29 Apr 2018

Mini Reviews 29/04/2018

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: Jason Aaron
Art: Russell Dauterman & Matthew Wilson
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: Jane Foster’s tenure as the Mighty Thor reaches its inevitable conclusion and it does so with grace, poignancy and no small amount of resilience. What was dismissed by some as a gimmick has resulted in one of the great runs with the character, with many different aspects of heroism being explored; fighting an incurable disease is perhaps a greater challenge than tackling the ‘manifested vengeance of a billion billion murdered souls’. Aaron has pulled real emotional truths from the characters since this story began, getting through to the humanity behind the bluster, and it’s been beautiful to witness. Dauterman and Wilson have brought words and ideas to life in an extraordinary fashion; there’s such vibrancy and invention on the pages, with some astonishingly choreographed action, but the humanity at the core of the tale has never been neglected. The Odinson is now returning, as expected, but Jane Foster has proven herself as an eminently worthy wielder of that magical hammer, and an inspirational figure in her own right. 10/10

Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Tyler Jenkins & Hilary Jenkins
BOOM! Studios $3.99

James R: With just one concluding issue to come, I'm already mourning Grass Kings. Kindt and Jenkins' pitch-black murder mystery has excelled and surprised with every issue. The analogy I continue to make is that Grass Kings feels like an illustrated novel - the creative team have done a brilliant job in bringing the Grass Kingdom alive, filling the story with well-developed characters, and spinning out two equally compelling narratives. This issue sees Bruce get tantalisingly close to uncovering the identity of the Thin-Air killer, whilst his brother Robert tries to broker a deal to stop the Kingdom being destroyed. It's a class act from the first page to the last, and it's one of those books that hasn't put a foot wrong for the entire run. With the finale looming, I'm confident that it will conclude in the same majestic fashion - this is another brilliant issue in an outstanding series. 8/10

Writer: Daniel Kibblesmith
Art: Carlos Villa, Roberto Poggi & Chris O’Halloran
Marvel $3.99

Jo S: I've been a tangle of emotions this week as a result of Infinity War-related overstimulation and was very pleased to find a couple of comics in my pull-list to put a smile on my face and an uncomplicated giggle on my lips. The mere sight of Spider-Ham swinging into action on the cover of this issue gives me near complete joy; this month sees Lockjaw and unwitting sidekick D-Man drawn to visit Larval Earth and its definitely-not-cartoon inhabitants. My spare ribs were tickled to the max by Kibblesmith’s design on the etiquette of a world of anthropomorphised animals and Villa and Poggi’s knack of making the canine heroes look like science boffins next to a dopey faced and confused Dennis had me snorting with laughter. Bravo to the creative team for resurrecting an element of the Marvel back catalogue that might otherwise have languished forever in the folder marked ‘Acceptable in the 80s’, and thank you for the much needed chuckles. 8/10

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artists: Joe Bennett & Marcello Maiolo
DC Comics $2.99

James R: I had big hopes for The Terrifics, but even as the most ardent Jeff Lemire fan (a claim that I could easily defend in court!) I don't think it's quite found its stride yet. When you create a team book, a big part of the appeal is seeing the interpersonal relationships that form. Even though we've only had three issues, the team feel very disparate, and beyond their condition (they currently can't be more than a mile apart, or otherwise they'll explode - yay comics!) the Terrifics don't feel like a team yet. It was also a little jarring to find that after just two issues, Ivan Reis has been replaced by Joe Bennett, whose pencils do the job, but lack the x-factor a book like this needs. I'm not abandoning this title just yet, as Lemire continues to tease us with the appearance of Tom Strong, but after three issues, it feels flat when it should be effervescent. 5/10

Writer: Pablo Raimondi, Klaus Janson
Art: Pablo Raimondi, Chris Chuckry, Klaus Janson, Dean White
Image $4.99

Jo S: Raimondi and Janson’s epic returns, and very welcome it is too. The first arc of the story was a little challenging to start with, as the writing duo drew us along a journey of discovery rather than explicitly introducing characters, but I found my feet and enjoyed the run immensely. This new arc picks up right away following the first, and is every bit as beautifully lush and complex as the original. Deceased angel Naviel gets a deeper back story, which also encloses news of a further set of characters: we met most of the Sins in the first five books, and now their counterparts begin to be introduced. The art and writing are eloquently partnered in this series: the huge page count, fantastic detail and historical background all make this absolutely worthy of the cover price and I'm greedily anticipating the next part of the story. 8/10

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Sean Phillips & Elizabeth Breitweiser
Image $3.99

James R: As with this week's Grass Kings, Kill Or Be Killed is another great series that's entering its final stages. This month's issue is very much a 'join the dots' exercise, as we learn the identity of the vigilante copycat, and discover just how tenacious detective Lily Sharpe tracks down Dylan. As always with the team of Brubaker, Phillips and Brietweiser, they make comics this good seem effortless (when they are anything but) - the plot unfolds beautifully in a world that has a very definite sense of verisimilitude thanks to Phillips and Brietweiser's art. A special salute to the cover and first page of this issue; one of the great truisms is the cover image never appears in the book. In Kill Or Be Killed #18, Phillips' cover is perfectly replicated on the first page, giving the impression of 'fading in' to the action. A class act as ever, this series continues to slay. 8/10

Matt C: With only two more issues left to go, this series is concluding earlier than some of us may have expected, but even if we hadn’t been told what issue the series would finish with there’s a perceptible sense that the endgame is approaching in this issue, and that Dylan's time is almost up. At this stage it does start to hinge on how the creative team resolve things, because no matter how impressive the series has been so far, the lack of a satisfying finale could dent its reputation when we look back on it. That’s not really a worry though, because Brubaker, Phillips and Breitwesier have done such a tremendous job here (and their track record speaks for itself) that it’s more than likely, when all’s said and done, that we’ll consider this to be of their best collaborations yet. 8/10

1 comment:

Tim Knight said...

I, too, have been underwhelmed by the disjointed nature of The Terrifics. It feels like we’re just reading part of a story rather than the whole.