4 Dec 2016

Mini Reviews 04/12/2016

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: Jeff Lemire
Art: Filipe Andrade & Jordie Bellaire
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: With regular artist Andrea Sorrentino taking a break from interiors, Jeff Lemire uses the opportunity to lighten things up for the titular hero... relatively speaking. Guest artist Filipe Andrade still brings some grizzled imagery into play but there’s more humour in here than usual, which is probably unavoidable when dealing with this new iteration of the Howling Commandos with codenames such Manphibian and Vampire By Night (which Lemire takes in his stride, never missing a beat). It’s a welcome change of pace, not undercutting the serious tone of previous chapters in any way and staying true to this version of the character, and after seeing him in more intense scenarios it great to see fun enter the proceedings, if only for a short while. 8/10

SAGA #40
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples
Image $2.99

Matt C: Saga is now like the comic book version of Eastenders. That probably sounds like dismissive criticism coming from someone who hasn’t watched an episode of Eastenders in a good couple of decades, so let me clarify this a little. Saga has reached a stage, for me at least, where it’s not a book I clamour for on a monthly basis, but when it does appear I do find it easy to slip right into the soap opera goings on (and, sci-fi trappings aside, soap opera is essentially what it is), and it’s quite a comforting place to be. Obviously I find it infinitely more compelling than Eastenders – it’s far more daring and fiendish – but it’s now found a position on my pull-list where, while it’s not in danger of being dropped, it’s not one that springs to mind when I consider my favourites. I can’t quite put my finger on why this is, as I do enjoy every issue, but it does seem like the excitement should linger a lot longer than it does. But then what the heck do I know anyway, I just compared Saga to Eastenders! 8/10

SEX #33
Writer: Joe Casey
Art: Piotr Kowalski & Brad Simpson
Image $3.99

James R: We always begin our reviews by stating that we don't have time to review every book on our pull-list, but this was a week when I could - Sex was my sole purchase this week, and whereas I'm interested that it's the second time in a month this has happened, I also think that Joe Casey and Piotr Kowlaski's excellent book would have been a strong contender for book of the week if I had picked up ten titles. A while back, I made the claim that Sex would be perfect material for the next big-budget TV adapataion and this issue definitely gives me more ammunition for my claim - Casey continues to balance a number of interweaving narratives with consummate skill, whilst adding yet more twists and turns to the tale of Simon Cooke, the still-retired hero of Saturn City. After 33 issues, this series shows no sign of slowing down; in fact the opposite is true - Sex is getting better the longer it goes on. The art team of Kowalski and Simpson produce the goods, and it’s a title that seems to be under the radar, but if it continues to be this good it will end up being a modern classic. 8/10

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

Matt C: Opena is still knocking it completely out of the park (way, way out of the park!) in this series, his exquisitely detailed and imaginative illustrations feeling like they belong in some top-grade bandes dessinĂ©es, flitting comfortably between intimacy and an epic, sweeping scope. Meanwhile Remender utilizes a style of dialogue and narration that brings to mind Chris Claremont in his Uncanny X-Men pomp, while also finding time to inject some ideas that wouldn’t seem out of place in Jack Kirby’s most outlandish concepts. It’s not a title that would sit easily with someone not intimately familiar with the comic book medium, but Remender isn’t playing to that audience; if you get where he’s going with this then it will sit nicely beside Black Science, Deadly Class and Low on your pull-list. 8/10

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