Think fast, 'Rama readers! Best Shots is back, closing out the week with our Rapid-Fire Reviews! So let's start this column off with some action, as we take a look at Andy Diggle and Tony Daniel's Action Comics...
Action Comics #19 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): Not a bad issue, even if this is the only issue Andy Diggle and Tony Daniel will actually have built together. Although if I had to argue which one had the most impact, I'd say it's Daniel, who looks pretty sharp with colorist Tomeu Morey giving everything cool tones. Diggle, at his best, keeps his words to a minimum, distilling Superman as someone who isn't going to instigate... but still as someone you wouldn't like when he was angry. Those sequences are where Daniel really tears the roof off, especially an image where he smashes a giant robot... with another giant robot. That said, the timeline with Lois Lane and John Carroll is jarring, and the actual threat feels a little vague and ill-defined. Definitely not a new era, more like a stopgap, but a decently drawn one nevertheless.
Superior Spider-Man #7 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): This issue looks great, with Humberto Ramos drawing the hell out of a fight scene between Spider-Ock and the energy-wielding Cardiac, but there's one slight problem: no matter how fun this comic reads, it's still almost beat-for-beat identical to last issue, aside from a minor plot point for Peter Parker that probably could have been incorporated last month. But that's not a bad thing for Ramos, who makes Otto look acrobatic yet still physically on edge, his very body language (such as the way he swings through the air) looking very different than Peter. Still, Dan Slott gets points for seamlessly reintroducing Cardiac back into the fold as a sort of Robin Hood-meets-medical-magnate, and his cliffhanger promises for an amazing next issue. Scratch that — it sounds superior.
Swamp Thing #19 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): Charles Soule had some big shoes to fill after Scott Snyder. However, Swamp Thing #19 is a very strong debut for this new creative team. Soule finds a good balance between new and old readers, while drafting a very interesting mystery that incorporates a nice slice of the DC universe. Kano on art has some good concepts, and while he doesn't pull them all off perfectly, I like the direction he's going. He has a strong lock on Swamp Thing as both a man and monster that works well with Soule's tone. This might not be the end of the world epic we've come to expect from the title, it's no less enjoyable and I'll make sure it stays on my pull list. Good times.
Deadpool #7 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): Forget dead presidents — the Marvel Universe already has a colorful history for Deadpool to lampoon, as Brian Posehn, Gerry Dugan and Scott Koblish knock it out of the park with a crude, rude and altogether hilarious take on the somber Iron Man story "Demon in a Bottle." From Posehn and Dugan's constant Spider-Man in-jokes ("Is Uncle Ben going to get shot again?" Peter Parker asks himself at one point) to the spot-on '80s homage Koblish pulls, you will find a lot to laugh about. Part of that is because the writers and the artist each do their own thing, letting the comedians riff in dialogue while Koblish just makes everything look goofy as hell. Think of an extended MAD Magazine gag targeted squarely at comics lore, and you've got this comic in a nutshell. Quite the surprising — and satisfying — read.
Batwing #19 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 2 out of 10): Jeez, when DC decides they don't like a character, they really don't like that character. You can tell that Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti are in a bit of a rush to just get rid of this guy, as not only are half the chapter titles about "the end of the beginning" or "tying loose ends," but everyone and their mother is telling David Zavimbe goodbye, as he quits both his day job and Batman Incorporated with only the haziest of platitudes. Eduardo Pansica reminds me a lot of Tom Raney at times, particularly the way he draws his expressive character features. That said, sometimes it goes over the top, particularly the hilarious tears coming off David's face as he quits on Batman. I think what gets me the most is the new replacement for Batwing, however — this semi-new character just feels so lazy and is so antithetical to the idea of a Batman for Africa that I'm just shaking my head. I'll check out next month just to see what happens with this new guy, but I'm not optimistic.
All-New X-Men #10 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Jake Baumgart; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): One of Brian Michael Bendis’s greatest strengths is his ability to rebuild comic franchises that are in need of some repair. That’s right- Bendis is the Bob Villa of comics and the writer has gone all “This Old House” on the All-New X-Men. AVX left Marvel fans with a lot of questions and Bendis rolls through them each issue while setting things back to a familiar norm as far as the X-Men’s history is concerned. How great is it to see a more traditional Brotherhood again?! With Stuart Immonen setting a nice balance between Humberto Ramos and Olivier Coipel (perfect for the X-Men), Bendis navigates the readers through those burning questions about allegiances will keeping the action at eleven. This is the X-Book for long time fans of Marvel’s Merry Mutants.
Godzilla The Half Century War #5 (Published by IDW Publishing; Review by Rob McMonigal; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): With the fate of the world at stake, Murakami has one last chance to make his peace with Godzilla as this mini-series closes. James Stokoe pulls out all the stops for this one, returning to the idea of Godzilla as destructive savior of the earth. I love the way that we’ve built to this moment, where Murakami finally has enough power to be on the monsters’ level. The fight itself is spectacularly destructive, with incredibly detailed artwork showing every scale on the creatures and every line in Murakami’s face. It’s a neat touch that this happens in Antarctica, so the focus is on the monsters and not surrounding buildings. Stokoe’s ending closes the story by not ending things definitively, leaving room for Godzilla’s inevitable return.
Thanos Rising #1 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 3 out of 10): I love all the big cosmic baddies, because they are just that. Big unknowns that show up once in a while to cause havoc. I don't love cosmic baddies with childhood issues. As much as I respect Jason Aaron, I just can't buy that Thanos loves death because he had a crappy childhood. Yup, that's the point of Thanos Rising #1. It simply isn't needed or all that enjoyable. Simone Bianchi's art helps a bit, but seeing a gangly and awkward Thanos doesn't add a thing to the character or universe. Indeed, it takes a bit away from the villain that Marvel's hanging the bulk of their phase 2 flicks upon. Maybe the Avengers can just buy him a puppy and call it good. Apart from Simone Peruzzi's good colors, this book is a waste of talent.
Fairest #14 (Published by Vertigo; Review by Vanessa Gabriel; ‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): In a clever one-and-done issue, Bill Willingham expands upon his Fables mythos in a way that feels like these moments were always a part of the story. Fairest #14 finds us on the farm and is narrated by Reynard the Fox, who can now shift into a very handsome man. After his friend, Princess Alder, is subject to a comedy of dating errors, they are to have a romantic dinner. As with all fables, there is a lesson here. It is taught with a playful and engaging dialogue. The crisp art of Barry Kitson and Inaki Miranda with the colors of Andrew Dalhouse make a very pretty comic book. Fairest #14 is an enjoying read for all, but Fables initiates will get a little extra payoff.
Harbinger Wars #1 (Published by Valiant; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): This comic has some lofty goals, I'll give it that. Harbinger Wars #1 does it's best to kick off the event and act as an introduction to Valiant for newer readers. Writers Joshua Dysart & Duane Swierczynski do a decent job at both, though not quite enough to put this title over the top. However, on the visuals, this is one solid title. Clayton Henry, Clayton Crain, and Mico Suavan add real tension to the events happening on the page, while never once losing a character in a more than crowded cast. Although the color scheme is a bit muted at times, it plays well to the style of the story and content. Newer readers might feel overwhelmed, but Harbinger Wars #1 offers just enough to make me want more.
Miss Fury #1 (Published by Dynamite Entertainment; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 5 out of 10): As a concept, Miss Fury #1 is all kinds of fun. The first female pulp hero transported into the present to fight secret Nazis while combating her own questionable sanity. Nice. Yet there scenes writer Rob Williams chose when detailing Fury's past that make me, as a modern reader, rather uncomfortable. While I understand the pulp roots, it's hard to get past the Marla Drake's cavalier attitude while in Africa. Future issues might help my thoughts, but for now, it's hard to take in. Jack Herbert's pencils are mixed. One moment they're rich and violent, only to appear quick and lazy the next. If he learns to play to the visual strengths of the character, we might be onto something. Alas, Miss Fury still has a way to go. Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!