Comic Book Reviews – 1/1/16

The Modern Meltdown Episode 51 – Awesome Games Done Quick 2016
January 8, 2016
Comic Book Reviews – 08/01/16
January 14, 2016

CoverGuardians of Infinity #1

Written by Dan Abnett, Art by Carlo Barberi

What’s better than one team of Guardians? Multiple teams of Guardians from different timelines. Groot, Drax and Rocket are drawn to an ancient space relic in search of a potential threat, but mostly treasure. It quickly becomes apparent to the team that this relic is outside of time and space, leading our Guardians in conflict with Guardians of different times and dimensions.

Personally, I love these sorts of stories because it opens writers up to so many possibilities. The only downside here is that we are missing Gamora and Starlord, but I’m sure their alternates will rock up at some stage.

Now, the Guardians require a special kind of writer and I believe they have found it with Abnett. Abnett offers a charming blend of humour and action that all good Guardian stories need. He can also do straight-laced, which will be required from time to time, depending on which team of guardians is being bandied about.

The pencils by Barberi are full of over-the-top action, with a cartoony style not too dissimilar from the animated series. He also has a knack for character expression which helps in getting the characters across to new readers.

*

CoverDeadpool #1

Written by Gerry Duggan, Art by Mike Hawthorne

So, this book was not what I was expecting at all. It still retains the classic Deadpool humour that the world is in love with, but it’s not really coming from Deadpool himself. The book sets up an entire team of Deadpools working around the globe as a “Hero for Hire” outfit, while the leader of the Deadpools tries his shtick at funding the Avengers through Deadpool merchandise.

Duggan manages to keep the humour that the fans love while at the same time, he was setting up an intriguing mystery that I think will have many readers coming back for issue 2. We see the genuine Deadpool in a few panels and between the writing and artwork, the impression I had was that Deadpool has suffered some revelation that requires penance from him.

The artwork is crisp and manages to hone in on the fun without being too “whacked-out cartoon”. It’s also fun to see all the different Deadpool designs, and I think fans will really get a kick out of them.

*

CoverStar Wars Annual #1

Written by Kieron Gillen, Art by Angel Unzueta

This is a Star Wars story that most aren’t accustomed to. Gillen, for all intents and purposes, offers a spy thriller set in the heart of Coruscant. Her protagonist Eneb Ray is a brutal realist, accepting the fact that he will never be a hero of the Rebellion but that his actions are required to help bring it victory against the Empire.

It’s not often that we see the themes presented in this book in a Star Wars story. Eneb seems compassionate at times, but the reader will have a hard time remembering those moments when he embraces his darker instincts for the greater good. This shows the strength of Gillen’s writing as the reader grapples with this duality.

You can see that Disney/Marvel is very protective of Star Wars, and is only allowing their top artist to tackle a Galaxy far, far away. Unueta is no exception with his more realistic art style. Not typical for a Marvel book, but needed for a more grounded and realistic story. But don’t be concerned; Unueta also nails the sci-fi fantasy look of Star Wars, but we see more of the Empire’s influence and less hope then other Star Wars tales.

*

CoverAll New Wolverine #3

Written by Tom Taylor, Art by David Lopez & David Navarrot

Annoyingly, this issue of Wolverine was much the same: Laura protects her clones from bad guys. It’s still engaging, at least, from the perspective of a reader who enjoys action which is written and drawn well, but I’d like to start learning more about our protagonist and her clones.

There was one tidbit dropped that has me intrigued, and a brief appearance by Doctor Strange that sets up next month’s issue, but that’s all I really got out of this month’s issue. It’s a shame, because I think Tom Taylor is a fantastic writer.

If you’re going to do this sort of issue, you can keep the reader engaged with further character development, either for Laura or the clones. Instead, I still feel like the clones are stereotypical caricatures: you have the leader, the pissed of badass, and the innocent one. This issue could have been the opportunity to add some depth to the clones, but it was an opportunity missed.

On the bright side, the action sequences where drawn well with the artist taking their time to choreograph the fights and battles properly.

*

CoverDaredevil #2

Written by Charles Soule, Art by Ron Garney

Daredevil embraces its roots as a crime noir-type thriller, while not ignoring the super powered antics associated with the character. This Daredevil is more mature then the previous incarnations, and I like the character progression.

The one short fall of this story is that the villain of the piece seems to have lasted a mere two issues before the real threat emerged. I hope that isn’t the case, because Tenfingers and his church created an interesting problem for Daredevil and for Matt Murdock.

One of the great strengths of this book is the muted colours used throughout. It’s hard to describe here but when you see colour, it’s either significant or highlights character design. It’s a brave creative choice to make when compared to flashier superhero comics. But it works entirely for the story trying to be told.

*

CoverSuperman #47

Written by Gene Luen Yang, Art by Various

I haven’t kept up on Superman in quite some time. I missed all the events that led to his de-powering and change of costume, and his falling out with Lois Lane. Thankfully, Yang writes in such a way that the reader won’t feel lost, with a nice balance of exposition and story. As Stan Lee said, “Every comic is someone’s first”, and Yang knows this.

This issue throws us into the middle of the final confrontation with Hordor_Root. We see into his origins, and the man behind him, which will lead to a further confrontation. It’s also interesting to see Superman trying to find himself again. He’s still grappling with the loss of his powers, but this is helping my enjoyment of the character, not hindering it.

Now the artwork here is all golden. The problem is that the book is drawn by three different artists. Each are fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but the problem is the tonal changes in art styles as the story progresses. For some, it won’t be a problem but for long-time comic book readers, it might.

Otherwise, this was an interesting Superman book, which will have me reading further Superman stories into the future.

*

CoverJustice League #47

Written by Geoff Johns Art by Jason Frank

My prayers have been answered and just in the nick of time too, as I was contemplating give up on Justice League. This issue sees the story pace increase tenfold. Where this story really delivers is when the Justice League encounters the crime syndicate again with Owl Man’s revelation that the two opposing forces will have to work together to fight the oncoming threat.

Sadly, Francis Manupal was off the book this week, maybe for the rest of the run, and was replaced by Jason Frank. I felt that Manupal’s art style was very unique for comics, so it was a shame to see him go. That being said, Jason Frank’s artwork is on par, even if it is overpowering in its western art style.

Frank’s panels are highly detailed, his character expressions are on point, and he knows what to show in a panel to create atmosphere and to keep the story pacing exciting. I was particularly drawn to his Wonder Woman design as she faced off against the negative Superman this week.

It’s good to see the quality return to this series, especially after a few shaky issues.

*

CoverTransformers: Sins of the Wreckers #1

Written and Drawn by Nick Roche

Wow, the best way to describe this book is to say that Transformers fans grew up, wrote comics and made them war thrillers. I will be the first to say that this was not an easy reads and it took me some time to get my head around the characters and the events taking place in their lives.

The book is written extremely well, with a well thought-out plot and characters. My only criticism would be that the book relies heavily on you knowing the storylines from the previous books.

The artwork is beautiful, especially if you consider that the artist is also writing the book. It feels realistic in an unrealistic world. All the character designs pay homage to what came before, but are further designed, and thankfully look closer to the cartoons than the rubbish live-action Transformer movies.

For people complaining that the Transformers movies are crap, these are the Transformers stories you’re looking for. Classic characters with a mature slant make for a far more interesting and well-developed Transformers world. A++

* * *

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