After a somewhat slow month, the comics industry delivers a pretty rich week. Reviews under the cut of books from DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, IDW Publishing, Valiant, and Dynamite.
Superman: Lois Lane #1
Lois Lane gets her own one-shot because… because…well, good question, honestly. Marguerite Bennett delivers a solid story about Lois and her badassery, albeit once again tied to what a screw-up her sister is, but there’s very little here to justify a one-shot. It’s OK, I suppose, but you’ll have trouble remembering what it’s about next week.
Revolutionary War: Super Soldiers #1
Marvel’s miniseries featuring their British heroes keeps going, this time with, well, super soldiers. Rob Williams’ script is actually an amusing goof on ’90s comics, to some degree, and Brent Anderson’s work is always a joy. A solid little one-shot worth reading if you’ve got the room on your sub list.
Fantastic Four #1
James Robinson, Leonard Kirk, and Karl Kesel relaunch the First Family of Marvel. It’s undeniably a “first issue” in the sense that it’s setting up plotlines, but it starts the way any FF comic should: With a giant monster fight. It’s a good start to what looks like a promising book.
One-Hit Wonder #1
If you’re going to write a book about a hitman, you need to do one of two things: Either mire him in a world where he’s the most likeable option, or make him one profoundly charismatic mofo. Fabrice Sapolsky’s script for this book unfortunately does neither; it mostly tries to riff on the joke in the title and the concept, and while the ideas are actually pretty clever, the main character is too thin and unappealing to make the book interesting, even with Ariel Olivetti handling the art.
The Revenge #1
A washed-up Hollywood star gets a second chance… only to find out his trophy wife is literally going to steal his identity. Honestly, this book is a surprising move from Image, awash as it is in gore and boobs. But while Ian Churchill does a vivid and bloodily surreal job with the art work, Jonathan Ross’s script is mostly hoping you’ll either be too distracted by gore and boobies to notice the plot’s a bit thin and stretched out. It’s fun for what it is, but it’s also not something you’ll feel compelled to read again.
Tomb Raider #1
Gail Simone and Nicolas Daniel Selma follow up on the story of one of the best games of last year with middling results. The problem is that Simone wrote a supernatural horror script tinted with the surreal, and it’s completely at odds with Selma’s undeniably well-rendered, but very grounded and clean artwork. The pieces don’t quite fit, a problem hopefully that will be addressed in future issues. Still, this is highly readable and well worth picking up; highly recommended.
King Conan: The Conqueror #1
Timothy Truman and Tomas Giorello continue their adaptation of Robert E. Howard with a chase story as everybody from Conan to local blackguards to Stygians try to get their hands on a magic gem. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s entertaining, and Giorello’s art is a ’70s throwback well suited to the material. A lot of fun for Conan fans.
Aron Warner, Philip Gelatt and Brett Weldele deliver a story about what seems to be misfits on a space station sent up to die. It’s not a bad plot, but Warner and Gelatt are so busy dropping hints and implying things that they don’t give us any time to care about the cast. It’s not a bad book but one hopes they’re going to spend a little more time making us care about the cast in the future. Worth reading if you want some offbeat SF.
A homicidal AI built into an android that looks like a van designer from the ’70s? What could possibly go wrong? Dan McDaid has a lot of fun with the art, here, and Tommy Lee Edwards and Noah Smith tone down the ’80s nostalgia enough that they have an actual plot instead of a string of references, admittedly a quite goofy one. It’s a solid book, but it may be a little too offbeat for some readers.
The Shadow: Masters Series #1
Andrew Helfer and Bill Sienkiewicz deliver a pretty engaging take on a pulp classic character in this reprint. Sienkiewicz’s art is, of course, a big draw here. Helfer’s script is overly wordy, but the story is interesting and Sienkiewicz really elevates the proceedings. Worth a look for pulp fans.
X-Files: Conspiracy: Transformers
Yes, they really crossed over both the Transformers and the X-Files. It’s a talky issue, unfortunately, with less action than there really should be. On the other hand, it also has Langley and Bumblebee screwing around and declaring each other ninja buddies. So it’s kind of hard to feel too unkindly towards it; if you love either property, or both, it’s worth picking up.
Ed Brisson and Emilio Lasio explain why, exactly, RoboCop was RoboCop and not RoboSoldier. The plot twist is unfortunately fairly predictable, but the book itself is fairly solid overall. Not essential reading, but a good addition to the mythology nonetheless.
Bloodshot And The H.A.R.D. Corps #0
Christos Gage and Joshua Dysart get into the history of Bloodshot and the H.A.R.D. Corps, with several different artists jumping over the decades. Each story is, in of itself, a hard look at the “meat grinder” that is H.A.R.D. Corps and it’s a surprisingly melancholy collection of stories. Highly recommended.