16 Jun 2019

Mini Reviews 16/06/2019

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: David Hine & Brian Haberlin
Art: Brian Haberlin & Geirrod Van Dyke
Image $3.99

Jo S: Gorgeous world-building and lush artwork abound in this new outset from Image, which begins with what feels like an epic story of pioneering colonists on a strange planet, vying for resources with rivals from other world. Haberlin has totally gone to town in creating thermasaurs (a flying dinosaur you can ride), giant airships and huge sleeping monsters, with a level of scale and detail which must have taken forever to produce. Hine hasn't been sitting back and letting the art do the work, mind: his characterisation is superb, initially setting our hero Sonata and her people as sympathetic and optimistic, with their competitors as selfish and grasping, but then breaking down those absolutes to show a more subtle range of motivation. With a terrifying cliffhanger and a number of intriguing elements hinted at but yet to be explored, I'll be very much looking forward to issue #2. 8/10

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

James R: The creative team behind Event Leviathan - 'A 6-issue mystery thriller' - meant that I was bound to give this a shot. I will always have time for Bendis and Maleev after their great run on Daredevil and there's definite alchemy between the artist and writer. Despite the fact that I normally don't enjoy event books, Event Leviathan certainly gives us an intriguing first chapter. Building on the teaser pages from DC's Year Of The Villain one-shot and the events of the more costly Leviathan Rising, this story is based firmly in the espionage end of the DCU, and sees its greatest crimefighting brains up against the mystery of the eponymous Leviathan. Leviathan's MO is that the heroes' way of operating simply doesn't work, and it's now time to build a new, better world. Given that DC has traditionally had a reputation for stories where good and evil are very definite binary propositions, it's interesting to see this book - and Snyder's Justice League - introduce the notion of 'shades of grey' when it comes to morality. As always, Maleev's art is superb, and his dark and moody colour palette perfectly suits this tale told from the espionage shadows. Bendis' script sets up what's to come nicely, and it's good to see that this title will be six issues, rather than encompassing a slew of tenuous tie-ins. A confident first step, I will certainly be back for the second chapter to see if Event Leviathan can hit it's stride. 7/10

Writer: Doug Wagner
Art: Daniel Hillyard, Adam Hughes & Laura Martin
Image $3.99

Jo S: I'm going to need to go back and sort myself out with some copies of previous issues of this series: Wagner and Hillyard grabbed my attention with Plastic a couple of years ago and this is already a worthy successor to that. Effectively a twofer, this new outset is great value, with the main series, set to be a five-parter, quickly establishing (or possibly re-establishing) the world of ex-detective, ex-con Vega, now working as a very effective bouncer in a dance club catering to some more than usually specific tastes, and a done-in-one backup story featuring the pink unicorn fursuit seen on the cover. Not one for the closed-minded, The Ride promises an exploration of what pushes people to commit crime and what drives them to try to stop it, delivered in a package of neon colours which certainly brought to mind the pink-frosting-and-sprinkles aesthetic I loved so much in Plastic. I will be back with a fistful of folding money for the next issue. 8/10

Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Will Conrad & Jeremiah Skipper
DC $3.99

Mike S: After Bryan Hitch’s much publicised departure from Hawkman with #12, we get a told-in-one issue before the new artist arrives – and it’s a testament to what can be done in a single issue. Robert Venditti and Will Conrad take us into the journal of Carter Hall, telling a tale of war on the distant world of Nebulen with a clever plot. We enter the Live-Die-Repeat world of Edge Of Tomorrow with a DC twist: Hawkman’s ability to reincarnate is at the core of this tale and serves as an interesting and original way to explore warfare and our attitudes towards it, looking at its impact from the perspectives of both sides of the battlefield. We also have the return (if only in memory) of a long missing part of the narrative of the Hawks: it isn’t essential the character appears in the present day tales, but here it felt nice. Added to this is the potential for future tales: the Journal of Carter Hall could be filled with a myriad of untold tales from the many disparate eras and incarnations of Hawkman’s convoluted history and that’s an idea I hope Venditti embraces. It’s no secret that I was not enamoured of the appalling character treatment of Heroes In Crisis and so I am thrilled that Venditti shows not only an awareness but also a deep respect for the characters he writes (a rare thing these days it might be argued as writers seek to blow us away with the ‘next big thing’). On top of this, some solid art, making me not even miss Hitch, and we have an excellent issue: snappy, intelligent writing, strong characterisation and beautifully rendered artwork. If you’re not reading Hawkman: why not? You really should be! 9/10

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