Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly review round-up. There’s quite a variety this week, with titles from the Big Two and the launch of new universes.
Red Sonja #5 (Dynamite Entertainment)
(w) Mark Russell (a) Mirko Colak
Since starting on a high note, the latest Red Sonja has seen diminishing returns as it transitions from the quirky and political humor of Mark Russell’s other works to a more serious, character-driven drama. The result is tonal inconsistency. Jokes feel forced as they now undermine moments of drama and gravity. Despite this, there is still a lot to like about Red Sonja #5. The character development given to Sonja, especially when faced with difficult choices, are well executed. But until the book commits to a tonal direction, or until it is able to strike a proper balance, it will fall short of its potential.
The Green Lantern #8 (DC Comics)
(w) Grant Morrison (a) Liam Sharp
There was a lot of hype going into this issue of Morrison and Sharp’s The Green Lantern #8, with the promise of a reteaming of the legendary Green Lantern/Green Arrow duo in the vein of the celebrated – but problematic – run from the 1970s. While not as ground-breaking as that run was, The Green Lantern #8 is better than it in every way. Morrison’s script takes police story tropes and blends it with wacky, cosmic elements as well as diving way back into the archives for some classic Jack Kirby concepts. Meanwhile, Liam Sharp continues to deliver astounding artwork, fully embracing the weirdness of the story. The Green Lantern #8 continues to build the case that there isn’t a better DC book right now.
Marvel Team-Up #3 (Marvel Entertainment)
(w) Eve Ewing (a) Joey Vazquez
This opening arc to the latest iteration of Marvel Team-Up has shown much promise and as been a lot of fun. The teaming of one of Marvel’s youngest heroes with the one editors insist on being in a perpetual state of arrested development makes sense. Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man have great chemistry, which shows is Ewing’s writing. However, the conclusion to an otherwise enjoyable arc lands with an unceremonious thud. The heroes’ plight is resolved in a lazy, deus ex machina fashion which undercuts the goodwill of everything that came before it. While this arc serves as a proverbial handing off of the title from Spidey to Ms. Marvel, this conclusion makes one wish Marvel had left this series in retirement.
Ignited #1 (Humanoids)
(w) Mark Waid & Kwanza Osajyefo (a) Philippe Briones
In many respects, Ignited #1 is a stripped down, back-to-basics version of X-Men comics. Unfortunately, Mark Waid and Kwanza Osajyefo’s story is less concerned with its characters and more with making a statement concerning the outbreak of school shootings and proposed remedies by various U.S. officials. Waid has written some of the medium’s great stories, but his recent output has failed to meet the standard of his past works. The political overtones lack nuance, and without dedicating the time to properly introduce and develop the characters readers are bludgeoned with messaging. On the plus side, Philippe Briones’ art is wonderful and the sole reason to give the next issue a shot.