MORE OF THE LATEST COMIC REVIEWS BY DVS GAMING!
Convention season is right around the corner! In the meantime, the Spring brings a lot of first issues!
THE MAGNIFICENT MS. MARVEL #1
Writers: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Minkyu Jung
Cover Price: $3.99
The first Ms. Marvel comic of her post-creator era! How did it read?
Saladin Ahmed has big shoes to fill now that Kamala Khan creator, G. Willow Wilson, has taken over Wonder Woman for DC Comics. He handles the job deftly by giving some exposition to make the young star’s status known. Meanwhile, the dialogue is sharp with some unexpected emotional beats. Ahmed toes Kamala’s actions and behavior very carefully to her family and her city, although you have a sense of Ms. Marvel’s growth as a character and fixture of Marvel Comics. Her encounters are a mix of comedy and thoughtfulness that can be overlooked by other writers.
Minkyu Jung’s art works well here. His style can feel a bit rushed. The detail is light and not all of the textures he is trying to imply is consistent from panel to panel. Meanwhile, he does add a lot of motion to the characters, and nothing feels rooted-in-place. In addition, there is a plenty impact and weight to the melee action that is refreshing, not to mention necessary, for Ms. Marvel. The lack of detail in Jung’s work may be intentional since the roster of Ms. Marvel tends to be of high school age, although even Kamala’s parents can seem to lack a lot of fine detail.
Ms. Marvel has a solid beginning in her new series that is trying hard to elevate her status. While this comic is off to a solid start, perhaps they need to push a little less and focus on a natural evolution of Kamala Khan. She was a fun rookie who is now a solid hero. Can Kamala, being a premier member of Marvel’s pantheon, be far behind?
Writers: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Artist: Eduardo Risso
Cover Price: $3.99
Another Batman from the Dark Multiverse gets his origin issue.
Scott Snyder adds another twisted Bruce Wayne from the Dark Multiverse. James Tynion IV works with him on the writing duties, and, I must admit, this feels like a mess to me. The story has another Bruce Wayne with a tweaked origin to create a malicious Batman. The issue I have is not the dialogue, it’s the concept. This Bruce Wayne has such a different ending to the infamous Crime Alley origin, however, his overall origin story isn’t much of a departure from his standard origin. The overall arc is the same with some minor event tweaks. In the end, I had to ask that, if his intentions were so similar, how did Bruce Wayne end up a psychopath who kills police as quickly as he kills criminals? It doesn’t add up.
Meanwhile, Eduardo Risso’s art works well in a lot of respects. Although his characters are missing quite a bit of detail and appear a bit square-shaped, the overall tone of his art fits this comic. He has a pulpy style to go along with this gun-toting Batman, and his visuals are appropriately intimidating. Someone at DC editorial made an interesting choice switching coloring styles for all of the flashback sequences to make them stylistically different without changing artists. It was a nice move. However, it isn’t enough to make up for a story that doesn’t mesh with its concept.
There are comics I like. There are comics I don’t like. It’s not often I read a comic that makes me want to forget it before I’m finished.
Writers: Brian Ruckley
Artist: Angel Hernandez & Cachet Whitman
Cover Price: $3.99
IDW rebooted its entire Transformers Universe! Was it worth it?
Brian Ruckley has to follow up IDW’s prior fan-loved Transformers comics. That’s a big job. The character voices lined up well with the Generation 1 versions of the characters. Although, about halfway through Megatron’s dialogue, I hear more David Kaye than Frank Welker. I think that you just can’t have a solid villain with the wacky Megatron of the 1980s. Meanwhile, the story feels like a distant echo of the original IDW comics. Enough of the characters are comparable in places to their prior versions that I almost have to ask why the series was rebooted in favor of this new one. The writing is not bad, however it isn’t unique enough for this to feel like a reboot.
Angel Hernandez and Cachet Whitman share the art duties. However, we will focus on Hernandez since Whitman did only 3 pages in this comic. Hernandez’ art almost reminds me of cell-shaded 3D models. All of the Transformers have very Sharp lines, almost as if a straightedge and circle-forms were used in every panel. Because of this, the characters look appropriate, although it robs the comic of a sense of flow. It is odd to say this about a comic full of alien mechanoids, but there is a lack of an organic feel in the art. It doesn’t help that the backgrounds are fairly sparse and some characters have so many detail lines, they look cluttered.
In the end, this is an okay comic, although it is far from outstanding. I am willing to give it a few issues to find its stride. However… I already miss Transformers: Lost Light.
PICK OF THE WEEK
THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #42
Writers: Ryan North
Artist: Naomi Farnquiz, Derek Charm & Erica Henderson
Cover Price: $3.99
When I say this comic is a beautiful mess, I mean that in every positive way.
Ryan North’s script is full of hilarity. I have not laughed that much reading a comic in quite a while. I would almost swear it was a modern What The?! comic. North’s version of Squirrel Girl is not a catch-all of a superhero, although she works through her short-comings and makes unlikely friends with some of Marvel’s most notorious and/or weird super-villains. Moreover, North seems to carefully check his work and find better jokes by making fun of his own dialogue. It is so unexpectedly sharp, it took me by surprise. Although it is hilarious, North’s script carefully keeps track of a time-traveling mechanic within it to compound the story and create an interesting new mechanic for future stories.
The art is by Naomi Farnquiz, Derek Charm & Erica Henderson. It is not a combined style I enjoy because of its extremely cartoonish quality. However, the more I read of the issue, the more of a connection I felt between the art and the story. This comic’s characters have a comic strip feel. The outer lines are very thick, as well as the detail lines. There is some minor detail, although it is very sparse and doesn’t add much to the panels. Even Kang the Conqueror looks odd. His head looks like a menacing Kubrick toy gone insane. Meanwhile, the art and story fuse together so well, I forgot my objections to the look and just enjoyed the comic.
For a Pick of the Week, I usually gush over a section of the story. However, this week, I have to praise Ryan North. His writing somehow glorifies all of the over-the-top nature of comic books while exploiting them, although it never loses itself in its insanity. His version of Squirrel Girl is smart without being overpowering. Meanwhile, North touches on nearly every comic book trope from outlandish villains to monologuing and the comic still stays tight and on track. A rare feat indeed.
Since Squirrel Girl’s modern reintroduction in the Great Lakes Avengers, she has been a serious hero and comic relief. In the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, she is both at the same time, and the outcome will make you laugh so much, you’ll have a headache. Have some water handy!
What is your favorite comic book story? Let us know in the comments below! In the meantime, enjoy a link to our comic book news and reviews podcast, the Part-Time Henchmen!