RP’s Rapid Reviews — August 1st, 2018
By Cory Webber
Each week, we here at RP try to deliver as many in-depth comic reviews as we can. Alas, we are only human, and can only do so much. But, we know how much you all love comics, and we want to review as many books as we can for you. I mean, it can be hard to wade trough the multitude of books released each week. So, without further ado, here are some quick-shot reviews of books that our staff did not individually review. I try to stick to #1’s, beginnings and endings of arcs, and one-shot specials, as well as books I’m excited to talk about. They have been sorted by section (Buy It, Wait and See, Skip It).
- Green Arrow #43 (DC) — The Benson sisters (CW’s 100, Birds of Prey Rebirth) take aim at Green Arrow. While this isn’t their first GA issue — they wrote Annual #2, a No Justice tie-in — it still serves as a solid jumping on point. One thing is clear, these sisters have a great grip on this character. They do a nice job of maintaining the status quo of Oliver Queen being a social justice warrior. However, they may be hitting the whole SJW narrative a little too on-the-nose, but the story does end up being intriguing and potentially life-threatening for our hooded hero by the issue’s end. Moreover, Javier Fernandez’s cartoony art is a slight departure from what we’ve seen on this title thus far. It took me a minute to adjust, but his action, movement, and facial expressions all reeled me back in quite nicely. Overall, this is a solid, if a little straightforward, Green Arrow story. The buildup was a tad slow, but the ending ramped things up nicely. I’m hoping the Benson sisters can keep building on the momentum they’ve established in their “debut” issue.
- Robots Vs. Princesses #1 (Dynamite) — This book was a surprise. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Dynamite picked up the publishing rights to this all-ages tale about a princess, not a damsel in distress, that forms a bond with an unexpected companion. Todd Matthy does a great job of writing something that all ages can enjoy. He doesn’t talk down to kids, while at the same time, he taps into adults’ nostalgia of childhood wonder and sense of adventure. Matthy’s script is full of wit and humor in the way it plays on stereotypical tropes regarding princesses. I’ll just say this, if you laughed at the princess jokes at the end of the Wreck It Ralph 2 trailer, then this book is definitely for you. Moreover, Nicolas Chapuis’ art is cartoony and playful, yet it strikes a certain, more serious undertone that belies the story’s all-ages fantasy setting. Furthermore, there is an underlying mystery on the periphery that I hope gets explored in the upcoming issues. I can’t wait to see where this goes, and I can’t wait to share it with my five-year-old.
- War for the Planet of the Apes TPB (Boom! Studios) — This trade collects the four issues that serve as a prequel to the 2017 movie of the same name. David F. Walker (Power Man & Iron Fist, Planet of the Apes: Ursus) does a splendid job of matching the tone of the movies. His character work with Caesar, in particular, is phenomenal, as we get a peek into his transition from peacemaking primate to a war-ready General. This collection is a must for fans of the movies, as well as for fans of the comics. While it can be tricky to make a prequel comic to a movie and offer something unique, Walker handles the task with aplomb. As for the art, Jonas Scharf (Bone Parish) does a great job at matching the tone of the story. The overall composition was helpful with slight visual differences between the three storylines that take place in three different locations. Most importantly, he draws one hell of a monkey riding a horse while toting an automatic weapon!
- Jim Henson’s The StoryTeller: Fairies HC (Boom! Archaia) — This hardcover collection houses all four issues (100 pages), plus 20 pages of awesome behind-the-scenes back matter and a 10 page cover gallery. I was completely unaware that StoryTeller was an actual TV show (sorry!) but, after doing a little research, I found that this comic follows the shows approach, which involves an older man telling fairytales to his dog. While I’m not sure if the dog talks in the show, I found the canine comments in the comic to be funny and endearing. A different creative team did each story, and each one has its own unique feel. While I truly enjoyed each story, Benjamin Schipper’s “Faerie Hill” really stayed with me long after reading it. As a father of three, his story about how small, seemingly irrelevant, moments can cause big changes, and how, sometimes, those changes are representative of you dying a little so you can be reborn a better person, really struck a chord with me. This story alone is worth the price of admission. However, there is a moral to every fairytale that leads to self-reflection and discovery.
- Eclipse #9 (Image) — This issue kicks off the third, and possibly final, arc. Full disclosure: this is my first dip into this series about sunlight being deadly; however, that did not stop me from enjoying this chapter. In fact, the whole team did so well that I find myself wanting to go back and read the first eight issues. Zack Kaplan has done some fine world building. It’s incredible that I can jump on at issue nine and feel like I’ve been reading along from the beginning. Also, the art team did some very nice things. I particularly liked a page where the panels were floating over a full page where the sun was slowly rising as two people ran for shelter. Giovanni Timpano’s sense of movement in each panel heightened the suspense in a way that had me on the edge of my seat. And, last but not least, Flavio Dispenza’s colors, which he muted in exterior settings, really set the tone for this book. This team is gelling super well right now, hopefully they team up again in the future. Interestingly enough, I kept thinking how well the structure was written…it felt like it would make a great TV episode. So, it was no surprise to reading in the bio section that both Kaplan’s Eclipse and Port of Earth are being developed for television. If you haven’t, check out both series while they’re still relatively new.
WAIT AND SEE
- Justice League #5 (DC) — Hear me out! Don’t get the pitchforks out just yet. While I do love this book, I do feel it is a little too dense for just one read through. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the book, especially the art. I just think I might absorb it better in trade. Scott Snyder takes a break from this issue with James Tynion IV takknh over. Snyder has mentioned that every fifth issue, or so, will be shown from the Legion of Doom’s perspective. This issue reveals Luthor’s motives and how he recruited the Legion of Doom. His reason for uniting them was interesting, and one that exposed him to be the ego-driven perfectionist that he is. Also, it really made sense as to why he switched back from being a hero to a villain, a development stemming from the New 52 Justice League. Furthermore, Mahnke’s pencils, Mendoza’s inks, and Quintana’s colors combine to present a lustrous, effective issue. My only complaint is that this is the third art team in five issues. I’m sure I’ll enjoy this volume of JL a little more, once I have time to digest them at a slower pace.
- The Raid #1 (Titan) — This comic is based on the hit Asian film of the same name. This issue takes place during the second movie. I saw the first film, and what made it great was the non-stop, kinetic action. It appears that is something that is hard to translate on to the pages of a comic. However, it’s not impossible — just read the first issue of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s Black Widow for proof that it can be done. Ollie Master’s script didn’t do much to make me care what happened to the characters. Now, admittedly, that could have something to do with me not having seen the sequel, and being unfamiliar with them. Regardless, I got the feeling that this book is best suited for fans of the movies. Therefore, I placed it in the Skip It section based on my lack of fandom for the franchise. However, I did really like some things about the artwork. Budi Setiawan had some fantastic layouts. Plus, the overall composition, including Brad Simpson’s colors, really give the book a solid look throughout. In fact, I flipped through the book a few times just soaking it all in. Also, Jim Campbell did some real fun things with his letter work. While I won’t be checking out the next issue, I will be looking for future work from the art team.
- TMNT: Bebop & Rocksteady Hit The Road #1 — (IDW) This series is sort of a natural continuation of 2016’s Bebop & Rocksteady Destroy Everything mini series. While I didn’t read that series, I don’t think you need to read it beforehand. Now, I grew up on the Ninja Turtles (Raph was by far my favorite — come at me!), and I always liked the destructive, dim-witted duo of Bebop & Rocksteady. However, this series just didn’t connect with me, or my inner twelve-year-old self. Dustin Weaver’s premise was odd, and the characterizations confusing, at times. For example, they‘re in Mexico, wanting to make it back to New York where, “(they can) be back…where people look hurt when you say hurtful things.” Then, the next minute they‘re discussing the possibility of returning as heroes because people love heroes, like the Turtles. And, for me, Ben Bates’ art was a little too chaotic, almost giving it an unfinished look. If you’re a diehard B&R fan, then you may like this series. Otherwise, you won’t find much to justify a purchase here.
Well, that is it for this week. Let us know if you agree or disagree with any of these classifications, either here or on Twitter @RoguesPortal. Also, let us know if there are any books you want us to cover in future segments.