The Royals: Masters Of War #1
Rob Williams and Simon Coleby offer pretty much a riff on Avatar Press’ Uber; what if the royal families of the various countries during World War II actually had superpowers, and at the beginning of hostilities, a young English noble broke ranks and decided to fight? It’s interestingly written, to be sure, but it feels a bit rushed; Williams tries to cram a lot into his pages, and he seems to be rushing through. Coleby’s art is well-suited to the wartime setting, though.
It’s got promise, but we’ll want to see more from it before we make a call. Worth getting for war book fans.
Cable, Psylocke, Marrow, and Fantomex team up as the black-ops team of mutantkind, and honestly, Si Spurrier and Rock-He Kim have so much fun with this blackly comedic book it’s infectious. Spurrier’s characterizations will probably annoy a few Marvel fans; Fantomex is explicitly referred to as Pepe Le Pew, and Marrow is even crazier than usual. But this does everything a team book should do: Sketch in each personality and their problems, and show how they work as a team. And it’s a hoot. Highly recommended.
Charles Soule and Javier Pulido debut this story by asking the question: What, precisely, does it take to sue Tony Stark? Soule, for those who don’t know, is a lawyer, and as a result, he has a lot of fun exploring ridiculous legal procedure in the 616. Oh, and yes, Jen fights robots; Pulido’s style is smart and lighthearted enough to carry the funniest parts.
The Winter Soldier: The Bitter March #1
Rick Remender and Roland Boschi deliver a smart espionage tale where The Winter Soldier is the bad guy. Nick Fury and Ran Shen are trying to keep two Nazi scientists out of HYDRA’s coils, but needless to say, the Winter Soldier is not going to make it easy for them.
The Fuse #1
An odd mix of buddy-cop comedy and SF, the Fuse takes place on Midway City, a space station that’s essentially Rapture with better city government. Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood deliver a fairly snappy and well-paced book, but it’s not clear what will make this stand out just yet. Still worth a look, especially for mystery or SF fans.
The Mercenary Sea #1
Kel Symons and Mathew Reynolds deliver a clever, trope-busting take on the WWII-era adventure book. The concept is just over-the-top enough to be fun, with a bunch of good-hearted rogues commanding a submarine, while smartly underlining that it’s not fun and games in the Pacific Theater. Reynolds’ art can take a little getting used to; it feels more like a video game cutscene or an episode of Archer than most comic art. But it’s a fun romp with a lot of promise; highly recommended.
Robocop: To Live And Die In Detroit
A story about what it takes to be an officer of the law in Detroit, Joe Harris and Piotr Kowalski come a bit short, here. We never really get to know Alex Murphy as a character in Harris’ script, and Kowalski’s art feels a bit spare for the topic. It all feels a bit mid-’90s, for better or for worse, but one can’t help feeling more could be done with this particular character and this particular story.
City: The Mind In The Machine #1
Eric Garcia and Javier Fernandez deliver a story about an all-seeing AI that… well, let’s say that it lacks human intuition. So a human gets plugged into the machine. Oh, yeah, no way this can go bad.
Honestly, it’s not a bad idea, and the twist, that our protagonist lost his eyes in a terrorist attack and got new ones connected to this AI, is interesting. But we’re only at the first issue, so it remains to be seen if this book can deliver something other than the usual.
Gravel: Combat Magician #1
Mike Wolfer and Rafael Blanco Lopez pick up on Warren Ellis’ idea, essentially John Constantine: SAS Hardass, and… largely deliver a lot of dialogue. Still, the concept is interesting, and this is surprisingly low-key for an Avatar Press book. Worth keeping an eye on, especially if the second issue is a bit faster-paced.