THIS WEEKS COMICS REVIEWED BY THE PART-TIME HENCHMEN!
Another week, another set of comics for fans to dive into? Which comic was our Pick of the Week?
Writer – Todd McFarlane
Artist – Jason Shawn Alexander
Price – $2.99
I have a couple of copies of Spawn #1 from its debut. I haven’t read Spawn in almost 200 issues, though. How has the 90’s icon fared?
Considering the gap in my knowledge on the character, Todd McFarlane, Spawn’s original creator, has started an interesting tale. He uses the main character on exposition duties and the inner monologue is dark, yet believable. Moreover, he sounds like a man talking to himself as he develops a plan to take on the creatures of Heaven and Hell and make them pay for recent actions. I could feel the pressure of the story and this issue tugged at my curiosity for what was going to come next. Meanwhile, the other characters were believable and fit their particular roles.
I am sure that the intent was a horror vibe in this comic, although the art was not a strong point here. Jason Shawn Alexander is the artist and he has an extremely scratchy style. When he is trying to add detail, his lines are thick and layered, therefore making his images more difficult to see. I am certain a lot of that is intentional and meant to make things dark and nondescript. This meant I had to look at certain images too long to make sense of them and that interrupted the flow of the issue.
Spawn is one of the first creations of Image Comics and still stands near the top of their current comics. I am not all-together certain the character has managed to evolve past his 90’s roots. With that said, his comic still has a lot of potential for those who just don’t enjoy the superhero comics on the rack.
The Dreaming #1
Writer – Simon Spurrier
Artist – Bilquis Evely
Price – $3.99
The Dreaming was added to the DC Canon during the Dark Nights: Metal event. Now they have a new series to expand their story. Should it expand though?
I am aware of the Sandman’s lofty status in DC and Vertigo Comics. I was looking for a series that would help me understand their stories and mini-universe. This is not it. I do think that Simon Spurrier is a good writer, and his characters were easy to tell apart. However, this first issue felt like the middle chapter of another story. The story does not punish you for not knowing what came before, although it doesn’t do a good job of really explaining… anything. I’m not positive I could explain any aspect of these characters any better before or after reading the comic.
Bilquis Evely is a good artist. There were a couple times that Evely either skimps on backgrounds or over details them. Meanwhile, his facial expressions are very good. They do not have too many lines and their subtleties make them come alive. Evely is a good fit for this surreal realm and is almost enough to make me like this issue.
“Almost” is a good word for The Dreaming #1. It is a rare occasion where the art outshines the story. I can sense the potential of the story they want to tell, however, it does not do enough to make that story compelling.
Death of the Inhumans #3
Writer – Donny Cates
Artist – Ariel Olivetti
Price – $3.99
The first two issues in this story were interesting, but not “good,” although I had to see how this story developed. I am glad I kept going.
Charles Soule is becoming a master of taking Marvel properties and bringing them into unfamiliar places. The Inhumans can often seem monolithic compared to other Marvel characters due to sheer power. Soule has reduced their power and standing and we now see what these characters are capable of under serious pressure. Soule makes these characters more relatable than I have ever seen them. A side effect of that familiarity is killing several well-known members of their roster for the most brutal of emotional cuts.
Ariel Olivetti is not a favorite artist of mine, however, their work is well suited for this dark tale. The faces of his female characters are excessively pouty. The male characters are well varied and powerful. Meanwhile, Olivetti has a rare talent where his portrayal of injuries have an uncomfortable realism and their harshness is felt throughout every image. Perhaps it is the dark nature of this mini-series, but this comic has consequences that feel very dire and final.
The Inhumans were poised to be the supplement to mutants in Marvel and fans rejected that idea. Now, Soule and Olivetti have found new life for the Inhumans. It is just a shame that it is taking their death for these characters to be major players.
PICK OF THE WEEK
ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1
Writer – Cullen Bunn
Artist – Matteo Lolli
Price – $3.99
Marvel Comics has long used the Asgardians as niche players. If it involves magic, the Asgardians are consulted, even though they aren’t really involved in the larger story. Now, Marvel has positioned them to take on a cosmic space threat. The transition is shockingly good.
Cullen Bunn has just ended a long stint writing X-Men stories. He has transitioned well, having written some of Asgards most well-known rogues and put them on the same squad for this adventure. I am thoroughly impressed with the different roles and voices he has established here. With so many characters, it would be simple for them to end up sounding alike. However, Vakyrie and Angela approach their dialogue very differently. Meanwhile, the quirks of the Executioner and Thunderstrike are used to strong comedic effect. I found myself drawn into the chemistry of the characters and the mystery in this comic.
The artist, Matteo Lolli is a new name to me. At first glance, the art seems like a throwback to the 1990’s/early 2000’s. As the pages progress the issue’s art sharpens up a lot. There are times that the detail work on far away characters relies on thick lines that can smudge what Lolli is working on. However, his close-ups, especially on female characters, have life like faces. Lolli exaggerates in the right places to make their feelings come across on the page.
Meanwhile, Bunn and Lolli make the action very imaginative. I know that can sound odd in a comic book. If you read enough of them, superhero action can be a paint-by-numbers affair. The fight scenes in this comic had a few unbelievable or funny moments that made it memorable.
The primer in the back of Asgaridans to the Galaxy would have been more helpful in the front. There are a couple hiccoughs that keep it from being a terrific start. In the end, though, there is enough here to make me curious what the villain wants and what the secret member of the heroes wants. With a few more issues of this high quality, Asgardians of the Galaxy could be another offbeat property that ends up making a surprisingly good movie.
Do you think another issue was the best comic this week? 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!