RP’s Rapid Reviews — 09.05 NCBD Releases
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, with the occasional book I’m excited to talk about. I have sorted them by section (Buy It, Wait and See, Skip It).
- The Dead Hand #6 (Image) — This issue marks the end of this series. Kyle Higgins, Stephen Mooney, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles have put together a fascinating and expertly crafted espionage thriller. Although the conclusion to this series is a little predictable, it has been the journey to get there that has been filled with suspense, great action and mystery, not to mention the excellent pacing. Each issue has done a great job giving us background on a specific character, while advancing the plot at a measured pace. And this issue is no exception. Herein we get background on Frederick and Vil, which explains how this hidden city was discovered in the first place. Mooney’s art was once again solid. His characters’ poses were fluid, making each panel feel full of movement and anticipation. Moreover, Bellaire’s colors were great. She basically used the same palette, but she adjusted the hues and brightness depending on whether it was a flashback, present day, or the hope of a better future. I look forward to reading this one in trade.
- James Bond: Origin #1 (Dynamite) — Jeff Parker (Suicide Squad, Fantastic Four) and relative newcomer Bob Q (Lone Ranger) present the origin of everyone’s favorite double-o agent. This issue starts out during the Clydebank Blitz in 1941 while Bond was still at Fettes College, a boarding school in Scotland. The pacing of this first issue is taut as it flashes from the present-day battle to the days leading up to it. Parker does a great job characterizing James — he’s suave yet tough, but he’s still a little rough around the edges. Furthermore, Bob Q’s art and colors are perfectly suited for Parker’s script. His action and sense of movement kept me fully engaged and leaning forward. In particular, the one panel where Bond is ripping off on a motorcycle: his hair and jacket whooshing in the wind, the blurred trees and street behind him, and the angle of the bike had me forgetting I was looking at a still picture. If you’re a fan of Bond, you won’t want to miss this limited series.
- Batman #54 (DC) — Tom King’s Batman has been a solid read for me since issue one. Although the art took a minute to grow on me, which it did after a second reading, I thoroughly enjoyed this one-shot look at Dick and Bruce’s relationship over the years. This issue is chock full of Tom King’s signature poetic prose — there is just something so smooth and ever-flowing about his writing. Bar none, the best part was the jabs here and there that they took at some of Batman’s more ridiculous villains, like Crazy Quilt and Condiment King. Plus, there was nice little Kite Man reference that basically affirms King’s affection for him. I fully endorse this issue with the caveat that you know it is a one-shot, and tonally different from the main storyline. All in all, this was a nice breather from the more dramatic story King is telling, and a nice little gem for Dick Grayson fans, to boot.
- Silver Surfer Annual #1 (Marvel) — I wasn’t sure about this comic going into it. After all, Dan Slott and Michael Allred recently concluded their series, which is one of my all-time favorites. How could I enjoy a Norrin Radd story so soon after that classic run? Apparently, it is pretty easy when another inspired creative team takes the reigns. Unfortunately, this is just an annual, but I’m hoping this leads to them doing a Silver Surfer ongoing, or at least another series together. Ethan Sacks (Old Man Hawkeye) really gets this character. He sets out to tell the story of how someone who sacrificed their life and love could end up being someone so cynical that could dispassionately lead Galactus to devour countless worlds. It is a prequel of sorts to his first appearance way back in Fantastic Four #48. Sacks’ script is full of emotion and solid action, all of which is brought to life by André Lima Araújo’s simple yet effective art. Araújo’s expressions and body poses are dynamic and expressive. Also, his use of splash pages are breathtaking and come at moments that the script naturally calls for them. Moreover, Chris O’Halloran’s great use of colors completed the trifecta; they were bright, vibrant and really brought out the emotion of this story. All in all, this is a must buy for any fan of the Surfer or Marvel Cosmic.
WAIT AND SEE
- United States vs Murder Inc #1 (Jinxworld) — Full disclosure: I have never read the original series. Also, I’m not a huge fan of ultra-violence involving kids (weird, I know!). Now that that is out of the way, let me tell you how much I loved Taki Soma’s colors. They were what got me to turn the pages, to be honest. For instance, the opening page shows a man falling to his death. The buildings and streets below are light pink and magenta, which were some bold choices. However, they really worked at sucking me right into the story. And I loved how each scene got its own color palette, again with some unique choices. This is the kind of coloring that makes comic books so much fun. Also, Oeming’s art was fun, dynamic and extremely expressive. I just didn’t connect with Bendis’ story. Again, I’m not sure how this books follows, or fits in, with the original. However, the color and art have me curious enough to check out the next issue or two.
- Assassin’s Creed: Conspiracies #2 (Titan) — The concluding issue of this two-part story was a drop off from the first issue, which I liked a lot. Maybe it‘s the switching of artists, or the cliffhanger ending, that gave me the impression this wasn’t a standalone story. For the most part, I did enjoy Patrick Pion’s art, even though it was a slight departure from the previous issue; however, there were a few inconsistencies that took me out of the story. For instance, in one panel, a woman’s wearing a camisol undershirt, but then subsequently, it’s a bra in another panel. Also, there’s a couple times where a character’s face changed just enough that I didn’t fully recognize who it was. Moreover, Guillaume Dorison’s script became more of an adventure caper that moved along a little too quick. Whereas, the first issue was a solid WWII-espionage thriller. And, like I said, it ended on such an odd note. It hinted at a larger story that possibly exists somewhere, but it’s not explained at all. Overall, the issue had enough well-executed action sequences, with good art, despite my aforementioned nitpicks, to warrant buying this. Especially if you liked the first one enough to complete this. If you do, and you are familiar with the AC comics line, please let me know where this story fits.
Nothing to see here this week, folks!
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.