Greetings, Nerd Bastards readers, Jake here from The Hall of Comics – where heroes shop. I’m a bag and boarded professional. My passion (and business) is to read, write about and sell comics. In an alliance forged in the stars, The Hall of Comics will be dropping by Nerd Bastards weekly, to bring you the latest word and the weeks best pulls in comics. So sit back, grab a snack, and check out what latest comic titles you should be reading.
It must be pretty uncommon, if not downright unheard of, for two brand new series by the same writer to be released in the same week. Jeff Lemire fans have plenty to be grateful for today. Let’s start with his very first book for marvel, All-New Hawkeye. It’s quite an undertaking, too. The previous Hawkeye title just ended recently, leaving an indelible mark on the character thanks to Matt Fraction‘s work that was such a hit with readers, as well as David Aja‘s design-heavy art. But Lemire might very well have pulled off a true magic act. Through a series of flashbacks, he’s begun to tell his own story about the archer’s background in typical Lemire, dreamlike fashion, while at the same time giving us a story in the present that mimics Fractions frantic action and funny dialogue. All of this is aided by Ramon Perez who is able to echo Lemire’s wispy art during the flashbacks and then switch over to crisp, clean action scenes. The flashbacks go all the way back to Clint Barton’s childhood. It’s a little soon to tell what Lemire is mining for in these scenes, but there’s certainly enough of a hook by the end of this first issue to make us come back for more. And the two styles of art that Perez utilizes are used nicely to facilitate that hook when they collide.
Descender is Lemire’s new series from Image. In true Image fashion, this one starts a bit ambiguous, but turns out to be fairly straightforward by the end – a good thing, since Lemire’s stories are about making us feel more than making us think. A faraway, science-fictiony civilization is given cause to outlaw robots. Our story follows a young boy robot and his robot dog as they find themselves abandoned by his surrogate family in this world that wants them done away with. I’ve always thought Dustin Nguyen‘s watercolors were quite beautiful. Give it a few more issues, and this could turn out to be the perfect project for him. But there are times in this premiere issue when his style is too thin for the subject matter, feeling almost unfinished. On the other hand, there are sequences when it fits the story like a glove. Lemire is certainly in his element, and fans of Sweet Tooth and his other books ought to be very pleased.
What’s to say about Guardians Team-Up? Do you like Guardians of the Galaxy? Do you like the Avengers? If so, I can’t imagine you’ll find anything to complain about here. This first issue doesn’t appear to be restrained by any pesky continuity (however, I expect that’ll change soon as the series ties-in with the Black Vortex event.) I guess you might be annoyed if you don’t like Brian Michael Bendis‘s dialogue. Altho’ he seems to have made a pact that there will be nobody will be seated while all the talking happens – there’s plenty of action here. Even tho’ Art Adams‘s art is as tight and structured as ever, his lines seem soft in places – perhaps a fault of the inking. There’s also some odd compositions. Sometimes within a page and sometimes with a panel, the action and the exchange of dialogue is clunky. There’s nothing profound going on story wise, so no damage done – just a little weird. What would really put this series on the map are some team-ups that aren’t obvious and aren’t safe. Give us a something for Bendis to sink his chompers into, like Guardians teamed up with the Punisher or Moon Knight.
Boom!‘s the Big Con Job is being marketed as Galaxy Quest meets Ocean’s 11. That’s not inaccurate, but let’s talk about the differences. This series is a little more morose than either of those films, and I’m not sure it serves the story. Instead it comes off feeling more like Jimmy Palmiotti is campaigning for former celebrities in real-life situations like his characters. There’s a lot of time spent talking numbers in regards to who makes how much off of guest appearances at conventions. This element could have been scaled way back. Instead, the plot lags. Matt Brady‘s art is too rubbery to illicit the emotional connection that Palmiotti is reaching for. The Ocean’s 11-esque caper element doesn’t occur in the first issue, and I’m not interested enough to find out what it’ll be.
Oh, princess, my princess. While Leia Organa’s solo title has the weakest start of Marvel’s three Star Wars titles, it definitely has its merits. The way that Mark Waid retro-fits it into the post-New Hope events works really well and feels very natural. Also, I half expected this series to be an ensemble book, just told from Leia’s perspective. But to its credit, it truly is a Leia-centric story, with very little of the other Star Wars leads involved. Terry Dodson‘s art is the epitome of “lush” – he does more with the weight of a single line than some artists achieve in an entire panel. I enjoyed the introduction of a new character, something the other two Star Wars entries haven’t done yet. I did feel the book was held back by how much discussion was spent on how Leia’s stature as royalty is now to be viewed. Yes, it might be interesting, and yes, it might be a valid issue. But it’s not true to the spirit of Star Wars! These deeper, political issues will trip up the Star Wars mojo faster than negotiations over a blockade brought about by threat of taxation by the Trade Federation. Mr Waid, if we cannot learn from the mistakes of the past in a galaxy far, far away, we are doomed to repeat them.
While there may be no single stand-out title in this week’s releases, you should savor these event-free books, nonetheless. We are down to the last few weeks when the words “Secret Wars” and “Convergence” won’t be part of write-ups like this. That tangy taste in your mouth is the mix of curiosity and fear over just the thought of what these two events will mean for our favorite characters as well as our wallets. Fear not, fellow readers – I’ll be here to guide you though the coming tough times.
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