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.
Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake: Card Wars #2
Written by Jen Wang
Illustrated by Britt Wilson & Ryan Sygh
Reviewed by Matthew Garcia
Adventure Time has never shied away from the fact that the world is a corrupt and broken place. You can try your best to be a hero, but there’s so many extraneous forces pushing against you, including from those you think are supporting you, that it’s only possible to be the best person you’re capable of being. That it does this with great humor, vivid colors, and fantastic designs is only a testament to the creators of Ooo. The second Fionna & Cake series, “Card Wars,” focuses on when those extraneous forces invade something you love and prevent you from participating because of some silly reason like gender. In order to earn her place on the team after LSP forfeits, Cake the Cat has to prove she’s a capable Card Wars player to some random jerky guy.
Wang steps back for this issue, letting Wilson and Sygh take over the page. They deliver some really spectacular battle visuals and obviously have tons of fun rendering how these crazy actions take place. Not much more happens in this issue, other than a bit more of an introduction to The Floop Master and a pretty fitting depiction of how LSP broke his wrist, but the whole creative team know what they’re going for with this book and just let the whole adventure fly.
Final Verdict: 7.5 – some great battles delivered with boss visuals. Not much headway in terms of plot, but plenty of adventure to go around.
Giant Days #6
Written by John Allison
Illustrated by Lissa Tremain and Whitney Cogar
Reviewed by Jess Camacho
“Giant Days” #6 finds Esther, Daisy and Susan off on school holiday. After receiving an alarming text message, Susan is now missing and Esther and Daisy go to her hometown to find her. Allison’s scripts are formulaic but that’s part of the charm of “Giant Days”. It’s very slice of life and as close to a sitcom in comics that you’ll find. This issue wasn’t the strongest because things got a little dark. Who’s trying to hurt Susan and why they want to hurt her is not offensive but is really serious stuff and it becomes tough for me to laugh at some of the jokes. The series hasn’t shied away from tackling more serious issues like sexuality and drugs but it’s always been handled in a way that allows lighthearted moments.
Lissa Tremain’s art is beautiful as always and there’s less surreal cartoon moments and much more emphasis on character interactions. The facial expressions aren’t nearly as big as previous issues but that’s not really a bad thing. Tremain is leaving the series with this issue and she leaves us showing how great she is at creating scenery and conversation. Cogar’s colors are a great mix of light and dark with the right mood set when they ladies get to Susan’s hometown. She really nails the difference between the university and the dingy city.
Final Verdict: 7.9 – Not the best the series can deliver but far from a disaster.
Green Lantern: Lost Army #3
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Jesus Saiz and Cliff Richards
Reviewed by Keith Dooley
John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and the rest of the “lost” Green Lanterns continue to traverse a universe that is unlike their own. In “Green Lantern: Lost Army” #3, they are aided by a being named Relic who was an antagonist of theirs back in the “real” universe. We are caught up to speed on the Lanterns’ past dust-up with Relic in a natural way by writer Cullen Bunn without dragging the issue down with exposition. Bunn juggles all the Lanterns in a fun way and is able to give each of them a distinct voice. Stewart is clearly the star of this series and Bunn’s effort at showing a leader who is strong and focused in a directionless world is pulled off with success. This is a fun space yarn.Continued below
“Green Lantern: Lost Army” #3 is further proof that Jesus Saiz is one of the best one-man artistic teams in comics. His art and colors in this issue bursts off the page in an ethereal and three dimensional way. The color palette and the technique in which he colors imbues his art with rich and dynamic textures that bring even conversations between characters to brilliant life. The emotions Saiz draws from his characters are complex and uniquely his, from Stewart’s steely determination to Gardner’s whispered yelling through clenched teeth.
Cliff Richards, along with colorist Michael Atiyeh, fill in for Saiz on seven pages without jarring interruption. Richards’ art is close enough to that of Saiz and Atiyeh’s coloring is similar to Saiz as well. You can clearly see Atiyeh’s attempt at replicating Saiz’s coloring technique while Richards’ scenes of cosmic battle are fluid and of high quality. If there had to be a fill-in for some pages, Richards and Atiyeh are more than competent at the job.
It’s refreshing to see this and the main “Green Lantern” book take chances and go in directions that aren’t loved by everyone. In “Green Lantern: Lost Army” #3, Bunn demonstrates he is heading toward something that could possibly be mind-blowing. So far, the journey is worth taking.
Final Verdict: 7.0 – “Green Lantern: Lost Army” #3 is another solid issue with the build-up enough to keep us intrigued to continue with this new series.
Justice League #43
Written by Geoff Johns
Illustrated by Jason Fabok
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
Between the Jason Fabok cinematic scope and the Geoff Johns love of DC Universe lore, “Justice League” is finally starting to read like the flagship title it was always supposed to be. Except, it seems, that DC has moved on, making this book feel a bit like the coda to the New 52 – which I am absolutely ok with.
The New 52 began with “Justice League” #1 and Darkseid, and it, ceremonially, ends with Darkseid and the Justice League again. Looking at the crew making up the main League roster, only Cyborg and the Flash didn’t undergo major changes with the ‘DC You’ promotion (not counting Power Ring or Shazam, who aren’t featured in any other books), and so this is the last gasp of these characterizations, too. If and when Bruce Wayne comes back, if Clark Kent ever gets his identity back, if Diana can stop changing costumes every few months, they probably won’t look/act like this ever again.
And yet, we get Batman sitting on the Mobius Chair, so this isn’t exactly a pat Justice League story, either.
A big part of that is due to Jason Fabok, who continues to be one of the most interesting ‘big book’ artists working today. In many ways, Fabok is an avatar of the New 52, also – after getting his start on “Detective Comics,” he quickly moved over to “Batman Eternal,” and helped usher in one of the finest Batman stories in a long time, and helped make DC’s return to weekly comics really work. Multiversity contributor Walt Richardson is fond of calling Fabok a ‘timelier and better David Finch,’ and that’s spot on. He has Finch’s flair for big sequences and cinematic tones, but isn’t frequently delayed, and creates work with less variance in quality – good Finch work is great, but bad Finch work is unreadable.
Here, Fabok’s subtle redesign of Batman’s costume when he sits on the Mobius Chair is brilliant, and his action sequences – especially the two-page spread that comes towards the end of the issue – are stunningly epic. His pages never look empty, and his heroes always look pitch perfect – he’s perfect for this book.
It is also fitting that “Convergence,” the event that directly preceded ‘DC You,’ undid the ending of “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” and so – if you squint hard enough – sort of undid the Anti-Monitor, too. And so, Johns gets to tell his version of the Anti-Monitor’s path of destruction, and will wrap up this big arc sometime next year, putting a pin in what the New 52 is/was. The rub is that, if all of the New 52 looked like this, we wouldn’t be celebrating its departure.Continued below
Final Verdict: 7.9 – A strong entry into the most appealing “Justice League” event in years.
Loki: Agent of Asgard #17
Written by Al Ewing
Illustrated by Lee Garbett
Review by Ken Godberson III
Change can be an awful thing. When a new writer takes over the reigns of a character that has gone through such a massive arc, the fear from fandom is not so much fear of change, but the fear a character will be regressed to make way for the new vision. When it was announced Kieron Gillen would be leaving Loki, a character he had go through a fantastic arc from “Siege” to “Journey Into Mystery” to “Young Avengers”, I think many of us feared a regression for the character.
I don’t think many of us considered that the creative team Al Ewing and Lee Garbett would be crafting the final stretch of that saga while adding their own spin to it.
From his work on “Mighty Avengers” as well the interviews he’s done on his upcoming “New Avengers” book, I think Al Ewing and I have a similar philosophy on characters, we hate when they regress. But Loki has always been a character of change and it he strikes that metaphor deeply here with the God of Stories confrontation with not only Those Who Sit Above in Shadow (who may or may not be the Beyonders before they met their Doom) but the final confrontation with King Loki. It is not your standard Good Present Version versus Evil Future Version. Like Loki himself, it has become something a bit more than that. A bit wicked, a bit impish, and a whole lot more personal.
I have been a fan of Lee Garbett’s work since his stint on Stephanie Brown’s “Batgirl” series and the man’s craft has evolved remarkably since then. In spite of most of this book taking place in the white nothingspace after the Final Incursion, what really stuck out for me was the stark inkwork. This was shown off in a very brutal page where we finally get a full explanation as to what King Loki is. Other such examples being the close ups of death glares characters give in this book and especially Those Who Sit Above in Shadow. But my favorite example is a combination with the vibrant color workings of Antonio Fabela with a one page splash of the major characters that formed this book (which, a textless version is now my new phone background).
At the end of the day, mainstream comics have a problem with delivering character arcs so consistently for so long. Perhaps the only other character I can think of with such a consistent character arc is Ultimate Reed Richards. But in the end, Loki the God of Evil, the God of Lies, the God of Stories changed and changed and changed and is not the two dimensional villain of yesteryear. As Loki and his buddy Verity skip the Secret Wars chapter to see what comes next, even I couldn’t guess what’s to happen. But here and now, Loki changed, and for the better.
Final Verdict: 9.6- With a stunning conclusion, “Loki: Agent of Asgard” stands up with “Journey Into Mystery” as a definitive modern Loki story.