28 Oct 2018

Mini Reviews 28/10/2018

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: Max Bemis
Art: Paul Davidson, Jacen Burrows, Jeff Lemire, Bill Sienkiewicz & Matt Milla
Marvel $4.99

Matt C: A moderately entertaining finale to a run that latterly got bogged down in an overabundance of plotting and explication; a simplified narrative may well have made for a more potent denouement. The fractured mental state of Marc Spector has (obviously) been a feature of recent issues, but it gets swamped here; there’s so much crammed in that any nuance is shunted aside. It’s not without its moments of insight though, and the art has a definite energy to it (particularly during two successive double splash pages) and, of course, it’s always great to see Marvel giving publishing time to a character who operates on the fringes of their universe, but from such promising beginnings, Bemis' tenure feels cut short before he had ample opportunity to fully explore the madness of Spector’s unhinged world. Moon Knight will be back, probably sooner rather than later, and at the very least Bemis has underscored how Spector is one of the most complex and intriguing characters in the pantheon. 6/10

Writer: Christos Gage & Dan Slott
Art: Jorge Molina, Jay Leisten, Craig Yeung, Roberto Poggi & David Curiel
Marvel $3.99

Jo S: There’s such a lot going on in this new series, unsurprisingly, and I’ll admit even a second read of this didn’t quite clear the confusion in my mind regarding who’s ended up where, but it’s certainly a romp! Power struggles abound in this episode, with the Spider-Clan trying to regain their feet after their disastrous assault on Octavius’ lab. Too many Spideys certainly seem to spoil the broth, or at least squabble over who gets to hold the spoon, and the Inheritors don’t miss a opportunity to take advantage of their disarray to further their plans to annihilate Peter Parker and the remaining web warriors. A large art crew ensures attention to detail in the multiple manifestations of our Spider-Pal, though I’m a little underwhelmed perhaps by the page structure: a super-sized cast of characters inevitably leads to crowding but I’m missing some of the grace and sinuosity which makes Spider-Man stand out for me. It feels claustrophobic currently - I’m hoping the scene of action in future issues will be a bit more outdoors, giving the spiders a chance to stretch their numerous legs. 7/10

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Mark Torres
Image $3.99

James R: I'm thankful to Cold Spots this week as this was - sadly - the only thing on my pull-list. I start to get twitchy if there's nothing for me to read, so it was good to be able to delve back in to the tale of Dan Kerr and his quest to save his supernatural daughter. Horror is a genre that I've never been a huge fan of, and I find find that it's doubly difficult to create an affecting horror comic (Alan Moore's Neonomicon is the only one I can recall being genuinely spooked by). As a result, I'm enjoying Cold Spots more as a supernatural thriller than a conventional 'horror' - Bunn's script moves the plot forward at a pleasing pace, whilst still leaving some big questions unanswered, and Torres art conveys the spectral and ethereal aspects of Quarrels island with a pleasing style. It's not the most original or awe-inspiring series you'll ever read, but Cold Spots is a bewitching tale told well. 7/10

Writer: Aleš Kot
Art: Danijel Žeželj & Jordie Bellaire
Image $3.99

Matt C: The third act begins, and the murky morality on display is mirrored by the moody artwork: stark and evocative, Žeželj’s illustrations are stunning, both intimate and claustrophobic, while Bellaire’s extraordinary colour work is unnerving and effective with its brute simplicity. The oppressive atmospherics are punctuated by bright sparks of quiet heroism, of tables being turned, of necessary but painful sacrifice. This is perhaps Aleš Kot’s best yet, and any pull-list without this incisive, insightful series on it in 2018 has had a huge, gaping hole that needs to be filled. 9/10

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Alex Maleev
DC/Jinxworld $3.99

Jo S: Bendis and Maleev’s tale of a tiny civil war waged by Portland on the rest of the USA takes on another of Scarlet’s de facto lieutenants, Kit, colouring in her backstory and the incidents in her life which lead her to an act which hikes up the level of tension between those defending the now fully isolated Portland and the troops on the other side of the bridges. Bendis eloquently tells the story of small events and large events colliding, of a woman given an opportunity to enact vengeance who is placed on a trajectory which she cannot escape. Maleev’s artwork is ravishing in this episode - explosions contrasted against gloomy skies, a splash page where a single tear drops from a woman’s eye - you can smell acrid smoke in the air and feel the thump of shellfire. Bendis’ Jinxworld issues keep landing devastatingly on target. 8/10

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