COMICS WON’T STOP AND NEITHER WILL WE!
We are back in business and pulling more of the latest comics for review! What’s in the bin this week?
INCREDIBLE HULK – LAST CALL #1
Writers: Peter David
Artist: Dale Keown
Cover Price: $4.99
Marvel’s Hulk is revisited by two of his most renowned creators! Did it recapture it’s prior magic?
Peter David is a writer I adore. However, in this work, he is summarizing the character’s history and feelings in 30 pages. He stays within the well known beats of the Hulk. Banner’s depression, his marriage to Betty Ross, his recriminations, etc. The characters have familiar voices and stay within classic parameters. There are a few pages of new story, although it feels like a rushed ending. In fact, given what is going on in the Immortal Hulk series, I am not certain which version of the Green Goliath appeared in the end of this comic. It is finely written, but it isn’t an entertaining story.
Dale Keown’s art on his prior Hulk run made him famous. He has not lost a lot of that visual punch. His characters can appear lanky. Moreover, he uses minimal detail to maximum effect. Keown uses multiple lines to create gradients. It isn’t burdensome, though it can be a visual grind after a while. Meanwhile, Keown’s hulk is still amazingly massive and bulges off the page. The action has good impact and motion. The color work in this issue was oddly off, though.
This isn’t a bad comic by most metrics. It’s just dated. There is room here to tell a great story, however, it isn’t a must read to follow on current storylines.
YOUNG JUSTICE #6
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: John Timms
Cover Price: $3.99
We are at the end of the first story arc! How was the finish?
Brian Michael Bendis has used something in this issue that you may not be used to from him… energy! These characters read well and have fresh and fast dialogue. Moreover, and more importantly, they have a youthful energy that transcends the story and feels more at home in an entertaining cartoon! I found myself giggling at these heroes chatting and their admitting that they were in over their heads at the walking castle (non-Howl’s, but still). The overall story was buried beneath the strong character interactions, though. It somehow feels like the story was less important than the result of these characters being together.
John Timms’s art is THICK! He uses very bold outer lines. This can make characters stand out from the background, although it can also add this heavy, strangely tactile sensation while looking through the comic. From there, Tims uses minimal line work for details. It reminds me of Chris Bachalo’s art without the floating debris that is in his own work. Do not overlook the backgrounds, however. They have a wild charm in their own right. The art is a solid compliment to the story.
This is a fun comic if you focus on the characters! The villain was so disposable, he was dispatched too fast to matter.
Writers: Mark Waid & Kwanza Osajyefo
Artist: Phil Briones
Cover Price: $3.99
This is a story that resonates more than it should.
Mark Waid is a comic creator powerhouse. Kwanza Osajyefo has high concepts, though doesn’t always click as a writer. Together, these two have a story that hits very close to home and is very organic. The characters come through very clearly without dropping into stereotypes. Actually, Waid and Osajyefo captured the frustration of being young. Of being expected to handle everything without being given the respect to be asked how to deal with anything. The frustration of every character comes through in different ways and they are all within the realm of believability.
Phil Briones’ art combines with the story to bring everything to vivid life. Some character’s faces can feel a bit to lean at times, although everything else is very crisp. Moreover, Briones has a difficult job of showing disaffected and disenfranchised people and bringing those emotions to life. He succeeds in a way few artists can. The action in this issue is light, although very dynamic. Additionally, the composition and positioning of these characters is top-tier work.
Ignited is the right story at the right time and can speak to a lot of people. This is the comic that makes superstars out of its creators.
PICK OF THE WEEK
UNCANNY X-MEN #19
Writers: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Carlos Villa, Carlos Gomez & Bob Quinn
Cover Price: $3.99
Yes, I am a big X-Men fan, although that is not why this is my Pick this week. It’s because this comic surprised me.
Matthew Rosenberg wrote a story centering on Emma Frost from just before the Extermination event until the current pages. He writes an interesting version of the hero-turned-underworld figure. Rosenberg’s character work on Frost goes a long way to paint her in a new light. However, that may be to the detriment of several other X-Men characters that litter this comic. Moreover, he is very careful to show that Frost has been a part of a lot of what has happened to the X-Men post Extermination and been careful to stay out of the spotlight.
Meanwhile, the art is by three artists and I do not know whom worked on which page. I would not classify any of the artists as bad. In fact, the artist that worked on the pages during a shopping spree by Frost and Marrow is pretty sharp and downright sassy in feel. That art had a detail and sheen that made the characters stand out in a number of different ways. However the other artists weren’t up to the same level as this one and the shift between the three is fairly noticeable.
So, you are probably asking, why is this a Pick of the Week? Honestly, it is because of the revamping of Emma Frost. She is normally known as a capable person, though only in manipulation. In this comic, Rosenberg transforms Frost into a character that has foresight and a talent for tactical decision-making. Moreover, she has a lot of empathy for those in her charge. This is the kind of character evolution that can lead to big things down the line, assuming the editors pay attention to this forward motion.
This Pick of the Week isn’t flashy. It isn’t a game changer. It is the kind of comic that makes you see more possibility in a character, and that can lead to huge things in the future.
What was the best comic you read? 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!