Fast-Shot Comics Reviews 07.01.2015

I skipped outon the previous week since there was a very small number of comics released, and I wasn’t really interested in reviewing more of them than I already did. So, welcome to the first good and proper edition of this new feature, and have a blast!

The picks for this week are: Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel #3, Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #2, Operation: SIN #1, Detective Comics #37-38, Justice League 3000 #12-13 and Vampirella #7-8.

Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel #3:

In Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel, writer Peter Milligan explored the concept of the titular hero, Gilad Anni-Padda, taking on another mission for the mysterious Geomancer, this time to seek and protect a child who would one day rise to be a hero and free his people from the tyranny of those who had invaded their lands several years ago. The first issue focused on this search, the second on Gilad meeting this savior boy in the flesh. And now, in last week’s third and final issue, we saw how destiny was really fulfilled.

The third issue is actually pretty good. The first one was too but the second kind of didn’t meet my expectations, so it was nice of the third issue to prove my expectations true. It has been a really rough time for Gilad, having had to face up to some disappointments regarding the saviour he chose. In the new issue, we see how he deals with his doubts and what he thinks to be his own failures and high expectations. It is a rather refreshing look at the character, and Peter Milligan makes it all flow really well.

The ending of the story deals with the resolution of Gilad’s mission in a metaphorical way, rather than coming true word for word. This plays into the whole magical nature of prophecies and how wizards always speak in riddles and never in words that can be easily understood. The pacing was a bit off here, and at some point I didn’t like Gilad’s despondency so much, but this is still a good end to this mini-series and hopefully we get another one soon.

The art is by Cary Nord, with colours by Brian Reber, letters by Dave Sharpe, and the cover by Trevor Hairsine and Brian Reber. The art isn’t all that different actually than before and is pretty consistent with the previous two issues. The action scenes are detailed and well-choreographed, though there aren’t many of them. The characters really do shine however, especially in the second half of the issue. There are some panels where the art seems rather odd and stylized, but those are few and far in between, and overall it is fairly solid.

Rating: 8.5/10

More Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel: #1, #2.

Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #2:

Angela: Asgard’s Assassin is a title that I want to like despite not being all that big a fan of the character. The first issue of this new series from Marvel debuted last month and it proved to be a disappointment since writer Kieron Gillen decided to start in the middle of his story rather than taking the time to setup everything so that the reader didn’t go in cold. The art was actually good, so that contributed to the positivity about it, but I didn’t expect much from the second issue, and it seems that I was right.

The second issue is basically a prequel to the first issue and explains what happened in-between Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm #5 and Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1. And I find that a really odd decision. Kieron Gillen and Marguerite Bennett are often hit-and-miss with me and the new issue proves that yet again. If this issue had come before, or if the writers had mixed elements of the two issues together for the first and then carried on in the second, then it would have flowed much better.

And the thing is that most of the issue focuses on how much Angela doesn’t really like her family and how badass she is. Her friend spends most of the page-count recounting things we have already seen in Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm while also telling us about how badass Angela is. And that’s boring. Incredibly boring. It is all basically repetition and I hate repetition like that since the characterization and the story both suffer from this.

The art in the main story is by Phil Jimenez, Le Beau Underwood with Tom Palmer and Romulo Fajardo. The art in the substory is by Stephanie Hans. And I really wasn’t a fan of the art this time around. I couldn’t get stuck into the story and so I couldn’t enjoy the art either. Can’t really say more than that.

Rating: 4/10

More Angela: Asgard’s Assassin: #1,

Operation: SIN #1

Just about 8-9 days we saw the pilot and the second episode of Marvel’s Agent Carter. Spinning off from both Captain America: The First Avenger and a prequel to Agents of SHIELD, this show explores what happened to Peggy Carter after the end of WWII and how the Strategic Science Reserve eventually became SHIELD. And in conjunction with that Marvel last week launched Operation: SIN, which does the same thing but in comics. This isn’t the same Peggy Carter actually, and not the same Howard Stark either, but damn, this was really good!

As in the show, we have Howard Stark providing the means for Peggy Carter to resume her espionage activities, albeit in his employ rather than with the government. The only main difference is that here he isn’t on the run from the US government. We know several things from last year’s Original Sin event series about the world of Marvel-616 before the modern one, of how Nick Fury, Woodrow McCord and Howard Stark established the roots of what would follow. Now it turns out that Peggy Carter also had a hand in things and that makes me very happy.

The writing by Kathryn Immonen is superb here. She has a good handle on the characters, and she tells a really fun romp that brings the three of the most important proto-616 setting together. No character comes at the expense of the other and they all get their moment to shine, especially Peggy herself, who is all kinds of awesome here and is reflective of how Hayley Atwell played the character in the movie and now on her television show.

The art is by Rich Ellis, with Jordan Boyd on colours, VC’s Joe Sabino on letters and Michael Komarck on the cover. The art is stellar here. From the first page to the last page, there is an incredible richness and vitality to it that never goes away and you can’t help but love all the action and non-action scenes. Each character has a distinct body language as well, and that helps immensely.

A perfect start to a new series!

Rating: 10/10

Detective Comics #37-38:

The previous arc on the series brought together writer-artists Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato for a very incredible run that saw the series leap to some new heights, coming off a peak performance already under writer John Layman and artists Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson. The new writers faltered a bit around the half-mark of their arc, but they picked up again after that, and now here we are, at the start of a new arc.

Detective Comics #37 and #38 bring Batman villain Anarky to the front lines as he begins his own war against those in power in Gotham. And he is pretty indiscriminate about who pays for all the wrongs done to the city and to its people. While on The Flash, Francis and Brian told really fun stories that sometimes also delved into the grim realities of the titular hero’s life. In Detective Comics however, their stories are quite the reverse I feel, much more grim and much less “fun” in that there isn’t as much… joking around or laughter.

And Anarky plays well into that kind of a setting. He is like the Joker but on a very different level to the Crown Prince of Crime. He is a vigilante like Batman, but social justice isn’t his goal as much as creating chaos is.

Through all the ups and downs of these two issues, with the various plot threads being laid out with the different characters involved, especially the Mad Hatter, I think that this arc is going to be a cut above the previous one in its impact and scope alone. That one was more a drug thriller. This is more a social justice crime drama. And I love that… switch.

Francis and Brian are both credited as storytellers for these two issues, which is just going hand-in-hand to show that they are both also the artists. That’s how this duo worked on The Flash as well and I think that their pairing on Detective Comics is further proof of how good a team they are, whether story or art. The various splash pages, the more intimate panels, the heroes, the villains, everything is captured beautifully. And the colours are just astounding too. As… colourful as the man Batman title, but with more gradation so that the extremes don’t stand out as much.

Pretty damn good arc I’d say.

Rating: 9.5/10

More Detective Comics: #19-24, #23.4, #27, #28, #29, #30, #31.

Justice League 3000 #12-13:

Since the title’s launch last year, I have kind of had a love-hate relationship with it in that there are times when I love the story and don’t like the art, or I love the art and don’t like the story, or the other two extremes. I’ve gone through the full range of emotions with this title, and yet I keep coming back to it because at its core, I really do want to know about the latest adventure of these heroes and villains. There’s something deeply compelling about what J. M. DeMatteis, Keith Giffen and Howard Porter have created.

In issues #12 and #13 of the series, we see what the future is shaping up to be like after Booster Gold and Blue Beetle wake up from their suspended animation coffins deep in an abandoned facility on Takron-Galtos, formerly called Earth. The future really isn’t all that it is cracked up to be and the thing is that these two guys are all that remain of the original groups of superheroes from way back in the 2000s since the “current” Justice League is actually clones and they are also a bit unstable. Not a good intro really.

The writers take these two heroes on a really weird trip to make sense of everything that is around them and in the midst of it all they come across violent wannabes and other dangers. I’ll admit that with the introduction of these two to the story, the future of the title does look to be on the up and up. Quite a bit. I find it much easier to relate to the two of them even though I haven’t really read any titles that they’ve been in recently. The weirdness of the cloned Justice League is almost entirely absent with them and that’s what draws me in so much.

Of course, the cloned Justice League isn’t ignored either and caught as they are in another war elsewhere, we still get to catch up with most of them, especially in this past week’s Justice League 3000 #13, where we see the beginnings of a new status quo in their relationships. And that’s what it all comes down to in these two issues, the interpersonal relationships. They are dysfunctional at best within the cloned Justice League but between Booster and Beetle, it feels much more real.

And goes without saying that I’ve been enjoying this new arc quite a bit too. Especially with the particular character who shows up in #13 and proves to be a real game-changer for everyone involved here.

The art here is by Howard Porter, with Hi-Fi on colours and Rob Leigh on the letters and the duo of Howard and Hi-Fi on the covers as usual. Aside from the inconsistencies in the artwork where the visual design of the characters changes from page to page or the sometimes blocky pencils, I think the artwork is really growing on me. It is just one of those things that I’ve come to expect. And the action in both issues proves to be really excellent in that there’s so much variety in terms of what’s going on. Love that.

Rating: 8.5/10

More Justice League 3000: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6.

Vampirella #6-8

Vampirella of late has has a very trying time, by far. First she was betrayed by the Church and then, to fight a curse placed on her by one of her constant enemies, she had to go around the world killing a bunch of really powerful creatures of chaos, vampires like herself, and drink their blood so that she could have the necessary power when the time came.

Vampirella #6 closes out this first arc as Vampirella goes up against her half-brother Drago who is the King of the Nosferatu and thus is one of the most powerful of all vampires in the world. And also the one who helped her on the quest to defeat other powerful vampires across the globe. This proves to be a rather bittersweet end to what was a great arc, and I can’t help but feel that there was more that could have been done with it. Nancy A. Collins wrote an almost perfect story here, but there was still some kind of a spark that was lacking here unfortunately. The fight against Drago proves to only be the final stage of her preparations for she still has to confront the Queen of Shadows, and that’s where, while the pacing picks up considerably, I also felt that it was all over far too quickly.

But of course, that is still just the beginning of grander things and that’s what we see happen in #7 and #8. With the death of Drago, there is a power vacuum in the supernatural world since he was part of a council that kept other supernaturals in line so that they could all go on doing what they all did best. Now that Vampirella is the Queen of the Nosferatu following Drago’s death, she has assumed all his roles and responsibilities, and so she sets out on a new quest this time, to prove her support for this council and her dedication to her new role.

Once again, Nancy A. Collins writes a really fun story about a man named Dr. Faust, and watching this villain interact with Vampirella has to be the source of a great amount of amusement at worst. Much tighter plotting this time around with a much better story as well, though it does come up a bit short this time around. Regardless, I had fun!

As before, Patrick Berkenkotter on the pencils with Dennis Crisostomo on the inks, Jorge Sutil on the colours and Rob Steen on the letters. Terry Dodson is on the cover for #6, and Mike Mayhew for #7 and #8. With the art teams being consistent, stands to reason that the art itself would be too, and that’s certainly true. The end of the first arc and the second arc give the artists lots of things to do on every page and they prove to be well worth the investment as a reader. Great pencils, great colours, great everything. Just there were some panels which came off as half-done and not up to the usual specs.

Rating: 9/10

More Vampirella: #1, #2-3, #4, #5.

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Posted on January 15, 2015, in Comics Reviews, Fast-Shot Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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