MORE OF THE LATEST COMICS ARE GETTING REVIEWS!
The summer means more events! That means you should keep up on the latest stories to understand those events! Which issues are worth reading this week?
BETTIE PAGE #5
Writers: David Avallone
Artist: Jordan Michael Johnson
Cover Price: $4.99
Bettie Page is an icon who gets another turn in pop culture every other century. Does this comic have the same legacy in store?
David Avallone has a good concept to expand on Bettie Page’s history. The pin-up queen having dual function as a spy is a fun idea. Meanwhile, the dialogue feels forced and lacks a lot of the energy implied in the story. This makes me sad because the story itself has some interesting narrative choices that easily make the main character more dynamic. Although, I don’t feel that any of that potential has been capitalized on by the end of the issue.
Jordan Michael Johnson’s art leans to the cartoonish. All of his characters have surprisingly lean faces. They often appear astonished at the last sentence they heard. Johnson uses thicker outer lines for characters with much thinner detail lines. He is going for a 1950’s inspired look. Moreover, he uses detail lines sparingly, making a lot the characters lack significant depth. In fact, a lot of characters are dressed very simply in two-tone clothes. I did note that Johnson uses faded line work for backgrounds making the characters pop a bit.
Overall, this comic was a let down because I’m not sure if the creative team is a fit for what Dynamite wants to do for the concept. There is still a chance for this to become a cornerstone of imaginative work, however that is up to where they go from here.
WAR OF THE REALMS STRIKEFORCE – THE WAR AVENGERS #1
Writers: Dennis Hallum
Artist: Kim Jacinto & Ario Anindito
Cover Price: $4.99
I am not a fan of tie-in issues. They tend to have a limited impact on the main story. Still, it’s good to go outside your comfort zones now and again.
I didn’t know until after this issue that it was written by Dennis Hallum (a.k.a. Dennis Hopeless). Hallum’s stories often have a healthy dose of humor and War Avengers has Deadpool filling that role. Meanwhile, this comic is shockingly dark compared to Hallum’s prior work. The heroes on the cover are fully aware that they aren’t who will end the War of the Realms. They know they have to hold the line until someone else finds a way to finish things. Hallum builds on the tone by making sure these long standing Marvel heroes have dialogue and voices in their established continuity and dealing with knowing they are going to fight so others can fight later.
Art duties are shared by Kim Jacinto and Ario Anindito. Both artists lean on similar extremes when it comes to character proportion. Lean characters appear lanky and large characters are superbly massive. The characters have bold outer lines and winding detail lines. Meanwhile, the action does have some interesting power to it. There is a wild, dirty look to the art that meshes with the story of these front line warriors. The look of the comic overall was all right, though not all-together helpful for the story.
This comic tells an interesting story not about world-saving, but about the people who make sure the world is still there for others to save. Hallum needs to be higher on Marvel’s writing teams.
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Ivan Reis
Cover Price: $3.99
Bendis is doing his best to make Superman more than just a powerful character.
His writing is weaving in fascinating ways. He is making Superman think a lot about what his presence in events and in DC on a whole and how he can affect things without actually punching them. I am gobsmacked that I am interested in Superman trying to balance his fantastic life and his extended family and struggling with it. Meanwhile, Superman’s internal monologue adds an anxiety and sense of urgency that is not normally found in Superman stories. As with Tom King and Batman, Bendis is working hard to humanize DC’s Big Blue… and it is working.
Ivan Reis’ art is a terrific compliment to Bendis’ story. His action in this comic is especially good. He makes Superman both powerful and graceful in action. Moreover, Superman’s enemies have this grandiose presence that refreshes his rogue’s gallery in this comic. Reis also has visually dynamic characters that have a lot of detail work that somehow stops from being too scratchy and busy. It is my opinion that Reis should be the benchmark of DC’s artists.
I occasionally grab parts of Bendis’ run for reviews. Because of them, I think I have found the first Superman graphic novels I would buy and keep.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis & David F. Walker
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Cover Price: $3.99
In a word… this comic is beautiful.
Bendis and Walker must have activated their Wonder Twin powers, because, together, they have made a comic that resonates emotionally in a lot of ways. From the flashbacks to the title character talking to her partner, I find myself fascinated with the story of Naomi. The dialogue has an unusual power to it. A lot of is exposition from Naomi’s birth mother and, although we haven’t met her already, the emotion pours through with unusual clarity. Meanwhile, Naomi’s own dialogue is full of energy, youth, and humanity.
If Ivan Reis is DC’s current art benchmark, Jamal Campbell shows the future they could have. Charles’ style is balancing between cartoonish and comic books in a way that creates a fresh look. The characters are hauntingly lifelike and have an energy that is magnetic. The character proportion is solid. Moreover, there is an easy flow from panel to panel and everything feels organic and within the suspension of disbelief. Charles’ splash pages are insane single images that tell a terrific story. Meanwhile, Charles has an uncanny ability for energy effects. They feel graceful and primal at the same time.
I have to give special props to the colors in this comic. There is awesome use of gradients and various colors that add to every scene and character in it. Somehow, Naomi’s corner of DC feels more vibrant and real than the rest. I would recommend any budding artists study Naomi immediately.
This issue is the lynch pin that proves something to me. Naomi is a new story and hero that DC needs to refresh its line and bring new context to the heroes. I feel confident in saying that Naomi is DC’s Kamala Khan.
Which comic shaped your reading habits? Let us know in the comments below! In the meantime, you can listen to our comic book news and reviews podcast, the Part-Time Henchmen!