Comic Book Review – Justice League: No Justice #1 (DC Comics)

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

This week I picked up the first part of DC’s Justice League: No Justice mini series, the next big thing following on from Metal for the DC Universe. I dropped off Justice League a little bit after Rebirth because something about it just wasn’t clicking for me, but with writers Scott Snyder, Joshua Williamson and James Tynion IV on board for this series, and art from Francis Manapul, I was certainly interested in checking this out! Colours on this issue were provided by Hi-Fi, with lettering by AndWorld Design, and cover art by Manapul.

Cover by Manapul

Following on from the Metal event, the Source Wall surrounding the universe has been destroyed. While the Green Lanterns have gone to investigate, one of the biggest villains in the DCU has wasted little time in attacking Earth – Brainiac. And he has come to warn of a far greater threat on the way, the Omega Titans, cosmic gods and world eaters that have been awoken or set in motion by the shattering of the Source Wall. And Brainiac has come to rally the heroes and villains of Earth to save his home planet of Colu and stop the Omega Titans.

No Justice kicks off pretty quickly, and while the first issue of many events like this are often full of set up and are a little bit of a slow burn, Snyder, Williamson and Tynion IV manage to set the scene while still moving the plot forward. The cast of characters is such that no one really gets much chance to shine, maybe Damian Wayne and the Martian Manhunter get a decent amount of time, and a few of the characters do feel a little out of place here, but its a nice spread overall and the set up of the plot should force some interesting team dynamics. The story itself with the Omega Titans has a lot of potential too. Think Galactus but if there was 4 of him.

Art by Manapul, Hi-Fi and AndWorld Design

Manapul’s art is very strong superhero fare in this issue. His experience in superhero comics is on full display here, juggling an array of varied characters easily with a real sense of scale to the world shaking events and some great splash panels. Hi-Fi’s colours are very vibrant, with the colourful costumes and a couple of green skinned characters so distinct it almost pops off the page.

The story is an interesting start, possibly a little impenetrable to new readers, but those familiar with the DCU, especially recent events, will get a lot out of this. The art from Manapul is very nice, and the potential for some great action sequences moving forward is very high. Check out Justice League: No Justice #1 at your local comic shop or online now!

Score: 8 Nodes out of 10

Comic Review – The Flash #1 (DC Comics)

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

More DC reviews! It feels genuinely great to be picking up a large number of DC Comics again, and hopefully the quality and momentum will continue past all of these first issues in the new post-Rebirth era. Speaking of momentum, this week I picked up The Flash #1 from the same creative as the The Flash: Rebirth issue with Joshua Williamson on writing duties, art from Carmine Di Giandomenico, colours by Ivan Plascencia and letters from Steve Wands (with the cover by Karl Kerschel). The Flash: Rebirth indicated that at least part of the ongoing Rebirth story will be taking place in the pages of The Flash, but typically the character is one of the more unique and interesting in superhero comics, so that is reason enough to check it out!

The Flash

Cover art by Karl Kerschl

Despite being the fastest man alive, Barry Allen can’t be everywhere at once. He speeds around Central City saving lives, but ends up late to a crime scene for his day job as a forensic scientist. He tries to solve a murder case, but ends up being late to meet Iris West and her nephew Wally. And before that is finished, a series of incidents crop up in the city, so he rushes off and tries to deal with a burning building full of people and a besieged STAR Labs transport at the same time. But is he is fast enough to do both? Probably not, as that wouldn’t be particularly satisfying drama. But who is The Black Hole? And what is happening to Barry’s friend, Detective Heart?

Following on from The Flash: Rebirth, Williamson continues to write a Barry Allen here with a great deal of heart, desperately trying to help as many people as he can despite being stretched to his limits. In fact, he’s even called on this flaw by Iris, albeit from the perspective of him always being late and absent minded. And she doesn’t even know he is The Flash  (I think, I’m struggling to keep the New 52 and pre-New 52 timelines straight in my head, especially now as they start to meld them together). The characterisations and the strong supporting cast are handed deftly by Williamson, leading into what will hopefully be an interesting and dynamic story. The ongoing Rebirth narrative takes a back seat in this first issue, paid lip service to in the opening pages as a concern that Barry and Wally (old Wally West) will both be addressing over time, with the help of Batman (a team up I particularly enjoyed in The Flash: Rebirth). Which works for me, as I think that plot and this book will both be served best by a slow unravelling of the mystery rather than as a focus.

The Flash 2

Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico, colours by Ivan Plascencia, letters by Steve Wands

You can’t really have a good Flash book without being able to describe the art as kinetic and dynamic, and unsurprisingly those are two words I can comfortably apply here to Di Giandomenico’s slightly heavy line-work and expressive action and motion. Scenes where we see the comic book hero actually saving lives and fighting crime (shock!) are really excellent here, with Barry somehow managing to battle all the major elements in some form or another in the process. But it’s the scenes where The Flash speeds in and out of a burning building, with multiple shots of him in the same panel running around and saving people, that really stand out in this issue. This is all highlighted by the vibrancy of Plascencia’s colours (especially in the burning building), with even the calmer dialogue-driven scenes boasting a bright palette that is in keeping with the tone of both this book and the character himself.

Heart. Kinetic. Dynamic. Those are things I expect from The Flash and this creative team delivers on all three. Another DC ongoing that I’m happy to be sticking with. Pick this up at your local comic book shop or digital comics platform now!

Score: 8 Speedsters out of 10

Comic Review – Birthright Volume 1: Homecoming (Image Comics)

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

Warning: Minor spoilers. Especially as I’ll be reviewing a whole volume, you’ll probably know most of the plot of the first issue by the time you finish. But go and buy it anyway (implied spoiler about the score I give it)!

“You think your weapons can stop me? I’ve been trained to battle magic and monsters that if you were ever to see them would make your eyes bleed! It is my fate to save the world and no one will stop me!” Mikey

A couple of months ago I made a huge mistake. I went into Excelsior! Comics in Bristol and asked them for a recommendation. I was told I had to read Birthright written by Joshua Williamson, with art by Andrei Bressan and Adriano Lucas. You know what? They were completely, 100% right. I’m hooked on it and need to pick up another volume as soon as I can.

birthright featured image

Volume One Cover by Bressan & Lucas

Now let me tell you why it’s good. Our hero is a boy and later a man called Mikey. As a kid he had a loving, tight knit family, with caring parents and was best friends with his brother. He goes out for a game of catch with his dad, but the ball goes astray, he chases after it but finds himself in the fantasy world of Terrenos, full of dragons, kingdoms and of course an evil God King called Lore, and yes, he’s the chosen one. Destined to save the world and defeat the evil king. Meanwhile his family search desperately for him but come up blank, eventually the police get involved and the dad is bought into custody, after all he was the last person to see Mikey.

A few years later Mikey has returned to the world, while his older brother is still in school but getting into fights, his parents are divorced and hate each other and his dad a raging alcoholic, Mikey is a fully grown man built to make Arnold Schwarzenegger look tiny and with an arsenal of magical weapons and items that would make any Dungeons & Dragons party cry. He has returned from the world of Terrenos to save our world from a great evil. The story then hops backwards and forwards between the current time in our world and Mikey’s time in Terrenos, showing us what happened to him while he was there and how he grew up in another world. As a world Terrenos is full of wonderful magic, creatures and peoples. The characters there are full of personality and you’re left wanting to know so much more about it.

Birthright art

Art by Bressan & Lucas

I’ll leave it there. There’s more involved, fantastic plot twists and a wonderfully gripping story. Mikey is unsurprisingly treated as a mad man and has such a battle convincing his family he is who he says he is. As well as that the art is incredible, the action scenes are full of the fantastical colour you’d hope for from fantasy combat and both worlds have the perfect feel to them. There’s only so much I can say about it, but the art is absolutely one of the strongest points of this comic.

Final Verdict

This is one of my new favourites. If you like comics and fantasy then you need to try this. It isn’t quite the perfect fairy tale story some of these turn out to be either.

Final Score – 9.25 Flaming Swords out of 10!