Comics Reviews (March 23rd, 2016)
A short and faintly unsatisfying week.
The Ultimates #5
There’s much to like here, most particularly the attempt to make Marvel Time actually have a canonical and in-universe explanation, but there’s an inherent thinness to a twenty-page comic with three splashes, a double splash, and a max panel count of five on any of the other pages, and between that and the inherent anticlimax of the resolution (which amounts to cosmic forces telling the Ultimates that their plan for the last three issues can’t work and sending them home) makes this a frustrating experience despite the entertainment value. As always, though, Rocafort’s art is very pretty and Ewing’s writing crackles nicely.
Digital code: THMNBL47H67W
Cry Havoc #3
It’s increasingly hard to see how the London setting here is going to survive more than another issue or so, but for now the virtuosic time-hopping is working well, with Spurrier enjoying the thematic transitions he can make and the way in which the overall issue’s plot emerges out of his three settings. And the three colorists trick remains brilliant. But we’re very much in the mid-arc doldrums here, with a degree of “OK, hurry up and show us a new trick already.” In other words, a strong example of why Kieron Gillen is right that reviewing individual issues mid-arc is a little bit of a mug’s game.
Another series with similar problems with the idea of reviewing it at this point, further hampered by the basic weirdness of a Santa Claus series whose last issue is slated for June. But there’s an underlying delightfulness to this that’s nearly impossible not to live. Morrison is perfectly suited to the task of balancing an at times quite hard-edged tale with the fact that it’s an origin story for Santa Claus, and the resulting tone brings a genuine smile on multiple occasions here. Dan Mora’s art is simple but effective; the way in which characters eyes widen and become cartoonish as they grow more sympathetic to Klaus’s cause is as unsubtle as it is well-chosen. This remains a real pleasure of a series.
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