10 Feb 2019

Mini Reviews 10/02/2019

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 not so good, and those that lie somewhere in between.

Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Marco Checchetto & Sunny Gho
Marvel $4.99

Matt C: This is the first Daredevil comic I've picked up in a while, Chip Zdarsky's name attached to this latest series guaranteeing I take a look. It's plainly evident that the prematurely cancelled TV series has had a large influence on the tone and aesthetic - the show of course drew heavily on Frank Miller's run on the title, so things feel like they've gone full circle. As such there's a sense of familiar ground being trodden; Murdock's faith, his success with the ladies, and his questionable addiction to dispensing his own form of street justice are all present and correct. It's a reassuring opener, Zdarsky once again showing he has a good grasp on Marvel's pantheon, and it does look like his is a safe pair of hands for this character. I'm more familiar with Marco Checchetto's work on various Star Wars comics in the last few years, and this is certainly a different environment for him to explore, but he proves up to the task, especially when DD springs into action. Best of all is the four-page back-up, illustrated by Zdarsky, that gives us a 'look' at how Daredevil sees the world. It's a simple idea, deftly realised. 7/10

Writer: J. M. DeMatteis
Art: Corin Howell & James Devlin
Dark Horse $3.99

Jo S: DeMatteis’ takes a rare move out of classical Big Two hero work here to give us a book which has, perhaps, more of the DNA of his TV experience. It's a mystery, the story of 60s wild child Kathy who, during a drug induced high, meets the enigmatic Hugh who appears to be so perfectly attuned to her philosophy of life that she falls for him immediately. Hugh is not at all what her drug-warped mind perceives and she finds herself murdered and thrown into the eponymous bay… and then things get really heavy. An oft-used theme of time-skipped youngsters is introduced adeptly here; DeMatteis does a tidy job of developing our relationship with this tiresome teen whilst teasing the mystic sources of the miraculous event he leads us through. Howell and Devlin together bring the book to life; a beautiful page of swirling Van Gogh stars as Kathy is lost in Hugh's eyes, the hints of mystical magic as the girl in a painting appears to step forth in concern for Kathy. I found Kathy's failure to recognise her younger self a little difficult to swallow but hope that this will be explained in future issues. At a compact four issues, I'm confident that future-me will still be enjoying this at #4. 7/10

Writer: Gerard Way
Art: Gabriel Ba & Nick Filardi
Dark Horse $3.99

Mike V: Gerard Way certainly does have a weird and wacky way of telling his stories but also does it in a very creative manner that works. This must have been a factor in Netflix's decision to release a series based on The Umbrella Academy and, before that arrives, I will be digging out from my comic boxes the first two series of comics to re-read and refresh my brain (it's been nine years since they were published). The story is still building here, showing a broken team off on their own adventures or dealing with their own personal problems/issues whilst slowly being drawn back together to face off against a threat that is surely coming. At times with this series it has felt like the story has been rushed and that too much has tried to be done: perhaps if a panel or two extra was added to some character's pages, then it would resolve this and bring something extra to the series. Gabriel Ba's artwork is still fantastic here and fits perfectly with the story's sci-fi fantasy aspect. His rough edges and drawing at times has helped bring Way's vision to life on these pages in a way that few artists could achieve. Nick Filardi's colours also complement Ba's art nicely and add something extra to the pages. 7/10

Writer: Joshua Williamson
Art: Guillem March
DC $3.99

Kenny J: Tom King is taking a rest from writing Batman for two issues but his influence is not missing as Joshua Williamson brings us a tie-in to Heroes In Crisis. However, don’t worry if you’re not reading that event title (though you really should be!). Batman #64 stands as a great issue with a pay-off which long time readers of the main Bat book will appreciate and one that will have me picking up a copy of The Flash for the first time in ages - a fact that makes me very happy. Details of the actual events that have led the Flash and the Dark Knight to pool their detective skills are scarce but the characterisations of their interactions are spot on: Barry Allen attempts to keep things light despite his loss until Batman lies to him and Batman being called out on his constant deceit is a brilliant character beat. March’s art meanders in quality a little - when it is at its best it is amazingly detailed and expressive; elsewhere it is good if not a little simplistic when compared to these other pages. I was considering skipping this small crossover event but now this seems like an indispensable companion to some of the best comics being written at the moment. 8/10

Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: Jim Cheung & Tomeu Morey
DC Comics $3.99

James R: I'm not usually a fan of team books: with the exception of Hickman's epic run on Avengers, I often feel that they either lack focus or are simply overstuffed, with the need to give a vast cast something to do. With the advent of Snyder taking over Justice League, I was really encouraged - and sold on it - by the idea of a vast 100-issue epic run. It started like an express train, faltered a little, but now seems to be into an impressive groove. This issue sees J'onn J'onnz and Lex Luthor in a desperate attempt for survival on Mars but it's also a tale about the value of pain and sadness in making us who we are. Snyder also drops a hefty twist that adds a new dimension to one of these protagonists, and sets up some intriguing possibilities further down the line. Jim Cheung's work is brilliant, and he continues to show why he's considered one of the best in mainstream comics. This isn't an issue that rocked my world, but it's a great showcase for the talents of two creators at the top of their games: almost a fifth of the way through Snyder's epic Justice League adventure, I'm still very much on board for the ride. 7/10

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