ON THE VERGE OF WONDERCON, WE ARE BREAKING FROM PACKING TO REVIEW MORE COMIC BOOKS!
We are psyching up for San Diego Comic-Con’s little sister convention! In the meantime, here is our review of the latest comics!
Writers: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Travis Moore
Cover Price: $3.99
The question isn’t when Nightwing will be himself again. The question is will the ride to that point be worthwhile?
Scott Lobdell has begun the road of Ric Grayson turning back into Dick Grayson. It feels like Lobdell is doing the best he can under the direction of editorial. The prior issues had a reticent Ric Grayson doing his best to keep out of his old life. Now, he is following his instincts to help people. As an occasional reader of the series, this feels like a bit of a stretch, though I may just have lost a couple steps in the story. The choice of villain in this book is a bit uninspired, however, the story can only work if it’s a villain Nightwing has not encountered often. The supporting characters don’t have distinct personas yet.
Travis Moore’s art is mostly good. Very good, in fact. Most of the people in this comic have an organic feel. They convey a lot of emotions in one look on a panel. The backgrounds are richly detailed and Bludhaven feels more like a unique town. Meanwhile, the scenes involving the villain, Joker’s Daughter, are strangely flat. She are lacking significant detail. Moreover, this makes her feel out of place in the entire issue. It was one glaring problem in an otherwise gorgeous comic.
Nightwing continues to be a solid comic. Although, I am sad that the aspects of the story that made it unique are slowly fading back into the usual storytelling.
FIREFLY: BAD COMPANY
Writers: Josh Lee Gordon
Artist: Francesco Mortarino
Cover Price: $7.99
This one-shot tells the origin story of one of Firefly’s more charming mysterious characters.
Josh Lee Gordon has his hands full showing us where Firefly’s Saffron came from. He does an excellent job here. There is little action to speak of in this comic, however it is rich with events that show how the redheaded companion became such a ne’er-do-well. The dialogue feels crafted to fit in with Joss Whedon’s cult classic series. The circumstances are layered with familiar concepts from the show. However, this one shot is a bit mysterious for new readers. This is because, although they use familiar Firefly terms, they spend no time explaining them. If you’re not already invested in this universe, you could be easily turned out by the lack of exposition.
Francesco Mortarino bought the visuals for this comic. It is an unexpected art style. While he uses the rustic clothes Firefly fans have come to expect, the deliveres it with a very clean, vaguely Korean style. There is just enough detail to add to characters without using a lot of fine details. The other lines are very thick making characters stand out from the backgrounds. The backgrounds themselves are well detailed, though do not stand out. There is one nitpick. The art is a bit inconsistent. Some pages have a more scratchy feel than others. There are times panels on the same page seem to be done by different artists, although no one else is credited.
This issue is not a good place for new readers. However, if you are fully invested in Firefly, this comic opens new doors and adds a lot to a minor character.
JESSICA JONES: PURPLE DAUGHTER #3
Writers: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Filipe Andrade & Mattia De Iulis
Cover Price: $4.99
This is a very strong ending!
Kelly Thompson’s work is moving high up on my list. Her version of Jessica Jones echoes the Netflix version without being beholden to it. This is because it’s easy to hear Kristin Ritter, Mike Coulter and David Tennant’s voices in their respective roles. Moreover, despite this being the final printed chapter of the Purple Daughter storyline, it is surprisingly easy to get acclimated to it. However, the caveat is that you need to know about Jessica Jones’ Marvel Comics history for this to make sense. Just watching the Netflix series won’t explain a number of the characters in it.
Meanwhile, Filipe Andrade handles the first part of the visuals in this over-sized comic. Andrade’s style is oddly angular and sloped. The line work has a janky feel, despite the strokes being smooth. In the alternative, Mattia De Iulis’ art is more to my preference. His art is much cleaner and toes a fine line between realism and comic book fantasy. I do wish his action images were a bit more dynamic, however Iluis has a high impact to in his work. You can hear the driving energy behind it. If you can sink into the visuals, this is a heck of an experience.
The Purple Daughter story line is surprisingly accessible, though probably only to long-time Marvel fans. I do recommend going back to read the entire story.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Writers: Tom King
Artist: Lee Weeks & Jorge Fornes
Cover Price: $3.99
This comic is masterful.
Tom King pulled a John Byrne/Kevin Smith this week. This issue has only two scenes with any dialogue. The rest of this comic is a frantic chase across rooftops and through doffierent buildings. Even without dialogue, the chase has an outstanding sense of urgency as he chases an unknown character who outmaneuvers him until the very last pages. The overall sense of this comic is both balanced and frantic as it seems that Batman is regaining himself after months of torture by the unseen hand of Bane.
Meanwhile, the art is by Lee Weeks and Jorge Fornes. Their combined style is pulpy with rich blacks for shadows and a muted color palette. The artists work hard to make Batman and his target expressive despite the cowl and full-mask. The backgrounds had the right amount of detail at the right times. Moreover, even a scene underwater had carefully chosen particles to convey the surroundings. There are times that the lack of fine detail tugs at my mind. However, the sum of this story and art is still easily the top comic this week.
This comic has a callback and connection to the Batman/Elmer Fudd one-shot. I truly enjoyed seeing the DC versions of Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny. If you haven’t read the one-shot, go back and do so. You’ll have a very different view of the Looney Toons hunter by the end. Although, this makes me ask if it was just a joke, or was that comic in-continuity? Meanwhile, if it was in-continuity, doesn’t that mean Silver St.Cloud is alive in the DC Universe?
Even with those questions, this comic was brilliant because it embodies everything positive about Batman. He is relentless without being heavy-handed, and that dogged determination has been missed after months of emotional wreckage. This entire issue is a perfect example of “less is more.”
What was your favorite comic this week? 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!