Justice League #6 (DC Comics)
It’s so rare for a series, any series, to maintain gleeful excitement all the way through its first arc. I mean, usually quality maintains, but the “oh hell yeah” moments tend to taper off at least a little bit.
Not Justice League. This was the series Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez were born to create.
The situation is hopeless. Lex Luthor’s Legion of Doom has the League on the ropes, and Sinestro’s Ultraviolet Corps is corrupting the entire planet alongside Umbrax, a sentient evil celestial body. The Legion has won. Yet, in the final moments, the League fights back, and pushes against the corruption and takes advantage of the evil to reverse the tide… leaving the world glowing with the White Light of Life.
Snyder, Jimenez and color artist Alex Sinclair give us an absolutely exhilarating story. I’ve heard statements that every Justice League story should be an event. That’s what Snyder does here. Each hero reaches deep into themselves and fights counter their nature to win. Really the only downside to the issue is that Wonder Woman and Aquaman don’t get as much screentime as the previous issues but it’s a minor quibble considering how much is happening on the page.
Jimenez is an absolute genius. This issue could end up getting cluttered and messy. Instead Jimenez keeps the art energetic and exciting. There’s a lot going on, but it never feels like too much. Sinclair also deserves credit for that, because he keeps everything from crossing the delicate line Jimenez tip-toes down.
This is excellent superhero comics. Pick it up today.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Subscribe twice and give a copy to a friend.
Crowded #1 (Image Comics)
Honestly, this series had a lot of potential to be obnoxious. Stone-faced bodyguard teaming up with a self-obsessed, social media-addicted millenial to save the latter’s life? However, Chris Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt and Triona Farrell give us a comic about murder that I can’t help but describe as delightful.
Someone wants Charlie Ellison dead. Once they place a bounty on her in the crowdfunded assassination app Reapr, the reward skyrockets to $1.25 MILLION dollars to kill her. Thankfully Vita Slatter answers her request for help on Dfend. Now Vita needs to keep her alive- and off social media- for a month, when the contract expires.
Sebela’s script is fast, funny and action-filled. It’s simply a fun ride. He also takes the time to get us to care about the characters. Charlie is an awful person, but you can’t help but like her. Vita is a mysterious figure, and clearly has skeletons in her closet that you want to know about.
Stein and Brandt match that energy effortlessly. The characters are distinctive and interesting immediately. They keep the action flowing, while having a lot of fun. Farrell’s colors give it a candy-coated sheen that does nothing but add to the fun.
I never thought I’d talk about a comic about attempted murder like this, but quite simply, this is a fun, delightful book. I can’t wait to read it month after month!
Rating: 9 out of 10
The Verdict: Subscribe!
Doctor Who: Road to the Thirteenth Doctor #2: The Eleventh Doctor (Titan Comics)
I think I got the title of this right this time. Titan is as excited as we are about the arrival of Jodie Whittaker as Thirteen. In this issue we get two stories, one continuing Eleven’s adventures from Titan’s ongoing adventures, and another set in the middle of a classic adventure heralding Thirteen’s arrival.
In the lead story, by James Peaty, Pasquale Qualano, and Dijjo Lima, the Doctor and Alice encounter steampunk androids serving as butlers and helpers in early 1900’s San Francisco. Naturally, they need to figure out what’s going on. In the back-up, by Jody Houser, Rachael Stott and Enrica Angiolini, the Doctor muses on the nature of humanity during the slow invasion of the cubes from series 7 as a figure tries to break through reality…
Peaty and Qualano’s story isn’t directly connected to Thirteen, but it’s well worth the price of admission. It’s a fun story, full of classic Who tropes. It doesn’t feel worn or tired though. It also looks great. Qualano and Lima’s visuals are gorgeous. There are a few panels in which Eleven is slightly off model, but it’s a minor bump.
Even without the title incarnation of the Doctor, Houser and Stott’s story is just fun. Eleven was always a touch more thoughtful, and a bit more self-centered. They capture that here in just a few pages.
Any Who fan would enjoy this mini and should check it out!
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Who fans should be subscribing!
Edge of Spider-Geddon #1 (Marvel Comics)
One of my favorite characters to come out of Spider-Verse was without a doubt Spider-Punk, AKA Hobie Brown the anarchist Spider-Man from Earth-138. So I was glad to see him get a solo spotlight in the first issue of this anthology.
We get to dive deeper into Spider-Punk’s world as Kang of the year 2099 visits him. You see, he’s bought the rights to his likeness in his era and wants to kidnap him to use the real thing in his ad campaigns! Hobie scrambles to gather his allies to stop Kang, until the Hulk puts him out of commission. It’s just in time too, as Mayday Parker arrives, asking Hobie for help…
I love when writers take advantage of their alternate universe setting, and Jed MacKay does exactly that. The story feels like an alt-comics superhero story, and has fun touches throughout. This is a universe that I think would get old in an ongoing series, but I think MacKay has proven that one-shots like this would be a fun way to keep it alive.
Gerardo Sandoval draws probably my favorite thing he’s ever done in this issue. He leans very quickly into the alt sensibilities of the story, and designs some fun characters to go in it. His version of the annihilation wave in particular is just fun, and I love his straightlaced KAng antagonising Hobie.Without Brian Reber’s color art, I don’t think it would quite cross that line, but he adds primary colors and splashes of reds and blues to make it all feel perfectly indie.
This is a great book for any Spider-fan.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy
Black Badge #1 (BOOM! Studios)
I was an Eagle Scout, but apparently I wasn’t dedicated enough, because I never knew about the Black Badges- a black ops arm of the Scouts. That’s the simple premise of this new series from Matt Kindt, Tyler Jenkins and Hilary Jenkins.
We meet the scouts- Kenny, Mitz, Willy, and Cliff- as they infiltrate a communist country and aid in a mission that they assume is an extraction. Along the way, we learn more about Willy, the newest member of the group, and why he’s joined the quartet. After they find out the mission is actually a drone-executed assassination, they finish the job and head home…
Kindt’s story is extremely sharp. These kids are not especially likeable but they’re definitely very engaging and interesting. He crafts a morally grey story, and gives us protagonists just as grey.
Tyler’s line art matches that tone. It’s sketchy, and moody. The boys all instantly have distinct personalities just from how they carry themselves. You can almost hear their voices thanks to the expressions on their faces. Hilary’s color art is a great compliment. She ranges through times of day within the story, something not a lot of color artists do well.
This is definitely a story worth trying out.
Rating: 8 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy