Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly single issue review roundup.
(Nathan Edmondson / Mike Perkins; Marvel Comics)
Deathlok has never really been an overly interesting character to me. It’s true, I’m not sorry, he was just never captivating. That is until now.
Nathan Edmondson (Who is Jake Ellis?, The Punisher) does the dark side of Marvel like nothing I have seen in a long time. Reading this had hints of The Bourne Trilogy (before they went sci-fi with that last one). Edmondson also dropped the hammer in a few scenes that made my jaw drop, which doesn’t happen much in comics anymore. By the end of the issue I was upset that issue 2 wasn’t there waiting for me.
Edmondson’s callback to the original Deathlok left questions lingering that I want answered — but in a good way, and judging by how he has handled his other books, he’ll bring everything around full circle.
Also, finally we get to see Maria Hill as she really is the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. We’ve seen her in the Avengers titles and there have been hints that she’s done wetwork deals, but here we finally get to see the black ops side of S.H.I.E.L.D. and it was very satisfying.
Even the best writer needs a great complement, and Edmondson has that with Mike Perkins. Perkins’s artwork reminded me of a few other artists who brings a hyper realism to their work that just makes the panels pop off the page. I loved his work on Captain America with Ed Brubaker. He knows how to bring his writer’s words to life and it is done here in such a magnificent fashion. I sincerely dug everything that Perkins did with the re-design of this new Deathlok.
Hell, I loved this whole new re-design of everything. Who he is, what happens to him after every mission, everything. Go now and pick up this book! Seriously, why are you still reading this? GO!!
– Robert Bexar
Roche Limit #2
(Michael Moreci/ Vic Malhotra/ Jordan Boyd/ Ryan Ferrier; Image Comics)
Roche Limit #2 keeps on giving, without giving too much. The second issue introduces some new characters while reminding us that Alex Ford is still the central character. Roche Limit #2 cues readers into multiple perspectives that allows the individual’s stories to grow and build separately within one complex and overarching plot.
The opening scene is reflective of the entire issue. Existential themes and philosophy is back dropped by a spectacularly colored image of the cosmos that reiterates the greatness and the limitless expanse of the heavens and our place within it. This book will make you think, examine. It touches on meaning, trust and faith all within the first couple of pages.
Life pumps and courses across the pages – literally. The narration panels have an EKG line and the lettering by Ryan Ferrier add a subtle humanness to the words that Michael Moreci’s characters speak. The coloring done by Boyd is phenomenal and works so well with Malhotra’s art. The artistic style and coloring indicates perspective changes within the story without being blatant or confusing. It’s an artistic journey of minimalism, monochromatic color schemes paired with more detailed panels with heavier lines and more natural coloring.
The end of the issue features a three page magazine type of article that places you in the Roche Limit colony and makes it seem like you’ve picked up a magazine off the rack while waiting to check out in a grocery line. It’s wonderfully done and boasts the artistic scope of the entire creative team. At first I thought it was additional material the creators included as a bonus, like many comics, but after I kept reading I realized it was still part of the issue. It gives bits and pieces of information about some characters in a way that doesn’t feel awkward or forced. It’s natural. It’s good storytelling.
Roche Limit #2 is intriguing and the leaves readers with not just one, but multiple hooks to keep us interested. It’s a book with fabulous art and a well-constructed story that is mentally engaging on numerous levels and has a lot to offer to readers. It’s bigger than we are. After reading the story and researching the theoretical limit known as the Roche limit or Roche radius, it is clear that whatever the story is that this team is telling us, one thing is certain – we are small and the universe is simply more amazing than we can fathom, but we shouldn’t stop trying.
All-New X-Men #33
(Brian Michael Bendis / Mahmud Asrar; Marvel Comics)
I’ll be honest I haven’t cared about the Ultimate Marvel Universe since approximately 2006. I really wasn’t aware it had any sort of existing continuity outside of having a new, non-Peter Parker Spider-Man. Well, it’s still around, apparently, and the Young X-Men are visiting, albeit against their will and scattered around the globe. Of course, this also makes for extremely short, disjointed, and not very cohesive segments.
Young Iceman gets six pages to fight the Mole Man. Young Angel and X-23 get five pages to explore the Canadian wilderness/Weapon X program with Blond Wolverine (Angel and Blondie made remarkable time from the Antarctic Savage Land in the last issue). Young Beast gets two pages in Latveria (thanks for checking in, Hank!) And Young Jean and Ultimate Spider-Man get 7 pages to get to Westchester and take part in the ongoing “Everybody Loves Jean” sitcom.
For me, the best part of All-New X-Men is the original, young X-Men reacting to fifty-odd years of Marvel continuity. Having them react to a decade or so of Ultimate continuity in which they have no vested interest does absolutely nothing for me. I suppose if you really like 1960s Marvel and whatever constitutes the modern Ultimate universe, this book has nailed your niche, otherwise, give it a pass.
I’d have gone with 1.5 stars for this comic, but I gave it an extra half star because I got to find out that Ultimate Doctor Doom’s name is Victor van Damme. Because I want my tyrannical, goat-legged monarchs of fictional Eastern European nations to have realistic last names.
– Luke Miller
Dark Gods #1
(Justin Jordan / German Erramouspe; Avatar)
Dark Gods is a title that could have meant any number of things, given that this is a comic book were talking about. However, the title at least, is pretty straightforward.
This book takes the concept of humanity’s Gods and makes them dark. The first issue of this new Avatar series absolutely flies by and is absolutely begging for a trade paperback. That’s not a particularly bad thing, but know that before you buy it. Justin Jordan’s story, in a nut shell, follows a guy named Resnick who is attempting some corporate espionage and discovers that his coworkers are not they seem (dun dun dun!). The eye-catching art is what makes this breezy read worth picking up.
(Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples; Image Comics)
If the sight of a tiny, adorable otter wearing yellow overalls and galoshes whilst wielding a giant axe for the purposes of walrus-herding doesn’t kindle sheer, unbridled joy within your heart, then I’m not sure anything ever will. And you have my pity. Also, if that opening sentence doesn’t make you at least want to try reading Saga, then I’m not sure anything ever will. And you have my pity for that, as well.
Describing this book always feels like I’m rehashing a one of Stefon’s “New York’s hottest club” reviews. This book literally has everything. Teleporting bounty hunters, alien St. Bernards that shoot tranquilizer darts out of their noses, polygraphic cats, magic goat people, graphic violence, graphic interspecies spider sex scenes, talking sentient plants, the aforementioned otter, aristocratic robots… And that was just this issue. I haven’t even mentioned the fairies, tree based rocket ships, cyclopean romance novelists or ghost nannies.
But perhaps the most amazing thing about this book is its consistency. We are now 24 issues and four complete story arcs in, and I have yet to be disappointed with any single issue. Despite all of that craziness, at its heart, Saga is a story about the challenges of raising a child and maintaining a marriage. Everything else is window dressing. Really pretty window dressing, but window dressing nonetheless.
The only downside is that this single issue probably can’t be enjoyed all that much without reading the previous 23. This series is much more Battlestar Galactica storytelling than Star Trek storytelling, and to that end, any single issue is going to fall a bit flat. But if you like your stories serialized, you’ll have no problems here.
If you are a human being who has ever cared about another person, you should definitely give this series a try. I honestly can’t imagine you won’t be glad you did.
– Luke Miller