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…
New Avengers #6
Artist: Gerardo Sandoval (Phil Noto, Mark Bagley)
Inker: (Scott Hanna)
Color Artist: Dono Sanchez Almara
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Billy Kaplan battles a literal inner demon while the rest of the team battles him and themselves from the year 20XX. It’s an even-numbered issue of New Avengers which means that every problem from last issue is pretty much wrapped up in this one. One could argue that the reason Moridun exists is due to the machinations of the Maker, who is arguably the main antagonist of the series, but, without a strong presence the past few issues, it’s hard to feel like this series is anything but disjointed despite the fact that this arc plays off the previous one. Evil Reed Richards isn’t the only person who feels like a non-entity. Half of the team only show up to deliver a line or two and Hawkeye could have been removed from this issue entirely and the reader would be none the wiser. The art receives a breath of fresh air, thanks to Phil Noto and Mark Magley guesting on pencils. Noto’s scenes are rife with stunning visuals and character work while Bagley and Hanna ably provide the lovely home-grown realism that their pages call for. Sandoval pages remain Sandoval pages. Honestly, at this point, I’m considering dropping the book, but the next issue is a White Tiger spotlight, so I guess they’ve got me for one or two more.
All-New Wolverine #5
Writer: Tom Taylor
Art: David Lopez & David Navarrot
Color Art: Nathan Fairbairn
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
In order to save her clones from an early death, X-23 will have to destroy the nannies killing them from the inside. But, to do that, she’s going to need a little help from Janet Van Dyne, also known as the former Avenger: Wasp. Taylor gives us an issue that, while serious in execution, is entertaining thanks to the no-nonsense approach. The script wisely eschews the typical team-up formula by having the two parties talk things out rather than resulting to an all-out scrap. The Davids on art continue to impress, with deft character expressions and a wonderful sense of timing and framing. Wolverine’s first arc has been something of a World Tour, an entertaining jaunt that looks to come to a violent conclusion soon.
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Veronica Fish
Color Artist: Ian Herring
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Betrayed and alone, Silk must fight her way out of the Goblin Nation base, except every gob knows she’s there. This should be one of the stronger issues of Silk, but, thanks to overbearing narration and questionable plot choices, it’s actually one of the weakest. Thompson lays on Cindy’s quirky voice a little too thick and it often distracts from the tension of the scene. At one point, Silk is rescued by the mysterious ghost-guy who showed up in the first issue, but when it looks like he’s a bit overwhelmed and Cindy says she doesn’t want to leave him in a bad way, she then leaves the scene and tracks down a library and starts reading a book. Admittedly, this is to gather more info on the gang (one of her other goals) but one would think that saving the nameless hero would be a bit more pressing. The art sees newcomer Veronica Fish step-in on pencils which makes for a pretty good improvement for the title. Her lines are crisp and classic-looking and fit in with the book’s overall aesthetic, thanks in large part to Ian Herring’s consistent colors. It’s a bit of a rough patch for Silk this week, but one that’ll hopefully be smoothed over next issue.
The Ultimates #4
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Kenneth Rocafort
Color Artist: Dan Brown w/ Kenneth Rocafort
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Leading his team of Ultimates into the Neutral Zone, Adam Brashear comes face to face with some entities from his past and gets a bit more than he bargained for. Ewing gives us a script that’s mainly Blue Marvel backstory, but it has enough emotional heft to make it a good tale. Ewing has the character down pat which lends itself well when Adam is the focus of the narrative. While the other members of the team don’t get much play, such a sacrifice is understandable and more palatable given Ewing’s stellar track record on THIS title. Rocafort and Brown are all-stars and compliment each other perfectly. Even though the majority of the issue’s super scenes are just objects in space, the dynamic lines and colors are enough to make it feel incredible. Further, the use of negative space throughout is a refreshing hallmark of the title. Ultimates wisely uses its fourth issue to build the arc and ramp up the stakes and threats going forward.
Ms. Marvel #4
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Nico Leon
Color Art: Ian Herring
Lettering: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Kamala’s life is pretty busy. She’s Ms. Marvel, Jersey City’s resident hero whose also part of the Avengers now. She’s also a high school student (which is probably more stressful) and her brother is getting married. So, yeh, a lot on Kamala Khan’s plate right now. Wilson starts this new storyline with a script that’s rife with humor but doesn’t scrimp on the action. Much of the funny book’s funny comes from the multiple set-ups Wilson engages that pay off wonderfully. Sure, many of them are classic sitcom stuff, but the voices and environment’s feel fresh enough to make them entertaining despite the fact that you’ve probably seen them a million times before. Nico Leon steps in on art and his style gels nicely with the title. His actions scene are fluid and his timing is great. His penchant for sight gags only add to the book’s quality. Despite all the chaos in her life, Ms. Marvel’s track record remains strong.
The Autumnlands #9 BOOK OF THE WEEK
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Benjamin Dewey
Color Art: Jordie Bellaire
Lettering: John Roshell & Jimmy Betancourt of Comicraft
After being rescued by the sheep people (literally sheeple) last issue, Dusty and Learoyd get confirmation that something strange is happening on the mountain, causing woe to the surrounding inhabitants. Busiek knocks another one out of the park this week, thanks to an action-lite script that’s flourishing with wonderful dialogue and character work. The protagonists’ interaction with the people of the sheeptown highlight and deepen the growing rift between the two as their natures are at odds. Meanwhile, the multiple crowd scenes and complex scenery allow Dewey and Bellaire to gloriously shine. Every panel is a visual feast, particularly the ones that involve the, er, feast. Despite the delays, The Autumnlands remains one of the best books on the shelves cover to cover.
So what did you pick up this week? Agree or disagree with anything said here? Let us know in the comments.