A weekly column in which Jake gives short blurbs about the comics he’s picked up that week. Due to the new Marvel status quo beginning (despite Secret Wars not yet ending), Marvel books will be read in order of chronological sense, disregarding relative anticipation outside of their timeframes. So, Battleworld tie-ins —> Secret Wars —> All-New All-Different Marvel. Book of the Week will obviously change this order, but know that it was read relative to its section. Disclaimer: he knows very little about art, at least not enough to considerably honor such tremendous undertakings, so…yeh, there’s that.
Writers: Lauren Beukes & Dale Halvorsen
Artist: Ryan Kelly
Colorist: Eva De La Cruz
Letters: Clem Robins
Six survivors of six separate sinister events in 1987 gather to get to the bottom of what really happened to them and to prevent their respective horrors from returning. Except, it’s possible that not all of them actually survived. Survivors’ Club is an interesting concept and one that benefits from the variety of story the protagonists previously experienced. Beukes and Halvorsen take an interesting path, making their first story less about a traditional horror tale and more about a modern urban myth. They also manage to give us a decided look at all six characters in the space of one issue. While some fall into certain tropes, there’s a definite feel for those characters to expand beyond more than that, provided they live through the next issue. Ryan Kelly, whose know to the column for his extraordinary work on Three, manages the particularly wordy script rather well, as none of the panels come off feeling too cluttered despite the amount of words in them. His splash pages utilize dynamic read-lines and his style, combined with De La Cruz’s colors, give the artwork a decidedly creepy feel when the situation calls for it. Survivors’ Club looks to be a great series for anyone fascinated with urban legends or horror stories.
Writer: Christos Gage (Tom DeFalco & Ron Frenz)
Artist: Paco Diaz (Ron Frenz w/Sal Buscema)
Color Artist: Frank D’Armata (Andrew Crossley)
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Agent Venom and his Monster Avengers showdown with the mutated Spider-Queen ends…on kind of a low note. While it has all the makings of a climactic finish, there’s just something missing from the heroic sacrifice to end the threat though I can’t place my finger on what it would be definitively. Perhaps, its the fact that it’s wrapped up so quickly in the first pages of the issue, so pacing I suppose. Gage does his best to give Flash and Pete a memorable final encounter and his wrap-up is fairly interesting. Diaz and D’Armata do an excellent job of portraying the strangeness the realm is left with after the battle and the choreography of said battle is pretty great. Meanwhile, the May Parker back-up story wraps up as well, in a way that long-term fans of the character, as well as those that read Spider-Verse, will appreciate. Spider-Island was a fun, if unfortunately overpriced due to back-ups, outing that ends less than satisfactorily.
1602 Witch Hunter Angela #4
Writers: Marguerite Bennett w/ Kieron Gillen
Artists: Stephanie Hans w/ Kody Chamberlain
Color Artist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Ah, another Battleworld series ending, another climactic showdown. This time its Angela vs. the Enchantress for the fate of the realm and more importantly Serah’s soul. As is appropriate for a series so rooted in classical plays, the issue feels suitably tragic, with Angela going into a fight it seems she cannot completely win. Bennett weaves both high drama and gritty action into the final confrontation and the effect is palpable. Hans deserves some kind of medal for the art, because it alone is something to behold. The Enchantress’s temptations and other magics are frankly incredible, moreso in the fact that Angela stands out amongst the illusions without ever feeling out of place. Gillen has one last go-round with the characters although this time its for the ever-important epilogue, one that’s just the right amount of meta and satisfactory wrap-up. Kody Chamberlain is on art for this endeavor and his style is less-painterly than Hans’s, which suits the mundane, but important events therein. 1602 Witch Hunter Angela has always been nothing short of incredible thanks to the excellent plotting and character work of Bennet and the glory that is Stephanie Hans on interiors.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Esad Ribic
Color Artist: Ive Svorcina
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Mysteries start to come unraveled and the final pieces are put into play as Secret Wars is just two issues from finishing. Doom deals with heretical uprisings across his domain as the survivors from 616 and 1610 attempt to undo his tyrannical godhood through various schemes. Hickman keeps the ball rolling and the plot from getting too cluttered despite the multiple events in the book. Ribic and Svorcina are on top of their game, providing a masterful, near-perfect outing on art. Designs are in motion for the end of Battleworld and it looks to be something quite special.
Script: Al Ewing
Pencils: Paco Medina (Thomas Labourot)
Inks: Juan Vlasco (Thomas Labourot)
Colors: Dave Curiel (Guru-eFX)
Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino
Based off the hit free-to-play mobile game! Yeah, you read that right and to be honest I probably would’ve given this series a pass except for two things: Al Ewing’s scripting and it’s a really fun idea if you think about it. The Collector and the Maestro (evil Future Hulk) play an intricate game of gladiators on the shattered remains of Battleworld (spoiler!) using heroes from divergent universes. In this issue we see old-school Gamora going head to head with a Hydra-influenced Devil Dinosaur and Moon-boy while a British Punisher (Outlaw) faces down Joe Fix-It. It’s just a really fun time and Ewing does a good job of embracing the lunacy of the thing while keep the stakes serious. Medina provides strong solid character work and choreography. Meanwhile, Ewing and Labourot’s back-up gives us a bit of insight into one of the mysterious new players in this Contest. Contest of Champions looks to be a really fun time where you aren’t sure quite what’ll happen next. With light-continuity and a seemingly rotating cast of characters, the series is perfect for both long-term and casual readers.
Writer: Jay Faerber
Artist: Scott Godlewski
Colorist: Ron Riley
Letters: Thomas Mauer
After a lengthy delay, Copper head finally returns to wrap up it’s second story arc and year one as Sheriff Bronson and the remainder of her posse infiltrate the criminal hive of bastion to rescue Deputy Boo. The story is emotional tense and is wrapped up quieter than one would expect, but in a way that makes sense both for the current arc and in terms of long-term plotting. There are a couple of humorous moments pepper throughout that fit nicely. One flaw is that some of the dialogue tends to skew a bit heavy-handed in terms of “this thing just happened and here’s why it’s important and/or poetic” when really the plot had already show us enough. Other than that it’s a very satisfying conclusion. Godlewski and Riley continue to work wonders with line and color, setting the appropriate mood for the final stand off use hues and character expression. The series is moving to the Saga format (longer breaks between arcs so as to have those arcs not delayed) so don’t expect it to be around for awhile but look forward to when it returns.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art & Color: Jason Latour
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
The trend continues from last month in Southern Bastards, as this week we get a solo look at Deacon Boon, a hunter and deacon from Piney Woods who also works for Coach Boss, albeit with a vastly different operating style and motivations than Esaw. Aaron works his usual magic, weaving us an intricate tale of this conflicted man living in shades of gray and captivating the reader with a glimpse of true country living. Latour is stellar in this issue with the holy rollers’ use of a multitude of snakes and the scene on the river coming to mind. Even though Southern Bastards has been focusing more on this individual characters this arc, there’s pervading sense of excitement as the series builds to the big homecoming football game, which, if the series has been any indicator, will be nothing short of amazing.
BOOK OF THE WEEK
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artists: Filipe Andrade, Pepe Larraz & Ian Herring, Gary Choo, Bill Sienkiewicz
Color Artist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Now this is an ending. Thanos has arrived at the Shield. All is undone. It is glorious. Kieron Gillen crafts a wonderful climax as the valiant defenders of the Shield fight a losing battle and all hope is lost. Brand’s patented cynical narration definitely establish the series as NextWave but tragic. Seriously, every other page turn had me whispering “Wow” under my breath. Part of the reason for that is the art. Andrade’s main artwork gives the issue a haggard, exaggerated dynamic, with Thanos appearing massive compared to the other characters. The double-page spreads by Larraz & Herring, Choo, and Sienkiewicz are particularly fantastic, and each bring something different to the table. Siege was a hell of a ride, and, like all the best, it ends spectacularly.
So what did you pick up this week? Agree or disagree with anything said here? Let us know in the comments.