Happy Sunday once again! You know what the end of the weekend means, don’t you? That’s right: COMIC REVIEWS via our very own Sunday Night Stash! We’ve got the hottest title from the hottest publishers ready to review, and we’ve going to let you know which ones (if any) are worth your time and money! A lot of crossovers and events this time out, starting with DC Comics’ current event, so let’s get right to it…
The fourth issue (of six) of the crossover Event Leviathan series deals with the fallout of Superman getting in the middle of the confrontation between Amanda Waller and Leviathan in Cuba. It also gets in to the heads of the other assembled detectives (Green Arrow, Plastic Man, Manhunter, etc.), as a few of them get tired of being asked to leave the room whenever Bats, Supes or Lois has an issue. The voices here are a bit closer to how the characters should come across, and the pacing of this issue is a touch better than the last issue. However, writer Brian Michael Bendis‘s decision of having the action beats take place in flashbacks completely robs the immediacy and tension of the story. This would work in an ongoing series, but in an event comic, it kills the narrative nearly dead in the water. Nearly all is forgiven though with the surprise last page reveal of Lois’ own side investigation into the events and who she’s contacted for help.
Artist Alex Maleev has been on fire from jump. I really dig his renderings of a few of these costumes, and the facial expressions sometimes tell a story all on their own. His action is great as well, but we rarely get enough of it to really sink our teeth into; it seems more like it’s whetting our appetite than giving us a full course. This story has done enough to keep me reading, but I am really waiting to be wowed…or waiting on a Green Arrow or Manhunter series by Bendis & Maleev. 3.25/5 Bibles.
With the Discovery flung 930 years into the future and forever scrubbed from the annals of Starfleet history, what happened between the ship entering the wormhole and the four months between Spock’s return to the Enterprise? That’s what Star Trek Discovery: Aftermath writers Kirsten Beyer and Mike Johnson and artist Tony Shasteen intend to explore.
Shasteen’s art is the best part of this first issue, with his brooding, bearded Spock being perhaps the best element here. Beyer and Johnson’s script captures the spirit of Discovery, which is greatly helped by Beyer being one of the show’s writers. The book suffers from the same issues as the show; the Spock/Burnham relationship dynamic is a bit of a hindrance. Much like most of season two was focused on Spock before he actually appeared, Spock spends the majority of his panel-time (until Pike shows up at his family home) thinking and talking about Burnham; granted, he has good reason, with it barely being a month since her disappearance, but it still feels like a bit of the same old, same old. Hopefully future issues will flesh out their relationship a bit better, and give at least Spock some personality of his own. 3/5 Brooding Spock Beards.
Sometimes a comic book is an odd sort. You get a book that, on the surface, isn’t anything special and then you get to the end and the whole thing cinches to a perfect close. Writer Mark Russell’s story mirrors his writing; the whole ‘Year of the Villain’ centers on Lex Luthor giving villains “power ups”, which is interesting. In this issue, we see The Riddler complaining to King Tut that he didn’t get a gift from Lex and he is one of Batman’s top rogues. He is the Riddler, how dare Lex ignore him. While Nygma and Tut plot a new plan, Lex visits Riddler and offers him a gift of self-reflection. The story ends with Batman beating Tut, and Riddler surprising Batman by walking out of his own plot and basically saying “eff it” and taking off his signature hat and coat and walking out.
The art and colors by Scott Godlewski and Marissa Louise, respectively, works spectacularly in this issue. It’s a very bright and crisp issue considering this very well could have been taken in a darker, noir-esque style. I hate that I can’t put my finger on what bugs me about this issue: maybe it’s the fact that this feels more like it belongs in the back of a comic, and shouldn’t be a full issue. It was a really good issue and it brings a lot to light on what makes the Riddler tick, and it was hilarious seeing King Tut’s restaurant/Sphynx-style house; but while it’s a good one-shot, I don’t know if it warrants its own issue. 3/5 Riddle-filled Bibles.
Marc Spector (aka Moon Knight) is back this time out with a one-shot annual, which segues nicely with the Acts of Evil event that’s weaving itself through several Marvel titles. Here, Kang the Conqueror is tripping through time itself, searching for three artifacts connected to the god Khonshu, hoping to eradicate not just Moon Knight, but all of the heroes of the universe in one fell swoop. Seeping and expansive, this issue fun, while not seriously carrying the sort of weight that typically holds up the Moon Knight titles as of late.
Writer Cullen Bunn keeps the action brisk, not really stopping the action once it gets going, and goes to some bizarre places, as Kang constantly shifts through time, encountering various different versions of Moon Knight throughout history. Here, Moon Knight is singularly focused, which leaves slightly more to be desired, as he’s usually at his thematic best when exploring his psychosis and mental issues (his brief conversation with Frank Castle in the most recent Punisher comic does considerably more work in showing how “off” Spector is). The art by Ibrahim Mustafa doesn’t quite have its own personality, not the way Greg Smallwood created during Jeff Lemire‘s terrific run from just a few years ago, but it lacks anything distinct that makes it crackle. It’s a small quibble, but the designs of the Moon Knights throughout history was a fun touch (the cowboy one doing a lot with the little page-time he has).
If Kang grows into a larger threat during the Acts of Evil arc, then this might be essentially reading, otherwise, you can skip this if you want. It doesn’t feel too Earth-shattering, and the “keep your faith, no matter what” theme seems like an odd one to place into a Moon Knight comic, but it’s nice to have a comic expressing SOME sort of subtext. 3/5 Scarab Icons.