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Red Hood & the Outlaws Annual #3 - DC Comics
Okay... THAT one hurt.

THERE’S MORE FIRST ISSUE COMICS FOR REVIEW!

This week’s reviews include more X-Men, a Sonic spin-off, and-

Red Hood & the Outlaws Annual #3 - DC Comics
DC Comics

RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS ANNUAL #3
DC Comics

Writers: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Adam Pollina
Cover Price:  $4.99

I have missed Artemis and Bizarro more than I thought I would.

Scott Lobdell’s script is a good reminder of how special Red Hood’s lost partner’s are.  They exhibit solid character moments between story beats in a pretty horrific scenario.  There are a couple of groan-worthy moments.  However, they are far outpaced by a lot of shining character interactions and good surprises.  I do have a problem because of the time-jump.  It’s because of a 6 month time-jump in the middle of this issue, I think we lost out on a good series of stories while Artemis and Bizarro work to stay alive and evolve.

Red Hood & the Outlaws Annual #3 - DC Comics
Red Hood & the Outlaws Annual #3 – DC Comics

The art is by Adam Pollina and it fits some parts of the story, although not others.  Pollina really knows how to portray energy.  There is a character knocked into the Sun with such vibrancy, you can hear the “thud” and him screaming though space to his end.  Meanwhile, physical motion can sometimes be lacking.  I am not used to an artist that has energy without motion to match.  Characters are very expressive and the detail is good, although the amount of detail can shift from page to page, giving characters like Jack Knife a different look from page to page.

I have nothing against the Red Hood: Outlaw comic, although I think DC is missing out by not having the Outlaws in one place.  If this annual’s tease is right, that reunion may be very soon.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Tangle & Whisper #1 - IDW Comics
IDW Comics

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG: TANGLE & WHISPER #1
IDW Comics

Writers: Ian Flynn
Artist: Evan Stanely
Cover Price:  $3.99

This is the first spin-off from Sonic in a long time.  Is it worth the time?

Ian Flynn has a very peppy writing style.  This comic moves through its scenario very briskly.  Moreover, the characters are very bright and unique, even for this universe of cartoonish characters.  Tangle’s bouncy confidence works very well with Whisper’s more stoic and mono-syllabic nature.  This issue is the very beginning of their team-up, although it is a tantalizing preview of what’s to come.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Tangle & Whisper #1 - IDW Comics
Sonic the Hedgehog: Tangle & Whisper #1 – IDW Comics

The art may even surpass the Sonic comic itself.  Evan Stanley has captured both the bright world of the characters and their individual personas.  you may think that it’s easy to draw cartoony characters, however when there’s less detail, it can be harder to give them life.  Stanley gives both characters a number of expressive looks, as well as a definitive difference in how they approach problems.  Moreover, there is a terrific sense of motion through this comic that is just enticing.

We recently reviewed the Sonic the Hedgehog comic.  I am confident in saying Tangle & Whisper is several steps better than the main series.

Powers of X #1 - Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics

POWERS OF X #1
Marvel Comics

Writers: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: R.B. Silva
Cover Price:  $5.99

If House of X was the amuse-bouche, then Powers of X is the first course.

Jonathan Hickman is writing both mini-series into a single weaving story.  While House of X has a sinister sort of hope to it, Powers of X is the abysmal result of the X-Men’s actions.  Hickman’s characters reflect the desperation of the X-Men’s new future, as well as the outcome of their struggle.  Meanwhile, a number of new fascinating characters are introduced here.  (Personally, I think Rasputin is going to be in hot demand by fans.)  It is too early to know how consistent any character is going to be since they are new, although, considering Hickman is their creator, it should be fine.

Powers of X #1 - Marvel Comics
Powers of X #1 – Marvel Comics

Meanwhile, the art is terrific.  R.B. Silva captures the best and worst of the X-Men’s present and dystopian futures.  The line work is universally thin, although Silva is using them to maximal effect.  He brings the right amount of detail to bring across textures, ages, and other details.  In addition, his action scenes have the right amount of power and speed.  Rasputin’s scenes make her look like the kind of character that can take on the Fantastic Four and still have time to check her texts.  There are times where gradients are left to the colorist, Marte Garcia.  Additionally, some of the backgrounds can be sparse.

Overall, this is a terrific issue to work with House of X.  Powers of X looks to be a necessary comic to understand the X-Men’s future in Marvel Comics.

Killer #1 - Valiant Comics
Valiant Comics

PICK OF THE WEEK
KILLERS #1
Valiant Comics

Writers: B. Clay Moore
Artist: Fernando Dagnino
Cover Price:  $3.99

This week’s Pick of the Week is a #1, although I bet you didn’t think it would be THIS one.

B. Clay Moore’s characters actually come across as rather complicated yet relatable.  That is a difficult balance that is more impressive when you consider how few Valiant comics I have read.  The story is very easy to pick up with only slight knowledge of the history of Ninjak, the story Killers is spun out of.  In addition, Moore has captured the spirit of a British accent in text.  Even writers in the “big two” companies haven’t figured that out yet.  Meanwhile, the story moves briskly and this issue is left on a good cliffhanger.

Killer #1 - Valiant Comics
Killer #1 – Valiant Comics

Additionally, Fernando Dagnino’s art matches the story.  Since this is a story about ninjas, you need an artist who can portray dexterous melee action.  Dagnino does that in spades.  Moreover, there is a lot of impact in the fighting.  Some of the motions of characters can feel jerky or incomplete, although that is covered well in the visuals.  Dagnino’s work can lack some fine detail.  Meanwhile, he does use shadows to create depth to high effect.  The shadows also add a heaviness to the visuals that fuse with the modern noir storytelling of Moore’s writing.

Killer #1 - Valiant Comics
Killer #1 – Valiant Comics

On top of everything else, the story itself somehow combines martial arts, intrigue, spy craft, and even a hint of blaxplotation movies without losing itself under the combination.  Because of this, you have a story that creates its own mythos while honoring a lot of what came before.  A couple of details delve deep into cliche territory.  However, the script quickly pulls back above the suspension of disbelief.

This is a comic to follow.  Killers is much more than the sum of its parts.

Which series is in your pull list no matter what?  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!

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