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Wrapping Wednesday: Micro Reviews for the Week of 2/15/23

By | February 20th, 2023
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

There’s a lot to cover on Wednesdays. We should know, as collectively, we read an insane amount of comics. Even with a large review staff, it’s hard to get to everything. With that in mind, we’re back with Wrapping Wednesday, where we look at some of the books we missed in what was another great week of comics.

Let’s get this party started.

The Invincible Iron Man #3
Written by Gerry Duggan
Illustrated by Juan Frigeri
Colored by Bryan Valenza
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna
Reviewed by Alexander Jones

Tony Stark is going through a huge season of change right now. Stark invested his money to stop arms dealers and found himself left with almost nothing. In the latest chapter of the series, “The Invincible Iron Man” #3 Tony attempts to pick up the pieces and find the mysterious third party manipulating the events around him. In this chapter of the series Tony devotes a large portion of his time to make sure that business dealings are secured at Stark International. Over in the series there’s great attention to detail in the characterization from writer Gerry Duggan and in the artwork from Juan Frigeri.

In “The Invincible Iron Man” #3, there’s a lot of focus on politics and character interactions. Thankfully artist Juan Frigeri steps up to the challenge nicely with dynamic facial expressions that emote a lot of subtext for the characters. Frigeri’s expressions for Zhong in particular offer so much emotion and depth to the issue. The last sequence of the issue brings a thriller or horror aspect of Frigeri’s art to the forefront of “The Invincible Iron Man” #3. I loved the ominous facial expressions and tense moments that Frigeri lends to the end of the tale.

One great aspect about the writing in “The Invincible Iron Man” #3 is how dynamic Gerry Duggan’s script is in the series. Duggan allows for Tony to spend some classic time with Rhodey, engage in superhero activity and deal directly with business implications. One of the best aspects about the debut of “The Invincible Iron Man” was how the series dealt with Tony in so many different contexts with such a large part of his cast in the issue. “The Invincible Iron Man” #3 continues the focus of examining Stark’s life through the different characters in his supporting cast. From a narrative standpoint “The Invincible Iron Man” #3 also features a nice follow-up on the mystery of who is sabotaging Tony’s life over the past few chapters of the issue.

Final Verdict: 8.0 – “The Invincible Iron Man” #3 manages to balance the tone of the series nicely with dynamic scenes showing how Tony Stark is slowly rebuilding his life.

Lazarus Planet: Dark Fate #1
Written by Tim Seeley, Dennis Culver, A.L. Kaplan, and Alyssa Wong
Illustrated by Baldemar Rivas, Chris Burnham, A.L. Kaplan, and Hanning
Colored by Ivan Plascencia, Brian Reeber, and Sebastian Cheng
Lettered by Carlos M. Mangual, Steve Wands, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, and Janice Chiang
Reviewed by Quinn Tassin

Like almost every other one-shot in this event, “Lazarus Planet: Dark Fate” is less an issue of a comic and more a clip show teasing what’s to come in various DC comics. It also just so happens that there’s little to nothing tying any of these stories together thematically or otherwise. Unsurprisingly, the result is a long comic that feels a lot like watching trailers before a movie.

The issue opens with it’s two strongest sneak peeks. “Whisper of the Moth,” a Huntress story, is a dark, violent fight through Arkham Tower with a vibe that mixes great super-heroics with a noir feel. The visuals are great, with exciting action that carries real weight and absolutely excellent coloring. Helena’s voice is captured beautifully, carrying an angst that runs right up to the edge of reason but works great (“I listen to a higher voice. Higher than God. Mine.” is one of the colder lines in recent comic book history). There’s not a real arc here but it’s a simple, exciting little story that does exactly what it needs to and breeds real excitement for whatever’s coming next.

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Then there’s the “Unstoppable Doom Patrol” teaser, a fittingly weird, visually inventive romp. This is notable for being the only actual full story in “Lazarus Planet: Dark Fate,” delivering a compelling little arc about the team saving a military unit from a new meta and said new meta from himself. The group fights giant clowns and fungi and one of them turns into an alternate version of herself called Chainsaw Nun. With a strong emotional core and a promise of compelling future conflict, this is about the best sales pitch there ever was.

“8 Seconds of Still Force” is fine but incredibly forgettable. Its main characters reenact the Flash saving their small town from The Turtle but then the Lazarus Storm gives our hero, Jules, Still Force powers. Honestly, the characterization here is thin, even if the trans representation provided is great. Jules is dramatic in a fun way and loves superheroes but those feel like traits that we observe instead of traits that we can actually feel as readers. The actual conflict in the story is the real problem- someone gets filled with an energy that can kill her, then removed by Jules. There’s never really any dramatic tension and that plus the lack of emotional depth and dynamic character traits to latch onto makes this a hard story to love.

“The Envoy” is probably the freshest, most intriguing thing that’s come out of any “Lazarus Planet” comic so far but it does so much so fast that one can’t help but wish the story was saved for an actual first issue. Xanthe Zhou, Cassandra Cain, and John Constantine all team up to fight Jiangshi (basically just zombies) in a cemetery in a visually stunning sequence. Clearly influenced by manga, the story uses framing and layouts in ways that greatly enhance the action. There’s also a dynamic between all of the characters here that’s easy and fun and yet another exhibit in the case for creative thinking when building ensembles. The finale is the most visually stunning moment in the whole comic and should put “Spirit World” on every reader’s pull list. Cassandra finds herself accidentally transported to the spirit world with no way of being reached. The world is gorgeous— a bustling metropolis filled with incredible mystical characters. And the notion of Cassandra Cain starring in a story in that world is amazing.

So on the whole, this is a collection of mostly strong, incredibly disconnected stories. As an issue, this doesn’t do much. As a set of trailers? 3 for 4 is pretty great.

Final Verdict: 7.5 – A set of great teasers would still benefit from any sense that they were grouped together on purpose.

Mosely #2
Written by Rob Guillory
Illustrated by Sam Lotfi
Colored by Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Lettered by Andrew Thomas
Reviewed by Alexander Manzo

Rob Guillory continues his warning of society’s addiction to technology in his second issue of “Mosely,” with the protagonist, Marvin, coming in like Thor (hammer included) and running through the machines. Guillory uses the narrative exposition tool to set the tone and help keep the readers on his side; however, it quickly turns as the harsh truth of addiction comes through. Marvin’s fights are all one-sided as he makes his way through cars and guard robots trying to attack him, only to defeat the “big guy” through some kind of mind explosive. Guillory switches it up on the reader when in Marvin’s moment of triumph, he is instead met with anger and confusion as his belief to be free of technology isn’t shared by the people he has “freed.” There is a failsafe for the hammer that Marvin possesses, and it doesn’t seem to want to hurt humans, so he becomes vulnerable once again. Guillory keeps both Marvin and the reader on their toes to wonder if going away from technology is not only possible but is indeed the right move.

Sam Lotfi does a great job in this sci-fi revenge story with his attention to detail with the various machines and technology in this story. Each new robot that goes against Marvin has a unique aspect to it, and there is this continual size comparison that Lofi does to hammer the strength that tech has on the world. The fight inside of the “big guy” is shown like a tilt-a-whirl ride filled with young people hooked up to a machine, seemingly draining the life out of them. There’s this powerful message that both Lotfi and Guillory show of how far people are willing to go with technology to escape the harsh realities of the “real” world and essentially sign up without a second thought. Lotfi and Jean-Francois Beaulieu create this elaborate Terminator influenced (post machines winning) world mixed with The Mod Gang from The Mandalorian for the people that can linger in reader’s minds about the grip that tech has on them.

Final Verdict: 7.8 – While the point of the power of technology over people is echoed on every page, the main storyline with Marvin seems like a one-man mission rather than a liberator for the people.

//TAGS | Wrapping Wednesday

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