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.
All-New All-Different Avengers #12
Written by Mark Waid
Illustrated by Mahmud Asrar
Reviewed by Robbie Pleasant
It’s the Avengers versus Annihilus in a unique kind of tag-team match in the Negative Zone. It’s actually quite clever – using the Nega-Bands to rotate between heroes as the situation and its needs change, and it works quite well for showing off each one’s individual strengths. Avengers teams always work best when they have a good variety of powers and abilities that compliment each other, and this is the first time this team has really worked together in such a way that they truly feel like a team.
There’s also a brief bit about Nadia, Hank Pym’s long-lost daughter, but it’s both brief and an interruption from the action. I’d nearly forgotten about her before that bit.
Mahmud Asrar does a fine job with the action scenes, with a good rotation between wide, thin, and mid-sized panels to control the pacing and intensity of the situation. Even the “Nadia interruption” features a nice montage that manages to establish the connection between characters and how their day goes without needing dialogue. The art falls a little short for the characters on occasion, particularly those who aren’t in a helmet of some kind (for some reason the shading on their chins continues to bother me(, but credit must still be given for the impressive work on Annihilus, the Negative Zone, and the great action.
However, the whole idea of “Let’s go search for Nova’s father” (a plot line that we all thought was resolved in the pages of “Nova,” only to be retconned away the moment a new writer took over) does seem to be dropped pretty quickly with little in the way of resolution, as though it were only an excuse to get the characters into space for the fight against Annihilus. Perhaps they could have had more time to dedicate to that story if they weren’t needed back on Earth to tie-into “Civil War II,” meaning this may be the last time we see Tony Stark do anything heroic for some time.
Final Verdict: 7.2 – Great action, very good use of characters, and pretty clever, but still feels like little was accomplished in the way of story progression.
Written by Van Jensen
Illustrated by Pete Woods
Review by Ken Godberson III
“Cryptocracy” a.k.a. “That Book I’ve Been Misspelling All Weekend” is an interesting one. It’s basically every one of those sci-fi/political thrillers with some ancient conspiracy except we’re following the side of the conspiracy. Issue two deals with the fallout of the major event at the end of issue one and I have to say, I’m not sure if this series is trying to be a parody of those aforementioned ancient conspiracy archetypes. There are some seemingly sly pokes at the tropes (like Cronos being some secret within the secrets of the Nine Families but meanwhile you have a van with “Chronos H.V.A.C.” on it’s side tailing the woman trying to uncover the conspiracy) but it never fully follows through on the satire.
Think one of the big reasons I’m finding it hard to get a read on this book is the art. Pete Woods is a good cartoonist and this is some of the best work I’ve seen from the man. I do however feel it’s kind of miscast artwork? Like, if this book is supposed to be played straight then the art feels too peppy and bright and chipper for the subject material. And while I did say that the art is some of Wood’s better work, I feel like when the fighting began when the Families meeting is attacked there was a lot cramped space and confusion as to where the flow of combat was going.Continued below
All in all, there is potential in this book, but I feel like it is still finding it’s feet.
Final Verdict: 6.2- There are interesting threads and some decent artwork, but the book still requires formation.
Harley Quinn #30
Written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
Illustrated by Elsa Charretier
Reviewed by Jess Camacho
This week, Rebirth forces this volume of “Harley Quinn” to come to an end and with that comes another completely over the top adventure for the soon to be movie star. In “Harley Quinn” #30, Harley tries to save a massive tree in Brooklyn and continue her completely crazy balancing act between her job, roller derby team and gang of Harleys. All of them come together, along with Poison Ivy to save the day. “Harley Quinn” #30 is a very cute and kind of perfect end to the volume without feeling final. This issue, like many that have come before, acts as a one off story that builds off what’s come before it without being completely impenetrable. Harley’s evolution into a wacky anti-hero has been the best thing that has ever happened to her and I’m glad that even though this team had to wrap up this volume, they don’t lose the comedy. Even better, the issue finishes on the relationship that has come to be more important than that Harley had with the Joker – the one with Ivy.
I know Elsa Charretier is moving on to the new Wasp series but I wish she could stick around for a little while on “Harley Quinn”. Her art is the exact kind of thing I want to see more of in this series. There’s a focus on fashion and subtle sex appeal without going into the weird, super sexualized thing that seems to be what she’s known for in the mainstream. Charretier’s expressive characters really get into the big, over the top, cartoonish thing I like from this series and she really gets a great amount of energy captured in each action heavy panel. The last few panels between Ivy and Harley are extremely sweet because of the love she visually captures between the two.
Final Verdict: 7.8 – A great ending to this chapter in the character’s history. I can’t wait for more.
Written and Illustrated by Matt Crotts
Reviewed by Matthew Garcia
In Ancient Egypt, circa 250 CE, the Festival of Alexander is about to begin. While the crowd is gathered together to listen to this Lord of Alexandria deliver a lecture about the greatness of Rome and the expansion of the Empire, these thief brothers use the opportunity to attempt to steal the Red Lady of Babylon, a great gem that casts its own light. But they’ve been beaten to the punch by a mysterious thief with bigger ambitions.
“Kyrie” #1 is very much an introductory issue. Nevertheless, Matt Crotts still provides plenty of spectacle. The color choices are superb — from the golden yellows surrounding the Lord to the deep garnets for the mysterious thief. I read this digitally and the colors are so bright they literally lit up my room. The art itself is very loose, suggesting the scale of the city with some broad color strokes and a few quick lines. This Alexandria feels alive, a place worth celebrating but still with a measure of danger throughout.
The book itself, however, is really short. I don’t think it even hits 20 story pages. I definitely felt like I wanted more from this issue by the end of it. Not just because I wanted to see where the story’s going, but also because it didn’t fell like we got a substantial amount out of this. It looks gorgeous and bears an interesting enough setup to make you want to check out more of it.
Final Verdict: 7.0 – Great colors and expressive art, but I wish were given a little more in this issue.
Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Javier Fernandez
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
“Nightwing” #1 is the Bat-comic that achieves all of the goals of the Bat-line in one issue; it has the familial dynamic that “Detective Comics” is trying to achieve, it has the edge that “Red Hood and the Outlaws” attempts through brute force, and it has a far less insane Batman than in the titular book. The title of the arc is “Better than Batman,” and thus far, that is absolutely true.Continued below
Tim Seeley absolutely nails the character beats in this issue, and not just for Dick, but also for Barbara, Damien, and Bruce as well. This feels like a Bat-comic that takes in all of the history of the characters, yet is absolutely accessible. Part of that is due to Javier Fernandez’s work, which adds a grit to the pages, but doesn’t get bogged down in the darkness. Nightwing has always been the candle in the darkness of Gotham, and that continues here.
Not only that, but the story that is being told here – Nightwing infiltrating the Court of Owls – feels fresh, even if the story isn’t really all that different than what he was doing in Spryal. Seeley’s take on Dick is so spot on, that he helps us to see how he looks at things, and we see why he feels he must do this, and how this is different than his last mission. This might be the best single issue of the ‘Rebirth’ era thus far, and it is certainly the best in the Bat-family.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – A perfect place to pick up Dick’s story.