Comic Book Review – Kingpin #1 (Marvel Comics)

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

Warning: minor spoilers.

“Because I’m a large man? No, I never made donuts when I was fourteen. I sat at this table most nights and sold narcotics for a man named Pizzolo” – Wilson Fisk

Cover art by Jeff Dekal

Cover art by Jeff Dekal

The Kingpin has been a staple villain throughout my enjoyment of super heroes for my whole life. This started with him as the arch nemesis during Spiderman: The Animated Series, to the current Daredevil run on Netflix. During the modern Daredevil interpretation he’s presented as a surprisingly endearing and complex character, and seeing a new run focusing him in the comics this week I thought I’d pick it up and give it a try. This comic was bought to us by:

  • Writer – Matthew Rosenberg
  • Penciler – Ben Torres
  • Colourist – Jordan Boyd
  • Letterer – VC’s Travis Lanham

The story is from the perspective of Sarah Dewey, a reporter who’s found herself writing boxing profiles. She’s approached by Wesley (those who have seen the Netflix Daredevil will be immediately familiar with him), and finds herself offered a unique opportunity of writing the Kingpin’s biography. The focus of the first issue is Sarah’s conflict in deciding whether or not to take Fisk up on the offer. Unsurprisingly, there are parallels between the Netflix and comic incarnations of Fisk. He’s presented as intelligent, dangerous, a little awkward but surprisingly charming.

Art by Torres & Boyd

Art by Torres & Boyd

A very dark palette is adopted for the colours throughout the issue, changing briefly when we’re first introduced to Fisk. This really emphasises his status as main character to the series, despite the story not being from his perspective. Fisk himself is drawn in a very intimidating physique, with extremities supersized, combined with a cruel smile creating a slightly monstrous appearance. Individual panels are kept clear of clutter with no detail beyond the character themselves during many of the conversations. This helps keep the focus on the character development and plot which will lead the series.

The real question is, can Torres and Boyd draw hands? In an issue like this the focus will be on gesticulation and hands in casual poses much more than clenched fists. Fisk’s stand out as they’re the same size as most character’s heads. Where possible a fair amount of personality is communicated through each character’s gestures, with their mannerisms showing through. 9/10 for hand drawing skills!

Final Verdict

As the first issue of the series, it takes its time to set up the characters. If you’re hoping for an action packed explosive series it’s unlikely this will be for you. If you’re hoping for an exploration of a classic character, getting into detailed plots of corruption and drama then this absolutely will be for you.

Score: 8.9 Apple Juices out of 10

 

Comic Review – 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #1 (Black Mask Studios)

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

Last week I was sent an advance copy of 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #1 from Black Mask Studios. written by Matthew Rosenberg, with art by Tyler Boss and letters from Thomas Mauer. This is the first issue of a new  mini-series coming out next week on April 27th, “A coming of age crime caper comic book in 5 parts’. Here’s a nifty trailer from Black Mask about the book…

 

4kids titleIn this first issue of 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank, we’re introduced to the main cast through their Dungeons & Dragons characters (due to my recent predilections for that game this got my attention very quickly). Paige, Berger, Walter and Stretch are a group of 11 and 12 year old kids, generally arguing, spilling drinks and falling out. When the gang are heading out for ice cream, courtesy of Paige’s dad, a group of thugs turn up at the house. They throw their weight around, make threats and leave. But they start hanging around the kids at school. And it turns out there is a family connection that no one was expecting.

4 Kids… is a really fun, witty and fast paced book. The dialogue from the strong-minded kids is snappy and full of a believable bravado that would make children stand up to genuinely terrifying threats. Threats that don’t have any qualms about hitting kids, or worse. And the book is very funny too. There are a few instances of repeated panels focusing on back and forth dialogue, over the radio and in the car for example, that are excellent examples of well timed comedy. The only drawback of this first issue for me is that it doesn’t seem to actually quite reach the main plot and the titular …Walk into a Bank part, that is the bank heist element to the plot. This is eschewed for set up and character development, which are done very well as a result, but it could have used a more direct connection to the events to come rather than ending on a visual reveal. But that really is a small complaint for an otherwise strong first issue.

4kids1The art from Boss is evocative and expressive, with a retro 80’s feeling complemented with a washed out colour palette, that reminded me overall of comics like Hip Hop Family Tree. There were some really impressive double page spreads too, in particular the hallway scene that showed the two groups facing each other down. The previously mentioned repeating panels showing only slight changes in facial expressions as the characters react to each other were really enjoyable to read.

4 Kids Walk Into a Bank is a really interesting first issue, and this mini series is shaping up to be a lot of fun with a dangerous, yet genuinely funny and charming core. It comes out next week, so head down to your local comic shop or check it online on April 27th.

Score: 8.5 Paper Bags of Beef Stroganoff out of 10

Advanced Comic Review – We Can Never Go Home #1

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

Black Mask Studios very kindly provided us with an advance copy of the upcoming We Can Never Go Home #1, released this Wednesday 25th March. We Can Never Go Home was written by Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon, with art by Josh Hood, colours by Amanda Scurti, letters from Jim Campbell and design by Dylan Todd. They even included this nifty trailer to tease the series.

We Can Never Go Home stars two high school students, Duncan and Madison, who both possess strange and secret abilities. Blowing of some steam at make-out point by firing a handgun at some bottles (I just assume all teenagers are armed these days), Duncan interrupts Madison and her boyfriend Ben in the middle of some vehicular promiscuity. Ben confronts him, and pushes Madison down when she tries to intervene. She doesn’t take kindly to this, using some form of latent strength to throw him through one side of the car and out the other, crashing to the ground and running off calling her a freak. Duncan reveals to her that he also has powers, specifically the power to kill with his mind – something he discovered rather tragically. The pair quickly develop a bond, with Duncan making Madison a mixtape and giving her a walkman (other cassette players used to be available) to listen to it on. She rushes over to his house to thank him, but events suddenly unfold in a quick and violent manner, and they both have to go on the run. They can never go home.

This is the first book I have read from Rosenberg and Kindlow, it may even be the first comic I have read from Black Mask Studios, and I am grateful for the chance to check out something more independent for a change. The story of Duncan and Madison is compelling, with solid first issue here. Both characters have a no-nonsense grungey edge, in keeping with the aesthetic of the book, managing to avoid the clichés and trappings of the high school roles they play, and with them going on the run there shouldn’t be any danger of getting bogged down in that environment. The wider premise of the story, as it opens out at the end of the issue, is where this comic really shows promise. This first instalment functions largely as a very competent introduction to our main characters.

The art by Hood is realistic and grounded, particularly strong for facial detail and expressions, with a downplayed approach to the powers we have seen so far from Madison. Scurti’s colours bring a great heavy feel to the backgrounds, with oppressive shading and accentuated bright blood rounding off the art well.

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We Can Never Go Home is a very decent start to what hopefully will be an interesting story, a road movie of sorts where the characters are constantly looking over their shoulders to see if their collective past is catching up to them. Issue #1 is out this Wednesday (25th March 2015), so check it out at your local comic book shop or try it out digitally.

Score: 7.5 Mixtapes out of 10