Comic Book Review – Inhumans Vs X-Men #2 (Marvel Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: Minor Spoilers.

“This is my home. These are my people. I will not let the X-Men steal their future.” Medusa

This showdown has been a long time coming. Ever since Marvel began to promote the Inhumans as their apparent favourite super powers by genetics team it was clear they would have to come to blows eventually. Although this is a second issue and not the natural point to pick up a first review, thanks to the promising first issue I thought it would be worth exploring further, especially following the mixed reception to Civil War II this could be Marvel pulling off a much better super team clash. This comic was bought to us by:

  • Writer –  Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule
  • Penciler – Leinil Francis Yu
  • Inker – Gerry Alanguilan
  • Colourist – David Curiel
  • Letterer – VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover by Yu, Alanguilan Curiel

Cover by Yu, Alanguilan Curiel

To give a little background as to why these teams are facing off against each other – the Terrigen Mist is floating around the planet transforming those with the right genetic code into Inhumans, but when it touches a mutant they simply perish. Considering there aren’t many mutants left in the Marvel Universe, more and more of the X-Men began to take exception to the mist. Any attempts to find a peaceful solution have now failed, and the death of Cyclops (current, not past) became the catalyst for war.

This issue focuses on an all-out battle between the two teams. Issues like this can often feel messy, however thanks to a combination of excellent writing and clear, defined art it was easy to keep up with everything that was going on. Considering the number of characters involved that was no small feat. There is only limited space for character development however, which is natural in an issue such as this. One touch I do like is the ideological differences between the two sides – the Inhumans revere the mist as if it was divine, whereas the X-Men come across as an desperate group of survivors.

Art by Yu, Alanguilan Curiel

Art by Yu, Alanguilan Curiel

As for the art, considering how much was going on it would have been easy to miss something in this issue, the clearly defined art style – the penciling and inking by Leinil Yu and Alanguilan supported the narrative keeping it clear throughout. Curiel adopted a dark pallet throughout the issue which provides a very sombre atmosphere to the conflict. There are also some very cool moments for individual characters, such as Medusa, Sabretooth and Wolverine throughout the issue. But how are Yu and Alanguilan with hands?

Can the art team draw hands? In combat heavy issues the majority of hands are grabbing, punching, deflecting etc. which can mean there is little chance for artists to show off what they can do. This is not the case when dealing with such a diverse range of power sets. From claws, to energy filled and even melting Leinil Yu and Alanguilan provided a fantastic base for Curiel to work his magic on. 9/10 for hand drawing skills!

Final Verdict

This is promising to be Marvel’s super team showdown of the year. Its been a while coming, which adds plenty of weight to the issues so far.

Score: 8.8 Little Snacks out of 10

 

Comic Review – Cage! #1 (Marvel Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

cage-cover

Cover by Tartakovsky & Wills

This week I picked up the long-delayed Cage! #1 from Marvel, written and drawn by the Emmy-award winning Genndy Tartakovsky, the man responsible for several of the cartoons I watched the hell out of as a kid including Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack, along with inks by Stephen DeStefano, colours by Scott Wills and letters from Clayton Cowles. Marvel have timed this pretty well (after it was delayed for 9 years I mean), hot off the heels of their Luke Cage TV series with Netflix that dropped last Friday. Coupled with how much I enjoyed that (I binged it all over 3 days), and the other book starring Luke Cage being one of my favourite books on the stands right now (the excellent Power Man and Iron Fist by David Walker and Sanford Greene), this was a must-buy for me.

Cage!, unsurprisingly stars Luke Cage as the hero for hire, as he takes down bank robbers, slams some baskets and heads out to catch up with Misty Knight. When she’s a no-show, he finds that many of New York City’s heroes are missing in action, with the cops scrambling to pick up the slack without them. Luke takes it upon himself to figure out where they have all gone, and why he wasn’t taken too.

cage-interior

Art by Tartakovsky, DeStefano & Wills

The plot to Cage! is simple (I would, at this point say refreshingly simple compared to some current superhero comics) and the dialogue is hilarious and very much of the 70s era this harkens back to. In fact, the book even acts like it still is the 70s, with an appearance from some beloved mutants and a superb editors note. Where the book really shines is how it pulls this all together into something that feels truly fun. This is rendered even more clearly as Tartakovsky brings his signature art to the book. The aesthetic is hugely expressive, with heavy line art emboldened by DeStefano’s inks and a warm colour palette that adds to the feel of the era. The whole package of the art is kinetic and larger-than-life, while feeling incredibly nostalgic both for the cartoons I watched as a kid and the 70s time period (I know I wasn’t alive in the 70s, shut up).

Cage! is a hell of a lot of fun. It may have been hugely delayed, but hopefully that means that the release schedule will be pretty consistent for this four-issue mini. Fans of the Netflix series should definitely check this out, even if it is a little tonally different, but equally fans of anything Genndy Tartakovsky has ever put out will love this too. Check it out at your LCS or digitally today!

Score: 8 Bank Rollers out of 10

Comic Review – Power Man and Iron Fist #2 (Marvel Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. He missed reviewing them while he tries to write up his PhD thesis, so every other week he’ll be reviewing one, with potential minor spoilers.

I had wanted to review the first issue of Power Man and Iron Fist when it came out a few weeks ago, but I was incredibly ill that week and any available typing ability had to be dedicated to work whenever I could. So I thought I’d take the opportunity to review issue #2 (and the fact that I picked it up probably indicates I rather enjoyed the first one). Power Man and Iron Fist was written by David Walker, with art by Sanford Greene, colours by Lee Loughridge and letters from VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics.

PMIF2Years after they last teamed up, Heroes for Hire Luke Cage and Danny Rand, A.K.A. Power Man and Iron Fist, have joined forces to help their old office assistant Jennie. This led to them taking the Supersoul Stone from crime boss Lonnie ‘Tombstone’ Lincoln, and now he’s mad. He’s sending word out that he wants it back, and wants to know who sent Cage and Rand after it in the first place. Now it’s up to the Heroes for Hire to figure out what is going on, and what Jennie has to do with it.

Prior to this series I had never read any Heroes for Hire stuff, but with even with a bare-bones understanding of the characters and their world, Walker makes it incredibly easy to dive into Power Man and Iron Fist and enjoy the story. The dialogue between Luke and Danny is light hearted, snappy and fun, with the contrast between the former experiencing reticence at teaming up again and the latter’s enthusiastic naivety really selling the characters’ history. I thought that the pair would remain in the dark for a little longer, so I found the pace of the plot very refreshing as they are essentially back on the job so quickly (much to Luke, and Jessica Jones’s chagrin).

PMIFGreene’s art is initially what drove me to this series from previews and the covers that I saw before release, and it doesn’t disappoint on any level. There is something totally unique about it, jumping between excellent and hilarious facial expressions (largely Luke looking incredulous) and kinetic, gorgeous fight scenes as Danny and Luke tear apart anyone looking for the stone. Loughridge’s washed out colours finish off the tone very well, giving the book a retro vibe that works very well with the classic street level crime story taking place.

Power Man and Iron Fist has very quickly become one of my favourite comics not just from Marvel, but on the stands in general. Walker, Sanford, Loughridge and Cowles have produced a fresh and unique book that’s unlike anything else I’m reading, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Check it out at your LCS or digitally now!

Score: 9 Fiddle Faddles out of 10

Comic Review – Bitch Planet #2

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he is going to attempt a mini review of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

This week I picked Bitch Planet #2, from Image Comics. When the first issue came out I was tied up and unable to put out a review, so I thought it was worth addressing that this week. Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and illustrated by Valentine De Landro, with colours by Cris Peter and letters from Clayton Cowles, the highly anticipated Bitch Planet started at the end of last year, described by Image as “Margaret Atwood meets Inglorious Basterds”. That alone was enough to make me check it out.

In the world of Bitch Planet, ‘non compliance’ is punished by incarceration at the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost, known commonly as ‘Bitch Planet’ – a women-only penal colony. Non compliance is an incredibly loose term that covers basically any woman that is an inconvenience to the patriarchy, whether that be a crime like murder, or merely having a problem with their husband’s infidelity. The world is an extreme misogynistic dystopian society, the rulers of which appear to maintain peace by apparently distilling the violent tendancies of humanity into a sports spectacle known as ‘Duemila’, or ‘Megaton’. Inmate Kogo Kamau, currently in solitary for a murder she did not commit during a prison riot, is approached with an offer. People are losing interest in Megaton, and those that run it think that including a team from Bitch Planet may inject more enthusiasm into the viewing public. Kam is given the task, if she accepts, to form a group from her fellow inmates to compete. Just as Megaton may becoming a little more deadly…

This is an exploitation style story, and while it depicts an exaggerated and terrible future, there are themes that run through Bitch Planet that are depressingly relevant. DeConnick weaves a tight story, eking out details slowly over these two issues to build the world and the characters that inhabit it. Kam is stoic and angry, with the details of her crime/non-compliance yet to be revealed, and the others that will likely make up her team are an interesting bunch too. In the backmatter DeConnick states that every 3rd issue will be a backstory of a particular inmate, starting with Penny Rolle next month. She also outlines her intent for the book, and a bit about the essays that are also being included. This month’s was written by Tasha Fierce, discussing the cultural misconceptions of feminism, and like the one included in issue one it was a fascinating read, really fitting in with the feel of the book.

De Landro’s art has a really nice pop style, with everything back on Earth looking drab, besuited and dull, with everyone somehow looking annoyingly smug and pleased with themselves, while the environs of the outpost look garish and intense, monitors assaulting the inmates eyes with fitness videos and corseted matrons. The colours from Peter bring this to an almost neon level, making it stand out nicely compared to the discussions of Megaton ratings in offices on Earth. The pages for Violet and Meiko’s proposals to Kam about the team were a fantastic example of how well the art team is working together, with the panels focussing on Kam and the other women running on a treadmill towards the reader, a bright pink fitness instructor on the screens behind, and in between a riot, started by Penny Rolle, gradually (and hilariously) building panel by panel.

I loved this issue and the first of Bitch Planet. It provides a unique comic tale enjoyable in its own right, but also giving the reader plenty of important subject matter to think about if they want to, in both the main story itself and the backmatter included along with it. Pick this up at your local LCS or digitally, and either get issue #1 digitally or grab the 2nd printing in 2 weeks. However you do it, jump on Bitch Planet. Now.

9.5 Non-Compliants out of 10