Comic Review – Shuri #1 (Marvel Comics)

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

Warning: minor spoilers.

“Even then I learned best by observation. And I moved like a panther” Shuri

Cover by Spratt (Marvel Comics)

While I was at a friend’s over the weekend we re-watched Black Panther, because it’s fantastic of course. There’s a pretty strong consensus between us that Shuri is one of the best characters in the film as well. This meant that when I saw Marvel were releasing a Shuri comic series this week I had to check it out, especially with the wonderfully realistic front cover drawn by Sam Spratt which caught both my attention and a likeness to Shuri in the movies that makes the comic very recognisable for new readers who will know her from the movie. I’ve really enjoyed Marvel’s Black Panther runs previously, so looked forward to seeing Wakanda and the stories it holds from somebody else’s perspective.

This coming was bought to us by:

  • Writer – Nnedi Okorafor
  • Artist – Leonardo Romero
  • Colour Artist – Jordie Bellaire
  • Letterer – VC’s Joe Sabino
  • Cover Artist – Sam Spratt

The story begins with a brief overview of Shuri’s history in the Marvel Universe. Explaining some of her previous adventures and the powers she’s obtained. With T’Challa currently busy elsewhere in the Marvel Universe, Shuri has time on her hands to focus on her inventions and some of the significant issues in Wakanda. We get to see her relationship with her ancestor’s and the dichotomy between her modern attitude towards those issues and those of her family and ancestors. We’re also treated to a flashback which defines her relationship with her brother and how the movers and shakers within Wakanda view her. To avoid any particular spoilers, the set up presented at the end of this issue could easily have been shunted in right at the beginning, which would have been a shame as we’d have been deprived of the chance to get to know this incarnation of Shuri that Okorafor is able to bring out.

Art by Romero, Bellaire & Sabino (Marvel Comics)

Bellaire’s light pallet provides a sense of reality to the issue. The less bold tones providing some gravity as opposed to intense wackiness seen in some comic books. The flash back is presented in very contrasting red and white giving an other worldly sense to the spectacle. Finally, the shift to warmer tones in the setting sun during the final scene gives the sense of change that the issue delivers to the state of affairs in Wakanda as well as Shuri and her story. Romero’s art compliments Spratt’s eye-catching cover art well, keeping the characters recognisable to those who only know the films to date. I’m very familiar with Sabino’s work now which as usual is well worked into the issue in both spoken and online chat format.

Final Verdict

My only issue with the set off for the series is I’m worried Shuri will simply fill in shoes that are not her own as opposed to really fitting into hers. We’ll see however. Okorafor clearly has a talent for Shuri, who is definitely in a safe pair of hands.

 

Comic Review – Thor #5 (Marvel Comics)

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

Warning: minor spoilers.

“And the road of the mighty necroworld shakes the heavens. But not loud enough to drown out the laughter of one little worm” Narrator

This week I wasn’t sure what I’d review, until I enjoyed Thor #5 so much I couldn’t help but take the chance to write about it. I’ve really enjoyed the return of the Odinson to the mantle of Thor (as I did the fantastic Jane Foster Thor run before) and the cosmic level adventure to date has provided an incredibly fun change of pace and has bought some of the most powerful Marvel entities such as the Great Galactus, Ego the Living Planet and a mysterious cosmic worm into the picture.

Cover by Ribic (Marvel Comics)

This coming was bought to us by:

  • Writer – Jason Aaron
  • Guest Artist – Christian Ward
  • Logo – Jay Bowen
  • Letterer – VC’s Joe Sabino
  • Cover Artist – Esad Ribic

Thor #5 takes place in the distant future, in a dying universe where the All-Father Old Man Thor and his grand daughters protect New Midgard. The issue picks up with Thor coming face to face with an old friend – (very!) Old Man Wolverine, the current incarnation of the Phoenix Force. We’re treated to a flash back to show the dynamic between the two in the modern era, with them both enjoying a few drinks in ‘the best bar in Midgard’. We see that although there is still a friendship between the two in the future there are far greater forces at play here they are both bound by. In the meantime, the majority of the universe has deteriorated and passed away, leaving only the most powerful forces standing. New Midgard has caught their attention and the grand daughters of Thor must protect it.

Art by Ward and Sabino (Marvel Comics)

Ward excels in an art style well suited to such a fantastical issue and cosmic scale events. His characters and actions scenes almost appear to be painted brushwork, with intense colours communicating motion, action and awesome imagery that captures the imagination. Sabino’s lettering adds to the grand atmosphere. His choice of speech bubble, font and text colour for various characters suits them perfectly and brings out their personality – the passion of Thor or the malevolence of Ego the Living Planet. Sabino does a solid job with the lettering tucking them into tight panels weaving the reader’s eye through the pages and allowing the reader to appreciate the art.

Final Verdict

I really enjoyed this issue. This is a hell of a good way to write Thor, cosmic battles for the fate of the Marvel universe against cosmic level entities. It’s fun to see Aaron’s interpretation of a few familiar faces come the end of time, to see who from the current era is still kicking around and what has happened to certain characters and powers that make a cameo appearance and set up a cliff hanger for the next issue.

I’ve been enjoying Thor for a while, and that won’t be stopping any time soon!

Final Score: 9.5 weird goat stories out of 10

Comic Review – eXtermination #1 (Marvel Comics)

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

Warning: minor spoilers.

“You’re relieved of your duty” – Mysterious masked assassin

Cover by Mark Brooks

So I’m back to pick up another comic review, having been brought up on a diet of X-Men as so many other kids were in the 90s I felt I had to check out this new short series, especially as it picks up with the young, classic X-Men who have more in common with the cartoons I watched as a kid (X-Men: The Animated Series and X-Men Evolution). With a title like eXtermination Marvel again appear to be hinting at some kind of mutant-wide wipe out or at least a few big names being bumped off. Naturally I’m a little sceptical as to if any will stick, though you never know! This comic was bought to us by:

  • Writer – Ed Brisson
  • Artist – Pepe Larraz
  • Colourist – Marte Gracia
  • Letterer – VC’s Joe Sabino
  • Cover Artist – Mark Brooks

The story begins in a post-apocalyptic city setting, mutant bodies lying about and a hooded figure swearing to clean up this mess who travels back in time to do so. The young X-Men pick up a couple of mutant children who are fleeing a mob of anti-mutant protestors. The X-Men comics have often been used as a metaphor for minority groups within the Marvel universe, this latest incarnation is a fairly clear one on immigration with cries of ‘they don’t even speak English’ when the mob realised they speak French. We are then bought into the current dynamics between the young X-Men team and have a little crash course on where the team is (some surprises to me, Storm seems a little more bitey than when I last saw her!) before all hell breaks loose. The hooded figure from the future appears to be chasing down X-Men and is set up to be the primary antagonist for at least the early part of the series.

Art by Larraz, Gracia & Sabino

The art is full of deep colours with a vibrant feel, even during scenes of destruction. Gracia does an impressive job of adding colour in dark scenes which is often avoided. Larraz provides excellent detail in the characters themselves and their features, especially in smaller panels during conversation where expression is communicated very efficiently. Sabino does a solid job with the lettering, tucking them into tight panels weaving the reader’s eye through the pages and allowing the reader to appreciate the art.

Final Verdict

These are character I had a strong connection with while I grew up and it’s been too long since I’ve checked in on them and seen what they’re up to. I want to see where this story goes. I think my main concern as with so many of these dramatic sounding titles is nothing really changing. Characters may die, but they get better, a relationship may end though it’s either fixed or the characters bounce back immediately/carry on in a separate series.

It’s well worth a look to X-Men fans though, especially if you’re more into the Evolution style X-Men and not their grown up, comic book counter parts.

Final Score: 8 psychic screams thousands of feet beneath the ocean out of 10

Comic Book Review – Thor #1 (Marvel Comics)

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

This week I read Thor #1 from Marvel Comics, the latest relaunch for the God of Thunder under Jason Aaron. Mike del Mundo provided art for part one, ‘God of Thunder Reborn’, with colour assists from Marco D’Alfonso, and Christian Ward drew part two ‘The Grace of Thor’, with letters on both by VC’s Joe Sabino.

The Mighty Thor is dead. Long live Thor. In ‘God of Thunder Reborn’, after the defeat of Mangog and the destruction of both the hammer Mjolnir and Asgardia, Jane Foster has reluctantly stepped down as Thor to finally focus on the treatment she needs for her cancer. The Odinson has taken up his old mantle again, with a fancy new golden arm and a lot of hammers, and with Jane’s direction he is tracking down displaced Asgardian artefacts before they fall into the wrong hands. Meanwhile, the bifrost is under repair, and until it is fixed there is no way of accessing other realms – a big problem, as Malekith the Accursed wages his War of Realms and Thor is powerless to stop it.

In the second story, ‘The Grace of Thor’, a one eyed old Thor and his grand daughters are watching over a rebooted Midgard. After all life ended on the planet long ago, now over 200 years have passed since they seeded life there once again in the forms of ‘Jane’ and ‘Steve’. As Jane dies, Thor sombrely reveals the state of the afterlife, before flying to the edge of the universe, which is rapidly ending. And there he meets the final incarnation of the Phoenix.

I hope Jason Aaron keeps writing Thor comics for a good long time yet, regardless of who Thor actually is. The arc of Jane Foster as Thor was wonderful, and enjoyed a satisfying wrap up too while not ending her story within this world. The Odinson slipping back into being Thor seems effortless, but to maintain his God of Thunder status he seems to be effectively supported by his own version of MI6, with Jane filling the role of M, and Odin and Screwbeard outfitting him with gadgets and magics in place of Q. It means that the usual brawns over brains approach needs to be taken with an element of improvisation rarely seen from this Thor. Aaron’s script is excellent, unsurprising as these are characters he has been in charge of for years now, but the new status quo of Thor and his supporting cast is still fitting in to the ongoing narrative of the plot he has been driving for a while now.

Mike del Mundo’s art is otherworldly, and yet feels very at place here. I feel that he is even better placed on Thor than his recent run on Avengers. There are some stellar action scenes in ‘God of Thunder Reborn’, but the quiet moments in the Brooklyn resettlement of Asgardian refugees works very well too, bolstered by the warm colours that often accompany del Mundo’s pages. For ‘The Grace of Thor’, Christian Ward’s skills are perfectly suited to the grand space sequences on display, from fighting a space shark to speeding to the universe’s end, and these pages are awash with cleaner colours than the first part that suits the story just as well. Rather than feeling jarring having two stories in one issue, the two artists sync right up with their respective tales, enabling them to complement each other.

To say Thor #1 is a great start would be disingenuous and a disservice to all that came before it from Aaron and the other great artists who have shaped his run on Thor. More this is a great continuation that may serve as a jumping on point for anyone who has slept on the series up until now (but if you have you should absolutely go back and read it all in trades). I’ll miss the Goddess of Thunder, but I suspect that we haven’t seen the last of her. Regardless, get this at your local comic book shop or online!

Score: 9 Asgardian Artefacts out of 10

Comic Book Review – Hunt for Wolverine #1 (Marvel Comics)

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

This week I picked up Hunt for Wolverine #1 from Marvel Comics, written by Charles Soule with art on the first story ‘Secrets and Lives’ from David Marquez and Rachelle Rosenberg, and on ‘Hunter’s Pryde’ from Paulo Siquiera, Walden Wong and Ruth Redmond. Lettering was provided by VC’s Joe Sabino, with cover art from Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten and Laura Martin.

Cover art by Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten and Laura Martin

Wolverine has been dead for a couple of years. Spoilers I guess. We reviewed the final issue of Death of Wolverine here. back in 2014 While the revolving door of death in comic books made his eventual return a certainty, it isn’t like the Marvel universe has been devoid of a Wolverine in the meantime. It’s had two in fact – Old Man Logan, deposited into the regular universe following Secret Wars for reasons I don’t remember, and X-23 who took on Logan’s mantle while he was dead. For whatever reason now though, he is in the process of returning. Logan has been popping up in several other teasers to tie in to the Infinity Quest upcoming event, but Hunt for Wolverine kicks off his return proper.

The first story is action heavy and involves the Reavers turning up to try and steal Wolverine’s body, encased in the solid adamantium shell that led to his death when the molten alloy was poured over him. The X-Men turn up to foil this attempt, that turns out to be largely pointless anyway. They took the body out after his death, essentially leaving a metal shrine to Logan. Cue a big fight, followed by more confusion as to where the body actually is. Part 2 of this issue leads on from the realisation on the part of the X-Men that the body isn’t where they think it is either. What follows is Kitty Pryde recruiting several disparate groups to join the search for Wolverine, including Tony Stark and some past and present Avengers, Daredevil, and one of the other groups of X-Men.

There is a consistency with Soule that leads on from Death… to Hunt… that shows clearly through the two stories. However, as this issue focuses more on the X-Men than Wolverine himself, Soule is given the opportunity to stretch out here and does it well. A few of the characters have little to do or say, but voices like Kitty Pryde come through as strongly as that character should. The first story, ‘Secrets and Lives’, is the meat of the issue here. The action is a lot of fun, the dialogue not too distracting or overblown. While there is interesting material in the second story, ‘Hunter’s Pryde’, that part of the issue unfortunately plays out like an advert for the 4 separate series that will continue the story of Wolverine’s return and as such is less strong.The characterisations there as still great, and overall this is a well written issue.

Art by David Marquez, Rachelle Rosenberg and Joe Sabino

The main draw for me to check out Hunt for Wolverine was David Marquez’s art. Civil War II, while a bit of an unnecessary mess from a story perspective, was a gorgeous book. As was the recent Defenders series. Here Marquez has the opportunity to flex his artistic muscles with some great fights that seem grander than what was on show in The Defenders without being weighed down by the sheer number of characters in Civil War II. He also manages to draw everyone as distinctly beautiful, even Reed Richards with his weird neck. I was a little disappointed when I realised Marquez wasn’t drawing the whole book, but Siquiera’s art in the second shorter story is still good, despite no action taking place, with the strengths there on the character work and some very nice backgrounds.

Hunt for Wolverine is worth picking up if you are a big Logan fan and want to know where he has been and what is coming next. The art is great, and the characterisations and dialogue from Soule are good too. At times it reads a lot like an advert for what is coming next, which is pretty typical for comics, but the fact that what is next is 4 separate series, it seems a little far and unfriendly to the wallet. Even so, I think this is a good issue and worth your time.

Score: 6.5 Adamantium shells out of 10

Comic Review – The Mighty Thor #703 (Marvel Comics)

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

Warning: minor spoilers.

Normally I would try to avoid reviewing a comic well into the swing of a story arc, but one of my regulars today really stood out as both an issue and an arc I want to say my piece on. The Mighty Thor has been an outstanding series of comics, once Jane Foster taking over the mantle of Thor after the Odinson became unworthy Marvel have done an incredible job in portraying a different kind of Thor throughout compelling narratives and great character development. The reason I’m highlighting this issue in this arc is it appears Jane Foster’s run as the Goddess of Thunder is coming to an end (seeing as the arc title is ‘The Death of the Mighty Thor’ this shouldn’t be too much of a spoiler). This comic is bought to us by:

  • Writer – Jason Aaron
  • Artist – Russell Dauterman
  • Colourist – Matthew Wilson
  • Letterer – VC’s Joe Sabino

There has been a built up to one hell of a confrontation in this comic – Thor vs the Mangog, for those not familiar with the Mangog it’s a monster that comes back time and time again to murder and destroy as many Asgardians as it possibly can. Jane Foster however, is still fighting her own battle against cancer, which isn’t going so well. This issue really feels like this will be it, soon Jane will need to choose whether or not to pick up the hammer one last time and likely not survive or to hang it up and step down as Thor. Personally, I’ll be very disappointed to see her go, assuming she does. Jane Foster as Thor has been a favourite of mine since she took up the mantle, and I had been hoping the Odinson would get his hands on another hammer (there is more than one of them kicking about at the moment!) and for the both of them to share the role. As you may be able to tell by my prioritising this issue, it does feel like there’s an emotional weight to this and I am hoping Jason Aaron can keep up to the standard set by The Mighty Thor run and give Jane/the Goddess of Thunder the send-off she deserves (assuming again, this does happen!)

Dauterman and Wilson’s art has to juggle two tones of story – one where Jane is battling cancer and facing the decision of her life and one where the Mangog tears through Asgard. To me, they handle this well, with duller tones during the Jane Foster focused panels and vibrant bright tones in Asgard. The Mangog is very, well, orange and is a villain who could easily look a bit ridiculous if handled incorrectly, but I think the artists do a great job in portraying how terrifying it must be to stand up against. I also very much enjoyed Sabino’s lettering, and the panel breaking screams during the battle between Asgardians and the Mangog.

Final Verdict

The build up to the finale for The Mighty Thor is showing a lot of promise, Jane’s characterisation and how caught she feels between her two lives is very compelling. While I don’t want to see the Mighty Thor go, this run of comics has been successful and in both Marvel and DC characters do happen to have a habit of coming back… like the one who gets a cameo on the final page!

Score: 9 Rainbow Bridges’s out of 10