Fast-Shot Comics Reviews 19.11.2014

Last week I started off a new feature on the blog, Fast-Shot Comics Reviews, in which I will be reviewing some of my comics read from that week that I wasn’t able to get to in terms of reviews. And these can be comics I liked or comics I hated or anywhere in between really. Last week I did six comics, all of them among my top picks for the week, and it was a pretty fun experience, trying to reduce my usual 700+ words reviews into something like half that number. Quite challenging too since I usually write so much more.

The picks for this week are: Grimm Fairy Tales #104, Grimm Fairy Tales 2014 Holiday EditionDeath of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #2, Inhuman #8, Storm #5, and Wonder Woman #36. The picks are a bit heavy on the Big Two this week, owing to how much I read from them, and also since most of my reading was confined to them only this week. An interesting bunch certainly and there are quite a few really good books in here, though not all are what I’d call “Pick of the Week” material, even though they skirt the line.

Grimm Fairy Tales #104:

Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales has become one of my favourite books this year, thanks largely in part to the Age of Darkness crossover even that ran on the title since last year and spawned several new mini-series. Since the landmark #100 issue however, the title has experienced a shift in direction, with #101 being set a year after and starting a new story with lots of new characters as a new generation of Realm Knights is trained at the Arcane Acre.

Following the recent adventures involving an evil genie and then some of Violet Liddle’s provoking of Belinda to test whether she really had converted over to the Realm Knights, this past week’s issue focused on newcomer Hailey, who we know is a water-nymph from Neverland. At the end of the last issue, four water-nymphs arrived at the school, presumably to cause Hailey more misery. This past week though, we see that they came to take her away back to Neverland since her mother has need of her.

Of course, the rest of the guys and girls go after her to save her and bring her to Arcane Acre. It doesn’t work out as well as they expect it to, and that’s kind of the fun of it all here. Pat Shand isn’t as impressive here as he usually is, but he tells a rousing story of a girl fighting against her birthright, or rather, the restrictions of such, and by the end, you really feel as if you have gained a measure of understanding of who Hailey is and how things are in Neverland right now.

The artwork however, by Andrea Meloni, Ivan Nunes and Jim Campbell is as great as it has been in the last three issues. The scenes with the water-nymphs were especially impressive, and I loved seeing Wulf being the take-charge sort and doing something proactive while the others are just kind of lazing around in a way. The action was great, and that’s what I loved most.

Rating: 8.5/10

More Grimm Fairy Tales: 2014 Annual, #101, #102, #103.

Grimm Fairy Tales 2014 Holiday Edition:

Grimm Fairy Tales‘ 2014 Holiday issue deals with the mythology of the Krampus, or rather, the Grimmverse version of the character. I’ve never read any of the previous holiday issues, so this was my first time with it, and I’m definitely intrigued by the character. The issue is largely just one big origin for the Krampus, dealing with how an honest simple man became a horrid monster and what kind of an effect he has on the Grimmverse in the present, especially his relationship with Sela.

At times the story can be a little too by the numbers, and thus boring, but I think that Anne Toole has definitely crafted a very different and unique version of the Krampus that also strikes me as being very creepy and horrid in itself. The Krampus is more a sympathetic monster than someone you can’t connect with at all. So that was nice in a way.

The artwork here is by Butch Mapa, with colours by Hedwin Zaldivar and Valentina Pinto, letters by Jim Campbell and the cover itself by Sabine Rich. The artwork here was pretty decent, not too good and not too bad, just sitting on the balancing edge between the two extremes. Nothing really stuck out for me aside from the fact that Sela telling a Christmas story to the students at Arcane Acre is captured really well, visually. Some great expressions here!

Rating: 8/10

Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #2:

This is a series that picks up from the end of Death of Wolverine #4 and shows how the various test subjects assembled by Abraham Cornelius to experiment further with the Weapon X Program break-out of the Weapon X facility and make their own way, while fighting off mercenaries of all kinds. The first issue was a fairly good story that dealt with these test subjects in a personal way and brought them together as a team even, which was pretty good in itself. The second issue from this past week just runs with that concept and goes even further, more than I’d imagined actually.

The new issue is all about bonding between the various members of the team. We see how they all give themselves good names based on what they can do, which kind of struck me as really funny and even took me back to the Golden and Silver Age of comics when supervillains and even a few superheroes had some really odd names, or names that were just way too obvious and what not. This is a more light-hearted issue than the first one, but not entirely without its serious moments, such as towards the end of the issue when we learn a really dark secret about one of the subjects, and there’s a death involved and then the cliffhanger ending itself. Brilliant stuff.

Salvador Larroca, Frank D’Armata, VC’s Cory Petit and VC’s Joe Sabino are the artists here, and they all do a thoroughly good job with the artwork in this issue, even better than they did the last time. The action in the first half is very different to what we see last issue, where it was more physical and close combat, while this time it is more… ranged and with some more tricks, and I liked that visual change. Provided more cinematic moments for sure. There were some moments where the artwork was a letdown, such as the portrayal of Kitty Pryde or the characters screaming too much in some panels, but that’s pretty minor in the larger context.

Rating: 8.5/10

More Weapon X Program: #1.

More Death of Wolverine: #1, #2, #3, #4; (Deadpool & Captain America) #1, (Life After Logan) #1.

Inhuman #8:

After a very rough start, both in terms of the actual issues and the lead-up to them, Inhuman has finally started being awesome as of the last issue, Inhuman #7, where we got to see some really fun things happen and finally learned whatever happened to Black Bolt and Maximus after the end of Infinity last year. Sadly, it turned out to be a very tragic tale, and I loved it because of what Charles Soule attempted to do in this issue, by turning my expectations back on me.

Inhuman #8 carries on in that same vein and it also brings closure to Black Bolt and Maximus’ disappearance from the death of Attilan and their absence in New Attilan while Medusa rules and tries to keep the survivors of her people safe from the rest of the world. This was a gobsmackingly good issue, by far, certainly among the best issues seen on the series to date in its rather young life. Both Black Bolt and Maximus are excellent here, and we also get to see the new generation of Inhumans, the NuHumans that is, be every bit as great as their predecessors.

This comic, surprisingly, has a lot of heart and was rather blown-away by how much Charles Soule managed to cram in so little space. We get to touch base with pretty much everyone who has shown up in this comic to date, excepting the villains of course. And the best thing was how Nur aka Frank McGee moves on after the death of his Inhuman partner Auran, who died because of Maximus’ mind-control of Black Bolt. It was a tragic death and Charles Soule deals with the aftermath in a nicely subdued way. Because of all the emotional touches in this issue, I totally fell in the love with the series after all this time. Charles Soule is finally hitting his stride here and while I didn’t appreciate the ending all that much, I still loved it.

Pepe Larraz, Richard Isanove, VC’s Clayton Cowles and Ryan Stegman are the artists here with the latter on the cover itself, and a great cover it is too, showing both Maximus and Black Bolt in a rather striking composition. While some of the characters look a little odd, in comparison to how they’ve looked before, I still enjoyed the visual aspects of the whole thing, especially there towards the end when much of the action takes place in a location that is just rich with possibilities, possibilities that the artists do their best to explore, so they can’t be faulted for that!

Rating: 9/10

More Inhuman: #1, #2,#7; (Inhumanity) #1, #2; (Inhumanity: Superior Spider-Man) #1.

Storm #5:

Last month’s Storm #4 wasn’t really all that exciting for a number of reasons. While Greg Pak did a good job of exploring Storm’s grief over Logan’s death, the second half failed to capture my interest and I thought it was a rather odd shift in the tone and mood of the series. And given that this past week’s issue was going to touch base with this, I was kind of looking forward to it, but not really.

Storm #5 isn’t all that much better than its predecessor, but now that the dust has settled on the whole thing, there are indeed some cases where there is an improvement. Storm is still frustratingly stubborn, but we get to see Yukio being quite the badass, even though she’s confined to a wheelchair. Thing is, we get to see just how good of a political manipulator Yukio really is and how everything she has done in this issue and the last one was for a common goal that realized itself by the end of this one, in a very head-twisting twist. But at the same time, I did love seeing what kind of a dynamic there is between Yukio and Storm, and the overall take-away is that both of them do grow as characters by the end of this first issue.

The art was much better this time, thankfully, and I loved seeing Victor Ibanez, Craig Yeung and Ruth Redmond portray Storm as a real badass in combat. Almost a goddess even. The fight scenes are excellent, with some good choreography, and the art itself is pretty energetic this time, which adds to the overall positivity of the issue, and helped me connect with the characters even more.

Rating: 8/10

More Storm: #1, #2-3, #4.

Wonder Woman #36

After almost three years of helming the title, writer Brian Azzarello was replaced on Wonder Woman this past week by Meredith Finch. In fact, the entire creative team was shuffled off in this issue, and brand-new creators brought in. I stopped reading Wonder Woman after the 15th issue, largely because I couldn’t handle the endless story that Brian started back in Wonder Woman #1 in 2011, and because I was just growing more and more disillusioned with the title. Since then, I’ve only come back for last year’s Forever Evil one-shots that dealt with Cheetah and the First Born, and maybe this year’s Future’s End one-shot for the title, though I can’t be sure right now.

With the new creative team in place, I thought I’d check out the series to see how things were going on here, and whether anything had improved really. Thing is, Meredith starts off her run on the title in a very safe way that also includes a few head-turners with regards to Diana’s actions, and not in a good way either. The story here is certainly interesting, but there’s also something of the contrived about it all, that the story is going in ways that say necessity more than they say creative freedom. Not all that bad really, but just not enough to bring me back to the fold, unless next month’s issue turns out to be a significant improvement.

David Finch is the artist here with Richard Friend on inks, Sonia Oback on colours and Sal Cipriano on the letters. The art wasn’t to my taste unfortunately, primarily because David draws his characters as if they are all perfect-looking South Californian high-schoolers. Diana looks way too young in this issue, and so does Arthur, who gets quite a significant cameo. There are some other cameos here as well, and the range is definitely there, but at the same time, it all just proved to be way too disappointing. I kind of had high hopes for this one, but that didn’t work out unfortunately.

Rating: 4/10

More Wonder Woman: #1-10, #11-12, #13-15, #23.1.

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Posted on November 27, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Fast-Shot Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

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