THE PART-TIME HENCHMEN BRING YOU THE LATEST COMIC REVIEWS!
The latest comics are out! Which comics will get reviews this week? Which comic is our Pick of the Week?
Heroes In Crisis #1
Writer – Tom King
Artist – Clay Mann
Price – $3.99
I am a fan of Tom King. I am not a fan of DC Comics. With this highly heralded event, I put away my bias and wanted to see what King brings to DC.
Tom King has won awards for his prior work in comics. “Two Eisners!” he kept saying at San Diego Comic-Con in 2017. With his own DC project, King has solidified his reputation making fantastic stories wherever he goes. In addition, King makes the voices of DC’s Trinity and other major and minor characters come across very distinctly just in their dialogue. As the story unfolds, the confrontation between Harley Quinn and Booster Gold a feature. Think about that for a moment… in a comic that has Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, an anti-hero and a C-lister steal the show. That is when you know a comic has a very unique talent behind it.
Clay Mann is another person who uses lines for gradients. I am usually down on that, although Mann is as unique as King. Mann knows how to control his lines so the details actually come out instead of making characters look dingy. His action has an impact that a lot of DC’s Rebirth lineup is missing and the pictures of the quiet moments have a gravity that comics need more of. If Mann isn’t assigned a marquee book at DC, that will be a waste of a fantastic artist.
Heroes In Crisis moves differently than most DC Comics. It is a murder mystery that has only just begun and has an outstanding team telling the story. On this event, I am in for the full ride.
WWE NXT Takeover Redemption #1
Writer – Dennis Hopeless
Artist – Rodrigo Lorenzo
Price – $3.99
Adaptations of real people tend to be difficult. However, what kind of comic can be made out of characters as over-the-top as professional wrestlers?
NXT is the only televised professional wrestling I watch lately, and writer Dennis Hopeless has done an exceptional job of making this one shot potentially more engrossing than the show it is based on. The main character of this issue, Aleister Black, has his entire carrier in NXT recapped in a single issue and Hopeless adds a lot of “behind the scenes” moments and internal monologue. Meanwhile, the dialogue is not burdensome and actually adds a lot to the character and mythos of Black. Moreover, I am shocked that Hopeless’ writing has made me a fan of a wrestler I was not terribly interested in before!
Rodrigo Lorenzo has the art duties and the unenviable job of making his art resemble real people. Meanwhile, his art is very clean. He minimizes details with limited lines, although he uses solid blacks for shadow and dark clothes. Between the two, his art is quite good. He has found a balance of being able to make each character distinct and easy to recognize while letting your mind connect the art to the real life moments and people. I do think Lorenzo has a bit of a problem with perspective which makes limbs look short sometimes. Other than that, the art is solid.
I have read NXT comics by BOOM! that made me think that I should not continue looking into them. This week, I accepted the challenge and Hopeless and Lorenzo surpassed my expectations. Pro wrestlers are already larger than life. These kinds of stories will only add to that mythos.
Writer – Jed MacKay
Artist – Javier Garron
Price – $4.99
Between Extermination, Heroes In Crisis, Drowned Atlantis, and Spider-Geddon, this season has a theme of events running. Why should I ignore it now?
I am not aware of Jed MacKay before Spider-Geddon #0, although he is now someone I am going to watch out for. With this one issue, he crafted dialogue for the PS4 Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man that were so different, it only takes a glance at the bubbles to see which one is speaking. Moreover, the dialogue of the Otto Octavius Spider-Man toes such a careful line, you can hear the former villain working hard to overcome his anti-social impulses. If there is a video game follow-up to the PS4 Spider-Man game, I hope that MacKay is allowed to bring the Superior Spider-Man into it.
This comic has art by Javier Garron. His art is unusual in that it has a very lanky and painted style. However, the art is perfectly suited for this mashed up tale of video games and comics. Everything has a bit of a sheen or a high contrast, so images seriously pop from panel to panel. The action has energy, although sometimes it loses sense of impact and weight. Despite these issues, the art is solid with a bit of time to settle in.
If you have to have a lead-in story to make sure casual readers pick up your new event comic, this is a great one, because the cover has a video game hero on it and the interior has a couple of offbeat versions of Spider-Man that will have casual fans curious what can come next. Finally, So am I…
PICK OF THE WEEK
Writer – Ed Brisson
Artist – Pepe Larraz
Price – $3.99
Ed Brisson proves in this issue that he has an understanding of a lot of the X-Men and their history. His is juggling two antagonists, unknown sleeper agents, and three different teams of X-Men without losing intensity or focus in the story. As you read, the pages zip back and forth between multiple incidents happening simultaneously. Brisson’s tight script keeps this zig zag from spiraling into a mess. On a scale of 1 to 10, that is a solid “9” in difficulty. Meanwhile, Brisson proves he is a “10” writer.
All aspiring comic artists need to study the work of Pepe Larraz. He is a minimalist when it comes to detail making panels clean and sharp. He prefers to exaggerate the eyes to add emotion to faces and it makes characters feelings explode off the page. Meanwhile, Larraz’ action has a fluidity from panel-to-panel. The visual story unfolds so quickly and clearly because he knows how to position characters to give a strong sense of motion.
These two together take a story that could easily feel like one long fight scene and it becomes the X-Men at their worst and best. They are beset by different challenges and they are missing some members while others are killed when they regain their footing. Meanwhile, the last page sets up the first counter-attack in issue #4. If you want an easy allegory; Issue # of Extermination is the X-Men’s Infinity War. They have been beat down badly, and next is their blockbuster comeback.
I don’t think that Extermination will have a happy ending. All of the indications here is that the X-Men are going to lose more before this over and I do think that the X-Men Blue will be gone at the end. However, that means that Extermination is likely to have an effect that reverberates through Uncanny X-Men. Extermination cannot be missed if you want to know what happens next. Fortunately, Brisson and Larraz have made this one hell of a ride that still has two issues to go.
Did we miss any comics this week? Were there gems we didn’t get to? 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!