Grab your favorite warm beverage and come along for some more comic book reviews.
Tokyo Ghost #1
Well another week another Rick Remender book. Seriously when does the man sleep? And with Image Comics again, no surprise there. This time he teamed with superstar artist Sean Murphy, we’re taken to 2089 along the Isles of Los Angeles where technology seems to rule all.
This book features Remender’s familiar anarchic sense of science fiction storytelling that manages to still feel really fresh and exciting. The commentary here about technology being used as a distraction/escape from the harsh reality many are facing in this new world is nothing new, but interesting. Certainly not the first piece of fiction that examines technology in everyday life and its needs and how society has changed from it, but it doesn’t quite come off heavy-handed as one might think. It’s also an examination of addiction itself, the codependency one feels they need in order to get by with their tech which is a drug to many people and that codependency theme is ever evident with main characters Led Dent and Debbie Decay, Debbie being the only tech free person in LA while Led is heavily and constantly engrossed by his tech. She is the voice of reason and their chemistry is nicely well told and immediately stated so that you are able to fully understand it. It speaks about how much they honestly do need and depend on one another to get by in this crazy world. They are instantly memorable and engaging for their character beats. They are perfectly suited to be the people we follow in this story.
They are constables that are after criminal elements that are dealing with illegal tech. There is the story and its ready for you to dive into.
Sean Murphy is perfect for Rick Remender. How these two haven’t worked together before is actually kind of confusing. They feel well suited for one another in how often they can go into bombastic and over the top moments and those are ever-present here in Tokyo Ghost and it fits. Murphy’s style and look plays to Remender’s sensibilities and they seem to really be on the same page to building a huge and sprawling story that will only grow and grow in size and scope. Also once again Matt Hollingsworth just kills it when it comes to coloring a comic.
Tokyo Ghost has the potential to be an insanely memorable and fun sci-fi book that balances commentary and love, although right now the love aspect is a little scarce. It’s got pure, rushing excitement in its veins and waiting to let it all out. 4.5/5
Black Canary #4
As reported on this very site, the new Black Canary comic is badass and honestly next to Prez and Cyborg as my favorite of the recently launched DC You line. In fact Black Canary is already on my must read list in my pull list whenever a new issue drops. I’ve always had a deep love for the character and this book has been really impressing me. I’m enjoying the hell out of it from the mystery, action, and fun.
The issue picks up from the cliffhanger of last month when former band lead singer Bo Mauve kidnapped the mysterious mute guitarist, Ditto to the employers of Dinah’s maybe former/ maybe current husband Kurt in exchange for something. This book is building around the mystery of Ditto and all we know is that she’s not of this world, plays a mean guitar, is possibly the source of Dinah and Kurt’s powers, and rocks a knitted hat with cat ears very well. Well it’s a long trip for Bo and Ditto so of course we’re treated to the origin story of Bo and this plays out like a Behind the Music episode, minus the substance abuse surprisingly. I thought this comic would have played around with biopic tropes a little more and its a fairly standard origin and sadly the weakest part of the book, which also sucks since it’s the majority of the issue. Thankfully it’s broken up by Dinah’s search for them and her own adventures in doing so and whatever Bo and Ditto do themselves when not recalling her life story. The story does pick up once her story ends and she meets up with Amanda Waller and the ending promises some more excitement to come from the book.
This book is a fury of fun and that is no different in this issue. Brenden Fletcher is spinning an entertaining tale here that I hope goes on for a few more issues because it’s just simply too damn good. Series artist Annie Wu is off of this issue, but we got a great backup with Y: The Last Man artist, Pia Guerra. Guerra is in fine form here with penciling the issue and giving the book a bit of a cleaner look, I do love Wu’s style and hard-edged look of series, but I’m never gonna knock Guerra. It’s beautiful and thanks to series colorist Lee Loughridge keeps a pretty damn consistent look.
Black Canary #4 is kinda the weakest issue so far, but it’s still also a really good issue. The series keeps up good graces with its story when not in flashback mode and has a distinctive look to it that keeps my eyes happy. I love it and can’t get enough. 4/5
Constantine: The Hellblazer #4
Ah John Constantine, it’s good to see you on a good book again. The recent solo title featuring the immensely popular character lacked a certain bite to it that was missing from what makes him such a fan favorite and I feel that writers James Tynion IV and Ming Doyle honestly get what makes John Constantine work and what people love about the character.
So far this book has been a mixture of character study and a good horror story that proves to be just the right balance. We continue John’s investigation into how ghosts are dying as well as his past haunting him while still wandering among the streets of London, now blindly drunk. Wouldn’t be a Constantine book without him getting plastered at some point. Here we follow Constantine as we get glimpses of his past that show how much he’s hurting right now and what he’s doing to deal with it and by doing so allows us to further explore his character beyond what we know and love about him already and what those vaguely familiar from the recent TV show know of the character. Which was a pretty damn good translation mind you. John feels like John and the addition of the newest old acquaintance, Georgiana Snow gives the book a supporting voice of reason I felt it really needed. The character bounces off John with good back and forth that it’s a delight to see it go on.
Tynion and Doyle know what to do and how to do it. Same goes for flashback artist Chris Visions and present day artist Vanessa R. Del Rey. Both fit the book and John Constantine perfectly with its unhinged, dark, and dirty style of art that makes it distinct and stand out really well. This book looks like a Constantine book and that’s the best thing I can say about the art. It’s moody and atmospheric in all the best ways possible that it makes for amazing eye candy. That style wouldn’t be anything without the colors of Ivan Plascencia, they give each artist’s time specific art a distinct look to let you know where you are and does nice little effects all over each page. This book could be bought mainly for the art, but you should read it for the captivating character it centers around.
Constantine: The Hellblazer lets the dark side of DC Comics shine brightly here with a great hook of a story and deep character exploration paired with a distinct look make for one hell of a book on the shelves. 5/5
All-New Hawkeye #5
Essentially this finale of the recent Hawkeye book doesn’t have an explosive battle or a grand stand off that Fraction’s run had but it was a small, nuanced, character study that sets the stage for something bigger to come. While not promoted or listed as a finale it kinda is one given that it’s about to restart with the All-New All-Different Marvel line, yet this issue does set up for the next stage that will have connections with everything that’s happened in this book.
Both Matt Fraction and current writer Jeff Lemire have made their Hawkeye books deeply personal character books that really explore the inner workings of Clint Barton, but I feel like for as much as I love Fraction’s book, Lemire has gotten a bit deeper into the psyche of Clint and that really shows in this issue where he comes into huge conflict in the past with his brother, Barney, and in the present with fellow Hawkeye, Kate Bishop. They both parallel each other flawlessly and have impacts on Clint’s life in major ways. It’s a much more emotionally dramatic book than what we got last time that balanced the light and the heavy. We get some light here, one thing to like about Lemire is how often he knows to make things funny, but really the drama is much more engaging. Clint and Kate are great together when having playful banter or having serious stuff go on between them.
Clint particularly is the star here as the flashbacks to his past allow us a great examination of Clint’s life and showed how it has shaped him from abuse from his dad and foster dad and learning who to honestly trust. Young Clint’s journey to where he is now is fascinating.
Ramón Pérez has been an amazing artist for this book in consistently changing up his own style based on the placement of the book. A very mesmerizing and beautiful watercolor look to the flashbacks and more definite and distinct look for the present day stuff that is a bit more comic book like, but still really works. Both present the story as they need to be told and it’s just wonderful to see that. Pérez just excels at making this book standout and help from colorist Ian Herring have a major impact on giving it the look it has.
All-New Hawkeye will thankfully be coming back and that’s for the better. This is exceptional superhero storytelling and I want this book to succeed far beyond its expectations like it already is for me. 5/5
Star Wars #9
While Darth Vader is the cream of the crop to me in terms of Marvel’s Star Wars books, the main book itself is still really entertaining. We’re now in the midst of our second story arc with new series artist Stuart Immonen and Jason Aaron still on writing. Now this all keeps going from where we last left off, Han and Leia are dealing with the woman claiming to be Han’s wife, Sana, who is turning them over to the empire for a generous bounty and Luke on his way to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. He is stopped on Nar Shaddaa trying to retrieve his stolen lightsaber.
What I like about the new Star Wars series is its sense of excitement. While my heart still yearns for the Dark Horse years, this is living up to expectations quite well. The addition of Sana Solo has been a great one, someone on Han’s level as much as Leia is and a mysterious enough character that you wanna stay hooked on to the book to find out more about her and see where it could possibly lead to. Also how the hell she and Han get separated. Aaron you can tell is having a ball playing within the universe, he’s been given all the toys from Lucas’ collection. His understanding of all the characters makes their voices come across clearly. Even the newer character he creates has distinctiveness to them. Stuart Immonen has always been a great artist and continues to show that here. Now I actually prefer John Cassaday’s art on the book because I think his character referencing of the original actors is a little better, but Immonen brings the familiar looks of our favorite rebels across nicely. He certainly still has a great flair for drawing great action and wonderful perspective. Immonen I think is gonna be a great fit for the book based off his first two issues.
Star Wars is a mighty damn good book that’s filling the need for more adventures in a galaxy far, far away. Intrigue keeps coming to every new issue and so far I’ve been wanting to read each issue as it keeps coming. Plus stellar art helps out as well. 4/5
Sex Criminals #12
I actually hadn’t planned on coming back to Sex Criminals in my reviews for a while, but after the ending of last issue I had to read it immediately and well holy hell was I in for a surprise for this dicktastic issue. That’s not an insult, that’s just my way of saying this was a fantastic issue that also happened to feature a long of dong in it.
Trust me I am a rather mature adult. Sort of.
Matt Fraction actually here perfectly balances the full on craziness of this book with a well thought out, hard look at sexuality personally and on a social level via a college lecture from Jazmine St. Cocaine that can really make one think. Fraction’s balance throughout the entire run is done with such a nicely personal touch. Once again Sex Criminals may sound like such a crude book from its premise, but it is much more than that. It’s a sex comedy book that has an honest and open heart through its characters and their personals struggles. How they go and deal through the world with such abilities and as mentioned here actually having a thought-provoking look at what sex is and sexuality itself.
Fraction and Chip Zdarsky once again bring the funny. The wild and crazy humor and things that go down in the latest issue ranges from crazy to completely insane. It goes all over the place in the freakiest, dirtiest ways possible. Zdarsky really gets to show off his further talents with the thing from the end of the previous issue and a rather hysterical dream sequence that made me stop and laugh for a good five minutes straight. I really can’t get enough of this book at all.
Sex Criminals just keeps getting better. It’s a book I can never really get enough of and feel like I can never get sick of. I just love where this book goes and how it gets there. Sex Criminals is essential reading! 5/5
That’s all for now, see you next week when I’m flipping through the pages.