Green Arrow #26 (DC Comics)
I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing when an issue makes you want to see the regular artist on a different title. In this case, it’s a mixture of both I think. Ben Percy and Stephen Byrne kick on Hard Travelling Hero, an arc featuring Oliver Queen on a motorcycle, trying to dismantle the organization that framed him for murder, and prevent them from seizing more power. Each issue in the arc appears to feature a team-up with a new hero, and Barry Allen is up first.
Percy continues to write the take on Ollie I’ve enjoyed most. He’s brash, and cocky but he proves himself. His Barry is a touch off, feeling more like Grant Gustin’s take on the character, rather than the current comic version. Byrne is one of the best artists working for DC right now, giving the story a brisk, energetic line. I’d love to see him on an arc of Barry’s series though.
It’s a fun issue, and worth every penny.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy especially if an Arrow/Flash fan
Uncanny Avengers #25 (Marvel Comics)
Starting a new run on a title in the midst of a line-wide crossover is an intimidating task. However, Jim Zub is a pro, and he takes the challenge in stride with the second part of his introductory arc. The Uncanny Avengers are trapped under the Darkforce dome that has cut off Manhattan from the rest of the world. The quintet of Avengers have to fight off looters, demons, and a corrupted version of one of their own.
Zub takes the reigns from the end of Gerry Duggan’s run, with the team missing Captain America, Deadpool and Cable, and still trying to figure out whether they’re even still a team. He writes that extremely well, with Rogue questioning her leadership, Wasp trying to hold them together, and the whole group coming together regardless to fight off the Darkforce demons. It’s a lot to take in for a writer new to a title, but he holds his own wonderfully.
The art team of Kim Jacinto, Jahnoy Lindsay and Juanan Ramirez do a killer job throughout. The only complaint about the art is the sudden transition between the two teams being somewhat jarring. Tamra Bonvillian and Rachelle Rosenberg also do a wonderful job with the color art, with their colors transitioning the tones, and locations wonderfully. The entire issue has a gloom hanging over the team, which the color artists deserve so much credit for depicting.
Rating: 8 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy (and it’ll be a subscribe if next month keeps it up!)
Eternal Empire #3 (Image Comics)
Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna’s fantasy epic kicks into high gear with this issue, as leads Tair and Rion find themselves facing the Empress’s forces.
Vaughn and Luna work together in wonderful lockstep. The story is engaging, drawing you in quickly with an action sequence that draws you in, while making you ask a lot of questions. Where I found myself confused at the opening, the second act of the issue, where Tair and Rion make their escape and learn more about each other, does a great job of catching the reader up. They embrace the principle of every issue being someone’s first, without dumbing the story down.
Luna’s art and colors are just gorgeous. There’s a reason why Luna is so highly regarded. He adds great touches throughout, like the shapes of the character eyes, which isn’t noticeable until it’s pointed out. The characters’ facial expressions and body language are wonderfully rendered as well.
It’s worth trying out and sticking with!
Rating: 8 out of 10
The Verdict: Subscribe if a fantasy fan
The Visitor: How and Why He Stayed #5 (Dark Horse Comics)
Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson and Paul Grist conclude the story of perhaps the strangest background character in the Hellboy universe.
The Visitor prepares to help Hellboy in defending the Earth from the Elder Gods lurking just outside our dimension. In doing so, he seems to know his fate is sealed, especially as he encounters the Nazi’s at the heart of the threat.
I hadn’t read the rest of this mini, nor am I a regular Hellboy reader, so I have to admire how well Roberson and Mignola are able to keep the story moving, even without knowledge of the events happening around the Visitor. If I know my Hellboy timeline correctly, this issue takes place concurrently with the Conqueror Worm miniseries, and fills in several gaps in that story, as well as answer the question about the alien space station glimpsed in the first-ever Hellboy mini. However, it’s an engaging story, and not just an exposition dump. Grist evokes Mignola quite a bit in his art, while keeping his own personal style shining through.
Long-time Mignola fans will love this story, but it’s not one for anyone unfamiliar with Hellboy lore.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy if a Hellboy fan.
Harbinger Renegade #5 (Valiant Comics)
This story is a tough one to put my finger on for how I feel about it. Rafer Roberts and Darick Robertson crafted a fantastic story… but there’s just something about it that doesn’t sit right with me.
This issue has been hyped for months. The storyarc’s title is Massacre. A major Valiant hero was going to die. And it turned out that hype was actually being underplayed. The entire HARDCorps, with one exception, and all but one member of Generation Zero is brutally slain in a pitched battle in Rook, Michigan.
On one hand, if you’ve been following Harbinger for years, this issue seems to bring things all together. Generation Zero was introduced in the first Harbinger Wars, and HARDCorps became a major in-universe presence due to the same story. Roberts crafted a great military ops that goes sideways. Robertson, with inker Richard Clark and color artist Diego Rodriguez, render the chaos wonderfully, with the appropriate amount of horror and gore throughout.
On the other hand, it feels a little gratuitous, especially with the comments at the end of the issue and Major Palmer picking up for another mission, and clearly able to replace his team with little hesitation. Thinking about it though… that was probably the point of this issue. Palmer has been shown as an amoral person before, and slaughtering a group of children- yes, who were trained as weapons, but still children- goes a long way towards establishing what kind of person Palmer is.
The fact that I’m even debating this internally is what I think Roberts was after in the end. In that, it’s a fantastic story, even if a slew of fan-favorites don’t make it out of it. It also appears that the story isn’t done with death, with Palmer himself potentially in the crosshairs.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Subscribe
Tony Thornley is a Mormon geek dad, blogger, Spider-Man and Superman aficionado, amateur novelist and all around awesome guy. He was born and raised in Utah and has been reading comics since age five. His first comic series was GI Joe and he was doomed from there. You can follow him on Twitter @brawl2099.