Well the weather is cooling down around my little corner of Arkansas and it feels like a good time to read and write about this week’s comics outside.
Also been going a month strong! YEAH!
Over the Garden Wall #1
Over the Garden Wall was the very first miniseries done by Cartoon Network in 2013. I first saw something about it for a preview in front of Thor: The Dark World and after I got home from the theater I went online to watch all ten episodes and it was easily the best thing I saw that entire day. I instantly loved it for its story, atmosphere, animation, voice acting, it was just great. Now the creator Patrick McHale is writing a four issue miniseries based on it for Boom Studios and it feels more of the same for good reason.
With comic adaptations and continuations such as this or Steven Universe and well any TV show Joss Whedon has created, you really need someone who can bring the voices of your favorite and beloved characters across. Sometimes you get lucky in the case of Over the Garden Wall #1 in that McHale is the writer. This first issue of the miniseries feels very much in the same vein as the original miniseries itself in its weird, yet charming and effective atmosphere that is full of uniquely done characters. I could hear the voices of Wirt, Greg, Beatrice, and Greg’s Frog as I read this issue that once again features the gang along a very weird and strange, yet quirky set of events with twins who try to get chores done to please their papa.
I really don’t want to talk much further since it’s really needed to be read on its own, but it gets strange in the best way. The characters feel true to how they would be in this situation and still have such a great dynamic even without the assist of the great voice acting from the miniseries. The art by Jim Campbell perfectly keeps the look of the miniseries alive and well. It just looks simply done yet so crisp and engaging.
Over the Garden Wall is a nicely done comic and has a small little setup for what the overarching story of this miniseries is, but for this week, it’s one of the best debuting issues of a comic book. I recommend this and, if you haven’t watched it yet, the original Cartoon Network miniseries. 5/5
Civil War #3
Honesty is the best policy, I hated the original Civil War book. Yes the book that did help to majorly change the landscape of the Marvel Universe for a while. While it did give us Bucky Barnes as Captain America and well some good redemption for Tony in Matt Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man series, but that’s about it. Oh and the art was gorgeous.
Naturally I wasn’t too excited to hear it would be a featured Battleworld book in Secret Wars, but it hooked with Charles Soule as its writer and damn it, its great. The war never ended in this part and has divided the country to either being in The Blue with Steve Rogers or living in The Iron with President Tony Stark.
Soule takes the idea of the book and keeps it going, having created an expertly well done first issue that still fuels the book now into its third issue with She-Hulk fooling Professor Xavier to go undercover as Spider-Man leads a team onto the other side for their own mission.
Part of the fun of this Civil War book is how it makes the previously bungled premise give life again with no dead Steve Rogers and President Stark, but everything else happened and its great to see who is still on whose side and who defected where. The characters are written well and that’s a big thing I love of Soule who gets whatever character he’s handling, be it Swamp Thing or She-Hulk. Now a possible revelation is alluded to from last issue and isn’t touched upon this month which I think is a missed opportunity, but hey I trust Soule enough to keep going, but really I’d like to have known more about this if possible.
Leinil Francis Yu’s art continues to impress with its fantastic details and character looks. He excels at drawing the characters so distinctively and memorably in a style that still lends itself to great superheroism feats that come with the powers and all of that jazz.
Civil War is still surprising me, but for how long that can go on will be seen. Hopefully this version doesn’t drop the ball as badly as its predecessor did. 4.5/5
They’re Not Like Us #7
The way I can best describe this Image series about gifted youths is the indie version of X-Men where the soap opera aspect is heightened since the cast is mainly teenagers. Special gifts and raging, confusing hormones, what a combination!
The seventh issue is the start of a new storyline and it isn’t quite as new reader friendly as one might suspect it to be, but it’s still a really good read. Picking up a month after the events of the last issue, Tabitha/Syd has taken those that joined her in no longer taking The Voice’s shit. They have gone off the grid as they welcome Blurgirl back from her attempted suicide and this is where the real meat of the issue comes. The characters start to let themselves be a lot more free and honest to who they are without The Voice being near. This acts as a reintroduction for the characters themselves since we get to know their real names and more to them than we have before in this new environment. There is much more said about Blurgirl and what had led her suicide attempt from the previous issue and instantly makes her more fascinating to follow. This is what I absolutely loved about this issue. It’s just so engaging and just immersive with how grounded it feels with its brilliantly done art from the pencils by Simon Gane and the effectively muted colors of Jordie Bellaire.
While there is some follow-up from the previous issue that is made and the ending is promising, I found myself very less interested in that. Sure it’s the conflict that’s being set up for the storyline, but I just found everything else so much more interesting. The conversations in this book are captivating. It’s a very talkative book in a lot of ways and that honestly is good by me. This is a character heavy book and that’s really what I love about it. There are so many great story possibilities now that we’re over the hump of origins. 4/5
To say that Magneto is a complicated character is an understatement. His long and storied history has been fascinating and complex material for the mega mutant franchise for years and his very first ongoing book has been the best X-Men book on the shelves since its debut. Cullen Bunn has taken this character along so many roads that here we stand at his final one as he tries to protect the Earth as it crashes into another one with the help of his daughter, Polaris. Whom has had her powers drained by Magneto to boost his own as he still has internal confrontations about his very muddled past. Fun times all around!
Cullen Bunn has a deep and methodical character study about the master of magnetism that has gone to the deepest, darkest corners of his mind and shown what exactly makes the character tick. Bunn writes a monster that is very much aware of its previous actions and really far from the road of redemption, yet is trying to save the world that he hates so much. The issue really continues its amazing complexity of Magneto and furthering his character while getting Polaris and Briar Raleigh some deserved spotlight here.
A big star has also been artist Gabriel Walta who employs a great distinctive and gritty style in both the present day and flashback sequences throughout the course of the series. It’s been a fitting look for this book and I’m so glad he was here for the end, and really a good majority of the series itself.
This final issue is so far the best final issue of any book that’s ending during Secret Wars. This felt honest and real to what had come before in the previous issues and continued to show more and more layers to one of the most complex characters around. I was enthralled from issue one and still was by the last page of the last issue. Please pick up the trades of this book, it simply can’t be missed. 5/5
The Flash #43
I think this is the perfect time to bring up the art and writing relation of comic books. Now some books can excel at both, but there are books with great writing, bad art and book with great art, bad writing. The art should be a great reflection of the writing and its characters in how they look and feel in regards to certain situations on the page and how they react and interact with other characters. It’s what can make or break a book sometimes.
I don’t like the art on The Flash and that personally hurts me to write that, but it’s how I feel about how it looks right now.
Brett Booth draws in such a way that it gives me flashbacks to the worst art of 90s comic books. Just look at this football coach?
It looks ridiculous. I’m just not a fan of how he tends to draw his characters a tad bit elongated and that is all over this issue. Sometimes his layouts are amazing and he can draw superspeed well, but that’s the thing to me, it feels like he draws action much better than he does anything that isn’t action. I loved the last arc and I’m intrigued by where this latest arc is going with Professor Zoom and his merry band of Rogues to take down The Flash, but that was mainly the writing. Writers Robert Venditti and Van Jensen have made this a damn good book on a plot level and last time they gave us Looper with Flash that introduced Wally West back in the DC Comics and I thought it was a rather engaging story aside from the art. Again good writing, bad art, aside from I think the last few panels where Flash learns who Eobard Thawne is and the action in the last couple of pages. Also the drama between Barry and his dad, especially with the scene they share early in the issue that is filled with great character work. It’s really good, but not that well drawn at all.
I love The Flash, he’s an absolute favorite of mine and I will keep reading this since I feel too invested now in the story with the levels of interest its building up. Man I just still can’t stand to look at this art most of the time. Here’s hoping we can get better in that department once this team is done. 2.5/5
The Truth saga going on in the Superman line of books has been a very captivating read that revolves around the exposure of a mostly powerless Superman. All the books focus on the fallout, but the main book has been leading up to that fateful moment and this doesn’t fail to deliver.
What this book does best is have a great slow build and really further the deep bond of friendship between Lois and Clark that gets broken much later in the issue. Writer Gene Luen Yang really leaves it up to you the reader to decide on Lois’ actions in revealing Clark’s identity to the world, even if it was well-intentioned. I like that ambiguity, it’s strong and feels just right for the sort of story that’s being told right now.
Yang has taken over from Geoff Johns and it worked splendidly well, much better than expected honestly and he’s had great help from returning artist and inker John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson. The art of this book still impresses me from this long time team, who just seem to be intact together. It gives the book a greatly distinct feel. HORDR_ROOT as a new threat is intriguing, but his endgame still feels so undefined. I’d like to know more beyond gathering all the secrets around the world for blackmail purposes, like why it did need to capture Superman’s new solar flare and how big a role is he playing?
Yang and team seem to have a firm hand on what they’re doing, but hey a few more answers wouldn’t hurt overall. This issue keeps Superman’s main book captivating and interesting for the first time in a while, especially since the relaunch. 4.5/5
That’s it for summer. Lets get ready for the fall where even more debuts and old favorites await us! I’ll see you next time while I’m flipping through the pages.