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Home  >  Features  >  Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: January 20 & 27, 2016

NUMBER 1 BULLETS: 01-27-16

 

It's a Number 1 Bullets Double-Shot! Joe and Geoff are jam-packing two weeks worth of new first issue reviews into one awesome read. You guys agree?

The reading pile: Captain Marvel #1, Silver Surfer #1, Devolution #1, Amazing Forest #1, American Monster #1, Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1, Cry Havoc #1, Prophet: Earth War #1, Suicide Squad: Most Wanted #1, Ghostbusters International #1, Victorie City #1, Grimm Fairy Tales Steampunk #1, Super Zero #1, Symmetry #1, Old Man Logan #1, and Faith #1.

 

Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel Comics)-

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Marvel Comics' lead female superhero is back with a new #1 issue and a new creative team.  Written by Tara Butters with art by Michele Fazekas, Captain Marvel is leaving Earth and The Avengers to head up the Alpha Flight space program.  Teaming up with Canada's premier super heroes, Carol is heading to space to be the front line of defense against any threats headed to Earth.  I was a big fan of the previous Captain Marvel title written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and was very pleased to see the natural progression in this new title.  Carol is still strong and confident while having a sense of humor, this book highlights her humor, leadership, and all around bad-ass-ness.  The inclusion of Alpha flight was strange at first but it totally works, as does the conflict between Carol and former head of S.W.O.R.D., Abigail Brand.  All this ties together with a twist at the end from Captain Marvels past ... or possibly her future.  Michele Fazekas kills it on the art, there is nothing better than a well-drawn space battle with a frenetic sense of motion.  The character art is great as well, with slightly subdued color palette that works well with the black backdrop of space.  This is one of the can't miss titles from the new Marvel launch. (Geoff)

 

Silver Surfer #1 (Marvel Comics)-

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Marvel Comics has relaunched Silver Surfer ... and it is exactly the same as it was before, but that is a good thing!  The creative team of Dan Slott and Mike Allred are back and continuing the adventures of Norrin Radd and Dawn Greenwood, only now they are finally headed back to Earth.  This book is another direct continuation of a series from before the Secret Wars event, and really did not need a new #1 issue.  The Surfer and Dawn must stop an alien threat that is siphoning all the creative works from the planet and then using our own fiction against us as they transform their warriors into our favorite characters from books, television, and movies.  The art by Allred is sublime as always and a perfect match for the rather bombastic adventures of this series.  The highlight of the book is seeing his take on a variety of iconic characters ranging from Doctor Who to RoboCop.  The story is fun and the art is fantastic, Dawn Greenwood is endearing and a very entertaining character to read ... she is the perfect foil for the all too serious Silver Surfer.  The only strike against this title is that is does not serve well as a #1 issue. It is a decent jumping on point, but no different that the start of a new arc of an ongoing comic.  There is no background given to who Dawn or the Surfer are, why they are together, or why they were off in space.  In the end it is more of the same from the previous Silver Surfer series, and that is a good thing. (Geoff)

 

Devolution #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)-

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Dynamite Comics is making an entry into the creator-owned realm with Devolution, from Rick Remender and Johnathan Wayshak.  Devolution continues Remender's themes of humanities deadly affect on our planet.  Low and Tokyo Ghost are both set in a future wherein our obsession with technology and advancement has lead to a wrecked version of the Earth.  In this title, a world tired of endless war sought to use a vaccine to alter our brains in such away as to weed out the 'us vs them' mentality that religion and belief inspire. However, this all goes wrong when the vaccine becomes airborne and devolves a majority of humanity as well as plant and animal life.  In this world we meet Raja, a young woman out to try and help find a way to restore humanity.  When she rescues a young man and returns him to his camp, she is met with the worst of what is left of our species, as it turns out the first real humans she has encountered in years turn out to be worse than the Neanderthal hordes that wander what is left of America.  The story is grim with a great setup; Remender establishes the world in short order and within a few pages we are off and running.  The art by Wayshak is gritty and violent, an apt reflection of the world he is portraying.  The first issue concludes with a tease of what the remaining scientist are up against, and it works as a good cliffhanger for what is to come and shows the reader how far Raja must travel on her journey.  Devolution is another hit from Remender who can just seem to do no wrong these days. Though this book was long in the making it was worth the wait. (Geoff)

 

Cry Havoc #1 (Image Comics)-

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Image Comics has a new take on the world of the supernatural in Cry Havoc #1, written by Simon Spurrier with art by Ryan Kelly.  Lou Canton is a wayward soul with little direction when her life takes a most unexpected turn after being attacked by what she can only describe as a werewolf.  When an organization comes forward offering to free her of this nightmare there is one catch ... she must use her powers in a private military contracting group made up of others like herself before they will cure her.  This book was more interesting than it was good.  The timeline of events is broken up into the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story; but all three stories are being told simultaneously.  This makes for interesting storytelling in that we know the fate of our protagonist on the first page, but the journey to how she gets there will keep the reader guessing.  It is well-written and Lou is an empathetic lead character, though through the first issue she is the only one with any real depth.  The downside of this is the tried and true story of the werewolf victim who cannot contain her powers and how they dominate her to eventual ruin. However with that all said, at least this is a new approach to an old story.  The art by Ryan Kelly is outstanding.  Slightly messy on purpose but with great detail and amazing facial work, my second time through the book I kept catching more subtle details when paying more attention to the individual panels.  All the individual components of Cry Havoc are great, but the sum total was just not very engaging. (Geoff)

 

Prophet: Earth War #1 (Image Comics)-

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This is the first issue in the mini-series that serves as the conclusion to Image Comics' six-volume epic: Prophet.  Written by Brandon Graham with art by Simon Ray, the last of the clone generals must go out to seek the Nucleus Egg before it falls into the hands of the evil human empire.  This is the last of six volumes that make up this epic story, and coming in this late to the series makes for a very difficult read.  As a new reader I had no sense of time, place, setting, or characters.  While this is not necessarily needed, it would be nice to at least be provided with one page dedicated to filling in new comers.  As it stands the hard Sci-Fi setting is engaging and the world is unique in such a way that is draws the reader into the conflict, even if this reader has absolutely no idea what is going on.  I was not a huge fan of the art, however.  I found it muddled and difficult to follow.  So many aliens and a very foreign setting with no time spent on description adds yet another layer keeping new readers away.  This is a hard review because I am opening a book to the last chapter and attempting to critique the entire story.  I will say that the story at large is vast with interesting characters and a unique setup, but as a #1 issue this title fails miserably and bringing in anyone who has not been along for the ride.  Readers familiar with the Prophet saga will already be picking this up, and those interested in a hard Sci-Fi story that spans eons should probably start at the beginning. (Geoff)

 

Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1 (DC Comics)-

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So, writer Amy Chu and artist Clay Mann band together to redefine Poison Ivy in order to grow her appeal, a la Harley Quinn (who also has a guest spot here!). The result is mixed. I am not all that familiar with Ivy's status quo in the current New 52 universe, but this take seems like a departure from what I'm familiar with. Pamela Isley finds herself in a normal life with a normal job in a normal bio lab using her real name. Her main assignment: to study a rare plant that grows in the middle of the desert for no real reason. Of course, we can't have everything be so normal and keep it interesting. So after an obligatory indoor-outdoor shower scene, there's ... murder! Ivy's on the case! To be continued! The story is entertaining, while being predictable and generic in a night-time drama sort of way. It feels like an attempt to make Ivy more like Marvel's Jessica Jones. With a fairly ho-hum story, Mann's art comes in and makes things a bit more enjoyable over-all. I wouldn't call this a bad comic, but it's not all that engaging, either. I'd recommend it to die hard Poison Ivy fans or people looking for titles with female leads. (Joe)

 

Amazing Forest #1 (IDW Publishing)-

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This is a collection of four short stories written by Erick Freitas and Ulises Farinas and drawn a a group of independent artists (per story). I found a few of the ideas thought-provoking, but the execution of these Sci-Fi/Fantasy stories was quite lacking. The scripts felt rough and robotic, adding very little human element to the dialogue. The pacing was odd, with most of the shorts ending abruptly. The art was sophomoric, even amateur for the most part, and was difficult to get in to. The shift in styles from tale to tale didn't help. The cover by Farinas was pretty killer though, even if it had nothing to do with the contents of the issue. (Joe)

 

American Monster #1 (Aftershock Comics)-

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Brian Azzarello is at his best when he's not forced to adhere to an existing character's voice or continuity. American Monster is proof of that. I have no idea what is going on in this comic book, but it was fantastic. It's a set-up issue to be sure, but it has that same 'kicked in the balls' feeling you get after watching the first episode of an HBO show that you know people will be talking about the next day. It's that good. Centering a battle-scarred mountain of a man named Theo, American Monster sets the stage for a Noir crime-thriller set somewhere in the American Northwest. The art by Juan Doe is a perfect match for Azzarello's moody setting and words. Plus, seeing him do interior work is a real treat. This is a damn fine comic and I can't wait to see where it goes. (Joe)

 

Faith #1 (Valiant Comics)-

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Jody Houser comes to Valiant and joins the art team of Francis Portela, Marguerite Sauvage, and Andrew Dallhouse on Faith #1 ... starring Zephyr! I found it interesting that the title of the comic is the first name of the hero's identity, rather than the code-name. I like it! Imagine Bruce by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Anyway, Faith (or Zephyr) has left the Harbinger Renegades behind to forge a superhero life all her own. And so far, she's doing a great job. When she was first introduced in Harbinger, I wasn't sure what to think of her. It seemed like the writers were trying too hard to make her a "geek girl". But, she grew on me and became one of the voices I most enjoyed reading in that title. Houser carries that fun over into Faith's own solo book. The first half is pretty heavy on exposition, letting us know all about Faith, her history, and what makes her tick. I'll give it a pass though because it's somewhat necessary for a book like this, and I looked at the first few pages as more of a pilot for the character than part of the issue. The second half picked up and sent Faith on an adventure trying to save some errant psiots from certain doom. This is pretty good stuff, folks. I think you'll be surprised. Great for all boys and girls! (Joe)

 

Old Man Logan #1 (Marvel Comics)-

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Marvel Comics brings Wolverine back to the Marvel Universe this week in Old Man Logan #1 by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino.  Old Man Logan was one of the highlights of the Secret Wars tie-in books and this title continues with a different writer yet still featuring the stunning art of Sorrentino.  Waking up in modern day New York, Logan is a man out of place and out of time, still grieving from the loss of this family to the Hulk gang in the possible future he is from.  The book flashes back between that world and ours, expanding on the stories told in the original comic from Mark Millar.  Once he realizes where he is and that this is not a dream, Logan sets out for revenge against those who will eventually do him harm.  This book was a great read and this version of Logan is definitely not the costumed super hero Wolverine that joined the Avengers: old man Logan is out for blood and vengeance.  The art fits the brutal tone of the character, it is dark and almost monochromatic with a desert amber color permeating the future wasteland and a dark blue tone for the current time.  Old Man Logan will be one of the more interesting titles to watch unfold, I am not sure if this would fit better as a mini series or an ongoing title or how well this version of Logan will integrate with the rest of the world.  Time will tell. (Geoff)

 

Super Zero #1 (Aftershock Comics)-

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Aftershock Comics brings the writing team of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti together to tell the tale of a young woman who is desperate to become a superhero no matter the cost in Super Zero #1.  Drusila Dragowski is a high school senior with her head in the clouds, or more accurately, buried in comic books.  Bored with life and a social outcast at school, Dru finds solace in the pages of comics like Batman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman.  She believes she was destined to be a superhero, going so far as to attempt to higher someone to mug her parents and cause an event catastrophic enough to propel her into a life like Batman.  While on the surface this initially feels like more lighthearted fare from the writers of Harley Quinn, Super Zero is a very serious comic about a young girl trying to find her place in a world that does not make sense to her.  Dru is convinced that our society needs superheroes and the lengths she will go to the prove this are more sad than they are funny.  The book never makes fun of her for her obsessions and awkwardness, but it does use her as a vehicle to poke fun at common superhero tropes.  The art by Rafael de Latorre shines in an issue that is exposition-heavy and mostly features characters just talking to each other; it blends realistic characters with slightly stylized faces and proportions.  This was a good read and a very engaging main character who I really felt for by the end of the first issue. I am not sure how this idea will stretch out in an ongoing comic, but I am invested enough to definitely check out issue #2. (Geoff)

 

Symmetry #1 (Image Comics/Top Cow)-

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Matt Hawkins and Raffaele Ienco depict the perfect Utopian society and how quickly it can fall in Symmetry #1 from Image Comics/Top Cow.  In a world where there is no struggle, no strife, and no work, the very unique qualities of individualism have been suppressed.  Humanities emotions are governed by digital implants and the population of the world is segregated and uniform, individuals are raised by the common collective and there is little use to relationships outside of procreation.  Some would call this perfect harmony, but Michael thinks differently.  The system is shattered when a large solar flare releases an EMP that deactivates most of the machinery that has done all the work for so long.  Add to that the introduction of someone who is different in every way and see how long it takes a perfect society to fall apart.  The ideas of Utopia are pushed to the limit by Hawkins as he looks to the ugly side of a world that is completely homogenized.  The ideas presented are interesting and definitely make the reader think about what the world would be be if the ugly side of humanity was removed from the equation, the only problem I had with this title was that it felt a bit boring.  Because everyone is the same there is no character to latch on to until the end of the first issue, and even then it is just a final page of someone who is different.  The art by Ienco is clean and nice to look at, but not remarkable.  This was a solid book that just did not stand out on its own.  There is nothing wrong with it other than being just a bit too bland to grab the reader. (Geoff)

 

Strayer #1 (Aftershock Comics)-

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A new book from Aftershock Comics, Strayer is fast and furious with its action and pacing as the titular hero is thrust into battling a titan in what is left of a world fallen from grace, but he is not alone.  Written by Justin Jordan with art by Juan Gedeon, the world has become a barbaric place since the fall of our civilization.  Strayer is different, though he is not sure why.  His lineage is lost to him, but there is something that sets him apart. When he crosses paths with a Archemancer named Mala Tenboom, they team up so she can return the world to the high times and he can learn of his past.  The book was quick-paced and the action was fun to read, though the story itself is nothing that has not been seen before and did little to set itself apart from the myriad of comics on the shelf.  The lone barbarian teaming up with the outcast witch to save the world is a story that has been told many times before, so hopefully Strayer can find its own voice in the next few issues.  The art by Gedeon was heavily stylized, yet flat and simple.  The speed of action and the scale of the titan were well conveyed, but overall I was not a fan of his style.  It felt quick and messy.  Strayer was an okay book that will compete with other okay books from small publishers on local comic store shelves. Hopefully it can find its voice soon and grab an audience. (Geoff)

 

Victorie City #1 (IDW Publishing)-

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IDW delves into the macabre with Victorie City #1.  Writer Keith Carmack introduces us to Victorie City, a city plagued by crime and crooked cops and if that is not enough now a serial killer is on the loose who seems to harvest the souls of his victims.  On the other side is Detective Hektor Ness, the last honest cop in the city.  He is near the end of his rope dealing with the corruption all around him until he finally snaps after being brought in to a missing persons case that seems to be the work of our killer.  The book is well-written and has a Noir feel to it, Carmack focuses most of his attention in the first issue on the killer and Det. Ness so we get to spend a lot of time with them and by the end of just 22 pages both are well established characters on opposite sides of the spectrum.  The art by Vincent Nappi is going to be polarizing for most readers.  His style is very similar to Ben Templesmith with extremely stylized characters and scratchy dark backgrounds.  I like this art for the characters, but the movement and action from panel to panel is extremely hard to follow.  However, those who are fans of Templesmith or 30 Days of Night will feel right at home with this title.  A unique art style and a chilling murder mystery make for a compelling read, but not an amazing one.  (Geoff)

 

Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Deadshot and Katana #1 (DC Comics)-

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DC Comics rolls out a new anthology series focusing on the team members of Task Force X, A.K.A The Suicide Squad (coming soon to a theater near you)! As the title suggests, this adventure puts the spotlight on the sharpshooting wise-ass Deadshot (by Brian Buccellato and Viktor Bogdanovic) and the sword-wielding soldier of honor, Katana (by her creator Mike W. Barr and artist Diogenes Neves) . Each character gets their own creative team and adventure away from the core group. Deadshot gets ahold of some intriguing information, leading him to abandon a mission and seek out a revenge plot of his own. While Katana takes on the forces of Kobra in occupied Markovia and doesn't fair as well as she would have hoped. These are decent stories that serve as good introductions to characters soon to be known by a lot more people. The Deadshot chapter's a bit heavy on monologuing and the writing on Katana is just a tad dated, but neither of these points kept me from digging the book. The art worked well on both, albeit a bit sketchy and rushed on Katana. All in all, worth picking up. (Joe)

 

Ghostbusters International #1 (IDW Publishing)-

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The Ghostbusters go International and they're bringing writer Erik Burnham and artist Dan Schoening with them. Or do they? The title is a little misleading as this issue takes place squarely in New York City, but based on the cliffhanger ending, I can see it calls to things to come. Picking up where the 2015 Annual left off, Venkman, Stantz, Spangler, and Zedmore are back kicking ghost ass in the Big Apple. But when they run into an international businessman with deep pockets, he makes them an offer that we need to come back next issue to see if they can't refuse. This is the next chapter of an ongoing series of minis. It was a fun read and Schoening's art continues to shine on this book, melding the movie and animated looks into a cohesive feel. Fun stuff for readers of all ages, especially Ghostbusters fans. (Joe)

 

Grimm Fairy Tales Steampunk #1 (Zenescope Entertainment)-

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Here we see another take on "steampunk" versions of a publisher's established characters, in this case Zenescope. Robyn Hood, Cinderella, Snow White, and all your favorite Grimm heroines are present, embroiled in a tale of drug smuggling gone wrong. Written by Pat Shand and drawn by Annapaolo Martello, this turn of the century story is pretty enjoyable. It doesn't require an understanding of Zenescope's other adventures and is easy to follow. The characters are pretty interesting, while the story is fun, but not groundbreaking. The art works, but still needs a little polish. There's a lot of steampunk fans out there, and this book is right up their alley. (Joe)

 

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

 

More Reviews on MightyVille: 

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: January 13, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: January 6, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: December 30, 2015

 

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