THE FIRST COMICS OF MARCH ARE RELEASED!
We are coming near the Spring months for DVS Gaming! With the spring comes new conventions, new games and new comics every week! Which notable pulls did we find?
DEADLY CLASS #37
Writers: Rick Remender
Artist: Wes Craig
Cover Price: $3.99
With a strong series on the SyFy Channel, I want to take another look at this series.
Rick Remender can write tension like few people can. This issue starts with the protagonists in a very dark position. (Note I used the world “protagonists” and not “heroes.”) Despite only reading the first volume of Deadly Class, this issue does a great job of catching you up fast. Everything is fairly clear by the final pages, although you do need to have a bit of knowledge of this series, or a lot of the names flying back and forth may not have much meaning.
Wes Craig’s art is a trying point for me in this comic. The action is dynamic and has a frenetic feel, however, the overall art style is rough. Everything is jagged with rough details. As a result of that, it’s like looking at your subjects through a distorted prism. One of the main characters, Saya, reminds me of a homicidal mime much of the time. Meanwhile, the art is lacking in a lot of fine detail, replacing it with solid blacks. Every scene looks like it was inspired by the deep corner of a club’s VIP room. You can sink into it if you concentrate on the story.
While I do think this is a decent single issue, it requires you to know a bit about Deadly Class’ overall story and characters to make sense. Without that, it is easy to be lost here.
DOOMSDAY CLOCK #9
Writers: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Cover Price: $4.99
I’m not a Watchmen fan; I’m not a DC fan. I’ve read comics I haven’t been a fan of and enjoyed. Although, this one…
Geoff Johns is one of my favorite DC writers. In this comic, he is far from my favorite. The dialogue is fine and fits the multitude of characters. Meanwhile, some of the dialogue choices threw me a bit. While Guy Gardner is abrasive, I didn’t expect the S-word to be dropped twice in this issue. Moreover, Doctor Manhattan is his usual mercurial self, and a lot of the story beats are typical of a second rate cable TV show. I don’t know what happened here, because Johns is far from his best work.
Meanwhile, the art by Gary Frank has its own issues. The more I look at this comic, the more I think he is trying to emulate the style of the original Watchmen comics, and the less I am a fan of it. The use of Dr. Manhattan’s powers has the energy and flash you want. Additionally, the proportions are good and the outer line work is good. However, the scratchy detail work gives every fame a dingy and hasty finish that keeps pulling my eyes in different directions. I do give Frank a lot of credit for expertly hiding Manhattan’s dangly bits without obvious censorship boxes.
If you are not invested in Doomsday Clock already, this issue is going to be a frustration. DC spent months billing this as a fight between Manhattan and Superman. So far, this has not been worth the wait.
AGE OF X-MAN: PRISONER X #1
Writers: Vita Ayala
Artist: German Peralta
Cover Price: $3.99
The Age of X hasn’t been remarkable, however, Prisoner X is much more interesting.
The writing is by Vita Ayala and her work is very sharp. Despite this comic being set in a prison, the narrative of this issue is much faster than the other Age of X miniseries. Additionally, the characters get small moments outlining their new histories. Lucas Bishop is the central character here. He has the most interesting moments, although they don’t move the narrative forward as much as I would hope. However, the dynamic between the characters is palpable.
German Peralta’s art is another highlight of this issue. His characters move extremely well. Moreover, Peralta does a great job of making these characters resemble their normal selves, although they have a much different feel. They visually carry themselves in ways that make sense in this scenario. In addition, Peralta’s backgrounds are somewhat sparse. In most cases, this would be negative, but with the entire comic taking place in a prison, the concrete, gray nature of the prison makes the plain backgrounds blend into the story. This is a perfect case of the right job for the right guy.
Prisoner X is the breakout miniseries of the X-Men right now. You can taste the irony.
PICK OF THE WEEK
MEET THE SKRULLS #1
Writers: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Niko Henrichon
Cover Price: $3.99
Marvel’s best comic this week didn’t involve any of its marquee characters.
Robbie Thompson has started something truly special here. The dialogue shifts in interesting ways as the shape-shifting Skrulls wear many roles in this issue. Additionally, Thompson was very careful to keep the voices of the characters in flux to match the different forms you will see. If you read this comic and draw comparisons between it and FX’s The Americans, then you see the same similarities I do. This issue sets up the characters, story, and threat in a lean 22 pages. Meanwhile, there are comics twice this size that cannot get as much done.
The art is by Niko Henrichon. It is not my favorite, although it fits this series. The series has a pulp feel with very thin line work from the outer lines to the detail lines. Additionally, the detail work is also fine and sparse, using as little and few lines as possible. The character forms are usually lean. In fact, the faces in this issue are very expressive, even though they can be strangely plain. This changes dramatically when the Skrulls show their true forms because they are filled with lines that set them apart from humans. It is a terrific artistic choice that puts a spotlight on the title characters.
In addition to the above, this issue sets up a few tantalizing mysteries. We are not told who is hunting the Skrull spies on Earth. We know that the Skrulls’ lives are in constant danger in the early pages because one of the families is already gone. That void affects these characters in a tangible way throughout the dialogue. Moreover, I don’t recall seeing such a complete family dynamic in Marvel’s alien race before.
If you skipped this comic, this is a tremendous mistake. How good is it? This feels like it can be as defining of a work as Tom King’s Vision was for Marvel a couple of years ago. Add this mini-series to your pull list.
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!