Comics Review 16/10/15

The Modern Meltdown Episode 39 – Just The News
October 16, 2015
The Modern Meltdown Episode 40 – Star Wars The Force Awakens HYPE
October 23, 2015

4f0d6bc1dbe41cc9d32a5124077df845Guardians of the Galaxy #1
Written By Michael Bendis, Art by Valerio Schiti

The artwork in this issue is fantastic, but the writing is entertaining and has that classic Guardians touch that I love. This issue introduces a new team: Star Lord (Kitty Pride), The Thing and Venom, with classic members Groot, Drax and Rocket appearing as regulars, while former Star Lord Peter Quill presides over his father’s empire. What’s great is that Kitty Pride and The Thing match up perfectly with the Guardians’ sense of humour, so much so that you wonder why they weren’t always part of the team. It’s also interesting to see Peter Quill bogged down in the role of leader instead of laser gun-toting rouge. He hates his station and you really feel for him.

The artwork here is also well on the mark. Schiti’s space is vibrant and the action is fast-paced. I also thought characters’ expressions were realistic, accurate and quite amusing, especially when the characters converse.

I’m still not quite sold on Groot’s design, but I believe it may come to grow on the reader. For me, Guardians of the Galaxy should be on your standing order.

*

spider gwen 1Spider-Gwen #1
Written By Jason Latour, Art by Robbi Rodriguez

This is a nice introduction to Spider-Gwen, though not as seamless as last week’s Dr. Strange. I was slightly lost as the book flashed back to the death of Peter Parker, as the transitions from past to present weren’t made clear.

Other than that, the writing is fine and reminded me of classic Spider-man stories, which worked in the book’s favour. The artwork is unique, drawn almost like high art graffiti. Rodriguez uses splashes of colour like no other artist. It feels as though someone took a paintbrush and rapidly moved it across the page like dancing light, and I love it. Rodriguez’s art uses a lot of neon colours as well, and I think that gives the book its appeal. The character designs are also spot on.

If you haven’t caught onto the Spider-Gwen train yet, this issue is your perfect jumping-on point.

*

4843486-sm20992015001_dc11_lr-0Spider-Man 2099 #1
Written by Peter David, Drawn by Will Sliney

If these books are supposed to be an introduction to old characters for new readers, then Spider-Man 2099 is severely lacking. There is really nothing at all new or different about this book; in fact I think readers have been thrown into this story in the middle of an arch. The art is passable at best, with nothing in the style or presentation to make it unique. However, if you have been following the Spider-Man 2099 books since their revival, then I think you will be pleasantly surprised that they continued on with the current plot, rather than revamping, like other books. So if you were consistently reading Spidey 2099, you may feel a bit more comfortable purchasing this book.

*

new-avengers-1-cover-152270The New Avengers #1
Written by Al Ewing, Drawn by Gerardo Sandoval

To be honest, I was completely set against the Avengers books after the issue #0 teaser. But The New Avengers has changed my mind. First, the artwork has a nice spin to it, a rough quality that really appeals to me. It’s fully formed art, don’t get me wrong, it just feels like a gritty sketch, and that won me over from page one.

I am very unfamiliar with most of the characters, except Moonstone. But the reader is given a quick brief on their powers and benefactor: A.I.M.  You’re informed that Squirrel Girl is squirrely with all of her squirrel powers. If you like characters similar to Deadpool, you’ll like Squirrel girl. If not, then this character will be painful to read. Over time, I’m sure the rest of the team will get proper introductions, but there just aren’t enough pages in a comic to cover the entire team in one go.

Another plot thread that will keep you entertained is why A.I.M—a traditionally evil organisation—is wrapped up in the “Avengers” game. And so is S.H.I.E.L.D., who have inserted Clint Barton—“Hawkeye”—into the team. This lead to one of my favourite moments in the comic, when the head of A.I.M asks if they could have the other Hawkeye. The expression drawn on Hawkeye’s face is very funny.

*

uncanny avengers 1The Uncanny Avengers #1
Written by Gerry Duggan, Art by Ryan Stegman

This book does not get off to a great start: Spidey quits the team in the first few pages. This is typical Avengers nonsense. The artwork looks lanky at times; limbs seemed out of proportion, which bugged me. But as the book progressed—and it is sizable for a comic—I found myself more invested in the story.

An elderly Captain America leads his unity team—Humans, Inhumans and Mutants, working side by side—to show the world that if we work together, we can achieve real results. The metaphor could be a little on the nose for some, but for me it was a decent message wrapped up in a comic, and the world could use a few more stories like this. There’s also a few mysteries here and there, and as they unravel, I think it will prove the series worth your time.

*

Captain_zpsxjw7zxkoCaptain America #1

Written by Nick Spencer, Art by Daniel Acuna

This book proves that comics are more than just pretty pictures. Sam Wilson wades head-first into a stance on social justice that not all Americans will be happy with, when he turns his back on a government and S.H.I.E.L.D., who are operating with the same methods as the bad guys.

The artwork is grounded for a comic book, giving the story a more realistic feel, which I think is appropriate for the story that this team is trying to tell. In fact, Captain America #1 reminds me of the old “hard-traveling heroes” storyline from the classic Green Lantern/Green Arrow books. It’s one superhero fighting grass root problems, not some menacing super villain, and for me, that makes this book a lot more engaging.

In the current climate of racism and phobia that we see rear its ugly head every day, it is great to see a comic with a character like Captain America taking a firm stand against it and showing future generations to stand up for their convictions. I also like the approach that Nick Spencer takes when demonstrating Captain America’s stance on the government and S.H.E.I.L.D. His discomfort at working for a system with zero accountability is one that we should all be thinking about in the current political climate.

I think this book will be one to keep an eye on, as Cap challenges our preconceptions of the current world climate.

*

Superman - Lois & Clark (2015-) 001-000Superman: Lois and Clark #1

Written by Dan Jurgen, Drawn by Lee Weeks

As a child of the 90’s, this book was pretty refreshing for me. It is a homage to classic Superman, red trunks and all. After the events of Convergence, misplaced heroes from different dimensions are offered homes. We discover that the Superman of the pre-New 52 universe has taken up residence in the New 52 universe, with his wife Lois Lane and son Jonathan. Not content to simply watch events unfold, Superman from a different Earth dons a new name and costume, in order to pre-empt the emergence of the villains who endangered his former Earth.

I really dig on this book because it is for the older fans who remember Superman as a positive force for good, less brooding and more affable. The “family man” approach this book takes will also prove to be interesting in the long term, as we learn what it will take for Superman to guide his possible superhuman son in our world while trying to keep his secret from him.

I thought the writing here was very engaging, with Jurgens able to resurrect classic Superman without overloading the book with exposition. Lee Weeks’ art is distinct and, like Jurgens’ writing, I felt like his style also tapped into a pre-52 era. There’s also a lack of splash pages in the book, and I think it works well for this particular issue.

*

Batman_Vol_2-45_Cover-1_TeaserBatman #45

Written by Scott Snyder, Drawn by Greg Capullo

I don’t think I have ever been disappointed in a Snyder-written Batman story. But a small complaint for this issue is the split focus between the new Batman, Jim Gordon, and a recovering Bruce Wayne. I’m more interested in following Gordon’s journey, and following up with Bruce Wayne every week is proving to be just a distraction from that journey. My feeling is that the inclusion of Bruce Wayne is to set up his return to Batman, but that is just speculation on my part.

Otherwise, the writing is spot on, as Snyder manages to seamlessly merge together Gordon’s cop instincts and actions with the mantle of Batman, and I really dig on it. The villainous Bloom also gets a ramp up in this story, and I feel that this is leading to the big confrontation of the arc.

Capullo’s artwork is spot on, as usual; it makes me sad knowing that he will be taking a break from Batman in the near future. One of Capullo’s strong points is the emotion he can draw into a character’s eyes, but in each issue, sometimes this comes across as odd. Why would a tech guy stare lovingly at a screen? But it’s small complaint for one of the best artists working in comics at the moment. The new Batsuit and mecha suit designs have really grown on me.

*

STK684930Constantine: The Hellblazer #5

Written by Ming Doyle & James Tynion IV, Drawn by the Constantine Art Team

What do you expect from a Constantine story? Constantine being a jerk who gets someone turned into a demon who used to love him and getting wrapped up in a love triangle? If that’s your expectation, then you won’t be disappointed with this book. This issue is a good jumping-on point for new readers, as it’s a singular look into the life of Constantine and what gravitating towards him leads to it’s a more cautionary tale on what befalls those who befriend the Master of the Dark Arts. So for new readers, it’s a good character study for Constantine.

I’m not too fussed on Constantine’s character design, but it might grow on me over time. Otherwise, the book looks good, the use of muted colours helps to convey the dreary world that Constantine inhabits, and the use of bright colours for the demon helps the monster to stand out when juxtaposed against the dull backgrounds. It’s a nice stylistic choice for this book.

Check it out if you would like to know more about the character.

* * *

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