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.
Hexagon Bridge #1
Written and Illustrated by Richard Blake
Reviewed by Quinn Tassin
“Hexagon Bridge” #1 is the kind of big swing debut that you don’t see for many series. This issue gives a page of extremely simple exposition- in the year 4400, a parallel dimension called the Bridge is discovered; two cartographers went to explore it and lost contact. From that point forward, the comic just barrels forward, letting you figure out (or at least wonder) what’s going on as it goes. We see the cartographers, Elena and Jacob, who are stranded in different parts of the Bridge. Elena is fighting for survival in the wild and suddenly finds herself whisked into a strange, beautifully rendered cityscape meeting with a robot man named Gerardus. Jacob meanwhile, is discovered by a different robot, unconscious and sent to Gerardus as the dream-like suburb he’s found in dissolves (seemingly because his “unconscious state” was “stirred.” The pair of sequences are gorgeous and disorienting. Blake has a knack for design and coloring that makes this an immediately distinctive comic. He has a relatively grounded illustration style while he fills the pages with all kinds of colors, though with a muted, hazy quality to it. His work designing the environments of the Bridge is particularly strong. Everything looks normal at first but once you zoom out, it’s like reality is fragmenting. The result is a surreal, expressive comic book.
What makes this issue’s confidence and lack of hand holding even more impressive is the fact that this is Richard Blake’s comics debut. For one creator to take charge of every aspect of a comic and do so not only successfully, but in ways that are distinct from the average series on the stands today, is laudable.
The rest of the issue follows Elana and Jacob’s child, Adley, who has visions of his parent’s plight, leading their research team to start plotting a rescue mission. The plan is to send an A.I. called Staden created by someone (or something) called Ishiguro to save the cartographers in the Bridge. This last portion raises more questions such as “what’s the deal with A.I. and this Childs visions that are taken as fact?” But evidently, this issue is about raising questions more than anything else.
It’s worth considering whether “Hexagon Bridge” #1 would benefit from just a smidge more accessibility. The issue’s boldness is admirable and it’s hard not to be intrigued by whatever it is that’s going on here. But it’s also easy to imagine this issue turning people off given how little there is to latch onto. None of the characters are particularly fleshed out and we aren’t given a specific enough reason to care about anyone in the ensemble. And while the weirdness and visual inventiveness of the opening two-thirds of the issue are exciting, there’s not much reason given to care about the actual story here, which seems to be a basic rescue mission. All of these concerns are probably secondary to the many strengths of this issue. But nonetheless, they’re hard to avoid if you’re really putting the issue under a magnifying glass.
Final Verdict: 7.5- Hexagon Bridge is an ambitious debut that throws you into the deep end for both better and worse
Predator vs. Wolverine #1
Written by Benjamin Percy
Illustrated by Ken Lashley, Greg Land, and Andrea Di Vito
Inked by Ken Lashley, Jay Leisten, and Andrea Di Vito
Colored by Juan Fernandez and Frank D’Armata
Lettered by Cory Petit
Reviewed by Gregory Ellner
Just thinking of the concept of this crossover, one has a simple set of questions. First, what took so long for this face-off to occur? Second, why didn’t we think of this? Thankfully, Benjamin Percy did, delving into various elements of James “Logan” Howlett’s history to bring forth a familiar take on two franchises that brings them together in a way that feels natural to both. Taking a cue from 2022’s Prey, the introduction brings up a younger Logan from 1900, pitting the advanced technology of the Yautja against relatively low-technology means of humanity. The majority of Percy’s written words are in the form of Logan’s narration, showing his perspective without ever showing the Predator’s perspective beyond visuals. In the process, Percy makes the already extraterrestrial opponent seem all the more alien, understandable only through the most feral of means.Continued below
The artwork differs depending upon the point in history. Ken Lashley illustrates the present-day Wolverine for the brief time he appears, the heightened detail making the brutality of their conflict readily apparent. For the young Wolverine from 1900, Greg Land illustrates the piece, with Jay Leisten providing inking duties. With those two, there is perhaps a bit too much focus on the youth of Wolverine himself, his face seeming almost too smooth, his demeanor a bit too clean, almost to a disturbing degree. The same can be said for the other characters, their faces seeming inhumanly perfect and devoid of much in the way of blemishes at all, even age lines seeming smoothed away in spite of the setting not really allowing for much of that. Some of the overlapping images feel bizarre, such as a hand that was severed being shown over a far larger head of someone else to indicate both are from different points in a fight, but with difficulty figuring out what happened where. As a result, it becomes hard to care how the action even happened. When it comes to the point between the two that makes up the last moments, Andrea Di Vito both draws and inks the piece, the artwork stylized enough to make for some more fun, but perhaps not enough to wash away the bad feelings from Land and Leisten’s approach.
Juan Fernandez colors the beginning and end of the issue, his choices making for a darker, but more superhero-focused approach than the more down-to-earth (minus claws) choices of Frank D’Armata’s colors on the “Young Wolverine” segment that takes up the majority. Fernandez delves into the artwork and adds depth to it, making its shadows deeper, its light brighter. On the other hand, D’Armata’s work seems to mostly fit within the bounds of Land and Leister’s illustrations, and while it does show some of the violence, it cannot overcome the oddities of the illustrations themselves.
Final Verdict: 6.5- A fun story is held back by odd artwork in the majority of its pages.