There is 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.
Written by Charles Soule
Illustrated by Ron Garney
Review by Ken Godberson III
Between season 2 of the Netflix show and this book, my god you have to acknowledge “Daredevil” is problematic. The Hand is a terrible terrible group, when you think about it, perpetuating several really awful stereotypes. Combine that with the villain called Tenfingers, it’s just a big pile of “Ummmmmm”. And yet, this book has won me over to read for the long run. This book has an advantage over the show: it actually has a Chinese American character that is a hero, Samuel Chung a.k.a. Blindspot. Now, in spite of his not-that-great hero name (I read the ANAD Marvel preview story; I get why he uses it; it’s just not a great name), he is kind of the most enduring character in this book. Boy’s got a good heart.
But it’s here where Garney and colorist Matt Milla get to have fun, since a good percentage of this is action scene of Daredevil vs. The Hand’s Zombie Brute Ninja Thing and Blindspot vs. Tenfinger’s acolytes. A particular standout scene is a double-page spread that continuously shifts between the two fights, but momentum from either is barely lost. I have also found Milla’s coloring of Daredevil’s “radar sense” has been interesting, the closest way I can describe it is looking through night vision goggles before a huge dose of neon is introduced.
Also, these are Tenfingers’ guns. And people say only Mark Waid’s run allowed itself to be goofy. That one on the left is a revolver! Why are there six pedals if there are only four directions?!
Final Verdict: 7.3- With the conclusion to the arc, the pieces are getting set for a potential great run.
Written by Jody Houser
Illustrated by Francis Portela
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
Everything you’ve been hearing about “Faith” – that it is funny and affecting, clever and engaging – is true. Issue #3 manages to be both the funniest and most intense issue yet, and the tone never feels off. Houser and Portela do an incredible job giving the book a tone of its own without sacrificing any corner of the emotional spectrum that it can’t, and won’t, touch.
Each issue, Faith/Zephyr/Summer has been revealing a bit more of herself to the reader, and this week we get a nice look at just how deep her fandom goes (her ‘secret identity,’ Summer Smith, is a tribute to Cyclops, Buffy, and the Eleventh Doctor), as well as how deep her compassion can get. Faith is a character that is both someone who idolizes and is being idolized, but Houser is far more interested in the former. Faith’s ability to geek out is one of the many qualities about her that makes her so fun to read, and it does a nice job of bringing the readers along for a ride, as Faith is so clearly a proxy for all of us.
Portela’s artwork is some of the best superhero work you’ll see all year. His line is clean and sharp, and perfectly captures the Southern Californian locale without spoofing it (too much). He really shines in the moments where Faith isn’t playing hero, but is on the phone or lying in bed. He really is able to capture the relaxed posture, which is such sharp contrast to her heroism. Her slouch is her default setting, and by showing that, it makes her flying and crimefighting look so much more impressive.
The issue also moves the mini forward in ways that feel a tad bit rushed, but that’s the nature of a 4 issue miniseries that is trying to both build a character and tell a story. Hopefully, “Faith” gets another mini (or an ongoing!) soon, and we can see more from this corner of the Valiant Universe – one that any comics fan would be smart to investigate.Continued below
Final Verdict: 8.2 – A fun, funny issue
Jem and the Holograms #13
Written by Kelly Thompson
Illustrated by Sophie Campbell and M. Victoria Robado
Reviewed by Jess Camacho
The Dark Jem storyline hits a major turning point in “Jem and the Holograms” #13. Jem/Jerrica and the rest of the band get a handle on what’s going on and the source is Synergy. There’s little to be said about “Jem” that I haven’t said before. This issue does a very good job moving the story along and it features the right amount of emotional beats. Thompson as a writer does really great work at making “Jem” feel all ages but retaining a certain amount of darkness that the story calls for. The stakes in “Jem” #13 are high but there’s nothing too scary for a younger audience. It all feels like a very natural progression that many series like “Jem” don’t have. They rely on the one and done story but “Jem” builds on itself while still remaining accessible. The dialogue is often times funny, most of the time it’s very cute but it’s tailored to each character. As the dark versions, the characters do transform a bit and it’s helpful in conveying the shifts in personalities.
Campbell’s art continues to be staggeringly beautiful. Campbell does such a great job illustrating concert scenes. There’s something dream like to them (as you’d see in an animated series) and with Robado’s neon infused colors, there’s a true, fluid, musical feeling from the pages. The new designs of the dark Jem characters are really sleek and very, very cool. With Robado, there’s a punk rock/new wave mashup in these designs and it acts as a good contrast to the normal cheerful, pop style of the band.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – “Jem” is still a super enjoyable series thirteen issues in.
Justice League Of America #8
Written & Illustrated by Bryan Hitch
Reviewed by Alice W. Castle
It’s funny, coming off of Dawn Of Justice I worry if it’s a little hypocritical of me to say that I’ve been really enjoying Bryan Hitch’s ‘Power & Glory’ story in the pages of “Justice League Of America”. In many ways, this issue feels like the bombastic, epic superhero fight that Zack Snyder and co. wanted to achieve in the film, but here Hitch has meticulously crafted a story that’s used every aspect of each League members’ powers to build a tapestry for the villain, Rao, that’s a quarter of a million years and several billion people in the making.
After a fair few issues of having the League split up to engage in their own side stories, Hitch brings them all back together as Superman finally faces off against Rao in the kind of fight that Zack Snyder’s wet dreams are made of, and yet Hitch makes it work. There’s a heart here. Superman, for one, is insistent in holding back the beatdown on Rao lest it kill an innocent civilian he’s connected to and that ripples throughout the League, forcing them to fight smarter instead of simply wailing on one another until they’ve leveled everything around them.
At this point, I’m wondering if this story shouldn’t be called “Forever Crisis” thanks to the scope and scale of Hitch’s story so far and, with DC’s “Rebirth” around the corner, I’m almost glad the New 52 is getting a swansong that’s way more engaging and enjoyable than it maybe deserves.
Final Verdict: 8.6 – This is a DC story, through and through, with amazing heroes and in depth storytelling and it’s one you should be reading.
Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Mike Norton
Reviewed by Michelle White
I think long-term, ongoing comics are where it’s at. There’s something so pure, so integral to the medium about a story that you get to live alongside for a good chunk of your life. Getting across a terse, fun story over the course of a four-issue series is no mean feat, of course, but the long haul titles are the ones that stay close to the heart – even if some vacillation in tone is likely.Continued below
I’ve checked in on “Revival” before, though, and have had no complaints in that department. The overall atmosphere has kept consistent since issue one, even if a whole lot has gone down, plotwise. Let’s see: our main character, police officer Dana, has gone rogue, breaking her sister Em out of an internment camp for the recently revived dead. Meanwhile, glowing spectres are being rounded up at the camp, and seem allied somehow with the Revivers.
Anyway, this is a Cooper issue, which is means it’s a treat. Opening with a few pages of his Cooper Comics – a Crayola summary of what’s being going on in the series so far – the brightness of it all is a nice change of pace. It’s also a good refresher for those who, like this reviewer, read “Revival” in multi-issue binges. In any case, Cooper’s visit to the internment camp – to share his comic with a friend – proves vital to the forward momentum of the series.
Along the way, Nikki is proving to be an interesting character. The girlfriend of Dana’s ex, she’s showing plenty of grit and heart in terms of looking after Cooper. Norton draws her with a lot of insight, mingling bitterness and determination and tenderness.
These recent issues haven’t been entirely smooth going – some of the layouts feel rushed, and the colours (outside of Cooper’s section) seem a little muddier than usual. But overall, this issue is as engaging a chapter of “Revival” as you would expect. It picks up multiple threads of storyline, gradually develops its characters, and slowly, slowly, unravels the mystery that’s hanging over Wausau.
Final Verdict: 7.9 – More Cooper, please.
Satan’s Hollow #1
Written by Joe Brusha
Illustrated by Allan Otero and Fran Gamboa & J.C. Ruiz
Reviewed by Matthew Garcia
In all honesty, I grabbed “Satan’s Hollow” #1 because I thought that was Black Phillip on the cover. It wasn’t even until I started reading it that I realized this is Zenescope book, complete with all the stuff Zenescope is most known for. There’s the waif-ish yet still giant-breasted women in biology-mocking positions looking like they’re in constant peril. There’s the over-abundance of horror clichés, including the character returning home to a place where something horrible happened in her past she cannot remember. There’s the town with mysterious leanings. There’s a mysterious, hooded figure; a mysterious, shadowy doorway; and a bunch of teenagers who go missing. Brusha’s script doesn’t offer much subtlety or precision when juggling all these elements. You could chart almost every single story beat by about page two.
It’s actually Otero’s art that makes the book at all interesting. I’m not talking about how he draws women — because I mean, really, grow up already — but more of his playfulness with the evil forces. He has a lot of fun with the shadow guardian thing in the hollow, providing some real movement and fluidity to how it stalks its victims. He’s also fairly solid at maintaining the pace. So while Brusha is all too happy to throw down every horror convention he can think of, Otero does all right with building up to them and carrying us through the story. “Satan’s Hollow” #1 doesn’t offer up anything new or original to the genre, and even Otero’s imaginative touches are small. Maybe as it continues, it’ll grow into something interesting, but the way this issue handled it’s junk, I think it’s doubtful.
Final Verdict: 4.0 – Some playfulness with the evil forces isn’t enough to make up for a conventional, predictable, and heavy-handed story.