MONSTERS UNLEASHED / THE MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL / DIVINITY III / JLA – THE RAY REBIRTH [Reviews]: You Say You Want a Revolution?!
Happy weekend, fellow geeks. We’ve got a lot going on here, not just at GodHatesGeeks, but just in general! That doesn’t mean we can’t take a bit of a breather and enjoy the newest titles to be released in the next few days, reviewed by some of our great writers! Our Saturday Night Stash sees the return of some old Marvel Comics, DC Rebirth continues to knock them out of the park, and we get into some speculative, alternate-history type work, care of Valiant Comics.
Let’s get right on into it, shall we?
The Marvel Universe is ending once again, but this time it’s the monsters from the classic era of Marvel that have returned. Yes, it is another event book! No, it isn’t like the last half a dozen full of heroes fighting heroes! From the pen of Cullen Bunn (Night of the Living Deadpool), Monsters Unleashed begins as a look around the world when building size monsters land on Earth and the worlds heroes launch to save the day. This leads to multi-page spreads that paint across the screen like a Hollywood big blockbuster film; but the real story deals on the smaller end when a child artist seems to be in communication with them all.
From the get, this first ish doesn’t operate like the normal traditional crossover; all the heroes are in it, but they are spread around the world fighting their own battles. From page one the art is gorgeous and draws you in; Steve McNiven (New Avengers), and Jay Leisten (Iron Man) showcase once again why they are some of the best in the business. These massive battles are huge in scope, but pristine in flow. Along with David Curiel’s (TMNT) pallete of colors exploding across the page this book beautiful. The beauty of this crossover, is for once we see something we haven’t seen before. This is not just another rebranded shitshow crossover gimmick. The monster fighting is a blast! I’m sure the MU series won’t win an Eisner Award, but you will finish the book reminiscing of old monster movies and when comics gave you childish joy. 4/5 Monsters Agree!
Carol Danvers.. after the events of Civil War II.. is in dire need of an image overhaul. YA Writer Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures), along with artist Ramon Rosanas (Astonishing Ant-Man) take the reins in this new series following the captain. So how does it fare?
Danvers finds herself in a position of power–and also in a position of celebrity. The comic opens with the filming of an episode of her new “Captain Marvel” TV series, of which she humorously mocks during the opening panels. The good news here is that comic newcomer Stohl has a pretty good grip on Danvers as a character, and also the supporting characters around her. Rosanas’ art is consistently great from beginning to end and works in complementing the story its given. The issue’s main fault is with the actual story, though. The comic feels like it was written by a first time comic writer, as it’s jumpy, convoluted, and jarring at times, and its progression doesn’t feel exactly organic. After a gang of exposition for the first 3/4 of the comic, it finally takes a turn for more interesting territory. But as far as first issues go, this one falls kind of flat. I’m stil interested to follow the progression of this series, even if its first issue feels like it tripped over itself coming out of the gate. 2.5/5 Bibles.
Have you ever wondered what Iron Man would be like if he was a robotic flunky working for the KGB? If you have, then Joe Harris’s (Snowfall, The X-Files) Divinity III- Aric-Son of the Revolution is the comic for you. The comic reimagines the last 100 years of history; Stalin replaces Lenin and as a result the USSR dominates World War II and takes over all of Europe–and basically the world. With a suit heavily reminiscent of IM (the cover art looks like the love hild of Tony Stark and the Rocketeer), this hero works on command for the Soviet leaders, and, to protect them, follows the big bad through a rift into another dimension.
As a reader, though, it was a bit disappointing at this turn of events, because re-imagined history is always fascinating, but dark world monsters are a dime a dozen. For the initial setting alone, and art by David Lafuente (Hellcat, Ultimate Spider-Man), however, it’s worth giving issue 2 a chance. 2.75/5 Iron Helmets.
DC’s Rebirth line has been pretty much on track as of late and most of the reintroductions have been excellent. In this one-shot penned by Steve Orlando (Supergirl, Batman), we learn about the origin of one of the more obscure DC superheroes The Ray (AKA Ray Terrill). He’s an unlucky boy who is allergic to light—when he is exposed to it he has strange and often dangerous reactions to it. Of course, this leads to him developing special powers which he eventually uses to fight injustice. This story does jump around in time quite a bit and almost serves as Cliff Notes to his character. I wasn’t very familiar with The Ray so it was a learning experience for me. The art by Stephen Byrne (Serenity, Trick R Treat) is fantastic with many of the panels awash in cool blues only to be punctuated with bright yellow light when Ray is using his powers. It’s a cool little contrast and makes the action scenes exciting and dynamic. Justice League of America: The Ray Rebirth #1 is a perfect place to start for new and old fans of the character. 4/5 Bibles.