9 Jul 2017

Mini Reviews 09/07/2017

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.

Writer: James Robinson
Art: Aco, Hugo Petrus & Rachelle Rosenberg
Marvel $3.99

Jo S: Each of this series of one-shots has been a glittering paste jewellery centrepiece, with dazzling artwork in funky colours and startling page layouts which have pushed linear storytelling to its limit. Nick Jr’s mission this time takes him to the reconstructed Atlantis, to root out a Hydra spy, and gives Aco, Petrus and Rosenberg a chance to go wet and wild with an underwater theme. Gem-like fish and rainbow coral are a must-have, multi-finned fashion and towering shell-inspired architecture abound; this series is ALL in the visuals. The one-shot nature of the title - and they are absolutely one-shot, there are no themes tying the individual episodes together - inevitably means that stories are somewhat flimsy, and characterisation is close to non-existent, and I find myself not really minding that too much. The premise that Fury must complete his underwater mission within a strict time limit, or his underwater breathing facility will fail, is a bit corny but it's a neat way to efficiently inject some pace and jeopardy - although Fury’s time was halfway up before he had even located the spy which took some of the credibility out of it for me. Ah, but who needs credibility? We have Underwater Centurion Nick with a classy scallop shell eye-patch! 8/10

Matt C: Not quite as beautifully propulsive and concise as the preceding installment but damn if this isn’t another fantastic issue that wraps everything up within the space of 20 pages. You could argue that the plot is a bit thin, but then I suppose that’s kind of the point; it’s  like a Mission: Impossible sequence, and either you choose to accept it or you don’t, but missing out on the artistic ingenuity in evidence throughout this issue is probably not a wise move. I’m not sure who this Aco is (or is it ACO?) but he definitely has you sitting up and paying attention, the craft on display in each panel, and the way those panels are positioned, is something else, reminiscent of J.H. Williams III in places; it’s electrifying, brisk and an enormously satisfying confluence of words and pictures that maybe not dig deep on an emotional level but as far as pure comic book thrills go, it takes some beating at the moment. 8/10

Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Frank Quitely & Sunny Gho
Image $4.99

James R: A bumper-sized issue to round off the latest chapter in Millar and Quitely's Jupiter's Legacy, and it's a blockbuster in every way. Millar tends to know how to deliver a final act full of sound and fury, and it's the same here. The long-brewing clash between the rival forces of siblings Chloe and Brandon began in the last issue, but the payoff is really in these pages. Millar uses every trick in the superhero book - psychic misdirection, commanding the forces of nature, characters shrinking to atomic size - to finish this series with a crescendo. Obviously, the peerless work of Frank Quitely elevates the story to another level - as always his art is a feast for the eyes and is worth the cover price alone. The conclusion to the tale suggests that there is more from 'the greatest superhero epic of this generation.' Millar's hyperbole aside, I'd like another installment - it's not quite as incredible as Millar thinks it is (is anything?) but it's always a quality read, and unashamed fanboy fun. 8/10

Writer: Gerry Duggan
Art: Chris Samnee & Matthew Wilson
Marvel: $3.99

Jo S: An apparent interlude in the main story, this issue of All-New Guardians of the Galaxy has a very different feel, not least as Aaron Kuder hands over the artwork duties to Chris Samnee. Most of the gang are taking a break for this one, with Star-Lord alone helming this story, as he takes a side-mission to replace a precious recording from his childhood, the cassette of which has been mangled during what could be another of Rocket’s humourous wild goose chases (Kuder’s cover is so nostalgic - the irritability associated with using a pencil to drive the rewinding of a bundle of cassette tape: you can't rush that job!). I loved the idea of travelling to a point just distant enough from Earth for radio transmissions from the era you require to be getting there for the first time. Samnee’s retro artwork is perfect for this, harking back to a simpler time, with a boyish-looking Quill and moderately adorable bad guys. Fans of Almost Naked Animals (I know you're out there) - I'm sure Radiation Rooster makes an appearance here! The closing page prompted me to locate the lost track myself and I'm listening to it now *reviewer disables gravity and drifts off…* 7/10

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