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Home  >  Features  >  Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: August 17, 2016

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The DC Comics rebirth event continues to roll along with a genuine hit in BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #1. Along with another winner from Brian Wood in BRIGGS LAND #1 we review DEMONIC #1, SUICIDE SQUAD #1, SUPERGIRL: REBIRTH #1, and JACKBOOT AND IRONHEEL #1.

 

 

DEMONIC #1 (Image Comics)-

3.0 Stars

The latest number one issue from Image Comics is DEMONIC #1 and it comes from a powerhouse of creative talent. Creators Robert Kirkman and Mark Silvestri have tapped Eisner Award-nominated author Christopher Sebela to pen a tale about whether or not you would sell your soul to save your family. Scott Graves is a rather run of mill cop with a controlling wife and a daughter that he loves who has been ill for years. When her health takes a turn for the worst Graves is visited by Aeshma, a demon who has been living within him since his he was a child. As it turns out his parents had joined a cult and unknowingly let these monsters cross into our world. For years they have been gaining strength and now the devil's promise is made. In order to save his little girl Graves agrees to murder and take souls to satiate Aeshma's hunger. The writing is very good and you instantly feel for Graves and horrible decisions he is now confronted with. The story is very dense and I found myself re-reading entire pages to fully grasp the subtle back story. There are parts of the book that read as if the reader is suppose to already have knowledge of prior events but we do not, and as such it can be confusing at times. The art by Niko Walter fluctuates between really good and horrible in certain instances. The background and world building art is really good with a soft aesthetic to it but the character work can only be categorized as poor. There are a few panels where the individual faces are so bad it takes you out of the story. This is a fun new mini series from Image clocking in at only six issues and it has a dark and fascinating story to tell only hindered by mediocre art.

 

BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #1 (DC Comics)-

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The writing duo of Julie and Shawna Benson have brought Gotham City's favorite trio of heroines back into action in BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #1 from DC Comics. Barbara Gordon and Dinah Lance are on the trail of a hacker for hire using the Oracle name. It just so happens this fake Oracle is selling secrets to the mob which has drawn the attention of one very pissed off Huntress. After some harsh words and more than a few punches the three of them decide to put their differences aside and team up to track down the source of both of their troubles. This book, more so that the Batgirl Rebirth issue, is continuing the trend of bringing DC Comics characters back to their more recognizable roots and doing so in an entertaining way. The banter between Batgirl and Black Canary is effortlessly genuine and a lot of fun to read and once again they feel like close friends who have been through it all together. This closeness is contracted by their interactions with the stubborn and short tempered Huntress whose quest for revenge has no room for personal relationships. Claire Roe absolutely kills it on art in this issue. Characters are ever so slightly cartoonish, just enough to allow for some of the best facial expressions of emotions I have seen in a long time. Displaying far more than just angry grimaces and sweet smiles the characters in this book truly emote and it does so much for the storytelling to be able to convey emotion without extra dialogue or exposition. The action is dynamic and fast and the sense of movement is palpable. This might not be a style for everyone but I really enjoyed it and can't wait to see more of her work. BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #1 has the best versions of Batgirl, Black Canary, and Huntress that have been seen since before the new 52 started. If you enjoyed Gail Simone's Bird of Prey or if you fell in love with Black Canary again in the Green Arrow Rebirth issues then do yourself a favor and pick this book up.

 

SUICIDE SQUAD #1 (DC Comics)-

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Fresh of the release of the new movie SUICIDE SQUAD #1 premiers from DC Comics with writer Rob Williams and superstar artist Jim Lee. This is obviously aimed to be one of DC Comics' premier issues and thus it is not a surprise that the cast and the relationships are clearly designed to reflect the movie. The problem is that as with the movie, most of the relationships do not feel earned. Again Katana is Rick Flag's personal assistant but there is no context as to why or how she is involved. The mistrust between Waller and Flag is exactly how it was in the movie and I was left wondering if the relationship between Flag and June Moon was also a factor in the book. At only 15 pages the main story already feels rushed but that is compounded by the fact that again the entire premise of the squad is laid out for readers one more time which seems like a waste of words because all of this was just recently re-capped in the Rebirth issue. This could all be saved with Jim Lee on art but I feel like this book reflects some of his worst work I have ever seen. I do not know if he was rushed or just too busy to focus his usual attention to detail but at first glance I would have thought this book was drawn by a Jim Lee imitator instead of the master himself. Characters and backgrounds lack his usual attention to detail and it looks as though he was off his game. The second half of the issue is a Deadshot background story again written by Williams with art by Jason Fabok. This features Batman and serves to bring readers up to speed on Deadshot's relationship with his daughter and why he skirts the lines of morality like he does. It is a good background story but feels like information fans have read over and over again. I felt this entire package fell rather flat and was pretty disappointed, especially with Jim Lee's art. When the main title only has 15 pages to tell it story there is no need to waste time on exposition. Hopefully the series picks up the pace moving forward and has more confidence in its readers and offers more action and less hand holding.

 

SUPERGIRL: REBIRTH #1 (DC Comics)-

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Supergirl had gone down a very rough road in the new 52 universe and now DC Comics seeks to breath life into the character again with a return to basics in SUPERGIRL: REBIRTH #1. With Ray McCarthy and Steve Orlando handling writing credits DC Comics is seeking to return Kara Zor-El to Earth and move away from the angry Kryptonian storyline in favor of returning her powers and establishing an Earth bound secret identity again. While Kara is sent to the Sun for a good ole' Kryptonian power boost a phantom zone rift occurs at the launch site releasing a Kryptonian criminal with red kryptonite poisoning that causes him to turn into a super powered werewolf. That plays out in the issue as silly as it sounds in its summation and of course once the magic Sun reset button is pushed Supergirl zooms back to Earth to beat up a red dog monster thing. This book is not good. Supergirl has not been an interesting character for a long time and this book does nothing to course correct that aspect of her. Instead what we get is a status quo reset, a slightly different costume, and the return of the Linda Danvers secret identity. There is a thin epilogue that hints to a more intriguing story that involves the fate of Argo City and Kara's father but if this book is an indication of the writing style of the upcoming series then my hopes are set pretty low for a big turn around. The art by Emanuela Lupacchino is the high point of the book with very sharp pencils and good character designs. Even with that said the book still just feels flat with a paper thin plot, boring character motivations, and yet another bad guy from the phantom zone for Supergirl to fight. This is a definite pass while holding out hope that the ongoing number one issue will course correct and give readers a reason to love Kara Zor-El again.

 

BRIGGS LAND #1 (Dark Horse Comics)-

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Dark Horse Comics has a real hit on their hands with BRIGGS LAND #1 from Brian Wood and Mack Chater. Wood has made a name for himself with DMZ and more recently Rebels which was also published by Dark Horse Comics. I will say right off the bat that if you enjoyed Rebels you should really check out Briggs Land as it feels like a similar tone but a very different setting. The Briggs family live in a compound in the wilderness that is completely off the grid. They are admitted secessionist and criminals who want nothing to do with the federal government. Current events have landed the family patriarch Jim Briggs in jail and as our story opens his wife Grace has just informed him that she will not be taking over the family business... this does not go over well. BRIGGS LAND #1 is a fascinating look at family, crime, loyalty, and personal freedom that feels ripped directly from current headlines involving the sovereign citizen movement in the United States. Family loyalties are tested immediately as Grace races to determine which of her three sons is on her side and who in their compound is still taking ordered from the incarcerated Jim Briggs. This is such a strong start for a new series and it is packed full of character building and relationship establishment and it is all done so effortlessly. The bulk of the narration is handled by two federal investigators and they serve as the readers eyes and ears as they bring us up to speed on this family of thieves and killers. The art by Mack Chater is great while not being overly flashing or stylish. It is a rather simple art style with clean lines and muted colors but each panel has great depth in the detail. When I opened this book I knew nothing about it other than the fact that I was really enjoying Rebels from the same author and when I closed it I knew I was hooked for however long it takes him to complete his story. Do not miss this title!

 

JACKBOOT AND IRONHEEL #1 (IDW Publishing)-

3.0 Stars.gif

Creator Max Millgate handles words, pencils, and colors all by himself in JACKBOOT AND IRONHEEL #1 from IDW Publishing. It is Nazi zombies in World War Two as we follow Eddie Neale, a tail gunner in a British long range bomber, after he gets shot down over hostile territory. The sole survivor of his plane Eddie is taken captive in a small Bavarian village where things being to get real supernatural real fast. There is more storytelling here beyond the surface tale of undead Nazi soldiers coming back and attacking the garrison in town. Eddie is a fleshed out character with a hefty dose of charm and he plays well of the surrounding cast. There is a young Hitler youth who you can tell is not a bad person but has found himself on the wrong side of history as well as the pretty nun who has vowed to carry out her duties not matter who controls the town in which she lives. While all the character work was interesting I found that it did not really go anywhere by the end of the issue. There is all this build up and focus on the people involved and then out of nowhere the last four pages are a zombie gore fest ending with a cliffhanger of a nameless soldiers decapitation. It felt like an abbreviated ending and definitely did not make me want to come back for more. It was almost as if I was reading two separate books or perhaps the cutoff for issue one was rearranged in editing. Either way it did not flow and was off putting. The art was fantastic in its simplicity. Solid lines and fleshed out backgrounds set the tone and the heavy use of black reminded me of Mike Mignola's art which is a very high compliment. I really do hope this book goes somewhere interesting besides Nazi zombies because I really felt Millgate wan on to something special before the floor fell out of the storytelling at the end of the issue. I think issue two is worth a shot based on potential alone.

 

Don't just take our word for it. Grab the books yourself and let us know what you think!

 

More Reviews on MightyVille:

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: August 10, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: August 03, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: July 27, 2016

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