Best Shots Rapid Reviews: BIRDS OF PREY, CAPT AMERICA, More

Greetings, 'Rama readers! Best Shots is coming 2 fast, 2 furious with this week's Rapid-Fire Reviews! So buckle your seatbelts and salute the flag, as we take a look at the latest issue of Captain America...


Captain America #5 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): There's a lot of sci-fi kookiness to this book that might not immediately scream "Captain America," but believe me — Rick Remender totally lands the dismount here. While at first the weakened Cap might grate on you — yeah, being infected with Arnim Zola's consciousness can wear you down — Remender amps up the action with Zola's daughter Jet, who proves to be a worthy foe for Steve. John Romita Jr. also has some powerful introductory shots, particularly when Jet and Zola get their licks in. And the end just ties together all of Remender's themes perfectly, leaving the good Captain with the most badass cliffhanger I've seen in awhile. Definitely one of the best issues of this run yet.


Birds of Prey #18 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Vanessa Gabriel; ‘Rama Rating: 6 out of 10): Birds of Prey #18 sees the start of a new story arc and the premier of writer Christy Marx. While Canary internally grapples with losing control of her sonic scream, the other Birds are getting acquainted with each other. The cheeky chemistry of this team built by writer Duane Swierczynski is a big part of this book’s charm. Marx does a good job of maintaining that chemistry until one of Gotham’s biggest and baddest shows up. In a traditional rock ‘em sock ’em scene, the flow of dialogue goes from honest to eye-rolling. Trite one-liners aside, artist Romano Molenar creates stunning perspectives and Chris Sotmayor’s colors are excellent. Birds of Prey touts some of the best character potential in the DCU, let’s hope Marx can find her stride in the coming issues and make them fly.


Saga #11 (Published by Image Comics; Review by Rob McMonigal; 'Rama Rating: 10 out of 10):

Alana, Marko, and the rest of Saga’s cast learn there’s a thin line between life and death in an issue that shows this series hasn’t slowed down one bit.  Writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Fiona Staples are unmatched at mixing the most shockingly crude ideas possible with touching moments that will bring a tear to your eye.  The opening features feelings of lust but the issue closes with a heartbreaking sense of loss to in Staples’ final pages and Vaughn’s closing lines.  I cannot say enough good things about Staples’ art, which enhances every moment in the script with dynamic character placement and faces that tell more than they’ll ever say out loud.  Saga remains one of the best books being published right now.


Avengers #6 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): With all the introductions and setup we've seen the past few months, it's been a little while since we saw the Avengers really flex their muscles as a team, so it's nice to see Jonathan Hickman give a little more spotlight to Marvel's mightiest. Hulk and Captain Marvel get the best moment of the week, showing that there are plenty of new character dynamics to mine. Dustin Weaver also draws some really fluid panels, with detail work ranging from Iron Man's amorphous armor to Captain Marvel's helm opening and closing. The book's problem? There's still a lot of focus on the New Universe crowd, which the Avengers themselves wind up throwing the first punch. It leaves you a little uneasy, but the fireworks are enough to make Avengers worthwhile.


The Private Eye #1 (Published by Panel Syndicate; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10):
What Brian K Vaughan and Marcos Martin are attempting with The Private Eye isn't as wholly groundbreaking as some make it out. That doesn't mean the debut issue isn't a pleasure to read. Far from it. Vaughan once again shows his skill in creating a fantastic, yet wholly believable world and setting within a few pages. Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vincente draft a future America that is both stunning and frightening. One that lives perfectly on the page and in our minds. Although the story, as it stands, isn't totally new, the setting and visuals make the title rise above your standard detective tale. The means of distribution won't matter if the content is lacking. Thankfully, The Private Eye is anything but.


Dr. Who: Prisoner of Time #3 (Published by IDW Publishing; Review by Rob McMonigal; 'Rama Rating: 10 out of 10):
The Third Doctor must prevent earth from becoming a bad Kevin Costner movie in the latest issue of this tribute to the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who. The scientifically-minded Doctor squares off against a menace that uses the Doctor’s own ally (the Brigadier) against him. It’s fun to see the Tiptons use a great incarnation of the Doctor to his fullest, managing to capture his arrogance, action, and guile all within a one-part story. Mike Collins in on art this time, and makes every character look spot-on model, which is important when drawing a comic based off a television show. He also has a great eye for action, keeping this thrill-a-minute issue moving. This is shaping up to be my favorite Dr. Who comic.


Nightwing #18 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10):
Dick Grayson has had a pretty rough few issues, but leave it to Kyle Higgins to make some lemonade out of some Robin-shaped lemons. Dick's rapid downward spiral has actually turned into an effective meditation on grief — what happens when people hurt you? Do you remain open with your heart, or do you shut yourself down? That theme rings stronger than most Big Two books on the stands these days, and it really fits nicely with Dick's character as the "healthy" member of the Bat-family. Juan Jose Ryp's artwork occasionally gets a little into caricature-land with Dick's stubble and slouch, but his layouts and fight choreography are clean. A good show, and one of the better DC "Requiem" books.


All-New X-Men #9 (Published by Marvel Comics; review by George Marston; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): Brian Bendis is making a case for Jean Grey: Gossip Girl. Her continued breaches into the minds of her friends and teammates ring true to the idea of telepathy without responsibility. Her willingness to sow discord with the secrets of those around her makes Jean the most compelling character on the team  - a position she's rarely occupied. Bendis's excellent twist on Ms. Grey, coupled with Stuart Immonen's razor sharp artwork make All-New X-Men the best X book on the stands.


Storm Dogs #4 (Published by Image Comics; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 5 out of 10): As a big fan of world building, I have a lot of respect for writer David Hine and his work in Storm Dogs. That being said, we're at Issue #4 and the title reads a little too focused on setting, with character and story taking a backseat. It's a shame, because combined with art by Doug Braithwaite, Storm Dogs #4 paints a nice picture. Braithwaite draws a very living galaxy, I just wish Hine did more with it. The book has set up all manner of branching stories and concepts, to say nothing of the core arc. But as we wrap Issue #4, I am beginning to wonder if we'll see a proper resolution to it all. That is a real shame, because there is a lot of good ingredients here. Ingredients that I fear are going to go to waste.


Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #3 (Published by IDW Publishing; Review by Rob McMonigal; 'Rama Rating: 10 out of 10): There’s a crisis of command as the Enterprise falls prey to a Trojan Horse attack from one of their own that might lead to all-out war with the Klingons in this thrilling tie-in to the upcoming movie.  Regular Star Trek comic writer Mike Johnson is firing on all cylinders, showing the inexperience of the Trek crew can be a fatal weakness.  The story harkens back to the Cold War themes of Roddenberry, a nice touch.  David Messina’s artwork tells the story adequately, but unfortunately does too much posing to drive the action.  I also thought his likenesses were a bit lacking in places.  This story stands on its own and has me excited to see the movie, which is exactly what it should do.


Fanboys vs. Zombies #12 (Published by BOOM! Studios; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 6 out of 10):While never cracking the best-seller list, in my time as a comic book retailer, Fanboys vs. Zombies was always a title that had it's loyal following. After giving a pass with Issue #12, I can see why. Writers Sam Humphries and Shane Houghton continue their pop-culture referencing romp through the apocalypse with reckless abandon. Jerry Gaylord's art still has an air of early late-night Cartoon Network programming, which ads a layer of sophistication in an otherwise crazy title. Together they produce an issue which will keep the loyal happy and will amuse the curious. Although it didn't hit all my favorite notes, I can't discredit the appeal the book has with those that just can't get enough gonzo zombie action without all that Walking Dead angst.

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