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.
New Avengers #19
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Illustrated by Valerio Schiti
Reviewed by James Johnston
The New Avengers finally confront The Great Society (read: Justice League) and build up tension for an entire issue. The Illuminati have always been at their best when Hickman basically turns them into the Marvel version of “The Manhattan Projects” which certainly occurs here as some of Marvel’s most powerful characters try to convince another team that their own world needs to survive more than the other one. Things don’t go so well. I mean, I enjoyed how things went as Valerio Schiti delivered a ridiculous tense negotiation and one of the top five Namor moments ever. “New Avengers” has always been sort of slow but this issue’s pace was a smooth slow burn, not twenty pages of plodding around.
Final Verdict: 8.3 – Imperius Rex, y’all!
Secret Avengers #4
Written by Ales Kot
Illustrated by Michael Walsh
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
“Secret Avengers” is a book that is firing on all cylinders right now, and seems to have an incredibly strong grip on what it is trying to do. The book is trying to blend espionage and humor, with some sci-fi tossed in for good measure. For the most part, it is succeeding at that. Kot’s script here is full of a lot of action/spy movie cliches, but used in a knowing way; Kot isn’t trying to play something off like it is an original idea, but rather playing with the form and creating something fun and fresh with familiar ingredients.
But the real star of the book is Walsh – each page is seemingly better than the last, and he never seems to slip off of his pace. This issue and last, in particular, Matthew Wilson’s colors have been at the top of their game as well, creating a book that looks and feels like something closer in tone to “B.P.R.D.” than an Avengers property.
In fact, “B.P.R.D.” is a pretty apt comparison – humans and non-humans, trying to keep the world safe, with some pretty gross guys along for the ride. A ride which, undoubtedly, I am enjoying and is worth hopping on to for a bit.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – Buy
Written by Joe Keatinge
Illustrated by Leila del Duca
Reviewed by David Harper
This book, you guys.
It is so damn good from literally cover-to-cover, as the first two pages are on the inside cover of the issue and are a spectacular mini tale-within-a-tale about a worm wearing a skeleton suit who drives a damn apple car told over two mirror image 15 panel pages. They are such fantastic examples of comic book art I felt like I needed to fan myself like an old timey Southern gentleman sitting on an overly hot porch while reading it. And that’s just the first two pages of an issue that moves the ball forward, expands the world, and is just a rollicking, immersive blast of pure comic book wonder throughout.
Leila del Duca, the series artist whose work I had never experienced before this book, is such a damn phenom in all capacities that it blows my mind that this is the first time I’ve heard of her. Her work, from the style and identity she imbues each character with to the pitch perfect storytelling to the sheer imagination she brings to the page, is flawed, but in a purposeful fashion to make this world and its absurdity all the more lived in and real. Joe Keatinge’s a mad genius who gives this book such heart with his words that you can’t help but fall in love with Alain and Kate as characters, especially after we’re given their friendship origin story.Continued below
And that damn cat. THAT CAT.
This comic is everything I want out of comics, and it’s just a whirlwind of pure comic booking in all the best ways. Keatinge, del Duca, Gieni and Brisson should bend over backwards patting themselves on their backs, because this – excuse my Eisner nominated French – shit is the goddamn bomb.
And did you know they had a gun for that?
Final Verdict: 9.9 – this is one of the best new books in comics
Written by Mark Millar
Illustrated by Goran Parlov
Reviewed by David Harper
I think a lot of people who came into this book, came into it thinking “alright, I’m here for the Goran Parlov action, and I’ll tolerate Millar to experience that.” And those readers likely have not been disasppointed, as Goran Parlov – maybe especially on this issue – shows why he is one of the industry’s best, pairing powerful story beats filled with emotion and dazzling action scenes in one issue. His European style fits the book perfectly, as his character designs – particularly the wide bodied, lantern jawed Duke McQueen (now extra soft around the edges) and the Han Solo inversion (especially on the cover) that is Tilda Starr – are pitch perfect archetypes for what Millar is going for.
But to look to only Parlov does discredits what Millar has accomplished on this book, and that’s telling a story that is surprisingly restrained and built out of emotion. Millar is someone I like a good bit more than most, but when he’s on, he is very on. And he’s on here, taking tropes that absolutely have been done before (but what hasn’t really?) and making magic happen with them. This book is very fun, and very cleverly made. If you’re looking for a book that you can simply enjoy for a Star Wars meets Flash Gordon type tale, then look no further than Starlight. It’s a good time, especially because of one brilliant artist and doing a superb job of knowing exactly what it is.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – Good times, great oldies
Written by Aaron Kuder
Illustrated by Jorge Jimenez
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
As “Superboy” draws to a close, the team of Kuder and Jimenez are trying their best to make a book with an incredibly convoluted history read like anything other than a death rattle, leading to August’s cancellation. And, while there is still about 10 layers of bullshit too many cluttering up the proceedings, for the most part, the team is doing the best they can, all things considered.
The current story has brought Superboy to a N.O.W.H.E.R.E. facility (even though, I sort of thought that was no more post-“Teen Titans?”), where he finds not the clone of himself he was looking for, but another clone. The New 52 Guardian and a bunch of S.T.A.R. Labs employees accompanied him, and they might all be dead, because when the two Superboys touched, the place essentially blew up. Now there are a ton of Superboy clones, all confused and looking for answers.
Jimenez, a guy who has done a lot of work on DC’s Digital First line, does some nice work here, taking DC’s regrettable house style and adds a little personality to it. His work is somewhat reminiscent of RB Silva, who launched the book, and who managed to make a good looking book out of a succession of garbage Lobdell scripts. This script isn’t garbage – Kuder, a relatively new writer, has his work cut out for him here, with the 25+ issues of poor creative decisions to attempt to tidy up. But this isn’t Kuder’s finest work, either, and trying to keep a lot of the plot points straight borders on laborious.
This is the definition of a book DC felt it “must” have, but had no real idea for what it should be, and so it has floundered from writer to writer (with always fairly competent art) and ended up here, in a miasma of poorly handled time travel, cloning and teen angst. Is it September yet?
Final Verdict: 4.5 – Avoid