IT IS TIME FOR MORE REVIEWS OF THE LATEST COMICS BY THE PART-TIME HENCHMEN!
The latest season of the Magicians closes tonight, however we have more comics straight off the racks for review!
WAR OF THE REALMS – THE PUNISHER #1
Writers: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Marcelo Ferreira
Cover Price: $3.99
The first issue of War of the Realms is not near as good as this tie-in.
Gerry Duggan’s script is my favorite kind of comic book. It is so self-aware, it is making fun of itself during a wild adventure. Duggan’s Punisher is as angry and resolute as you would expect. Meanwhile, this comic has a bizarre sense of humor. This is on display in the first pages when Frank Castle stomps into a music instrument store. The owner laments some debauchery he had in Vegas and knew he shouldn’t have done it now that the Punisher has come. The owner changes tunes fast when he finds out Castle just needs some piano wire. This comic is filled with odd moments like that in a fast-paced read. Additionally, Duggan has created a strangely logical reason for the Punisher to have a wild desperate adventure within an event that is far outside of his normal purview.
Marcelo Ferriera’s art works for parts of Duggan’s story. His art has a wild energy that plays well with the war-scape Castle is in the middle of in Manhattan. His attacks on elves has a bold action style that has a strange sense of strength. Moreover, Ferriera’s characters can be low on certain details. He uses bold outer lines and thinner inner lines. However, Duggan shows round shapes by using several straight lines in a row to round out shapes. The technique isn’t terribly clean. Moreover, Ferriera’s character faces can feel like old Looney Toons mobsters drawn into a comic book. If you escape into the story, it works. If not, it can appear misplaced.
This issue trips a little bit visually. Meanwhile, it is a rollicking romp that somehow stays in continuity without a lot of Fourth Wall-breaking. It was just edged out of my Pick of the Week.
PETER CANNON – THUNDERBOLT #4
Writers: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Caspar Wijngaard
Cover Price: $3.99
The cover on this comic made me curious, so I pulled it.
Kieron Gillen writes some of my favorite comics running today. This is not one of them. This issue is a difficult jump-in point. I believe I have a lot of the story, however, I am still missing major details and plot points. Meanwhile, the characters don’t come across as unique. There are a few moments of humor, although they don’t land well without a better understanding of who these characters are. Overall, this issue is unremarkable story-wise.
The art by Caspar Wijngaard has an interestingly kitchy feel. Most of this issue remind me of an ashcan edition comic from the 80’s. There are sections what have color, though they are few and far between. Wijngaard’s art is much better with color. Without it, it is lacking in depth and energy. Additionally, there appears to be an issue with noses. I do not know why, although Wiijngaard tends to draw noses with full outlines in funny perspectives and it gives too many characters a Grouch Marx vibe.
Gillen is a great writer, though this is not one of his great works. This would not be my recommendation for people looking for offbeat tales.
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis & David F. Walker
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Cover Price: $3.99
The title character’s history is laid bare this week, and it tells a lot.
Brian Michael Bendis and David Walker combined their Wonder Twin powers to make this issue work. You would think a comic about a father telling his mysterious history to his daughter would be dull. However, this comic is a very fast read. The story structure is rather typical for comics because of the star-crossed lovers story line. Meanwhile, the style here has a warmth that I am not accustomed to from DC Comics. This is my first issue, and I already feel like I have been reading this series for a while.
Moreover, Jamal Campbell’s art is one of the best this week. I have one nitpick and that is his characters can sometimes feel squashed. It is as if you are watching a show at the wrong resolution in certain moments. Other than that, I love this art. Campbell uses very bold outer lines, making the details more subtle and the characters severely pop from the background. Additionally, Campbell is one of the rarer artists that uses blacks to add shadows, rather than just color gradients or scratchy blobs. This technique makes the images feel heavier at the appropriate moments. This comic is a visual treat.
It is rare that I become a fan of a series based on one issue. It’s not even a first issue. However, I am now a fan of this series. I sense a graphic novel I will be picking up at Comic-Con.
PICK OF THE WEEK
STAR WARS – TIE FIGHTER #1
Writers: Jody Houser
Artist: Roge Antonio & Michael Dowling
Cover Price: $3.99
Just like last week’s Superman comic, Star Wars is not something I am a fan of. Meanwhile, when something is good… it’s just good.
Jody Houser has introduced us to an elite wing of Empire pilots during the height of the Empire’s influence. She quickly establishes the personalities of a number of characters. Moreover, she also adds an interesting mystery for this team to investigate. The dialogue can feel a bit cliche at times, although this comic has to fit between the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Therefore, the dialogue has to match the 1980’s sci-fi it is based upon. With that said, there is a good flow to the pace, as well as the character development.
The art is by Roge Antonio and Michael Dowling. I cannot tell you which is which, however, I did note a shift in the art in this issue. In the first part of this issue, the art is pretty good. Character proportions are good and the space battles have the prerequisite screaming energy Star Wars fans would come to expect. There is a strange visual dynamic at play. The characters’ overall look is good comic book fare. Meanwhile, the character detail can be a bit sparse and flat. That may be a case of these people fitting in with the Imperial Navy, although I cannot say if it is purposeful. The detail dips noticeably in the second half of this issue. It isn’t a game breaker, though it can be seen by people who are sensitive to such.
Actually, the story of these characters is enhanced by a mini back-up about one of the pilots. It shows that she may be planning to defect in the near future. While some casual fans may find such a story cliche, a number of Star Wars characters are former Imperial soldiers including Han Solo and Wedge Antilles. Overall, I find this issue to be an interesting story that fits in well with the Star Wars mythos and timeline. In the end, I want to find out more about their mission and growth.
Star Wars – Tie Fighter #1 is not perfect, although it was the most engrossing story in a week of mini-series endings and ongoing events.
Did you read one of the event comics 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!