I haven’t done mini-reviews since January. The ones below are scattered over the last few weeks, but are not close to the number of comics I got in that time, just the ones I felt like reviewing.
Dept. H #1 (released (4/20)
Story/Art: Matt Kindt
Colors: Sharlene Kindt
Matt Kindt starts a new series with Dark Horse comics. Visually it reminds me of Mind MGMT – lots of water color, but also what looks like colored pencil and blue-palette colors in flashbacks that give the panels a sense of schematics or something. Or perhaps a better way to describe it is that the comic’s art style gives it a unfinished or “primitive” feel, which leads to an unsettling read that serves its tone and setting well. The comic is an underwater sci-fi whodunnit, and where Mind MGMT was expansive, taking place all over the world, this will be claustrophobic, a tight study of a handful of characters trapped together in the deep. Check it out.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #6 (released 4/27)
Writers: Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder
Art: Natacha Bustos (w/ Tamra Bonvillain on colors)
I love this series. I worry about it because word on the street is that this series is on the bubble, if not already marked for cancellation. I worry, because I talk to other people who gave it a try and didn’t like it. But I love it. I love the art. I love Lunella. I love Devil Dinosaur. There is a scene in this issue where Lunella tells her mom that she, a little girl, has to go off to do some superhero adventuring, which I know some folks had a problem with because it seems irresponsible to have a grade school aged girl ride off on a flame-spitting dinosaur to fight time-displaced hipster monkey-men, but I also see that as within the tradition of children’s adventure stories, from Swiss Family Robinson to Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew to Harry Potter. In real life, a parent should probably never let their kid do that, and I understand the need to keep that lens in play when critiquing something, but I think the imaginative possibilities of adventures are more crucial to the reading experience than “realistic parenting.” I am planning to get copies of the first trade of this series as gifts to the kids in my life.
Ms. Marvel vol. 4, #6 (released 4/27)
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Art: Nico Leon (w/ Ian Herring on colors)
Fine conclusion to the “Army of One” story, I guess. Though as you may know I am not a fan of Ms. Marvel interacting too much with the rest of the Marvel universe. I mean, Captain Marvel makes sense, but Iron Man? Blech. However, the real problem here is I miss Alphona’s art or even Miyazawa’s. The book suffers without it.
No Mercy #9 (released 4/13)
Writer: Alex De Campi
Art: Carla Speed McNeil (w/ colors by Jenn Manley Lee)
If you aren’t reading No Mercy you should be reading No Mercy. This issue here wins an Eisner award next year or else awards are just as stupid as I usually say they are. Aptly titled, this series is relentless. Sharp, horrifying, challenging, darkly humorous, the kind of a punch in the gut that makes you know it’s good. Get it.
Power Man and Iron Fist vol.3, #3 (released 4/20)
Writer: David Walker
Art: Sanford Greene (w/ Lee Loughridge on colors)
I love this series so far. I love Sanford Greene’s art. I love David Walker’s dialog and the pacing the two of them develop. I love having a good Power Man and Iron Fist series to be reading. I love Walker’s work to create a kind of mythology of the hood, what with the Supersoul Stone and Senor Magico (who calls Doctor Strange a pendejo – because he is). What I don’t like is Jessica Jones written as the nagging wife/mother. That needs to change.
Spider-Woman vol. 6, #6 (released 4/27)
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Art: Joelle Jones (w/ colors by Rachelle Rosenberg)
Ugh. This was a pointless issue, part of a crossover that spreads across multiple Spider-themed female superheroes called “Spider-Women.” I am not against such a story, but am against the transparent attempts to artificially bump sales by spreading the story out this way among multiple books and creators. The story always suffers, as does the book itself. A book like the current Spider-Woman is great because of character and setting development, exploring relationships, the shift to local from the global and cosmic anxiety of stuff like the Avengers. At the very least they should work to make each issue of the crossover self-contained and coherent, but I guess that’d undermine the attempt to force people to buy books they wouldn’t normally buy. All it does for me is remind me to hold off on buying Spider-Woman until the crossover is over and hope that lowered sales don’t lead to its cancellation. We don’t owe Marvel our support for their bullshit just to get the good thing. They need to fix their tired approach.
Star Wars vol. 2, #18 (released 4/27)
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Leinel Frances Yu on pencils, Gerry Alanguilan on inks (w/ Sunny Gho on colors)
This series keeps bringing the right pace of Star Wars action and captures the voices of the original cast very well (including working to further develop the close relationships we see at the opening of The Empire Strikes Back), but what is with the changing art duties? I didn’t expect Cassaday to actually stick around, but Immonen was a good replacement, now we’ve had four other penciling and inking teams. Currently, the characters are just vaguely recognizable (and differentiating Leia and Doctor Aphra in the prison planet A plot takes work). It just looks messy and rushed. The colors are muted and earthy. The shadows too dark. This is one of Marvel’s best-selling books, so it is in their best interest to keep the best and most style appropriate artists on it, but I guess to them that means people will buy it no matter what, so who cares? Right? Sigh.
All-New Wolverine #7 (released 4/27)
Writer: Tom Taylor
Art: Marcio Takara (w/ Jordan Boyd on colors)
This issue was a delight. This is how I love my serialized superhero comics, a nice one-shot that lightens the mood a bit after a dark opening arc, but that nevertheless is connected to the on-goingness of the series. The inclusion of Squirrel Girl and her usual ridiculous shenanigans was a nice touch, as was the paralleling of Laura and Gabby’s stories in terms of their relationship to a Wolverine. Of course, the ad for the next issue points to it being a Civil War II tie-in, which concerns me.
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