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.
Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America #1
Written by Gerry Duggan
Illustrated by Scott Kolins
Reviewed by Jess Camacho
Wolverine is dead, but Marvel has no desire to let him rest in peace. In the wake of his death, there are still a bunch of books with his name on it focusing on the rest of the Marvel Universe as they deal with it. This week Deadpool and Captain America mourn Wolverine. Thankfully, this doesn’t feel like a cash in. Duggan and Kolins give us an entertaining adventure with a unlikely pairing.
“Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America” #1 follows Wade and Steve as they try to get their hands on a knife with Wolverine’s blood. They want to stop anyone from bringing him back or testing on others with the information they can get from his blood.
This is not the saddest of the aftermath issues and that’s why I liked it. Duggan and Kolins tap into Marvel history to show us these characters mourning in a way that makes sense to their character. Deadpool is a love or hate character but Gerry Duggan has been doing a really nice job with the character in his solo series, so this issue was enhanced by his writing. It tied in a little bit to the current ongoing and retained the right balance of humor and drama that we’ve become used to in that series. This has some really funny one liners from Deadpool and Cap’s lack of pop culture knowledge is used really well. While this issue as a whole is not a “classic”, it is quite enjoyable.
Final Verdict: 7.7 – Steve gets that reference now.
Written by Nathan Edmondson
Illustrated by Mike Perkins
Review by Vince Ostrowski
Spinning directly out of “Original Sin”, the new Deathlok series purports to tell the ongoing story of the latest man to unknowingly assume the identity of the “perfect weapon.” Reading “Original Sin” is not a prerequisite to understanding anything that lies within these pages, but you might wonder why they bothered giving Deathlok his own series again. He may have an uphill battle to climb to maintain sales, but it seems there’s a story worth telling here. Edmondson puts his typically modern militaristic spin on the character, placing Henry “Deathlok” Hayes in and around a present day political hornets nest in Venezuela. Edmondson’s greatest attribute as a writer is how realistic and appropriately brutal he can make this all feel. Obviously the realistic leanings of Mike Perkins’ art helps with that too. Of course, SHIELD is getting involved too, which makes the title feel somewhat more important, as SHIELD is obviously currently getting the Marvel Studios boost. While it still feels like a solo series for Deathlok is spinning out of a Marvel mandate (I admit that that’s entirely a guess on my part), Edmondson does a terrific job of making the story feel vital. So too does the aforementioned Perkins, who is able to depict all sorts of morally questionable action in a tastefully brutal fashion. And whenever art inspires an oxymoronic statement phrase like “tastefully brutal”, you know it’s done its job. More than anything else Marvel has put out in a while, this feels like a “war comic”, thanks to the realistic and gritty portrayal from Perkins. Whether the book continues down that path or turns toward more of an espionage/thriller feel, Perkins art seems equipped to handle either. So while you might still question why Deathlok of all characters is meriting a new ongoing series, don’t let that preclude you from actually giving it a chance to thrill and surprise you.
Final Verdict: 7.5 – “Deathlok” #1 was surprisingly engaging and felt current, even if it still didn’t feel entirely “important”Continued below
Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland” #2
Written by Eric Shanower
Illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez
Review by Vince Ostrowski
I must admit that though we try to be objective in our reviews here at Multiversity Comics, I find it difficult to look at IDW Publishing’s “Little Nemo” revival that way. First of all, I’m as avid a fan of Winsor McCay’s original works as there is (having the strips in the public domain and in oversized hardcover collections is a godsend – Nemo has been treated very well), and consider them among the most important, vital, and highest quality comics ever created. Second of all, I totally get swept up in the honor and appreciation that McCay’s work constantly seems to garner. It’s one of those special works of art that everyone seems to “get” (well, except for whoever made that animated film). Which is why I’m actually torn as to whether there should be more Nemo stories, even if Shanower and Rodriguez cleverly sidestep McCay’s actual creation, rather than attempt to retcon or tack on to it too much. Certainly, this story is being told with the proper spirit and gorgeous sprawling art befitting of the property, but to what end?
Setting that matter aside (as it is a matter of subjective feeling and I truly don’t think it has much to do with how good this comic actually is), “Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland” is a comic worth taking a look at if you have any affection for the character. And hopefully if new sets of eyes get on it, they’ll discover McCay’s works at the same time. You can’t poke holes in “Little Nemo”, but if you had to pick out the defining trait of the comic, it would have to be the monolithic format, which is one of the most recognizable and enduring in all of comics. It’s a little strange to see this world translated into the format of the 20+ page floppy comic book, but the spirit of the thing is there. Shanower has smartly kept the plot light, and the essential path of a Nemo story from beginning-to-end in each of these issues. The function is totally there, even while the form isn’t. And he gets these characters and the world they inhabit, too, just as he did with the Marvel “Oz” adaptations, which actually feel incredibly similar to this story. If you liked those, you’ll probably like this. He lets Gabriel Rodriguez’s lush art do most of the enchanting – another smart move. Rodriguez is one of comics’ best, sure, but his work here serves to prove that McCay’s work in the early turn of the 1900’s was as timelessly imaginative as could be. Lush is a word that gets overused, but I can think of no better word to describe the accomplishment of Rodriguez’s detailed, bursting pages and Nelson Daniel’s eye-poppingly candy-colored cartoon palette. More than anything else, “Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland” is a visual sight to behold.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – “Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland” continues to be a fast-paced and good-natured homage to one of the great works of all time, and it looks great too.
Rachel Rising #29
Written by Terry Moore
Illustrated by Terry Moore
Reviewed by Jess Camacho
It’s always a treat when a new Terry Moore comic comes out. “Rachel Rising” is so, so underrated that it really is a crime against comics to continue passing it up. After lots of craziness involving demons and dark magic, Moore brings things back to the beginning mystery of who killed Rachel. She’s still got a ton of things happening around her but her sights are set on finding out who did this and getting revenge.
This is a really quick issue, but also really important to the plot moving forward. We’ve seen this huge mega arc already and now Moore is taking things in a more personal direction. It’s a personal direction in the sense that this story started because the main character died. No way that’s not a traumatic experience that would hurt Rachel mentally. This issue succeeds in showing us this and there’s one moment in the hardware store that really emphasis this. I teared up a little. That’s how emotional Terry Moore’s writing can be and it is what makes “Rachel Rising” #29 rise above most everything else this week.Continued below
Final Verdict: 8.8 – A quick read but it gets the job done. Still one of the best ongoings out now.
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Dale Eaglesham
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
“Godhead” continues to be a pretty riveting bit of cosmic war, and this installment also doubles as the best issue of “Sinestro” thus far. It is the first time that we have seen the truly evil bastard that the great man became show up in quite some time, and we also get a glimpse of what a tactical genius he must have been at his peak as a Green Lantern. Bunn uses this issue as a perfect opportunity to build up the (probable) supporting cast post-“Godhead” and thin the ranks of the Sinestro Corps at the same time.
But the real hero of this issue is Eaglesham, who is fast becoming my favorite Lantern artist working today. His double page spreads and huge action pieces work absolutely perfectly in this context, but even he needs an assist from Martin Coccolo at points. I understand that for something this epic (and probably editorially controlled) some fill in work is necessary, but it is a bit of a bummer when you flip a page and don’t see Eaglesham’s work waiting for you.
This issue is a bit hard to review out of the context of “Godhead,” but it manages to be a success on both levels, despite being probably inscrutable to those not reading the crossover.
Final Verdict: 7.7 – The strongest issue of “Sinestro” yet, and a fine addition to the “Godhead” storyline.
Swamp Thing Annual #3
Written by Charles Soule
Illustrated by Javier Pina, Carmen Carnero, Ryan Browne, Dave Bullock, and Yanick Paquette
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
This issue is the beginning of Charles Soule wrapping up his “Swamp Thing” run. Capuchine, one of the more important characters of his run, finally meets the end that has been foreshadowed over the past (nearly) two years. The book has three sequences drawn by guest artists, and doozies at that: Ryan Browne, Dave Bullock and Yanick Paquette. The order of relevance progresses in the same order, as Browne’s sequence was visually fun, but about as relevant to the story as the Puzzle and Dragons ad on the opposite page. Bullock was used for a flashback sequence focused on Etrigan, who guests in the issue, and was beautifully drawn, but didn’t add all that much to the story. Paquette’s sequence, on the other hand, was a great return from the series’ original artist, and one of the most genuinely touching and beautiful sequences in the book thus far.
Pina and Carnero, more or less, holds their own, but Pina’s pages feel more in line with the character/title, whereas Carnero, a fine draftsman, just doesn’t have the same feel to his work. However, the story, which veers in many directions, manages to have a certain level of consistency throughout it – at least enough to not make the reading experience jarring. Soule works some twists and turns into the script, but never for the sake of being clever. His story works, and is richer because of the extra details and detours the story takes. Overall, this feels like the start of a victory lap – and a well deserved one, at that.
Final Verdict: 7.9 – A strong issue, which would’ve been a little stronger with one artist working on the “main” story