It’s been a busy few weeks in the comics world, and it looks like the eyes of the industry are on Marvel today with the reveal of Marvel Legacy. Let’s take a look at some releases from the last few weeks though!
Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #1 (Marvel Comics)
Does anyone else feel like that title should have an exclamation mark? No, just me? Cool.
Chip Zdarsky and Adam Kubert’s first issue of the relaunched Spidey title was pitched as a back to basic title featuring New York City- centered heroics. It succeed on one but not the other, but really, it doesn’t matter. This is a perfect launch to the series.
After lunch with bestie Johnny Storm, Peter stops a mugging, meets a new ally and is catapulted into a new mystery. I’m really reluctant to get more in depth than that about the plot. The mystery of a hacked StarkPhone is interesting to get the plot moving, but the reason this story was so successful was all in the character.
Zdarsky has captured Peter Parker’s voice perfectly. Some worried about Peter’s appearances in Chip’s Howard the Duck have nothing to worry about here. Peter and his world is shown wonderfully here. There are a couple times Chip crosses the line into too jokey, and Peter ends up in Chicago at the end of the issue, violating the NYC-based stories promise, but both those quibbles are minor.
Kubert has been drawing Spider-Man for years, and his familiarity with the character and his world is wonderful. He draws a wiry, agile Spidey, without going to MacFarlane-esque back breaking extremes. The only negative is that in a few panels, Peter’s webs simple look like Kubert drew a grid on the costume. Overall though, it’s not a problem when everything else looks so good.
If the quality of this first issue keeps up, this will be a run talked about for years.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Subscribe
Aquaman #25 (DC Comics)
This week marks a year for the first wave DC Rebirth releases, and as such all of those books are hitting #25. You’ll see me talk about some of them elsewhere, but I have to talk about Aquaman.
For the first time EVER, an issue of Aquaman grabbed me and made me want more NOW. Regular writer Dan Abnett is joined by new artist Stjepan Sejic, and it creates a revitalized energy around the title.
King Rath has seized control of Atlantis, killed Arthur Curry, and used magic to cut off the underwater nation from the surface. However, somehow, Aquaman has survived… and he’s pissed.
I’ve reviewed issues of Aquaman in Abnett’s run, and thought they were decent. This story though knocked the wind out of me. Abnett weaves a tense political climate, with multiple factions vying for power under King Rath, both in his court and in resistance. Brutal gangs become emboldened. Atlantis is in disarray. In all of this, Arthur has taken a page out of Batman’s book, and becomes a dark protector. It’s a quantum shift for the series, and it’s masterfully written throughout.
Sejic’s been doing DC “fanfic” comic strips for years now, so to finally see his work on a full issue is so thrilling. He leans into his fantasy roots here, with hybrid bruisers, fantastic coral-like armor, and weaponized schools of fish. It’s amazing looking, and I really hope he’s on the book for the long haul.
Rating: 9 out of 10
The Verdict: Subscribe!
Rai: The History of the Valiant Universe #1 (Valiant Comics)
Rafer Roberts teams with Frances Portela and Andrew Dalhouse to tell the tale of as much of the Valiant Universe’s history as you can fit in 21 pages.
If you’re familiar with Valiant, you probably already know the stories- the origin of the Immortal Brothers, the history XO Manowar, and so on. It’s a recap of everything Valiant has done, with some interesting teases for what will happen between now and 4001 AD, as well as what’s to come in the 4001 AD timeline.
Roberts does a great job at making the history lesson interesting, using Gilad Anni-Padda to teach the new Geomancer and Rai about the history. It makes what would otherwise be very dry pretty engaging. Portela has a lot of fun putting his spin on the highlights of the rebooted Valiant U, and Dalhouse keeps it all crisp and bright. Despite some dark events, the Valiant U is not a dark place and Dalhouse’s colors lets that theme shine.
Rating: 7 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy if you’re a little curious about Valiant but haven’t tried it yet.
Copperhead #14 (Image Comics)
Jay Faerber has made his name in creator owned comics after some early work at DC and Marvel. He’s flown under the radar quite a bit, but his comics are always a reliably good read. Personally, I enjoyed the first arc of Copperhead, but haven’t been able to pick it up since. In this issue, with artists Drew Moss and Ron Riley, Faerber wraps up another arc.
Here Sheriff Bronson chases down an assassin who’s determined to get out of town before she gets caught. It’s a well paced chase, with some great tension throughout. Credit goes to the entire team there. Faerber ratchets it up gradually through the dialogue, as Moss uses some great angles and motion, and Riley’s colors wraps it all together with splashes of color through the heavy rainstorm.
All together, it’s a fun, brisk read that definitely interests me enough to try the title out again soon.
Rating: 7 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy
The Damned: Ill-Gotten #2 (Oni Press)
Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree know how to put together a comic. It’s really great to have a creative team that knows each other well, and can act in such perfect lockstep.
They team continues their noir-soaked supernatural crime story as Eddie meets with his boss, the demon Big Al. Al makes a show of strength to Eddie as a threat for giving an old friend sanctuary, and once Eddie makes it back to town, he finds out why the demons want his friend so badly.
Cullen and Brian have been working together for years at this point, on the first Damned miniseries, and then on the Sixth Gun. They know how to craft a story together. It’s clear that Cullen knows when to take a step back and let Brian work. It’s a great partnership that produced a fun issue. Crabtree proves that he’s one of the best color artists in comics, only pulling bright splashes of color when it’s necessary, and when it suits the story best.
If you are a noir fan, or a horror fan, pick with up. It’s a great crime story in the vein of the Untouchables.
Rating: 8 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy