Last week we started a new weekly article wrapping up a selection of the previous week’s comic books. This is the second time we are putting together such a list so I thought I would give a quick reminder of how this works. There is one comic that is christened the comic of the week and is the first comic in the wrap up. The rest of the comics reviewed are given a score of buy, borrow, or pass. Those designations signify a recommendation on what one should do with the comic.
Old Man Logan #1 – Buy
Last week we had a lot of first issues from Marvel’s Secret Wars event and they fared pretty well. Unfortunately, that will not be the case this week. Fortunately, Old Man Logan #1 more than made up for the shortcomings of the rest of the event. Written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Andrea Sorrentino, Old Man Logan revisits the characters and world of the Mark Millar & Steve McNiven world in the mini series bearing the same name, but now against the backdrop of Battleworld. For the uninitiated it’s fairly straight forward. The actual old man named Logan is of course one Wolverine and it’s set in a time when Wolverine is quite old and grizzled and the entire world around him has fallen into a dystopian society. The original Old Man Logan was to Wolverine what The Dark Knight Returns was to Batman (in tone, not importance.) If you have not read the original Old Man Logan I highly suggest that you do, but that is not what this write up is about.
This story doesn’t give you much to work with but it works perfectly. Wolverine is old, grumpy, and more than willing to kill bad people. He finds an Ultron head. He decides he needs to investigate. It’s pretty straight forward but it is one of my favorite worlds to be included in Battleworld starring one of my favorite versions of one of my favorite characters, and has art that is next level good. Throughout this piece you will see me talk very highly of artists but don’t forget about this one. While there are aspects of art that I may not rate Sorrentino at the top of, the layouts and use of color is among the most fun stuff you will see published right now. It’s highly creative and unique and I can’t get enough of it. Sorrentino is an artist any writer would want because it makes their job that much easier. Go by this right now or I forbid you from reading my articles.
All-New Hawkeye #3 – Buy
All-New Hawkeye #3 is written by Jeff Lemire with Ramon Perez on art. The story has yet to grab me in the way that Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye did. It lacks some of that charm and character but it does feel like the same characters. The story follows Clint Barton and Kate Bishop as they are kind of on an adventure with some weird looking powerful kids and S.H.I.E.L.D. While all of this is going on we have a B story that follow Clint and his brother Barney as they are children who have run away and joined the circus. The art is really the stand out on this book as Ramon Perez is a simply divine cartooning talent. There is no way that Ramon Perez can put out enough art so every bit of it is enjoyable. It features a traditional style of pencil, ink, and colors on the A story and the panels for the B story appear to be more of a water color method in borderless panels. You should be reading this book and even if you don’t dig the writing, the art is worth the price of admission alone.
Deadly Class #13 – Buy
Deadly Class really should have been the comic of the week this week. It was close. Written by Rick Remender with art by Wes Craig, and Lee Loughridge on colors we pick up on the story of high school aged assassins who are being trained by an assassins guild. The last issue was action packed and fantastic and this issue kind of wrapped up the ongoing arc. I won’t detail the story because I don’t want to summarize the whole arc but let’s just say that as you are coming down off of the high from the action and start to slip into a comfort zone of transitioning into the new arc, the story stomps the accelerator and knocks you off balance. I don’t know what is going to happen in the next issue and I can’t decide if I am happy or sad about it.
Inferno #1 – Pass
Inferno is written by Dennis Hopeless who I loved on Avengers Arena and Avengers Underground. Unfortunately it feels more like his Cable and X-Force run than it does those, and I did not like what I read of that at all. I did not connect with the art by Javier Garron at all but Chris Sotomayor’s colors are nice. It’s not without talent. I just don’t care for it. It suffers from the same kind of problem as Nova (see below) but it feels like a lesser version of that. The story is about some of the X-Men, in Battleworld, in the midst of a remade story. It follows primarily follows Colossus as he seeks to save his sister from Limbo and blah blah blah I just don’t care. I might read the next issue just because I like Hopeless but don’t count on it. If you like the source material this may be right up your alley.
Infinity Gauntlet #1 – Borrow
Dustin Weaver is a phenomenal talent for the art world. I can’t think of anything I have looked at of his and not fallen in love with. He handles the art on this and helps with the story with Gerry Duggan who scripted the book. Weaver works in detail to a level that is insane and does it in a way that never feels overwrought. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a big Thanos story though as the big purple man with the funny chin does not show up until the end. The story didn’t really do anything for me which was a bit of a disappointment because I love the original Infinity Gauntlet story so much. I came in with high hopes and didn’t get what I’d hoped for. I’ll be sticking around for the next issue but the art can only carry me so far.
Inhumans Attilan Rising #1 – Borrow
Inhumans Rising is another Secret Wars tie in starring the Inhumans and apparently if there’s going to be an Inhumans book these days, Charles Soule is going to write it. He is joined by John Timms on pencils, Roberto Poggi on inks, and Frank D’armata on colors. The story was mostly forgettable and the art strangely enough had some things in common with my complaints about Nova (below) and Inferno (above). I didn’t love it but I do love Black Bolt and Medusa so I am probably ranking this higher than I should based on one image alone.
Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #12 – Buy
Iron Fist: The Living Weapon ends its run with this issue and it is a great final issue for a fantastic short run of a B level character. While Iron Fist’s star may be on the rise soon thanks to the upcoming Marvel/Netflix television show, he’s not there yet and unfortunately this is the kind of thing you expect from these types of characters. You get a short run that can’t justify a longer run due to sales but that does not mean that there are not moments where the right creative people or team put out a very good product (see Elektra, She Hulk, and Ghost Rider.) Kaare Andrews wrote and did the art on this book and it has been great from the jump. The art is insanely detailed and has lots of lines with a bit of a Euro vibe to it. While I like clean art with minimal lines, this comic does not feel like self indulgent line work. It’s just the right amount of line to give that detailed style while not being over worked. My only complaints would be that there have been portions in every issue where pages depicting the past had a faux old paper effect over the art and I think it took away from the art instead of adding to it but that is a small nit to pick with illustrations this strong. I won’t go into the story because like I said, this is the last issue. Just trust me and buy this entire collection in trade.
Nova #31 – Borrow
Nova is a book that I started buying when it was first launched by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness and I have stuck with it all the way through. This is a borrow because honestly I feel my interest waning. It’s now written by Gerry Duggan with pencils by David Baldeon, inks by Terry Pallot, and colors by David Curiel. The story and the character of Sam Alexander and family have been fun for the entire series but I just feel like it has been spinning its wheels for a while. The art is very good and cartoony. It reminds me of Nick Bradshaw on his run of Wolverine and the X-Men but there is something about it that just does not stick with me in the same way. I can’t put my finger on it, but it just does not resonate with me in the ways I want it to. I’ve probably stuck with this book more because of inertia that I should admit but it’s not bad. The word that keeps coming to my head is pedestrian. It’s an unfair term because this is better than pedestrian. The problem likely lies in that there are just so many great books coming out these days that anything less than great can start to feel like a chore. This issue wrapped up the long story of what happened to Sam’s dad and means that the next issue will probably bring about a fresher start.
Outcast #9 – Buy
Outcast from Robert Kirkman, Paul Azaceta, and Elizabeth Breitweiser has been very good. This is more of the same and seems to be getting better. Outcast is a story about demon possession and one man’s inexplicable power over the possessive spirits by physical touch. The story has already been woven with a great deal of depth with plenty of meat still on the bone. On top of that the art is simply breath taking. Azaceta’s art is inky and brushy and has a classic feel to it. When paired with Breitweiser’s color palette you’ve got one of the best looking books being published today.
Ragnarok #5 – Borrow
Ah Ragnarok. A good while back Walt Simonson wrote and drew a long run on Marvel’s Thor. Many would say it was and is the best run of Thor. Apparently in all that time Simonson did not get all of his Norse stories out of his system so he brought along Laura Martin to do colors and John Workman. Ragnarok is a Norse book published by IDW that seems to try to go out of its way to avoid being too close to Marvel’s Thor. The first issue started by following a female dark elf and her family only to eventually introduce Thor in the form of a Draugr. This story takes place across the 9 realms and is in the far future when all the gods are gone and things are really bad. I have loved every issue up until this one. This one was not bad but it was a little less compelling than previous issues. If I were a little more consistent I would probably have called this a buy because while it was not AS good you should buy it and all of the previous issues and the issues that are on their way. Walt Simonson is a classic artist and writer and this looks every bit as good as you might hope.
Secret Wars 2099 #1 – Pass
Honestly, I’m getting tired of writing and this was not interesting to me. I don’t care about 2099. I don’t care for Peter David’s writing. I did not like this art by Will Sliney. I just can’t. If you are really into Peter David or 2099 nonsense, it’s your call.
Secret Wars Journal #1 – Borrow
Secret Wars Journal #1 is split among 2 stories. The first story follows Kate Bishop (the female Hawkeye) and is set in the a medieval time (perhaps 1602?). The second follows a group of X-Men who are slaves and want to stand up against the Egyptian god Khonshu. Both stories were fun and the art on both were very good. I classify it borrow instead of buy because it feels like it could easily be skipped and feels a bit inconsequential.
Where Monsters Dwell #1 – Buy
Where Monsters Dwell is the last of the books I’ll talk about and again it is a Secret Wars tie in. Written by Garth Ennis with art by Russ Braun and colors by Dono Sanchez Almara, we receive a story set in a land that feels like the early 20th century, features a womanizing, scoundrel protagonist, a woman who is more than she seems, and a biplane flying amongst a sky full of Pteradons. It’s a fun story and is a great example of why we need Marvel and DC to keep their options open for different stories outside of the super hero genre, even if it has to happen in an alternate universe. The art is very good and there are pages where I can just sit and look at the facial expressions. The acting is phenomenal. This book really could have been the comic of the week. It was that good.