Greetings, 'Rama readers! Your Best Shots crew is at it again, with this week's installment of our Rapid-Fire Reviews! Since the Friendly Neighborhood Web-Slinger is getting some press today, thanks to a certain Civil War trailer, we're going to kick off today's column with a look at the latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man...
Amazing Spider-Man #9 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): Supercharged by the return of Guiseppe Camuncoli on art, Amazing Spider-Man #9 is a short-but-sweet kind of issue, briskly paced by Dan Slott as he throws set piece after fun set piece at the Web-slinger. Slott is able to have his cake and eat it, too, taking bits of pieces of Batman's wonderful toys and letting the wise-cracking Peter Parker play around with rocket ships, web parachutes, and much more. Camuncoli makes these action sequences look slick as all get-out, particularly with beautiful fiery imagery as Spider-Man takes a very direct trip to Paris - namely, by hurtling through Earth's atmosphere. Slott dedicates a lot of pages to this final action sequence, and it is exciting, although I'd be the first to admit that in terms of plot progression, this issue doesn't actually go that far. Still, even if it's a little low-calorie in the story department, you can't deny that Amazing Spider-Man #9 is some good, clean fun.
Batman/Superman #30 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): Tom Taylor and Robson Rocha end their all-too-brief tenure on Batman/Superman, and it ends not with a punch, but with something altogether more compassionate. Too often, superhero comic books fall into the trap of mindless action, but there's nothing mindless about Taylor's script - Batman and Superman play off each other marvelously, with Batman always punching above his weight class as he hijacks Lobo's spaceship and hacks into Hal Jordan's Green Lantern ring, or Superman making friends in the unlikeliest of places. Rocha's work reminds me a lot of Ethan Van Sciver's, with inker Jay Leisten giving a lot of gnarly detail to Batman while keeping Superman clean and streamlined. Lots of fun twists, great character moments, and a super-poignant ending make me wish this creative team could have stuck around for a long, long time.
Ms. Marvel #5 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Draven Katayama; 'Rama Rating: 10 out of 10): Kamala has always balanced the different areas of her life precariously: school, family, superheroing. But it all comes crushing down when the clones she's sent to attend her mundane appointments go awry. Meanwhile, Kamala's brother Aamir and Tyesha want to marry, and G. Willow Wilson skillfully writes the first time Kamala's parents and Tyesha's parents meet. It's one of the most positive yet authentic cross-cultural interactions I've read in comic books. Nico Leon and Ian Herring draw dozens of Kamala-golems wreaking havoc in a science lab, and Leon's detailed backgrounds and layouts make Coles Academic High feel like a real place. Leon gives each gym class student a lifelike pose, whether they are climbing obstacles or lounging apathetically. In a single issue, Wilson tells a cohesive narrative of Kamala realizing her priorities have been shortsighted. Wilson writes the perfect story of an imperfect superhero.
New Suicide Squad #18 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): I wasn't a big fan of Tim Seeley and Juan Ferreyra's first issue of New Suicide Squad, so it's only fair that I give them some praise when I see a marked improvement. While their first issue was a victim of pacing, Seeley has turned last issue's cliffhanger on its ear, with the Suicide Squad's devastating loss to a bunch of no-names last issue being a deliberate ruse. Yes, there is a decent amount of exposition dropped into the story, as Harley Quinn brags about the team's great escape, but there are some fun bits there, particularly the story behind the "hate-hate relationship" between Deadshot and Boomerang. That said, Juan Ferreyra's art still feels too bright and airy, given the subject matter - I get that DC is going for a Mike Del Mundo Weirdworld vibe, but it's definitely an acquired taste here. Still, while there's plenty of rough edges to this book, you can't deny it's made some big improvements.
Mockingbird #1 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Jake Baumgart; 'Rama Rating: 4 out of 10): Despite its explosive, James Bond-like cover, Mockingbird #1 fails to live up to the hype generated by the S.H.I.E.L.D. super-spy. Chelsea Cain gives brief glimpses of Bobbi Morse’s superheroic life but the majority of the action is between the pages. Instead, the writer opts for medical mystery that lacks any real bite, and feels slightly out of place in Mockingbird’s world. Although artist Kate Niemczyk can expertly render a character with clean, bold lines, there is something left to be desired in their surroundings. Backgrounds and settings are sparse and chillingly digital. There is so much negative space on the page that it almost makes the characters on the page seem robotic. There is something ailing Mockingbird #1 and it isn’t the Super-Soldier Serum.
Earth 2: Society #10 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): While the politics of Earth 2: Society aren't always the most exciting, Dan Abnett is able to evoke shades of Flashpoint, as one of the Wonders stumbles into a plot by Atlantis and the Amazons, while Batman tries to take down corrupt industrialist Kyle Nimbus. Jorge Jimenez continues to make this book exciting and energetic, with his angular linework reminding me a ton of Jason Pearson or even early Greg Capullo - it makes action beats like Hawkgirl fighting with an Amazonian guard or Batman nearly getting his head taken off by Hourman look superb. That said, new readers may have a challenging time getting invested in some of these characters, particularly with the running subplot of Earth-2's lack of natural resources. It isn't An Inconvenient Truth, but as far as good-looking action books go, you could do worse than Earth 2: Society.