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.
Deadly Class #2
Written by Rick Remender
Illustrated by Wes Craig
Reviewed by David Harper
I’m going to start with this point: this, after two issues, is absolutely one of my favorite books right now.
After two extra-sized issues, this book has established a real identity, and one that is hugely engaging and tremendously well-crafted. Remender and Craig have managed to develop a secret world within our world – even our history – that feels completely real and unreal at the same time, while being strangely relatable for us as readers.
Unlike his classmates, it’s loss that is driving Marcus and his desire to kill, and although his classmates laugh at his target, his ominous teacher of AP Black Arts realizes the value in what drives him. Remender and Craig do a marvelous job of showing us this without hammering it over our heads, while building it into the recognizable world of a high school that isn’t all that different than the usual ones we all go to.
This book is beautiful, dark, hopeful, violent, smart and a whole lot more things, and in two issues, it’s done more for me as a reader than most do in a year’s worth of issues. If you’re not reading Deadly Class, you are truly missing out.
Final Verdict: 9.5 – this book is blowing me away
Written by Matt Fraction
Illustrated by Dave Aja
Reviewed by David Harper
There’s a weird undercurrent to Hawkeye going on over the last while, and it is omnipresent in this issue. Even though things happen and when they do, we hugely enjoy them because Fraction and Aja’s gifts as storytellers, I can’t help but feel like this book – or at least Clint’s part of the story – hasn’t really progressed in a long time, instead amusingly and enjoyably bouncing around the same time period for what feels like a year’s worth of stories.
With a book that is so well told by two creators at the top of their game like Fraction and Aja, it feels bad to complain about something as petty as “things aren’t happening”, but regardless of the last page, much of the issue feels like a seven-letter word for “moving without any real direction”, and something that an archer should never do.
All that said, the character work and dialogue is endlessly charming, as is the utilization of Clint’s exes. Bits like Clint’s pants not being able to stay up go from something that could be trite in other creator’s hands work because Dave Aja is so effective at visual humor and highly communicative, expressive characters. This is a good comic, but it’s one that suffers under the weight of a nine-letter word for the quality of being distinguished: greatness.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – good, but not quite where it’s been in the past
Secret Avengers #16
Written by Ales Kot
Illustrated by Luke Ross
Reviewed by James Johnston
It’s no secret that I’m a huge Ales Kot fan (the only reason I started “Secret Avengers” was because he joined on for the “To M.AIM. a Mockingbird” arc) so it shouldn’t be surprising that I love, love, LOVED issue #16. Concluding the huge AIM Island arc that Spencer started last year, “Secret Avengers” #16 offers the most heartwarming (and breaking) moments that you’d hardly expect from the type of “Superheroes as Soldiers” comic that’s become so popular since The Ultimates just encouraged every hero to sign up with SHIELD or ARGUS. Chalk that up to Kot’s dialogue that’s simultaneously hilarious (Mansplaining is now a canon phrase in the Marvel Universe), heartwarming (the z-plot with Metallo actually pays off in a number of dividends here) while giving us plenty of moral ambiguity that a title like this lives or dies by. Luke Ross, meanwhile, astounds with art that breaks the mold sequentially in giving us a kinetic spy thriller with genius layout. He never loses the heroes’ humanity either, delivering an incredibly warm final page. With all the plots seemingly concluded, and so much more set up, “Secret Avengers” #16 is a sign that the future of the real Agents of SHIELD are in good hands.Continued below
Final Verdict: 8.4 – Reverie.
Tomb Raider #1
Written by Gail Simone
Illustrated by Nicolas Daniel Selma
Reviewed by Vince Ostrowski
With Gail Simone on board, one would expect that Dark Horse was really making an attempt to kick their video game properties division in the pants a little bit. It didn’t really end up working out, as the final product doesn’t serve as a great first issue, nor a comic book with anything to grab onto for anyone other than rabid Tomb Raider fans. The characterization is thin (Lara’s personality does not resemble that of the heroine that came out of the most recent video game release) and much of the issues’ length is spent with Lara clumsily adventuring through spare environments. The lush locales of the game aren’t well-represented here. Selma’s figure-work is handsome enough, but the comic would have benefitted from more interesting environments that take advantage of the exploratory elements of the character. Perhaps future issues will flesh everything out more, but it would take a lot of patience or a really enthusiastic devotion to the property to stick with this one.
Final Verdict: 5.0 – Pass
Written by Tommy Lee Edwards & Noah Smith
Illustrated by Dan McDaid
Reviewed by Vince Ostrowski
The lost-in-limbo ’80s sci-fi action film gets a comic book adaptation courtesy of Dark Horse Comics. The comic certainly retains that throwback ’80s feel thanks to the detail and acute eye of artist Dan McDaid. The story is based around the very specific place where scientific invention and custom vanning meet. No, really. McDaid’s designs with this concept in mind maintain the ramshackle feel of a van-modding future imagined through a prism that’s 30-years old. Does that make sense?
The story starts off a little dry, with plenty of exposition to set the time and place, but once the schlubby scientist responsible for the creation of the titular android gets going, things start to pick up. By the end of the issue, the charm of the art wins you over and you’ll want to see what happens next.
Final Verdict: 7.0 – Browse
Worlds’ Finest #20
Written by Paul Levitz
Illustrated by Scott McDaniel and RB Silva
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
Crossovers are a tricky thing, especially when the creative teams are so different that any collaboration seems a little iffy. “First Contact” started in “Batman/Superman” #8, and featured exactly what that book is known for – stunning art and on point characterization. It continues here and, well, there was still some nice characterization, but it was far from the truly incredible work done in its predecessor.
I like RB Silva’s art a lot, but here, working with breakdowns from Scott McDaniel, it seems like he is on autopilot – or at least an autopilot setting that has way more lines than needed on most clothing. The artwork, especially compared to what Jae Lee did on “Batman/Superman” just feels excessively overwrought. Levitz’s script gets all the broad strokes right, but he doesn’t handle the nuance the way Pak does, and so this book just seems like a less refined/clever/well done sequel to a really special issue.
Final Verdict: 5.5 – Only for crossover obsessives