COMICS REVIEWED BY OUR COMIC BOOK PODCASTERS, THE PART-TIME HENCHMEN!
The latest comics are reviewed and presented to you! Which issues were pulled from the racks?
Writer – Andy Diggle
Artist – Renato Guedes
Price – $3.99
Although I am aware of the character, I have never read an issue of Shadowman until today. I am starting to regret that oversight.
Andy Diggle can be counted on to tell nuanced stories, however, he does a great job in this issue of making the comic feel very accessible. Diggle’s script is succinct and even though he cannot explain everything, he does have the characters give just enough exposition to get you up on status and abilities without overwhelming you in extreme detail or dialogue. Moreover, even though I don’t know these characters well, I do feel that the writing has given me enough information to form an opinion. That’s a rare talent that needs to be hailed.
Meanwhile, I generally do not like painted art in comic books. There are rare exceptions, to be sure, and I now count this artist, Renato Guedes, on that list. His art started a bit over-rendered though it settled a lot later in the issue and it gives the action a very cinematic look. I thought the story was going to be what pulled me further into the comic, but the art was what sold me on the gravity of the action and brought the story fully to life.
Valiant Comics has undergone a big transformation since the 1990’s, and the reinvention of Shadowman has been a big part of it. I truly enjoyed this comic. How does that happen when the first issue I read is mid-story? Extremely talented creators.
Mr. & Mrs. X #2
Writer – Kelly Thompson
Artist – Oscar Bazaldua
Price – $3.99
This series have a very convoluted title. Thankfully, the title is the only thing in this series that comes across that way.
Kelly Thompson is responsible for the critically loved Rogue & Gambit mini-series. Her love for these characters and their relationships is written in every piece of dialogue. Both of the title characters are more determined, likable, and believable than I have seen them before. In fact, Gambit is one of my least favorite characters in comics, and… he’s actually as suave as his reputation in this issue. Meanwhile, although I only flipped through the first issue, Thompson’s writing has me caught up in this issue and that is awesome work.
The art in this book is pretty good with some caveats. Oscar Bazaldua has a great sense of proportion and knows how to craft action. When Rogue uses her strength, you get a strong sense of the amount of power about to hit and Gambit’s energy powers are dynamic and have flourish and flash. Where Bazaldua has issues are faces. The expressions are serviceable, but the issue is how his facial structures can shift. When he’s trying draw faces at an angle, they can appear compressed on the skull. In fact, Rogue’s face seems almost teenager-like and very small. It doesn’t ruin the book, but it does make you take a second look to see what your mind is trying to tell you.
Mr. & Mrs. X’s only problems are with art that may only matter to those who dig too deeply. Although, if you’re a fan of writing, Kelly Thompson is the perfect person for these characters. If you don’t believe me, read the interactions between Rogue, Gambit, and Deadpool throughout this issue. It’s comedy gold!
Detective Comics #987
Writer – Bryan Hill
Artist – Miguel Mendonca
Price – $2.99
The era of Detective Comics of Batwoman’s and James Tynion IV is over. What does the current creative team bring and does it have the same potential?
I wouldn’t want to follow up on the last volume of Detective Comics, however Bryan Hill has that job, and he has made a strong start of it. This issue is the last in the first arc of his run, and it is very easy to catch up here. Despite the appearance of new villains, the dialogue is to the point and does not over explain the situation. Hill is juggling a lot of characters in this comic. However, he handles it deftly and everyone retains distinct voices and personas.
You cannot say enough about Miguel Mendonca’s art and his contribution to this series. He may be a minimalist when it comes to detail, but he uses those detail with a high effect. Additionally, he uses the perfect amount of black for shadows and give added depth to his work. When you have a series revolving around Batman and his circle, that’s a necessity. Mendonca is an artist to watch in the future.
Even though the cast in this series is moving on to its own series (Batman & the Outsiders launching this December also written by Bryan Hill), I think that the new tone of this series is the kind of building block that can help move the reputation and mythos of Batman into the future.
PICK OF THE WEEK
WEST COAST AVENGERS #22
Writer – Kelly Thompson
Artist – Stefano Caselli
Price – $4.99
This week may appear to be the start of the Kelly Thompson Fan Club. I just cannot help myself. Her comics are fun and that feeling is embodied by Volume 3 of the West Coast Avengers.
Thompson has taken a bevy of unused young heroes and thrown them into an area of Marvel’s Earth that is usually low on defenses and tends to have low sales. Iron Man, Daredevil, and the X-Men have had short stints in this area, as well as the original West Coast Avengers. I think she can buck that trend. Kate Bishop and her cobbled-together team are a riot of contrasting personalities and sharp dialogue, as well as understandable insecurities and a story that seems to lean into Hollywood’s ability to make a reality show out of anything.
Moreover, Thompson has a great partner in this series in artist Stefano Caselli. He does a good job of making each character in a narrow age range have different features and mannerisms. Additionally, even though is art is light on detail, his faces are very expressive. When Kate Bishop is frustrated, you can sense it in Caselli’s pencils. The action has a lot of energy and easily flows from panel to panel. Finally, I would say that Caselli’s art and Thompson’s writing fuse well and he knows how to add just the right ludicrous flourishes to Thompson’s writing.
This is a great jump in point. I enjoyed reading about these characters, even though I have not read half of these characters’ comics in the past. Thompson and Caselli have laid a groundwork that builds a future on a cult-favorite series from Marvel’s past. I cannot wait to see how everything develops and how a reality filming crew affects how these young characters work.
Let’s hope they do better than the New Warriors before Marvel’s Civil War…
Which comics should get a review? Let us know in the comments below! Also, we have added a link to the latest episode of our comic news and reviews podcast, the Part-Time Henchmen!