Issue Number One: New Comics Reviews

Welcome to Issue Number One, where we look at this week’s new comic series and miniseries starting up and whether they’re any good.

The answer is, largely, no. You have been warned, there will be spoilers.

Alpha Girl

Zombies as a cultural trope are creeping back into the grave, but we can understand why Image wants as many zombie books as it can get; “The Walking Dead” is their single biggest success in the entire company right now. That said, this book is pretty much a disaster from start to finish; the tone is all over the map, swinging from shamelessly mawkish to bad slapstick from page to page; the characters are incredibly irritating, especially our lead; and the plot setup is shoddy, obviously hoping to use gags to cover up how dumb it is and failing miserably. Meanwhile, the art is too cartoony to carry the heavy stuff while simultaneously somehow not selling the comedy.

This is the kind of book where people screaming “S**T!” is supposed to pass for comedy: they do it three times in the first issue. If you have to give Image money this week, buy the second issue of Fatale. And speaking of Brubaker…

Winter Soldier

This is a fairly solid Ed Brubaker book at first. The Butch Guice art is his usual mixture of the photorealistic and the painterly. It’s got the tone you need for a Cold War/secret assassins type book. The tone seems set for a solid book that could become something great.

Aaaaaaaand then the gorilla with a machine gun shows up.

Come on, Brubaker: The Red Ghost? Really? The tone is shot to hell in that one choice, which is really a shame, since the ultimate target of the plot Bucky and the Black Widow are thwarting promises to make for a fun run. As it is, if you like Brubaker and his Cap work, you might enjoy this, but it’s got a shaky start to overcome.

Magic: The Gathering

Part of IDW’s ongoing and relentless crusade to put out a comic book based on every single ’80s and ’90s nostalgia/nerd property, this miniseries is…actually not bad.

I don’t know that it’s worth four bucks an issue, but it’s a solid fantasy book. The protagonist is a little too overpowerful; his whole Planeswalker shtick essentially means he’s never in danger, and he’s your fairly standard Loveable Fantasy Rogue. But it’s fairly zippy, and the fact that my Magic cards have been collecting dust for a solid decade didn’t stand in the way of my enjoying it says good things about the writing.

Warriors of Mars

Pretty much for fans of the pulps only, and really disappointing in the art department. True, the elaborate painted covers of the pulps are a little much to ask for the interiors of a book unless Alex Ross is feeling up to it, but content like this needs the detail and lushness of those covers to sell us on a book about a magic carpet taking a soldier from the Reconstruction era to Mars, because anything else just makes it seem silly. Similarly, instead of getting to the fight on the cover, instead we get a retelling of Gullivar’s tale, being recited to John Carter.

If you have to reacquaint us with one of your main heroes, guys, you might want to reconsider the book.

image courtesy Rafael Penaloza on Flickr