8 Sept 2019

Mini Reviews 08/09/2019

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: James Tynion IV
Art: Werther Dell'Edera & Miguel Muerto
BOOM! Studios $3.99

Jo S: No prizes for guessing the theme of this new BOOM! Studios offering and, pretty much from the start, this lands us in a very dark place. Tynion tells the story in a disjointed timeline, hopping back and forth between a police interview, with witness James recounting horrific events, the events themselves, the aftermath of similar events elsewhere and the arrival of a possible solution. Dell'Edera emphasises these breaks in continuity, switching between black backgrounds for the horrifying occurances of the night time, and stark neon-lit white pages, dragged down into darker places, when James appears to be 'safe' with responsible adults. I always find it interesting when a writer bestows their own name on a character – the James of this story is clearly troubled; intelligent, perceptive but an outsider, he empathises more with the devastated out-of-his-depth school principal than he seems to with his peers. This first episode is subtitled 'The Angel of Archer's Peak: Part One', which might suggest that this will be a series of arcs featuring the exploits of the as yet unnamed 'angel' – on the basis of this first issue, I'm already prepared to say 'I hope so'. 8/10

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Pepe Larraz & Marte Gracia
Marvel $4.99

Matt C: Arguably Jonathan Hickman is applying the dual narrative approach even more successfully than he did with Avengers/New Avengers and Fantastic Four/FF. The story traverses the timeline, and each title has its own particular focus, but it has worked seamlessly so far, weaving the plotlines together into an immensely impressive whole, reminding us in striking style how potent the X-Men concept is in the right hands. It's pure, relentless energy in this issue as a team of X-Men head out on what's likely a suicide mission to stop Nimrod coming online. It's exciting, shocking and utterly riveting, the intelligence of the script, the adherence to fictional history, and the intensity of the artwork coalescing to create something that feels both classic and modern in its approach to the mythos. If the momentum of this can continue when the various ongoing series are launched then the X-Men will be taking the position at the top of the pile on a permanent basis for the first time in a long time. 9/10

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Mike Deodato Jr & Frank Martin
Dark Horse $3.99

Matt C: On the surface it is, of course, Conan in the Modern World, but there's something deeper going on; it touches on alienation, loneliness and the need for connection, the juxtaposition of the barbarian and the hobo allowing for the commonality of existence to seep through the rough-hewn cracks. After the violence of the debut issue this one strives for understanding over a gulf of differences, drawing on humour and poignancy to amplify the incongruity of the situation. With a quieter chapter Mike Deodato still finds majesty and grizzled truth in the character interactions and he brings a sense of the epic and grandiose to even the most quiet, intimate moments. Four issues in total seems like a wise move from Lemire as he can make a significant, meaningful impact here without the story overstaying its welcome. 8/10

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