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Excellence #1 - Image Comics
"Give me all of the Pokemon cards... NOW!"

SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON IS CLOSING IN!  NOW IS THE TIME TO STAY ON TOP OF THE LATEST STORIES!

Which random pulls are getting reviews by the DVS Gaming crew this week?

Batman & the Outsiders #1 - DC Comics
DC Comics

BATMAN & THE OUTSIDERS #1
DC Comics

Writers: Bryan Hill
Artist: Dexter Soy
Cover Price:  $3.99

The Outsiders name is brought back by DC whenever there’s a big shake-up.  Is the current team living up to that legacy?

Bryan Hill is a pretty good writer overall, however, this is not his best work.  This comic has a very pinned down feel as if editorial is keeping Hill from giving his best work.  Meanwhile, there is a lot of recent history knowledge needed to understand these characters.  That history is touched on in this comic without much context.  Moreover, Hill’s version of Katana has the character using a lot of Japanese words in her dialogue.  This feels strange given the character’s long history in the Suicide Squad and with Batman overall.  This feel like a writer touching up someone else’s script.

Batman & the Outsiders #1 - DC Comics
Batman & the Outsiders #1 – DC Comics

Dexter Soy’s art is in the middle of my preferences.  His character form is good, although muscles can be bulbous when they’re flexing.  Additionally, his art can be very sparse on detail.  It relies on the colorist to do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to curves and gradients.  The overall style leans into a manga-esque quality that was thick in comics in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  It involves a lot of relatively thin lines everywhere.  Characters can come across as scratch, missing significant depth, and unfinished.

The Outsiders is one of my favorite for-fun reading series… in 2003.  This latest version feels like it’s made of cast-off characters and not given much care as to their mission.  There is room for improvement, and I hope it improves.

War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1 - Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics

WAR OF THE REALMS – NEW AGENTS OF ATLAS #1
Marvel Comics

Writers: Greg Pak
Artist: Gang Hyuk Lim
Cover Price:  $3.99

A new team with a cast of Pacific Rim characters?  That sounds intriguing!  However… is it intriguing?

Greg Pak is the writer of Planet Hulk!  This is not Planet Hulk.  I understand that there is a lot of ground to cover in a new team book, although a reader goes through a whipsawing path back and forth covering 7 of the characters on the cover, plus at least 3 more within this comic, a new concept, the War of the Realms, and the first plot twist.  In short, there is too much happening and not enough time with any character to form any sort of bond.  In the end, I have a list of names and powers, although if they weren’t in another series, I don’t have any sort of connection or opinion on the character.

War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1 - Marvel Comics
War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1 – Marvel Comics

The art is by Gang Hyuk Lim.  His art feels similar to mid-90’s cartoons.  The detail is almost non-existent.  Meanwhile, somehow, characters manage to remain fairly distinct through both their costumes and hairstyles.  While outer lines are bolder than the detail lines, they still feel thick, making the characters lack pop.  The action has some decent energy to it.  The powers have a lot of visual kick, except most of it is in the random minions that are common in large events.

Overall, this issue is disappointing.  It has a lot of room to improve, however not a lot of chances before this mini-series is over.

Hit Girl: Season 2 #4 - Image Comics
Image Comics

HIT-GIRL: SEASON 2 #4
Image Comics

Writers: Kevin Smith
Artist: Pernille Orum
Cover Price:  $3.99

Hit Girl Season 2 is a decent ride, although… how is the finish?

Filmmaker Kevin Smith is no stranger to writing comics.  He is obviously a fan and enjoys telling offbeat stories.  However, while the past issues of this mini have been fun, this last one comes across as strangely forced.  The pacing is quick, although too many elements come together too quickly to wrap up the stories of the last three issues.  Meanwhile, the characters have fun voices and hilariously overblown backstories.  The dialogue can have a bit too much camp in it at times, although that is up to individual preference.

Hit Girl: Season 2 #4 - Image Comics
Hit Girl: Season 2 #4 – Image Comics

Pernille Orum’s art is bright and vibrant.  Her style is very cartoon-oriented.  Moreover, it makes the action that much more over-the-top and shocking when it happens.  This issue still lacks a bit of panel-to-panel flow in movement.  Orum uses very thick outer lines and minimal detail, however, her characters are so expressive, the lack of detail isn’t as much of a detractor here.

I do like this story.  The ending is just too rushed to enjoy it.

Excellence #1 - Image Comics
Image Comics

PICK OF THE WEEK
EXCELLENCE #1
Image Comics

Writers: Brandon Thomas
Artist: Khary Randolph
Cover Price:  $3.99

The cover draws my eye, so I grabbed this comic.  It has an interesting story weaving through it.

Brandon Thomas has created a world of heritages of magic, an African American cast, and an overarching mission that has implications for the world at large.  Though this comic is over-sized, the pacing is relatively brisk.  The characters succeed in establishing their voices and drives in this issue, although some of the supporting characters feel thin.  Ignored.  The main character’s arch, however, has a solid beginning between being a “chosen one” and someone who has trained to overcome his short-comings.

Excellence #1 - Image Comics
Excellence #1 – Image Comics

Khary Randolph’s art meshes well with the story.  He uses thicker outer lines and smaller lines for detail.  I will say that his characters are missing enough detail to fully flesh out their look, although, Randolph overcomes this by making the characters unusually expressive.  Single panels can be enough to convey misery, pain, rage, or contentment.  That is a rare talent.  The action moves well and the magic used in this series has a wild energy that is fitting with the world-bending implied in the story.

Excellence #1 - Image Comics
Excellence #1 – Image Comics

I have to give extra props to the art.  It has an urban mural kind of feel that fits with the urban arcanum at the crux of this story.  Every page is fresh and has a stellar use of colors at the right points to add to the emotions of the characters, as well as making the characters’ presence more profound.

This comic is far and away the best thing I have read this week.  I want to know more about the mission of the main protagonist and the organization he works with, as well as what the potential is for Excellence.

COMIC REVIEWS FOR 4/17/19

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