Deck the halls and get your ugliest sweater, its time to talk about comic books again!
So having admitted that Daredevil is my favorite Marvel character, I had some hopes following the recent legendary run by Mark Waid and company with how this new look and style might do after Secret Wars. Thankfully the new team of Charles Soule and Ron Garney come out of the gate strong.
Now this being Daredevil it doesn’t waste getting us to Daredevil and his sweet new look right away. This book immediately strikes visually thanks to Ron Garney’s pencils and the colors of Matt Milla. Garney draws sharp, hard-edged pencils that are perfectly brought to life with a minimalist style of coloring from Milla who keeps a muted palate. It’s visually striking and incredibly captivating in so many ways that you just can’t put it down. This is harkening back to the last time we had a Daredevil book look like this during Bendis and Brubaker’s time on the book with Alex Maleev and Michael Lark respectively. This is a harsh turn from what we got. The use of inks as well just gives this such a lavishly great look.
Another thing that introduces that harsh turn is Charles Soule’s writing. This is a different Matt Murdock than we last saw. Thanks to an apparent effect of Secret Wars, seriously even with the now announced delay this book is just continuously screwing with the new line, only Foggy Nelson knows Matt is Daredevil, but they don’t seem to be on the same page right now. Foggy is a defense attorney; Matt is an A.D.A. and a bit of a harsher person himself. This is a stark difference from the happy-go-lucky Matt we saw last time, but it’s an interesting one. It helps to set up for a great dynamic that could build up to a great courtroom confrontation between Matt and Foggy. That should be extra fun given that Soule is a practicing attorney himself and now has written books for She-Hulk and Daredevil, the most prominent Marvel lawyers.
Also being set up is the new villain, Tenfingers, and a mentorship between Daredevil and the new hero, Blindspot. Not much touched on there, but its promising.
Daredevil #1 sets itself up perfectly while laying some light groundwork, but making for some great character work that is perfectly brought across in great writing and art. Truly amazing. 4.5/5
The Sheriff of Babylon #1
Tightly dense plotting, perfectly fitting art, and a tension filled setting make this one of the best titles Vertigo has now put out.
Writer Tom King is drawing on his time as a CIA operative to craft a gripping narrative set months after the fall of Baghdad. We’re following three different characters who are all about to become tied together.
King is a hit and miss writer for me in all honesty, but here, this is a full hit. This is the best work he’s written so far. He has a great understanding of narrative, drawing on his honest experiences from the CIA is the most intriguing thing here next to the crime drama narrative. I think it’s also in dealing with his own original character is where he’s shining most here. This also isn’t as much a political book as you’d think, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it went down that way over the course of the miniseries since its become apparent the invasion of Baghdad was a terrible idea.
King’s characters are perfectly introduced and you understand all of their motives, who they are, why they do what they do. He’s making a grand tale here and really I think its exceptional among any recent piece of military fiction in a long time. I’m certainly intrigued as to how everything plays out.
With King and certainly the art of Mitch Gerads, you get a great feel of the world you’re being brought into. The people, the places, everything about this just works. Now to go on more about Gerads, he’s detailed. His attention to the people, settings, and the small things like they handle their own posture and such is incredible. This art is part of what made the recent run of The Punisher amazing to read and that continues to be the case here.
What I get from this book is a sense of it knowing what it is, what it wants to say, and how it’s going about saying that. The characters are what make this. They are brought to such life, which is why I can’t recommend this book enough. Please go and read it. 5/5
Totally Awesome Hulk #1
It’s the All-New All-Different Marvel debut of our favorite scientist/rage monster…Amadeus Cho?
Now fear not, there is some Bruce Banner in this debut issue as a look as to why he’s not the big green guy we’re following, but this is all about establishing Amadeus as Hulk and it does a really good job of setting up what the book is. Amadeus is more or less the same Amadeus we all know and love. His Hulk is a bit more of a playful character and light-hearted than we’re used to, he’s having fun. He’s embracing his role as the lovable giant and it makes for a fun read. I was laughing during the book and that is always a good sign of some exciting superhero fare.
Cho is fitting into his role and while still a super genius, is a kid at heart being 19-years-old. This deals with that as him and his younger sister go around fighting monsters and then study them to see why a lot of them have recently been springing up. Amadeus being the lead gives a more breezy feel to the book, we get some insight as to him, but it’s a far different path than what we’ve been used to over the past few runs. That can be an exciting thing as we go down the road, but plenty know how things can get with the kid genius. Greg Pak has a great affinity for the character and the Hulk world as evident here and with his previous work in the Hulk universe.
Artist Frank Cho brings the same sense of fun and excitement with his writing. It’s so nicely detailed and expressive. With a character like Hulk, the art has to be as big as the character itself and it fits here. The size and scope of the presented book makes for a great read. It’s a great case of writing and art coming together perfectly.
Totally Awesome Hulk #1 is pretty cool. Not quite the title that the book gives itself, but nearly close. With a nice little premise, engaging characters, and some great art, it could get there sooner that later. 4/5
James Bond #2
I know that I am ready for a lot more James Bond!
Here now that set up is fully done with we get to see Bond out in the field and the opening pages of this book don’t disappoint. Warren Ellis has a greatly true understanding of James Bond and how the formula and the world works. The issue is a true Bond story that dives a little deeper into the setup from the debut issue and what they explain, some pretty cool stuff. Bond in Germany is cool, but the back home stuff with the mystery drug, not so much. We get a catch-up on the druggie band, but I wasn’t feeling it connect too much with what Bond is doing despite these stories seemingly being connected.
When in Germany, this doesn’t feel too out-of-place with what you’d expect from James Bond and the characterization of Bond continues to be great. Odd how much of this is taking a story cue from Spectre, hopefully not too much, and works with it. It allows for us to know Bond a little more here and what he’s all about, how he gets the job done and shows why the world needs him.
Now Jason Masters’ art did grow on me a bit more this issue as it got to have a wider range of things to introduce and explore. Bond’s design is great and I like the action here and how it’s done. It’s some exciting stuff and the colors of Guy Major keeps the eyes glued to the pages. Love how it looks.
James Bond #2 is a nice continuation of what came last month and a good block towards building its own James Bond world with improving art, an intriguing story, and of course James Bond himself. 4/5
Paper Girls #3
Man this book is fantastic! Paper Girls has lived up to expectations for its first three issues and in the latest one it really puts out the weird and gets the story really kicked into high gear with issue three.
We get to see a little bit more of the sleepy Ohio town our girls reside in before an unexpected visitor comes and confuses me and pretty much every other reader. Don’t worry though, there is hinting as to who he might be later in the issue. This all happens before we follow-up on the cliffhanger of the previous issue and once again character dynamics is where Brian K. Vaughn is killing it. These characters truly feel fresh and alive, their dynamic is nailed down now. Vaughn can easily suck you in right away in a whole new world which helps make him one of the most excellent writers ever. This book is already shooting up to maybe being on my best of the year-end list.
Again I said this issue lets out the weird and it does. The weird being story building as well that helps lay the groundwork for the rest of the book.
Cliff Chiang still maybe the best artist out there today. He’s just truly incredible with his designs, character work, facial expressions, pacing, sense of storytelling, he crafts such a compelling feast for the eyes to enjoy. He works well with Vaughn so much. They are a perfectly paired team who combined makes for an exciting book.
Paper Girls keeps being entertaining and a book well worth reading with its interesting setup, interesting characters, and the sense of fun one can get from reading this. 5/5
Batman Beyond #7
I figured it was about time we checked back in to see how Tim Drake is doing as Batman what with recently defeating Brother Eye and all at the beginning of a brand new arc.
This issue is honestly a look into Tim Drake. Tim got a great heaping of insight put on him last arc, but here it’s fully upfront, figuring out how can he truly be Batman and dealing with the fact he is a hero placed out of his time. Dan Jurgens really gets to dig into the psyche of Tim and let us further understand the man he is and what type of hero he feels like he is. Tim is a fascinating book to open in terms of character development and his back and forth with Commissioner Barbara Gordon, who you think would be a great link to his past, but it’s not quite proving to be that.
It’s also a story about Gotham City itself and how much it’s changed. Tim takes some time to explore his new home and start to feel more like Batman. Tim Drake to me is always the Robin, but man I’m still excited for his role as Batman of the future.
Elsewhere a side story with Matt is interesting enough, but honestly kinda lacks interest aside from the stuff involving Tim. It’s really more just setup for the next arc with Matt setting off on a quest to get some answers. It’s okay but has some hope.
Guest artist Stephen Thompson comes on and really does a good job of keeping things going. He doesn’t feel too off from regular series artist Bernard Chang whose style I’ve come to like more and more as the series goes for its consistent flow between all the action scenes and great design. Thompson keeps a nicely consistent look for the most part and makes it feel like the book hasn’t missed a beat. He does some slightly better facial work than Bernard for my money, but hey it’s all good art.
Batman Beyond keeps going strong and sets up for more to come while taking time for its characters to breath. If you’re curious about the book, I’d say go pick this issue up and have fun. 4/5
Well that is all for now and I will see you next week when I’m flipping through the pages.