Hello and welcome back to Flipping Through the Pages where this week six more books have randomly been selected from by pull list and I’m gonna talk about them. Let’s get started.
Once again all titles reviewed here are available at your local comic book shop and digitally on Comixology.
John Flood #1
The new six issue mini series from Justin Jordan debuted this week and well I didn’t know jack all about this until I saw the cover then asked someone what it was about and man I picked it up right away. Simply, the book follows John Flood, duh, a man who no longer sleeps thanks to the government, but lives in a constant dream state where he can’t tell what is and isn’t real. It makes for some really great trippy visuals from his POV thanks to artist Jorge Coelho.
The issue feels much like a first issue of any comic, but we get a sense of the story for this miniseries. Flood is hiring a new assistant in the form of a former cop for a big case he’s working on. Flood’s abilities and such are a bit of an exposition dump, but thankfully a brief one. Much of Flood himself is made through interactions that help to slowly build up his character when in an uneasy confrontation later in the issue. Really characters are the best thing here as we quickly get to know and actually understand our main players from Flood to his assistant to his new partner and the killer that Flood is hunting down, but the central focus is Flood himself.
The book has an intriguing premise that sets itself up for many adventures to come. Not much is explored more about Flood’s abilities or visions, I expected that since we need story and characters to be setup here in the debut issue, but I’m very much interested in seeing more of this being explored.
Jorge Coelho’s art is a great fit for the book. There seems to be a noir like feeling coming and I think the art will suit that. The brief glimpse into the world that Flood sees is still an early highlight for the book and there is a bit of inspiration of John Romita Jr. in art style and looks of characters, but Coelho makes his work stand out in his own way due to how dynamic he makes the book look.
John Flood looks to be a fascinating miniseries to dive into with some weirdness to enjoy. 4/5
Batman Beyond #3
In the third issue of the future Batman series, Tim Drake finds himself at the hands of Brother Eye and being confronted on his past as Robin and how he became Batman from Terry McGinnis’ death. One daring escape and a fight with Inque a few issues later and the issue gets going.
Dan Jurgens has quickly brought himself into the world of Neo-Gotham fairly well. The first two issues were fine and all but this first one really gets things going. The best thing around being my personal favorite Beyond villain, Inque who is in for a shock once she learns about the whereabouts of her daughter, Deanna. Inque’s survivalist attitude and weakness for her daughter are well-played here in greatly paced moments. I also love Matt’s doubtfulness of Terry given he still believes in someway Terry has to be out there. It’s a sad thing handled very well. The issue also ends with two great reveals that related to the plot and a character debut, which I won’t touch upon here. I will say that this is so far the best issue that shows what good this book can be with the inclusion of someone else in the red and black suit far more than the previous two. It gets to Tim Drake and shows he’s more than worth of the cowl, or in this case techsuit. Barbara Gordon is also incredibly well handled here.
Brother Eye is also becoming a great and menacing threat, but I was far more interesting with Inque these first three, but where the book ends, I’m gonna pay much more attention to him now as he’s slowly building up as a great enemy.
As for Bernard Chang’s art, I’m still mixed. There are places where it looks really good and handles great action scenes well but the faces can be a bit over exaggerating sometimes and come off a bit weird. Overall not bad art, it’s just bad in some spots. 4/5
Darth Vader #8
Marvel’s Star Wars books since getting the license back from Dark Horse have been a consistent hit. The main Star Wars book is a stellar continuation from the original film, the Princess Leia mini series proved to be successful and entertaining, and Lando is across the board chock full of goodness, but for me, Darth Vader is the best of the books. The deep character insight of the Sith Lord, without the aid of narration boxes mind you, has been riveting from the start.
In the second part of the second arc we’re treated to a space heist with new character Aphra, a secret friend of Vader’s, leading a space heist on an Imperial ship to steal hoarded credits picked up by the Empire from the Son-tuul Pride. This is a good majority of the issue and the introduction of someone hired by Emperor Palpatine to keep eyes on Vader that might impose on his own secret mission.
Kieron Gillen is having a ball with this book in further fleshing out and making Aphra a totally engaging character within this universe. She is much like Han Solo to Vader’s Luke among the dark side analogues of the Rebels on Vader’s side. Aphra made an already great book greater with her introduction. When Vader is on page, Gillen once again dives deep into the character to really get you inside his mindset. Narration boxes are good by me for comics, but having none for Vader is great and makes him far scarier. Honestly knowing what he’s thinking in a moment of battle or at anytime would kind of take away the mystique and imposing nature of Vader. That mystique and imposing nature is also thanks to the amazing artwork that is Salvador Larroca. His detailed work and amazing landscape work give this book an epic feel and his pacing of the actions are great, especially among the heist that takes place in this issue.
Darth Vader is exciting and thrilling with its eighth issue and continues to show a lot, while keeping an ace safely hidden in its sleeve for some amazing epic space opera adventures. 5/5
The Wicked + The Divine #13
Image’s wickedly delightful series about gods and demigods as pop idols has been on fire since its debut from Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie.
With the thirteenth issue we have a focus on the God, Tara, who before discovering her secret was a musician herself. We follow her life from earlier years and when she discovers she is one of the gods by Ananke. Her interactions with the other gods makes for some juicy turmoil as it takes place earlier in the book when all the gods weren’t discovered.
Tara is the centerpiece for this issue that also serves as an allegory for how some men and really much of society itself sometimes treats pop stars and really celebrities and noteworthy people in the public eye. Especially not on social media. It’s a really nicely done story that conveys its underlining message well, especially in its panel towards to the end that shows the attitudes and hypocrisy of many people on social media.
While the issue is light on the ongoing mythology, it’s heavy on great characterization. This new arc is revolving the big Fandemonium while being heavily character centric on several of the gods and guest artists. This month it’s Tula Lotay who I admit I never heard of before reading this, but I like her style. It’s nicely detailed with a detailed painted look, even some nicely plated color splatters. The wide range of coloring on this issue makes it eye candy thanks to Matthew Wilson. 4/5
Halfway through the year and Nailbiter keeps making its case as to being my favorite comic book of the year. For those that might not know the book revolves around the mystery of Buckaroo, Oregon, a small town that has given birth to 16 of the most notorious serial killers.
This issue, man did things go down. The horror mystery book is heavy on the mystery as more and more answers are given about the history of Buckaroo, but there is plenty of horror as there are several splatters of blood and body parts to make this terrifying, particularly the new Buckaroo Butcher’s kill-room is instantly horrific and visually striking. Picking up where the last issue left off this also drops major reveals and keeps adding in twists when you think more couldn’t be added to the proceedings. Questions answered, but more asked. This is a book that really must be read and discussed because of how crazy and engaging it is.
It’s so hard to try to not spoil this issue but I’ve done the best that I can in doing so. Joshua Williamson’s pacing for this issue is breakneck and doesn’t let up. This is one of the finest chapters among his masterpiece here. The plotting of story and character placement and development is outstanding, I really can’t recommend this book enough. The art by Mike Henderson with Adam Guzowksi’s colors give the book a grisly, dark, hard look and feel to it, especially when the killings occur.
Nailbiter #15 has perhaps just become the most important single issue in the entire run of the book. The issue drops your jaw at the turn of every page, but sadly this is all we get until the books return in October. Damn you, Williamson, why must you keep me hanging?! 5/5
Ms. Marvel #17
Since the debut of Kamala Khan in the Marvel Universe, Ms. Marvel has been an immediate must read book in my pile. The instantly great and memorable characterization of Kamala, her world and settings, and her mindset instantly made it the best overall debut comic of 2014. The first publishing run is coming to an end here with Secret Wars, but fret not, she will have another ongoing in the fall.
For now, she’s teaming up with her hero Carol Danvers AKA Captain Marvel to rescue her brother Aamir from evil ex-crush and insane Inhuman, Kamran. The previous issue had a problem of being at odds with Secret Wars seeping in as well as Kamala dealing with her very own first heartbreak, but it got going smoothly around the midway point and the ending with Carol had me and many others excited. Now while the tie-in to Secret Wars is my main problem with the issue here, it’s my only problem. It actually puts itself in place of the plot at one moment where Carol sets Kamala straight about the superhero life and sacrifice that must be made since you can’t save everyone. Sometimes you gotta choose between a bad thing and a worse thing. Kamala handles herself well around Carol, for the most part, and again shows what makes her the beloved hero she quickly has become among her fans. Her passion for people and her neighborhood makes her a standout.
G. Willow Wilson is once again the best at writing here by handling Kamala perfectly when she’s freaking out in front of her idol, being a teenage girl, and kicking ass. She even writes a damn good Carol Danvers. Her voice shines and echoes through Kamala, which is why this book is a big success and art by Adrian Alphona is still wonderfully suited for the book with its high-energy style and pacing.
Ms. Marvel will still be around, but for this time in her life she’s going out in style. 4.5/5
Hope you enjoy these and all your other comics. I’ll see you next week as I keep flipping through the pages.