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

NUMBER 1 BULLETS: 03-16-16

 

Geoff and Joe take a look at a new double-batch of first issues, this time it's MARS ATTACKS: OCCUPATION #1, X-FILES DEVIATIONS #1, THE INFINITY ENTITY #1, INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1, MOCKINGBIRD #1, 3 DEVILS #1, THE 13TH ARTIFACT, GHOSTBUSTERS: DEVIATIONS #1, TRANSFORMERS: DEVIATIONS #1, A&A #1, and ROCHE LIMIT: MONADIC #1!

 

 

MARS ATTACKS: OCCUPATION #1 (IDW Publishing)-

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The next volume of Mars Attacks from IDW comics is out this week with a brand new number one issue, MARS ATTACKS: OCCUPATION.  Written by John Layman with art by Andy Kuhn, this new volume takes place after a valiant effort by humanity to fight back the Martian invasion.  Unfortunately for Earth the inevitable was only delayed, and now the planet is under brutal Martian rule.  Ruby Johnson is a young women who saw her father die in the invasion.  A fighter at heart, she is forced to work in the oppressive manual labor camps day after day.  It is only when she takes out her frustrations by beating a human collaborator that she is even noticed and sent to the gladiator camps, a fate even worse than that she was already experiencing.  My only exposure to the Mars Attacks franchise was the campy Tim Burton film full of ruthless but ridiculous little green men running around yelling "NAK NAK" for two hours but this book takes a far more grim and serious tone.  The glass helmets and exposed brains of the Martians remain but that is where the similarities end.  These Martians are taller, meaner, and far more sadistic than their movie counterparts.  The tone of the book is extremely bleak in stark contrast to the silly character designs but the story and plight of Ruby is really well told.  The character art was good but leaned on one too many flat color background with no detail, it made the scenes appear as if they were a stage play with no depth as opposed to a movie scene.  This was an odd mix of highs and lows and myself as the reader going into it with certain expectations that were not relevant to the material at hand.  In the end MARS ATTACKS: OCCUPATION #1 is a good human resistance story with average art that readers should pic up and read without thinking of the movie at all. (Geoff)

 

X-FILES: DEVIATIONS #1 (IDW Publishing)-

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IDW comics launches the first of its DEVIATIONS titles this week with THE X-FILES.  A series that includes most of the licensed properties IDW has comics for, Deviations takes a familiar setting and cast of characters and alters one factor that turns the entire idea on its head and then we as readers are treated to the outcome.  Think of these titles as IDW's version of the famous Marvel "What if" series.  Written by Amy Chu with art by Elena Casagrande and Silvia Califano, the deviation in this X-Files story is that it was Fox, not Samantha who was abducted by aliens when he was a child.  Spurred on by this event Samantha is now the agent in charge of the X-Files and we meet her as agent Dana Scully is reluctantly forced into being her partner.  The beginning of the issue plays out in a close recreation of the opening scene of the first X-Files episode complete with Samantha uttering Fox's famous line; "No one here but the FBI's most un-wanted".  The twist on events is fun at it works as an interesting one shot, a look at a world that could have been.  I think it would have worked better if the dynamic between Scully and Samantha had been different, instead its the same exasperated Scully and a nonchalant Mulder.  Maybe Scully would have reacted differently to another female partner? Maybe two women as FBI agents in the early 90's would have met more resistance from local authorities especially when confronting them the paranormal.  Instead this title plays it safe casting an identical Mulder with a gender swap.  The art is solid, likenesses are well captured and the dark muted tone of the colors played well into the X-Files aesthetic.  The idea for Deviations is great but this book did not change enough to make it stand out, hopefully the other titles coming out will stray further from the source material. (Geoff)

 

THE INFINITY ENTITY #1 (Marvel Comics)-

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Serving as a bridge between THANOS: THE INFINITY REVELATION and THANOS: THE INFINITY FINALES, THE INFINITY ENTITY #1 from Marvel Comics follows the long strange trip of Adam Warlock.  Written by the venerable Jim Starling, Infinity Entity finds Adam Warlock lost in both space and time with no knowledge of where, when, or who he is.  Upon witnessing the birth of the universe, Adam begins to travel through time in an attempt to find out who he is.  The first stop with the original Avengers does not go as planned when the team reacts violently to the cosmic stranger that magically appears in their mansion.  Another jump in times lands him with the Guardians of the Galaxy where he is greeted my more friendly faces.  Finally he crosses paths with the powerful In-betweener who seeks to put a stop to his trek through space and time.  These time jumps are fantastic especially the one that involves the Avengers.  Starling mimics the old school dialogue of those book and the early characterizations of Hulk and Thor including all the unnecessary exposition that comes along with it.  The art by Alan Davis shines throughout slightly switching styles depending on the time period and reveling in the cosmic absurdity of the original Infinity Wars stories.  From cover to cover this was a great read about one of the stranger Marvel characters who I feel will eventually end up in the Marvel cinematic universe before too long, so if you are not quite sure who Adam Warlock is pick this one up and jump into the deep end of the Marvel cosmic universe. (Geoff)

 

MOCKINGBIRD #1 (Marvel Comics)-

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Marvel Comics is bringing one of the stars of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. from the small screen to comics with MOCKINGBIRD #1 by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk.  Bobbi Morse is experiencing side effects from the mixture of super soldier serum and infinity formula she was given long ago to treat series injuries suffered while on a mission.  These effects land her in the SHIELD medical ward for weekly visits and test but it does not take her long to tell something is not quite right.  Chelsea Cain takes a rather big risk for a first issue in that she slowly builds tension without any real answers as to what is going on.  Every few pages is another week and another visit with Bobbi's increasing paranoia conveyed to readers via the results of her various tests.  What starts out as simple blood and hair samples evolves into tests of telekinesis and before you know it the room is full of strange zombie like creatures.  Even though I have no idea what is really going on the issue was enjoyable to read and set at a page turning pace.  The gentle slide from humor to suspicion to zombies was great.  The art was top notch as well with extremely crisp pencil work and eye popping colors.  This was a great first issue and a somewhat unexpected surprise, readers should check this one out and then they too can try to determine why Mockingbird is carrying about a corgi in the last few pages. (Geoff)

 

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 (Marvel Comics)-

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Marvel Comics is bringing back the superstar team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev for another ongoing Iron Man title; INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN. Before the Secret Wars event Tony Stark found out that Howard Stark was not his biological father and that he had been adopted at a young age. Taking a far more personal touch to storytelling, Bendis and Maleev have set out to explore the idea of just who is Tony Stark as he seeks answers about his true parentage. Flashing back to a young Tony at University in England we meet a far different character than the one we know. He is unsure of himself and speaks openly of his conflicted relationship with his adopted father. This dialogue heavy issue deals mainly with Tony's pursuit of Cassandra Gillespie and plays to the strengths of both the writer and the artist. Bendis can write page after page of two people just talking and have it still be a fantastic read while Maleev's art style is far more suited to character study than it is to bombastic action. The first issue is a slow burn but ends on quite the cliffhanger that will definitely bring readers back for more. This is one of the best titles to come out of the All New All Different relaunch, and one of the few that actually deserves the branding of ALL DIFFERENT. (Geoff)

 

3 DEVILS #1 (IDW Comics)-

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Horror meets Western in 3 DEVILS, the latest number one issue from IDW comics. Bo Hampton handles both art and writing duties on this dark tale of a young girl named Tara who is witness to her family's murder by the White Devil and his two allies. In a state of shell shock, Tara is rescued by a former slave named Marcus and taken into his care. It is only when the two are besieged yet again on the open road that Tara it witness to the supernatural powers that Marcus possesses. This first issue by Hampton establishes a dark world that is no friend to children or those deemed as less than human, whether they be former slaves or Gypsies trying to make a name for themselves in the new world. The story is intriguing yet lacks a coherent direction. We move from the assault on Tara's family, to the meeting with Marcus, to yet another assault, and finally to the reveal of Marcus' own powers. It all moves very fast with a large amount of exposition to fill in the blanks. The characters introduced are interesting but as a stand alone first issue I was not left with much to bring me back. The art varied from serviceable to rough, some action scenes were very hard to follow and the facial work on the lesser characters left a lot to be desired. This is one of those stories that might read great in trade but the stand alone first issue left me with tons of questions and no solid hook to bring me back for issue number two. (Geoff)

 

THE 13TH ARTIFACT #1 (Top Cow/Image Comics)-

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Top Cow has published THE 13TH ARTIFACT this week, a one-shot comic created by the winners of the 2015 Talent Hunt competition. Written by Amit Chauhan with art by Eli Powell, THE 13TH ARTIFACT is a stand alone story about parallel dimensions and some favors coming at too high of a price. Having crash landed on a world that looks like ours the sole surviving astronaut seeks refuge in a dark and disturbing city that literally looks like Hell has taken over. What she discovers is a horrid tale of short sighted leaders and a villain who conned an entire world out of their home. To give too much away would ruin the experience since this is only a short story told to completion in just 32 pages. The storytelling and world building is dense but it is absolutely fantastic. The reader is exposed to the rise and fall of an entire world in just a few brief panels of storytelling. I was also impressed with how connected I felt to a protagonist with so little space to tell me about who she is but none the less by the time the last page was done I felt incredible empathy for her and what she went through. The art by Powell is just as strong as the words evoking a truly desolate place and a population that has lost all hope. This is top notch science fiction and the fact that they story was so well told in such a compact format leads be to believe these two creators have a good future ahead of them in comics, I can't wait to see what they do next. (Geoff)

 

GHOSTBUSTERS: DEVIATIONS #1 (Image Comics)-

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GHOSTBUSTERS: DEVIATIONS is next in a series of one shots from IDW comics that takes a look at how things could have been in some of our favorite movies and TV shows if just one thing had gone slightly different. Written by Kelly Thompson with art by Nelson Daniel, GHOSTBUSTERS DEVIATIONS explores the idea of what would have happened if our heroes had not crossed the streams in their confrontation with Gozer. In this new future we get a true glimpse of the apocalypse set in a New York where The Destructor, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, has over taken the city and his minions run wild. The best part is that he hates it. What kind of other dimensional demon wants to spent its time looking like a cuddly, smiling, infantile blob? It is in fact the The Destructor's idea to sent the Ghostbusters back in time to cross the streams and change the course of events to prevent him from being stuck in this living hell. Now that is how you do a 'what if?' story! I thought it was hilarious and totally in line with the humor from the original movie. The only fault is that neither the rest of the writing nor the art live up to this original idea. Once the humor of the initial reveal wears off the remaining 30 pages sort of drag along to the final conclusion while missing the deadpan humor that makes Ghostbusters what it is. The pencils are adequate but nothing that really stands out, though points are awarded for staying close to the source material and depicting accurate versions of our main characters. This was a mixed bag because while the central story point is a brilliant idea its execution is flawed as the middle of the book drags on for just too long before the final time travel confrontation with Gozer. (Geoff)

 

ROCHE LIMIT: MONADIC #1 (Image Comics)-

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Michael Moreci's Roche Limit from Image Comics is back with the first issue of its third volume; ROCHE LIMIT: MONADIC. This was a crazy ride that subverts all expectations from readers who have been following this series from the start. The destruction of the Earth was the huge cliffhanger from the end of the last series, and that point is not even addressed. Is this taking place in another time or is it another place that is somehow removed from time? Those answers will have to wait and if Roche Limit is known for anything its the slow pace at which answers are given. Alex Ford and many other characters from the first series are back and while the setting looks the same we are not given a firm answer on where they are. This is only made more confusing because the other main focus is on Sasha from book two only she is apparently on some idyllic version of Earth. How can this be taking place at the same time when these two characters were separated by the 75 years that elapsed between volume one and volume two? I have no idea, but it's awesome. My head is spinning and I have more questions then when I started but the art is fantastic and the rabbit hole of this series just keeps getting deeper and deeper. This issue is a must read for those who have been along for the ride up to this point and it is completely impenetrable for new readers, so if you are part of the latter group get the first two volumes in trade and catch up because this should be an awesome conclusion to an epic ride. (Geoff)

 

TRANSFORMERS: DEVIATIONS #1 (IDW Publishing)-

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Tow movies defined my childhood: GHOSTBUSTERS in 1984, followed two years later by TRANSFORMERS: THE ANIMATED MOVIE. When IDS announced that their DEVIATIONS one-shots would be tackling that Transformers tale, they had my attention. Possibly my expectations were too high, but this issue let me down a little. It's obviously aimed at fans of the film, so why the excess exposition having to explain every little thing? It was also quite rushed, but attempting to fit the events of an entire film into a single comic is difficult. The tale itself is somewhat engaging, following a non-dead Optimus Prime leading his troops against Megascream, the Unicron-amped Starscream. Honestly, even though Optimus did not die, I found this story to be more depressing than the outcome of the film. The art totally worked and the characters were solid and easily recognizable. I can only recommend this to true fans of the film, and even then I'd recommend the wonderful adaption by Bob Budianski and Don Figueroa over this. (Joe)

 

A&A #1 (Valiant Comics)-

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Archer and Armstrong are back in Valiant's new series, A&A, this time written by Rafer Roberts with art by David Lafuente. Lacking the political and social punches of the previous series, this new direction is nonetheless fun. Their new adventure takes them somehwere I'm surprised they have't already gone: into the bowels of Armstrong's mysterious satchel. And Mary Maria is along for the ride. The art by Lafuente is refreshing and fits the lighter tone of this series quite well. While not quite as engaging as the previous run, A&A is still worth your time to check out. (Joe)

 

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 2, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: February 24, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: February 10 & 17, 2016

 

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