WE’RE BACK FROM SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON!
The adventure is done and we’re back into the latest comics! There are a lot of new story chapters beginning this week!
HOUSE OF X #1
Writers: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Cover Price: $5.99
Wow. Just wow.
Hickman has promised that his pair of miniseries (this and Powers of X) will redefine the X-Men’s place and bring them to the forefront of Marvel. The initial issue is light on action, however it does not disappoint. Several deceased characters are mysteriously alive. More are healed to peak form. The issue takes its time to lay out a set of mysteries to be revealed, although this is not a slow-paced issue. Hickman’s script implores you to ask a lot of questions knowing that the answers will come over the next few months. You can sense the insidious overtones throughout.
Hickman chose Pepe Larraz to do the art of this comic and every panel shows why. The lines are sharp and clean. There is enough to detail to get every aspect of a character’s mannerisms across. Moreover, the backgrounds are breathtaking and cinematic. It has been a long time since I poured over so much of an issue’s background. Meanwhile, the action has a wallop that can be missing from more action-intense series. I expect upcoming issues to show more of what Larraz is capable of, however we have glimpses that say it will be worth the wait.
I cannot say I know everything that’s happening, although this is a great and enticing beginning to a new phase and world for the X-Men.
BATMAN – CURSE OF THE WHITE KNIGHT #1
Writers: Sean Murphy
Artist: Sean Murphy
Cover Price: $4.99
The Murphyverse has returned! Is it still special?
Sean Murphy has to follow-up his critical darling, Batman – White Knight. The first issue picks up as Batman and Gotham are settling into a different status quo than the DC Prime universe. Additionally, Murphy’s script is a bit of a slow burn. He is not in a hurry to develop the introduction of new characters and the story that will envelop the story. Moreover, the characters have not moved far from the last issue of White Knight. This makes things recognizable, although unsurprising. You can be forgiven for not being adored with this comic in this issue.
Meanwhile, Murphy draws his script. His art employs a scratchy, dirty style that can be a turn-off to people who prioritize visuals. Everything has a bit of an undefined look. It fits the story extremely well after and adjustment period. In addition, the backgrounds in this series have their own life and flavor that adds to the completeness of this story. Murphy’s style is also very energetic. Characters can seem to leap off the page.
This isn’t a perfect first issue, although, to be fair, White Knight had a slow start, too. Murphy has earned a leap of faith. I’m recommending this issue as I am sure the series will pick up steam soon.
CURSE WORDS #23
Writers: Charles Soule
Artist: Ryan Browne
Cover Price: $3.99
This comic is a like an 80’s kid’s joyous fever dream.
I could use a primer on the prior story, however, the writing is strong enough, I am catching up fast. In addition, Soule’s characters have a combination of ridiculous names and over-the-top moments. This issue can be summed up as Masters of the Universe combined with the Boys on a hit of Heizenberg’s blue meth. The characters are easy to get into and understand. Moreover, the scenario itself is not very complicated, although the details of the story are surreal and shocking.
The art of Ryan Browne also feels like an old Saturday morning cartoon. The character’s forms are exaggerated and almost painfully colorful. Moreover, everyone is just expressive enough to get the point across. Also, the detail is sparing for the most part. However, the action in this issue has a wild, primal energy to it that is hard to ignore. When one character uses an energy bat to knock two titans as if they were slow pitches in Fenway Park, you can almost hear the thunderous impact.
Series like Curse Words are not always fun to read, although this one is. I need trade paperbacks, stat.
PICK OF THE WEEK
WEB OF VENOM – FUNERAL PYRE #1
Writers: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Joshua Cassara & Alberto Alburquerque
Cover Price: $4.99
This is not my favorite story of this week. However, it is the one that surprised and shocked me.
Cullen Bunn has set up a single issue to tell the current status of someone in Venom’s orbit, and this one-shot is simply chilling. Bunn’s characters suffer in physical and mental anguish and the feeling is all too palpable for the reader. Meanwhile, the dialogue amplifies the desperation for answers and relief. It also re-frames Carnage as a character who should be feared as a new unstoppable psychopath that can give anyone short of the Immortal Hulk a run for his money.
The majority of the art is by Alberto Alburquerque. Admittedly, it is not my style. There isn’t anything inherently wrong in it. The characters are expressive enough. The action has a good energy and sense of weight. In addition, there is a fair amount of detail. Meanwhile, what is bothering me is that everything is so sharp. Alburquerque uses very sharp angles on everything, so characters often have harsh angles on their features, hair, clothes, muscles, etc. While it does help the story and give everything an off-kilter property, it does bother me quite a bit throughout the issue.
However, the important thing is that this issue is a good primer on the status of both Mania and Carnage. Both have gone through significant changes since the days of “Agent Venom.” They are put through their paces and give a spectacular show of what each is capable of. This comic is an outstanding primer for Absolute Carnage.
Funeral Pyre is something that is going to stick with me for a while and has me thinking about changing my pull list. That is the mark of a terrific comic.
Which comic made you change your pull list? Let us know in the comments below! In the meantime, here is a link to the latest episode of our comic book podcast, the Part-Time Henchmen!