5 Feb 2017

Mini Reviews 05/02/2017

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.

BULLSEYE #1
Writers: Ed Brisson & Marv Wolfman
Art: Guillermo Sanna, Miroslav Mrva, Alec Morgan & Frank Martin
Marvel $4.99

Matt C: A disappointingly generic stab at bringing one of Daredevil’s premier villains to centre stage that squanders any potential for fleshing him out in a tale that relies on hackneyed gangster tropes and an utterly ludicrous bodycount to carry it along. It seems to be positioning itself as some sort of black comedy but it never quite gets the balance right in the way that, say, Garth Ennis’ Punisher did. It’s a shame but the level of violence without consequence is numbing rather than ‘funny’ and while the Marv Wolfman back-up tale is slightly better it doesn’t justify the inflated price-tag or the possibility of four more issues of the same. 4/10

MOON KNIGHT #11
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Greg Smallwood & Jordie Bellaire
Marvel $3.99

James R: Last week Jeff Lemire announced that issue #14 would be the last under his stewardship, but it was a point where he was leaving on his own terms rather than cancellation. I am pleased in a way as I think this run will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Marvel's other recent limited-series triumph, The Vision. Over a short run, Lemire and Greg Smallwood have constantly surprised the audience with an inventive comic that has used Marc Spector's madness as an incredible plot device rather than a cheap twist or gimmick. This month I want to give special praise to Greg Smallwood, whose art on this book has been nothing short of spectacular. It is beautifully judged, making the fantastical realms of the plot appear grounded. Whatever Smallwood has lined up next after Moon Knight, I'll be sure to pick it up - his art alone is worth the price of admission here. Clever, inventive and not outstaying its welcome, Moon Knight illuminated a pretty dreary pull-list for me this week. 8/10

DEADLY CLASS #26
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Wes Craig & Jordan Boyd
Image $3.99

Matt C: What the...? The title that relentlessly keeps us on our toes, that supposedly pulled the rug out from underneath us in a way that we assumed couldn’t be topped, goes and does it again. There are several pages of this issue where you’ll be wondering where we’re at and who we’re dealing it - and revealing more would be a definite spoiler – but it’s deftly handled, and once it becomes clear exactly what’s going on it has you reaching back for previous issues for clues. Craig’s art remains electrifying and Boyd keeps the palette sparse and intense when needed, while Remender barrels through his plot like a man possessed, tossing out curveballs like he assumes we’re ready for them (but we never are). So long as Remender continues to confound expectations in this manner, Deadly Class will remain an essential read. 8/10

KARNAK #6
Writer: Warren Ellis
Art: Roland Boschi & Dan Brown
Marvel $3.99

James R: I had such high hopes when this title began back in 2015. It's now two months into 2017 and the final, sixth issue has limped over the line. Karnak never recovered from the loss of Geradino Zaffino, whose artwork made this book so striking to begin with, and for all his merits on other titles, Roland Boschi was a poor substitute choice by the editorial team. I am always careful not to criticise artists too much, as I'm in awe of anyone who has creative talents, and I know how hard it must be to try and deliver a monthly book on time when it has already fallen so far behind, but some of the panels in this issue were astonishingly sub-par to my eyes. The plot was also not Ellis' finest hour, wrapping up far too quickly and neatly, but given what a flaming wreck this title has become, it's probably best for all parties that this it has a swift and sudden exit. It all makes for one of mainstream comics' most depressing sights: an indifferent end after a spectacular start. Karnak may see the flaw in all things, but you didn't have to be an Inhuman to see the flaws here. 4/10

HAWKEYE #3
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Art: Leonardo Romero & Jordie Bellaire
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: Hitting its stride now with a prefect mix of style and sass, this volume of Hawkeye is every bit as good as its predecessors. There’s a hint of Buffy to the way this series is developing (which Thompson freely acknowledges) but Kate Bishop’s strong personality ensures it has its own identity, the crackling narration and dialogue reiterating how distinctive she is, far from a simple gender-swap version of Clint Barton. The art fizzles with the same infectious vibe initially established by David Aja, and the whole enterprise is exciting, fresh and genuinely funny. If you ever thought Kate Bishop made a great sidekick then this title shows emphatically that she’s even more at home in the headline role. 9/10

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