Best Shots Rapid-Fire Reviews: BATMAN #33, MIGHTY THOR #700, RUGRATS #1, More

Image Comics October 2017 cover
Credit: Image Comics

Greetings, ‘Rama readers! Ready for your Thursday pellets? Best Shots has you covered, with this week’s installment of your Rapid-Fire Reviews! Let’s kick off with the Cantankerous Canucklehead taking on the Regenerating Degenerate, as we get a look at Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan #1

Credit: Marvel Comics

Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan #1 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by David Pepose; ‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): Meat and potatoes. Rum and coke. Deadpool and Old Man Logan. Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to make something satisfying - sometimes it’s enough to play to your audience using a couple of old standards. And in that regard, Declan Shalvey does some great work, as he steps into the writer’s seat with artist Mike Henderson riding shotgun. Really, the book’s first four pages will let you know if this is the book for you, taking an almost Looney Tunes angle on the limits of Wade and Logan’s healing factors as they’re crushed by a series of increasingly more frightening vehicles. But that’s the sense of humor Shalvey brings to this book - it’s very swashbuckling, with the repartee cutting back and forth even faster than Old Man Logan’s adamantium claws. Henderson’s fight choreography sells Shalvey’s script well, particularly a Olivier Coipel-esque panel where Logan is dwarfed by a looming military helicopter. That said, while the action runs fast and fierce in this book, I wouldn’t call it necessarily a character-driven read - this book leans more towards Deadpool’s sense of humor than Logan’s sense of history and pathos. Still, a solid debut for a sharp beat-‘em-up.

Credit: DC Comics

Batman #33 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Joey Edsall; 'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): The opening of Batman #33 shows the skill with which series writer Tom King has at establishing tone and creating an off-putting sense of melancholy that litters the writer’s work. While this issue has a strong opening and ends interestingly enough to invest readers into the new arc, a later sense of tonal inconsistency and the plot resting on contrivance hold the issue back. While the page of Alfred revealing to Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Duke Thomas, and Damien Wayne that Bruce has been engaged to Catwoman is the highlight of the issue and a hilariously-timed moment, the other light moments feel incongruent with how Batman tries to sell how serious his situation is, and just how dangerous it is that he and Catwoman are bound for the country of Khadym. The reason is that Talia Al Ghul is there, and this trek is somehow necessitated by Bruce and Selena’s engagement. There is a dissonance between the characters’ urgency and what the story actually delivers. Joelle Jones delivers impressive art, but beyond that has a real command of panel layout, much of which makes the timing of moments work. Colorist Jordie Bellaire also has a strong showing, with the coloring of the final panels of Al Ghul being particularly lush. The comic gives enough to hook readers, but it feels a little rushed to get the plot into place.

Credit: BOOM! Studios

Go Go Power Rangers #4 (Published by BOOM! Studios; Review by Kat Calamia; ‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): Go Go Power Rangers #4 has it all — zord fights, secret identity drama, and even the origins of how Kimberly became 'Salad Girl.' Writer Ryan Parrott and artist Dan Mora masterfully balance action with character moments in an issue that shows the strength of individual power while also highlighting the importance of teamwork. The two characters that stood out to the me the most were Kimberly and Zack, and the focus on their relationship. In this issue, Parrott reveals the shaky start the two had before becoming friends, and the important team dynamic they now have as the Power Rangers. Even though Go Go Power Rangers is a character-driven book, the issue also ramps up the action, showcasing elements of a Power Rangers’ fight we’ve never seen on the television show. It’s a nice change of pace to see Parrott take his time before sending the Power Rangers into their Megazord, giving the reader a chance to see the Rangers think on their feet as they try to defeat Rita’s giant monster. Then once the Megazord does come on panel Dan Mora creates a wonderful splash page capturing the actual mechanics of how a Megazord is created. Go Go Power Rangers is one of my favorite comic books on my pull list, as Ryan Parrott and Dan Mora deliver the perfect balance of Power Ranger action and characterwork in every issue.

Credit: DC Comics

Green Lanterns #33 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose; ‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): Writer Tim Seeley starts off his run on Green Lanterns with some very solid footing, teaming up with artist Eduardo Pansica for a great entry point for Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz’s adventures. Seeley really leans into the “space cop” angle for this iteration of the book, and it definitely helps ground his Lanterns into a relatable sort of niche - in particular, he does a great job humanizing Jessica and Simon by shaking up their civilian alter egos, as the long-absent superheroes are also forced to confront their pasts when they’re told to get day jobs. Pansica does a great job giving these heroes both a sense of weight and expressiveness - it reminds me a lot of Robson Rocha’s style in that regard - but it’s colorist Alex Sollazzo that really seals the deal for me, giving a painterly vibe that really brings the inks to the next level. Brisk, fun and easily accessible, if you haven’t been reading Green Lanterns, now’s the time to start.

Credit: BOOM! Studios

Rugrats #1 (Published by BOOM! Studios; Review by Kat Calamia; ‘Rama Rating: 5 out of 10): Your favorite ’90s toddlers are back and this time in their own comic book, bringing along a modern flair with the series’ use of contemporary technology and cutesy artwork. Both writer Box Brown and penciller Lisa DuBois bring an original style to the title, but never quite capture the magic of the source material. The issue contains multiple imaginative adventures, but none of these games have enough panel time to encapsulate the reader with the toddlers’ childlike wonder. Another off putting tonal shift from the television show is DuBois’ chibi art style. The features that stuck out to me the most were the characters’ wider eyes and Chuckie’s over-exaggerated hair. Although I did enjoy the Nickelodeon Easter eggs thrown into the issue. Like the three-piece doo-wop group from the old Nickelodeon bumpers, and the scribbly lines in the issue’s background work resembling the Rugrats’ title card. This premiere issue focuses so much on trying to be original that it forgets the key elements of what made Rugrats a great cartoon, which ultimately makes for an underwhelming premiere.

Credit: Marvel Comics

The Mighty Thor #700 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Kat Calamia; ‘Rama Rating: 4 out of 10): "The Death of the Mighty Thor" is upon us in an oversized issue that tries to squeeze so much that it loses the emotional impact of the potential death of Jane Foster. The Mighty Thor #700 sets up the war of the realms with appearances from Unworthy Thor, The Migthy Thor, War Thor, and many more. The issue has over 10 artists showcasing these multiple Thors. This blurry focus leads into a less impactful narrative. The Unworthy Thor sections are repetitive with Odinson wallowing about being unworthy. As Jane’s pages suffer from a forced and unorganic battle with Jen Walters needlessly filling her panel time, providing less room for the more emotional aspects of her story. The Mighty Thor #700’s execution is messy and too scattered to be new reader-friendly for the “Marvel Legacy” lineup and to warrant its $5.99 price tag.

Credit: Image Comics

Invincible #141 (Published by Image Comics; Review by Kat Calamia; ‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): Invincible at its core has always been about the relationship between father and son, so it’s only fitting to see these last few chapters focus on this relationship as well. Invincible #141 is the most powerful issue of the series’ last arc to date as it finally feels like Robert Kirkman is ramping up to a deserving conclusion for this series. This last scene between father and son stays very true to their characters, as even on Omni-Man’s deathbed Mark and his father do not see eye-to-eye. But this scene also showcases the character growth both Mark and Omni-Man have gone through over the years as Mark makes his decision about the future of the Viltrumite empire. Omni-Man’s last words are perfect summary of their story: “You changed me, change them.” It’s fitting, because Mark being able to change his father really is the true premise of Invincible. Ryan Ottley continues to be Kirkman’s perfect collaborator as he drives home the emotional beats with the characters’ heartbreaking facial expressions. Invincible #141 brings the series back to its roots as it raises the stakes for the title’s final issues.

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