In a word, Doctor Doom by Christopher Cantwell and Salvador Larroca is propulsive. It kicks off quick and does not stop. The hook is simple: an international tragedy has occurred, and it looks like Doom is the culprit. This makes ol’ Victor the world’s most wanted fugitive, and puts him at a severe disadvantage. Good pitch! Doom is indisputably the best villain in the Marvel universe, possibly of comics in general, and conceivably the entirety of fiction. And the comic is good… but not perfect! To better understand the quality of this series, we are going to turn to three men. The first is series writer Christopher Cantwell. The second: main series artist Salvador Larroca. And finally, we will consider Victor Von Doom himself, in all his armored glory. [Read more…] about Doctor Doom by Christopher Cantwell & Salvador Larroca Review!
At last! A two-issue run of Year 10 action! (Well, HOX 3 is actually mostly just suspense.)
And the Pepe Larraz cover of HOX 3, a blockbuster sci-fi action movie poster, kicks it off. We’ve got five senior X-Men—the revived trio of Cyke, Logan, and Jean; Kurt wielding a very large sword, much larger than his usual rapier or cutlass; and Warren as Archangel—and “Gen Xers” Monet and Paige Guthrie, or Husk. Their target is clear: The Mother Mold in orbit around the Sun.
Alan Moore’s run on Saga of the Swamp Thing is really darn good. The story of a plant who believes it’s a man, wandering the universe trying to find its place in everything – it’s melancholy and introspective, and it’s one of the most acclaimed Big 2 comics out there. So of course, it’s a hard legacy to live up to. There have been plenty follow ups, most of them unremarkable – even from creators who are otherwise fairly noteworthy. But DC decided to give it another proper shake in the New 52, with Scott Snyder taking the reigns.
Snyder’s run immediately distinguishes itself as something quite different from its predecessors, establishing right away that Alec Holland is, in fact, a person. More than that – Alec Holland had died and been replaced by a plant who thought it was a man. But in an act of grace from The Green, he was eventually resurrected and given a new lease on life. It’s… a weird situation, especially in the context of the New 52’s branding as a complete beginner-friendly reboot. We’re expected to understand that the events of Moore’s run did occur, but now the original Alec Holland is back. Sure, whatever.
As its own entity, though, the run’s fascinating. It veers so hard into its new direction that it’s quite unlike everything that came before it. Swamp Thing is the Avatar of the Green, yes, but he’s more than that. He’s the Green’s sole warrior to defend against the Red (animals) and the Rot (decay). The entire run is focused around a war between these three forces of life, instigated by the genesis of a new Avatar of the Rot. It’s high stakes, constantly moving, and genuinely feels like an event comic before the actual event even starts. [Read more…] about The Old 52: Swamp Thing New 52 Omnibus Review!
Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung Fu, has been punching and kicking his way around the Marvel universe since 1973. Despite being a year older than the likes of Wolverine, he’s never really led an ongoing series (with his name on the cover). Well, if you’ve ever wondered what a Shang-Chi ongoing would look like, there’s a pilot of sorts: a propulsive miniseries by Gene Luen Yang (Dragon Hoops, Superman Smashes the Klan), Dike Ruan (Black Cat), and Philip Tan (Batman and Robin, Spawn). Shang-Chi shows us exactly what makes Marvel’s premiere martial arts hero stand out from the pack. [Read more…] about Shang-Chi by Gene Luen Yang & Philip Tan Review!
Image’s “November” by Matt Fraction and Elsa Charretier is a four-part, gritty, crime thriller about three women who become ensnared within a violent plot perpetrated by corrupt police, and go about fighting for their lives amidst a tide of masculine violence. Interweaving multiple perspectives, it’s a story that blends noir crime fiction with hard-boiled mystery, while smoothly including impactful lesbian romances with depth and realism.
“November” was released as four graphic novels, serialized between November 2019 and March 2021 in beautiful 60-page hardcover editions. Each moody volume gives the story a sustained momentum where the reader is able to sit longer with each character and meditate on the colorized clues. Matt Fraction and Elsa Charretier plant such intricate devils in the details, relying on a reader’s keenest faculties of observation, that “November” might not appeal to some casual readers. Nonetheless, lovers of the hard-boiled and the noir will feel this is a masterpiece. [Read more…] about Best New Graphic Novel: Meditations in an Emergency – Review of Complex Noir-Thriller “November” [Parts I-IV]