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.
Batman ’89 #1
Written by Sam Hamm
Illustrated by Joe Quinones
Colored by Leonardo Ito
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
Batman, the 1989 Tim Burton movie, is now old enough to elicit legitimate nostalgia, and DC recognized that and put together this title, written by Sam Hamm, one of the film’s co-writers. Regardless of the quality of the story, Joe Quinones does a fantastic job placing the reader squarely in the world of those films, nailing the small details of the world, from the (perceived) texture of Joker’s goons’ jackets to the neck immobility of the Bat-suit. The one anachronistic element in that Batman’s mask has the comic-specific white lenses, as opposed to the Michael Keaton pupils from the film. Nit pick aside, Quinones clearly loves this setting and draws his ass off, giving the world just enough grime and grit, but not bringing the tone too dark for films that are not as dark as we remember them.
Hamm does a nice job expanding the world of the film, introducing new characters and using the characters we know from the films to tell stories that wouldn’t be as nearly packed into a 2 hour film. We see the beginnings of Two-Face here from Harvey Dent, but it doesn’t appear to be rushing that transformation. Similarly, there’s a lot of backstory given to Harvey in relatively short order, and the character feels specific to the Billy Dee Williams portrayal. Hamm does a nice job giving us more Harvey context in short order, and making us care about the character for reasons beyond just “he’ll be Two-Face one day.”
Quinones and Hamm also introduce and tease a bunch of comics and animation-originated concepts and settings, and really starts to give a picture of what types of expansive stories can be set in this world. For something that could’ve been a simple nostalgia cash-in, this first issue suggests a whole lot more.
Final Verdict: 7.9 – A strong opening issue that delivers more than promised.
Bunny Mask #3
Written by Paul Tobin
Illustrated by Andrea Mutti
Lettered by Taylor Esposito
Reviewed by Alexander Manzo
“Bunny Mask” continues with a mixture of creepy, horror, and questionable protagonists. The story immediately picks up at the end of the previous issue with an attack happening at Tyler’s home but not for him. Three men break in to kill the woman his roommate is sleeping with, and how does Tyler know this? The Snitch continues to whisper secrets to him despite him trying desperately to ignore them. While the attack was at the beginning of the story, the rest seemed more focused on the bond Tyler and the sheriff was forming. Their secrets about Bunny Mask are shared, and Paul Tobin slowly moves the needle forward with his story. The story of the mysterious Bunny Mask still gives more questions than answers to the reader.
Does Tobin also introduce a small side story that the spirit (or ghost) likes talking with small children as well? While it still feels creepy for the reader, there seems to be a bond between Bunny Mask and the children. Often in horror stories, children are seen as innocents that can be easy targets for corruption. The goal of Bunny Mask is still unknown but bonding with Tyler may be it’s key to becoming free, or to murder more people.
Andrea Mutti continues to deliver with his water-colored inspired art. The linework has a messy quality that’s done purposely to fit the dreamlike atmosphere of the story. Mutti’s art combined with Tobin’s story creates this uncertainty of reality feel that this story is made for. Mutti also does a great job of keeping the story focused by having only the characters in each panel and very little background clutter. He makes sure that the setting and point of view are set but with silhouettes and shadows of background characters rather than distract the reader from the conversation. There is this independent horror movie vibe to it that this story thrives in.Continued below
Mutti’s colors also help dictate the mood, such as when Tyler and the sheriff are discussing the cave, and it switches from greens to oranges. This color decision allows the reader to understand the change between simple statements and a more shocking reaction for these characters.
Final Verdict: 7.9 – While it’s not the creepiest or scariest of the chapters, thus far, it helps move the story and is worth checking out.
Fight Girls #2
Written and illustrated by Frank Cho
Colored by Sabine Rich
Lettered by Sal Cipriano
Reviewed by Henry Finn
Writer and illustrator Frank Cho seems to be having a lot of fun on this mini-series, and with issue #2 of “Fight Girls”, he opens up the world by introducing a B story following a mysterious investigator searching for background information on one of our leading ladies, Xandra Blackwater. This world is reminiscent of a Blade Runner-esque style world featuring characters in dark trench coats and background figures sporting colored mohawks and neon fashion. Issue #2 brings us a new challenge but also new questions to ask that adds a mystery element into the action and adventure. This breaks up the potential monotony of action action action by giving the action stakes that go beyond simply wanting to rule the world.
In terms of illustration, what stands out about this issue is Cho’s use of humor through the use of repetition and silent panels to convey nuanced interactions. He breaks up big splashy pages of double-crossing cutthroat adventure with double-page spreads of densely packed panels full of information and character. For instance, Cho takes us to the City Hall Records department, where our shadowy and menacing investigator wears the same exact scowl for three panels, as the information clerk is given 5 panels to react to each beat. He does this again on the next page where the investigator’s facial expressions change as each layer of information about Xandra is revealed.
Final Verdict: – 7.5 “Fight Girls” #2 is super fun and I am excited to see where it goes.
Written by Benjamin Percy
Illustrated by Robert Gill
Colored by Guru-eFX
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna
Reviewed by Alexander Jones
Few things are quite as creepy yet still as grounded as Krakoa terrorist organization Xeno. The telefloronic threat to Krakoa persists in issue #22 of Marvel’s “X-Force.” Author Benjamin Percy continues to tell a fascinating story focused on the gritty nature “X-Force” was founded on. Issue #22 continues the subtle blend of intrigue and horror that has made this title stand out from the very first issue. Percy’s characterization of heroes like Beast keeps this title fresh. Beast is constantly testing the limits of his morality in favor of advancing science and protecting the greater good. Percy is only focused on a couple of characters in this issue which gives the title the narrative space to explore the horror-based elements tied to the narrative.
Robert Gill’s art is solid but not great. Gill is definitely improving this craft and I can spot a number of improvements over this past work in this issue. When there are a lot of characters on the page, Gill does not pack as much detail in the art. I do appreciate the more innovative page structures which come to fruition in some parts of the title. The last page focused on character drama was surprisingly clear. The final page definitely shows an improvement over some of the less detailed panels earlier in the issue. I wonder if Gill is pressed for time due to the inconsistent nature of the art in this installment. Gill’s work in this issue shows promise but doesn’t quite achieve the artistic heights of some of the best titles in the Krakoa-based X-Men line of comics. I hope Gill will continue to refine his sequential art and get even better from here.
This issue is mainly focused on supporting cast member Man-Slaughter. Issue #22 of “X-Force” carries a Swamp Thing-esque eco-terrorism plot which feels especially politically relevant in our current environment. Percy’s narrative never feels derivative or stolen from other titles, this script carefully pays homage to lots of X-Men tropes and supporting characters. The issue’s plot starts a little slow but builds to a big conclusion with tense fight sequences. Man-Slaughter as a character undergoes a massive sense of growth in this one issue alone. Percy does a great job passing the spotlight over to a character who might be forgotten in a different series.
Final Verdict: 7.8 – “X-Force” #22 is a creepy look into a dark mirror of a Swamp Thing-style character interpreted through the world of X-Men.