Rapid Fire Reviews – Jan 2017
This will be my first review for 2017. So let’s go rapid fire! We have offerings from the “Big Two” to Big Trouble! So let’s blast through a mix of this week’s comics!
Big Trouble in Little China/ Escape From New York # 4
Story: Greg Pak
Art: Daniel Bayless
Read the title of this comic slowly. If you are familiar with either film franchise then you know the lunacy that you are signing up for. This comic is built on humor and a bizarre cast of characters. The art is smooth as top shelf whiskey and the story keeps you flipping the pages. This issue we get a gaggle of Snake Plisskens from all across the multiverse searching for trucker extraordinaire Jack Burton. Their mission is to kill the owner of the Pork Chop Express at the order of the evil sorcerer David Lo Pan.
This comic is fun, light, and just off center enough to make it worth a read.
Final Grade: 3 ½ Stars
Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor- Year 3 #1
Story: Rob Williams
Art: I.N.J. Culbard
Matt Smith is personally my favorite doctor. That has nothing to do with this review, but I thought I’d put that out there. This latest installment from Titan makes me miss the 11th doctor while simultaneously loving the comic. This is just another adventure for the good doctor and his companion Alice, as they race through the universe chasing clues left behind by a famous musician that has been friends with the doctor for years.
Each record contains a clue that only the doctor can solve. Bouncing from one dimension to another playing a universal version of a scavenger hunt the doctor finally puts together the final pieces of the musician’s cryptic message. He is sent to a particular location at a certain time, where the doctor finds out that the prize is not what he expects. It’s a funeral. The less said about the rest of the plot the better.
Fans of 11th Doctor should pick this up and re-live the nostalgia of Matt Smith’s heyday.
Final Grade: 4 Stars
G.I. Joe: Real American Hero #235
Story: Larry Hama
Art: S.L. Gallant
G.I. Joe is the same comic as it has been since its inception. If you are looking for variety or a brand new take on the concept you need to look elsewhere. There’s not much here to write about. This comic is as average and vanilla as they come.
Final Score: 2 ½ Stars
Action Comics #970
Story: Dan Jurgens
Art: Patch Zircher
The cover of this issue boasts “The Trial of Lex Luthor”, which is only semi true. The first part of the story involves Superman breaking Luthor out of space prison. The rest of the issue reveals that Luthor may not be as innocent as Supes believes him to be, as alien races have gathered to condemn him for actions he has yet to commit. Visions have lead various races to believe that Luthor is destined to become the usurper to Darkseid, and leave trillions dead in his rise to power.
The story and art are compelling. This issue started off a bit shaky but really picks up steam towards the final page.
Final Score: 3 ½ Stars
Story: Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin
King continues to impress with his run on the Dark Knight. The plot is thick and layered with characterization for everyone that appears in the book. We are treated to a few off beat moments that you can’t miss, from The Ventriloquist’s interaction with the Psycho-Pirate to the weird and unsettling relationship between Punch and Jewelee. There is also a knock-down-drag-out fight with Bane, and Catwoman getting frisky. King even has enough time to throw out a mention of the Bat-Sub.
While King is hitting all the right notes on the narrative, it’s Janin that is taking the comic to another level. His art style falls somewhere between David Finch and Andy Kubert; which is pretty good company to be in. His page layouts are dynamic; his ability to keep pace with King’s complex plotting is spot-on. DC can rest easy knowing that they have their own dynamic duo working on Batman.
Final Grade: 4 Stars
Captain America: Steve Rogers #8
Story: Nick Spencer
Art: Jesus Saiz
“Hail Hydra”. It’s still echoing throughout fandom. How could it not? Spencer set the comic world ablaze by even floating the idea that Cap was a traitor, and now eight issues in, the pieces are already being put in place to correct this mistake. Marvel and Spencer got their media attention; they’ve bumped up Cap’s sales figures, now it’s time to turn Steve back to a good guy just in time for this summer’s Avengers movie. In the end this series will just lead to another Cap reboot and then fans everywhere can breathe easy knowing that the status quo has been maintained.
Marvel took controversy and turned it into cash. They played us. Pure and simple.
There is one shining moment in this issue and it’s watching the new Quasar work her magic. In one single breath she removes a giant alien invasion all on her own; which makes her ten times more interesting than everything else that has happened in this series since the end of issue one.
Amid unnecessary flashbacks of Cap’s fake childhood, a Rodgers that we want to see punched in the face, and a plot that gets more convoluted with each passing issue, this series is starting to flat-line.
Final Score: 2 Stars
Story: Gerry Conway
Art: Mike Perkins
Conway is writing a masterpiece for Marvel on their title Amazing Spiderman: Renew Your Vows; which makes his work here more confusing. Carnage is trying to raise an elder God to destroy the Earth? This whole endeavor seems out of character for Carnage, who has always been more interested in getting his next kill than taking the time to travel to a remote island and read from an ancient religious tome.
While the story doesn’t make any sense it is paired with terrible art. I understand that it is in poor taste to cut down and artist in a review. Art is subjective, but dark and muddy is not a tone that works for this book. I know that Marvel wants this to their version of a horror comic, but when I have trouble making out the visuals of who is who then it ruins my enjoyment.
This title is going nowhere fast. Marvel would be better suited to place this one on the chopping block and place Carnage back in the Spider universe where he belongs.
Final Grade: 1 ½ Stars
Story: Jason Latour
Art: Robbi Rodriguez
You want three great reasons to buy this title? Robbie. Freakin. Rodriguez. The guy is simply amazing. I could look at his artwork all day, every day, and never get bored with it. Pick a page, any page! It’s golden! This is the kind of talent that you want to see on every Marvel title.
Latour, he isn’t half-bad himself. His narrative of breaking Gwen down at the hands of the HAND, well, you feel bad for the kid. She’s managed to back herself into quit the corner and Matt Murdock is only too happy to twist the screws and make her situation worse.
While I may not be the biggest Spider-Gwen fan, I also understand that I am not the target audience. But it doesn’t take a blind guy with radar senses to see that this book has talent upon talent. A must read.
Final Score: 4 ½ Stars