert Venditti
Artist – Aaron Lopresti
Price – $2.99
Damage is one of the heroes to debut in DC Comics after the Dark Nights: Metal event. I think its time to see what Damage has to offer the DC Universe.
Robert Venditti doesn’t seem to find the same magic he found in Hawkman in this series. Damage’s story is more of a paint-by-numbers story that feels to familiar because of his similarities to the Hulk. There isn’t anything here that is inherently bad in the story, although there isn’t anything to set this hero apart from other characters.
Aaron Lopresti handles the art in this series and its moderately better than the story. He is good at effectively using black. His preferred detail work is in crosshatching. He does not overuse it, although his detail work can still feel flat. Meanwhile, his faces have a good detail to them and are not overburdened with too much line work. If he can find a way to add more depth in general, he can be one of the best artists in DC’s stable.
Damage has potential to be something very different in DC’s pantheon, but DC doesn’t seem to think of him as more than their Hulk, similarly to how Sideways is their Spider-Man.
Optimus Prime #24
Writer – John Barber
Artist – Andrew Griffith & Sara Pitre-Durocher
Price – $3.99
It has been a while since I read most of IDW’s Transformer’s series. I do not remember them being this hard to decipher.
I know that the IDW Transformers line is about to go through a reboot. Meanwhile, John Barber is trying to tie up a lot of story threads. As a result, the story is creaking under the weight of tying up so many stories. In the meantime, a lot of the dialogue blurs together, making their voices less distinct and the story is lessened as a result. I do sense the desperation from the characters, although they do not really establish any sort of narrative plan. The entire issue’s review can be summed up as, “We are desperate.”
Griffith and Pitre-Durocher’s art is as chaotic as the story. There isn’t a lot of depth in the backgrounds, humans, Cybertronians, or other characters. Meanwhile, there feels like excessive detail in characters that appear to be otherwise plain. It is frustrating to have flat characters feel scratchy just because of the detail. Outside of a single splash scene with most of the characters, a lot of the art is unfortunately forgettable.
Optimus Prime has grown from his humble beginnings into a pop-culture icon of massive proportions. I think he needs more of a legacy than this issue gives.
X-Men Black: Mystique #1
Writer – Seanan McGuire
Artist – Marco Failla
Price – $3.99
Mystique is more well known than she has ever been. Now they have a comic that completely re-frames her activities and operations.
I had the pleasure of meeting Seanan McGuire at San Diego Comic-Con’s X-Men panel in 2018. She is worth all of the praise she earned from the fans. With McGuire’s writing, Mystique’s voice still has a hard edge, meanwhile McGuire has added a whimsical streak that almost makes her endearing. Even her interactions with others is less antagonistic. Moreover, she is friendly without being a friend. Just like her dealings with the X-Men, McGuire’s Mystique cannot be trusted. She just feels like she’s having more fun while being herself.
Marco Failla is good, though he doesn’t quite meet the same level of review as the writing. He does well during the quieter scenes, although his action scenes do not have the fluidity needed to tell the full picture. Meanwhile, his faces can be somewhat inconsistent. Sometimes, features have decent curve and detail. Other times, they are square and plain. The art isn’t inherently bad. It just needs some refinement to be the kind of art for this medium.
All it can take for a character to break through is one good issue. Seanan McGuire only needed one to make Mystique into something much more than she was before.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Aphrodite V #4
Image Comics/Top Cow Comics
Writer – Bryan Hill
Artists – Jeff Spokes
Price – $3.99
Sometimes, you encounter a new series that wows you because you aren’t used to the type of story you’ve found. This is how I feel about Aphrodite V.
Bryan Hills’ story has a couple of problems for new readers, but we can get into that in a bit. The characters are accessible and their voices take a bit to build. The dialogue leads you into the thrust of this mini-series and lays down what this final battle is all about. Meanwhile, the characters come across naturally with dialogue that rolls well.
Jeff Spokes art is heavy. He uses blacks to extreme effect. This entire issue has a dark oppressive feel to go along with the heavy writing. The expressions are detailed when Spokes uses contours to bring the characters to life, rather than the line work of most artists. Moreover, it makes an incredible contrast to most of the darkness in the artwork and draws your eye to the faces.
The problem with this issue is that I could not tell which time frame the story takes place in. This is because I saw some very desolate and futuristic backgrounds I assumed were what was left of cities. It turns out these were a potential future and a location away from a population center in this universe. Meanwhile, this story takes place in a near future timeline, not a far future scenario that I assumed. It was the only drag on this issue I could find.
Aphrodite has appeared in Image and Top Cow Comics a few times, although she hasn’t had much by the way of staying power. This may be a mini-series, but it frames Aphrodite as a hero with the same kind of pathos as Battle Angel Alita. In fact, based on this review, I need to go back and read the whole mini-series.
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