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NUMBER 1 BULLETS: 05-06-15


Each week, we take a look at the new first issues from Dark Horse, Dynamite, IDW, Image, 12-Gauge, and Valiant Comics and share our thoughts to let you know what we think you should pick up. You're going to want to take your Swords of Sorrow to the Roche Limit this week!

This week, Geoff Deen, Joe Kach, and Sam Moyerman review Artifacts: Lost Tales #1, Roche Limit: Clandestiny #1, Dead Drop #1, Swords of Sorrow #1, Swords of Sorrow: Chaos Special #1, and ICE: Bayou Blackout #1.  [Editor's Note: We were not able to get a review copy of Baltimore: Cult of the Red King #1.]



Artifacts: Lost Tales #1 (Image/Top Cow)-


(W) Jonny Hinkle & Various (A) Demetres Panayides & Various (CA) Linda Sejic
Three short stories featuring three artifacts by three Talent Hunt-winning creative teams in this special one-shot!"

This comic is comprised of a few short stories featuring Top Cow's primary stable of "Artifacts" (Witchblade, Darkness, Bloodsword, etc.), created by the 2013 Top Cow Talent Hunt Runners-Up. The stories themselves are okay. If you're a fan of Top Cow's general offerings and want to get some side tales, this is a book for you. The stand-out is the opening Witchblade story. Where the book really struggles is the artwork. I understand these are tales by the contest runners-up, but the quality is pretty poor, both in quality and construction. In one scene, for example, s character comments about being in the middle of a freeway, when the art shows them in the middle of a busy New York City street intersection. I've seen a lot better artwork by amateurs online and it makes me wonder what sort of art Top Cow receives whenever they run one of their contests. Kudos to the publisher for putting on talent hunts, don't get me wrong. I think that's really important and wish other publishers did the same. But some serious work needs to be done before the folks featured here make it big. (Joe


Roche Limit: Clandestiny #1 (Image)-


(W) Michael Moreci (A/CA) Kyle Charles
"The breakout hit of 2014 returns with volume two of the groundbreaking sci-fi trilogy!
It's 75 years after the events that left the Roche Limit colony in flames. When a crew of military and science personnel are sent to the forgotten and desolate planet on a mysterious expedition, they quickly learn its dark secrets-and that their mission is not what they thought it to be. With danger lurking all around, the crew members fight to find a way off the planet and resist the mysterious presence that haunts them all." 

Picking up 75 years after the end of the first mini-series, Clandestiny sees a team of military and science personnel sent to the mysterious planet only to find out its not what they were expecting.  The biggest question with this issue is whether or not it stands on its own.  Would readers who missed the original Roche Limit series be lost?  Would returning readers have enough to hold on to?  The answer to both is a resounding "Yes".  Writer Michael Moreci does a delicate tight rope walk that both brings new readers up to speed quickly while still teasing returning readers with bits of narration they will find familiar.  The art by Kyle Charles is a great fit for the tone of this book, the foreboding sense that all is not what it appears to be is excellently conveyed.  This is a definite pick-up for readers of the original Roche Limit, and I feel that any new readers would be best served by picking up the collected edition of the first arc before diving in.  While you can read it as a stand alone story, the truth is that it is much better as a sequel. (Geoff)


Dead Drop #1 (Valiant)-


(W) Ales Kot (A) Adam Gorham (CA) Raul Allen
"Four issues. Four stories. One ticking clock! Red-hot writer Ales Kot (Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier) and rising star Adam Gorham (Zero) start the countdown to DEAD DROP as an unlikely cast of superhuman operators fall in deep for an undercover conspiracy action thriller in the darkest corners of the Valiant Universe...
There is a secret black market in New York. It is hidden in plain sight - in our streets, trains, restaurants. Those who know how to  navigate it exchange secrets of extraordinary nature. But when the secret in circulation is a biological weapon derived from Vine technology, the gloves are off - and the most extraordinary agents are released to stop the disaster before it occurs. 
Otherwise, in less than thirty minutes, there will be no world to come back to.
X-O Manowar, Archer, Neville Alcott, Detective Cejudo and Betamax are ready to save the world."

This fast-paced issue sets the stage for the new Valiant Team-Up mini-series, along the same lines as The Delinquents and The Valiant. It's a decent set-up tale, but only one event really happens in the entire issue. I'm also not 100% sure I got all the details. A terrorist group steals a deadly weaponized virus, and X-O Manowar is dispatched to bring it back. He attempts to do so on foot, where we get to see a parkour romp through some city streets. Which while cool, seemed odd for X-O Manowar. The art, while well-done, wasn't really a good fit for this tale, either. There's a heavy "indie" feel to it which didn't quite work for a story that focuses heavily on a technologically advanced barbarian. I'm not totally sold on this one, but will be sticking around for #2 to see where this goes... (Joe)


ICE: Bayou Blackout #1 (12-Gauge)-


(W) Doug Wagner (A/CA) Daniel Hillyard
"The Infektsi, a group of Chechen mercenaries, have entered the city of New Orleans, leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. ICE agents Cole and Ezra head to Louisiana to try and keep the terrorists from taking out a main hub of the US power grid. Launching directly out of FCBD, you won't want to miss the giant-sized, 40-page issue."

I've been told by people that I root for the villain too much.  Most of the time I tell them that I'm not rooting for the villain, I just find their motivation more interesting to read.  I still want the hero to defeat them.  In this book however, I definitely found myself rooting for the villains, which is an impressive feat as they are Chechen terrorists.  But damn the protagonists are boring.  They whine and complain and share their feelings.  These are super cops and they spend most of their time complaining and crying.  Meanwhile, every page with the villains has a ton of great action.  Thankfully there is enough of them to keep the book entertaining.  Just two bits of advice: more scenes with the villains and maybe a few women.  There is nary a female in this entire story.  With so many characters it's very noticeable. (Sam)


Swords of Sorrow #1 (Dynamite)-


(W) Gail Simone (A) Sergio Fernandez Davila (CA) J. Scott Campbell
"DYNAMITE'S FIERCEST FEMALES IN THEIR BIGGEST EVENT EVER! Fan-favorite GAIL SIMONE (RED SONJA, BATGIRL) and rising art star SERGIO DAVILA (LEGENDERRY) combine to tell the ultimate pulp adventure, featuring Vampirella, Dejah Thoris, Red Sonja, Kato, Jungle Girl, and many, many more! Villains and heroes from a dozen worlds and eras face off against a legendary evil that threatens all their homelands. Don't miss this thrilling epic tale, an event supported by one-shot side adventures written by the hottest writers today, like G. Willow Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, Nancy Collins and more!"

This is the first issue in Gail Simone's all female crossover event from Dynamite Comics. Featuring an all female cast and all female writers, Gail Simone is spearheading this event that will bring Jennifer Blood, Kato, Red Sonja, Deja Thoris, Irene Adler and a host of other women to stand against a reality-altering villain that is protected by the lead female characters of the Chaos line of comics. If you are looking for more backstory on them, then check out the Swords of Sorrows: Chaos Special that is also out this week. As in most big event books, this issue is jam-packed with characters and a race to get the story set up within 24 pages, but I think it is pulled off rather well. We get to meet our main characters, establish a villain, and frame the plot with both the ultimate evil and the swords our protagonists will need to defend their own realities. The art by Sergio Davila is solid and stays consistent even through the more than seven worlds we visit in a short span of time. The issue clips along at good speed and does not waste time with bloated exposition or hand-holding, we jump from world to world piecing the puzzle together as we go, and by the end I was ready to move right into issue number two. I thought this was a very fun read even though I am not a regular reader of any of the individual characters' ongoing titles. This is an easy one to recommend, go ahead and check it out and you will know within a few minutes if you are going to stick around for the end of the ride ... I know I will be. (Geoff


Swords of Sorrow: Chaos Special #1 (Dynamite)-


(W) Mairghread Scott (A) Mirka Andolfo (CA) Joyce Chin
'A team-up set up by SWORDS OF SORROW's Gail Simone, featuring the writer that she hand-picked: Mairghread Scott! Who are the villains behind the epic SWORDS OF SORROW event? Discover the darkest minds in Dynamite's roster, the kind of ladies who are fond of how bloodstains look on six-inch heels. To quote writer Mairghread Scott, "SWORDS OF SORROW is going to be a hell of a party, and CHAOS is your blood-soaked invitation. Take a ride with some of the deadliest women in the Dynamite universe as they prove the only thing you have to fear... is them!"'

The Chaos Special introduction to Swords of Sorrow is a quick coming together of the female protagonists from the Chaos line of comics, who appear to be serving as protectors of the reality altering villain that will be at the center of the massive Dynamite crossover event of the same name. Written by Mairghread Scott with art by Mirka Andolfo, this issue is a pretty simple and straight forward coming together of characters with plenty of exposition to briefly bring any new readers up to speed on who these women are and the role they will play in the upcoming event. While it is simple, that does not mean it's a bad thing. I am not a regular reader of any of the Chaos comics, and by the end of 24 pages I learned all I needed to know and was treated to some fun action and good art. This is an easy recommendation for any new readers looking to get a head start on the Swords of Sorrow event, but an easy pass for everyone else. (Geoff)


Don't just take our word for it ... pick up the issues yourself and share your thoughts below!


More Reviews on MightyVille:  

Number One Bullet Reviews: April 29, 2014

Number One Bullet Reviews: April 22, 2014

BLOODSHOT REBORN #1 - A MightyVille Advance Review


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