COMIC REVIEWS BY THE PART-TIME HENCHMEN!
The comic delivery has come in! Which issues were picked for review this week?
Return of Wolverine #1
Writer – Charles Soule
Artist – Steve McNiven
Price – $4.99
Logan has been gone from Marvel for a bit of time. Has the hero been given a new edge? (I swear, I didn’t mean for that to be a pun.)
Charles Soule has found a different overall story for Wolverine. This issue has a mystery that will likely be taking up half of this story and it isn’t bad. Meanwhile, the details of this story have me concerned. Soule’s story is full of small items that can have even long-term readers scratching their head and trying to figure out if any individual item is important. He also tackles one of the potential reasons that Wolverine often wears blue and yellow that makes some sense, although it doesn’t feel like it matches most of Logan’s actions.
Steve McNiven’s art isn’t the best for this kind of story. His art is cluttered when it comes to detail. When the page feels busy while characters are sitting and talking, you can imagine what the art is like when Logan is doing his “best there is at what he does” moments. The faces of his characters can be a bit hard to read due to the amount of lines he uses in his details. The art turned into a big roadblock for me.
Yes, Wolverine is back. I do think the story of how he is back is interesting. I cannot say this is a comic to read to find it out, though. Right now, I’d rather wait for him to encounter someone else and explain the Cliff Notes.
Harley Quinn #50
Writer – Sam Humphries
Artist – John Timms, Whilce Portacio, Agnes Garbowska & more
Price – $4.99
Benchmark comics can be beginnings or endings. Usually, comic companies want these to be jump in points. This felt like jumping into a brick wall.
I am usually fine with Sam Humphries’ work. His writing is normally to the point and he knows how to craft a narrative. However, Harley Quinn #50 is pretty much one long joke that didn’t start off to funny to begin with. With the entire issue being one continuous continuity prank, you were either going to like the entire issue or be a bit turned out by it. Only one part of this issue seems to have any bearing on the overall story of Harley Quinn and that’s the last page.
Each artist in this book drew a few pages of an alternative world or scenario. Meanwhile, it spent more time lampooning other characters in DC Comics than it did featuring the title heroine. It is hard to critique the art when it moved so fast.
While I can see the basis of Harley Quinn in the book, I cannot tell from this comic if I could be a fan of it all or not. In the end, this is the comic book equivalent of not being able to find anything interesting while flipping channels.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #86
Writer – Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow & Tom Waltz
Artist – Dave Watcher
Price – $3.99
I was raised in the 80’s and 90’s. I grew up with different version of the “Heroes in a Halfshell.” With that in mind, why not read one of the latest comics?
Series co-creator, Kevin Eastman, is one of the writers on this comic. That may be why I think the characters were well-defined. I am not current on the Turtles’ situation, although I wasn’t entirely lost. About halfway through this issue, my curiosity piqued as the picture on what is happening came into focus. The only problem I had was that the second half of the comic was deeply mired in some of the less well-known characters. It didn’t kill my curiosity, but I would say that it isn’t a comic that is kind to new readers.
The art is by Dave Watcher and he had high and low points in the same issue. His human characters look good. He uses minimal details on faces and knows how to effectively use shadows and blacks. His humans can look a bit too angular. Where the art fails me is on the Turtles themselves because they come across as out of place and too human. Their heads are too small their bodies, meanwhile their hands are HUGE! Overall, the art feels out of balance because the main characters were the ones I wanted to see the least in this art style.
I get the feeling from this issue that IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is in the middle of a pretty sweeping story. This issue, though does not make me want to find out what happened before or after.
PICK OF THE WEEK
X-MEN GOLD #36
Writer – Marc Guggenheim
Artist – Pere Perez
Price – $3.99
This X-Men series has not had the greatest run and is making way for the return of the Uncanny X-Men series late this year. However, it did end on most of the right notes.
Marc Guggenheim had to tie together a lot of the interpersonal stories in this series while not striking a defeated tone. Moreover, he did just that. This issue reiterated the current status of the X-Men’s Gold team and put certain matters to bed. Meanwhile, this comic highlights the X-Men’s mission and all potential outcomes of it. This book has scared emerging mutants, fearful humans, and humans who are learning that mutants are people regardless of their circumstance. Guggenheim proves in this comic that he understands what the world is and what it can be.
The art by Pere Perez is not perfect here. His faces feel too smooth. In addition, characters in motion do not look like they’re actually moving. It looks more like he was putting characters in pin-up poses in moving scenes. It is a motion comic without motion.
Not all of the art hurt this experience. Perez excels when the action involves energy and explosions. The new mutant he drew here did seem on the verge of losing control and devastating several town blocks. The scenes between this comic and a phasing Kitty Pryde are seriously touching while she stands in a maelstrom.
Yes, I am an X-Men fan, and that may affect my opinions here. However, this comic is a hidden gem that brings into focus the hard decisions both heroes and regular people make, for better and for worse. Finally, this is a great issue that explains all that the X-Men do and stand for. However, it is sad that the series has to end for such an issue to be written.
Do you disagree with the reviews? Let us know in the comments below! Meanwhile, we have added a link to the latest episode of our comic news and reviews podcast, the Part-Time Henchmen!