A weekly column in which Jake gives short blurbs about the comics he’s picked up that week. Reviewed in the order read, which varies but generally by increasing anticipation. Disclaimer: he knows very little about art, at least not enough to considerably honor such tremendous undertakings, so…yeh, there’s that.
Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor #1
Writer: George Mann
Artist: Emma Vieceli
Letterer: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Here by popular demand (in more ways than one it would seem), the little-seen Eighth Doctor’s adventures continue in the funny pages. Ostensibly before his more haggard rendition in Night of the Doctor, Paul McGann’s short-lived portrayal is of a brighter sort, certainly more so than the current Twelve. After having a multitude of adventures (found in non-comic books and audio plays, Number Eight returns to Earth and of course runs into another adventure, this time featuring a young woman and her living paintings. It’s a very enjoyable one-off adventure and certainly a satisfactory first issue from George Mann, who’s written the Doctor before. The dialogue is light and quick and the pacing is done well. The art is where the book really shines, thanks to Vieceli’s pencils and Hi-Fi’s colors. The duo combine extremely well, particularly when it comes to the latest companion, Josie, who’s unique features come off as whole and beautiful, rather than garish. Thanks to this, and expert plotting by Mann, the Eighth Doctor’s latest adventures should appeal to fans both old and new.
Writers: CM Punk & Cullen Bunn
Artist: Scott Hepburn
Color Artist: Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
On hiatus from his Guardians of the Galaxy companions, Drax the Destroyer resumes his lifelong quest: destroying Thanos. One problem: he has no idea where to start. Writers CM Punk and Cullen Bunn craft a more madcap tale than one expects, eschewing a major focus on over-the-top violence that one would expect with the character (though there is a bit at the start and more will likely come later). The series is more in line with Scottie Young’s Rocket Raccoon than say Ennis’s Punisher, which I suppose is a good fit for the line overall. Their Drax is a bit more expressive than the movie version and certainly more so than the previous comics version, but it’s a new universe so they can do as they please. The shift certainly isn’t unwelcome, particularly if the mean, green Destroyer is going to be helming a solo book for any extended time. This outlook makes Hepburn’s art a perfect fit, as his lines are delightfully exaggerated and cartoonish. Hepburn has a flair for both comedic timing and expression which should serve the series well going forward. Drax looks to be a fun comic going forward, one that goes in an enjoyable, albeit slightly different direction.
Survivors’ Club #2
Writers: Lauren Beukes & Dale Halvorsen
Artist: Ryan Kelly
Colorist: Eva De La Cruz
Letterer: Clem Robins
The grim get grimmer as the members of the Survivors’ Club try to unravel the mysteries behind
Akheron and a mysterious killer stalks the group. Beukes and Halvorsen keep the juices flowing in the second issue, spinning new threads and continuing previous ones. There’s also an astonishing amount of character work done in just one issue, as we get a better feel for the protagonists and what their deal is. Kelly again works wonders with what he’s given, managing subtlety in a splash page and providing excellent character expression. Special mention should go to Robins’s choice of balloon design for the villainous Mr. Empty. While it is certainly camp, it appears to fit the theme of the character and the story rather well. While primarily more set-up and establishing, events are set in motion that should have some wonderful and horrible payoffs next issue.
Contest of Champions #2
Script: Al Ewing
Pencils: Paco Medina
Inks: Juan Vlasco
Colors: David Curiel
Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino
This week on Contest of Champions, fan-favorite Ares enters the fray and we get a closer look at the other side of the field as well as some more sinister soliloquies by the Maestro. It’s a fun issue, thanks in large part to Ewing’s ability and penchant to embrace the madcap and run with it. While the majority of the issue feels like a fight (which one has to expect from such a title), it’s one that allows us to get a better look at the characters and their motivations and thus serves a purpose beyond showing us how awesome Paco Medina is at drawing fights. The art team is the perfect fit for a book where superpowered beings constantly throw down as the action and figures are weighty and the choreography is particularly great. While revelation of the opposing team is little more than “here are the bad guys” in terms of character choice, it will make for a more focused effort on the Collector’s team of protagonists. CoC continues to entertain, just as a gladiator should.
The Woods #17
Writer: James Tynion IV
Illustrator: Michael Dialynas
Colors: Josan Gonzalez
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
The kids continue to not be alright as Isaac grapples with a terrifying vision and Calder and the others try to thwart his brother’s dastardly and disastrous plan. Tynion wisely gives us a flashback into the evolution of Isaac Andrews that directly ties into the decision he’s forced to make in a wonderfully creepy sequence by Dialynas and Gonzalez. The latter have a lot to play with in this issue, not only in the macabre vision of Issac but also in the numerous crowd scenes that the handle with aplomb. Tynion’s dialogue is on point, perhaps even approaching on fleek levels when it comes to Calder’s underhanded dialogue with his brother. Rapidly approaching the end of the arc, the Woods proves again why it’s one of the best stories on the market.
BOOK OF THE WEEK
The Vision #1
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Welcome to the creepiest entry on the list this week. The Vision, synthezoid Avenger based off the brain patterns of Wonder Man, has recently purged his memories of their associated emotions in order to keep his processing system from essentially not crashing. His next step: create a family of synthezoids and try to live a life as normal American citizens. Why? Dunno but the results are delightfully unnerving. King takes us through the first few days of the Visions’ civilian life and already the cracks are beginning to show. Vision has unexplainable night terrors, his wife Virginia has an unhappy, ponderous home life, and their children, Viv and Vin, have to go to high school. Throughout all this, King’s wonderfully deadpan narration follows us along, delivering creeping horror without a trace of emotion. The art further enhances this quality. Walta, fresh off his incredible work on the always enjoyable Magneto, has less fanciful fare to work with but delivers an incredible amount of unease in every panel that’s difficult to pinpoint. His facial work is to be lauded, as he makes the Visions seem simultaneously endearingly human and wholly alien and the mix is incredible. On colors, superstar Bellaire also doesn’t work with anything bombastic, presenting a rather muted affair. The decision is a conscious one, it allows the unease to spread to every aspect of the page. The Vision is a phenomenal work, and one that creates a significant amount of depth. A bit different than your normal Marvel fare, it is certainly a welcome and refreshing change of story.
So what did you pick up this week?
Agree or disagree with anything said here?
Let us know in the comments.