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Home  >  Features  >  Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: April 6, 2016

NUMBER 1 BULLETS: 04-06-15

 

It’s time to catch up on some new number one titles, this week includes BALTIMORE: EMPTY GRAVES #1, GOLD KEY: ALLIANCE #1, MISS FURY #1, THINK TANK: CREATIVE DESTRUCTION #1, THE DARKNESS: HOPE #1, EMPRESS #1, SPIDER-WOMEN: ALPHA #1, BLACK PANTHER #1, POE DAMERON #1, and THE FIX #1!

 

 

BALTIMORE: EMPTY GRAVES #1 (Dark Horse Comics)-

4.0 Stars

The second volume of BALTIMORE begins this week with BALTIMORE: EMPTY GRAVES #1 from Dark Horse Comics. Penned by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden with art by Peter Bergting, EMPTY GRAVES picks up after the close of THE CULT OF THE RED KING story arc that saw the death of three members of the group. The exploits of Lord Baltimore were first published in 2007 and this story is the thirteenth volume in a series that has followed the ex-soldier as those who surround him as they journey through post war Europe fighting against the supernatural. The only drawback to a series with this much history is that it is very impenetrable for new readers. The only series I have read was BALTIMORE: THE WITCH OF HARJU and I spent the first half of this issue completely lost with only a deep dive into wikipedia bringing me up to speed. With that said the ongoing story about the Red Witch and the Red King are very interesting but new readers jumping in would be best served by catching up on the previous volumes, and that is quite a tall order. So I am torn in the sense that this is a great dark story with fantastic art and depth yet at the same time it is a horrible number one issue that completely abandons new readers. If you have been following the series this is the continuation of the story so pick it up, if you are new to the series and like Mignola's take on the occult then i would recommend starting at the beginning.

 

GOLD KEY: ALLIANCE #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)-

3.0 Stars.gif

Dynamite Entertainment has resurrected the characters from Gold Key Comics and brought them together in a crossover event written by Phil Hester with art by Brent Peeples. The first issue serves as a world builder and offers a spotlight on each of the four main stars of this series. Magnus, Robot Fighter is a secret agent who is traveling the world keeping an eye on the rise of artificial intelligence. Turok, Dinosaur Hunter is a reality T.V. star who is a park ranger of his native lands that serves as the home to the last of some long lost species. Solar is acting as an agent of peace in war torn Africa while Samson is lost and homeless in New York, seemingly stuck in a permanent hallucination that distorts the world around him. The issue closes with the reveal of the main threat that will no doubt bring these special people together. The setup was rather by the numbers but it was fun and laid the groundwork for the rest of the story. The art by Peeples serves to tell the story but does not really stand out. Somewhat rough pencils and blank backgrounds drag the comic down a bit but do not detract from the overall experience. If you are looking for something new and want to take a chance on a cross over event that resurrects an old comic label go ahead and give GOLD KEY: ALLIANCE #1 a shot.

 

MISS FURY #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)-

2.0 Stars.gif

Another new creator owned series from Dynamite Entertainment starts this week with MISS FURY #1 from Corinna Bechko and Jonathan Lau. Set in 1942, Marla Drake is a ship designer who leads a double life. Not content with being pushed around and forced to sit and watch while all the men go to war she dons a black costume and mask and seeks her own justice as Miss Fury. When important blueprints for a new design are stolen from her office Marla jumps into action to uncover the mystery of why anyone would want to steal her work as innocuous as it is. The trail leads her to the new docks and there she comes face to face with her ship design brought to life, but how can this be when the plans were stolen less than 24 hours ago? The art by Jonathan Lau is fantastic with exceptional pacing and action. The first 5 pages are almost dialogue free and serve as a showcase for Lau as Miss Fury dispatches some would be thieves, from there the storytelling takes over and that is where this issue lost me. The setup for Marla Drake is paper thin. She is a tough girl in a world still ruled by men but that seems to be her only personality trait. There is no humanizing her at all in this issue and no character development that gives the reader any information of her backstory or why she spends her nights in a costume beating people up. When looking back on it I came away with little more than a female Batman clone set in the 40's. There is not much to recommend in this first issue other than the art, those interested might want to wait for the reviews of the first arc before jumping in.

 

THINK TANK: CREATIVE DESTRUCTION #1 (Image Comics/Top Cow)-

4.0 Stars.gif

Top Cow Comics has released THINK TANK: CREATIVE DESTRUCTION #1, the first issue in the third volume of the series. Written by Matt Hawkins with art by Rahsan Ekedal, Think Tank revolves around prodigy scientist Dr. David Loren and his work for the defense department in creating new weapons. This new story pulls heavily from current events and leans on the fragility of modern infrastructure due to both its age and its vulnerability to cyber attacks. The near future science in this book is really fun and the entire setup of the plot is a cool look down the scary hole of what could happen if someone were to take advantage of these lapses in security. On the other hand, the real threat is somewhat overrun by the overly pretentious narration of Dr. Loren who is an absolutely insufferable character. I assume he is written this way on purpose but his pretentiousness and smugness make me hope he is the antagonist in this tale and not some "fuck the system!" angsty hero. I enjoyed the art and especially enjoyed the brief recap that brings new readers up to speed. Even though I am jumping into the fourth volume of a series I never felt lost and was able to roll right along with the story. I really liked this book despite wanting to kick the main character in the teeth and that says something really positive about the story. Readers should definitely give this first issue a shot and see if it grabs them.

 

THE DARKNESS: HOPE #1 (Image Comics/Top Cow)-

4.0 Stars.gif

THE DARKNESS: HOPE #1 is another one shot created by winners of Image Comics 2015 talent hunt. This time it is words by Charlie Harmon with art by Daniel Dwyer. Hope is the daughter of Jackie Estacado, otherwise known as The Darkness. A young reporter on the case of a strange discrepancy with the Earth's star field, she sets out to get answers to questions none seem to be asking. Why is the night sky off by more than 10,000 years? What happened to the wielders of the thirteen artifacts? These questions lead to a confrontation with her father and an eventual outcome that I will not dare spoil for you. The build up of the mystery and the eventual twist in this issue is nothing short of fantastic and made for a thoroughly enjoyable read even to those like me who have never read a single issue of The Darkness. The art, on the other hand, is a bit rough. The issue is full of sketchy pencils and awkward anatomy, I just did not find it appealing. That being said, this is still an easy one to recommend and the commitment is small since it is a one shot comic. Readers should check this one out, the great story outshines the lackluster art.

 

EMPRESS #1 (Marvel Comics)-

5.0 Stars.gif

From Marvel Comics Icon label comes EMPRESS #1, featuring the all star team up of Mark Millar and Stuart Immonen. Set on Earth when ancient space faring civilizations ruled the planet along side the dinosaurs, EMPRESS #1 is a story about family and how far a mother will go to protect her children... even from their own father. The warlord of Earth is a despicable and violent tyrant who became enamored with a beautiful waitress and married her. Years later with three children she realizes they must escape to save them from the cruelty that surrounds them. What ensues is a beautifully drawn action packed thrill ride that does not let off the gas until the final page is turned. Immonen is at the top of his game in this issue and it is absolutely beautiful from cover to cover. Mark Millar is doing what Mark Millar does creating bold characters that are fun to read and setting up a story that leaves readers wanting to come back for more. Stop reading this review and just buy this issue, you will not be disappointed.

 

SPIDER-WOMEN: ALPHA #1 (Marvel Comics)-

3.0 Stars.gif

Spring is in the air and crossover events are in full bloom, the latest from Marvel Comics is SPIDER-WOMEN ALPHA #1. creators Robbie Thompson, Jason Latour, and Dennis Hopeless have brought Spider-Gwen, Silk, and Spider-woman together in a reality hopping adventure of girl power. Jessica Drew has taken Silk and Spider-Gwen under her wing to show them what it means to be a hero. With Spider-Gwen finding herself on the wrong side of the law in Earth-65 and Silk playing double agent both of these young heroes are struggling and look to Spider-woman for guidance. On a trip to Earth-65 for a girls day out the three dimension hoppers are noticed by the nefarious organization S.I.L.K. and their leader Cindy Moon who wants the tech that allows them to cross worlds. Alternate reality stories are a staple in comics and an evil version of Silk running an organization called S.I.L.K. is a fun way to kick off a story about these three heroes trapped on the wrong Earth. Jessica Drew is the standout in this issue, she is a new mom and finally gets a moment away from the baby to have some fun and sure enough it all blows up in her face. The fact that her first worry when she finds out she is stuck in a parallel dimension is how much time is left with the arranged babysitter was pretty funny. The art is rather sketchy which is not a style I am particularly fond of but it works for this issue and the panel to panel action was easy to follow. There is plenty of room here to explore Earth-65 and tell a story about doppelgangers and evil counterparts. This ranks as one of those comics that is just 'OK', a fun story if you are invested in these new characters and especially if you are on the Spider-Gwen hype train. Those readers who are not will likely not find much here to make hold on to.

 

BLACK PANTHER #1 (Marvel Comics)-

4.0 Stars.gif

The All New, All Different relaunch from Marvel Comics is winding down but this week saw the release of the highly anticipated BLACK PANTHER #1. Written by Tah-nehisi Coates with art by Brian Stelfreeze, this new series finds T'Challa dealing with the aftermath of the tragic events that have engulfed his kingdom of Wakanda. Having taken back the mantle of the Black Panther and his kingdom T'Challa now must deal with the destruction left over from the conflict with Atlantis, Thanos' assault during the Infinity War, and the fallout of the convergence events. As if that were not enough, a new power known as The People has instigated civil unrest amongst a population that has been pushed to the brink. Black Panther has been a key player in the events of Marvel Comics over the last few years especially in regards to the long running convergence event that eventually led to Secret Wars and it is nice to see a more localized ongoing title that forces him to deal with events closer to home. This title takes a political look at how the crazy events of a comic book world would affect everyday citizens. The pacing of the first issue was rather slow with a lot of background and character building but I feel it will pay off in the end as readers are brought up to speed on a more realized Wakanda. The art by Stelfreeze is very good though it is rather dark in spots. A lot of new characters were introduced in this arc and the repeated use of black silhouettes with no facial details made it hard to pick out who was who during dialogue heavy moments. This is a good start to a new book for a character that is due to feature prominently in both the Marvel Comics world and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is a perfect jumping on point so go check it out.

 

POE DAMERON #1 (Marvel Comics)-

4.0 Stars.gif

Marvel Comics is back with another Star Wars mini series that fills in the story behind how ace pilot Poe Dameron ended up on Jakku for the beginning of The Force Awakens. Written by Charles Soule, POE DAMERON #1 serves as a showcase for high flying X-wing adventure while simultaneously giving readers some back story for one of the breakout characters from the new Star Wars Movie. Entrusted by General Organa to track down the last remaining piece of a map to Luke Skywalker, Poe Dameron and his Black Squadron must seek out legends of the force while avoiding the First Order. Soule deftly navigates the tricky waters of licensed properties by giving readers more of what they want without trying to reinvent the character. Poe is as endearing as his big screen counterpart and his piloting skills are shown off in the artwork of the amazing Phil Noto. The attention to detail with Poe's black and orange X-wing is amazing and the panel to panel flight action is just fantastic. I am a huge fan of his art and nothing in this issue disappoints. As with the Leia and Lando comics POE DAMERON #1 does not break any molds but tells a fun Star Wars story and gives fan a little more insight into what unfolds on the big screen.

 

THE FIX #1 (Image Comics)-

5.0 Stars.gif

The amount of seemingly endless amazing creator owned titles coming out of Image Comics continues with THE FIX #1 from Nick Spencer and Steve Leiber. Two con men have finally figured out how to beat the system and it turns out crime does pay, especially if you are a dirty cop. THE FIX is the story crooked cops, more crooked internal affairs officers, and even more crooked county officials all in the pocket of organized crime. Things are all running smoothly until a new officer shows up on the beat to take a bite out of crime; Pretzels the drug sniffing dog! The book is ridiculous and over the top and awesome and funny. Characters are larger than life and revel in their flaunting of the system and the entire issue was a blast to read from cover to cover. The art by Steve Leiber features great pencils and colors while really conveying the sense of joy these two characters have in getting away with it all. This comic is a hit and people will be talking about for a long while to come so get in early and don't miss the first issue.

 

Don't just take our word for it. Grab the books yourself and let us know what you think!

 

More Reviews on MightyVille:

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: March 30, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: March 23, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: March 9 and 16, 2016

 

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