26 May 2019

Mini Reviews 26/05/2019

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.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #11
Writer: James Tynion IV
Art: Álvaro Martínez Bueno, Raül Fernandez & Brad Anderson
DC $3.99

Mike S: In a perfect world, this title would be the flagship Justice League title of the DCU. There, I said it! Snyder’s Justice League is interesting but ultimately leaves me luke-warm. Maybe I prefer lesser characters, maybe I just like the story style of JLD but the line-up of Wonder Woman, Zatanna, Detective Chimp, Swamp Thing, Man-Bat and now Blue Devil is FAR more interesting than yet another iteration of the ‘big guns’ who, quite frankly, are becoming tediously dull in their lack of development, constrained as most of them are by their respective titles. However, my enjoyment of this title is strange as most magical villains leave me cold, teetering between being annoying or simply laughable. However, Justice League Dark #11 is a definite challenger to that trope as Diana and Zatanna seek out Mordru and he is genuinely scary in his arrogant, cold use of power and his total disregard for the lesser beings he treads upon in his quest for domination. As he states, as if it is nothing: "I have killed millions by my own hand. I have been a plague upon this world for thousands of years, partaking of every cruelty the human mind has ever conjured. And in a thousand years, I will still be here standing, when the rest of you are dust." The menace in this book is palpable and the dual threads work well, as Tynion IV jumps effortlessly between the quest for Mordru and the desperate attempt to keep the magic users alive in their dealings with the Lords of Order. Most importantly, at the centre of the story, lies the complexity of Dr Fate and I love this take on him: he is not inherently good but is in fact lawful and in following the laws of Order we see a totally transformed Fate, and he’s all the better for it! However, as great as Tynion IV is in crafting this tale, it is nothing without the art of Martinez Bueno, which adds character, depth and darkness in equal measure. Justice League Dark’s 'Lords of Order' has been consistent storytelling at its very best. This intriguing tale creates a truly chilling atmosphere, and I’m looking forward to the finale as the Otherkind secure their foothold in our reality and the Lords of Order strive to conquer the realms of magic at the expensive of all magic within the DCU. 9/10

SINK #9
Writer: John Lees
Art: Alex Cormack and Jer Vy
ComixTribe $3.99

Jo S: In a week of near unremitting violence and gore (in my comics list - not generally), Sink still wins the most-red-paint-required prize with its hands tied behind its back. This month's issue is the second of a two-parter, 'Graphite Green', whose first issue cliffhanger saw the Hardi family realising that the gift-horse of a beautiful new home in a luxurious tower of apartments definitely required more than a cursory glance at its gnashers. Trapped by a villainous TV production company, and forced to fight their way out against their equally trapped but variously aware neighbours for the entertainment of monstrous wealthy gamblers, the family's future seemed hopeless until the reappearance of the series' recurring folk-hero-cum-bogeyman-cum-vigilante Mr Dig - now also cum-family-man - with his trusty shovel and mask. John Lees' back matter piece, in which he always writes eloquently on the influences which contributed to the current issue, this time discusses Indonesian movie The Raid: curiously, this is the second time this has been mentioned among the PCG in recent days, having been raised in reference to John Wick 3. The comparison Lees makes talks about the challenges of representing a lengthy violent encounter and how he and Cormack found they needed to extend this story to two issues to do it full justice - they certainly achieve a gut-churning result. Cormack also illustrated another comic I've read this week - Douek's Road Of Bones for IDW - and a further parallel sprang out at me: Cormack never shies away from showing the full horror of physical violence and in both these comics he renders a skull, smashed not-quite-far-enough beyond recognition, so distressingly realistically that I both can't look away and can't bear to look. This book continues to be awful, gruesome, horrific - and completely impossible to put down. 8/10

ASSASSIN NATION #3
Writer:Kyle Starks
Art: Erica Henderson
Image $3.99

James R: In a very quiet week for my pull-list, I'm hugely grateful for the technicolour madness of Assassin Nation. Kyle Starks and Erica Henderson's full-throttle hitman yarn doesn't let up in this third chapter - from the original twenty, we're now down to seven of the world's top assassins, and the identity of the mastermind behind the plot to kill Rankin remains elusive. As well as being a rollercoaster read, Assassin Nation is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time - I find humour is tough to get right in comics, but Starks and Henderson do a brilliant job of finding the balance. This book continues to be a revelation, and I hope that this creative team have got another project lined up after Assassin Nation - this partnership is killer. 8/10

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