29 Oct 2017

Mini Reviews 29/10/2017

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: Matt Kindt
Art: Trevor Hairsine, Ryan Winn & David Baron
Valiant $3.99

Jo S: Catching sight of Matt Kindt’s name in the credits made me double-take and come back for this one, in spite of it picking up a series from a couple of years ago which I haven’t yet read. A little research was indeed needed for me to feel I understood 'Book One' of this new series: it seems Abram Adams, former cosmonaut/divine being is now living in hiding in a Russian national park with his family, his godly powers now used to entertain his precious infant son. Meanwhile, on a distant planet, a murder has led to panic and demands for action. The quality of this first issue is stunning: from the substantial cover, and dark monochromatic inner leaf, to spectacular page construction and vibrant colour, its richness is evident. The cleverness of the design, evoking an alien culture suffused with bibliophilia, including a clear reference to the iconic Sputnik 1 satellite, elevates this several notches above what might have been a tricky sell for me otherwise: I’m found the story a tad confusing, if I’m honest, but I’ll persist for the artwork at least. 7/10

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: German Peralta & Rachelle Rosenberg
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: Jeff Lemire’s final issue for Marvel (for the time being, at least) closes off this arc satisfactorily, with Thanos doing what you expect Thanos to do, reaffirming his status as the publisher’s premiere badass of the moment. There’s a sort of formulaic inevitability to the way things wrap up, and while it’s entertainingly told there is a slight sense that the momentum was lost over the course of 12 issues. Losing Mike Deodato as interior artist probably compounded that, as he brought a sense of epic drama to the proceedings, and although the artists that followed continued the visual themes, none of them quite had that same impact. Lemire’s time at Marvel has been littered with exemplary work – Moon Knight and Old Man Logan being the highlights – and while Thanos hasn’t been his strongest addition to the mythos, it’s been a pleasing read and his adept handling of the characters has me hoping he doesn’t stay away from the House of Ideas for too long. 7/10

Writer: Joe Benitez & M M Chen
Art: Joe Benitez, Martin Monteil & Beth Sotelo
Benitez Productions $3.99

Jo S : Benitez and Co tidy up this short run of steampunk tastiness with an absolute gem for fans. The three issues have been separated by slightly wider gaps than you might expect but with good reason - each and every spread if this final issue is intricately constructed and beautifully finished, buffed to a shine which only comes from a craftsman putting his absolute heart and soul into a piece. I love every bit of the art in this book: the slenderly elegant women and spindly gaunt men, the intricate cell frames with their clusters of cogs like posies of steampunk flowers and the impossibly stylised dynamics of the fight scenes, where the page structure is thrown into as bizarre a set of contortions as those engaged in stiletto-sharp battle. And, of course, there are robots… Wrapping up a fairly complex murder-mystery in just three issues has perhaps necessitated a little more expositional dialogue than would be perfection, but Benitez helps you ‘hear’ the unique accents and speech patterns of the characters so clearly that I can forgive that the speech bubbles are a little extensive in some places. A nice teaser epilogue leaves me in hope that there will be more soon. 9/10

Writer: Kyle Higgins
Art: Trevor McCarthy & Dean White
DC $3.99

James R: In what was an incredibly quiet week for me (this was the only book on my pull-list!), Kyle Higgins' Elseworlds tale kept me nicely occupied until normal service resumes on Wednesday. What's always fun with stories like this is seeing the creators' imagination run wild - this month, we're treated to the Batcave as a tourist attraction (which feels oddly right!) and John Stewart as a Green Lantern co-opted into the military. Higgins keeps the story moving along nicely, with Dick Grayson turning fugitive to save his son. There are some nice cameos from the Bat-family along the way too, and Trevor McCarthy does a nice job bringing this dark future to life. As with his Magnus last week, Higgins' The New Order seems to be a book that's under a lot of people's radar - it's a shame as it's certainly one of the classiest books DC are publishing, and Kyle Higgins is having a superb 2017. 7/10

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