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 – Moon Knight #1 (Marvel Comics)

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

Warning: Minor Spoilers.

“Is – is it true what she said? Is this all in my head? Are you all in my head?” Marc

Dammit Marvel. I’m sat here, I’m supposed to be saving for a wedding and cutting back on costs here and there and you keep getting me hooked on these £3 an issue comics. That isn’t cheap and you know it. And you know what the worst part is? I really enjoy them. Especially when, even with your literal 1,000s of super heroes you manage to give me a story which feels fresh and different.

56058c4b7164bSo, yeah, Moon Knight (written by Jeff Lemire, art by Greg Smallwood, colour art by Jordie Bellaire, lettering by VC’s Cory Petit). I picked this one up before because I’d heard that the character was very interesting, supposedly a Marvel counterpart to Nightwing? So far this has not proved to be true at all, it hasn’t proved to be anything like I expected, and that’s a very good thing.

This is the story of Marc Spector, a mercenary who died in Egypt under a statue of the god Khonshu. Marc returned from the dead as Khonshu’s aspect to fight crime for his own redemption…. Maybe?

 

The thing is, Marc kind of lost it and went insane. This whole Moon Knight thing may well only exist in his head.

This in itself was more than enough to get me interested. This comic was off to a great first impression. Then I looked at the first page. The artwork in this comic is outstanding. The first scene we’re given is a memory? Hallucination? Dream sequence? Where Marc died and gets his powers. You’ll notice I mentioned a lot of people who were involved early, and that’s because they all deserve credit. Smallwood and Bellaire’s art is very sketchy for lack of a better term which makes the whole thing feel surreal and look grainy, like and old fashioned not properly tuned TV. It really suits the tone perfectly. As well as Cory Petit’s lettering, especially when Khonshu is speaking to Marc (in or out of the panel) stands out. Art team, well done on this one, really. I should probably describe the art in the rest of the comic as well.

MKI

Art from Greg Smallwood & Jordie Bellaire

As soon as the sequence ends we find Marc, dress in white on the floor, two nurses come in, and beat the hell out of him. By contrast, where the art at the start, while sketchy was colourful, here everyone’s shaded grey (it is night time) and any light is a sickly yellow.

And yeah, Marc is in an institution, one with nursing staff who do not treat their patients well. When Marc recovers he’s on a table undergoing shock treatment. Things are in full colour now.

We learn that Marc has been a resident here since he was a child, with Moon Knight apparently in his head, and he’s suffered a relapse. Which he does, in a big way. It seems he literally sees the world in a new way as Moon Knight (even if the outfit is just some bed sheets…) and he is given his calling and his opponent to beat. Maybe? It still could all just be in his head. He’s not even sure if the other patients are actually patients or people he knows as Moon Knight, which gives us new mini-flashbacks.

Final Verdict

Marvel – Shut up and take my money!

Final Score – 9 Hallucinations out of 10!

Comic Review – Old Man Logan #1 (Marvel Comics)

Kit has taken over the weekly comic book review because Adam is in the unenviable position of attempting to finish off his PhD.

“But I was kidding myself, it always ends up the same… with blood and death and me alone like an animal” – Old Man Logan

So, this week Old Man Logan #1 from Marvel caught my eye, written by Jeff Lemire with art from Andrea Sorrentino, colours from Marcelo Maiolo and lettering by Cory Petit. It’s another rebooted comic to fit in with the All-New All-Different Marvel universe. I knew of the original, which I’ve not read but have read a synopsis for so I kinda knew what to expect. This is old, very grumpy and very short tempered Wolverine. Do not expect a happy-clappy comic book. But is that what we’d really want from Mr Howlett? Honestly, part of me would love to see that, but only for a panel or two, anymore and it’d get a bit too weird.

So, focusing on the review of the actual comic again. The first thing I noticed was the art work. It sets the tone of the comic immediately, it looks dirty (in a very good way) and the colour pallet is dark even when the sun is out. Sorrentino and Maiolo did an excellent job here to give us dark, gritty world to delve into.

And dark and gritty it is, right from the little summary of his backstory on the first page. In a few years the villains team up and they win. They slaughter nearly every hero and take over the world. Old Man Logan is one of the few survivors, he’s given up and he’s trying to live a simple family life. Until the Hulk Gang get pissed off and murder his family. He responds as you’d expect. He murders them right back. After the events of Secret Wars Logan finds himself waking up in a full, vibrant New York City. There’s some kind of fat Spider-Man there (the one bit in this comic I didn’t get, I assume it’s a cosplayer?) and society is functioning. There are big posters of Iron Man and Captain America, as you’ve guess he’s gone back in time. It’s the present day and the villains haven’t won yet.

We’re treated to a flashback to his life before, tormented by the Hulk Gang’s flunkies and his relationship with his son. This really helped us get to know the kind of man this Logan is, we get to see him at his worst: broken and passive. He’s been broken down to nearly nothing, and from there he’s rebuilt himself into the ultimate survivor.

It take Logan a while to work out what’s going on, but once he does he knows what he has to do, prevent the villains from teaming up. Of course he rallies the Avengers and takes them down! Or… not…. Naturally he picks up the war path and sets off on what is planned to be a nice little murder spree of revenge on the villains.

Final Verdict

I enjoyed this more than I expected. It’s a lot darker than the other Marvel I’m reading which is a nice contrast. They did a great job in letting you get to know Logan, it’s also very clear he’s a very different man to the main timeline’s Wolverine. I can’t quite get over the random fat Spidey though. It would also be nice to have a few more supporting characters eventually. The art is excellent and gory (for a Marvel comic) and if you’re a fan of comic art that alone is reason to get this first issue.

Final Score – 8.5 Jars of Apple Jam out of 10!

Comic Review – Plutona #1 (Image Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

This week I picked up Plutona #1, one of a large group of new creator-owned Image books I’ve been looking forward to for a while now, ever since being announced back at the Image Expo in January. Plutona is a five-part mini series created by Emi Lenox and Jeff Lemire, with Lemire on scripting duties and art by Lenox, colours by Jordie Bellaire and letters from Steve Wands.

Plutona takes place in a world filled with superheroes, but follows the lives of five school kids, most of whom seem to show little interest in the fantastical world they live in, other than Teddy the ‘capespotter’. Along with Mie and her little brother Mike, Diane and Ray, Teddy goes through his normal school day. After school, Ray sees Teddy staring out at the city with his binoculars, and teases him for being a pervert. By the time the others walk past and join them however, Ray has to pretend he was still making fun rather than excited to be looking out for C.O.M.Bat and the other heroes.  Mike disappears into the nearby woods, so Mie leads the others all off to find him. His cry brings them all to him, as the issue closes with the five kids standing around the dead body of Plutona, the reclusive superhero.

Plutona previewThis first issue wastes no time in introducing the cast of characters at breakneck speed as they prepare for their day at school, all fulfilling various out-group high school roles while not feeling like two dimensional cut outs. I was expecting more on the heroes themselves, but Lemire subverts this deftly and instead quickly builds a grounded story with the super-heroics as a backdrop that makes the world feel more lived in. As I approached the end of the story, I felt that not showing the heroes (Plutona in particular) in action at all may end up being a misstep, but I found this itch scratched by a mini backup of sorts by Lemire shown in the form of a mock up issue of an in-universe Plutona comic titled ‘Plutona’s last adventure!’, showing her balancing her dual identities and lives while teasing at the mystery of how she ended up dead in a forest, alone.

Lenox’s art is gorgeous, immediately calling to mind a Scott Pilgrim aesthetic, but while it was less overly cartoonish and realistic, there is a wide-eyed charm to the characters that feels very natural. The bright enthusiasm of the bulk of the book is framed and overshadowed by the chilling opening pages and dark run through the forest at the end, and the wonderful art is brilliantly realised through Bellaire’s colours that suits the tone brilliantly.

Plutona is off to a very strong start, turning the superhero genre on its head to tell an intriguing mystery about the death of a hero, and how these children will deal with being the ones who find the body. Pick this up at your local comic shop or digitally today.

Score: 9 Dead Superheroes out of 10

Comic Review – Descender #1

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 will have to be a quick one, as I’m in the middle of moving house so a bit pressed for time! I picked up Descender from Image Comics, a new sci-fi series written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered by Steve Wands.

Descender starts on the planet Niyrata, the technological and cultural centre of The United Galactic Council, comprising 9 different worlds. The roboticist Dr. Quon is woken by a call from the council – something has appeared above each of the core planets. As everyone planetside stares up at the sky, Quon is brought aboard a ship facing down a gigantic robot, later referred to as a Harvester, waiting dormant. Before they can study it though, the Harvester suddenly attacks, all of the Harvesters attack on every planet, killing billions. 10 years later, a young boy awakens on a lunar colony to find he is the last left alive. Sort of. Tim-21 is a robot, a child companion, but the mother and son he is attached to are nowhere to be seen. Back on Niyrata, Dr. Quon is approached again by the government. They have found a link between the Harvesters, who disappeared after their terrible wrath crippled the UGC, and the Tim series of robots via a shared codex. And one has just reactivated on the moon of Dirishu-6. Now they just have to get to him first before any scavengers or anti-robot fanatics do.

Lemire does some excellent world building (worlds building?) with this first issue, that shows a colossal enemy wreak havoc on society, disappearing as quickly as they appeared. We only get a glimpse of Dr. Quon, Tim-21 and Telsa, the government agent sent to pick up the doctor, but they all seem to be diverse and interesting characters that will hopefully be fleshed out as the series progresses. I really liked the way the sense of scale of the UGC and the utter devastation wrought on them was underlined by having the population counter for the moon and on Niyrata adjusting for events, at 5.53 billion before the arrival of the Harvester, dropping to 1 billion 10 years later. Nyugen’s art is sketchy and lush, with a washed out watercolour feel to the colours too. The Harvester looming above the planet is haunting, especially as it looks totally lifeless until it’s too late, and as a double splash page it is gorgeous.

Jeff Lemire tends to write interesting sci-fi, and here is no exception. It reminded me a lot of the Mass Effect universe, mixed with The Day After Tomorrow. If you like sci-fi, be sure to check this one out. Pick it up at your LCS or digitally.

Score: 8 Harvesters out of 10