And the Shortest Review of 2015 Award goes to…
There is no need to make this review overly long, because it is simple. Does a neo noir thriller set in modern day Los Angeles about a turf war between Gabriel and Satan sound awesome?
Cuz it is, as evidenced by Lucifer #1.
Holly Beck (The Spiderwick Chronicles — yes, that book) and Lee Garbett (Batgirl) do a great job on the script and art respectively for this Sandman spin off title. It looks like Vertigo has another winner. 4/5 Satanic Bibles.
Yes, it is the time of Merry ol’ Christmas cheer where everyone is sitting by the fire in their ugly sweaters with families laughing and opening presents. Yeah, well, no better way to feel grateful for all you have then to read The Violent #1.
Taking place in our beloved Northern sister of Vancouver, Canada, Ed Brisson (Sheltered) and artist Adam Gorham‘s (Dead Drop) tale follows a pair of financially-struggling, recovering addicts with a little daughter in a very expensive city. Mason is just a few months out of prison for getting busted on a Breaking & Entering charge, while Becky — actually — lovingly waited a year for him to be released. They both have shit jobs that are not giving them nearly enough to get by, all the while they have to work on staying strong as a couple for Kaitlyn. To even make it tougher on them, Vancouver is filled with drunks n’ druggies who pull at their sobriety souls to try to bring them back down into the world of debauchery.
At first, I found it hard to have much sympathy for Mason. The character is written having that tough exterior where he broods around and deflects any kind of desire to let Becky emotionally in. But following a later scene with his co-worker, we discover how much he’s just defeated by the situation he is in; and doesn’t know how to have hope for the future. Mason reluctantly has to leave the house to meet his distraught co-worker at a bar while Becky is at work. He takes Kaitlyn with him and makes sure she’s properly bundled up for the cold outside. While panel must be seen to be believed, he one panel shows unconditionally his love for his daughter.
This book is not going to lift your spirits or even possibly make you feel good about the world we’re in, but Becky and Mason are two relatable good people who are just trying to get by. I’m rooting for them all the way and that’s what will have me continuing to read their story. 4.25/5 Bibles.
Already one issue down, I’m into this noir-ish indie title. While the vibe is very reminiscent of A History Of Violence (the graphic novel), there is a bit more substance here. Here, writer Ollie Masters (The Kitchen) concentrates more on the family dynamic between two parents with a past to hide, and a son who unwittingly sets a course for that past to come back in violent ways.
The setting, thankfully, is as far removed from suburbia, or a cityscape, as possible, being set in an Alaskan town. The art, by Tyler Jenkins (Neverboy, Proof), is also as far removed from A History Of Violence as possible, with a painted, watercolor-y palette, and most of the action occurring during the day. If anything, the length of this title is its detriment: at nearly 30 pages, and only four planned issues. Hopefully, there will be more emotion, not just plot-based exposition, and the depth of this first issue continues while straying as far from convention and cliche as possible. But only time will tell. 4.5/5 Alaskan Southern barbecues.
On paper, Scarlet Witch #1 is a book I should not like. I’ve never particularly cared for the character and I’ve never liked any of James Robinson‘s work. (Admittedly, I’ve never read Starman.) For those reasons, I went into this book fully expecting to hate it. Rarely have I been so wrong. The collaboration between Robinson (Fantastic Four, Justice League), Vanesa Del Rey (Constantine: The Hellblazer), Jordie Bellaire (Moon Knight, Captain Marvel) and David Aja (Immortal Iron Fist, Hawkeye) is absolutely masterful from top to bottom.
The story presents Wanda Maximoff as a magical investigator with a dark past. (strangely similar to the Netflix Jessica Jones series in a way.) It’s a direction I’ve never seen before for Scarlet Witch, yet makes total sense and also strangely compliments the more light-hearted magical book, Doctor Strange, in an interesting way. Del Rey’s pencils and Bellaire’s colors combine to set the tone for this story and bring it to life in a way I don’t think many other collaborators would. In particular, Bellaire’s choice to use bright colors only on whatever and whoever Wanda’s interacting with, leaving everything else in shades of grey adds perspective to how Wanda sees the world. All those factors combined with Aja’s cover creates an enjoyable experience from cover to cover that is unmatched by almost any other of the recent Marvel #1’s. 4/5 Exorcisms.
The man without fear is back! It’s been a few years in the life of Matt Murdock and he’s not alone. Yes, Foggy is still working in Hell’s Kitchen and dealing with Matt’s antics; but there is a new person in his life, to soak up the crazy life Murdock leads when he’s not behind his desk. Written by Charles Soule (She-Hulk) with art by Ron Garney (Wolverine), this new series is the kickoff for Daredevil in the All-New All-Different Marvel lineup. Daredevil #1 introduces a new character by the name of Blindspot. While he’s not blind like Matt, he does have his own special “power” that helps to give him an edge in battles. He’s younger and sort of reminds me of Spider-Man in his early days.
The new addition is interesting, but time will tell how much of the spotlight he takes. I don’t think it will be much, as the focus in this first issue still falls on Daredevil, and besides it wouldn’t be a Daredevil series if they moved the focus to someone else. Instead, I could see this being the starting point for Blindspot, with him eventually moving to his own series or joining into a group. Along with a sidekick, Matt also dons a new color scheme for his outfit, going a darker route with black and hints of red. I kind of like it, as each outfit design has a special place in DD’s history. It will definitely take some adjustment seeing DD teaching a sidekick though, as that is rather new.
Overall it’s a good comic– worth a check if you are a Daredevil or Marvel fan. The art is nice and fits the new attitude of Matt and his new master/apprentice sitation; having a darker look while keeping the action strong. I enjoyed Soule’s strong tone and direction as well. And yet although I’m not fond of Matt’s change in the field of law and attitude, I’m hopeful he’ll change his mind or at least work with Foggy again. 3.5/5 Bibles.
HAA-DUU-Kwhat the hell is going on here?! Street Fighter Unlimited #0 sets the stage for a new round of Street Fighting (don’t worry, I’ll try and keep the puns to a minimum here). Bonus! You get two stories for the price of one. Brought to us by writer Ken Siu-Chong and art by Edwin Huang (Story 1: The Unchosen One) and Julian Choy (Story 2: Delta Blue).
A tale as old as time, a group of recruits fight to see who is going to lead and BOOM! One becomes the master of fire AND ice. When do I get my powers? The (possible) new bad guy(s) in this story come from an unknown Cult where we see one of their own become leader and possibly a dissenter in the ranks. We also see Cammy in her barely-there-how is this army regulation skirt/bathing suit in action in the second story along with Ginzu and Abel fighting Necro in a beautifully drawn book. The story is, at parts, extremely dialogue heavy so don’t expect this to be a quick read, but it does make you understand why voice actors have to speak so fast. (There is no way that this could be read at a normal pace) and at other parts there is just awesome, kick ass ass-kicking. If you like UDON and Street Fighter, then who am I to tell you to not read this? If you are a new comer, you might want to wait for a trade paperback. 2.5/5 Kung-Fu Bibles.
The world so meticulously built by King God himself, Doom, is starting to fall apart around his armored ankles in this smashing issue eight. This second to the end finale has huge moments, as it should. Jonathan Hickman (The Red Wing, God is Dead) has one more issue before the end and he has thrown his hammer wielding gauntlet down. Doom is in trouble. Hulks are breaking down his walls, his massive barrier before the badlands has uprooted himself and the Thing is not happy, zombies are at his gates, a bug army is being led by Thanos and by the end the Richards — yes, there is two — have laid their own plan down. Doom is heading towards the end but even then Hickman paints King God Doom with still ridiculous power still to be tapped. This being just a precursor to the end it still has some huge massive titan falling battles. Even though the Marvel Universe has moved on, Hickman’s parting is still leaving chaos in his wake.
This issue would be as jaw dropping if not for the combined talents of Esad Ribic (House of M, The Crimson Nun) and Ive Svorcina’s (Starlight, Dexter) art. The team delivers brushstrokes and color pallets that capture the magnitude of the level of conflict that is coming. Though an epic cover showcasing the battle between big Ben and Galactus, it doesn’t do the flooring battle justice. This battle is a wonder to behold and would be award winning if in any indie book. Secret Wars #8 is ramping up to end one of the more enjoyable Marvel events in years. Yes, the Marvel Universe has practically forgotten about SW’s but this doesn’t stop the triple threat of Hickman, Ribic and Svorcina. If you have been following the series then you will enjoy this issue. 4/5 Big Ben’s Agree.