Best Shots Rapid Reviews: SAGA, FANTASTIC FOUR, More

Greetings, True Believers! Best Shots is ready to rock 'n roll with our weekly Rapid-Fire Reviews! So let's cut to the quick with Jose Camacho, as he checks out the first new issue of Image's Saga since August...


Saga #7 (Published by Image Comics; Review by Jose Camacho; 'Rama Rating: 10 out of 10): Welcome to the unofficial Thanksgiving issue! While Hazel and her parents may not be having a turkey dinner, they do have the in-laws crashing the party. This is a big one, and I am not referring to the full-frontal nudity that graces the issue. This issue continues to develop the outlandish brand of hilarity that has made Saga so popular. Vaughan has moved past the introductions and is now throwing in conflict at full force. In other words, now that we have grown to love these characters, Vaughan is putting them through the grinder. Fans of the series can attest that he is not past killing characters. No matter the setting, Staples has been consistently creating awesome art with her signature style. 


Fantastic Four #1 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Edward Kaye; ’Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): Matt Fraction takes over the reins of Marvel’s First Family, delivering more of the tried and tested blend of super-science, action, adventure and excitement that readers have come to love. This first issue doesn’t change much from Hickman’s monumental run on the title, with Fraction maintaining the great family dynamic and characterization that made that run so special. He uses the issue to sow the seeds of the family’s next big adventure, through both time and space, and sets things up for the new team who will be taking their place in the pages of FF. Mark Bagley’s artwork fits the Fantastic Four perfectly — it’s big, bold, and dynamic, and conveys a sense of action and excitement. Not to be missed.


Ame-Comi Girls Featuring Batgirl #2 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Jake Baumgart; 'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): It’s been said for years that it’s been an uphill battle for females who want to get into comics. However, with DC’s toy-line-turned-comic Ame-Comi Girls ladies might have a decent comic for them that doesn’t patronize. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray do a great job running that hard line that appeals to girls, preteen to teenage, without it being an obnoxious joke. Without the typical baggage of history and origin, Ame-Comi Girls drops the reader into a fun and fast world; with the major heroes and villains are stylized, feminine, versions of their normal DC counterparts. Full of high-adventure, great visuals and just a little bit of raciness, Ame-Comi Girls #2 is a fun read for everyone.


X-Men Legacy #1 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Edward Kaye; ’Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): Simon Spurrier takes "Legacy" in a new direction, focusing on the legacy of Charles Xavier, i.e., his son David, aka Legion. This first issue is mainly spent introducing new readers to the character, and contains some brilliant characterization and dialogue that show that Spurrier really has a strong grasp on what makes this character tick. Particularly impressive is the way in which he handles the character’s multiple personalities and powers, which gives this already interesting character a whole new dimension. Tan Eng Huat’s artwork is energetic and cartoony, and he does a great job of bringing to life all of David’s different powers and the legion of characters living inside his head. The most promising X-Men book in the NOW! lineup.


Batman and Robin #14 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Jake Baumgart; 'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): What started as an interesting path for Batman and Robin to take (with the Dynamic Duo fighting zombies) seems washed away and cleaned up the "Death of the Family" crossover. What started in the last issue wraps up pretty quickly in #14 and begins to set the stage for Joker’s return to the Gotham. It’s almost feels like there is unfinished business between the bloodthirsty cult and the Caped Crusaders. The same could be said for the art. Although Pat Gleason and Tomas Giorello are both amazing artists in their own right, it’s a strange pairing and the shift back and forth between the two is a bit distracting but representative of the flip-flopping storyline. Hopefully, when the crossover is over, Tomasi will put Gotham’s best back on the case.


Where is Jake Ellis #1 (Published by Image Comics; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): I'm warning readers right now: Where is Jake Ellis #1 is not for newcomers. Nathan Edmondson and Tonci Zonjic make a small attempt to bring newbies up to speed, but you're better served to read the first collection and come back. And you better, because this is one heck of a setup. Both Jake and Jon have been through hell since the last series, and from what we can gather, that doesn't include the time they lived in each other's head. While Edmondson continues to show his skill with realistic dialogue mixed with tight action, it's Zonjic that shines. His art has never been more intense and though there is a departure from his previously muted color tones, it's a welcome shift. A strong return.


Wolverine and the X-Men #20 (Published by Marvel Comics, Review by Scott Cederlund, ‘Rama Rating: 3 out of 10): Jason Aaron struggles to find the punky spirit this series started with. Those first issues had a defiant zing whenever characters like Broo, Quentin Quire or Idie showed up which it lost whenever one of the old X-Men like Wolverine or Beast showed up. This issue shows how Aaron cannot draw out that energy from the old guard X-Men as Angel travels to Brazil to rescue/recruit a new mutant to the school and Steve Sanders doesn’t have the dynamic line or layout to make up for the stories lack of vigor. With painful, expository dialogue and undeveloped conflicts, Aaron writes just another standard X-Men comic featuring undefined characters like Angel or the new mutant. Worse than undefined, they just feel old and worn out. 


Great Pacific #1 (Published by Image Comics; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 6 out of 10): The environmental message in Great Pacific #1 is but a vehicle in which Joe Harris and Martin Morazzo drive their narrative. For now, it's a smart call. It would have been easy to focus on the very real danger of our trash collecting in the ocean, and ignore the driving force of this tale. That of young Chas Worthington and his attempt to not only rise above family expectations, but make humanity proud to call Chas one of it's own. At least for now. Although Harris' writing is strong and moves with a good pace, Morazzo feels like an odd artistic fit. While Morazzo's sweeping landscapes are gorgeous, his composition and characterizations simply aren't working. I hope he smooths out, because the story deserves it.


Red She-Hulk #59 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Jake Baumgart; 'Rama Rating: 5 out of 10): Sadly, the second issue of Red She-Hulk is just as clunky as the title. Whereas most of the Marvel NOW! relaunch books are finding a new theme or angle for a title character, Red She-Hulk seems to be all over the place with this. It’s hard to imagine the once passive scientist Betty Ross now Hulk’ed out in red, jet-packing through bridges and going on cerebral missions against the government and Avengers. Series writer Jeff Parker seems to have a lot on Betty’s to-do list but fits more than needed into the issue. Between the government angle, the mental child and the renegade tone, there are too many themes are going on at once and Red She-Hulk can’t smash them all.


Suicide Squad #14 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Jake Baumgart; 'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): Odds are pretty good that if you are already reading Suicide Squad before the "Death of the Family" tie-in you were a fan of Harley Quinn. The fan-favorite has been a staple in this comic with its revolving cast, and the odds of her sticking around longer are definitely in favor. So, a Harley-heavy issue delivered by Adam Glass and Frenando Dagnino probably isn’t very upsetting to longtime readers. However, the fluidity is lost in the issue with the back-and-forth of what’s happening to Harley and Joker while the team deals with the fallout of their battle with Regulus and the death of Deadshot. Harley fans are certainly rejoicing this month, but readers who are invested in a little more might feel slighted.


Courtney Crumrin #7 (Published by Oni Press; Review by Lan Pitts; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): With Courtney and Calperina on the run from the Coven, things are looking pretty dim for them, especially having Courtney's uncle Aloysius' true colors apparently revealed. The tension is definitely building for a head-on collision at some point, but things take an interesting turn here. Ted Naifeh has always had a good eye for design for his creatures, and this issue is a primary example of the things rattling in his brain. Where colorist Warren Wucinich usually brought color and brightness to this series thus far, here, there's nothing really go on. The issue takes place at night and it's understandable to use darker colors, but it just feels overdone here and some character details are lost. 

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