Greetings, 'Rama readers! Ready for your Thursday pellets? Best Shots has you covered, with this week's installment of our Rapid-Fire Reviews! Let's kick off today's column with Jaundiced Justin Partridge, as he takes a look at the sophomore issue of Spider-Man...
Spider-Man #2 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Justin Partridge; ‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): We have seen Miles grow, fight, and earn the name Spider-Man, but in this second issue of this new series, we finally see him face his place in the world as a costumed person of color. After a rousing fight with Blackheart, Brian Michael Bendis gives the audience a small glimpse of Miles’ thinking in regards to race and his career as Spidey. Of course, to Miles it doesn’t matter and he’s right, but as Ganke explains to everyone else, good or ill, it does matter and it matters to so many people, including a determined looking Black Cat. Spider-Man #2 is a true testament to how quickly Bendis can keep a story moving along as well yet another example of Sara Pichelli’s control of fight scenes, made even more detailed by inks from Gaetano Carlucci and colors by Justin Ponsor.
Midnighter #10 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): Steve Orlando, ACO and Hugo Petrus do probably the best Suicide Squad since Ales Kot and Patrick Zircher with Midnighter #10, which gives the leather-clad fight machine a brawl worthy of his time as he tackles Amanda Waller's gang of name-brand super-baddies. Orlando absolutely nails the voices of characters like Waller, Deadshot and Harley Quinn (who has the best moment of the book when Midnighter tells her to go to Hell: "Can't afford the rent!" she snarks back, before giving him a vicious pistol-whipping), and comes up with some very inventive ways for Midnighter to hit the Squad where it hurts. Hugo Petrus and ACO work perfectly in tandem with one another, thanks to them using the same stylized layouts; Petrus' heavier inking works wonders in the dark opening sequence, but ACO does some great work himself, particularly with a spaghetti western-influenced sequence featuring Deadshot. There is one scene transition that comes a bit out of nowhere, but if you can survive that little bit of narrative whiplash, this is the book to check out.
Old Man Logan #3 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Justin Partridge; ‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): You can’t have "Old Man Logan" without Hawkeye, and Logan hits the jackpot this week after teaming up with Kate Bishop, who is totally an Avenger, in case you haven’t heard. Writer Jeff Lemire lightens up Logan’s quest to save the future with some great Kate banter, but also casts the best Hawkeye as the one person in the series so far that is asking the right questions about old Logan’s temporal hit list. Couple that strong character work with a bittersweet flashback to Logan’s family and a scary display of Logan’s combat prowess all presented beautifully and through clever panel construction by Andrea Sorrentino and colorist Marcelo Maiolo and you have the latest issue of a series that is quickly outshining its predecessors.
Green Lantern #50 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): I've been very critical of Green Lantern in the past, so it's no small surprise for me when I say that this feels like a whole different Robert Vendetti in charge. What was once a series that had become lost in its own space opera indulgences has become a surprisingly compelling study in identity, regret and the consequences of absolute power, as Hal Jordan's return to Earth is interrupted by... Parallax? Vendetti doesn't explain the whys and wherefores, but he does great work showing the conflict of a man literally at war with himself. (Parallax in particular starts off remarkably tender, which makes him a difficult bad guy to hate later.) It's also, for the most part, decent artwork by Billy Tan and Vicente Cifuentes, even if the consistency of the book is occasionally marred by three inkers and two different colorists. Still, this sudden jolt of character-driven drama has made for quite the turnaround for what had been a lame duck run on one of DC's most popular characters.
A-Force #3 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Justin Partridge; ‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): Though A-Force hasn’t been around for long, they are already experiencing the cost of their heroics. As the newly formed team struggles to find a way to put Antimatter down once and for all, new recruit Dazzler gets caught in the crossfire. Writers Kelly Thompson and G. Willow Wilson continue the dazzling chemistry and tension between the team while at the same time keeping each woman’s voice on point and selling Antimatter as a real threat to the team. Artist Jorge Molina and colorist Matt Milla keep the book looking like the multi-million dollar production it should be with densely colored panels of kickass ladies kicking ass and cracking wise with each other. Every team in Marvel’s history has had to endure some sort of trial by fire and A-Force #3 is this team’s first beautiful crucible.
Batgirl #49 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 10 out of 10): Nothing from the Big Two this week has been as ambitious as Batgirl #49, a jam session of five different artists as Frankie fights the Fugue for Barbara Gordon's mind and soul. Taking place largely in a twisted mindscape of Batgirl's vandalized memories, Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher absolutely go above and beyond here - there's a craziness to the pacing that works only because of this mental milieu, switching between visual styles like the shuffling of an iPod. Babs Tarr anchors this book to its cartoony standard setting, but there are some real standouts here, particularly a splash page from James Harvey that makes me want him on an ongoing book yesterday. This issue ties together so many wonderful threads from previous issues, and I really cannot say enough good things about it. Kudos to the entire team for having the vision and the guts to pull this one off.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1 (Published by BOOM! Studios; Review by C.K. Stewart, ‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1’s successes as a reboot are, surprisingly, best embodied in its treatment of the original show’s goofiest characters. Campy bullies Bulk and Skull are now surprisingly savvy chroniclers of the Rangers’ exploits, with writer Kyle Higgins turning them from one-dimensional jokes into a clever everyman stand-in (and one that won’t make you cringe with embarrassment). As a bonus, they get their own brief but fun tale at the end of each book courtesy of writer Steve Orlando, artist Corin Howell, and colorist Jeremy Lawson. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1's art team of illustrator Hendry Prasetya and colorist Matt Herms give the main book a great sense of atmosphere through dramatic action sequences and lonely depictions of Tommy’s "civilian" life. But for better or worse, both Higgins' and Orlando's Bulk and Skull are the liveliest parts of the overall book so far; the Rangers themselves fall a little flat, with Tommy’s slow-moving storyline getting the most focus with little emotional payoff in this first issue. Longtime MMPR fans likely won’t be bothered, but coming into the middle of a classic Mighty Morphin Power Rangers storyline may leave anyone brand-new to the franchise a little confused. Still, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1 is still a fun read, and hopefully future issues will give Higgins room to flesh out the titular characters beyond the broad tropes that defined them in the original series.