AMERICA / GRASS KINGS / RAT QUEENS / GREEN ARROW / COSMIC SCOUNDRELS [Reviews]: Pledging Allegiance.
America #1 is an intriguing first ish from Gabby Rivera (the YA novel, Juliet Takes A Breath) about a young Latina girl with superpowers–who happens to be a lesbian–navigating her way in a world where she sits opposite many of her counterparts. Breaking out in Ultimates 2, America Chavez is forced to start her new life amd school alone, after her girlfriend backs out of rolling with her cross-country. This poignant moment nicely sets up America’s new journey of discovering just how deep her powers go.
My favorite aspects of this comic, besides the obvious chance Marvel took at reaching out to the LGBTA community through America #1‘s realistic modern-day setting (that also includes the admiration of children), is Chavez’ urban nature. She speaks with slang! I swear that when I saw the BOOM BAP frame, I instantly thought Hip-Hop which reflects America’s attitude and swag. Lastly, our hero-at-hand hits the travel button and suddenly finds herself the middle of WWII with Captain America leading the battle, jumping right into the thrall–delivering a nice blow to Hitler. I wanted the artwork of Joe Quinones (Howard the Duck) to have more detail, as I found it a tad underdeveloped and kiddish in relation to the content. Otherwise, this is one America we can be proud of. 3.5/5 Bibles.
***OUT WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9!***
I’ve been flipping comic book cover slick since 1976, and I can unequivocally profess that BOOM! Studios new title, Grass Kings #1, is absolutely one of the worst titles I have ever read in over 40 years. I’d be gouging my own orb slots vitreous humor-free right now to stop the burning, if I had an icepick within nimble reach-around.
Matt Kindt’s (Mind MGMT, Unity, Ninjak) clumsy story–which initially conveys a seemingly 1950s-esque, racist interpretation of indigenous people of North America as nothing more than eagle-feather-and-loincloth-wearing-injuns-living-in-teepees-who-club-one-another-into-tomohawkdom–is rather offensive; and continues to be so, as the tale transitions into a modern-day, inbred-laden-whitebreaded-boneheadedness that hints at some kind of impending Hatfield-and-McCoyism to come. With hillbilly coppers and killers as cousins. The story would’ve been far better off without one solitary word whatsoever.
Tyler Jenkin’s (Peter Panzerfaust, Neverboy) imagery is so slipshod-and-slapdash, that I’m reminded of the chicken-scratch caricaturing often found in the margins of the spiral notebooks of my friends and I from junior high school; and his weak attempt with watercolors to enhance his vision, only bleeds it all the more wishy-washy-down-the-drainplug. Jim Campbell’s (Grimm Fairy Tales, Wonderland) lettering is the industry-standard, seen-it-and-read-it-all-here-before. You might be better off reading a stick-figure-illustrated Kama Sutra accompanied with Mad Lib-style dirty limericks. Do yourself a favor with this rag, and wipe the corn kernels out with it before you projectile-Boom-Studihole this pulp with Granpappy’s shotgun, into smitherrhea. 0.5/5 Blades of Grass, Gash, or Slash.
The second volume of Rat Queens #1 is cute. That’s the best word I could possibly use to describe it. It’s kind of like somebody had a really weird game of Dungeons and Dragons going while watching Buffy, and then they were interrupted by their older brothers’ D&D group. As with most first issues of a quirky nature, there isn’t much story, but a ton of character development. I do enjoy Owen Gieni‘s use of bright colors and super angled lines to make the frames jump out at you, and Kurtis J. Wiebe‘s dialogue is very Whedonesque. While this combination made for a fun read, it also seemed to distance myself from the narrative and not care about another issue. 2.5/5 Bibles.
As a Roy Harper fan I really enjoyed this issue. Getting to enjoy the lighter moments of his and Oliver’s past was a fun contrast to the serious, political conflict they are currently facing. Benjamin Percy (Teen Titans) does an excellent job of painting a clear picture of complexity and depth of the relationship between Ollie and Roy. The artwork from Eleanora Carlini (Batgirl) is well done, but there are some panels that come off flat from a lack of background. I love that it gives the perfect background for the current struggles between the 2 heroes; “The Return” is an arc that seems like it may be a redemption story for Roy. 4/5 Arrows.
Writing must be really hard. The best evidence for this is anything like Cosmic Scoundrels #1 by IDW. That isn’t to say that it looks like Matt Chapman’s struggling with getting the job done in this comic, more to say that he seems to just completely released his creative valve and hits you with irreverent, yet silly, genre-poking humor from every angle. How much you appreciate CS will determined by how much you can wade through 5 or 6 jokes to get to one that you really like without getting annoyed with the tone.
The quirk, snark, and every other type of joke, is relentless. There’s a lot of standard sci-fi parody fare here: weird names, quirky heroes dispatching bad guys in quirky ways, and non standard for the genre body fluid humor. Andy Suriano brings the comedy to the art, as much as one can, with the exaggerated movements and expressions done with rough first draft level detail. It isn’t pretty, but can sometimes be funny. Overall if you like Adult Swim humor that operates with the same kinetic energy as late 90s, early 00s Nickelodeon shows you should give this a shot. It won’t blow your mind, but you might enjoy it as you pass the time. 2.75/5 Bibles.