Thursday, November 21, 2013

Avengers Wake: Weekly Comic Reviews - 11/20/13

A view gems from the new comic books this week:

Avengers #23 (Marvel) - Writer: John Hickman, Artist: Leinil Francis Yu

One of the several cast lists included
throughout the series.
This is towards the end of Hickman's Infinity epic that has spurred a mini-series and affected most corners of Earth 616. (Beware reading if you have not read the Infinity series up to this point) At this point the battle is brought to Earth and issue #23 finds the galactic forces against Thanos' forces. The success of this comic is threefold. The first success is it successfully ratchets up the tension and risk for the Infinity storyline. With the success of Captain America and the galactic forces against the Engineers, I was worried that the ending of Infinity would be anti-climatic. Issue #23 started to put those worries to rest though, for Thanos and his forces may be too powerful for a tired and weakened galactic brigade that just saved the entire universe.

The second success of the issue is the reader gets to see the "galactic council" actual fight. This is some of my favorite action scenes in the Infinity story, second only to Thor's defeat of the Engineer. Hickman has been able take some of the Avengers worst enemies and make them desirable allies that I now root for and, to a certain degree, sympathize with. To see this council (not all pictured in the lineup on the right) battle together against a formable foe is a highlight of the issue. Hickman also writes a great heroic speech that a Super-Skrull gives, which I felt inwardly awkward about but loved at the same time. The third success is Yu's artwork. I am a fan of his work and love his fight scenes. To see the diverse fighting styles represented of the galactic council is great (even on my small iPhone screen I was captivated by his detailed pencil work).

While the plot is not moved very far, the stakes have been raised and hence my anticipation for the Infinity finale has greatly risen. For this reason I think that it is essential issue for anyone reading Infinity.

I recommend this issue for those reading Infinity, fans of Hickman, and those that want to see some action. 
I give this issue an 8 out of 10. 

The Wake #5 (Vertigo) - Writer: Scott Snyder, Artist: Sean Murphy

The rig is under attack!!!
Scott Snyder (writer for Batman, American Vampire) and Sean Murphy (artist for Joe the Barbarian, Punk Rock Jesus, American Vampire) have put together a fascinating book that combines folklore, science fiction, and even some horror. When The Wake first came out, I thought that it was too slow and a little directionless in the beginning and I actually did not pick up issues #3 and #4 when they first came out. Now I take all of that back because Snyder was slowly building the characters and environment in the first two or three issues which now pays off in this issue. There is action, mystery, revelations, characters development and fear that permeate this issue for issue #5 reveals more about the nature of the deep sea creatures and their full potential. What started as a localized mystery has now become a world-changing crisis that will have deep affects for the future of Earth and humanity. 

Promo for The Wake: Part 2 coming
in February 2014
One of Snyder's biggest successes in this comic is the main character, Dr. Archer. Snyder has made her a character that I care for and am concerned about. In addition to this, Snyder revealed certain mysteries about Dr. Archer's past (which has been teased since issue #1) through the current crisis, which become some of my favorite panels of the issue (which were drawn beautifully by Murphy). The other success of this book is it's mystery. The inclusion of folklore only makes this story better and shows that this is a story that Snyder has thought long and hard about. While there are several revelations throughout this issue, there are plenty of mysterious that are left unknown. The biggest revelation in this issue is that this is the end of "The Wake: Part 1". The last five issues of this mini-series (#6-10) will take place in a far future that is a direct result of the events that took place in issues #1-5. This future was hinted at in the first issue and while it created a lot of confusion at the time, I can honestly say that it makes sense now and I am very excited to see where Snyder and Murphy will take this story. 

I recommend this for fans of either Snyder or Murphy and for those that may have originally passed over The Wake. 
I give this issue an 8.5 out of 10. 

Harley Quinn #0 (DC) - Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner, Artists: (See picture below)

Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti brought Harley Quinn to life and in the process let her interact with the whole creative team. From the writers, to the artists, to even the reader, Harley Quinn breaks down the forth wall and enjoys doing it. The issue finds Harley going through some of her old stuff, teddy bears, toys, and a box of comics. At this point she imagines what a comic book about her would look like and here is where the fun ensues. Each page is drawn by a different artist and usually Harley, Amanda and Jimmy have a great time mocking that artist. The best part is them making fun of Jim Lee, who actually did not drawn a new page but just repurposed pages from Batman: Hush series (they had a lot of fun with that). There was comedy on every page and it was fun and entertaining. I do not usually enjoy comedy comics, and I am still a little unsure what the rest of the series will be like, I rather enjoyed this issue and excited that Harley has her own book.
Starting at the Top (L to R): Becky Cloonan, Adam Hughes, Dan Panosian, Art Baltazar,
Dave Johnson, and Tradd Moore. 

While the comedy was great, the real highlight of the book is the art. With art by some of the industries best, including Becky Cloonan, Tony Daniel, Darwyn Cooke, Bruce Timm, Tradd Moore, Adam Hughes, Charlie Adlard, and new artist Jeremy Roberts, this issue was beautiful as it was diverse. I especially enjoyed how each artist was completely themselves. They did not change their style to accommodate the book, which in turn made the contrast between pages so apparent and fun. It is a weird and fun experience to follow Harley on one page drawn by Adam Hughes and then to flip the page and see Harley drawn as a child by Art Baltazar.

Conner and Palmiotti say that this will be the only issue where Harley breaks the forth wall and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I enjoyed that aspect of the issue but I don't want it to be over used. The only downside to this issue is that it gives no indication what the tone or feel of the series will be. It functions well as a stand-alone issue (hence the zero number rating). I believe though in Conner and Palmiotti that they will take Harley, and the reader, on a fun ride.

I recommend for anyone that wants a laugh and some great art. 
I give this issue a 7.5 out of 10.  

Do you agree? Disagree? What did you love or hate about these comics? 
What comics do you read and why?

Let us know down below in the comments section. 

1 comment:

  1. I just got my Wake #5 but its at the bottom of my unread pile but I am looking forward to it.