Tagged: ramon perez

Chris’ Comics: All-New Hawkeye #6 & Captain Marvel #4

2016-04-21-allnewhawkeyeAll-New Hawkeye #6

Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

Hey it’s the finale issue of All-New Hawkeye! Again!

This ending is FOR REAL though, as it’s apparently the last installment in this series by the team of Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez and Ian Herring. And while I’ve found this run a little uneven at times, issue #6 (which is the 12th issue for this team, but you know, COMICS!) offers the reader a lot, and actually changes things up for Team Hawkeye in a major way.

While I haven’t been the biggest fan of the flashback material Lemire and Perez have been doing throughout this run, this issue completely justifies the use of that narration device. Exploring Kate Bishop’s past was a good call, and the events in this issue does something real fascinating with Kate that I dare not spoil. It clarifies some things that date back to Kate’s earliest appearances in Young Avengers, and  hopefully retcons something extremely outdated & problematic from those stories as well. This carries over to the present day stuff, which I imagine will be used to launch whatever the next incarnation of Hawkeye will be in the coming months.

If there’s been on constant thing about this team throughout the last 12 issues, it’s been Ramon Perez and Ian Herring’s work. The two artists have been great time and time again, and this finale really sees them come into their own as story tellers, mixing some cool silver age aesthetics in the flashback material with some lush and vibrant pages for the modern day sections of the book. Perez and Herring really had their work cut out for them coming into this book, and it’s been super enjoyable watching them grow and experiment over the last year.

We don’t know what lies in store for Team Hawkeye in the coming months, but All-New Hawkeye was a interesting exploration of the lives of Clint Barton and Kate Bishop. Lemire, Perez and Herring didn’t exactly have the critically acclaimed run their predecessors had, but it was a fun story none the less. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see the Hawkeyes in action again.

portrait_incredible (7)Captain Marvel #5

Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters, Kris Anka, Felipe Smith, Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

It’s slightly ironic that we’re discussing Captain Marvel, and to a lesser extent Abigail Brand, on 4/26/16, aka Alien Day (#brands). Earlier issues of this arc definitely felt like a homage to the classic Sci-Fi property, and this issue has 2 female character very much getting their Elena Ripley on.

Captain Marvel #5 sees writers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters make Carol Danvers current scenario go from bad to worse, as Alpha Flight’s attempts to deal with this “new” alien threat don’t go so well. Oh and that pesky traitor is still in their ranks, mucking things up. What’s bad for Carol and company is great for readers, and we’re treated to 20 pages of high stakes actions, beautifully depicted by Kris Anka, Felipe Smith and Matthew Wilson. I don’t think I’ve seen two artist who manage to blend their respected styles as well as Anka and Smith, and Wilson’s colors are a sight to behold. I love how Wilson sets such vibrant characters against dark backgrounds, giving the book a refreshingly modern and sharp look.

The Elena Ripley comparison feels spot on with Carol and Abigail never say die attitudes. Both character, despite their VERY comic book genealogy, feel so human, but never weak. It’s inspiring in several ways, and makes for a pair of characters that are easy to root for. I particularly like a very Shonen Manga influenced scene, where Carol’s staff let their leader know they’re with her in this high risk scenario. It’s a nice upbeat moment that gives the reader something to rally behind as the crisis at hand gets worse.

Captain Marvel #5 is the type of penultimate chapter you want from a 6 issue arc. The stakes of raised to the point where it genuinely feels no one is safe. It’s an impressive feet, given how predictable cape comics and can often be, and it’s just another reason why Captain Marvel is one of the best super hero titles coming out from Marvel currently.

 

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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #5 & Grayson #18

All-New-Hawkeye-5-2016-coverAll-New Hawkeye #5

Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

It’s the penultimate issue of All-New Hawkeye! Which is a surprise to me, as I have no clue if this is the last time we’re going to see Clint and Kate in an on-going for a while or not. Yay Marvel Comics stealth cancellations!

All-New Hawkeye issue 5 sees Kate discovering the truth about her father in the past, while Clint makes an attempt to save the Project Communion kids in the present. Why this was solicited as Hawkeye vs Hawkeye (which the cover seems to imply as well) is beyond me. But we’re here to discuss the comic itself, not its marketing.

Ramon Perez & Ian Herring are SO GOOD on this book. As I said last review, I really like how Kate Bishop remains the only defined character in the flashbacks. But this issue sees Herring and Perez do something neat when Clint removes his hearing aid. The book goes from colored to black and white, symbolizing how isolated Hawkeye is without aid. It’s a nice way to show how deafness works, without stating the obvious. Sadly, I’m not feeling the flashback material all that much with issue 5. While the present day stuff definitely works for me, the Kate “origin” stuff seemed to dominate more of the issue, forcing the modern day material to be rushed.

All New Hawkeye #5 isn’t worst issue issue by this creative team, no, not by a long shot. But it’s best? Sadly no again. Wrapping up the series with the next issue may be for the best, and hopefully whoever inherits the Hawkeyes next will be able to tell some stories that don’t stall out as much.

Grayson_Vol_1-18_Cover-1_TeaserGrayson #18

Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Roge Antonio, Geraldo Borges, Jeromy Cox

DC $3.99

So apparently 2 issues ago was the final issue of Grayson for the King/Seeley/Janin team. Which means this book is wrapping up with an entirely different creative team, because LOL DC COMICS. Granted Tim Seeley will be returning this summer to write Nightwing, it strikes me as odd to bring in an entirely new creative team to wrap us this book. I personally find it a bit insulting to readers who have become invested in the character because of the creative team, and it feels like DC Comics editorial thinks we as readers will buy the book because of the character/IP, not the talent behind it.

That being said, editors Rebecca Taylor & Mark Doyle usually does a solid enough job of finding guest creators for their books. Taking over writer duties from Seeley and King are  Jackon Lanzing &  Collin Kelly, who’s previous comics works I’m unfamiliar with. They definitely do a solid job of getting the tone of Grayson down, which is impressive given the fact that they have to juggle such a large cast. There’s not much done in terms of character development sadly, as this issue is heavy on the action and reveals. Still it could have been much worse, and the two writers manage to replicate the voices King and Seeley have established quite well.

Sadly, while the art by Roge Antonio & Geraldo Borges isn’t bad per say, it’s definitely not something to praise. I did enjoy the last few pages, which set up a cool new status quo for one of the supporting characters, but aside from that and a solid splash page, there lack of sexy and trippy we usually get from Mikel Janin is noticeable. Colorist Jeromy Cox does an admirable jobs with the colors, but he can only do so much with the art when it’s muddled and rush.

Grayson #18 is a comic that succeeds despite have the odds stacked against it. It’s just a shame I couldn’t go into this comic with the usual confidence I have when reading an issue of Grayson.

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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #4

All-New-Hawkeye-4All New Hawkeye #4

Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

It seems all too fitting to be talking about Marvel’s most famous archers on Valentine’s Day weekend. Granted talking about Deadpool on V-day weekend 2016 is also very fitting this year, I’ll save that anecdote for my Spider-Man/Deadpool #2 review.

All New Hawkeye #4 kicks off the “Hawkeyes” story arc, which delves into the past of Hawkeye Kate Bishop, while Hawkeye Clint Barton teams up with S.H.I.E.LD. in the present. While I wasn’t keen on the Hawkeye origin flashbacks in Volume 0, looking at Katie-Kate’s roots is concept I can get behind. It’s something few very writers have explored, and after Fraction dropped the bomb that her dad is kind of a criminal jerkface, it opens up some neat story telling possibilities for Jeff Lemire to use.

HAWKEYE2015B004_int2_4-932x1414Ramon Perez has been a fantastic artist on this title through and through, and this issue is no exception. I dig how all the characters except for Kate are drawn a little looser and sketchier, where as Ms. Bishop is more focused and refined. It’s a cool way of ensuring that reader realize that SHE’s the focus of the story, and it’s a inventive variant on what Perez did for the Clint flashbacks. Color artist Ian Herring doesn’t attempt anything new for these scenes, which is fine. There’s ZERO need to fix what’s not broken, and those water color style colors are still great. The modern era art looks great as usual, although I REALLY wish we could go an arc where one of the story lines isn’t set in a snowy area. That being said, I love how clean and bright it is, especially when it’s blended together with the flashback segments on the same page.

Getting back to Lemire, this is definitely one of his strongest issues to date.He’s finally begin to find his footing, and develop his own voices for these characters. He wisely sticks to the path laid out before him, which only makes sense. His Kate reads a lot like one tumblr_o2h897Ci4R1uozhf6o1_500would traditionally expect Lady Hawkguy to sound like (well read, sarcastic, and extremely mature for her age), and his Clint is the goofball with a heart of gold we’ve all come to love. Lemire is also beginning to inject more humor into his scripts, which I appreciate, and I hope to see more of it in the future. Lemire’s Hawkeye has a bunch of heart, but more humor and action is always welcomed. My only real complaint is the reveal regarding the Project Communion kid’s origins, because man I am real tired of Marvel forcing that particular thing down my throat.

All New Hawkeye continues to be an enjoyable read that finally delivers on a Kate Bishop focused story we were promised over a year ago. It’s clear that Lemire has had plans for the character for awhile, and it’s great to see the character as the focus again. Ramon Perez and Ian Herring’s art continues to find new ways to impress readers, and it’s amazing that they manage to switch things up for every new arc. “Hawkeyes” is off to a fun start, and the cover for issue 5 promises that this is going to be another great arc.

 

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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #3

STK693569All New Hawkeye #3

Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

I believe it’s safe to say that I can stop worrying about the future of Clint Barton and Kate Bishop. Both figuratively and literally, thanks to how this comic plays out.

 All New Hawkeye #3 wraps up the creative team of Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez and Ian Herring’s 2nd arc, which sounds weird, but try to remember exactly how relaunch-happy Marvel is these days. It’s a great issue that shows how important the Clint and Kate are to each other, even though they’re not on speaking terms with each other for most of the issue. It also wraps up the future Hawkeye story, which was fun alternate future thing filled with a ton of cool ideas and designs.

At first glance, you could accuse Lemire at rehashing a lot of what Matt Fraction had done: ie, broke up and reunite Kate and Clint. It’s a fair complaint, but in Lemire’s defense, he handles it differently, and resolves it quicker. He also shows how much Kate needs Clint, HAWKEYE2015B003-int-LR2-3-4c025which is nice, even though he flat out stats that Clint needs Kate to be a proper Hawkeye. Which is true, as we probably wouldn’t have had nearly 30 issues of Hawkeye comics over the last 4 years if it wasn’t for the inclusion of Kate Bishop. It’s good to see Lemire finally getting more comfortable with the Clint and Kate dynamic, and finally establishing his own take on their relationship. He also does some wonderful things with Clint’s brother Barney, who makes a welcomed return to these pages. It’s a wonderful series of pages, which really works for me more than the Barney/Clint stiff from volume 0. Part of me wants more Barney and Clint bro times from Lemire, but given the character’s current status quo, I’d also be okay with him being left alone with his happy ending for him for the time being.

Ramon Perez has always been great on this book, and I’m impressed that he also manages to improve in some small way with every issue. In issue 3 for example, he draws more sound effects into his panels, and their pretty great. “Bro Hug” was a sound effect that sounds like something that would have shown up in Adventure Time, and its presence is tumblr_o0y1e7HNyt1sqep2mo1_1280welcomed. It’s such a minor thing, but the tiny words give the art an element of comedy that I appreciate. Aside from sound effect, I love his character designs for the future cast of characters, and how Perez composes some of his pages, especially the  Miss America Chavez and Kate Bishop page in which the panels act as mirror images.. All of this, in addition to the fact that he switches up his art style 3 different times in this issue, make him one of the most under appreciated artists at Marvel. Any issue of ANH that take primary in the present is better for it, and issue 3 is proof of that, thanks to Ramon Perez’s visuals, enhanced by Ian Herring’s brilliant choice of colors.

All New Hawkeye #3 puts my fears to rest and helps make this book one of my favorites again. I’m glad the team got their stuff together for this arc, and I’m now genuinely excited for this book in a way I haven’t been for months.

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #2

4938440-hawkeye2015b002_dc11_lr-0All New Hawkeye #2

Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

Let it be known that I’m writing/editing this article with a fun little head cold. Big ups to the New York area weather being insane this month, also expect more typos and grammar errors than usual.

So let’s talk about Kate Bishop today! Katie-Kate is known for co-starring in Hawkeye with Clint these days, but before the excellent and often mentioned Fraction/Aja series, Kate only popped up in Young Avengers. As much as I like the Clint/Kate dynamic, I missed the relationship she had with her YA pals, and am thrilled to see it back in this issue of All New Hawkeye. Also hey, here come some slight spoilers.

The Hawkeyes are joined by Novarr/Marvel Boy and Ms. America Chavez in All New Hawkeye #2, which sees the future versions of Clint and Kate battle the Mandarin, while their current day counterparts deal with their failing out. It is not the upbeat Clint and Kate story we get from the Marvel Holiday special, but it’s a good comic none the less.

tumblr_nz3ljtGLhT1sy4rryo2_1280Much like Jeff Lemire steering his scripts away from the tone set by Fraction, artist Ramos Perez continues to make the Hawkeye visuals his own with every passing issue. I really like how more and more animated his art is getting when it comes to the modern day Hawk-stuff, which is best showcased when Perez is drawing Lucky the Pizza Dog, and the conversation between Miss America and Kate. The future stuff doesn’t look as good due it’s more sketchy style, but works well enough. Ian Herring’s colors are just as great, going a little more bolder and brighter when it comes to coloring the present day pages, and more experimental and psychedelic for the future stuff. I think by coloring those pages as such. Herring’s implying that the future isn’t set in stone by doing so, BUT I also may be reading into things too much.

Writer Jeff Lemire finally fulfills his claim that Kate is the co-star of this comic by giving the lady Hawkeye more of the focus this time around. While he can’t match Fraction in ttumblr_nz3ljtGLhT1sy4rryo3_1280erms of humor, he’s certainly managed to capture Matt’s tone when it comes to the more assertive and serious Kate Bishop. And there’s a bit of Kieron Gillen influence to his dialogue when it comes to writing the Young Avengers kids, which I dig. In addition to that, there’s a really interesting plot twist that goes down in the future portion of the comic that I’m now really excited to see play out.

The fully realized team of Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, and Ian Herring prove that the previous issue was not a lucky break, as All New Hawkeye #2 is a very enjoyable comic. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Hawkeyes work together again in the future, while trying to figure out their relationship in the present, which examines how emotionally dependent Clint is on Kate, and maybe the other way around too. I’m thrilled to see the creative team bounce back like this after that shaky first arc, and expect them to continue to thrive as they have on these last two issues.

 

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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #1

All-New_Hawkeye_Vol_2_1All New Hawkeye #1

Jef Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

 

When I was reviewing the first volume of the Lemire/Perez Hawkeye run, there were several points where I felt bad for the creative team. I like both creators coming into the series, but they had the daunting task of following a run that I can honestly consider to be my favorite comic series to date. While I thought Perez was definitely a worthy successor to David Aja, I often found Jeff Lemire‘s scripts were too “safe”, reading more like fan fiction that then the next volume of one of Marvel‘s most acclaimed books. I know that’s a bit harsh, but I think the book was spinning it’s tires a bit, waiting for the previous incarnation of Hawkeye to wrap up, as well as Secret Wars. Also no, the irony that the later is still going on is not lost on me.

With that being said, the newest arc/volume of All New Hawkeye starts off on a much stronger foot. Making a Hawkeye book that ties-in closer to main Marvel U while maintaining its own identity is exactly what this run needed, as the book finally feels like it has some sort of direction. Granted I’m not exactly thrilled to see Team Hawkeye breaking up again so soon, the reasoning behind it is sound. And (spoilers?) having them reunite 20 years in the future is a neat plot hook, while expanding on the idea of Hawkeye as a legacy and a title.

Splitting the book between the present and the future not only helps the narrative, but it also allows artist Ramon Perez experiment with styles that result in some gorgeous art. The present art was always the strongest part of the visuals in volume 0 ( aka the fifth trade, because Marvel’s numbering system is dumb/complex), and I like how Perez is putting more of his own spin on the look established by Aja before him. And the sketchier, sharper and rougher art for the future scenes are rad as hell, and works better than the often muddled origin sequences in volume 0. Colorist Ian Herring experiments with his colors as well, maintaining a flat and bold look for the present, as well as some faux-70s inspire art for a panel or two. There’s also some really creative use of cover and lack there of to illustrate Clint’s hearing problems in the future  It’s great to see the artists experimenting like this, and it’s the best All New Hawkeye has looked to date.

What also helps the overall quality of this comic is Lemire’s dialgoue. While not quite reaching the heights of Fraction’s Hawkeye, the Clint and Kate interactions here feel much genuine and emotional then what Lemire has attempted before. Watching the Hawkeyes break up was painful in all the right ways, and made both characters feel incredibly sympathetic. I’m also a sucker for possible future story arcs, meaning Lemire’s future Clint and Kate stuff is right up my alley.

I was going to give up on this incarnation of Hawkeye, but after reading this new #1 I’m glad I did not. The creators feels much more confident and at home here, and the results make for a better comic. I’m hope Lemire, Perez and Herring can continue to maintain this level of quality, because this is arguably the most excited I’ve been for their run. If you weren’t feeling the current creative’s team take on the book, I urge you to give this issue a shot.

 

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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #4 & Grayson #10

portrait_incredible (3)All New Hawkeye #4

Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

Following in Hawkeye volume one’s footprints, All New Hawkeye is back after a slight delay. #BURN A reverse of the previous issue sees the bulk of the issue being dedicated to the drawn out Clint and Barney origins, with the final panel of the page being dedicated to the present, with Clint and Kate dealing with the three spooky children the Hawkeyes liberated from Hydra. Much like the previous issue, those panels are mostly dialogue free, and I find them the most interesting, as it feels more in the same vein as the previous volume, and Ramon Perez more simplistic style looks gorgeous. Ian Herring‘s colors perfectly capture the style used by Matt Hollingsworth for these scenes, yet his best stuff is saved for the flashback material. Here we see a lot of interesting uses of purples and blues clashing against a brighter color which clash nicely with the muted art work.

HawkeyeBWith the origin-story stuff taking the point again for this issue, I find myself slightly less invested with this issue. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great and genuinely do like what Jeff Lemire has set up with the brothers Barton. But ultimately it’s not a story I want to read. Clint’s origin is arguably one of the least interesting aspects of the character, because who wants to read about the circus in 2015 right? I applaud Lemiere and Perez doing something different, but I much prefer Clint and Kate arrowing it up in Brooklyn than I do Hawkeye babies.  Especially after 4 issues, or in Lemire’s case, a hunk of his career. Also it really clashes with the promise of more Kate Bishop, who’s barely in this issue.

All New Hawkeye #4 takes some neat artistic risks, but I’m tired of this origin story. The modern stuff is far more compelling, and hopefully there’s more of that after this arc.

 

Grayson-10Grayson #10

Tim Seeley, Tom King, Mikel Janin, Jeromy Cox

DC $3.99

Grayson continues to be a god send to the character of Richard “Booty Booty Booty” Grayson. Ol’ Dick (heheheh) has been on bit of quality decline ever since the new 52 started, but his role as a spy has given him a much needed shot in the arm that Dick hasn’t seen since Grant Morrison and friends made him Batman. Grayson #10 is the second installment of the “Nemesis” arc, which finds that boy Grayson amiss of a murder mystery where he is the main suspect. Oh and Lex Luthor shows up, which is big, because Lex is one of the reasons Dick had to fake his death to begin with. It’s compelling stuff, with some really engaging dialogue from Tim Seeley and Tom King and the cliffhanger ending is spectacular.

Grayson-10-ViewOne of the advantages of turning Dick Grayson into a globe spanning hero is Mikel Janin being able to draw the hell out of a number of exotic locations in a single issue. Two moments that stand out to me visually were the scene in Madrid early in the book, and later when Lex and Dick meet in Corscia. Aside from drawing the prettiest of people, Janin draws some gorgeous scenery, beautifully colored by Jeremy Cox. Cox is also another fantastic artist, managing to mix channel travel brochure quality colors as well as Jim Steranko SHIELD era stuff. Coz is easily one of the most underrated colorists in the business and pairing him with Mikel Janin has produced some incredible looking art. Meanwhile, Seeley and King continue to provide a solid and entertaining script with some really smart and fun dialogue.

Grayson #10 is another fine installment of a book that got me back into DC Comics. It’s spy drama and super heroics at it’s best, and I’m glad to see the team’s first multi-issue storyline going so well.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: All New All Shameless Edition

So hey, before I start my weekly Hawkeye discussion/Comics Review, I wanted to make the FP Faithful aware of a few things

1)The DC Sneak Peeks from this week are pretty great, and if you don’t want to spend your money on Convergence tie ins, are available on Comixology and several other websites. My personal picks are We Are Robins Black Canary and Batgirl, but you should definitely track down the Starfire, Grayson and Gotham Academy ones as well.

2) Speaking of digital offerings, Fresh Romance is available on Comixology too. I kickstarted it, and man, I am glad that I did. It’s a cool return to romance comics featuring some fantastic stories by several rad up and coming creators. It’s 5 bucks for 30 pages, which I know is steep, but it’s a rare occasion where the price is justified by the quality of the content.

3)  June kicks off Summer Convention time, which means if you’re on the East Coast, you get to see me dressed up as a super hero in a crowded environment. I’ll be at Special Edition NYC, FLAMECON and Heroescon next month, and if you want to say hi or track my nonsense on social media, I’m on twitter & instagram @TheAnarCHris .

 

Alright, shameless plug theater is over, Hawk-talk begins now

All-New_Hawkeye_Vol_1_3_TextlessAll-New Hawkeye #3

Jeff Lemire/Ramon Perez/Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

When writing one Crapsack Tire Fire (aka Clint Barton), one way to keep my interest in the character is to have equal amounts of one Kate Bishop and one Lucky, the Eisner award winning pizza dog. It took Team Hawkguy 2.0 three issues to realize that, which makes issue 3 the best issue of All-New Hawkeye to date.

This time around, writer Jeff Lemire limits the Flashback/Origin-y stuff to one panel per page. It’s a neat storytelling technique, as most of these story allows artist Ramon Perez tell the story in mostly dialogue free scenes. It also allows the reader to see how these circus bits relate to the story that takes place in the present, which is treated as the A-side story this issue. Clint and Katie Kate has to deal with the fallout of their mission, and end up getting into more trouble as a Hawkeye tends to do.

With a few issues under their belts, Lemire and Perez read and look more comfortable on this title. Lemire’s dialogue flows better, and the Kate and Clint banter is great. Lemire’s Kate Bishop has noticeably improved with every issue, as his Clint. Perez’s art has also improved ten fold with the modern setting, and we’re treated to a double page multi-panel fight scene that is delightful as it is brutal.  Perez’s more traditional art style is a little more loose and animated than it has been in the past, and the book is all the better for it. It’s still relatively minimalist, but so expressive and energetic. And Ian Herring‘s wonderful colors give the book a nice since of depth despite being so flat like Matt Hollingsworth before him. There’s a sense of fun to this comic, something missing from the previous issues

With the rocky start  hopefully behind it, it appears All New Hawkeye has finally found it’s footing and is becoming a solid title.  I imagine those who are trade waiting it may not be as harsh as I have been as they get read the story in a single chunk. But as someone who reads it monthly, it’s nice to see this creative team improved steadily with every issue, and hope the team keeps it up.

 

 

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Troy’s Troys But With Comics: Childhood Flashbacks editions

There are currently 12 unwatched episodes of Daredevil in my Netflix queue right now, please note that I took time to write this article instead of ODing on DD.

Saga_27-1_300_462Saga #27

Fiona Staples/Biran K Vaughan

Image Comics $2.99

I’ve been running out of ways to complement Saga. Each issue is a 20 page celebration of comics, with the creators doing their damnedest to show exactly  why they’re the best what this medium is capable of. This month’s issue is no exception, as Fiona Staples and Brain K Vaughan show off their full range of talents.

Issue 27 has Fiona Staples drawing everything from odd/unusual erotica, to grotesque violence, to absolutely adorable thanks to tiny sealman/my favorite character Ghus. Ghus in particular is an fine example of Staples’ artistic skills, as she manages to convey a lot of character and emotion in a character with a comparatively simplistic design. There’s also some really powerful emotional beats that Staples hit without the assistance of BKV’s words. While she’s never been anything less than impressive, this particular arc of Saga may be Staples finest work to date. I couldn’t think of a better artist to see their name listed before the writer’s name in the credits page.

Brain K Vaughan continues to be the very best at what he does when it comes to dialogue and the script, snikt. We get to take another glimpse of Marko’s past in this issue, and the stuff revealed in the flashbacks is brutal, but compelling none the less. He also injects some much needed humor in places that helps ease the tension, as well as remind us how delightful these characters are. Vaughan’s words are overshadowed by the art at times, but it never feels like he’s coasting on Staples talents.

Saga is still very much the best book on the market, and this issue is just further proof of that.

portrait_incredible (1)All New Hawkeye #2

Jeff Lemire/Ramon Perez/Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

AWWW, Fact: This is the 2nd Hawkeye #2 in which a/the Swordsman is a crucial element to the plot!

This 2nd issue of All New Hawkeye is a slight improvement over the previous issue, but I’m still a tad confused over the direction of the title. The book continues to be split between the past and present, but the present sections continue to feel like an after though. Ramon Perez and Ian Herring certainly do some cool stuff with this book’s visuals, but it genuinely does feel like writer Jeff Lemire prefers re-telling Clint’s origin than moving his Hydra/creepy-ass children plot forward.

To be fair, the Circus flashback segments are fairly enjoyable, even with the art being a little uneven in places. The sketchy art looks a tad incomplete at times, but Ian Herring’s colors really help enhance it a ton. The modern segments look slightly better, as Perez channeling David Aja suits his style better. Lemire is still struggling with the Hawkeyes banter, but it’s improving.

All New Hawkeye #2 is a much needed step in the right direction, although it’s not quite there yet. Hopefully the next issue will continue to improve in quality, and this book will be on par with the previous creative team’s efforts.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Jeff Lemire Debut edition

Welcome to the article where I know I’m going to spell Lemire as “Lemiere” at least twice and not notice it until it’s pointed out in the comments section/Twitter.

Jeff Lemire, who’s had a big week, is a writer who’s stuff I haven’t touched in awhile, but I definitely liked is work in the past. His run on Animal Man was quite good, he did a pre-Flaspoint/New 52 Superboy book that was equally bizarre as it was charming, and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of his creator owned stuff. This week, Lemire launches his new Indie book under Image, and relaunches my favorite Marvel comic (that’s yet to be completed).

Descender-01-6b1c3Descender #1

Jeff Lemire/Dustin Nguyen

Image $2.99

Ever since Saga took over comics, Image has had no shortage of comics involving space, children, crime or a combination of all three. Most of those book has also been amazing, so no one complains about it because otherwise the alternative is going back to Spawn or Witchblade.

As every review of Descender will tell you, Sony Pictures ponied up a ton of money to secure the films right to the comic, despite the fact it was still a month away from hitting the stands. Created by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen, it is a GORGEOUS looking book, and  it reads like Chris Nolan directing a Pixar movie. If that’s now something you want in your life, I wouldn’t hold you breathe, also welcome to the nightmare that is being me. But yeah, Nguyen’s water colors look great, and Lemire’s writing is spot on. Despite this being another comic about a young boy by Lemire (see Blankets, Superboy, parts of his new Hawwkeye series,  Sweet Tooth), he introduces a weird  cast that’s helps suck you into this world that he’s co-created. It’s a surprisingly charming book, despite some really dark plot points and themes.

I went into Descender with a good feeling, and I ended up liking it a lot more than I was expecting. Robots and space are often my jams when it comes to media, and Descender uses them to tell an exciting new story I’m eager to read more of.

 

All-New_Hawkeye_Vol_1_1_TextlessAll-New Hawkeye #1

Jeff Lemire/Ramon Perez/Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

Here we have the other great looking Jeff Lemire comic to debut this week. Sadly, I am not as happy with it as I was with Descender.

All-New Hawkeye is not a bad comic, but it just didn’t wow me like the yet to be completed Matt Fraction/David Aja book did. That book had a mission statement from day one (Show what Hawkeye does on his day off). This one starts off mostly set in the past, and cuts to the Hawkeyes doing some avenging in the present. While I appreciate Lemire taking the book in a new direction, it still needs a hook. All I got from it was “Hey, the previous Hawkeye series got Marvel a ton of buzz and acclaim, let’s keep this book going.” Hawkeye volume 1 issue 1 felt like a cool new indie book, where as ANH feels like more like a really good cover band messing up my favorite song. Lemire’s attempt to capture Clint and Kate’s banter is appreciated, but it’s something he needs to work on. It felt colder and nagging than it did humorous and playful.

Visually, Ramon Perez and Ian Herring couldn’t be better replacements for David Aja & Matt Hollingsworth. Perez’s art is the best thing about this book, and his painted illustrations for the flashback material are gorgeous. And when paired with Herring for the modern stuff, we get some solid action scenes, with Herring doing his best to ape Matt Hollingsworth flat color pallet. It works for the most part, because while Perez isn’t as strong as the veteran Aja, Herring’s bold colors help complete the visual experience. All New Hawkeye is a great looking book, and I’m glad Perez and Herring are able to deliver on the art end of things like Aja, Annie Wu and the other Hawkeye volume 1 artists before them.

In the new creative team’s defense, it was an almost impossible task to make me fall in love with this book like I did with the previous volume. Following up to that creative team is a huge  challenge, and they definitely tried to do their best with this issue. I have faith that Lemire can escape Fraction’s shadow sooner rather than later, but I’ll admit, it felt weird to read a Hawkeye comic that I didn’t fall in love with immediately. I hope that’s something that doesn’t happen again.

 

 

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PLAYING CATCH UP: Wolverine and the X-men volumes 6 & 7

51hBOc5kHFL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Wolverine and the X-men volumes 6/7

Words by Jason Aaron

Art by Ramon Perez (vol 6), Pasqual Ferry and Nick Bradsaw (vol 7)

Marvel, $17.99 for volume 6 (5 issues), $19.99 for volume 7 (6 issues)

Late 2013/Early 2013 saw the launch/relaunch of several X-men books, leaving Wolverine and the X-men as the longest running X-title in the franchise. The series took a bit of a hit in quality when it was dragged into Avengers vs X-men last year, but since then it’s regained it’s footing and remains one of the quirkiest mainstream comics being published today. With Jason Aaron’s run wrapping up early next year, I’ve decided to recap/review the latest 2 volumes of the series. Also it is freezing outside and the cat’s passed out on my lap so my options are limited at best.

Volume 6 starts off with Wolverine taking a bunch of his students out on a field trip to the Savage Land. For those of you not in the know/ have never played the X-men Arcade Game, the Savage Land is home to dinosaurs, large insects and other various nasty things, because that is what makes for good comics. Dog Logan, Wolverine’s time traveling brother is also here and long story short, he ends up taking control of the class trip and Wolverine’s got to put a stop to that, because he’s kinda evil. There’s also a time-skip issue to end the trade that shows off the Jean Grey School 25 years in the future, which teases a number of things that may or may not come one day. Time traveling and the X-men is not always the most reliable thing.

Ramon Perez is a welcomed addition to the circle of artist’s Jason Aaron has worked with on this title. Some of his younger characters look a little off-model at times, but his environments are extremely well detailed, his incorporation of sound effect into his art is really neat, and there’s a nice level of detail in it as well. It’s kinetic, fluid and unique. It’s a nice fit to main series artist Nick Bradsaw, as it’s very Chris Samnee meets Stuart Immonen in a way. Perez was a great get for the series, and it will be nice to see him wrap up the book in a few months/

2910277.jpeg.size-285_maxheight-285_square-trueVolume 7 sees the teachers and student of the JGS throwdown with new Hellfire Club (introduced back in Aaron’s X-men: Schism mini-event) who employee some classic X-villains like Sabretooth and Mystique. Pasqual Ferry draws the prologue issue and it looks fantastic. It’s more reminiscent of a child’s story book than you’re traditional X-men book, but it totally works. There’s some fantastic use of bright colors on the characters that stand out against dark backgrounds.

Ferry draws a great intro to this trade, and is joined by the returning Nick Bradsaw, who really is the second coming of Art Adams. His pages are packed with an insane amount of detail, some truly odd and grotesque characters designs, and an amazing sense of scale for some blockbuster moments. Considering Bradsaw was once the B-side artist on this title, he’s gone above and beyond to make his mark on this book over the last 2 years, and his presence will be missed once he wraps up his current arc. It’s worth just studying each panel he draws just to see how much he crams in there without it looking messy. Also his Doop is 2nd only to Allred’s and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise.

Jason Aaron‘s work on this title has definitely has been nothing short of enjoyable, making this book a ton of fun to read. He does a lot to flesh out the new characters in these issues, and he helps set up some truly awesome fight scenes. Given how many iconic X-men are in this book it’s nice to see the kids getting more screen time than the adults. His X-men-meets-Harry Potter world is a delight, and his use of usually terribly executed in the 90s concepts is odd, but unlike those X-crossovers off old, he pulls it off here. Aaron remains that amongst the drama and violence the X-men are known for, there’s a certain amount of heart is involved in their appeal.

While volume 6 was a certainly a fun and enjoyably romp, volume 7 was probably the best X-saga of the year. It’s fun, exciting and just comics done right. More comics could stand to be less grim and gritty, and Wolverine and the X-men continues to be proof of that.

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