Multiversity: Mastermen #1
“What if Superman was a Nazi?” It’s a pretty common story, at this point, but Grant Morrison puts a new spin on it by asking… what happens when Overman, in this case, turns out to be the leader of a worldwide Reich and finds himself wondering whether he in fact deserves to fall? As great as the script is, Jim Lee doesn’t feel right for the material, but in the end that’s a small matter. The book is just too good to be held back by that.
Robbie Thompson and Stacey Lee deliver on the female version of Spidey, Silk. Yes, this is different from Spider-Gwen. Silk’s been in a bunker for ten years, and as a result is… a bit out of the loop and still discovering her superpowers. It’s a fairly low-key origin story, largely carried by Lee’s art that has just a slight tinge of anime style to it. It’s not breaking new ground, but it’s a fairly light book and has the potential to be a fun time. Worth reading if you’re looking for new superhero books.
Nevada Sparks: Marshal on Mars #1
I know the Nerdist podcast is beloved, and Ben Acker and Ben Blacker are funny, funny guys, but something about this comic doesn’t quite click. Part of the problem is, it must be said, that so damn much of this book is written in teeeeeeeeny little type in word balloons: Squinting is the enemy of written comedy. But really, the main problem here is that, yeah, it’s a Space Western, and… that’s kind of where the concept stops. It’s a Space Western! Isn’t that amazing?! It’s a little too in love with the source material to be its own thing, something the book desperately needs, but J. Bone and Jordie Bellaire handle the art, so at least it’s pretty.
Secret Identities #1
We all know that, in reality, superheroes wouldn’t be good and pure and noble all the time. They’d be human, and have human flaws. This isn’t a new notion and while I’d love to say Jay Faerber and Brian Joines do much interesting with it in their script, so far it’s some fairly standard plotting. Fortunately, the art, courtesy of Ilias Kyriazis and Charlie Kirchoff, is detailed and slick superheroics, and it keeps up the pace. There’s enough here, in terms of plotline, to possibly make for a compelling book, but it needs to move beyond its central gimmick a bit for that to happen.
Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Johnson deliver a story of time travel that’s a bit more… off-beat than you might expect. Albuquerque is actually fairly experimental here, using a limited color palette to create the book. The fast pace and fantasy style mean it’s a brisk, engaging read, and highly recommended.
Swifty Lang and Skuds McKinley decide to set The Thing on the high seas… and our heroes are the not-entirely stable crew of a Somali pirate ship. McKinley’s art is a little loose for the concept, exacerbated by the fact that he shouldn’t be his own inker. Similarly, Jason Wordie’s colors are a little too bright and clean to really build the right atmosphere. It’s a good idea, and the script has some nice touches, but the art team needs to work harder to measure up.
King: Mandrake the Magician #1
You see the name Roger Langridge on a comic book, you buy that comic book. And, truthfully, Langridge brings his charm on full blast here. This isn’t just a comic book starring an old comic strip character, it’s a discussion on Langridge’s part about why we love magic and how that’s important to us as people. I’m not entirely sold on Jeremy Treece’s art, which feels a bit out of sync with the tone of the story, but it’s solid work and he gets in his own flights of fancy. All in all, a book worth picking up.