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 Contagious Kat Calamia, as she takes a look at All-New Wolverine…
All-New Wolverine #26 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Kat Calamia; ‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): Tom Taylor brings the theme of family to the forefront with the return of Laura’s mother, Sarah Kinney, in All-New Wolverine’s “Legacy” arc. In this issue, Sarah comes face-to-face with her sister, her niece, and her newfound daughter Gabby, as Taylor slowly unravels the mystery behind her return. Taylor does a nice job at exploring new areas of the Wolverine mythos by not only reintroducing Laura’s relationship with her mother, but by also embracing elements from old Wolverine stories with a fresh, new perspective. Juann Cabal introduces a very clean art style to the book. Cabal’s approach brings for some sleek action sequences, but there are times where emotions do fall flat because of Cabal’s soft facial expressions. All-New Wolverine #26 has a nice balance of humor, emotion and action — making for a solid second installment for the series’ “Legacy” arc.
Detective Comics #967 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose; ‘Rama Rating: 10 out of 10): Action-packed fights, emotional reunions, genuinely shocking reveals — Detective Comics #967 is what superhero comics are supposed to be. With the return of Tim Drake, writer James Tynion IV doesn’t waste any time reuniting Red Robin with the rest of the team, balancing some sly humor (particularly at the stony Batwoman’s expense) with some genuinely sweet reactions (such as Alfred’s heart-breaking realization that his lost boy has survived after all). And that’s not even including Tim’s evil counterpart, who not only tears through the Bat-family with ease, but has a genuine sense of conflictedness that permeates through the book. Artist Alvaro Martinez levels up in a big way here, thanks to some choice support work from inkers Raul Fernandez and colorists Tomeu Morey and Jean Francois Beaulieu — he’s got hints of Bryan Hitch and hints of Tony Daniel here, but he plays up the dramatic moments (particularly the cliffhanger) with an explosive punch. If you miss out on Detective Comics #967, you’re missing out on the best Big Two book of the week.
Jughead: The Hunger #1 (Published by Archie Comics; Review by Kat Calamia; ‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): After a successful one-shot, Archie Comics relaunches Jughead: The Hunger as an ongoing series, which takes a slower approach to reintroducing the werewolf of Riverdale. Ironically, Jughead isn’t the strongest aspect of this book, but instead it’s the series’ supporting cast. Even with Betty Cooper’s limited scenes, she shines the most as she’s kicking butt and taking names as a werewolf hunter, even if her main target happens to be one of her best friends. This issue also nicely introduces new versions of fan-favorite characters, like a post-wolf-assault Reggie Mantle and a vulnerable Veronica Lodge. The book is at its strongest when focusing on Riverdale. Sadly, Jughead’s travels to the carnival slows the issue down as it puts too much focus on the clichés of being a werewolf. As for the artwork, the marriage between Pat and Tim Kennedy’s pencils, Matt Herm’s colors, and Bob Smiths and Jim Amash’s inks create for the perfect balance between classic Archie style and haunting werewolf story. Jughead: The Hunger’s pacing was stronger in the one-shot, but the ongoing’s premiere issue still introduces enough fun and daring elements to get me excited to dive deeper into this world.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #20 (Published by BOOM! Studios; Review by Kat Calamia; ‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): Last issue, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers met Grace Sterling, the original Red Ranger, and Kyle Higgins uses Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #20 to explore Grace’s team’s origins first-hand, giving the Power Rangers of 1969 personalities strong enough to warrant a spin-off series of their own. The issue’s biggest strength is Higgins featuring the real stakes of being a Ranger, showing that not everyone will survive the journey – physically or emotionally. Whereas the traditional TV team is a bit more squeaky clean, this team seems to be exploring the darker sides of the Power Ranger’s universe. Daniele Di Nicuolo on art duties is the perfect addition for this fresh take on the Power Rangers as the new style helps differentiate the story from the series’ previous installments. Di Nicuolo adds for a more detailed, expressive look for the title. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers takes its time to tell a hidden story that sure will shake the world of the present Power Rangers. It raises the stakes of the franchise, allowing the title to reach a new level of storytelling not previously tapped into.
Hack/Slash Resurrection #1 (Published by Image Comics; Review by Kat Calamia; ‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): What does a person do after retiring from monster hunting? They become a video game streamer and kill virtual zombies for cash, of course! This is the closest Cassie Hack, the daughter of a serial killer known as the “Lunch Lady,” can come to a normal life. In this installment of Hack/Slash, new creative team Tini Howard and Celor bring just the right amount of snark and gore, perfectly encompassing the tone Tim Seeley originally established with the character’s creation. Howard focuses less on exposition and more on personality, masterfully making Hack/Slash Resurrection an easier jumping-on point for new readers while still being an entertaining reintroduction for old fans. On art, colorist K. Michael Russell and penciller Celor do a nice job at embracing the series horror elements, but Celor’s inconsistent proportions become distracting to an otherwise nicely toned book. Hack/Slash Resurrection brings your favorite final-girl-turned-monster-hunter back to the pages of Image Comics with the return of Cassie’s sass and, of course, her baseball bat in a book, proving that no matter how hard Cassie tries, she will never be able to escape her past.
Glitterbomb: The Fame Game #2 (Published by Image Comics; Review by Matthew Sibley; ‘Rama Rating: 10 out of 10): In the past month, the news has become filled with stories of sexual assault at the hands of Harvey Weinstein and the many others who were outed after his harassment was exposed. While there’s never been any doubt that the infractions against women showcased within Glitterbomb: The Fame Game #2 are accurate to a harsh reality, the backdrop of the news cycle further cements that as fact. Yet for Kaydon, it’s only been a day. Conrad’s body has been found, there’s now an active crime scene and Kaydon’s proximity to Farrah is being exploited again for publicity. Writer Jim Zub has a lot of plates spinning to keep track of, but he segues from one to the next and back again with ease. Meanwhile the last issue’s sole flaw, the broadness of the conversations between Kaydon and her mother has been rectified - the refined tone readers have come to expect now also applicable to these scenes. Bolstered by the emotional artwork of Djibril Morissette-Phan and K. Michael Russell, so much is said through posture and positioning over explicit dialogue and makes Glitterbomb: The Fame Game one of the most powerful (and perhaps vital) books on the stands.
Hi-Fi Fight Club #3 (Published by BOOM! Studios; Review by Matthew Sibley; ‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): Now in its back half and with the true premise established, Hi-Fi Fight Club gets the space to flesh out both the ongoing detective story and hang-out vibe, doing so nimbly. Picking up from last issue, the girls’ interrogation of Stegosour yields no answers that can actually help, but Chris realises a lyric book might be able to and so tries to crack the case open… with a little help from Dolores (her self-titled arch-nemesis). Carly Usdin’s script doesn’t throw out any curveballs that prompt a reinvention of the series for its final issue, but she showcases how she’s at ease with blending the two halves of this series together. Chris and Maggie’s relationship is furthered from developments in the case and the case allows other characters to be paired up. Nina Vakeuva, Irene Flores and Rebecca Nalty are a formidable art-team, working a vibrant aesthetic regardless of if the book is operating in a more conversational tone or getting down to business and moving closer towards solving the mystery. Hi-Fi Fight Club is simply a top-tier delight, and the laid-back approach of the series is enough to wish it had more than an issue to go before being done.