Best Shots Rapid Fire Reviews
By The Best Shots Team
Welcome to our all-pellet first impression review column. These are quick, short reviews designed as first impressions of this week’s books. You can find all the past Best Shots columns and extras <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/topic/best-shots>by clicking here!</a>
Batman and Robin #10 (DC; review by Troy Brownfield): For anyone that was still wondering, this is what a rock-solid Batman book looks like. Aside from destroying the notion that Grant Morrison didn’t have every inch of everything planned from “Batman and Son” thru “R.I.P.” and “Final Crisis” to this, the eve of “The Return of Bruce Wayne”, the issue ties all of the disparate threads together in fast, furious fashion. Added bonus: if you don’t like Damian, this is where you’ll start. Andy Clarke and Scott Hanna tear it up on art, and I honestly can’t wait till the next issue. Top shelf super-hero stuff
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #8 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by David Pepose): Brian Michael Bendis is a ruthless tease. I won't explain much more than that, but there is a sequence in this book that references a huge Marvel news item from last year that I'm sure will have a few fans perking up, before shaking their heads in bemusement. Even aside that, this is a decent fill-in from what seems like Bendis' overall plan, as Spidey and his Amazing Friends continue their team-up. Spidey, the Human Torch, and especially Iceman play off each other well in this issue, with Bobby's surprising predeliction for snake women being pretty funny. While I feel that Takeshi Miyazawa's designs -- particularly in the faces -- don't quite have as much character as his predecessor David Lafuente, in retrospect the story-art link here makes sense -- Bendis is giving us a guest-star-studded action romp, in order to get us over the hump.
Prelude to Deadpool Corps #2 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by David Pepose): Watching a Lil' Deadpool mixing it up with Lil' X-Men is far more amusing than it should be. Believe me, I see the Deadpool gravy train jumping the shark, the sea lion and every other aquatic creature you could name, but Victor Gischler proves that he's still got it. I think that Lil' Wade's slight awkwardness is actually kind of endearing. Whilce Portacio's art, though, may prove a little distracting, considering the kids don't really look too terribly much like kids -- to me, however, his scratchy lines work with the tone of the piece: it's not supposed to be high art, it's self-referential self-parody to Deadpool's original '90s roots. (Or maybe I'm just overthinking it.) But the story's light charm makes this book one that is still a (guilty) pleasure.
Locke and Key: Crown of Shadows #3 (Published by IDW; Review by David Pepose): First things first -- artist Gabriel Rodriguez and colorist Jay Fotos are worth the price of admission alone for this book, as their combined efforts are simply intoxicating. Like David Lafuente with Jamie McKelvie and just a hint of Mike Wieringo, Rodriguez is moody, expressive, and gives everyone a sense of character. Of course, you shouldn't discount writer Joe Hill, either -- while I don't think he necessarily gets into the mythology of the keys as much as he should, he works wonders in getting the nuts-and-bolts of some of the crucial moments in this series explained away. Of course, the book's second half -- in which they bring in some more of the magic of the old Locke house -- really ramps up the stylishness. But it would mean nothing without character -- a commodity Locke and Key has in spades.
Weekly World News #3 (Published by IDW; Review by David Pepose): This book walks that fine line between the stupid and the sublime, and never fails to hit both with glee. Of course, Chris Ryall and Alan Robinson do peak a little bit early in this issue, with an introduction with Bat Boy and the Freeze-Dried Baby that proved impossible for them to top. But the barbs against journalistic credibility are unveiled and ruthlessly funny, which helps push this book uphill with it not quite giving as much exposition (or as much of the gonzo-right-wing weirdness of the irredeemable Ed Anger) as it should. Ryall and Robinson wax surreal and self-referential, and through it all, Bat Boy's fixed wide-eyed glare still makes me chuckle.
Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki #1 (Published by UDON; Review by David Pepose): Sometimes comics are a matter of marketing -- and in that regard, I think a lot of people are going to get the wrong idea about this book. It's not necessarily the most in-depth storyline here, but there's a little bit of charm in the idea of a schoolgirl who happens to have been raised in a ninja monastery. Ibuki is low-key, down-to-earth, but -- not too terribly unlike anime like Neon Genesis Evangelion, or even seminal comics like Spider-Man -- she's also got a side job that has great power, and what looks like a decent amount of responsibility. The art is big, bold, brash, with huge characters with huge muscles -- oftentimes it seems less like a comic, and more of screen captures of a feature-length anime. There's not a lot of risk involved, however, so your mileage may vary. It's a shame, because ultimately this comic won't be able to separate itself from its Street Fighter heritage -- because I think the high concept here could certainly stand on its own.
Neverland #1 (Published by Zenescope; Review by Lan Pitts): I remember doing an interview for this back in November of last year with Joe Brusha and I think it's a lot more than I had expected. It's not a retelling, but in the typical Zenescope style, it's a re-envisioning. We have Wendy, we have John and Michael and we have fairies and even a Captain Hook-like character with an intriguing past. The art is pretty standard and honestly could be better in some places, but is hardly the worst out there. The script has potential to be a sleeper hit with anybody who cherishes these sort of stories. I'm hooked. Pun intended.
Daytripper #4 (Vertigo Comics; review by Brendan McGuirk): The brothers' Bá and Moon loving portrayal of a man on his final day continues with this issue, where Brás confronts his paternal issues in a most personal way. The twins' work carries a real emotional weight to it, not just with the visuals, which are duly celebrated, but with the writing as well. Readers are getting a broad view of who Brás is, not just at any one point of his life, but at all of them. Seeing the consistency of his character throughout these vignettes gives a full survey of who Brás is as a man. Each issue of Daytripper ends the same way, but each time readers pray that this one will be different.
S.W.O.R.D. #5 (Marvel Comics; review by Brendan McGuirk): Why do bad things happen to good books? The market doesn't usually sustain “quirk,” and so S.W.O.R.D., which should be celebrated for it's off-beat tone and visual flair, meets its unfortunate demise. Gillen showed a real knack for balancing ensembles with this book, and while Sanders' rendition of Beast was a bit too feline for some, his work bringing comedy and personality to an almost exclusively non-human cast deserves high praise. It would have been nice to see this story play out over the next few months, but instead this last issue wraps up the series tightly, assuring that its cast and creators are bound for new horizons.
Batgirl #8/Red Robin #10 (DC; review by Troy Brownfield): Clever, gang. Clever. These two crossover issues employ the neat storytelling trick of having Stephanie entirely narrate “Batgirl” while Tim entirely narrates “Red Robin”. The books juxtapose their thoughts versus their actual actions, and demonstrate the tentative nature with which the pair approaches the other’s respective new role. “Batgirl” guest artist Talent Caldwell seems a bit rushed, but Marcus To continues to swing strongly on “Red Robin”. Fans of the two characters should enjoy the story as it has so much to say about how they’ve grown as heroes and individuals.
Solomon Kane: Death’s Black Riders #3 and B.P.R.D.: King of Fear #3 (Dark Horse; review by Troy Brownfield): My review of these two books will sound startlingly similar to my review of these two books from last time. Here it goes. “If you aren’t reading these books, why the hell aren’t you reading these books?” Supernatural action comics of the first order, both series offer different, but similarly entertaining, reading experiences. Close to one another in atmosphere and attitude, they help to carve a striking niche for Dark Horse in terms of a specific take on the horror genre.