Wow, what a crazy few weeks of comics. I literally had a book make me cry this week (watch for a separate review of that later). That’s how good it was. So let’s talk about some comics!
Motor Crush #6 (Image Comics)
Brendan Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr return to their hit series in a change of pace issue. Instead of returning to the story of Domino Swift, the team tells the story of Dom’s father, Sullivan, which ends with an unexpected twist.
Sully is put in a compromising situation by the producers of the World Grand Prix. After he refuses to harm a friend, he himself is attacked. Along the way, we learn the origin of Crush and how it came to become the illegal speed boost substance that it is.
I’ve said this before- I don’t think any creative team in comics is in lock as well as these three. Stewart steps in for Tarr on line art this time around, with Tarr remaining on colors. It creates a solid distinction for the flashback, while keeping visual continuity. It all looks great too. Stewart shifts his style slightly to match Tarr’s, but the world is lush and living.
The story itself is gripping as well. While it started with what seemed to be a simple flashback, it grew slowly into deeper world building. We learned about Crush. We learn how Sully lost his leg. The sinister motives of the Producers are introduced. All of it comes together in a fun, thrilling package.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Subscribe
Astonishing X-Men #3 (Marvel Comics)
Charles Soule’s X-Men event series continues here in an issue focusing almost entirely on Old Man Logan. He’s joined by the art team of Ed McGuiness, Mark Morales, and color artist Jason Keith.
Logan continues to press on through the astral plane. As we learn this version of Logan is not just physically resilient, but psychically as well. He pushes through multiple attempts to break him until he’s confronted by Xavier. Meanwhile, Psylocke, Bishop and Angel find themselves dealing with an escalating situation with the authorities.
Soule continues to captivate with this story. He builds layer upon layer very deliberately. He’s clearly not just winging it. One of the best parts of the story is Xavier himself. His intentions are still unclear and possibly malevolent. It’s been an interesting study into Charles, and it’s totally riveting. The way Soule builds up Logan as well is great. He takes advantage of a relatively blank slate with Old Man Logan and adds several interesting layers to him.
McGuiness seemed like an odd fit for the line artist on the series, given the darker theme, but he totally nails it. Logan looks great, and he does a great job conveying the horror of the situation the X-Men are in. Morales’s inks adds to Ed’s line perfectly, and Keith’s colors probably sells the art best, portraying the horror very well.
Soule has me hooked and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Subscribe
Teen Titans #12 (DC Comics)
I try not to review two consecutive issues of a series in this column. However, Benjamin Percy and Mirko Andolfo do such an amazing job with this issue that I cannot not talk about this story.
Picking up on Metal #2’s cliffhanger, Batman is missing, and the Dark Knights have taken his place. One of them, the unsettling Batman Who Laughs, has taken to Gotham, giving several of his most notable rogues reality altering playing cards. In this issue, Robin rushes into Gotham with the Titans to find Batman and save the city. Damian quickly ditches the Titans, and joins up with Green Arrow, Harley Quinn and Killer Croc to navigate a labyrinth ruled by the Riddler.
Percy has the enviable task of being the writer to set up the Gotham Resistance crossover, while the others involved get to go into it full tilt. He does a great job of not just building the threat and conflict for the next several issues, but also making it an entertaining story itself. Every bit of exposition and world building is well done, and through all of this, he takes time for great character moments. Damian’s interactions with Ollie in particular are a lot of fun, reminding me of his team-up with Dick Grayson in Morrison’s Batman & Robin. The only negative is that the Titans become a side note in their own book, which is a little disappointing. Allowing at least one other Titan to accompany Robin in would have brought an added layer to the story.
Andolfo has an artist’s dream here. He basically gets to go crazy, designing the labyrinth, Riddler’s traps, as well as drawing a murderer’s row of characters. I loved his tweaked design for Riddler in particular. And I can’t not mention the incredible splash page of the Batman Who Laughs at the opening of the issue. Awesome and frightening!
In all, a very fun addition to the Metal story, and a must-read for anyone following the crossover!
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy
Star Wars Adventures #1 (IDW Publishing)
IDW’s new Star Wars series kicks off, telling two stories for all-ages readers.
In Cavan Scott and Derek Charm’s lead story, we delve a bit more into the past of Rey. She’s attacked while scavenging and discovers that cruel taskmaster Unkar Plutt has been kidnapped. Scott writes an engaging thriller, with a very fun chase. He also captures Rey’s personality wonderfully. Charm jumps right into a galaxy far, far away as if he’s always been there. He shows how lived in Jakku is, while keeping it light and bright.
Scott tells the second story as well, this time joined by Jon Sommariva. This story features a new set of characters telling a story about a Jedi (Obi-Wan Kenobi although the storyteller doesn’t name him) chasing down a thief. It’s another fun story, and Sommariva has a lot of fun, packing the background with characters.
A great package for any Star Wars fan.
Rating: 7 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy
Ninjak #0 (Valiant Comics)
Matt Kindt wraps up his Ninjak run in this one off issue with Valiant mainstays Frances Portela and Andrew Dalhouse telling the present day parts and a great team of artists showing Colin King’s past.
It’s a weird dichotomy, as the story splits each page between present and past. The present day story is great, a bloody tale of Ninjak locating and retrieving a suitcase full of secrets. The flashbacks are a bit of a mixed bag, depending on the artist. Some are solid, some are a bit more confusing. The highlight of the flashbacks is the image of Ninjak and Roku, in a violent, yet passionate embrace.
Kindt knows how to create a brilliant action story with Ninjak at this point. It’s tense, bloody and thrilling. The final twist is fantastic as well. The flashback narration is unfortunately a bit dry, not always elevating the flashback. Portela does a wonderful job on his portion of the story, and Dalhouse’s color art makes it look great.
Christos Gage and Tomas Giorello get a few pages to tease their upcoming run, with Ninjak being rebranded Ninja-K. It’s not much, but it’s a great tease with beautiful art.
In all, a fun story for long-time fans and a good primer for new readers.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy if a longtime fan.