4.09.08 Reviews (Part 1)

Suburban Glamour #4 (Image): Astrid has to be one of the most endearing characters ever created; the opening shot of her unsure, but playful demeanor is priceless. There’s a fair amount of action to be had here, I only wish that it had been spread a little more evenly amongst the preceding issues. McKelvie’s art remains breathtaking and looks brilliant in full color. Between this title and things like the recent Transhuman by Jonathan Hickman, it feels like Image Comics is back in a big way. More like this, please. Grade B+.

Amazing Spider-Man #556 (Marvel): I’m so pleasantly surprised to finally have found a Spider-Man comic that I can enjoy! Chris Bachalo’s art has never looked cleaner. It’s refreshing to behold his borderless panels that provide a contemporary and experimental feel to a well explored property. Zeb Wells’ has created an introspective tone to Peter Parker’s narrative which provides a darker, more in despair feel than the irresponsible doofus that I’ve always hated in Peter. He’s actually likable here! Wells and Bachalo are crafting up a slow-burn thriller here, and it’s a testament to their combined abilities that it’s so intriguing when the titular character doesn’t even appear in half the book. Grade B+.

BPRD: 1946 #4 (Dark Horse): This is my favorite issue of this mini-series to date; it hummed with a manic energy that seemed a bit lacking with prior installments. While this did remind me of the way Spielberg sort of endlessly demonizes the Nazi regime, it was a very compelling character arc to see a crisis of conscience as the officer considers his fate as “a stain on the human race.” There were chilling moments, the rich presence of Varvara, and a lot of intrigue to be had with the fall of (occult) Berlin. Grade B+.

Soleil Sampler (Marvel): For formatting alone, this sampler plate of Marvel’s new joint venture with an adults only European publisher, deserves high praise. The layouts are clean, there’s nice interviews with the creators, bios are included, and it’s free! Sky Doll is perhaps the weakest of the offerings; cute art with no real plot to speak of, checking in with a Grade C. Universal War One is perhaps the most promising of the lot; I really enjoyed the compact small scale art which has a clean Cassaday or Charest feel to it, Grade A-. Samurai gives us yet another depiction of feudal Japan, which is a setting that’s really been mined to death, but the art compensates with some unique panel designs and a Geoff Darrow level of detail that will have to compete with ASP’s Okko to gain my attention. For now, Grade B+. Lastly, Scourge of the Gods boasts an interesting premise, but the execution is mismatched; there’s some amazing art that reminds me of Simone Bianchi in spots with its beautiful brown hues, but the story feels dense and dialogue heavy to slog through, Grade B. Overall, this averages out to about... hell, I don’t know… but intuitively it feels like about a Grade B+.

Serenity: Better Days #2 (Dark Horse): It’s frustratingly interesting to me that I remember my review of issue one better than I remember the actual contents of issue one. That sort of proves the point I made about this being inconsequential lost episodes of the show that are not nearly as strong aesthetically as the film versions. I will say that Will Conrad is very effective at telling a visual story with little to no dialogue – just check out the panels that show the wish fulfillment of some of the characters. That aside, there are some rough jump cuts that make me question the setting, and overall this feels like a meager copy of a copy of a copy… Grade B-.

Titans #1 (DC): The scattered vignettes serve as basic character introductions, but nevertheless feel disjointed with no story thread connecting them. If I didn’t already know these characters, they wouldn’t function as effective character profiles either. The depictions of Starfire, Raven, and Donna Troy are nothing short of a crapdiculous boobfest, and I can’t figure out who’s supposed to be strung up on the tree since he’s never mentioned by name. Killing everyone who’s ever been a Titan is an unoriginal story concept, these certainly aren’t definitive iterations of any character, in six months time this issue will not be memorable, and the whole debacle is pretty juvenile. Grade C-.


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