8 Jan 2017

Mini Reviews 08/01/2016

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: Kelly Thompson
Art: Leonardo Romero & Jordie Bellaire
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: Clearly the creative team have hit the ground running here. An impressive debut is followed by an exuberant second issue that captures the spirit of the recent volumes of Hawkeye perfectly so it feels like a continuation of what’s come before rather than a jolting ‘new direction’. That’s not to say the creative team aren’t making this their own, because Thompson has blatantly got a bead on Kate Bishop - how she operates, how she interacts with others, how she can worm her way into the hearts of everyone she runs into – and Romero visually acknowledges the work Aja and Perez have done before without losing any of his own stylistic verve. And of course Jordie Bellaire brings every panel to colourful life, her workaholic tendencies not diminishing her skill one iota. This series is confirming what many of us suspected: Kate Bishop’s Hawkeye doesn’t need the help of her more famous namesake to shine. 9/10

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Greg Smallwood & Jordie Bellaire
Marvel $3.99

James R: Jeff Lemire begins 2017 in the same incredible form that he showed in 2016. With Moon Knight, he's taken a character that I never had any interest in at all and turned him into one of the most intriguing on my pull-list. The main fascination for me is how Lemire takes us inside Marc Spector's fragmented mind - as an audience, it's never clear just how 'real' any of the events are. This could get tiresome very quickly in the hands of a lesser writer, but Lemire keeps the readership on their toes by continuing to twist the narrative (and in the case of this issue, the pages themselves, too.) I'm also loving Greg Smallwood's art - his characters feel entirely real, and this juxtaposes brilliantly with the the more cosmic or dream-like sequences in the issue. After ten issues, we're still no closer to finding out if Khonshu really is invading the reality of the Marvel Universe, and frankly, I don't care. With a creative team this good, I'm happy to stay lost in the madness of Marc Spector. 9/10

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Kim Jacinto, Olivier Coipel & Matthew Wilson
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: It’s slightly disappointing to see Coipel’s name move down in the credits to make way for Kim Jacinto, but truth be told there is a visual consistency in place that helps avoid any jarring bumps in tone, and with Aaron continuing to fire on all cylinders with this tale of an Odinson brought low, this title is undeniably worthy of a place on any discerning pull-list. It’s bold, it’s sweeping, its characterization is on point, and it understands the importance of having a massive, bloodthirsty goat in the middle of things. It’s a well-trodden narrative path, particularly for this character, but it’s done with blockbusting style, the pyrotechnics never overshadowing the smart characterization. Not so many years ago Marvel pulled the plug on an ongoing Thor series before returning him to the spotlight after a couple of years away. For a brief time we now have two Thor books, and their quality shows that there’s still plenty of mileage left in the the mix of Asgardian myths and superheroics. 8/10

Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Matteo Scalera & Moreno Dinisio
Image $3.99

James R: I am sure many of you fellow comics fans will have experienced this. It's a symptom I call 'Issue Amnesia', where you regularly pick up a raft of titles, read them in individual chapters, and there are frequently times when characters will make an appearance and you find yourself saying, "I have a dim recollection who that is, but I have no idea how or why they fit into this story". I got it bad with the latest issue of Black Science. It continues to be a consistently great read, but this month saw a reveal and a return of a character who I had no idea who it was - and I had to dig back through my back issues to find out! Regardless of this, Black Science now feels like it's heading toward an endgame, with Remender pulling together the various plot threads from the run. However, given how wildly unpredictable the book has been, it wouldn't surprise me if it just acted as a springboard to another unexpected narrative. As always, Matteo Scalera's pencils are dynamite, and Dinisio's rich colours give the pages a lush and vibrant feel. Still one of the best books out there, and still my Rick Remender book of choice. 8/10

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