25 Sept 2016

Mini Reviews 25/09/2016

We may not have time to review every book on our pull-lists but we do aim to provide a snapshot of what's been released over the past week, encompassing the good, the bad, and those that lie somewhere in between.

Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Jerome Opena & Matt Hollingsworth
Image $3.99

James R: This was a title that looked a must-buy from the off. Any new project from Remender and Opena will always be something special, and the first issue of Seven To Eternity certainly aims for the epic and the spectacular. Set on Zahl, a world where magic is real, Seven To Eternity focuses on Adam Osidis, a man whose family have always resisted the overtures of the powerful Mud King but now finds he is forced to listen to the offer following the death of his father. Firstly, it is absolutely beautiful - Opena is a remarkable artist, and every page of this first issue looks spectacular. Remender repeats the technique he used in the debut issue of Low, immersing us into a fully-realised world but holding back from full explication as to the mechanics of it all. I have to hold up my hand and say that I am not the biggest fan of fantasy or 'magic'-based stories, so this wasn't the instant hit that Black Science was for me on its debut. I will definitely give the second issue a go as the creative team are so good, but this was an interesting rather than a spectacular start. 7/10

Matt C: From the sounds of it – sell outs and swift second printings – this is something of a big hit for Image. We’re huge fans of Rick Remender here at the PCG so that response comes as no surprise (he’s one of the best writers in the business) but there’s that extra element here that’s possibly turning more heads than expected. Jerome Opena’s past collaborations with Remender have been exceptional but – holy shit! – this is on another level entirely. The detail present, the way each of the panel compositions seems to hold the optimal viewpoint... this is easily Opena’s greatest work yet and a real masterclass of comic book art at its finest. Matt Hollingsworth’s colours bring an intense intimacy to the images and while the visuals often overshadow the script, Remender is clearly at his world-building best once more. A striking opening to what is likely to be a major buzz series going forwards. 8/10

Writer: Tom King
Artists: Gabriel Hernandez Walta & Jordie Bellaire
Marvel $3.99

James R: Can you escape your destiny? The philosophical puzzle that lies at the heart of King and Walta's remarkable series is a fitting one for the Avengers' thoughtful synthezoid. As the book draws to a conclusion, Tom King has written another magical issue, one that manages to reflect on the question of destiny whilst also surprising us too. The Vision has been gaining plaudits since issue #1, and rightfully so - in a time in which rebooting and relaunching is the Big Two's main tactic, The Vision shows that nothing is as effective as a good story well told and beautifully illustrated. Reading this issue, there's a part of me that's pleased that it is a limited series - it's fair to say that it's been one of the stand-out books of the year, and bringing on a new creative team would personally lessen its impact and wonderfully self-contained plot. Kudos too to King for a nod to Steve Gerber's Omega the Unknown, and a meta-nod at the current ubiquity of superhero movies. Walta's art is great as always - he's as adept at conveying kinetic action as he is as showing the very human emotions of Vision and his family. There's just a coda left for this book, but it's safe to say that in term of superhero comics, it is peerless. 9/10

Writer: Francis Manapul
Art: Francis Manapul
DC $2.99

Matt C: I’ve not been paying much attention to the DC Universe over the last couple of years so this ‘new/old’ Superman has passed me by a bit, but I was keen to give this a look as I think Francis Manapul is one of those writer/artists whose scripts can match his visuals. I liked what he did on the New 52 iteration of Flash so I felt this series, combing DC’s most familiar and iconic characters, was worth a try. It’s a surprising opener because it eschews expected action and adventure for a more intimate look at the fledgling dynamics of this trio, centring it around a dinner party at the Kent household. There are some nice moments, a good deal of wit, and while it doesn’t exactly thrill, it’s an intriguing start, one with a cliffhanger that will ensure I’ll back to see where it's headed. 7/10

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artists: Dean Ormston & Dave Stewart
Dark Horse $3.99

James R: The thing about Jeff Lemire is that he always gets you in the heart. I love his ability to make you both empathise with his characters and feel their pain and loss. In the latest issue of Black Hammer the plot focuses on the book's Martian Mahunter analogue, Barbalien. Before being trapped in the current dimension, the Martian Mark Markz had sought to integrate with humanity in Spiral City but found that acceptance and tolerance is often a problem for mankind. That also proves to be the case in the small town in which our heroes now reside. As I've mentioned previously, Lemire seems to find an extra gear when working on his creator-owned books, and this is no exception as he portrays Barbalien's isolation and self-loathing perfectly. Dean Ormston's work is great in these pages, mixing the pulpy feel of the flashback/origin sections with the rural, everyday sections to perfection. We are only three chapters in, but Black Hammer has already established itself as one of the highlights of my pull-list, and there's no reason on this - or any parallel Earth - why you shouldn't be picking this up. 8/10

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