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    Wrapping Wednesday: Micro-Reviews for the Week of 1/21/15

    By | January 23rd, 2015
    Posted in Reviews | 3 Comments

    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.

    Amazing Spider-Man #13
    Written by Dan Slott
    Illustrated by Giuseppe Camuncoli
    Reviewed by James Johnston

    Surprise surprise, we still love “Spider-Verse”. Not only does it continue to make the weird multiversal vampire family hunting the Spiders a valid threat and give us things like Spider-Punk or Spider-Gwen, but it uses its dimension-hopping premise to dissect the nature of Spider-Man. Here, from examining the “With great power, comes great responsibility” through the lens of a spider-powered Uncle Ben to an amazing conversation with the Spider-Man of India that actually acknowledges one of the more problematic aspects of alternate dimensions. And Scarlet Spider even gets to be an interesting character with a badass fight scene from Giuseppe Camuncoli! Plus, Superior Spider-Man gets to say “The die is cast!” one final time which is always a big up in my book. Honestly, we could just keep listing things we like about this crossover for a couple more paragraphs but these are meant to be “micro reviews”.

    Final Verdict: 7.8 – The die is cast!

    Dead Letters #7
    Written by Christopher Sebela
    Illustrated by Chris Visions
    Reviewed by Stephenson Ardern-Sodje

    The second issue of the theological neo-noir “Dead Letters” newest arc is every bit as good as the stellar first run. Lost soul and morally ambiguous gumshoe Sam is back and monologuing with traditionally tough aplomb. While the first arc was all about getting to grips with his own death and establishing his position in the hereafter as a force to be reckoned with, this issue has cranked the tempo up a gear as Sam decides to mount a full-frontal investigation on the shadowy forces that pull the strings in the afterlife. “Dead Letters” is, without a doubt, one of the most mysterious and magnificent indie comics running at the moment. Sebela’s scripting balances wry cynicism with high philosophy and Visions’ astonishing artwork is equally as compelling whether he’s drawing conversations or otherworldly car crashes. Watching Sam try to manipulate mortal (and immortal) enemies into working together towards a common goal is tense enough to get even the most hard-boiled crime-lover’s heart racing.

    Final Verdict: 8.5 – A superb concept executed with precision, “Dead Letters” is criminally good.

    Fables #148
    Written by Bill Willingham
    Illustrated by Mark Buckingham, Andrew Pepoy & Steve Leialoha
    Reviewed by Jess Camacho

    I may be jumping the gun here and I’ve already said this but I’m beginning to worry about the ending of “Fables”. This week, “Fables” #148 did little to quell these fears. The focus is on Snow White and Rose Red’s mother. She comes from a large family of women with a very dark secret and a lot of dark magic. The issue is largely backstory and very little of it focuses on the here and now. That’s part of my concern. How extra sized will the finale be? We’ve seen quite a bit of revelations in this final arc but none of it is really falling into place. #149 and #150 are really going to have their work cut out for them if they’re to resolve this story in a satisfactory for fans. After almost 15 years of time spent on the series, fans will definitely be outrage by anything but a great ending. The series itself deserves to go out strong and so do the fans. The other big concern I have is that Snow and Rose are acting almost out of character. A lot of what’s been done so far is beginning to feel undone. They’ve both reverted back to older and less likable versions of themselves. Even worse, this issue and the arc as a whole, hasn’t shown much of what’s going on with Bigby or the “cubs”. So much is being left out and it’s becoming too noticable to ignore. “Fables” is one of my all time favorite series but this issue does little to get me excited for the ending. Instead, it makes me scared to get to that point.

    Continued below

    Final Verdict: 6.0 – “Fables” deserves better than this.

    The October Faction #4
    Written by Steve Niles
    Illustrated by Damien Worm
    Reviewed by Jess Camacho

    Now we’re getting somewhere. The first three issues of “The October Faction” were really just a way to ease readers into this world and get us acquainted with these characters. Now that the story has been set up, Niles is really getting into the nitty gritty of the story and the characters are starting to become even more appealing. There’s a lot more humor in this issue than there was before. It’s a dark humor that relies on the relationships between the characters. Some of it is just pointing how almost absurdly macabre the situation itself is. While the core family is being developed more, Niles throws in some equally important backstory for Dante that makes him less of a “Frankenstein’s monster” character and more like a human being who’s been through way too much. The layers are starting to show in a way that makes this such a worthwhile read.

    Damien Worm is really doing one of the best jobs in the horror comic genre. There’s something Ben Templesmith – esque to his work but it’s more focused on humanity. Templesmith is excellent at creature designs but Worm focuses a lot on people. He’s doing a fine job setting the mood and the backgrounds are always great to look at in closer detail.

    Final Verdict: 8.5 “The October Faction” is becoming a must read for any horror comic fan.

    Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #2
    Written by Scott and David Tipton
    Illustrated by Rachael Stott
    Reviewed by James Johnston

    An old and naked Charlton Heston shot at Kirk with a rifle, put a sleeper hold on Chekhov and ran away with the USS Enterprise’s space technology.

    Final Verdict: 8.8 – An old and naked Charlton Heston shot at Kirk with a rifle, put a sleeper hold on Chekhov and ran away with the USS Enterprise’s space technology.

    Supergirl #38
    Written by K. Perkins and Mike Johnson
    Illustrated by Emanuela Lupacchino
    Reviewed by Brian Salvatore

    The new direction of “Supergirl,” more or less placing her in something somewhat resembling “Avengers Arena” meets Hogwarts, was an inspired choice. However, the vision, thus far, has been less than realized. Kara’s character remains full of heart and bravery, but the scenarios that she keeps finding herself in don’t really seem all that interesting. One of the problems DC has been having with their cosmic titles is the inability to create alien races that resonate with the readers, or feel like they aren’t knock-offs of something else. Roho is clearly a poor man’s Beast, and every planet’s politics seems to fall into one of two or three very basic tropes.

    This issue introduces Superboy into the fray, which helps the book a little, as the pairing of Kara and Kon, especially in the New 52, still feels fresh and different. The fact that Kon is at a comics convention (carrying a copy of “Justice League 3000”) is really fucking weird, and manages to, of course, somewhat insult the reader in the characterization of those who attend conventions. Sigh.

    Final Verdict: 5.1 – I admire the creative team’s desire to do something different, but this is merely a different sheen on top of the same stale story.

    Zombies vs, Robots #1
    Written by Chris Ryall and Steve Niles
    Illustrated by Anthony Diecidue, Ashley Wood, and Val Mayerik
    Reviewed by Brian Salvatore

    Sometimes, I try to pick up an issue of a property that I’m not familiar with, when the creators insist that it is a “great jumping on point” to see if it is. I have never read any of the previous “Zombies Vs. Robots” minis, and I was curious to see just how I would be able to adapt to this pre-existing universe.

    The short answer is: fine. The longer answer is: fine, but that doesn’t mean I felt it was all that effective as an introduction. I learned more about the property from the one-page write up Ryall gives in the letters section than I did from 20+ pages of comic. The book looks beautiful, and there are certainly some interesting ideas at play, but, again, there just isn’t too much here to chew on.

    Continued below

    Final Verdict: 4.2 – A slight introduction to, what appears to be, a rich universe.

    //TAGS | Wrapping Wednesday

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