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Anthem #2 - Dark Horse Comics
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Anthem #2 - Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse Comics

ANTHEM #2
Dark Horse Comics

Writers: Mac Walters & Alexander Freed
Artist:  Eduardo Francisco
Cover Price:  $3.99

The Anthem video game has had some mixed reviews.  Perhaps the comic book fares better?

I am not familiar with Mac Walters or Alexander Freed as writers.  However, Walters is the Creative Director for Bioware, Anthem’s home company.  The story of this tie-in comic develops so slowly, I couldn’t stay interested.  The characters are very thin in both motivation and dialogue.  Moreover, the characters use a lot of exposition that doesn’t feel organic.  Additionally, new details are sprinkled throughout the issue.  This makes this comic read as if you are constantly playing catch-up.

Anthem #2 - Dark Horse Comics
Anthem #2 – Dark Horse Comics

Meanwhile, the art by Eduardo Francisco is not a high-light.  He uses all thin lines.  Moreover, he uses minimal-to-no details in his images.  This makes some of his images notably flat.  Characters faces are at their best when they use no emotion.  This is because when they use emotion, the characters’ faces twist with a manic sort of energy.  It can be sad when the characters look their best encased in sci-fi armor.  The backgrounds can be just as inconsistent as the other visuals in this comic.

I picked this issue to gain some insight on Anthem.  Unfortunately, I didn’t gain any.   I couldn’t even say this comic is good for players of the game.

Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage #1 - Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics

WEB OF VENOM – CULT OF CARNAGE #1
Marvel Comics

Writers: Frank Tieri
Artist:  Danilo S. Beyruth
Cover Price:  $3.99

When it comes to Marvel’s horrorific hero comics, I prefer the Immortal Hulk.  However, it’s been a while since I checked in on Venom’s story.

Frank Tieri’s stories don’t always work for me, although he is in tight form here.  Despite half of this issue being a flashback, the story is filled with chilling beats and moments.  Tieri uses some of Marvel’s better supporting players, the Man-Wolf and Misty Knight, as X-Files like investigators.  Both characters stay true to their continuity while showing strong growth.  Meanwhile, the story progresses at a good pace and does wildly good at setting a foreboding atmosphere.  I am not a fan of horror, although I like this.

Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage #1 - Marvel Comics
Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage #1 – Marvel Comics

However, the art by Danilo Beyruth is not my favorite.  A lot of his character work is lanky.  While he uses bold lines for outer work and finer lines for details, there are a few issues for me.  Firstly, Beyruth uses long single lines for details, making faces appear to have groves, not gradients.  Secondly, those bold, sparse strokes are in clothing.  To me, most characters looked like they were wearing clothes like mannequins.  Finally, characters in motion can appear to be standing for poses, rather than moving.  Meanwhile, Beyruth’s backgrounds are deep and bold.  The view of this comic’s scarier moments remind me of Resident Evil 7.

This comic is far from my style visually, although it is a great overall issue that makes me wonder how hard-hitting Marvel’s Absolute Carnage event will be.

Red Hood: Outlaw #33 - DC Comics
DC Comics

RED HOOD – OUTLAW #33
DC Comics

Writers: Scott Lobdell
Artist:  Pete Woods
Cover Price:  $3.99

I really need to take this series more seriously.

Scott Lobdell is becoming my unsung hero of DC’s writing corps.  His version of Jason Todd is everything you’d expect of the Bat family.  He is smart, savvy, and thinks fast when plans go south.  Moreover, Lobdell has crafted him into a slick anti-gangster and placed him in the middle of Gotham’s underworld.  If Tom King’s Batman wasn’t so engaged, these characters would probably be at war and it would be glorious!  For now, we still have an entertaining story in a struggle for power and territory between the Red Hood and the Penguin.  The dialogue has a few groan-worthy puns, although they are far between.

Red Hood: Outlaw #33 - DC Comics
Red Hood: Outlaw #33 – DC Comics

Woods’ art adds a lot to this issue.  His action is very wild and kinetic.  It does not always flow well between panels, although you do get the gist of it with a little study.  Meanwhile, the character detail is solid, although somewhat jagged.  Some of the lines around the mouth of Jason Todd and other characters can appear carved in instead of part of the face.  The designs of Todd’s new bodyguards, the Sisters Su, are good as a base concept, though most could benefit from a few more details.

I love being surprised by comics, and this one is a great surprise.  Moreover, there’s been enough good issues, I want to read more of this entire series.

Superman #10 - DC Comics
DC Comics

PICK OF THE WEEK
SUPERMAN #10
DC Comics

Writers: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist:  Ivan Reis & Brandon Peterson
Cover Price:  $3.99

I. Do. Not. Like. Superman.  He’s overpowered, overplayed, and DC’s catch-all when it comes to world-saving events.  However, I have to admit when his stories catch my eye.

Brian Michael Bends knows how to make characters very human.  This is a quality that is too underused by Superman’s writers, although Bendis makes it a strength.  His portrayal of the Kent Family on a nervous edge is refreshing and endearing.  The dialogue has a brisk pace.  Meanwhile, no one goes beyond the long-established DC parameters.  Bendis is a master at painting inside the lines while shifting the colors enough to make a new picture.  Additionally, the cosmic adventure we are in the middle of has the touches of exposition we need to get acclimated and caught up.

Superman #10 - DC Comics
Superman #10 – DC Comics

Ivan Reis & Brandon Peterson’s art helps this story shine.  Both artists have an uncanny sense of proportion and form.  The characters move in fluid, understandable ways while doing superhuman actions.  These artists use bold outer lines and thin detail work.  However, Reis is using more multiple lines to indicate gradients and contours.  I normally find this technique dingy.  However, somehow, Reis’ version is just too busy in the details.  It almost makes some of his panels look like they quiver in my eye.  Peterson’s style has a more painted and relaxed feel.  He also uses the line-gradient technique, though it has a softer feel.

Superman #10 - DC Comics
Superman #10 – DC Comics

The story itself is another strong point for this comic.  With Superboy apparently lost in time and his grandfather, the alive and well Zor-El, looking for him, this comic starts strong.  Additionally, the ending is just as powerful with the reunited Clark and Jon Kent looking for him.  The designs in this comic are fantastic and should be used as guides for any visual projects for Superman in the future.

It could be that I like this issue of Superman because of how little the title character figures into it.  However, I will admit that this is a great all-around comic.  For a series with a character I despise to be a Pick of the Week… it has to be terrific!

Which is 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!

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