7.24.13 [Weekly Reviews]

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Lazarus #2: Previews Exclusive (Image): I picked up this advanced edition at SDCC so I’ve had a couple extra days to ruminate on it, and I think it might even be better than the first. While we already understand the premise laid out in the first issue, the second pushes hard on world-building and intensifies the stakes. I really enjoyed how Greg Rucka positions some of the Carlyle children almost in a Corleone style trifecta. There’s a young, different one, who’s favored, in the “Michael” role, a brash hothead like Sonny, and a more passive Fredo type. There’s the added twist of Forever’s true place in the family line, as well as the set-up for a confrontation with a Morray Family Lazarus. The backmatter includes a riveting timeline running vertically down the pages that fills in much of the backstory of how this world came to be amid a financial apocalypse and how the crime families rose to power. Michael Lark grounds the whole thing in a realistic style, creating a believable reality, with visual touches like the Hollywood sign now being reduced to just an H, O, O, and D, mirroring exactly what the burnt out urban area looks like. Grade A+.

The Massive #14 (Dark Horse): As the Kapital approaches NYC, a rogue US Navy faction is trying to forcibly arrest Callum Israel. There’s a line in here: “We are the military. We are America.” that’s so devastating at depicting what it’s all devolved into while the only legit gov’t has supposedly relocated to relatively higher ground in Denver. Callum knows that an aircraft carrier group isn’t supposed to be patrolling the coast and is ready to call their bluff, while Ryan is increasingly becoming more of a player, and the Georg flashbacks (not to mention his present day intervention) make him one of the most fascinating characters to emerge in an already supremely interesting cast. Grade A.

Thumbprint #2 (IDW): Joe Hill, Jason Ciaramella, and Vic Malhotra, for my money, are delivering one of the best and most memorable mini-series of the year, which seems to be operating just under the radar of the typical comic book consumer. Mallory is walking this fine line between penance for her past sins and trying to absolve herself of her past and just move forward. Artistically, Malhotra reminds me of artists like Matthew Southworth, Michael Lark, or David Aja, contemporaries who are operating with a noir vibe to their style. The aesthetic is back and forth between the gritty present day and the intense psychological drive of the flashbacks from the Middle East desert campaigns. Grade A.

Harbinger #14 (Valiant): This is basically the tail end of the Harbinger Wars event, wrapping up the confrontation between multiple factions, while also completing the Toyo Harada “origin” flashback sequences in the process. Pete and his Renegades absolutely get their asses handed to them by the converging forces of Bloodshot, Project Rising Spirit, H.A.R.D. Corps, and the Harbinger Foundation. Within the space of about a year, Joshua Dysart has cleverly crafted a post-modern self-aware treatise on young super-powered adolescents that has all the raw emotional power of the original X-Men in the 1960’s. The difference being that there just aren’t any pleasant endings. The fight sequences are chaotic and messy and never go according to plan. At one point, Faith says “It’s not like the X-Men at all!!” You’re goddamn right, Joshua Dysart. You’re goddamn right. Grade A.


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