Showing posts with label comic book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comic book review. Show all posts

The Legacy of Luther Strode #3 review

The Legacy of Luther Strode #2 was pretty much one ginormous, over-the-top, and awesome fight scene as Luther, Petra, and Delilah continued their search for Cain. Issue #3 can be described the exact same way, but that doesn't matter all that much because the handling of the characters is solid, and the hectic fighting is jaw-dropping. Seriously, comic book fights don't get much better than this, people.
Time and time again, I've praised Justin Jordan's ability to write dialogue that simply feels natural. The things these characters are saying feels organic and relatable; it doesn't come off like forced displays of emotion or blatantly stating exposition just so the reader knows what's up. There's several instances in this comic where Petra's blunt reactions were basically a reflection of my own; it's great having someone who's also blown away by just how stunning and ridiculous these battles can get. Someone who's constantly spewing insults and cursing with every other word could be obnoxious or the character could get old fast, yet Jordan continues to make me adore Petra. Her response when she realizes which weapons she could have brought? Or her witnessing Shooter's incredible accuracy with guns? Priceless stuff.

While writing the script, there's no doubt Jordan has this comic's amazing choreography playing out very clearly in his head. Luckily for him, artist Tradd Moore and colorist Felipe Sobreiro do an absolutely brilliant job bringing all of the insane and fast-paced mayhem - as well as convincing facial expressions - to life. Jordan makes sure this book has a fun and well-paced script, and Moore and Sobreiro make sure these pages are pure bliss for our eyes. Moore's animated and exaggerated character work feels perfect for Luther Strode's crazy world, and the handling of the motion and impact is phenomenal.
In the last issue, the creative team unleashed a fight with a powerhouse that was loaded with staggering hits. Now, it's all about technique, skill, and agility. In the wrong hands, this fight could have been far too complicated to properly follow. In Moore's hands, everything feels fluid and that he allows us to fully appreciate just how swift and elaborate some of these actions can be - even something like two characters leaping up a stairwell can be easily followed and enjoyed. Throw in Sobreiro's attention-grabbing colors and the end result is pages that'll keep you staring and, eventually, going back just to look at 'em all over again. This art team nails the expressions and they do a satisfying job establishing environments, but once the punches and bullets begin to fly, they produce some truly remarkable panels that are full of energy.

Like I said above, the story here is very, very similar to the previous issue. The group is looking for Shooter, a man who can potentially reveal how to find Cain. While Luther Strode tries to go non-lethal, Petra still has no problem going for fatal shots, and Delilah's pretty much there to assist both characters. Like Petra pointed out in the first issue of this volume, her facing people with these abilities is just no fair, so having Delilah by her side makes things more interesting - not just because she can save Petra from the impressive targets, but also because their personalities are so very different. That said, there are noticeable differences this time around. First and foremost, they've encountered someone similar to Strode. Usually, people like this are out for blood and not exactly the kindest people around. Okay, technically both of those descriptions do apply to Shooter, but what makes him different is that he's an anti-hero - he's using his talents to kill scum, not decent people. Additionally, Delilah still remains a mystery to us (for the most part, that is), but she's starting to show just a little more humanity - it's slow and steady development for the character.
The backup - which is written by Tradd Moore, and has art by Stephen Green and Sobreiro - continues to be a solid, character-driven tale. So much of the worldbuilding has been done through Luther's perspective, so it's refreshing to see how two other people were brought into this bloody and twisted story. It's definitely a nice little dose of fan service for those who have followed along since the first volume, too. (If you're reading Legacy but you haven't read the others, what gives? Go read them!) Green's expressions do the creepy kids justice, and while Sobreiro still has vivid displays of red, purple, orange, and several other colors, you can tell his work is more restrained to better fit Green's style - a style which is drastically different from Moore's energetic panels. Green's work creates a much more haunting and darker atmosphere, and Sobreiro's noticeably different handling of the colors most definitely complements the experience. The story may feel very different than Luther's adventure (and understandably so, of course), but Moore's script makes it still feel like a fitting addition to Luther's vicious world.
The main story technically doesn't move forward all that much, but that's easy to ignore because everything else is just so entertaining. The character insight remains strong, the visuals are thrilling, and the creative approach to all of the chaotic action absolutely makes up for the lack of story progression. I've read this issue 3 times now and I loved it each time - the layouts and dialogue are just that enjoyable. The Legacy of Luther Strode is full of exciting action and personality - what's not to love? This is apparently the last volume with Luther Strode, but I'm pretty sure no one would object to a Shooter spin-off. Let's see more of that dude, please.

Comic book reviews: 8/26/15

Old Man Logan #4
Brian Michel Bendis, Andrea Sorrentino, and Marcelo Maiolo's fourth chapter of Old Man Logan pretty much provides more of the same: It still looks amazing, it's still pretty fun, and it's still a brief glimpse of one part of Battleword before throwing us (quite literally) into another part of Marvel's new planet.

Bendis' script has plenty of amusing action scenes and there's a surprisingly lighthearted cameo (which offers a nice balance to the horror vibe), but right now, it feels like this book is following a formula, and that leaves me feeling like the only real surprise is which part of Battleworld will appear on the final page. I'm sure Bendis will make me eat my words at some point, but right now, the book's following a noticeable pattern, and that's a little disappointing. It's definitely an entertaining journey, but the fast-paced nature of this story doesn't give us a lot to chew on. Instead, it's Sorrentino and Maiolo's absolutely stunning layouts that leaves the strongest impression, and those visuals have me coming back for more. (Okay, my love for Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's Old Man Logan doesn't hurt.) I mean, the vivid way these two handle the waves of zombies and Logan's struggle to survive? Or the immersive way they handle an intense scene towards the end? My eyes thank you, Sorrentino and Maiolo.

This book may not be pulling any surprises or delivering especially compelling material at the moment, but it consistently looks phenomenal and it's still good fun.

Ninjak #6
As someone who spends a silly amount of time discussing comic book battles with other fans, one comment seems to pop up a lot about Ninjak: "He needs his technology and gear, otherwise he's not all that great." Firstly, no. Secondly, Ninjak #6 kind of feels like Matt Kindt's response to that false statement. While the flashback (in the primary story) may not add much to the experience, Ninjak's search for - and fight with - La Barbe is well-paced and legitimately interesting. I do miss the previous artist's work (Clay Mann), but Raul Allen, Patricia Martin, and Borja Pindado's drastically different style - one which has a more animated atmosphere and large displays of one tone that tends to to attract your attention (e.g. the bright trees in Paris; the shades of blue in the forest) - produces some truly awesome action sequences. This allow us to better appreciate Ninjak's fluid motions, and the creative handling of these scenes makes it far more memorable, too. Things like watching Ninjak flip through an onomatopoeia or drones sweeping an area is surprisingly enjoyable.

This may be a jumping-on spot, but the backup story (by Kindt, Stephen Segovia, and Ulises Arreola) is really geared towards readers who have been following Valiant's (oh-so-awesome) reboot. For those missing Mann's work, you'll be happy to know the visuals here draw some pretty strong parallels to his pages. It's obviously drastically different than the pages from Ninjak vs. La Barbe, but given the fact it takes place in a totally different time, the difference really shouldn't be jarring for anyone. All in all, it's a satisfying story that's just intriguing enough to make you wonder what'll happen next and fills in just a wee bit of history with another character closely linked to Ninjak. Like I said, longtime readers will get a little more out of this one.

Ninjak #6 is one part clever spy mission, one part ninja awesomeness, and a sprinkle of origin story. If that sounds like a good time to you - and it should - do the obvious thing and give this series a shot.

Spread #9
"Think of the children!" Justin Jordan certainly has with Spread's latest story arc. In a post-apocalyptic world - one that presumably hasn't been around for that long - what would it be like for kids who are unlucky enough to grow up in this violent and horrifying place? Would they lose their humanity, or would there still be signs of it, even when they're in the cruelest conditions? We've seen how bigger societies thrive - or at least attempt to - but now Jordan, as well as  Kyle Strahm and Felipe Sobreiro, are showing us what some people are doing to in order to hold onto their lives for as long as they possibly can.

While I've grown to love No, having him out of commission was a good move. Not only does this give Jack - a seriously lovable character - more time to shine, it also gives the comic more time to flesh out the new characters who have entered the picture. One of Jordan's strengths as a writer is his ability to craft dialogue that comes off feeling natural, so that makes these new characters feel more alive instead of just random complications that are introduced just to give our leads more grief. This is a story that throws us into a post-apocalyptic scenario that's loaded with horror elements, yet what keeps me coming back are the characters. Sure, I like the premise a lot (John Carpenter's The Thing is my favorite horror film), but what has me hooked is seeing how these people - whether they're silent and collected or have totally lost it - react to this insane world and the many challenges it throws at 'em. It would have been cool if one of the new kids used a vicious looking boomerang, but maybe Jordan thought that would be too blunt of a Mad Max: The Road Warrior reference. Not that I'm complaining - there is a blatant Predator reference, after all. Bonus points for that.

As for the art, it's all in the eyes. How does the saying go? The eyes are the window to the soul, right? I'm not going to stop writing so I can google it, but I'm pretty sure that's it. In this story, Strahm allows the eyes to speak volumes. Immediately, you can tell whether someone's curious, sad, or out for blood. Hell, he even pulls it off with a bear. Through expression alone, we can see the animal go from prey to predator very, very quickly. Strahm and Sobreiro's work continues to be a perfect fit for Jordan's harsh and twisted story, and the handling of the eyes really makes these fictional beings more humanizing. The use of bold red shades will always capture your sight, too.

Roche Limit: Clandestiny #4
Michael Moreci, Kyle Charles, and Matt Battaglia's Roche Limit: Clandestiny kind of feels like a more elaborate and way more satisfying version of Prometheus (i.e. traveling to an alien world for a mission that isn't quite what it seems to be and the crew encounters more and more mysteries) - and I say that as someone who has a mostly positive opinion of Ridley Scott's movie, too! Now that we've reached chapter four - the penultimate issue - we're starting to get more answers to the several mysteries going on. Thankfully, these answers further boost my interest in this story, and it helps that it's written in a way that doesn't feel like blatant exposition. There's quite a few elements being juggled in this adventure (A.I., exploring an alien world, invasions, the human psyche), yet none of them feel overshadowed or glossed over and, somehow, this issue is also loaded with cheerworthy action. (Cole is the best, by the way.) One ridiculously over-the-top attack - one which started as a blatant parallel to Prometheus, and then went in a hilariously awesome direction - won't be forgotten any time soon. It's also really interesting seeing how these characters acted in chapter one versus how they are when they know what the odds really are... or at least what they think the odds are. And the icing on the delicious sci-fi cake? Energetic visuals that are overflowing with appropriately strong colors. This volume has delivered some excellent displays of emotion and alien landscapes, but this time around, it's the hectic action that really wows.

Overall, Roche Limit: Clandestiny is thought-provoking sci-fi which also happens to be full of action and some legitimately funny banter. It'll capture your interest, keep you guessing, and excite you with some crazy, gorgeous action. Seriously, what's not to love? Fans of Prometheus/Aliens (the first chapter has a moment that just screams "Ellen Ripley")/sci-fi in general, check it out.


A few notes:
  • I've decided not to provide scores for these quick reviews. Really, they're pretty short. I believe in your ability to read them and understand how I feel about a comic without seeing a number or letter grade.
  • If a publisher wants to use a quote, you of course have my permission to do so. Please credit as "Comic Book Babbling Blog".
  • If you're interested in having a comic reviewed, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] Or you can reach out via Twitter: @greggkatzman.
  • I didn't have time to review Rumble #6, but please, do yourself a favor and give that Image Comics series a chance. I'm not even a fantasy fan and I absolutely love it. It's fun, funny, and full of creativity. Plus, it has a giant sword called Thunderchop, so there's that.
  • One final - and very important - note: Be a good person, okay? Just give it a shot. Anyway, thanks for reading!

Robin: Son of Batman #1 review

Robin: Son of Batman #1
DC's the New 52 had several memorable story arcs. Stuff like Geoff Johns' time with Aquaman and Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's Green Arrow run immediately come to mind. A number of titles earned a huge amount of praise and understandably so, but one that I believe was underrated is Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason's Batman and Robin. Sure, the quality jumped around a bit in the middle, but the opening story, Born to Kill, is amazing, and there are several other highlights, like Damian attempting to prove he's the best Robin or even Batman's ridiculously dangerous mission to resurrect his son. Now the title is moving forward without Tomasi and Batman. Gleason is taking over writing and the rest of the visual team (inker Mick Gray and colorist John Kalisz) are sticking around. This is obviously great news for anyone who enjoyed the previous run because it'll welcome them back with familiar visuals and even if the story takes some missteps, at least we know our eyes are going to receive some lively artwork.

This first issue proves Gleason can handle writing and providing pencils. The story isn't off to the most original start around - it certainly jumps around a bit - but what's important here is the handling of Damian Wayne. Many of us like the character because of his personality and for the most part, Gleason has a good handle on it. A few moments made me smirk and Damian's blunt desire to call everything upsetting him "stupid" was amusing and felt in character for the little dude. This first issue clearly focuses on showing Damian's confident and won't back down from anything or anyone, but behind that arrogance, there's a lot of emotional weight and he's finally going to deal with the twisted things he's done. Now, he's already proven he can be a great hero, but given the events in Batman and Robin and how closely connected he is to his grandfather and mother's work, it's understandable his past would once again feel like a huge weight on his shoulders. Speaking of huge, part of me is left wondering why Damian's Man-Bat, Goliath, looks different than the others. I guess we can just chalk that up to his love for eating and possibly even some of the al Ghuls' experimenting? It's not like the DC universe has weirder things than a muscular and red Man-Bat, after all.

As a reader of the previous run, I'm beyond thrilled to see plot points from Born to Kill are moving forward. There's an amusing play on words ("there appears to be nobody on board") and the villain's opening draws parallels to the previous story. There's a lot of potential here, but this is mostly setup - it's just enough to leave me wanting more. Then again, Born to Kill is also one of my favorite Damian stories, so I'm obviously a little biased here. Aside from that, we pretty much have to wait and see how the rest will be handled. It really is a pretty standard teaser/beginning that happens to be loaded with fan service for longtime readers. Here's hoping the "return" of Nobody will be every bit as emotional and exciting as it should be. There's another arc in here, but once again, it's basically one big teaser. This issue really is all about giving the reader a proper look into Damian's head - who he is and why he must do something about his past - and loosely setting up the bigger picture. To me, the most important element is making sure this feels like Damian, my favorite Robin, and luckily, it does. I love how the opening builds up this mythos with a new villain and then Damian just walks all over the guy with no problem whatsoever. The first splash page managed to put a huge smile on my face - it was great seeing Robin back in the spotlight and acting how he should.

Whether it's bright moments that are filled with fantasy elements or darker displays of horror, Gleason, Gray, and Kalisz deliver visuals that are animated, full of appropriate shades, and do a more than thorough job telling the story with their angles and use of expressions. My only criticism is things get a little too hectic when Goliath leaps into action, but the splash page which follows it is excellent; I love the contrast of the bold Man-Bat and the sky.

Question: What's up with the title jumping from Batman and Robin's $2.99 price tag to $3.99? It's odd the series removes DC's most popular hero (he's out of the picture for now, at least) and raises the price, too. I'm obviously willing to pay the extra dollar for this series, but I figured the price increase is worth bringing up.

Fans of Batman and Robin and/or Damian Wayne will want to pick this up. Thanks to consistently energetic visuals and a clear understanding of who Damian is, Robin: Son of Batman is off to a solid start. It has just enough action, personality, and intrigue to hook you. Now it's just a matter of seeing whether these plot threads will turn into something compelling and thrilling. Thankfully, this Damian Wayne fan is feeling pretty optimistic.

3.5/5

Old Man Logan #1 review

There are many great Wolverine stories and writer Mark Millar and artist Steve McNiven's Old Man Logan is absolutely one of them. Despite this new follow-up having the brilliant art team of Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo, it's easy to go into this one with a bit of skepticism. While McNiven's artwork in the original arc was nothing short of stunning, it just wouldn't be as good without Millar's compelling, emotional, and interesting story. Now, Brian Michael Bendis has the difficult task of writing the next chapter in Old Man Logan's life. No pressure, right? Thankfully, he's off to a terrific start and, as totally expected, artist Sorrentino and colorist Maiolo's pages are absolutely breathtaking.
First and foremost, there's no reason to worry if you're not caught up with all that's going on in the Marvel Universe or if you haven't read Millar and McNiven's story. The very first page has an adequate recap of what Secret Wars is all about, as well as a brief and efficient summary of Old Man Logan's tale. Because of the intro page, Bendis is thankfully able to limit the amount of exposition we encounter in this debut issue, and that's a huge plus because Old Man Logan's world is so vast. In the wrong hands, a writer runs this risk of feeling the need to explain everything the reader witnesses in this striking world. But in this case, Bendis does a solid job throwing us into this setting and makes sure the way we learn about this world feels natural and not like it's just infodump after infodump. Whether you're a new reader or a fan of the previous story arc, you're going to get a proper understanding of just how twisted this place has become. He doesn't explore too much of it, but it's just enough to leave us wanting more. And the cliffhanger? It has a ton of potential. Now we just have to wait and see where the writer goes with it. That said, I really, really hope we're not going to spend a majority of time away from this world Millar and McNiven crafted. I can understand the desire not to do "more of the same," but there's still so much to explore and reveal. This is his chance to be creative and add so much more to this place. Here's hoping he does that instead of mostly focusing on crossing over with another Battleworld location.

In addition to this being a story anyone can jump into and enjoy, the handling of Wolverine is great. You can tell the man he once was is still present - the good guy who will fight against all odds to do the right thing - but you can also see just how much this bleak alternate universe has molded him. He's much more violent, harsh, and at times, appropriately coldhearted. It's clear this is a legitimately good and kind person who has been enduring in a vicious and evil place. You'll still root for him, but you can tell this Logan has become far more inclined to let loose and take down any obstacle with some fatal stabs.

Sorrentino's art and Maiolo's colors are incredible. These pages do an amazing job capturing both the beauty and savagery of Old Man Logan's world. One landscape was legitimately gorgeous and it made me drop my jaw. This may be a bloody and dark book, but these two do exceptional work making sure it's also full of beautiful settings and the characters are full of emotion. As for the action, it's phenomenal stuff. Sorrentino's able to put so much intensity into these pages and there's one panel of a truly engaged Wolverine that left me speechless. I simply had to just stare at it and take in just how insanely well this chaotic moment was brought to life. The several close-ups pull you right into the frenzy and allow you to appreciate the brutal and fast-paced nature of the fight. Also, I won't spoil who the scene involves, but there's an entire page from one character's perspective, and the way they reveal who it is and handle how it plays out is especially creative. 

Once again, Maiolo does tremendous work enhancing Sorrentino's artwork with his colors. His tactic of going heavy with white and shades of red during more dramatic scenes still amazes and it brings the moments to a whole other level. No matter what Bendis puts in the script, these two do an exceptional job giving the scene so much depth and they always find new ways to impress our eyes. My only minor criticism of the artwork is that Wolverine's claws occasionally appear to be a little too long. I've always been under the impression they're a foot, but when he's stabbing some people, they appear to go beyond that length. Still, it's a really minor criticism and that didn't take away from just how excellent these panels were.

Old Man Logan #1 is $4.99 and it's worth every single penny. Sorrentino and Maiolo's work is truly phenomenal - any fan of theirs would expect no less from them at this point - and Bendis made sure this issue is exciting yet also informative. It tells us everything we need to know about what makes this version of Wolverine different, reveals just how twisted the world around him has become, and takes some simple yet promising steps towards building a bigger story. A new Old Man Logan comic has finally arrived and it was most definitely worth the wait. Do the smart thing and add this to your pull list.

4.5/5