The last new comic book day of February sees a huge pile of #1s. Let’s sort through what we’ve got on the sub pile today.
Lee Bermejo’s new book takes place in a Big One-cracked Los Angeles, divided into New Angeles and “Lost Angeles,” and where gladiatorial combat… yeah, you know this plot. Sadly, while the art is Bermejo’s usual gorgeously rendered and detailed work, with Matt Hollingsworth giving it a dusky color job, the story is no great shakes and we don’t get enough detail here to really engage with the overarching story. A solid start, but it needs to get into gear quickly.
Spider-Gwen did so well in her one-shot, Marvel pretty much approved the ongoing right away. Honestly, it’s not reinventing the Spider-wheel; Gwen’s a teenager with problems and some smart-ass remarks. What makes it work is Robbi Rodriguez’s kinetic, energetic art and Jason Latour’s careful use of other characters. There’s no enormous, sprawling moment this world without Peter Parker has that makes how the Marvel Universe might be different, but lots of little ones; characters we know in different places, doing different things. It’s not quite distinct, but it’s a fun, energetic read and worth picking up if you’re a Spider-fan.
Mister X: Razed #1
Here’s an oddly delayed Christmas issue set in the futuristic city of tomorrow that drives everyone mad. Dean Motter’s art has the usual clean lines and old-fashioned typesetting, but the plot twist in question is a bit corny. It’s a good read for fans, although probably of little interest to anyone else.
The robots have won. They’ve taken over the galaxy and wiped out every life form that isn’t them. So, what’s next? For D4ve, it’s a crappy job, a marriage that’s falling apart, and clinging to memories of being a defense-bot. In truth, Ryan Ferrier delivers a pretty standard script here, minus the robot trappings, but what sells this issue is Valentin Ramon’s witty art, whether he’s parodying various pop culture robots or filling the panel with little silly details that reward a closer look at each panel. Ferrier has two No. 1’s this month more in love with their concept than with delivering a fully fleshed-out story, but Ramon’s work makes this one worth picking up.
Joe Frankenstein #1
’90s kids rejoice. Graham Nolan and Chuck Dixon are teaming up again for another comic! Admittedly, this is a fairly straightforward tale of a teenager discovering he’s something more than just a sad sack, specifically the heir of Frankenstein and the unknowing buddy of a rich badass. But it’s just trying to be a fun, goofy read, and it succeeds easily. Especially for those who fondly remember their work on Batman, Joe Frankenstein is a book worth picking up.
Orphan Black #1
Seen the pilot? That’s this first issue, just with a few extra bits and the usual bad art that accompanies too many leaps from the TV screen to the comic book page. Solely for hardcore fans of the show.
Curb Stomp #1
Ryan Ferrier tries to deliver a story of girl gangs and ’70s exploitation, but it doesn’t quite come together. Part of it is the fact that Ferrier more or less just pastiches an entire genre of exploitation movies and doesn’t really bring anything new to the party, aside from an uncertain chronology and Black Flag lyrics. Another part is that while Devaki Neogi delivers largely solid art, the action scenes aren’t quite up to snuff, a serious problem when you’re aping The Warriors. Neil Lalonde’s lurid color scheme does amp the book up quite a bit, but overall, there’s just not quite enough here to recommend it.
The Black Hood #1
The first book in Archie’s newly revived Dark Circle line of superhero comics, and it being a book about a violent vigilante by Duane Swierczynski, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s Archie’s approach to the Punisher. It’s not. Instead, Greg Hettinger is a beat cop severely injured in a Philadelphia shootout who struggles with the fact that he’s killed a man… the previous Black Hood, in fact. It’s almost too dark, in some ways. Greg is struggling with a pill addiction, he’s filled with self-loathing, and he can barely talk. The book works mostly because Swierczynski makes sure that not everybody’s a bummer; it’s not the world that sucks so much, as Greg has suddenly lost the ability to deal with it. Michael Gaydos does a good job with the art, especially in depicting Philadelphia, giving it a gritty, grounded feel, and overall, it’s a fascinating launch. Highly recommended.
Prince Valiant #1
Nate Cosby and Ron Salas bring that comic strip you never read to comic books and take the bold step of making Prince Valiant violent and kind of dimwitted. Salas’ art is crisp, if a bit lacking in overall detail, and it’s an interesting angle on a comic strip that seems mostly to exist these days. Worth a read, if you’re curious to see a stodgy character reinvented.
Quantum And Woody Must Die! #2
It turns out that a great and powerful force has been aligned against our heroes. Namely, a support group of people whose lives have been wrecked by the utter incompetence and general idiocy of the World’s Worst Superhero Team. It’s not a subtle book, but watching normal people try, and fail, to be insidious supervillains is pretty funny, and if that’s your jam, this is your book.
They’re Not Like Us #3
We delve further into the world of vigilante psychics with this issue, as our heroine learns self control and the joys of being able to beat the shit out of anybody she feels like. This will, of course, surely not go wrong! But no matter what, it’s a brisk, clever read that everyone should have waiting for them. Although, I still wish they’d bring back Nowhere Men.
Colder: The Bad Seed #5
The seemingly random insanity of the last four issues, with the villain chopping off the fingers of various people in Boston landmarks, gets a slight explanation… via a comic book within a comic book. Turns out, our hero made a deal with the devil, and getting out of it will cost him. As always, highly recommended.
The trope of “my enemies may strike me through the ones I love!” is an old and venerable one in comics… which Mark Waid decides to toy with juuuuuuust a little in this issue. Paired with Chris Samnee’s beautiful art, this book is, as usual, superb and highly recommended.
The Full Retail List
ACTION LAB ENTERTAINMENT
Fight Like A Girl #4 (Of 4), $3.99
Pirate Eye Exiled From Exile #2 (Of 4), $3.99
Princeless The Pirate Princess #2 (Of 4), $3.99
Cavewoman The Zombie Situation #1 (Cover F Arthur Adams), AR
Langley High Volume 1 GN, $14.95
ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
Archie’s Funhouse Comics Digest #12, $4.99
Betty And Veronica Comics Digest #231, $4.99
Black Hood #1 (David Mack Variant Cover), $3.99
Black Hood #1 (David Williams Variant Cover), $3.99
Black Hood #1 (Francesco Francavilla Variant Cover), $3.99
Black Hood #1 (Howard Chaykin Variant Cover), $3.99
Black Hood #1 (Michael Gaydos Regular Cover), $3.99
Sonic Universe #73 (Agnes Garbowska Extreme BFFs Variant Cover), $3.99
Sonic Universe #73 (Tracy Yardley Regular Cover), $3.99