WE ARE BACK FROM OUR VACATION AND DOING MORE COMIC REVIEWS!
After a few days at WonderCon and Disneyland, we have a stack of comics on our desks! Let’s pull a few and see what’s new on the racks!
YOUNG JUSTICE #4
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Patrick Gleason & John Timms
Cover Price: $3.99
In its fourth issue, DC’s young heroes are both hitting their stride and taking a step backwards.
Bendis’ style is intact. This comic is dialogue heavy, although it is necessary to catch up on this comic’s setting. The location of Gemworld needs a lot of explanation because it isn’t well known outside of stalwart DC fans. Meanwhile, the character’s voices are a bit muddy at times because a lot of it is happening while the reader is staring at location panels without an explanation of who is talking. I find myself rereading lines after I figure out who is speaking to get the right tone. Additionally, a lot of this comic is about the political theater in Amethyst’s home. The pacing is up and down throughout this issue.
The art of this comic is by Patrick Gleason and John Timms. I am not sure which artist penned which pages. One handled the majority of the scenes of Amethyst in the past and the other did the current pages. Of the two, I prefer the artist working on the current events, although both have some inconsistencies. The artists have an issue with perspective, making faces look very different at varying angles. The action has a good urgency to it. Moreover, the forms are strong and dynamic.
It is hard to recommend this particular issue in an otherwise solid series. I am hoping that the time Young Justice spends in Gemworld is short.
WAR OF THE REALMS #1
Writers: Jason Aaron
Artist: Russell Dauterman
Cover Price: $5.99
Marvel’s spring event has kicked off! But just what does it “kick?”
Jason Aaron’s writing is covering a lot of bases. The dialogue is fine and matches a lot of the characters’ established voices. In fact, Aaron’s Spider-Man is one of the more authentic and entertaining characters in the entire over-sized issue. The issue for me is that this comic spends a little bit of time covering the status of a smattering of characters and then becomes one long fight scene. Moreover, it feels like you have tuned into the final act of a monster movie without knowing how this story started. Meanwhile, I am a long-time Marvel fan and reader, and I still feel that I am not up to date on everything I need to know here. This is probably because I stopped reading Thor after Jane Foster gave up her powers.
The art by Russell Dauterman is still good, all-around work. He uses a lot of solid blacks combined with bright armor and visuals. It makes this very robust style that has a dramatic flair. Moreover, his Asgardian designs stop just short of being ridiculous with sweeping golden armor. However, his action can be inconsistent and characters don’t always look like they are using energy in their motion. Additionally, Dauterman’s version of the Odinson seems to have a squashed, short head. When I look at him, I think of Robin Williams with a beard for some reason. With that said, Dauterman has a real talent for drawing the beasts and monsters in this story.
I won’t say that War of the Realms is bad. However, I will say that it doesn’t do much to engage you in how all of this started. Unless there is a lot of repercussions for the Marvel Universe, I’m not sure how much of it to read.
Writers: Bart Sears
Artist: Rick Leonardi, Matthew Dow Smith & Meghan Hetrick
Cover Price: $7.99
The solicitation on this comic sounds like the next high adventure.
Bart Sears takes some time to “pen the comic he’s always wanted to.” The problem is that I really don’t have a story to latch on to here. There are two stories about the title character and his charge that feel so disjointed, they barely feel like the same story. The title character’s dialogue is very serious, although feels one-dimensional; as if he is an archetype without a story. Meanwhile, we have no details to tell us why either the protagonist or his ward are important. Nor do we have any knowledge what the antagonists want. This large one-shot does not tell us anything of substance to engage in.
However, the art is one by three different artists, Rick Leonardi, Matthew Dow Smith, and Meghan Hetrick. While these artists have different strengths and weaknesses, their styles are so different, the different arcs in this comic do not feel like the same story. Unfortunately, outside their names, there is such a wide gap in the characters’ looks, clothes, and ages, you would swear you are dealing with different characters in different stories in different genres.
I like to stay open to new experiences and stories. However, this comic does not give enough of either for me to recommend to anyone.
PICK OF THE WEEK
CAPTAIN AMERICA #9
Writers: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Artist: Adam Kubert
Cover Price: $3.99
I am surprised how intrigued I am with this story.
While stories of superheroes being accused of murder is not new, Ta-Nehisi Coates makes this one feel very different.
Coates has added layers of mystery and immediacy in this storyline. The pacing is quick despite the relatively familiar story. Meanwhile, he moves naturally between the stories of Steve Rogers in prison and the Daughters of Liberty working to keep the villains on their toes and free Rogers. Neither story draws too much attention from the other. Moreover, the characters’ individual voices come across clearly. This is a feat because of the sheer number of protagonists in this comic. Additionally, the machinations of the Power Elite, the villainous conspiracy of this story, has echoes of people’s opinion of politics, giving it an insidious overtone that a lot of other villains lack.
Meanwhile, the art is by Wolverine and Action Comics luminary, Adam Kubert. Kubert uses very thick outer lines with a lot of smaller line work for details. This gives his characters a lot of pop on the page. However, I did notice that unless you are close to the character, everyone appears to squint like Clint Eastwood. This makes Kubert rely on making other distinct details to tell characters apart. I did find it odd that the Daughters of Liberty had more unique looks than the title character. With that said, Kubert excels at action. The motion of the characters has more impact and energy than most other series. Even the explosions in this comic have more energy than other series.
I found myself the most intrigued with the Dryad. I don’t know when this character came into this story. However, she has an approach that can be described as Batman’s ethics with the Punisher’s flair. She is mysterious and intimidating and while she will not kill, she will not hesitate to blow up a building just to make a point. Just from this issue, I think that the Dryad may have the makings of a new great hero in Marvel Comics.
It is not a packed or perfect issue. However, it is the one that drew me in the most this week, and that’s why it is my Pick of the Week!
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