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Home  >  Features  >  Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: May 4, 2016

NUMBER 1 BULLETS: 05-04-16

 

It's an all-new Number 1 Bullets, where Geoff takes a look at a new batch of first issues, this time it's KINGS QUEST #1, ALPHA KING #1, THE PUNISHER #1, DAREDEVIL/PUNISHER #1, SCARLET #1, THUNDERBOLTS #1, and THE ONE% #1!

 

 

KINGS QUEST #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)-

1.0 Stars

The characters from King Comics are united in the latest number one issue from Dynamite Entertainment, KINGS QUEST #1. Flash Gordon, Jungle Jim, Mandrake the Magician, Prince Valiant, and the Phantom are once again out to foil the plans of Ming the Merciless. Co-authors Ben Acker and Heath Corson have set our heroes on a quest to rescue reporter Dale Arden. To their surprise the magical trip across the universe has left them out of time for two years, two years in which Arden herself has become the willing queen of Ming the Merciless himself. I know these characters have a long history in comics and pulp fiction but there is nothing about this book that grabs me as a reader. The story is paper thin with cliched banter between the heroes as they fight off Ming's soldiers leading to the reveal of Adren becoming Ming's queen which serves as the cliffhanger and hook for this titles. Not only is the story uninteresting but the art by Dan McDaid is mediocre at best and absolutely horrible at times. There is just nothing here to recommend to readers, this issue is an easy one to skip.

 

ALPHA KING #1 (Image Comics)-

3.0 Stars.gif

One of that stranger books you will find in stores this week is ALPHA KINGS #1 from Image Comics. Co-authored by Brian Azzarello and Nick Floyd, ALPHA KINGS #1 is what happens when you mix micro beer brewing with one of comics best writers. Nick Floyd is one of the brothers from Three Floyds Brewing Company whose company slogan of 'not normal' is exemplified in this comic. When a home brewer is attacked in his driveway by three thugs straight out of a Lord of the Rings movie he is thrown into his own brew barrel and comes out transformed into a brute of a creature in an entirely new world. Azzarello and Floyd portray a world that exists just beneath our own, a reality that is always there but we can never see. Everything about this book is weird and strange but it works in combination with the art by Simon Bisley. Pencils are exaggerated and the character design is over the top as is every facet of this title. This is a fun silly read that I think readers will enjoy if you go into it and just accept how off the wall it is but I am not sure if it is a book I will stick with. The idea of a brewing barrel being a gateway to an unseen dimension is cool but yet another tale of a guy trying to rescue his girl from the bad guys is not that appealing. I would recommend people check out the first issue for the novelty of the idea alone.

 

THE PUNISHER #1 (Marvel Comics)-

4.0 Stars.gif

Marvel Comics is bringing Frank Castle back in a big way the week starting off with THE PUNISHER #1 from Becky Cloonan and Steve Dillon. A DEA bust on a drug running operation in New York has gone south and The Punisher finds himself in the cross hairs of a determined government agent, an old Marine acquaintance turned mercenary, and a psychopathic serial killer. The Punisher titles over the recent years have varied widely in tone from the almost comical Welcome Back Frank to Greg Rucka's more somber look at a broken man. With Steve Dillon on art readers will instantly be reminded of the Garth Ennis arc that saw The Punisher battling Russian giants and punching out polar bears but this new series seems to be taking itself more seriously. Without a single line of dialogue in this issue Castle serves the story more as a force of nature than a character, this allows the villains and the government agents to be more fleshed out and tells the story from their point of view. It is an interesting take and worked well as a setup issue, I am curious to see if first time comic book author Becky Cloonan sticks with this plot framing for the entire story arc. The art is fantastic, I personally love Dillon's style so I am all for it. The book is violent in all the ways a Punisher title should be though it is lacking a hook for new readers. At the end of the first issue we have established the players in the game but there is no reason behind any of it so far and no motivation for Frank other than killing those who need to be killed. Hopefully the next issue will focus more on the narrative and give readers a reason to care more about what is going on other than the simple joy of watching The Punisher kill lots of bad guys. Great art and a fun start yet lacking any depth, hopefully Cloonan digs a little deeper next issue and gives us more of a story to get into.

 

DAREDEVIL/PUNISHER #1 (Marvel Comics)-

3.0 Stars.gif

Marvel's second dose of Punisher action this week comes in the form of DAREDEVIL/PUNISHER #1 from Charles Soule and Szymon Kudranski. Matt Murdock needs to transfer a mobster from NYC to Texas for trial by an impartial jury but Frank Castle is seeking to dispense his own form of justice before he can safely reach the airport. What ensues is a rather by the numbers chase sequence that sees Daredevil and The Punisher clash over their differing ethics. The story is well written by Soule with good dialogue and fast paced action but in the end there is nothing about it that grabbed me as a reader. We have seen this exact scenario play out numerous times between these two, most recently in the Netflix series but while that Punisher was tortured and unhinged the version of the character in this issue is just single minded and unyielding in his pursuit. Art by Kurdranski is really good with a dark muted color pallet that really fits the tone of the book. Like I said, the action is fast paced and the panel to panel movement is great at conveying the chaotic speed at which events are unfolding. This is one of those comics that has a fun story and it well drawn but is just missing something. Its all flash and no substance.

 

THUNDERBOLTS #1 (Marvel Comics)-

1.0 Stars.gif

Spinning out of the events of the Standoff spring event, THUNDERBOLTS #1 is the latest number one issue from Marvel Comics. Written by Jim Zub with art by Jon Malin, THUNDERBOLTS #1 finds Bucky Barnes leading a team of villains that he helped escape from the Pleasantville prison including the sentient cosmic cube known as Kobik. They are now on a mission to use Nick Fury's hidden knowledge to protect the Earth no matter the cost. This is not a good comic book. It feels like it was ripped straight out of 90's mediocrity with both the art and the writing being from a time of overly excessive dialogue and exaggerated anatomy. In fact, the scariest part is that the art really reminds of Rob Leifeld and that is not a good thing. This is a title readers should just pass on and will most likely be cancelled within 6 issues.

 

THE ONE% #1 (Image Comics)-

5.0 Stars.gif

Image comics has another hit on its hands with THE ONE% #1 written and drawn by Kaare Kyle Andrews. Renato Jones is a man from two worlds, born to poverty yet raised in excessive wealth. Now he has taken it upon himself to strike out at those who take everything they can from the world with no fear of retribution of justice. THE ONE% is an exaggerated look at where our world is heading when money and power can buy anything and anyone. The swift retribution dealt out is extremely satisfying to read and the art perfectly in sync with the words. Andrews crafts a sincere tale that borders between the depressing reality of the all too real power held by the one percent and the fantastical revenge people would like to see against those beyond the reach of real consequence. A good setup and brief backstory leave plenty of room for the plot to move forward while at the same time leaving space to learn more about Renato and what drives him. On top of that the comic is peppered with fake ads set to fit in the world of excess reflected in the comic. This is great from cover to cover, go pick it up!

 

BONUS: SCARLET #8 (Marvel Comics)-

4.0 Stars.gif

Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev team up again with SCARLET #8 from Marvel Comics' Icon label. It is a story about justice and what it takes to get justice from those in power. Rooted firmly in events of the present, Bendis touches on homophobia, cyber bullying, and political corruption. This is some of the most powerful work Bendis has done and it is grounded with real human emotion and vulnerability. As good as the writing is the real star of this issue is Alex Maleev. SCARLET #8 is by far the best work I have ever seen him do. The transition from black and white pencils to full color marking the movement from flashback to present was really well done especially considering the grim and somber tone of the opening of this book. Neither the art nor the words hold anything back, the ugliness of humanity is front and center from the opening page to the last. This is one of those issues everyone should just take a chance on and see if it grabs you, I will be sticking with the series for sure.

 

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: April 27, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: April 20, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: April 6, 2016

 

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