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.
Moon Knight #12
Written by Jed MacKay
Illustrated by Alessandro Cappuccio
Colored by Rachelle Rosenberg
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit
Reviewed by Alexander Jones
Writer Jed MacKay and artist Alessandro Cappuccio have made the latest run of “Moon Knight” an introspective but action packed look at the hero. MacKay previously psychoanalyzed Marc Spector’s personality for a more contemplative issue. Now that Marc is done looking back, he’s ready to take on Zodiac in “Moon Knight” #12. The sharp characterization and visceral action the series is known for is in full effect in this special issue.
MacKay and Cappuccio have been building to a big fight between Zodiac and Moon Knight for months. Thankfully, Cappuccio’s visual ideas rise to the quality of the demanding script to create a strong sense of payoff for previous issues. The loose line work from Cappucio captures a gritty element of Moon Knight that is perfect for this dark subject matter. The colors from Rachelle Rosenberg are a huge element that add a dynamic sense of mystery to the pages. Rosenberg colors the Moon Knight costume beautifully and uses a lot of blues to add color to the background of the issue. There are so many color tones on each page that I believe this adds a great sense of detail and production value in the overall package.
“Moon Knight” #12’s final page does a great job shifting the focus back to the characterization elements of the series. MacKay and Cappuccio do a wonderful job setting up the future of Moon Knight while paying off the last year of stories in the issue. MacKay’s script in “Moon Knight” #12 is honest, well-paced and loaded with strong action. Cappuccio rises to the challenge to capture Marc’s big brawl with ambitious visuals. “Moon Knight” #12 is a wonderful comic carefully balancing out the tone of the issue for maximum impact.
Final Verdict: 8.7 – “Moon Knight” #12 is the cathartic release of meticulous planning.
The Shaolin Cowboy: Cruel to be Kin #2
Written by Geoff Darrow
Illustrated by Geoff Darrow
Colored by Dave Stewart
Lettered by Nate Piekos
Reviewed by Henry Finn
The Shaolin Cowboy: Cruel to be Kin” #2 is an action-packed second issue that continues the Geoff Darrow way of allowing his art and composition to tell stories with minimal text. This is done effectively in a way that makes you think about the idea that if a picture is worth a thousand words, each frame from Darrow must be worth ten thousand words.
This is exemplified in a battle scene that features hundreds of birds attacking the Shaolin Cowboy. The first thing you notice is that each panel is packed with so much detail, and yet even with each feather drawn in detail, it never feels cluttered and over done. This sequence reveals a subtle lyrical quality to the way he freezes each frame that creates this overall effect of being both photographic and dynamic. This is done first in his composition and how he places the central figures in each frame. Where he puts the Shaolin Cowboy in each frame tends to follow the rule of thirds and makes sure that our eyes always know where to go.
As a writer, Darrow also has a strong grasp of how to build a world that feels well thought out. While the dialogue is sparse overall, every time he does use prose it comes out quirky and follows a logic that somehow makes sense. For example the main villain rides a giant jellyfish monster and speaks with a haughtiness that matches his mustache and raised eyebrows. You can almost hear a British accent that goes along with the character.
Colorist Dave Stewart knows how to compliment Darrow’s work in a way that enhances and yet never detracts. He fills each panel with soft gradients and muted tones that allow the line work to shine.Continued below
Final Verdict 8.0 – A great continuation to the next adventures of the Shaolin Cowboy and his lizard buddy worth seeing more of.
Written by Gerry Duggan
Illustrated by Pepe Larraz
Colored by Matte Gracia
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
Reviewed by Quinn Tassin
It’s striking how much a simple superhero story like “X-Men” #12 can resonate. Now, that’s a relative phrase. This is an issue that features a version of Mr. Sinister that may or may not be the original Nathaniel Essex, builds on the Orchis storyline, and contains an article revealing to the world that these days mutants are revived as soon as they die. Still, all of that more intricate plotting tied into the wider X-line of comics is delivered in an issue about mutant superheroes stopping aliens from attacking Earth.
This is the kind of straightforward story that’s makes it easy for nearly every character to have a moment of their own. Wolverine, Rogue, Jean, and Lorna get a nice hero moment as they end the threat on Gameworld. They quartet has a playful, easy chemistry that’s a blast to read. On the Earth, Cyclops gets the spotlight dealing with Essex with an assist from Synch. It’s intriguing stuff with more long term implications for the series but not quite as compelling as the Gameworld material. The only sad part is that Sunfire only gets a moment in the final couple of pages.
Throughout, Pepe Larraz and Matte Gracia are giving it their all. The artwork is vibrant, beautiful, and dynamic. There’s a brightness to the colors that contribute a great deal toward “X-Men” #12’s fun tone. The layouts are absolutely exquisite, keeping the issue quickly paced while making sure you savor the big moments. Mutant abilities are particular well-rendered in this issue; the Gameworld fight features lush illustrations of the pink and green waves of power Jean and Lorna send out and something about Cyclops’s concussive blast feels especially explosive. There’s a cinematic quality to the whole endeavor that few can pull off as well as this team and it makes the issue all that much more fun.
Of course, this is the last adventure with this lineup of X-Men. Cyclops, Jean, and Synch are sticking around (with a maybe from Wolverine) but it’s time for a new Hellfire Gala and a new election. This has been a great lineup and it’s bittersweet to say goodbye. But here’s hoping the next group will work just as well.
Final Verdict: 8.4- A rock solid, entertaining goodbye to the current X-Men lineup