Tagged: Joe Caramagna

Chris’ Comics: Captain Marvel 3

portrait_incredible (6)Captain Marvel #3

Michele Fazeka, Tara Butters, Kris Anka, Felipe Smith, Matthew Wilson, Joe Caramagna

Marvel $3.99

This volume of Captain Marvel never ceases to impress me in different ways with every new issue. This month, Kris Anka is joined by Felipe Smith (Ghost Rider) on art duties, and it was something I didn’t notice until re-reading the credits. I’ve seen Smith’s art before, and it’s amazing how much he changes his style for this issue to look like Anka’s.  I have no clue which pages he drew and which ones Kris did, as there’s art in this comic that looks more like Jamie McKelvie‘s than it does either of them. Of course that may be due to the fact that McKelvie’s usual colorist Matthew Wilson gets a little experimental with the colors in this issue, which is giving me some The Wicked & The Divine flashbacks. And props to letter Joe Caramagna for doing the same with his fonts, really tying the whole package together.

f916ecd5d21b90a9a98f67f314e85417._SX640_QL80_TTD_Wilson, by the way, is the MVP of this issue. Anka and Smith are all sorts of great, but Wilson’s colors do a fantastic job of bringing their art and wonderful designs to life. His choices in background colors are choice, giving the book the proper space/science fiction vibe it deserves, and I really like what he does with the “Flasback” segments of the issue. How Matt Wilson manages to be so inventive when he’s coloring so many books so well is beyond me, but I appreciate his contributions, and will not question that.

If the Kelly Sue Deconnick era was Carol’s Star War phase, the Fazekas/Butters is her Mass Effect era: Large supporting cast, light political intrigue, and some hardcore science fiction. It’s a change that really hasn’t explored Carol’s psyche or drive, but it’s something we don’t necessarily need. Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters have done an excellent job developing Carol’s supporting cast, stripping Carol down to her core self. Which is fine, because I don’t need to know why Carol is a hot headed badass who’s set out to do the right thing. We all know why by now, so just seeing her do it is all I need and want.

In addition to ramping up the mystery surrounding the weird alien ship and dealing with a possible traitor on Alpha Flight, the writers Screen-Shot-2016-03-17-at-1.44.41-PMfocus a little more on Abigail Brand in issue 3. You’ll hear no complaints from me, as these two handle the character as well as such creators like Joss Whedon and Kieron Gillen have in the past. I’m a fan of Brand, and having her be the straight woman to Carol is a genius idea.

Captain Marvel #3 is another exceptional issue from this creative team, one that manages to excel even with some help from a guest creator. From an intriguing plot, to some fun character designs, engaging dialogue and cool action set pieces, Captain Marvel has never been better. It’s definitely worth your time, and a great recommendation for anyone jonesing for the Agent Peggy Carter fix. We’ve entered a new Golden Age for comics featuring Carol Danvers, and Captain Marvel is leading the way by being constantly excellent.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Black Widow #1

Black_Widow_1_CoverBlack Widow #1

Chris Samnee, Mark Waid, Matthew Wilson, Joe Caramagna

Marvel $3.99

FACT: Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, & Matthew Wilson have done some great work for Marvel, both individually and as together a creative team.

FACT: In my opinion, Marvel has been pretty good at putting out female lead books over the last few years.

FACT: Black Widow, arguably Marvel’s most recognizable female character currently, needed an A list creative team (no offense Phil Noto) assigned to her series ASAP.

Someone at Marvel has agreed with me on that last fact, because the team who did a GREAT job on Daredevil are now on Black Widow. And the debut is, as I quote a friend texted me about the comic, “UGH, such a good!”

Often when a new creative team is assigned a character, the first issue is stripping down of what works for the character and the establishment of a new status quo. Not with Black Widow, as the team assumes that the reader knows what Natasha Romanov’s deal is. This debut issue for the Samnee, Waid, Wilson team is a 20 page chase scene, in which Natasha BW4has taken a thing from SHIELD, and SHIELD wants the thing back.

I love how quickly things escalate in this comic. The book starts off establishing that Widow is at odds with SHIELD, as she takes out a bunch of agents without much effort.  The scene quickly reminds the reader that Natasha is an unbelievable bad ass, from there, she’s fighting dudes twice her size, jumping out of a Hellicarrier, dodging agents in flying cars; all sorts of crazy action stuff. It’s the comics version of Crank, which is compliment by the way.

I like how Waid keeps the dialogue to the minimum, resulting in Samnee’s art carrying the bulk of the story. Chris Samnee is easily one of the BEST artist’s working in comics todays, and which a few changes, this probably could have worked as a wordless story. I’m grateful it’s not, as  Joe Caramagna does some really good sound effects work, and his choices of tumblr_o3jvjoYypd1uiitobo1_1280font give the book a cool pulp magazine vibe to it. And I love what Matt Wilson brings to the book, drowning the book in reds, which could be read (heh) as something symbolic, given who are lead it. And as I’ve stated, Samnee’s work is amazing, be it drawing an 14 panel single page fight scene, the aforementioned Hellicarrier scene which is gorgeous, or a intense motorcycle chase through the streets of Manhattan. This issue is another chapter in the gospel that is “Chris Samnee is real good at comics”.

Black Widow #1 isn’t a comic who wanted an in-depth look instead the mind of Natasha Romanov. It’s a 20 page action move that celebrates the character and re-establishes how great this creative team is. Fans who enjoyed this team’s run on Daredevil will love this comic, and anyone who wanted a new Black Widow series will surely be pleased. I fall in both categories, and am still blown away at how good this comic was. It’s another must read series from Marvel, which I’m glad to see is becoming more of a thing this year.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Captain Marvel #2 & Paper Girls #5

portrait_incredible (5)Captain Marvel #2

Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters, Kris Anka, Matt Wilson, Joe Caramagna

Marvel $3.99

Come for the Captain Marvel meets Aliens premise! Stick around for Sasquatch-related romance drama!

Captain Marvel #2 sees the good Captain and her Alpha Flight pals investigate a seemingly abandon spaceship that bears an all too familiar emblem on it. Meanwhile, Abigal Brand finds herself back in a familiar role of dealing with alien tomfoolery. If you’re a fan of space politics and gross alien stuff, this is a comic for you.

As noted several times in the past,  Kris Anka is really good at drawing pretty people with huge muscles. While that is certainly a thing he does in issue 2, he also tosses some stuff at the reader that can be best described as  “fairly disgusting” and “slimy”. He does it quite well, which is a testament to his skills, but some of the imagery that Anaka and Matthew Wilson manage to create I could have gone without seeing in life. Also props to Wilson, who’s colors help give the early pages of the book a sense of Claustrophobia, really selling the how unnerving the alien ship is.

Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters do a great job of fleshing out some of the supporting cast this issue. Shifting the focus on Alpha Flight as Carol narrates shows just show strong of story tellers these writers are, letting the dialogue explain the character’s motives. They also excel in the Brand related subplot, which sees a few new twists and forces the readers to question some character’s motives. Captain Marvel’s new supporting cast grows on you real fast, and helps the book establish it’s own voice.

Captain Marvel #2 is an immensely enjoyable sci-fi super hero comic. Carol Danvers as a leader is an extremely fun reading experience, especially when the creative team is as good as this. It sits nicely next to Ms Marvel, The Ultimates, Spider-Woman and A-Force, letting readers know the character is in good hands without the guidance of Kelly Sue Deconnick.

PaperGirls_05-1Paper Girls #5

Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, Jared K. Fletcher

Image $2.99

Paper Girl #5 is a lot like Captain Marvel #2 in a lot of ways: Great art. Matthew Wilson on coloring and some grossness that I could have lived without seeing. That being said, this issue didn’t work for me as CM #2 did.

Paper Girls certainly get points for getting a lot of stuff done in a single issue. The creators dump a lot of info and potential new plot beats in this issue, not giving the readers much time to breathe. I applaud the decision by writer Brian K Vaughan and artist Cliff Chiang to make the book a dense read, but it’s definitely a little more than I was ready to handle in a single sitting.

Paper Girls art though, that never fails to please.. Cliff Chiang and Matthew Wilson both come through on the visuals, supplying the book with gorgeous art and fantastic colors. Chiang is an inventive story teller, so watching him tell this story with his illustrations choices is super fascinating, He’s so good at blending the period accurate material with the sci-fi stuff, giving the reader a lot to marvel at. And I love Wilson’s choices of colors, which feel retro in a way, but also perfect for the tone of this book.

A good, but not great issue of Paper Girls is still an solid read none the less. The visuals are the selling point this month, and hopefully the break will do the book some wonders.

 

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Chris’ Comics: New Avengers #2

NEWAVN2015002_DC11_LR_11New Avengers #2

Al Ewing,  Gerardo Sandoval, Dono Sancez Almara

Marvel $3.99

New Avengers #2 is a bit of difficult comic for me to discuss. On the one hand, it’s an incredibly well done comic; it’s fun, looks great, and you can tell writer Al Ewing is having a blast with this roster and concept. I appreciate the fact that the story went on only for 2 parts, as that’s just the right length this particular arc needed to be to establish the direction of this book. On the other hand, the book felt kind of shallow, focusing mostly on the evil Ultimate Reed Richards (aka The Maker), and not giving much development to our heroes.

 

In Al Ewing’s defense, he tries to do a lot with this book, which sadly may have contributed to some of the book’s undoing. The cast is huge, between the New Avengers, Dum Dum Duggan and Hawkeye, Sunspot’s staff, and the Maker and his cronies. It’s a lot to balance, and again, Ewing tries to do some cool stuff with the character, but never really hits the mark. Having White Tiger tumblr_nwxyb0mSg01sq4537o1_1280bounce off of Squirrel Girl is a neat idea, but Ewing’s Squirrel Girl doesn’t seem as clever as the one we’ve been getting over in the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, which is disappointing to me as a fan. He finds much more success in Sunspot, the Maker, and Songbird, the later showing the most depth out of any of the on-site Avengers. I hate to harp on Ewing, who has some genuinely fun ideas like Sunspot having a Champagne Robot and SHIELD and the Maker trying to make sense of this Marvel universe,  but the highlight real is relatively short  for this issue.

Ewing also doesn’t get much help from artist  Gerardo Sandoval this time around, who’s art is all over the place. While I don’t mind his super stylized art for the most part, there a multiple scenes where the female character waists are insanely too thin, especially with the extremely large chests their given. Much like Ewing, he works best when it comes to the Maker material, or some of the fight scenes, but he stuffers when the action slows down, and character have to interact with each other through non-violent means. Case in point, there’s a panel where Hawkeye is saying something, and Sadoval didn’t even bother drawing the dude’s mouth (or eyebrows). Marvel deserves some of the blame, as Sandoval strikes me as an artist who would have benefited from having a single issue drop this month instead of two.

On the positive side of things, Dono Sancez Almara’s colors for this comic are absolutely stunning. He managed to nail everything Ewing and Sandoval throw at him, tumblr_nx25apIVM41r7hjkqo1_1280ranging from Lovecraft inspired madness to super heroes brawling in Paris. The colors he chooses for every scene are perfect, which helps make the art more enjoyable. Letterer Joe Caramagna also deserves praise, as he uses a ton of different fonts for this book, helping Ewing convey emotion through words. These two excel, giving the book a sense of fun and energy that may have not been present had other creators been assigned to it.

New Avengers #2 isn’t a bad comic, but I’m not sure it’s a comic I want to pay $4 a month for. It may flow better once it’s collected, so I’m willing to give it another once that trades drops, and swap it out for another book in the meantime.

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