'Rama readers, are you ready for some Rapid Review-age? Best Shots is locked and loaded with an even dozen pellet reviews, all for your reading enjoyment! So let's get right to it, as Vanessa Gabriel takes a look at the latest from John Layman and Rob Guillory’s Chew...
Chew #28 (Published by Image Comics; Review by Vanessa Gabriel; 'Rama Rating: 10 out of 10): Chew #28 is more entertaining than it has any permission to be, while still unfolding psychedelic layers of beef and biowarfare in John Layman and Rob Guillory’s Chewverse. Seeing Poyo gently tucked under John Colby’s arm while he visits his ex-partner Tony in the hospital are the kinds of moments I live for in comics. It is this kind of culmination of excellent character building and humor that make Chew such a joy to read. Layman delivers many of the best things about Chew in Issue #28: John Colby’s perfect arrogance, bizarre plot twists, Tony Chu’s impeccable sense of duty, a few good story reveals… and Poyo. The cherry on top is Guillory’s art is shining as he colors his way to hilarious. The pacing, character moments and art are as bold as Poyo is homicidal. Chew #28 is an excellent read. Green Lantern Corps #0 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Jake Baumgart; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): This is how you tell a Green Lantern #0 story! The jury might be out on Guy Garner’s fanbase in the DCU, but no one can argue that this guy isn’t a character. Writer Peter J. Tomasi takes the loudmouth ring-slinger and gives his a background that justifies his brash attitude. Sure, he is still sort of a lout, but a loveable one regardless. Tomasi gives dimension to the character and really lets him stand on his own amongst the Corps. Fernando Pasarin keeps up with Tomasi and shines during the family moments between the Garner siblings. In Green Lantern Corps #0, although the bowl cut is gone, the Guy remains.
Uncanny X-Men #18 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): I came for Ron Garney, but stayed for the surprisingly chilling story. Garney's artwork looks perfectly dynamic, a sort of scratchy little brother of Oliver Coipel or one of the Kubert boys. Writer Kieron Gillen gives a disturbing insight into the minds of the Phoenix-empowered Cyclops and Emma Frost, and I love love loved the moment where Colossus and his hellspawn sister Magik have an understanding that has long been coming. From an execution standpoint, this may be even better than the main Avengers vs. X-Men comic.
The Creep #1 (Published by Dark Horse Comics; Review by Vanessa Gabriel; 'Rama Rating: 6 out of 10): The Creep #1 is a slow moving, but deliberate story as private investigator Oxel Karnhus tries to uncover why his high school sweetheart’s son committed suicide. Disfigured by a disease, his outward appearance is brutish and ogre-like. But the character has a quiet consideration that the reader can empathize with. He’s good, and you know it. Writer John Arcudi gives subtle hints, as if you're the investigator gradually figuring things out. Jonathan Case’s art is a lovely fit for The Creep, tonally. And really it is just lovely, period. Case is a master at human expression, and the color work and layout is superb. The Creep #1 presents a picture of desolation and sadness in the aftermath of suicide, but there remains a small sliver of hope — that is, if Oxel can put the pieces together.
Avengers vs. X-Men #11 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 6 out of 10): The artwork in this book is fiiiiiine, but the story and balance between the characters still could use plenty of work. Oliver Coipel's boxy characters read as the model for Marvel today, especially moments like Hulk tossing Wolverine at an enemy or Storm flying at us, lightning bolts ready to fire. But the big moment — the death of Professor X — still feels arbitrary, given his late introduction to this series. Brian Michael Bendis does play up Cyclops' increasing desperation to keep fighting, but at the same time, the ensemble of this book feels largely glossed over. Charles' death is what makes this comic memorable — but to be honest, saying that feels like rewarding bad behavior elsewhere.
Resurrection Man #0 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Edward Kaye; ’Rama Rating: 6 out of 10): This is an odd zero issue, in that it’s not a zero issue at all. In fact, this is the series grand finale, and the events follow on directly from Issue #12’s big reveal. There is a brief flashback to the events of five years ago, which nicely explains how there came to be two Mitch Shelleys, however, it feels a bit forced. As finales go, this one is decent enough, and wraps up all of the series’ loose ends, but it seems a little rushed and compressed. It feels a lot like Abnett and Lanning had longer reaching plans for the series, but DC told them they had to wrap things up quickly. It’s a shame to see it go, because this was one of the better New 52 titles.
Avenging Spider-Man #12 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Jake Baumgart; 'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): The public demands more Deadpool, and Marvel happily provides! Even though the formula still feels like "add Deadpool, and a script will follow," the lighter tone in Avenging Spider-Man isn’t derailed by the Merc with a Mouth, even when the story switches from animated comedy to uncomfortably trippy. The clear standout was artist Aaron Kuder. With the Regeneratin’ Degenerate teaming up with Ol' Webhead, Kuder shines with a unique style that lets the book be both cartoony and visual realistic at the same time. Although some of the backgrounds were lacking, the figures are intriguing enough that the eye is never bored. Plus, how can you hate that Breakfast Club parody?
Batman and Robin #0 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Jake Baumgart; 'Rama Rating: 5 out of 10): Although Patrick Gleason does an excellent job on pencils, not a lot has changed as far as the story goes. This Damian-heavy story just rehashes what came before and what is pretty much inferred every time the current Robin shows up. Peter J. Tomasi doesn’t fail at this — far from it. It’s just really hard to get excited about a character this new getting his exact origin retold again. Tomasi’s narrative is tight, but not a lot is added to the character. Sadly, this look back doesn’t humanize or make Damian any more likeable. Batman and Robin #0 just reiterates that Damian is a little punk... and that’s about it.
Journey Into Mystery #643 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 6 out of 10): Longtime readers of Kieron Gillen's run with the teenage god of mischief Loki, but if you've missed any steps of this trickster's tale, you might be in for a tough read. Gillen pulls a nice twist for Loki's story — a twist which could just be a counter-twist, given this kid's past as a lying villain — and that does help give this book some teeth. The problem: Way too much reliance on past issues' minutiae, and way too much text in an already hard-to-read Asgardian font by letterer Clayton Cowles. Artist Carmine Di Giandomenico looks slick and gorgeous as ever, but his fluid lines don't feel like the right fit for this book, particularly not the craggy Thor. Still, a pivotal moment for Loki and solid art make this book a decent enough read.
Batgirl #0 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 5 out of 10): Considering Barbara Gordon isn't a part of DC's Trinity, even the most casual fan knows how she came to put on the cowl. Gail Simone tries her best to put a new spin on the early days of Babs, but I found myself more interested in the fleeting moments with James, Jr. When we get to the Joker standing outside her door, we learn that Batgirl #0 offers little insight. Ed Benes stills draws with an eye towards the sexy bad-girl look, which is not something I want in a story that's focused on a teenage girl. I know Barbara's transition from Oracle to Batgirl should take more than an issue. But, I can't help but feel it would have been a bolder choice for a #0 issue.
Conan the Barbarian #8 (Published by Dark Horse Comics; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 4 out of 10): Conan the Travel Agent. Sure, a little harsh, but that's all that kept popping in my head as I read Conan #8. I understand that Brian Wood is trying to drive home the harsh and desolate landscape that is Cimmeria. But I'd rather feel these emotions through the art, not Wood's endless description of just how rough Conan's home can be. Which is where this issue again falters. Vasilis Lolos pencils, coupled with a rare coloring misstep by Dave Stewart turn in a rather bland book. While I understand it's a rough place, but if Conan sees the beauty in it and Belit the desolation, we as the reader should experience both. We do not. A rare stumble for a normally strong title.
Team #7 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Edward Kaye; ’Rama Rating: 5 out of 10): Team 7 is one part S.H.I.E.L.D., one part Suicide Squad, and one part The Boys (albeit a very tame version), all wrapped up in a Wildstorm-flavored candy coating. The idea has potential, but it’s difficult to get a feel for the story with this issue. It seems very much like a soft launch, in that nothing really happens, except that we are introduced to the various members of Team 7. There are a few familiar faces, which are there to make fans go, “OMG! It’s Amanda Waller!” But these are cheap thrills at best, and don’t speak to the quality of the writing. Hopefully Issue #1 will give us something more substantial, because this was very much a false start. Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!