LEVIATHAN DAWN / FANTASTIC FOUR – GRIMM NOIR / THE PLUNGE / JEAN GREY & EMMA FROST [Comic Reviews]: Giant-Size Sunday Stash.

Rob Deep Maldonado
@deep2hb
LEVIATHAN DAWN #1 – DC Comics

I haven’t felt the imminent threat of a spy organization to the heroes of the DC UNIVERSE since Maxwell Lord had Superman go buck wild on the Justice League, until Wonder Woman violently intervened, as also planned by Maxwell Lord. Writer Brian Michael Bendis is trying to have an impact on the DCU like AJ Styles did on Smackdown, but he’s fizzling like the OC. Oh no, a Mark has infiltrated the fanboy reviews.

Alex Maleev made Leviathan Dawn look like the episode of Flight of the Conchords when Jermaine visits Bret as different phases of David Bowie’s career. Kingsley portrayed as Jareth from Labyrinth, and Mark is 1993 Bowie. Though I’m tired of the British lingo trying to be cute in comics, I enjoyed Kingsley establishing a new Checkmate with F-list characters, and the Green Arrow. Bones is always comical. This book was more fun to look at than read. 2/5 Bibles.

-Rob Maldonado




“Reverend” Ryan Ford
@nayrdrof
FANTASTIC FOUR: GRIMM NOIR #1 – Marvel Comics

The pulpy, yellow-paged novels of the early 20th century — with no-nonsense tough guys like Sam Spade or Mike Hammer — gave rise to a distinctive style of storytelling that translated to visual mediums masterfully. With danger in the darkness, sinister shadows around every corner, and over-the-top narration speaking thoughts through unmoving lips, I’m talking about noir. In the Marvel comic world (or Earth 90214), this stylization has worked wonders on certain characters like Spider-man and the Punisher. For the Blue Eyed Thing? Not so much…

The problem with Grimm Noir #1 is not necessarily in the storytelling, per se, but it does have issues. Writers Ron Garney and Gerry Duggan do well at tapping in to the stream of consciousness that is Ben Grimm as his personality lends itself to the perfunctory voice overs that accompany a noir tale, nailing the dialogue at every turn.

What does fall a little short is the composition as a whole. The issue felt like a one-off with very limited stakes, relying on the assumption that there is a greater threat down the road. However, very few, if any, seeds have been planted to see the forest for the trees. Serialized stories often imply cliffhangers at the end of an installment to kept readers anxious for the next episode a month later. This book had absolutely none of that, with the exception of an ambiguous image on the final page.

Speaking of imagery, that is another point of contention. Artist Matt Milla does tremendous work, don’t get me wrong. The pencil work is fantastic, vibrantly detailed and a joy to see. The color palate, on the other hand, was slightly askew for the story being told. Intense use of white and black, maybe a shade or 50 of grey, would have made more of an impact than the muted and subdued hues actually used. For instance, had the story been in greyscale leading up to Ben’s confrontation with D’Spayre, the villain du jour, his psychedelic trip through dream dimensions would have hit like a punch to the jugular instead a kick in the shins.

All in all, the book was just meh. It wasn’t horrible, but by no means was it great. It seems as if the flaws overshadow the feats, which in a story built around shade, ain’t a good thing. 2.5/5 Bibles.

– Ryan Ford




“El Sacerdote” J.L. Caraballo Twitter @captzaff007
THE PLUNGE #1 – DC Comics

Joe Hill continues imbuing DC Comics’ Black Label with a slew of new, original horror tales with The Plunge, a horror tale about the things that go bump in the deep blue sea.

Opening with quite a visual (a beach completely littered with the carcasses of giant squid), we’re thrown into a tale of a mysterious, 30+ year-old lost science vessel that has resurfaced off the coast of an uninhabited atoll, its distress beacon sudden active after decades dormant. A ragtag group of seamen and researchers come together to find just what happened to the ship, her crew, and why exactly, after all these decades, it suddenly reappears.

Artist Stuart Immonen continues what has become the Joe Hill style of comics creation: thick, expressive lines, and moody use of shadows and darkness within the panel. Immonen seems to have fallen in line with the other artists that cover the gamut of Hill’s contributions (I’m reading also Basketful Of Heads, and the Dollhouse Family), and while each book features a different artist, they all feel both appropriate to Hill’s prose, and yet interchangeable. Nothing particularly pops about the art for these titles, yet the strength lies in the atmosphere being concocted, and the strength of Hill’s detail to writing his characters.

As it is, this issue was a bit too expository, long stretches of describing “the thing we need to get/do” and characters talking about their relationship to each other, rather than us seeing their relationships to each other. As it stands, this is a solid premiere issue, and definitely establishes enough mystery and potential terror to keep a subscription going, and to be a great addition to the Hill House brand of horror titles. Exposition aside, and a uniformity in the art shouldn’t deter readers from keeping an eye out for Hill’s continued contributions to the comics industry. 3.75/5 Bibles.

-J.L. Caraballo




GIANT-SIZE X-MEN: JEAN GREY & EMMA FROST #1 – Marvel
Jimmy “Apostolic” Cupp @thejimmycupp

So… that was one of the most fun picture books I’ve ever flipped through. Matthew Wilson‘s colors in this Giant-Size edition of the X-Men comic were beautiful and blended each frame with ease. No dialogue was order for most of the story, but somehow, I knew what that were “saying” to each other. Then, then there was dialogue, it was quite a bomb.

As a fan of the X-men in the early 90s, it is still strange, but also exhilarating to see once bitter enemies, Jean Grey and Emma Frost, working together. There’s one great frame that encapsulates that duality, perfectly, as Emma takes a swig from flask with a glare of disapproval from Jean. I will admit that I do not know who the Children of the Vault are, but I am intrigued to know more about them after this. In the end, I very much enjoyed this treat for the eyes. 3.5/5 Bibles.

-Jimmy Cupps

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