It’s not even the most damning thing you said in that post! Observe:
PS, please tell me what you think, even if you don’t care for 'em! Always happy to hear feedback.
Maxwell’s Demons #2
Quite daring to have the second issue be so different to the first but I like my narratives to be challenging so it’s right up my street. I’m not buying this just because Deniz is doing it (that’s only going to work for me to try it out for the first issue), it’s genuinely great and I look forward eagerly to the next one and see where it’s going.
Swamp Thing Winter Special
As usual the craft here from Tom King is excellent, he really knows how to write comics effectively. Quality artwork from Fabok too to help that along. I found the story a little slight though for such a long page count and felt it needed more meat to it. The backup is half a comic really, a first issue of a planned Swamp Thing ongoing from Len Wein and Kelley Jones, written Marvel style but he passed away before the scripting stage, so it’s the wordless fully finished artwork.
It shows the talent he had as a storyteller that even without dialogue it’s pretty clear what is going on and a pity we’ll never see the rest of the story. Plus I am a sucker for Jones’ artwork, especially on a horror book.
Transformers vs Visionaries #2
I was fairly positive about the first issue of this, mainly because I was willing to overlook its flaws and give the creative team the benefit of the doubt about some of the short-comings and changes. Having seen some interviews with the writer in the interval and with this issue, it’s clear I was wrong to do that. Vissagio does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. This is a Visionaries comic by someone who doesn’t care anything about the Visionaries and just sees it as a stepping stone to more work elsewhere, which is especially galling, because in one of those interviews she was down on JJ Abrams’ Star Trek for making sweeping changes to her beloved franchise.
We start to get more of the Visionaries cast here and they’re just generic extras. Lexor and Ectar are particularly blandly written and could have been anyone. Cindarr suddenly being incredibly intelligent instead of the dumb one? A change made on a whim because Vissagio didn’t like that he was stupid. The Transformers don’t feel particularly on point either and the main plot macguffin is written completely contradictorily to how it was set up in First Strike. The plot itself is pretty pedestrian.
The “streamlining” of the Visionaries powers results in the staff summon powers (like decay and knowledge) being ditched and the totem forms emerging from the staffs. Which isn’t terrible, but makes the chest panels (or pec panels as they are now) entirely pointless. And despite ditching the staff powers, Witterquick apparently has super-speed, with no explanation or reason. The totem animals are all arbitrarily alien now too. Leoric’s lion form has tusks, Virulina’s shark is a great white but with four eyes! Galadria’s dolphin has a horn (but isn’t a narwhal). It seems an odd choice to make when you’ve already got a cast of conveniently human aliens. Given the shared universe connects Prysmos to Earth via Cybertron, I’d have just passed off the normal Earth animals as Prysmos’s myths.
The art’s still the best thing, but the faction coding of the Visionaries’ armour colours makes for some bland looking group shots.
In all, this is starting to feel like MASK all over again. I don’t get why IDW keeps trying to revive these old properties by giving them to random writers who don’t know or care anything about them. It’s like they’ve learned nothing from the success of More Than Meets The Eye/Lost Light.
Ahh, thanks so much brother! Really appreciate you checking it out!
Batman #40 - I wish Tom King had known about Action Comics #761 when he wrote this. It makes such a great companion piece to that story along with the incredible previous part of the Superfriends story. The art by Joelle Jones was great. Soon to be Millarworld artist, Olivier Coipel, also did a great variant cover for this.
Superman #40 - An interesting new story started in this issue. It tackles some questions of science vs. religion that somewhat tie into the destruction of Krypton. I don’t always care for the direction these stories take as it often sets up religion as a strawman but I’ll still give this a shot as the story is interesting and the art was incredible.
VS #1 - Wow! Esad Ribic’s art is breathtaking as usual. The story is a little confusing as there is a non-linear element. I’m still not sure if that part of the story was a flashback or flashforward. As always, @helloMuller’s design work is conspicuously awesome. This book could easily be a translated BD published by Humanoids and I wouldn’t bat an eye.
X-Men Red #1 - This may have been my favorite book of the week. I really like the team Tom Taylor has set up in this issue and he seems to be taking things in a new direction. Jean feels perfect as the leader of the X-Men and the catalyst for this new direction. This is my first experience with Mahmud Asrar’s art and I’m a fan. He makes the characters feel familiar but fresh and seems to effortlessly handle the storytelling. Plus, those Travis Charest covers are hard to pass up. There’s even a great twist at the end of the issue that brings back a villain who is a perfect counterpoint to Jean.
My LCS had a second printing of the Captain America comic with Kraven. Loved the story and art. Might have to go back and get the other copies of this run as well, now that it’s been put on my pull list.
Ok, I’m going to check out XMen Red.…
Also, I totally overlooked Vs. I had planned on checking out this first issue to decide if it’s one to add to my Image trade wait list.
Thanks for the reminders.
Does anyone on here read Animosity from Aftershock?
2 of the 11 O’clock guys were really raving about it on their podcast that I listened to this week and the other thought it was crap.
The hardcover is quite pricey so I’m looking for some more opinions before forking out.
I would settle for picking it up in a comixology sale but I don’t know if the Aftershock books ever appear in the sales.
I’m loving Captain America. I never thought I would want a Cap vs. Kraven story but it was so good.
I thought of you when I read the reveal at the end. I think you will like it.
I went back and forth between tradewaiting and picking it up and decided to just give it a shot.
Aftershock do have Comixology sales. I’ve noticed a few but never fully investigated. Did their Azzarello book finish? How about the Ellis one?
Didn’t realise James Robinson was jumping for an issue or two, so i opened this up interigued (and a wee bit disappointed because I know Gleason/Thomasi are on a ticking clock now that Bendis is announced as taking over.
Robinson hasn’t been fully utilised since coming back to DC. I know he’s on Wonder Woman but other than that he seems to be doing a few fill ins.
I’d like to see him be handed another title like JSA or dare I say a Starman relaunch.
(I’d like to see Thomasi & Gleason back on a Green Lantern book).
Next observation is I’m not sure I like this cartoony style that Manke uses in this issue - I really like him as an artist but this issue wasn’t to his forte - however it might be because I really associate Manke with darker books verging on horror and I’m just not used to this side of him.
As to the story itself; Clarke and Jon look to save another planet from the same fate of Krytpton, on the anniversary of Krypton’s demise.
It’s a perfectly serviceable story, but it felt very much like filler and it wasn’t really something that gripped me. I’m not going to bother picking up the concluding part.
Ok, this is interesting - I’m very much interigued!
The art seemed to change through the issue. One page almost looked like it was from a different artist. There was more than one inker on the book. I wounder if they had a bit stronger hand.
Yeah, I noticed that myself - there’s definitely a noticeable difference between the inkers.
And knowing Scott Hanna’s style slightly I think he was the heavier inks, which I feel suited Manke’s slight change in style better that the thin nib, scratchier inking of the other pages.
So I went straight to X-Men Red, Ronnie, after your recommendation.
I have to say that I thought it was excellent. Really great first issue.
This felt like a fresher, bolder approach than what I’ve been reading elsewhere, and much closer to what I think Marvel need to do with the x-men, in terms of not losing what makes the concept work, but also evolving it.
Ever since (what I’m not changing my mind on as being) the petty, stupid decision by Marvel to backbench the x-men in their woeful push of the Inhuman’s forward as their replacement, because of the TV and movie rights, the x-books have been lacklustre.
This book took the key distilled concepts and tropes that we associate with the x-men and have them contemporary upgrades to push things forward.
This is the boost in a direction that the x-books need.
It feels like a really smart book and Tom Taylor writes with confidence, his dialogue is note perfect.
Mahmud Asrar has been flirting with becoming a name that is dropped more regularly and I can see why here, he’s brilliant; nailing the story telling with a dynamic style not a million miles away from Stuart Immonen, but with some nice little quirks that makes him stand out with his own style - his expressions in particular, are pure Manga in places, which really works.
He does his own inks as well and I like that he employs almost a mix of thick blacks, linework and thin crosshatching to keep a nice balance throughout the book - giving shadow and lighting in he right places, rather than just slapping it all over the place as style over substance.
His action scenes have real impact and excitement in them.
And I I love his Black Panther, simple but very effective design.
I’m really glad you drew my attention to this Ronnie, I’m actually thinking of reading it again already.
This was a really powerful first issue that kinda starts off as a typical x-men story, becomes a ‘getting the team together’ and fiercely escalates into something pretty massive.
It will take some beating to find a better book this week - this was like 4 issues of Marvel’s often decompressed borefests rolled into one tight package.
I’m looking forward to the next issue and Travest Charest Nightcrawler cover for # 2 looks amazing.