Tagged: Chris Sotomayor

Chris’ Comics: Nightwing #2

NTW_Cv2_57326865387b69.18795802Nightwing #2

Tim Seeley, Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor, Carlos M. Mangual

DC $2.99

 

When we last left that Dick Grayson (all of a week ago, double shipping!), he was currently getting his well chiseled butt handed to him by his new Court of Owls appointed chum Raptor. Nightwing #2 deals with the fallout of that issue, as the duo go on their first mission together, and is a pretty solid improvement over last week’s (in my opinion) slightly disappointing installment.

Writer Tim Seeley doesn’t mess around this issue, which drops the flashbacks and focuses solely on Dick and Raptor’s new relationship. This issue does wonders for the new character, who’s very much being developed as a broken mirror image of Dick. Considering Grayson is in desperate need of a rogue gallery of his own, he’s a welcomed addition, and I like how the character manages to be fun, but also a violent murder-man NTW-2-2-b05d0with some bad intentions. Raptor’s interactions with Dick are not unlike the Wally West  and Grayson friendship, with Dick in the straight man role, something we rarely see him in.  In addition to fun times with Raptor and his bird bros, we get more Dick and Barbara interactions, and any appearance of Kobra. I’m a full believer that any comic can be improved with the appearance of Batgirl and or Death Cults that dress as giant snakes.

Last review I voiced my concerns about Nightwing re-trending ground already covered by Seeley in Grayson. Issue 2 does away with that, but ramping things up to 11, and raising the question of who’s playing who. Unlike Spyral, Seeley lets us know that Dick’s in over his head in no time, constantly keeping him off of his game and having both the character and the reader questioning his methods and motives. So yes there’s definitely some familiarity if you’ve read Grayson, but there’s also a lot of new elements to ensure that the comic feels fresh. Also Seeley manages to end this book on several gut punches that hurt, but that are also very very good.

Javier’s Fernandez’s art is much tights this much. Granted he’s still struggling with mask/emblem thickness, he gets to channel Sean Murphy and get some action-horror stuff this issue, and it looks great. His art really shines when it comes to scenery chewing action scenes, as well as the spooky snake-monsters he creates, and I’m glad to see the book’s 15visuals improved this dramatically. I do wish Fernandez did has someone else inking him though, because there’s a panel or two that feel a bit rushed. Chris Sotomayor’s colors are still superb, and I really like how his choice in blue and orange ensure that our eyes are drawn to Raptor and Nightwing immediately. It’s proof that a good colorist is extremely important to the creative process.

The Second Chapter of Better than Batman is a step in the right direction. I have a few qualms with the art, but the coloring and the writing do an excellent job of making this book a compelling read. It’s a fun and weird blend of genres, despite it’s initial super hero appearance. But most importantly it makes Dick Grayson feel like a unique character, not just an interchangeable member of the Bat-Family. We’re just a slight art improvement away from this book being a great title, not just a good one.

Christopher Troy is a freelance writer/editor/snarky jerk on the internet. He can be found here weekly, on Twitter@TheAnarCHris, and is the co-creator/writer the webcomic “In The Name of Thy Mother”. He’s also not really a fan of Death Cults, aside from the several he leads.

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Chris’ Comics: Nightwing #1

Nightwing-1Nightwing #1

Tim Seeley, Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor, Carlos M. Mangual

DC $2.99

Nightwing is back this week, as we see writer Tim Seeley and artists Javier Fernandez and Chris Sotomayor start the “Better than Batman” arc. This arc appears to be a nice blend of the espionage elements introduced by Seeley in Grayson, mixed with some super heroics. It’s not as strong as the Rebirth one-shot, but there’s some enjoyable stuff in this issue.

Where this book really shines is in the writing. After barely allowing Dick to interact with the Bat-family for 2 years in Grayson, Seeley fully embraces it here, using characters like Damian and Batgirl for Dick to bounce off of. As someone who loves both those relationships, and is a known Dick X Barbara shipper, I dig it, as Seeley does a great job writing these characters talking to each other. And I really like Dick’s open defiance while working with the Court of Owls, keeping him a heroic character while working with/for the NTW_1_1enemy. As for Raptor, Dick’s new partner/ “mentor”, the potential for some cool stuff to be done with the character is there. But the writing is not without its share of flaws. The pacing feels off with this issue, as Seeley trips up a bit during the constant switching scenes between Gotham and Europe/Russia. And while Seeley uses Batgirl to voice that there are some weird similarities between Spyral and the Court of Owls, I hope he can steer clear of re-trending the same ground with the whole double agent thing as the book progresses.

With the twice shipping schedule Javier Fernandez, who isn’t bad, but isn’t as strong of an illustrator as Yanick Paquette was in the previous one-shot. While there’s nothing wrong with the bulk of his work (especially when it comes to drawing establishing shots and backgrounds), he seems to struggle with the title character. There were too many instances where Dick’s mask or Nightwing emblem on the costume is drawn too thin or small. It’s an odd complaint sure, but seeing it vary in size and thickness from page to page really took  me out of the story. Also Dick ends up with a Peyton Manning forehead way too many times in this issue. A shame, because Chris Sotomayor’s color are great in image-82this issue, and I love the design that letterer  Carlos M. Mangual has come up with for the Nightwing narration box.

Nightwing #1 isn’t a bad comic, but it’s disappointing, especially when compared to the Rebirth one shot that leads into it. That being said, there’s plenty of potential and time for the team to step up their game and tell a solid story. Seeley already has worked on a dozen or so GREAT Dick Grayson stories, and now that we’ve been introduced to the main players, he can go forth and tell a good story. And all Fernandez has to do is tweak his Nightwing and we’re good on the art. Again it’s a bit of a bummer that this comic isn’t the best, but it does enough things to be a interesting read and give readers hope for the future.

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: Grayson Annual #3

STL008068.jpg.square-true_maxheight-285_size-285Grayson Annual #3

Jackson Lanzing, Colin Kelly, Roge Antonio, Jeromy Cox, Natasha Alterici, Christian Duce, Mat Lopes, Flaviano, ,Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor

DC $4.99

Hey look your chum Chris is back! Hello pretend internet friends, I missed playing Overwatch you too!

Also back this week is Richard Grayson, as his time as a spy finally comes to an end with Grayson Annual #3. Set in an unspecific time in Grayson’s publication history, this annual sees the likes of John Constantine, Harley Quinn, Azarel, Green Lantern Simon Baz, and Jim Corgan gather to figure out who the mysterious Agent 37 is. Spoilers, it’s Grayson-Annual-3-3-600x462Dick Grayson.

Not unlike the Gotham Academy Yearbook arc and Batgirl #50 , Grayson Annual 3 is an anthology comic that has regular replacement series writers  Jackson Lanzing and Colin Kelly and replacement artist Roge Antonio joined by an array of newer talent that focuses on a specific character. Natasha Alterici draws and colors the John Constantine tale, which sees the duo deals with Vampires with far more sexy imagery than I was excepting. Christian Duce and Mat Lopes handle art duty the Azarel story, which fits nicely into the events of Batman and Robin eternal. Flavario draws and colors the Harley Quinn portion, and Javier Fernandez & Chris Sotomayor  closes things out with the Simon Baz portion of the book. Jeromy Cox, who I believe colored all of Grayson, returns as well, and for the most part is solid, but makes a relatively big mistake by miscoloring Harley Quinn.

Kelly and Lanzing did an excellent job of mimicking the tone of Tim Seeley and Tom King established in the regular series, but were tasked with getting a lot done in the span of 3 issues. Here they’re given some more room to breathe, and tell an extremely fun done and one that does the series justice. With Alterici, they’re allowed to get sexy with the undead CmILJ2dWkAgpAEvand John Constantine. As someone who generally dislikes it when John interacts with the spandex side of DCU, I had a blast with him and Dick trading quips, and John getting hot and bothered. With the Azarel story, the writers remind us that Grayson is good dude even as a spy, and they handle the more stoic aspects of Azarel quite well. The Harley Quinn section is my favorite, as Flavario reminds me a lot of Babs Tarr’s style, which lends itself well to a story co-starring Harley, who steals nearly every scene she’s in. The Baz story is solid, as Fernandez does a good job blending cosmic elements with the more street level aspects you get from a Bat book.

Grayson #3 doesn’t do anything to improve the relatively rushed ending of Grayson, but it allows the writers and Roge Antonio to give themselves a proper send off.  It’s an extremely clever script that does the many aspects of the character justice, and ends on a super sweet note. I wished it would have dropped before the DC Rebirth one-shot, but that doesn’t take away from the experience. Grayson 3# is a GREAT celebration of Dick Grayson, and is an impressive comic for a team that was brought in relatively last minute.  Anyone who enjoyed Grayson and needs a Dick fix (phrasing) before that Nightwing Rebirth one shot needs to pick up this comic sooner rather than later.

 

 

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Troy’s toys, but with Comics: Strong Debuts, Conquering Queens

Another strong week for comics, with 2 great debuts. I’m excited to talk to y’all about these books, so let’s get to it!

52fcf9c2867f1Cyclops #1

Greg Rucka/Russell Dauterman/Chris Sotomayer

Marvel $3.99

So, a lot of people have been making the same joke on twitter that Cyclops is a bold new concept for Marvel, as it features a positive (and living) father figure in it. I am the MOST jealous of not being the first to make that joke.

As much as I complained about the announcement of this book spoiling “The Trail of Jean Grey”, I absolutely loved this first issue. It’s a cute premise, as the time traveling young Cyclops (or Fryclops if you’re down with Futurama) gets to hang out with his space pirate dad Corsair and his merry band of space pirates. Does this probably put the time-space continuity as risk? Oh definitely, but it’s fun, and it allows Corsair to hang out with a son he never got to meet until he was older, so who cares (Oh right, “our” Cyclops, that was addressed in last week’s Uncanny. Duh.)

Let’s talk creative team yes? So we all know that Greg Rucka is an amazing writer yes? So it comes as no surprise that the writing in this issue is strong. Rucka draws from his own experience as of father, and the result is a more realistic and earnest script, despite the present of aliens and mutants. It makes for a good read in the end, and I’m glad Rucka is handling it.

Art Wise, I have no prior experience with SPACE ARTIST Russell Dauterman (What, that’s his title on the credits page credits him as), But I dig his stuff. It reminds me a lot of Chris Burnham but a little more controlled. His teenage Cyclops looks like an actual teenager, which is nice, because this book stresses that Scott’s 16 a lot. Also his space pirates are all various degrees of sexy, even Final Fantasy knock off Korvus.

An excellent, endearing, character driven comic, the first issue of Cyclops is delight. I really didn’t expect to end up liking it as much as I did, even with my permi-Scott boner, but I’m certainly glad this book is as good as it is.

TheWoods1cvrThe Woods #1

Jame Tynion IV/Michael Dialynas

Boom! $3.99

This is the 2nd comic I’ve read in the last month where teenagers ( #TEENS) end up in a SPOOKY FOREST that’s been published but Boom. But much like “The Lumberjanes”, this is an excellent debut. Unlike the ‘Janes, this is not an all aged affair.

And much like Cyclops’ artist, I have no experience with the creators involved in “The Woods” what sold me on it was the concept. A Milwaukee high school is teleported (for a lack of better words) to a spooky forest, and things go south from there. I don’t want to say much more than that, but it’s creepy and weird, and I love it.

One of the things I really like about James Tynion IV’s script is the fact that the teenagers (who make up most of the cast) actually sound like teenagers, not small adults. A lot of comics don’t get that right, and it takes me out of the narrative a bit. Here, everyone sounds natural, and it totally works, even when the crazier elements of the plots are introduced.

Michael Dialynas is a great fit for the book. He’s very Faith Erin Hicks/Guy Davis-esque, and can sell both the humor and horror elements. Balancing that sort of thing can be tricky, but Dialynas pulls it off well. Jason Gonzalez’s colors also help a lot too, really helping Tynion and Dialynas set the scene for their tale of cosmic horror. There’s some really cool atmosphere in this book, and the use of purples and blues in the 2nd half of the book is great.

 

“Great” also sums up The Woods debut. It’s a cool premise with a fantastic excecution. I cannot recommend this first issue enough.

 

RatQueens06-CoverA-285071_321x214Rat Queens #6

Kurtis J Wiebe/Roc Upchurch

Image $3.50

I’ll be honest, I initially was going to skip over Rat Queens #6 because I prefer reading this book in trade. However, after flipping through the first few pages at the shop, I was more than impressed with what I saw and decided that I couldn’t wait for trade. I needed it NOW.

Wiebe and Upchurch really stepped up their game with this issue. Now that the cast has been properly introduced and the first arc is over, we’re introduced to 2 big reveals in this issue, and now I’m DYING to see how they’re going to pay off. Especially with Roc Upchurch handling the visuals, because holy hell, this book looks amazing. The first few pages show how wonderful his panel layouts and body language is, and it’s something that’s constantly great throughout the book.  And Kurtis Wiebe‘s dialogue is doing a fine job of fleshing out the Queens, their supporting cast and the world around them. There’s some extremely touching moments, as well as 2 that are absolutely horrific. This book is flawless overall.

Image’s comic game has been strong for awhile, as I’ve said as much in the past, but I’m impressed on how their books continue and continue to improve. Rat Queens is arguably my favorite non-Matt Fraction penned series on the market, and if you give it a chance, I’m sure it will be your’s as well.

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