Review – Paper Girls #7

Creator(s)

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Plot(s)

I don’t know. Something about teenage girls traveling to the future to find someone named KJ. Also there’s a giant monsters.

My reaction(s)

One thing that I love in concept about serialized stories is jumping on in the middle. If done right I don’t need to understand everything the characters say to tell if it’s good or not. The premise might be enough to get me interested in learning more about the characters and the world. It can be better than starting at the beginning because I’m already sold on it and want to go back. If not done right it can be incomprehensible and frustrating.

This issue is the former. This is my first foray into Paper Girls and while it was confusing I loved it. I can’t tell what the plot is yet but the characters and the artwork are more than enough to carry it.

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I have no idea what these people are talking about.

What got me to pick it up in the shop was the lettering and the coloring. The contrast between the borderless balloons and the color palette is great. Combined with the fast-paced dialog and the result is beautiful streamlined book.

And while there’s a lot of just people talking to each other that’s not all it is. The giant monsters and different uses of perspective keep it varied and fresh.

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Favorite moment(s)

The scene where Ms. Tieng hugs her younger self is fantastic. The older character isn’t too proud about her current situation. But the younger character thinks she’s awesome in several detailed ways. It’s a great time-travel take on the beauty is in the eye of the beholder lesson.

Also the scene has 3 beats of hilarious comic timing. The younger character getting hugged mid sentence.

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The juxtaposition of the deadpan and loving expressions.

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And the awkward internalization of what it all means afterward.

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Not-so-favorite moment(s)

There’s literally nothing I didn’t like about this issue.

Final thought(s)

A compelling world, well-defined characters and gorgeous artwork make this an excellent issue of a comicbook. Even if I have no idea what’s happening in it.

Rating

A+

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Review – Moon Knight #4

Creator(s)

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Plot(s)

Having escaped from the mental hospital via underground tunnels, Marc and his crew explore sand-stormed New York City.

My reaction(s)

There’s not a lot of dynamic action in this issue, mostly just people walking and talking. But it’s still a treat for the eyes. Smallwood’s layouts and acting are simple yet effective, somewhat reminiscent of a Kubrick film. But Bellaire’s colors give the story an incredible punch.

There’s a lot of white. Every character except for a beat cop wears white. Every single panel is separated by white. Whitespace is even used to create interesting page layouts. Like this upside-down pyramid shape for example.

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But the most interesting parts of the coloring are the contrasts. Military greens for the night sky. Crimsons for the bathroom walls. Light yellows and browns for the sand and lit skyscraper windows. They all look so rich and complement the dreamlike atmosphere. It’s part Silent Hill part Pink Floyd part The Mummy.

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Plot-wise Lemire chooses to whittle down Marc’s gang to just him and Marlene. It’s a bit disappointing because I liked how they contributed to the plot in previous issues. Since this issue is part 4 out of 5 in the story I’m waiting to see the ending before making final observations.

Favorite moment(s)

This is a position I thought I’d never see Konshu in.

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Not-so-favorite moment(s)

I know he saved Gena’s life but she helped him escape from the mental hospital. Seems a bit presumptuous to insist she call her by a more formal name.

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Final thought(s)

I look forward to reading this book more than any other on my pull list right now. There’s so much to like about it. The whole creative team has me on the edge of my seat.

Rating

A-

Review – Black Panther #3

Creator(s)

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Plot(s)

Ayo and Aneka arrive at a Wakandan city and find it ransacked. T’challa tracks down Zenzi and confronts her and Tetu. In The Djalia Shuri speaks with a mysterious woman.

My Reaction(s)

My main problem with the story so far is that the plot threads are not tying together well. So far in the series there are four main plot threads:

  • Ayo and Aneka gather followers to defend Wakanda in Black Panther’s absence.
  • Tetu and Zenzi gather followers to take down the current regime.
  • Black Panther tracks down Zenzi for instilling the riot at the vibranium mine.
  • Shuri discovering the mysteries of The Djalia.

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On their own they are all interesting stories. But it’s frustrating because too much of each doesn’t involve the other characters. At the start we get a 4 page display of Tetu’s powers. Then there’s a scene where T’challa speaks with his mother and prepares for battle. Then Ayo and Aneka discover the ruined city. Then Shuri speaks with the woman in The Djalia. 10 pages in and none of the main characters have interacted with each other.

Once that’s done there’s a great scene where T’challa confronts Tetu and Zenzi. Here the issue starts to come together and reach it’s potential.

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Favorite moment(s)

The reveal of T’challa’s War Dogs is pretty great. I like their design a lot. And Black Panther stands out even more than usual when fighting alongside them. Shame we don’t get much of them in the book.

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Black Panther picks a baddie off the ground by the head and smacks another with him. Awesome.

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Not-so-favorite moment(s)

The cover is everything I find frustrating about the issue. T’challa doesn’t confront Ayo and Aneka and it would be so much better if he did. At least it looks gorgeous just like everything else.

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Final thought(s)

I don’t want to sound too negative. Stelfreeze’s art is beautiful and Coates’ dialog is crisp and punchy. The book is close to achieving greatness. The parts just need to gel together a little more.

Rating

B-

Review – X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever #5

Creator(s)

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Plot(s)

The story flashes forward several years. Max is middle aged and Riches has taken over NYC Biff Tannen style. During a party at the Empire State Building, the two confront each other.

My reaction(s)

I enjoyed the conclusion of Max’s adventure quite a bit. It’s a tragic ending that feels appropriate yet satisfying. I can’t think of a better ending for him. It’s somewhat pathetic that he goes out taking down a low-rent character like Riches. But that suits the story just fine. When placed next to almost any X-Man Max becomes a pathetic character.

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Also the book has a couple of good gags in the established tone of the previous 5 issues. Max is an outcast among outcasts but he’s also a white, straight, cis male. It’s played for comedy and executed well.

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Favorite scene(s)

I have a pretty short experience reading X-Men comics, so I only recognize 1 of these characters. I think I have more fun imagining a die-hard X-Men fan’s reaction to this than coming up with my own opinion.

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Not-so-favorite scene(s)

The reveal that Miranda has been the cause of the constant reboots in the Marvel universe. I don’t think it’s outright bad. It’s a clever use of an omnipotent character during a final issue of an elseworlds series. But it’s also a predictable one.

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Final thought(s)

A great ending to the only X-Men book I’ve been reading since the relaunch. It’s sad that Bemis, Walsh, and Redmond’s book has to end here. But like Max, at least they went out with a bang.

Rating

B+

Review – Usagi Yojimbo #155

Creator(s)

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Plot(s)

Usagi stops by a temple in the forest to escape a rainstorm. An old friend is investigating a murder and Usagi agrees to help.

My reaction(s)

I found the murder mystery that Usagi agrees to help inspector Ishida with uncompelling. A local lord wants the temple tore down so that he can hunt the land. The government sends Ishida with a group of delegates to survey the situation. One of the delegates gets found dead in the forest.

It’s a complicated scenario that’s a chore to read. Sakai tries to spice it up with a supernatural legend involving a painting in the temple. The painting seems like an Japanese take on the Hell section of The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch. But every depiction of the painting is lacking in detail & looks uninteresting.

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We get many images of Usagi staring at the painting. He seems shocked by the images depicted. And every time we get a shot of the painting it just looks like a bunch of scribbles. It seems like a wasted opportunity to help sell a story that I already had trouble investing in. Comics is a visual medium. I would have liked at least one beauty shot of the painting to help sell it.

Also, after the introduction we get 8 pages of nothing but people talking in a hallway. The local lord comes in & argues with the inspector. He leaves & a group of priests come in and talk with the inspector. They leave & a group of pilgrims come in and talk with the inspector. It reminded me of a Best Of The Worst review of a movie called Shakma. It’s as boring as it sounds.

Favorite scene(s)

Page 6 is the best in the book. I like the perspective in both panels. And the detail of the rain on Usagi’s clothes in the top panel is perfect. I can almost hear the water sliding off his hat.

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Not-so-favorite scenes(s)

There are a lot of dull scenes in the book. But not any that are lot more dull that the others.

Final thoughts

A mostly boring issue with a nice shot or two. I can’t deny Sakai’s talent, he’s one of comic’s best. But for my tastes this was not his A game. I’ll check back in with Usagi after this arc.

Rating

C

Review – Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #4

Creator(s)

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Plot(s)

The Power Rangers battle Scorpina as she attacks San Francisco with the Dragonzord.

My reaction(s)

I loved the original show when I was a kid. But I’ve tried to get into it a couple of times as an adult and haven’t been able to make it through a whole episode. The main reason is that the show plays to young children to a big extent. I feel like I’ll be able to appreciate & enjoy it at another time in my life, but not yet. I went through a similar journey with the show Sailor Moon.

The comic does not play to children in the way the show does. So I’ve been a regular reader since issue #1 & even picked up the recent Power Rangers Pink #1.

The MVP of MMPR #4 is Hendry Prasetya. This is the first big battle issue in the series and he pulls out all the stops. 15 of the 20 pages showcase an action scene or a new monster design. And each of them are fantastic. I’m not going to post the whole issue but here’s a small sample.

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The remaining 5 pages have 2 story beats. The first is Tommy conquering the visions of Rita he’s been having since the start of the series. It’s a nice payoff & leads into the 2nd story beat.

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Which is Jason & Zack arguing with Tommy because he disregarded Jason’s order to stay out of the big battle. This infighting doesn’t feel earned to me. Perhaps Tommy was wrong to join the battle but Jason & Zack’s reactions are way over the top. I don’t get why they would come close to blows over it especially when the battle ended so well for The Rangers.

Tommy has had the most character development in the series by mile. So far he’s the main character. I need more characterization for Jason & Zack before this kind of infighting can be palatable. Right now they just come across as jerks.

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Favorite scene(s)

I love this transformation sequence. It’s simple, full of color & gets you pumped to read the battle with the Dragonzord. Perhaps these will get stale in future. But for now I look forward to the transformations as much as anything else in an issue.

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Not-so-favorite scene(s)

The main story consists of 20 pages. 2 more pages are devoted to a backup strip, The Ongoing Adventures of Bulk & Skull. I don’t dislike Bulk & Skull as characters but I don’t care for the backup strip. Especially when most mainstream comics are 22 pages long. I would much rather have 2 more pages drawn by Prasetya.

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Final thought(s)

The first big battle issue of MMPR is exceptional. Prasetya kills it with well-paced, dynamic action and awesome monster designs.

Rating

A-

Review – The Mighty Thor (volume 3) #8

Published June 2016

Creator(s)

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Plot(s)

Jane Foster gets taken in for questioning by agents of Shield. Dario Agger gets attacked during a meeting with a group of industrialist villains.

My reaction(s)

  • There’s a scene that hints at a possible romantic interest between Jane & Roz Solomon. Making Roz bi-sexual is a cool idea. It’s been awhile since I’ve read issues with Roz as a central character. I only remember her as a 2nd romantic interest for The Odinson who’s also an environmentalist. An Odinnson/Jane/Roz love triangle would add a new dimension to her. But maybe I’m reading too much into it.

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  • During the villain’s meeting we get Dauterman’s take on Silver Samurai Jr. I love everything about it. I love how he destroys Dario’s empire 3 different ways in 2 minutes. I love his transformation sequence with his cell phone. I love the design of the armor. I even love his green suit. I hope to see more of Shingen Harada.

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Favorite scene(s)

  • Jane’s entrance to the villain’s meeting. This feels like it would work for any version of Thor. Also Roz’s reaction is adorable.

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  • I’m a sucker for creative uses with lettering.

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Not-so-favorite scene(s)

  • I don’t understand how Oubliette Midas is able to clear a room of armed guards when she has her back turned to them. I guess she’s just that good a shot? I wouldn’t buy this page if it had replaced her with Hawkeye. It’s a dynamic page in some ways but a little unclear in others.

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Final thought(s)

This issue is excellent. I was excited to read it but I’m even more excited for the next issue. The whole creative team is firing on all cylinders.

Rating

A