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 Marguerite Bennett
Illustrated by Rafael de Latorre and Rob Schwager
Reviewed by Matthew Garcia
“Animosity” #1 has a very Day of the Animals/Long Weekend vibe to it, where the animals of the world decide that they’ve had enough and start fighting back against mankind. Oh, and they can talk, too. It’s a cheesy concept, and what’s more, Marguerite Bennett and Rafael de Latorre know it’s cheesy. Therefore, they get to have a lot of fun with it.
The story starts off like any other pre-apocalypse piece: everyone is running about their idyl lives, unaware of what’s about to happen, until suddenly the animals start attacking them. Birds crash through the windows. Rats burst out of the walls. They’re all screaming, “Die! Die! Die!” Latorre and Bennett deliver the sudden change across three double-page spreads as the animals become aware while some unknown person scream, “OH HOLY FUCK!” My favorite was the iguana who wakes up and cries, “I cannot keep living this lie! Josh is cheating on you.” Latorre delivers some nice imagery here, but he really shines in latter parts of the comic, with these wonderfully structured fight sequences.
What I appreciated most in “Animosty” #1, was that Bennett and Latorre didn’t immediately make the animals murderous killing machines. Sure, a bunch of them instantly grab the opportunity to start mauling everyone in sight (those rats, that tiger), but some just become aware of the awfulness around them (the rooster, the hamsters) or the awfulness in their own nature (the polar bear). There’s even an orca who declares their love for their trainer Eventually the story zooms in to focus on a girl with her dog, and their dependency and love for each other grounds the narrative.
Of all the apocalypses, I think the one we’re most looking forward to happening is the animal uprising. Seriously, we are a bunch of assholes when it comes to animals and, I dunno, maybe there’s this feeling of hubris or something, where when it happens, we’ll be like, “Yeah, okay.” We can only hope we have some creatures we love unconditionally to protect us.
Final Verdict: 7.5 – I honestly had a lot more fun with this book than I ever could have anticipated.
Harley Quinn #1
Written by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmoitti
Illustrated by Chad Hardin
Reviewed by Liam Budd
I can’t imagine that anybody would be under the assumption that it is merely a coincidence that the release of “Harley Quinn” #1 would fall on the same week as the cinema release of Suicide Squad. Though for any of you who are allow me to clear things up, DC’s wide line ‘Rebirth’ is a chance for the publisher to streamline storylines and, more importantly, to give their characters a makeover, taking their movie counterparts as inspiration. This is going to be a big theme for DC going forward and who better to represent that change than the ever-popular Harley Quinn who has finally made the jump over to celluloid. Her appearance actually changed a few issues ago, with Quinn fully embracing her roller derby chic and platinum blond hair with multicolored ombre.
Still written by the team of Conner and Palmoitti, this Quinn is essentially the same iteration we’ve been seeing for the past few years. However, along with the Margot Robbie makeover, there is an infectious new sense of confidence, it finally feels like Harley has finally stepped out of the shadow of her abusive relationship with the Joker and is ready to stamp her individuality on these pages. The issue itself is divided into two, with the first half basically acting as a potted history of what happened to Quinn in the New 52 for new readers. There is a lot of exposition and pandering which may wear thin with long time readers and isn’t entirely exciting for new ones. The only impressive thing about this first half is how much the writers and artist Chad Hardin fit onto a few pages.Continued below
The second act introduces a new storyline, and after the long recap, gets down to what we’re all here for: bonkers action. Without spoiling it too much for you, it seems Harley, and her workplace boyfriend/stalker Red Tool, are going to be facing zombies in this first arc. I know zombies are feeling pretty hack and dull right now, but you can bet that Conner and Palmoitti are going to have some fun with zombie tropes and going off the concepts they introduce here, “Harley Quinn” is going to be as zany and off the wall as it always has been. Hardin is an accomplished artist to be bringing us this type of action packed story, my only reservations would be I don’t find him particularly inventive or inspiring. What he does is very simple, very straightforward comic book art, which is not a bad thing, but it could get a little boring with something like a zombie attack.
Final Verdict: 6.8 -A mixed start to the new series. Newbies and veterans will certainly find the beginning tedious though it does end on a high. In more ways than one.
Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth #1
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Illustrated by Tony Fleecs
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
There are reasons why certain ideas stick around in the collective unconscious for generations: some of them are great storytelling devices. These tropes, when used improperly, can be frustratingly reductive and lazy shorthand for creators who don’t want to expand the narrative. But when tweaked, or turned on its ear, a trope is an invaluable tool to take some shortcuts in your storytelling, and allowing the story to get where it is going faster, rather than have to establish every tiny detail.
“Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth” takes an old concept – Earth must have a representative in battle, to fight for the honor and lives of all of its inhabitants. But, instead of choosing a superior athlete, or a cunning strategist, the alien challengers selected Jeff Steinberg for his self control in…not pooping for a very, very long time.
This is a ridiculous comic, and I mean that in the best possible way. This is silly and crude and damn did I find myself laughing way too hard at jokes that my seventh grade self would have pissed himself over. Josh Fialkov creates this world where Jeff Steinberg – and his gastrointestinal plight – is known to all: the newsstand worker, the homeless man on the street, his roommates. This alone had me in stitches, especially because it appears that everyone is somehow all rooting for Jeff, gambling on him, and generally think of him an idiot.
It is all hilariously rendered by Tony Fleecs, who has a seemingly endless supply of befuddled and judgmental facial expressions at his disposal, as he navigates the waters of Jeff’s social circle, making each person respect him somehow more and less with every passing panel. When things get weird – you know, when the aliens show up – Fleecs begins to slightly pivot towards the sci-fi elements, but the absurdity is still on display clearly here.
And that absurdity is why the book works so well; this is a story we’ve all heard before (well, minus the poop). Actually, it is a collection of stories we’ve heard before: Earth needs a champion, the guy you’d least expect must save everyone, etc. But then you get a series of fun jokes, a truly weird MacGuffin, and – by the end of the issue – a hero that you both root for and feel sorry for, and the book feels different than stories that you might think this fits in with.
Final Verdict: 7.5 – A fun way to spend an evening reading comics.
Uncanny Inhumans #12
Written by Charles Soule
Illustrated by Carlos Pacheco
Review by Ken Godberson III
“Uncanny Inhumans”, not unlike “Ms. Marvel”, continues to make lemonade out of the lemon that is Brian Michael Bendis’ Ode to Derailing Characters and Really Just the Marvel Universe in General, “Civil War II”. While “Ms. Marvel” is more on the micro level, “Uncanny” continues to watch all the progress Medusa has made to reform New Attilan begin to crumble. As Maximus the Mad continues his manipulations and the bridging between Prince Ahura and his parents continues to be rocky, a great deal happens in this issue. I’ve said it before: Not everyone of Soule’s stories hits me well, but I have to say he is really good at pacing, particular in this book. Most arcs are 2-3 issues and this issue continues to have a lot happen but it never feels like I’m being bombarded with information.
There’s a bit more direct action in this issue for Pacheco, Owens and Curiel to depict and they do a well enough job in that. Highlights of such include depicting the Inhuman Kacy’s more unconvention wind powers and even in the more subtle things like Medusa using a strand of hair to grab her son by the chin and make him look her in the eye when asking an important question. And I did say last time that Pacheco could indulge in the whole annoying “boob sock” nonsense, but he actually does tone it down a great deal here. I still wish Medusa would get a new outfit, but alas, that won’t be something we see any time soon.
Final Verdict: 8.3- “Uncanny Inhumans” continues to be one of the better highlights of “Civil War II”