There really are some amazing comics out there lately, and this week saw some great high profile launches. Are they worth your money month after month though? Let’s find out.
Analog #1 (Image Comics)
Gerry Duggan has made a name for himself in comics with action comedy stories for the last five years, particularly on Marvel’s Deadpool. Now, he brings a similar sensibility alongside co-creator David O’Sullivan with Analog.
Jack McGinnis is a former spy turned information courier. He’s a pen and paper sort of guy in a digital world full of self-driving cars, drones and smart devices. This same world no longer has any privacy and that means no one has any modesty. Jack finds himself tied up in some… intense problems, and has to fight his way free.
This is a tough story to summarize, because it’s one part world building, one part spy thriller and one part character piece. Each of those things Duggan does really well though. Jack is an interesting protagonist, a counterpoint to where our society is going. The thriller/mystery aspect is interesting too. Jack did something several years ago to cause the loss of privacy himself, and what that was will clearly drive much of the story moving forward.
O’Sullivan and color artist Jordie Bellaire craft a world that captures the feel of “day after tomorrow” that so much sci-fi dystopia guns for, and they do it wonderfully. O’Sullivan’s style is not that dissimilar from Phil Hester or Darwyn Cooke, which adds a timelessness to this story. Add Jordie’s always fantastic colors, and it’s a full package.
If you’ve been a fan of Image’s others crime or spy thrillers with a twist, like Crosswind, this is a great book for you.
Rating: 8 out of 10
The Verdict: Subscribe
Sonic The Hedgehog #1 (IDW Publishing)
IDW’s relaunch of Sega’s long-running Sonic the Hedgehog comics have been looked forward since the change was announced last year. Would the title change, how would it be different?
Well… It’s not that much different, but that’s not a bad thing.
Doctor Eggman has disappeared, but that doesn’t mean his forces are defeated. After Sonic and Tails defeat a squad of Badniks, they reflect on the increasing organized threat of the evil forces, and wonder if there’s something to it.
Ian Flynn and Tracey Yeardley craft a familiar story to any longtime Sonic fan. Yes, certain characters are missing (Knuckles and Amy get mentioned on page, but most of the Archie Sonic gang is MIA). But it feels very much the same as the series that disappeared off shelves last summer.
To put it simply, this is a breezy all-ages book. The heroes face mild peril. The bad guys are defeated. The day is mostly saved. Flynn does put some thought into an underlying mystery, but overall it’s business as usual. The art, by Yeardley, Jim Amash, Bob Smith and Matt Herms is fun and breezy. It’s a simple, fun book for all ages, but adults may find something lacking in that simplicity.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy for a kid in your life, but as an adult reader, a pass
Mech Cadet Yu #8 (BOOM! Studios)
It’s a testament to how well Greg Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa have put this issue together that I can say I missed #7 but don’t feel lost stepping into this issue.
Tanaka, Standford, Sanchez and Olivetti blast into space to battle a Sharg mothership, while on Earth the various mech pilots remaining planetside try to stop the military from slaughtering their mechs to power new human-built mechs. In the middle is Cadet Park, who is caught between her father and loyalty to her friends and squad mates. Before the group makes contact with the Sharg, the group is joined by the other pilots, who have broken free and arrive just in time to help.
Pak has taken the story a step beyond the previously established concept. It’s not mech versus kaiju any more. The military is a threat. There’s a mystery as to who or what is actually behind the Sharg attacks. Through all though, he continues with outstanding character work that has become a trademark of this series.
Tak’s art with color artist Triona Farrell continues to be exciting and fun. They’re able to adequately up the scale here, with the mechs taking up more room on the page than they have previously. Since the giant robots are silent, they convey a lot of character in the possibly sentient machines through just body language. Tiona does some very fun effects, and is able to keep things vibrant while also muting a few things with the space action.
This continues to be one of the better creator owned books on the stands today.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Subscribe
Green Lanterns #44 (DC Comics)
Tim Seeley and Ronan Cliquet continue their Green Lanterns run with one of the best character pieces they’ve done to date, and probably the best story focusing on Jessica Cruz so far.
Jessica finds herself in therapy again, continuing to show the progress she’s made since her debut. Her therapist however pushes her to into talking about the night when several friends were murdered, the event that triggered her agoraphobia. After pushing back from talking about that event again, Jess and Baz go after one of the antagonists from earlier in the series- Singularity Jain, a manipulative killer. Jain attempts to strike a deal with Jess and by the end of the issue may have triggered something within the heroine.
This series has worked best as a character piece with intergalactic heroics and Seeley knows that. He continues to the character work that he and Sam Humphries put into Jess and perhaps finally paying off some of her longstanding issues. I hope he doesn’t miraculously fix them, but I definitely trust Tim here.
Cliquet provides a great artistic balance to the heavier parts of the story. His art is just cartoony enough to prevent the story from slipping into self-seriousness. However, the therapy scene is the standout of the issue, with a great mixture of facial acting and body language.
I really feel like this series is flying under people’s radar, but it’s worth picking up.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
The Verdict: DC fans, subscribe
Old Man Hawkeye #3 (Marvel Comics)
At this point, the Old Man Logan timeline is starting to become as revisited as often as some of Marvel’s most explored alternate realities. But Ethan Sacks and Marco Checchetto’s maxi series take a smart approach here, exploring a time in this reality we’re less familiar with, and makes it work.
On his tour of revenge after the fall of the United States, Hawkeye comes face to face the first name on his list that’s a friend- Erik Josten, the former Thunderbolt known as Atlas. The duo brawl through Arcade’s Murderworld under Clint is able to gain the high ground and kill his former friend. Meanwhile, Bullseye is hot on his trail and getting closer.
Sacks does a lot of smart things here. The issue isn’t big on exposition, sharing information through dialogue and action rather than relying on telling. Clint is the perfect protagonist for this as well, as his greyer morals than his former Avengers teammates suits the revenge fantasy, but he’s not the anti-hero Logan is.
Checcheto is a star here. He recalls original Old Man Logan artist Steve McNiven several times, but infuses it with so much of himself. The fight between Clint and Atlas is brief but perfectly choreographed.
This is a maxi series you should be reading, especially if you’re a fan of Old Man Logan.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy
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.