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 Forest #2
Written by Ulises Farinas & Erick Freitas
Illustrated by Angelica Blevins & Caitlin Rose Boyle
Reviewed by David Harper
What can you say about Amazing Forest? This book goes to 11 in terms of crazy, with the central concept being that Farinas and Freitas write the types of stories they want to tell – universally strange, but dancing amongst genres like it’s the easiest thing in the world to do – and then get artist friends to bring them to life. This issue is more of the same in that it’s completely different, as Rose Boyle draws a story called “Detective Dunk (and the Cannibal Cult)” while Blevins brings “Van Dark” to life.
The former story is, at its core, an intense police procedural about a detective driven to find the truth behind a few notable missing swords, and the man wearing the top hat with the Yellow Dahlia. It has maybe the least expected and hilarious ending of the month in comics, and Rose Boyle’s Bleach by way of Kate Beaton art perfectly fits the absurdity of the story. Farinas and Freitas have featured some serious artist gems in this book, and Rose Boyle’s work is something that really stood out for me so far.
In the second story, we’re given the tale of a Darth Vader-esque villain caught in middle management at a evil corporation, destined to live life completing more and more paperwork with no raise or overtime on the horizon. This unsexy look at villainy is both hilarious and tragic as Van Dark, the titular villain, desperately tries to get fired from his job so he can move on in his life (mostly by completely failing at his job and seeming heroic). Blevins work nails everything from the little moments of desk work to the bigger moments of Van Dark’s future love’s first appearance. This story is just flat out awesome.
That’s the story for this whole comic though. You get two distinct, well-crafted stories for just $0.99. This isn’t just one of my favorite Monkeybrain Comics. I enjoy the hell out of this to the point where I kept checking around to find when this second issue was set to come out. When it came out, I eagerly purchased it and read it with delight. This comic is – to put it on the nose – amazing. READ IT.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – a fever dream of charming insanity
Black Science #2
Written by Rick Remender
Illustrated by Matteo Scalera
Reviewd by James Johnston
Following its well-received premiere issue, “Black Science” continues to be a new source for out-there/ingenious pulp-sci-fi ideas. This continues in “Black Science” #2 in which Scalera beautifully illustrates another of the “Dimension Z” settings that Remender adores so much. The situation escalates heavily from the last issue and the World War I/Sci-Fi mash-up seems like it’ll take the series into some interesting directions. I’m not too sure about the characters themselves, as they seem to be falling into easy tropes, but Ward is interesting, as is everyone else to a certain extent. As everyone else has already said, if you’re a fan of hardcore sci-fi, “Black Science” is the book for you.
Final Verdict: 7.8 – Buy
East of West #8
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Illustrated by Nick Dragotta
Reviewed by James Johnston
“East of West” immediately grabbed our hearts with its tale of Death fighting his way across an alternate-history/apocalyptic American deathscape to find his love, though that main plot has taken a backseat in recent issues. In what will almost definitely be the theme of the second trade, “East of West” #8 (as well as #6 and #7) have focused upon smaller characters, giving them a much larger role in the “East of West” mythos. Here, we’re given a look into the life of the new President of the Union (whose name isn’t mentioned in this issue so oops I forgot it.) Hickman casts her in a role much larger than initial impressions may have given, and she is definitely a compelling nihilist in the vein of all great “East of West” characters. Dragotta does great work illustrating her elite status, her final actions in the issue especially, but he really gets to flex his artistic muscles with the B-story concerning Death and his comrades. Let’s just say that Oracle ain’t no Barbara Gordon if you catch my meanin’.Continued below
-winks and nudges into the distance-
Final Verdict: 8.7 – Buy!
Justice League of America’s Vibe” #10
Written by Sterling Gates
Illustrated by Derlis Santacruz
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
And so with ten issues, “Justice League of America’s Vibe” goes out to pasture. Sure, it is a ridiculous character to build a series around. Sure, it is even more absurd as he was just reintroduced to the New 52 directly before it started. Sure, the creative team changing early on wasn’t a great sign.
That said, this series did two things extraordinarily well: it focused on a character, and did a lot to make you care about them and their supporting cast, and it helped build up the mythology and foundation of the New 52 better than almost any other book out there. It set up Cisco Ramon as a key ingredient to understanding/traveling the multiverse, and gave him a supporting cast that is felt heartfelt and important, without being insulting. That sounds like it should be obvious, but a ton of Hispanic characters are reduced to nothing more than a broad stereotype. Especially since Gates came on board, the book has felt really rich and full of promise, which makes its cancellation bittersweet, if not to be expected.
The good news is that the character, when he pops up on a team in the future, will be much richer and far more realized because of the work that Gates and co. did with it here. This issue, while a little exposition heavy, sets up just about everything you need to make Vibe an actual, important superhero for DC, as opposed to just a joke member of a Justice League in the future. Well played, sirs and madams.
Final Verdict: 7.6 – Buy the trade