This Week in Comics

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This Week in Comics
Guardians of the Galaxy
Photo by: Nick Guest

By Cody Chavers and Nicholas Guest

DC

Aquaman #34 – Score: 3/5

Thankfully this issue is one big fight scene as Carlos Rodriguez’s art carries this issue, although he does have a few missteps, specifically with characters’ faces. Writer Jeff Parker’s dialog is really stale and holds the issue back.

Batman Superman #13 – Score: 5/5

Not enough can be said about the talent of artist Jae Lee. This issue takes place in Gotham, and Lee’s dark stylized art fits beautifully. In this issue Batman and Superman have had their minds wiped and are trying to figure out who they are. Superman has his moments, but writer Greg Pak really knocks it out of the park with an amnesiac Batman. It’s humorous and reminds the reader just how cool it would be to be Batman for a day.

Catwoman #34 – Score: 4/5

A must read issue for fans of MMORPGs. This issue steps away from far-reaching plot points and focuses mainly on deepening the relationship between Alice Tesla and Selina Kyle. Ann Nocinti’s writing is on point, especially if the reader is also a gamer. Artist Patrick Olliffe has a misstep or two, but overall did a fine job, especially on the action scenes.

The Flash #34 – Score: 4/5

Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund’s art really amazes during the action scenes of this issue. Robert Venditti and Van Jensen’s writing is hit and miss with prison scenes being the high point and the Mash-up Killer’s being the low. Luckily, the Mash-up Killer’s scenes are the majority of the action and are able to ride on the art.

Harley Quinn #10 – Score: 4/5

Fight club meets roller derby in this issue, and like the whole series, it is unabashedly fun. Marco Failla’s art and Brett Smith’s colors really bring the crazy antics and action to life. Writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner build up the momentum in the first half of the issue, but can’t keep it going as the back half has its moments, but is noticeably lacking in Harley’s gleeful brand of crazy.

Justice League Dark #34 – Score: 4/5

JM Dematteis brings his Paradise Lost arc to a satisfying conclusion this month, with the issue finally fleshing out Boston Brand, both literally and figuratively. The JLD continues their usual funny banter in the face of absolute peril, with John Constantine and Swamp Thing’s exchanges standing out in particular. Andres Guinaldo’s art continues to stand out in the demon god Pantheon and Swamp Thing’s transformation.

Red Lanterns #34 – Score: 4/5

This month brings the Atrocities story arc to a close with Guy Gardner and Bleez finally drawing Atrocitus away from Earth and back to the Reds’ home planet of Ysmault. Writer Charles Soule once again knocks it out of the park when it comes to dialogue. The touching conversations are particularly heartfelt taking place between beings whose very existence thrives on blind rage.

Sinestro #34 – Score: 4.5/5

Some amazing art once again by Dale Eaglesham and Jason Wright. Sinestro and Hal Jordan show that they are both the best of friends and worst of enemies in both their dialogue and in battle. Writer Cullen Bunn really knows how to write Sinestro as a no-nonsense ruler that, despite his past mistakes, truly has the welfare of his people at heart. The reader can really feel the gravitas in every panel in which Sinestro speaks.

Superman #34 – Score: 4.5/5

This issue follows the origins of Ulysses, an Earth hero who parallels Superman’s origins in many ways. Geoff John writes in plenty of heartfelt character moments for Supes, Ulysses, and Ulysses’ parents. These moments work so well that the action scenes at the end of the issue feel forced just so the comic would have action scenes. It could have ridden on character moments alone.

IDW

Transformers #32 – Score: 4/5

Time travel and robot murders in space! James Roberts writes characters that are more than the two-dimensional robots that appeared in the recent movies, with his best development being on Megatron who fights for the Autobots now. Alex Milne has a few panels that show off his talent, but too many panels are character close-ups that become repetitive through the issue.

Image

Saga #22 – Score: 5/5

The creative team behind Saga, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, continue to prove why Saga is one of the hottest books outside the big two publishers. The art is always on point and the writing is relatable no matter how many crazy aliens or situations are thrown in the mix. If you haven’t read Saga, start with #1. Buy it digitally or in trade paperback. You won’t regret it. Just be warned: this is a very adult series.

Marvel

All-New X-Men – Score: 4.5/5

The best aspect of this series has been a Jean Grey worth reading which writer Brian Michael Bendis delivers in spades. Mahmud Asrar’s art is very well done, but Jean Grey’s story is what really makes this issue burn bright.

Avengers #34 – Score 1.5/5

Centered around Captain America talking, this issue is boring exposition about the Avengers current time travel story arc. Leinil Yu’s character art doesn’t seem to match the emotional intent of the dialog. Captain America doesn’t look driven. He looks as bored as the reader most likely is.

Cyclops #4 – Score: 4/5

This issue has Cyclops and his father, Corsair, stranded on an alien planet foraging for food and discussing their family issues. There are some heartfelt moments (especially for teen readers) and a pretty well-written joke payoff toward the end of the issue, to writer Greg Rucka’s credit. Artists Carmen Carnero and Terry Pallot do a great job of making the planet seem familiar while also being an obviously alien.

Fantastic Four #9 – Score: 3/5

Writer James Robinson breaks this issue into segments that focus on different members of the team. The Thing’s and the Future Foundation children’s segments shine while the others fall flat. The various segments seem disjointed without a smooth narrative flow.

Guardians of the Galaxy #18 – Score: 5/5

Ed McGuinness’ pencils and Mark Farmer’s inks explode off the page in an action packed issue. Justin Ponsor pulls in vibrant colors to contrast with the black of space. It would be hard to overstate the beauty of this issue. Brian Michael Bendis writes snappy dialog for the cast and sets up the story with what will hopefully be an amazing payoff next issue.

Savage Hulk #3 – Score: 2.5/5

Great art by Alan Davis really carries this issue, while his writing leaves a bit to be desired. The psycho-babble during Bruce Banner’s “mindscape” scenes are confusing and Marvel Girl seems to turn evil without any good reason despite her newly gamma-mutated powers. However, this new Hulk run seems to still have a bit of potential, provided there is more Hulk in future issues.

Silver Surfer #5 – Score: 3.5/5

Written by Dan slot and Michael Allred, this issue takes the heroes through a series of dreams and nightmares. The dialog is hit and miss and Laura Allred’s art has a kitschy 1960’s feel. The art style occasionally leaves characters looking goofy, but the nightmare sequences look amazing, like a terrifying 60’s acid trip.

Uncanny Avengers #23 – Score: 3.5/5

The heroes are now reunited in this fairly slow paced issue written by Rick Remender. Sanford Greene and Dean White do an admirable job with the art with one panel of Logan’s face being a glaring exception. Rogue awakens with Wonder Man still stuck in her head and Wasp and Havok find hope for seeing their daughter again from an unexpected source.

Spotlight: Ms. Marvel #7 – Score 5/5

Typically with our spotlight review we would pick something from the current week, and Batman Superman and Guardians of the Galaxy were strong contenders, but last week’s Ms. Marvel #7 really needed to be highlighted. Ms. Marvel has been a breakout success for Marvel, breaking the mold and focusing on a Pakistani-American teenage girl in New Jersey, Kamala Khan. Kamala is new to the superhero world and these first issues have served as her origin story, a story that explores a teenager’s reaction to new superpowers better than most origin stories do. Kamala is unsure of herself but full of heart, and so far this run has been a great read.

Issue #7 picks up with where #6 ended, with Ms. Marvel teaming up with Wolverine to fight the giant sewer crocodile pet of a mutated cockatiel clone of Thomas Edison. The previous sentence is not a joke and is exactly why everyone should be reading this comic. G. Willow Wilson continues to write this series amazingly. Kamala has plenty of great moments with Wolverine, and Kamala’s bubbly, carefree attitude plays off of a grumpy Wolverine perfectly. The comedic moments hit beautifully and the serious moments work just as well. The final page of this issue teases an upcoming team-up for Ms. Marvel that will be absolutely perfect.

This two issue Wolverine team-up has been drawn by Jacob Wyatt, who has subbed in for series regular artist Adrian Alphona. Alphona’s artwork has been solid, but Wyatt seems to express Kamala and company better. Wyatt’s characters have a slightly more cartoonish appearance with Kamala having manga inspired emotes. This approach really resonates with the large amount of comedy that is in this current Ms. Marvel run.

All the contributors to this series have done incredibly well, but G. Willow Wilson really is the star of the team. Ms. Marvel is only seven issues in and it is already doing incredibly well. It is a great starter series.

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