Best Shots Rapid-Fire Reviews: DAREDEVIL #4, GRAYSON #17, FAITH #2, More

Valiant February 2016 cover
Credit: Valiant Entertainment

Greetings, 'Rama readers! Ready for your Thursday pellets? Best Shots has you covered, with this week's installment of our Rapid-Fire Reviews! So let's kick off today's column with Jousting Jake Baumgart, as he takes a look at the latest issue of Daredevil...

Credit: Marvel Comics

Daredevil #4 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Jake Baumgart; 'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): Following a few issues of shaky set-up, Charles Soule, Ron Garney and Goran Sudžuka’s take on Daredevil has found its footing, feeling natural and exciting all over again as Matt Murdock struggles with the crime lord Tenfingers as well as discovering his own role after returning to New York City. Not only does Soule balance characters like Blindspot without making Matt's story feel off-balance, but he nails the relationship between Matt and Steve Rogers, with the former Captain America treating Daredevil like a pro and Matt looking to Cap for superheroic penance. Garney and Sudžuka are a perfect fit for Daredevil as well, channeling some of the chaotic grittiness of Frank Miller with an updated presentation that’s both dynamic and artful. There have been several iconic runs on the character, and if Daredevil's creative team continues its momentum, audiences might be looking at another one.

Credit: DC Comics

Grayson #17 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): Tim Seeley teams up with Carmine Di Giandomenico for a particularly punchy issue of Grayson, which doubles down on the action and the guest stars, even if the cerebral spy stuff gets a little lost by the wayside. By when you have Dick Grayson going hand-to-hand with adversaries like Grifter and Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., do you really need anything deeper than that? There are some very fun moments here, like Grayson using some unexpected weaponry, or the way he still uses his detective training when taking on a telepath like Grifter. Di Giandomenico does great work choreographing the acrobatic Grayson, as he bounces like a human pinball against these certified tough-guys - that said, Jeromy Cox's colors do look a little flat here - I think his rendering could have been a little sharper and more geometric to go with Di Giandomenico's angular lines. All in all, a nice showing, even if it focuses more on fights than intrigue.

Credit: Marvel Comics

All-New All-Different Avengers #6 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): It was the best of times, it was the worst of times - and if the time-traveling Kang has his way, time is the thing that the All-New All-Different Avengers is running out of. Mark Waid delivers a very smart, quickly paced time-travel romp, with some very fun moments, including Jane Foster weaponizing a temporal paradox, or Miles Morales using his Spider-smarts to get the jump on dozens upon dozens of supervillains. (Also, Tony Stark delivering probably the single best Avengers one-liner that's seen print in years.) Mahmud Asrar also makes for some fluid and clean combat, although Dave McCaig's colors feel just a touch too cool in temperature for what should be an energetic flagship title. The other downside is that Waid drops the threads he's been building for one Avenger very abruptly, with the resultant twist feeling a little forced. That said, things are definitely looking up for Marvel's premiere superteam.

Credit: Ryan Kelly (Image Comics)

Cry Havoc #2 (Published by Image Comics; Review by Justin Partridge; ‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): Si Spurrier, Ryan Kelly, and their colorist triumvirate’s legion of monsters gets a little bit more defined in this week’s Cry Havoc #2. As Lou languishes in the Red Place at the hands of her target, Spurrier uses the downtime to flashback both to Lou’s early days as a werewolf in London as well as the opening days of her mission in Afghanistan, while giving us all sorts of juicy details about the supernatural soldiers that surround her. Ryan Kelly once again turns in some stellar and bloody good pages throughout, including a particularly gruesome page of one of Lou’s compatriots transforming and laying waste to some embedded enemies. While the debut issue was all about laying groundwork, Cry Havoc #2 is all about expanding on the groundwork with a funny, blood soaked, and entertaining second issue.

Credit: Marvel Comics

All-New X-Men #5 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): While the other X-Men titles are "Terrigen Mist" this and "Mutant death camps" that, it's Dennis Hopeless and Mark Bagley that have really captured the soap opera likability of the Children of the Atom in All-New X-Men. While the other X-Men books are so focused on what it's like being a mutant, All-New X-Men shows the teenage X-Men at their most human. Beats like Iceman struggling to come to terms with being gay or Angel and Wolverine's unhealthy relationship or Idie lashing out against the inhumanity of the divine are done with finesse and sensitivity, and that sort of thoughtfulness is something that could really be emulated in many other books. Mark Bagley also seems to be more energized than I've seen in quite some time, as he really nails the drama that these kids are going through. If you haven't been reading this book, you're missing out on the best X-book on the stands.

Credit: DC Comics

Superman #49 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 5 out of 10): "He gave me his heart. I'm not giving any less." Gene Luen Yang prepares Superman for his last stand against Vandal Savage, and while not everybody makes it out of this issue alive, the issue as a whole ultimately feels a little cheap. The cliffhanger from Superman/Wonder Woman is immediately resolved, while the sudden appearance of a gaggle of guest stars feels self-indulgent because it is so abrupt (and also because Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder did something so similar a few issues ago in Action Comics). The end of the issue can pluck the heartstrings, but the problem remains - with so little setup, nothing really feels earned. Artist Jack Herbert, meanwhile, is all over the place - there are times where he reminds me of Rags Morales or Eddy Barrows, such as a great double-page spread of Superman's backup, but other times, like Wonder Woman's weird aerial kick, his inking and composition feels very rough. There's a lot going on in this book, and I look forward to the Man of Steel regaining some much-needed focus.

Credit: Valiant Entertainment

Faith #2 (Published by Valiant Entertainment; Review by Justin Partridge; ‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): Faith Herbert is back on shelves this week and hot on the trail of the organization kidnaping fellow superpowered people. While the first issue was all about establishing Faith’s civilian and costumed life, Faith #2 is all about her using both to her advantage. Writer Jody Houser effortlessly folds both Faith’s job as a writer and job as a costumed hero into one as she works the case both in and out of her Zephyr persona and even swallows her pride to attempt to recruit her famous super ex-boyfriend into the fray. Artist Francis Portela and colorist Andrew Dalhouse acquit themselves adequately to Faith’s real world setting but this month Portela’s facial expressions tend to repeat themselves a few times throughout. Though not as propulsive as the debut issue Faith #2 continues Valiant’s most charming title with a fun sophomore effort.

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