Comics Reviews (August 17th, 2016)

(7 comments)

Demonic #1

Perfectly serviceable cop-horror story, and competently executed, but painfully by the numbers. The main character sells his soul to demons, which is a perfectly good hook, but it's all executed so quickly that there's no room to make him interesting before that, and Sebela is stuck establishing him entirely in terms of cliches. The big turning point when a demon shows up to offer him a deal on page thirteen should probably have been the cliffhanger. Still, if demons and cops is a genre setup you like, this'll probably satisfy.

The Ultimates #10

As with the last issue, a bit of a mess between the brilliant art of Kenneth Rocafort and the bland and lumpy faces of the guest artist who does half the work on this issue. And it's a bit of a mess with Civil War II. But Ms. America kicks ass and takes names, Black Panther gets a genuinely hilarious moment, and Al Ewing remains entertaining. Still, this is not a great stretch of this book, I fear.

Deathstroke Rebirth #1

Came out last week, and paid for by a reader. Nice to see that Priest's still got it after frankly too many years out of the game due to his (entirely reasonable) desire to be offered something other than books about black people. His inclination towards non-chronological storytelling doesn't quite do him any favors here, though, and the occasional muddy plotting his work can suffer from is alas in full swing. Still, this is smart and well-characterized, and probably the best book of DC Rebirth so far. I'll probably check out another issue or two. 

 

The Black Monday Murders #1

Also from last week, and not at all sure how I missed it. It's a Hickman #1, so massively long on promise, absolutely pregnant with insinuation and ideas, and clearly with the potential to be one of the most briliant things ever. One expects, being a Hickman series, that it will instead either go completely off the rails or simply stop coming out entirely after three issues, but this left my brain absolutely fizzing after reading it, and I intend to enjoy the hell out of the ride while it's still quasi-functional. 

The Wicked + The Divine #22

Well I think we all expected the end of Rising Action to be mind-blowing, but it also turns out to be heart-stopping and gut-wrenching. And the other panels are brilliant too. I'm starting to regret the enthusiasm I showed for the early issues, because I'm not sure I left room for my critical assessment of this comic to grow and emcompass the range of what it can and does do. Fun game: immediately after reading the final panel of this issue, go back and look at Laura's first appearance in #1. Then try to wrap your head around the fact that we're only at about the halfway point of the series, and there's presumably just as much character development to go. Meanwhile, the next arc looks set to tackle big ideas I'm massively invested in. Fuck yeah.

Next Week

Looks like we've got an issue of Deathstroke to try out, Chew, Snotgirl, an Image #1 in Lake of Fire, and, over at Marvel, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, New Avengers, Nighthawk, Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat, and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. So that's a big week. 

Comments

Kyle Edwards 7 months, 1 week ago

It's such a shame that you never got into any of the Rebirth titles besides Wonder Woman (which it seems you've dropped). Aside from the DC Universe Rebirth #1 special, which was terrible for newcomers (it only really works for hardcore DC fans), the whole initiative has shown more promise in its titles than the last decade of DC and Marvel combined. All of the Batman titles (aside from Batgirl) have been superb, Superman's been a lot of fun, and the others all have a renewed energy. These books are designed to be for casual fans (I know they royally screwed up demonstrating that, but anyone with a passing familiarity can get into these titles). I'd recommend trying the first few issues of Batman, or even just getting issue one of All-Star Batman. It's clever, character-based story telling, so I think it'd be right up your alley.

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Eric Gimlin 7 months, 1 week ago

While I agree WicDiv was great, as usual, I was slightly underwhelmed by a key bit of the ending hinging on a character who, as near as I could tell with a quick glance through back issues, showed up in one panel in issue #2 with no dialogue.

Mind you, the lack of earlier reference to the character actually says a lot about Laura and her character, so it's probably worth it. But I'm wondering if I missed a big flag somewhere earlier.

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phuzz 7 months ago

Trying not to be spoilery, but I think the fact that *someone* does *stuff* because of a character that nobody else cares about is kind of the point. Although I couldn't actually articulate what that pint is.

(Just been re-reading #2 to see the character you mention, and I noticed the bit where Laura and Cass are listing who might have killed the judge. They list all the gods, and then there's one panel of Laura saying "And Ananke". Damnit Gillen, dropping spoilers in the second issue!)

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Phil Sandifer 7 months ago

Yeah, I think the fact that it's an utterly forgotten and discarded victim is what the turn (a charming riff on Moore's famous "they'd say I was going soft, wouldn't they?") really depends on. The fact that Laura is the only one, reader included, who remembers her is what gives her the moral privilege to unilaterally execute Ananke.

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Dominik Zine 7 months ago

I was genuinely frustrated reading Demonic #1, because I enjoy Christopher Sebela's writing in his other creator-owned books: High Crimes, Welcome Back, Dead Letters and Heartthrob (which recently finished its first season). In all of the titles, he's a good writer. This, on the other, was so bland. I guess no writer is safe from having a dud on their resume.

I also want to echo Kyle Edwards's enjoyment of the recent Bat-titles in DC Rebirth (though I'd pick Detective Comics and Nightwing over Batman - not that Tom King doesn't knock it out of the park with Batman). I personally also enjoy Green Lanterns (the title with Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz) and Wonder Woman.

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Seb Patrick 7 months ago

probably the best book of DC Rebirth so far

Haven't you only otherwise read Wonder Woman, though?

Deathstroke was pretty good but there have been several better so far. I fully agree with Kyle's comment above - Batman, Superman, Detective Comics, Green Arrow and New Super-Man have all been really excellent.

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Phil Sandifer 7 months ago

I admit, I just flat out don't believe in DC's basic ability to publish competent superhero comics at this point.

Still, the means by which I can be made to check them out are well-documented at this point.

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