Batman ’66 Meets the Man from U.N.C.L.E #1
Written by Jeff Parker, Art by David Hahn
Batman 66’ has had a resurgence of late, with new merchandising and a re-release of the original show. The caped crusader recently teamed up with the Green Hornet on the successful Garman/Smith run. But does success strike twice in Batman teaming up with The Man from U.N.C.L.E?
I guess? Never having watched much of Batman ’66 and having watched nothing from The Man from U.N.C.L.E, I can’t really say whether this team up does justice to either properties, so I’ll just stick to what I know.
The writing is fine, nice and clear, with a firm understand of character and introduction. In these sort of team up books, your first issue—and sometimes second—are all about setup. Parker gives readers a good understanding of the worlds both our protagonists inhabit, and you get a glimpse at the path that will lead them to cross over.
The artwork is pretty on the money from what I remember of Batman ’66 and both worlds have a nice 60’s charm to them.
Written by Mark Waid, Art by Veronica Fish
Very recently, and with some controversy, Archie comics went through a serious redesign and rebranding. The problem is that it’s still heavily rooted in the past. The new artist design, which is fantastic, hints at a more sophisticated story and the sophistication does seep through every now and then, but what lets this book down is the past.
We are still reading about the Veronica/Betty/Archie love triangle, and that’s what holds this book back. The entire purpose of the rebrand was to reach a new audience, but you can’t accomplish that task if your book is little more than a CW romance drama lookalike.
I will give the book some credit. It’s trying to push forward, but the only problem is that the storyline has been updated from the 1970’s to the 1990’s, and it still has a way to go if it wants to reach us in the 2010’s.
Scarlet Witch #1
Written by James Robinson, Art by Vanesa Del Rey
Scarlet Witch accomplishes much in its first issue. It plants a few seeds of mystery to push you to the next issue. It introduces your protagonist without tons of exposition, and provides you with an insight into the world you’re about to journey into.
It deserves a lot of praise for producing so much with so little. The real captivating part of this issue, however, is the artwork and colouring by Jordie Bellaire. Del Ray creates a shadowy New York City, similar in tone to a crime noir setting. Bellaire infuses splashes of colour into every page, but only where needed. Del Ray and Bellaire are two hands painting a canvas. The artwork is spectacular.
There will be much to love in this series, and I would recommend keeping an eye towards it as it tackles dark magic, the occult and demons from across its dark noir world.
Invincible Iron-Man # 5
Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Art by David Marquez
So after last month’s issue, I was a little sore on Invincible Iron-Man. Thankfully, this issue wrapped up a few loose ends and propelled the issue forward again. What I think was most interesting about this book, that some might miss, is the all the setup that’s going on in the background.
The setup in this book is important because Bendis has established his world and characters, and now it’s time to start thickening up the story. So this book is the culmination of efforts to build the foundation. I’m glad it’s done, time to move forward.
I was pretty happy with the ‘ending’ to this first chapter, as I felt it resolved what it needed to, while leaving some important elements hanging in the wind, ready to come back and bite Tony on the ass.
Marquez is fully in control of these characters now. No more teething problems; this is an artist in control, and it makes for some amazing pages. The final battle was well-drawn, with interesting moments conveyed beautifully by a fantastic artist.
The Ultimates #1
Written by Al Ewing, Art by Various
First up, what a brilliantly illustrated book! Very rarely do I come across a book drawn by a team that looks so seamless you could swear it was just one person’s drawing.
For me, this book is what the Fantastic Four should be: harder sci-fi elements and a much grander scale. One minute you have a character concerned with a particle created by the collision of matter and anti-mater, then geo-political concerns, followed by a massive battle and, just to round it all off, a proposition to Galactus himself. No wonder they call these guys ‘the Ultimates’.
But of course, I barely scratched the surface when speaking of the artwork. The last page with Galactus should be framed and hung on your wall. Space looks amazing, and the character design is exceptional—especially Carol Danvers A.K.A. Captain Marvel.
If you’ve been missing universe-shattering threats to the Marvel Universe, or the Fantastic Four, then this is the book for you.
Venom: Space Knight #1
Written by Robbie Thompson, Art by Ariel Olivetti
I have some good to say about this book, and some bad. So that we can leave things happy, let’s start with the bad.
This issue is a very typical issue, full of exposition, a very quick ‘by the numbers’ adventure. It lazily sets the tone as Venom runs off to save the universe from a McGuffin. The only real reason to read this issue is that if you haven’t read about Venom in a while, it works as a refresher for the character’s history.
If you have read every Venom book since day one, then to be honest, save your money and wait until issue 2.
If you’re an art fan, however, I would suggest to give this book a go. It feels like a pulp space adventure comic, just updated. That’s a tough look to get right, but Olivetti really nails it. His aliens look old school, a mix between 60’s pop sci-fi and 80’s dark sci-fi styles.
The character designs are interesting as well, and I keenly look forward to seeing what other alien designs will be thrown our way. Venom himself looks a little too big, but it’s a small complaint.
Final verdict, art fans will dig, read it if you’re new to Venom. Long-time fans can skip.
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