ALL-NEW WOLVERINE / BLACK CLOUD / HAWKEYE / THE IMMORTAL BROTHERS / FAITH / GODSHAPER / ROYALS [Reviews]: How, Valiant.
All New Wolverine #19 kicks off with Laura and her younger sister Gabby stealthily infiltrating the yacht of a human trafficker, it’s running along smoothly until a great big ball of fire illuminates the night exposing them to armed guards who open fire. This being a Wolverine story, the claws come out and appendages are removed. Turns out that great ball of fire is an alien ship carrying an alien girl as it crash lands on Roosevelt Island, unleashing a contagion into the air; Fury and SHIELD intervene cutting off the island from the rest of the world. Seems like this is a job for a mutant with extraordinary healing abilities.
Coming into this fresh-faced, I didn’t even know Laura had a sister, but I did enjoy their playful back and forth banter. It’s easy enough for the casual reader to get into, although it isn’t anything revelatory; Tom Taylor (Injustice: Gods Among Us, Earth Two) makes it accessible and doesn’t bog you down with backstory. Leonard Kirk’s (Supergirl, Witchblade) art is serviceable enough. All-New Wolverine #19 is a decent read; enjoyable, serviceable, but ultimately just another solid…if unremarkable…entry. 3/5 Bibles.
Jason Latour (Spider-Gwen, Winter Soldier) and Ivan Brandon (Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape, Secret Invasion) set up, in Black Cloud #1, the story of girl who was born in a dream world, but is on the run in our world from some unknown force. Now she’s selling brief visits to her home world as a form of drug, which was an interesting twist if ever there was one. The rich love it, and she makes a deal with mayor, that she never expected (and fellow readers might be pleasantly surprised by it as well).
Given the caliber of artist Brandon, colorist Matt Wilson’s (Thor, Paper Girls) palette and occasional lack of color make the whole issue seem like a dream of its own. I was nervous about where it was going in the first couple pages, but the story took that unexpected twist and kept me curious. I’ll give it a few issues to really hook me, as it seems like the sort of title that benefits from a slow build. Would like to see where this one might be going, and hopefully it’s somewhere interesting, as this title seems to be rife with potential. 3.5/5 Bibles.
More like “Yawneye”. Amirite?!
Jesus Christ.. Where to begin?
The Art : The coloring is just so.. BLAH. There is absolutely nothing special or nice about Hawkeye #5. It’s 2017; we, as an audience, have gotten used to a certain degree of Photoshop tricks and shading techniques that really make things pop. Everything here is so flat and uninspired that I had to double check if I was reading an Archie comic. The line work? Are you familiar with the word “lazy”? The book gives the impression that artist Leonardo Romero (Batman ’66, Doctor Who) forgot about the deadline up until two days before, and just sped through and spewed out…THIS. Details are barely there, whether it be background or foreground characters/items. Even in big panels, everything sorely lack detail and shading…I’ve seen storyboards that look leagues better than this.
The Story : Well…Jessica Jones is cool in it. Hawkeye, though, is written as a grating 12 year old. The ongoing investigation has too little information to tell if it’ll be interesting or not (so far, it’s not. Even if they try to force an interesting element near the end of read), since it’s establishing the dynamic between Jones and Hawkeye (Badass Vet/Excited Student). This is probably Kelly Thompson’s (Jem and the Holograms, A-Force) least impressive work regarding Hawkeye. 1/5 Bible.
Many years ago, a young naive Sean was trying to fill in issues he had missed out on back in the dark ages that was 1993. This knucklehead had purchased both back issues of Eternal Warrior #8 AND Archer & Armstrong #8 only to arrive home and realize that they were one in the same. A flipbook style ! I got bamboozled ! The book was by the one and only Barry Windsor Smith , so I really couldn’t complain too much . The issue was a retelling (not an adaptation) of Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. From Armstrong’s point of view, it actually happened to him and his brothers with Alexandre later changing the names and taking credit for the whole thing ! Valiant was ahead of the curve on the Musketeers by releasing this book a full nine months ahead of that Charlie Sheen & Kiefer Sutherland film which still holds up. But I digress…
Valiant is at it again! The Immortal Brothers: The Tale of the Green Knight (1-Shot!) has the three brothers this time inserted into King Arthur’s Court! The Eternal Warrior Gilad in the role of Gawain who takes up the rather unique challenge of the Green Knight’s Winter Game: Strike him down with his axe, and then the Green Knight shall return the exact same blow a year later! Gilad accepts the challenge on Arthur’s behest, then sets off on his journey to complete the quest. He consults The Lady in the Lake, the wizard Merlin (who’s really his time traveling brother Ivar) and even stops along the way to pick up their hard drinking loud mouthed trouble magnet brother Aram (Armstrong) before running into Morgan Le Fay!
Fred Van (Generation Zero, Incredible Hercules) Lente deftly weaves the Brothers (and other pieces of Valiant’s lore) into this tale from King Arthur Camelot including appearances by Valiant’s too-cute-for-words “It” couple Archer and Faith in a on-the-nose homage to The Princess Bride with a wraparound sequence drawn by Cary (Conan, X-O Manowar) Nord! Clayton (Exiles, Archer & Armstrong) Henry, Mark Morales & Brian (half the books at Valiant) Reber handling the rest of the tale. Now did this “really” happen in the Valiant Universe ? Well when it comes to Aram Armstrong’s tall tales and alcohol soaked brain, one never knows for sure. But never let the truth get in the way of a great story ! What this is, is a blast to read with beautiful art that keeps up with the tradition that BWS started back in 1993. You can’t go wrong with anything that Valiant has put out since its rebirth in 2012, this book included. 4.5/5 Beheaded Knights.
This is my first issue of FAITH, so of course the creative team will have done more set-up work with the characterization that I’m not privy to, but here’s your walk-in new-reader review. This is a fun book with a likable hero. The tone is reminiscent of early eighties Marvel books that didn’t take themselves too seriously. We see our protagonist in action, a bit of her civilian life, and the set-up of her enemies conspiring against her. It’s entertaining enough. Faith grew up loving pop culture, so we get a Yoda-in-flashback allusion and a topical reference to CW shows that make perfect sense. She’s even probably seen La La Land and goes to the Griffith Observatory for her own magical moment.
There’s nothing wrong with this issue per se; it didn’t really grab me, which is the most crucial goal of any serial publication. I don’t particularly care what happens in FAITH #11. I’m sure it will be competently done, as was this issue, but there wasn’t a hook that made me invested in either the lead, or her antagonists (whose characterizations fail to transcend their peculiar set-ups). Yes, alien hive-mind and telepathic cat and cosplayer mouse and superhero-actor evil mastermind sound interesting and quirky enough, but who are these people? I will allow that events in other issues might make me care more, but what’s in this single alone does not. While the general idea of this series is interesting, it needs a little bit more narrative weight to pull at least me in for the next installment. 2.5/5 Cornering Bugbears.
I’m not going to lie- this coming had an interesting premise, and I was excited to jump in and read it. Godshaper #1, written by Simon Spurrier (Judge Dredd, Punisher War Journal) presents an interesting concept. In the 1950’s, power and all other things that make America great were suddenly gone…and were replaced by personal gods. Everyone has their own god to do things for them, except a rare few who are lack gods and instead have the ability to shape the gods of others. The main character, Ennay, is a god shaper by day and a musician by night.
I wanted to like this book. The art, by Jonas Goonface (best last name ever!) is solid. The gods all kind of resemble Slimer from Ghostbusters, in a god way. It makes them realtive, and familiar. Even the god without a person looks like the stereotypical ghost that every kid learns to draw, and it makes sense. He wanders, haunts. It works. But I just couldn’t get completely into the story. Maybe it’s my vacation mode brain, or the problem of digital versus paper – when Ennay turned into a rocker and was working the crowd, I had a hard time telling it it was current time, flashbacks, or what, and it took me out of the story. The main character is wearing 2 different outfits and I spent way longer than I wanted to trying to separate the trains of thought the character speaks. Once he meets up with a disgraced Sargent, the lingo took a while to get used to, as did her issue. If Godshaper can continue to build upon this unique and distinctive world it’s writer has developed, I think it’s worth giving it a shot. 3/5 Ectoplasmic Entities.
El Art : An explosion of colors, shot out of a cannon. I love how vibrant everything is. The linework does a pretty good job of keeping up as well, with a sharp style that fits well. It would’ve been great to have seen it showcased more in some action panels, but it’s very much a “set-up” focused issue.
The Story : … Is decidedly NOT as popping as the artwork. I mean, it’s not horrible. It’s just not great. It’s serviceable. I get it, you’re setting up what’s to come, but up until that last panel, I had little to no interest in seeing where this was going and their hunt to find out who they are…were…Whatever. Also, Marvel Boy is an annoying little Marvel Bitch. 2.5/5 Bibles.