I only got around to reading four comics this week. So no quick shots, only the runner ups and tomorrow my book of the week: Mystery Men 5, from Marvel.
2. Sweet Tooth #26 (Vertigo)
Just to show what a cruel man Jeff Lemire is, he starts off a new three issue storyline which leaves last issue’s cliffhanger flapping in the wind for another three months. In some respects it sometimes feels like Sweet Tooth was partly inspired by the television show Lost and with this new storyline it looks like Lemire has taken another page from the Lost writers as he takes us back to 1911 to the search for an Alaskan Christian mission that seemingly has nothing to do with the present-day storyline. I am sure though, that these three issues will explore the cause of the plague that has hit the world, killing hundreds of millions as we have seen earlier in the series. The art is brought to you by none other than indie comic luminary Matt Kindt. Kindt is the perfect addition to the small stable of artists to have replaced Lemire himself on this book. While having a very unique look of himself, it’s so much reminiscent of Lemire’s work you wouldn’t notice it’s not Lemire when you don’t look at the credits. This issue’s beautiful watercolours and limited coulour pallet work wonderfully to accentuate the mood and time of the story.
Art:9 Writing:8.5 Overall: 8.7
3. Wolverine. Debt of Death (Marvel comics)
A fun little one shot about Wolverine in Japan (in the seventies?) getting tangled up in a high tec, noirish, yakuza crime conspiracy involving SHIELD. One of his old buddies ends up dead and when he gets on the trail of this guy’s missing kids, he soon finds out things aren’t what they seem. Oh, and there are super deadly giant killer robots from World War Two. This is a very nice one and done, stand-alone story. Especially the art is well worth your money. Both colors (Bettie Breitweiser) and pencils (David Aya) are beautiful. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to find out this was written by David Lapham. The writer that brought us the foulness that is Crossed. Psychopath still has the chops to bring a story that doesn’t make you want to vomit (I AM a fan by the way). If you are looking for a Wolverine story that is not connected to the X-men, Avengers, Daken, Schism or Fear Itself you should really get your claws on this little gem.
Art: 9.5 Writing: 7.5 Overall: 8.5
4. The Red Wing #3 (Image comics)
Can a series be too original? Can a title be so unique that readers don’t have enough reference to place it in? That may just be the case in the third issue of The Red Wing. I love how scribe Jonathan Hickman is taking the well-worn science fiction trope of time travel for a spin. And I love the way that artist Nick Paterra visualizes time travel and chrono disintegration. But man, this issue just made me scratch my head. It has action, and human drama, both plot and character development but where is the overall story going? I haven’t got a clue and am curious to find out, but this may read better in trade when all the big concepts and mysteries can be enjoyed (and presumably understood) in one sitting. In this issue, we see the present being attacked by the future, the father of the main character being abducted and tortured by a future version of the main character, and the main character’s friend following their attackers to the future (seemingly only to disintegrate). The art is good, but a bit inconsistent, the facial features and linework looks like a blend of Frank Quitely and Jeff Darrow, but Paterra’s real knack is for drawing exciting space fights between a bunch of different space(and time)crafts.
Art:8 Writing:8.5 Overall:8.2
Posted in Runners up
Tagged Comic book review, David Aja, David Lapham, Image comics, Jeff Lemire, Jonathan Hickman, Marvel Comics, Matt Kindt, nick patarra, time travel, Vertigo
2. Batwoman #1 (DC comics)
A flawless continuation of the Batwoman story by Greg Rucka an JH Williams III, showing that Williams doesn’t only have magic artist skills, but also writing skills (not to forget co-writer W. Haden Blackman of course). Art-wise, I would have liked to give this issue a ten, but I found some of the two page panel layouts were a bit confusing. But that’s a minor complaint of a beautiful book. This sees and explains Batwoman having broken off with her father and taking on a side kick, which I totally dig. This may be my favorite of the DC relaunch books, although I really think it’s an unfair comparison as this book has had a yearlong lead in time. Oh, and sometimes I get a bit over-enthusiastic about little art details (like the way I enjoy Yanick Paquette’s rendition of pigeons) and this issue has another pet peeve of mine: breaking glass. This issue has the most wonderful splash of flying glass I have ever seen. But it’s not just glass that looks great, Williams divides the book in two art styles. Detailed and photo-realistic with a thick line and stark color choices, for the out-of-costume scenes and beautiful painterly for the suited-up Batwoman scenes. I am in love with this book.
Art: 9.5 Writing: 9 Overall: 9.2
3. Sweet Tooth #25 (Vertigo)
Jeff Lemire is a cruel Canadian donkey humper. There, I’ve said it. Not only is he evenly talented as a writer and artist, not only does he create one of the most unusual comics out there, but he’s also a cruel man. I’m not talking about the stuff he puts his character through in the book, but what he puts the reader through. For something like ten issues he’s led the reader to believe that one terrible thing has happened, which has influenced every decision made by two of the most important characters in this book. Well, in this issue, we learn that things did not pan out as we were originally led to believe… OMG, this has to be the cliffhanger of the year! I won’t spoil anything but oh what a surprise twist! The art is just as great as usual. Story-wise, the tension between Jepperd and the girls comes to a head. And he finds himself turned away from Gus, the (buck)boy he has sworn to protect. In my opinion, this is the best written issue in this series so far. We learn whether or not Gus survives being shot, then we see the group of survivors make a decision about staying at a safe location or heading further north, and then there’s this great, great cliffhanger!
Art: 9 Writing: 9 Overall: 9
4. X-men Schism #4 (Marvel comics)
This is like Marvel’s Civil War cross-over event, only for the X-men. The main point of conflict between Wolverine and Cyclops being whether or not they should put children on the battlefield. Cyclops thinks this is the case, Wolverine disagrees. They argue over this in front of the kids, Wolverine stating that the island nation of Utopia isn’t worth dying over, while Cyclops argues that this is where mutant kind should make their stand. And all the while there´s this crazy powerful super-Sentinel coming their way, with the purpose to destroy their home, Utopia. When Wolverine can’t convince Cyclops (or the children), he places explosives all over the island and threatens to blow it and the Mega Sentinel up, once it’s close enough. The children evacuate and then things get rough as Cyclops says: “She never loved you, you know. You always frightened her.’ At which Wolverine replies: ‘And if she was here right now… who do you think she’d be more frightened of?’ (Best X-men dialogue since ‘Professor X is a jerk!’?). This quip makes Cyke snap and things get physical, very physical as the two main mutants duke it out with a deadly Sentinel looming over them. All drawn very competently by the legendary Alan Davis and written by the writer who really gets the X-men, Jason Aaron.
Art: 8 Writing: 9.5 Overall: 8.7