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.
East of West #23
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Illustrated by Nick Dragotta and Frank Martin
Reviewed by Matthew Garcia
“East of West” has progressively become more and more dense and complicated from issue to issue. Hickman and Dragotta jump across their futuristic Western United States, introducing characters in one issue, only to have them appear again in a much later issue, but with their motivations and intentions intact and introduced to us from some other character. I don’t remember the last time we saw Death. This can be frustrating on an issue-by-issue basis, since there’s so much you have to keep in your memory, even as the book sort of disappeared for a couple months and it relies so much on a slow burn tension, but slowly watching as all these disparate parts come together is rewarding and entertaining.
It’s these issues with a smaller focus that I think feel like they’re the most expansive and encompassing. Hickman and Dragotta present two different locations — the offices of the Confederate President and the bank vault in The Kingdom — but the characters discuss and address events from all over the world. The intrigue continues to tighten and the mysteries deepen. Hickman’s plan might be long term and sometimes frustrating, especially as the issues don’t always make much headway, but they’re paced so well and present their information in a very character-centric manner that “East of West” is never boring. Dragotta’s artwork make very dialogue-based scenes fascinating and intense and his instinct for composition allows the book to breathe and churn with its quiet energy.
Final Verdict: 7.5 – The book can take its time setting up its pieces, but Nick Dragotta and Jonathan Hickman are skilled enough and confident enough in the material that even these quieter issues are filled with intrigue and tension.
Justice League #47
Written by Geoff Johns
Illustrated by Jason Fabok
Review by Ken Godberson III
After the rather middle of the road previous issue, Jason Fabok is back on art duties and we begin the Third Act in earnest. Johns has gathered pieces as far back as “Forever Evil” and Wonder Woman takes center stage for the clash against the Anti-God. Like the previous, a major part of this is set up, but done in a swifter pace. The remaining Crime Syndicate members are back to begrudgingly aid against the Anti-Monitor, although I am not sure how I feel about the return of two of them (Power Ring because I fear Jessica Cruz will be thrown out for this and Grid because I’m still questioning how he’s back). And I still have a few questions as to how the Anti-Monitor has gotten to where he is that will probably require one to do a full re-read of the story upon conclusion.
Best part of this issue is Fabok and colorist Brad Anderson return to art duties. They have positively made this story as awesome as it has been. In terms of a “house style”, Fabok has refined his pencil work over this last year to such a high quality. He is without a doubt drawing the best Wonder Woman in the main DCU. Anderson once again deserves the praise for the malice he communicates with glowing crimson eyes on black or the sickly green of Power Ring. It’s chilling.
Final Verdict: 7.0- The Darkseid War is back on track as it moves towards the finale.
Squadron Supreme #2
Written by James Robinson
Illustrated by Leonard Kirk
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
Robinson and Kirk have no easy task in front of them with “Squadron Supreme” – despite a familiar title and an intriguing concept, the fact remains: this is a team made up of characters that only the most intense Marvel fans would know and/or have a connection to. Kirk and Robinson are coming off of a “Fantastic Four” run that was excellent, but sadly not very well read, and the fear would be that this could fall into a similar category. The first issue did a lot to quash those fears, as killing Namor is something that makes the casual fan take notice.Continued below
This issue focuses on each member of the team dealing with the reality of life on ‘this’ Earth. It is interesting how Robinson is using the characters to act as commentary on not just themselves, but also the analogues they are based on. This is most evident with Hyperion and Blur. Blur loves running, loves exploring, and is eternally optimistic, not unlike Wally West, the Flash when this iteration was created. Similarly, Robinson nods to J. Michael Straczynski’s “Grounded” story for Superman (as well as dozens of other Superman stories), where Hyperion wants to travel across the United States to better understand the country.
Kirk’s art continues to be some of the most underrated in the business – each team member gets their own section of the book, and Kirk – along with inker Paul Neary and colorist Frank Martin – give each character their own palette,, which is unique to them and signals a shift in the issue. This is especially prevalent during the Power Princess sequence, which is all grey-tones and shadows, contrasted with Hyperion’s bright colors and light sources.
The book has lived up to its potential thus far, but it remains to see if Marvel fans buy into the concept enough to support the book for more than a short run.
Final Verdict: 8.3 – A really engaging second issue, with an all time great cover by Alex Ross.