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Home  >  Features  >  Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: September 07, 2016

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Geoff takes a look at a new batch of first issues, this time it's ECLIPSE #1, THE GREAT DIVIDE #1, RISE OF THE BLACK FLAME #1, SUPERGIRL #1, GLITTERBOMB #1, and CYBORG: REBIRTH #1!

 

 

ECLIPSE #1 (Image Comics)-

5.0 Stars

Image Comics strikes gold once again with ECLIPSE #1, a comic that uses a near future apocalypse to set its stage but with enough of a twist to make it unique and interesting. Writer Zack Kaplan gives us a world in which a solar flare of immense power has stripped a portion of the Earth's electromagnetic field rendering the surface of the planet uninhabitable during daylight hours. The fact that people left unprotected melt almost instantly in the sunlight is a slight exaggeration but it makes for a more immediate threat and thus better storytelling that slow radiation exposure. Enter David Baxter, one of the few in New York who wear what is knows as an Iceman Suit which uses controlled gases to allow them to move around above ground during the day. When a murder on the surface is discovered David is dragged into events that quickly unravel and reveal there is something new on the surface nobody has accounted for. Kaplan quickly establishes a new world for readers to explore without an excess of narration and the entire comic moves along at a brisk pace. The first issue definitely portrays Baxter as a loner with little interest in how screwed up the Earth has become but when events take a turn for the worst he rises to the occasion selflessly putting himself in harm's way. The art by Giovanni Timpano is incredibly detailed and reminds me of Frank Quitely, and that is very high praise. Characters, faces, outfits, and environments are all beautifully rendered and the background art of each panel tells a small story in itself. In fact, a lot of the world building I mentioned above can be credited to the art because so much detail can be observed with the eye there is no need to spell it out for the reader in words. ECLIPSE #1 is another in a long line of strong creator owned content coming from Image Comics. Great art, an interesting premise, and a great cliffhanger make for a hell of a number one issue so check this one out for sure.

 

THE GREAT DIVIDE #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)-

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THE GREAT DIVIDE #1 from Dynamite Entertainment is the second post apocalyptic comic that I have reviewed this week and as with Eclipse #1 it offers a unique twist on a well worn genera. Author Ben Fisher has flipped the script upside down when it comes to how the lives of survivors play out in this new wasteland. In this world an as yet unknown event as infected the entire population resulting in everyone possessing a strange power that leads to instant death when any skin to skin contact is initiated. Thus instead of groups of survivors gathering together like in The Walking Dead individuals in this world roam as far away from others as possible to avoid any chance of instant death from human contact. This first issues establishes a few characters that appear to be our main protagonists though none of them really stand out at this point nor do they have any defining characteristics other than one of them being a doctor. Fisher is clever when it comes to world building and what would happen to a society with absolutely zero human contact. People are extremely on edge and there is a lot of time spent on the psychological effects of a population that cannot have sex and thus are just living for the sole purpose of watching humanity go extinct. The art by Adam Markiewicz is strong with good background detail but somewhat flat at times. His characters have a sketch art style to them with rather loose pencils but it works in a world that is suppose to be in decline. It looks appropriately out of focus. While I enjoyed Eclipse #1 over THE GREAT DIVIDE #1 in this week's contest to write a better story about the end of the world this book had some genuinely unique ideas that made it stand out from the pack. I am curious to see where the story goes and if these characters can expand upon their rather thin introductions. I think THE GREAT DIVIDE #1 is worth a look for all readers and just see if the new ideas presented in this world grab you.

 

RISE OF THE BLACK FLAME #1 (Dark Horse Comics)-

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For the second week in a row the writing pair of Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson have released a gripping new series set in the macabre world of Hellboy from Dark Horse Comics. Last week we were following the adventures of Sir Edward Grey and now we find his long time partner Sarah Jewell assisting two British officers in their search of young kidnapping victims. RISE OF THE BLACK FLAME #1 takes place during the British colonization of the Indian subcontinent and Sergeant Geoffrey McAllister and Constable A.N. Sandhu are on case of the Governor's missing daughter, thought to be captured by some sort of death cult. Originally attempting to track down the Thugee cult made famous in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, this pair has their perception of the world changed upon meeting Ms. Jewell as she forces them to look in a much darker direction. After tales of evil magic and monster hunting Sarah informs the pair of officers that their description of the missing children matches her own suspicions of the cult that worships the Temple of the Black Flame, a place fraught with dark devil magic and human sacrifice. Just as it was with Sir Edward Grey last week, Mignola and Roberson manage to start a new story steeped in the lore of their universe while at the same time making it completely accessible to new readers. Any relevant background information on Sarah Jewell and SIr Edward Grey is covered in a beautifully drawn and well narrated series of flashbacks that spell out how she ended up where she is now and her chance encounter with these two officers. This first issue is a bit slow and really serves to just set up the adventure that is about to begin but it still manages to be a captivating read steeped in a mix of history and monster legends. As well as this book is writing I must say the art has be a bit torn. Christopher Mitten handles art duties and his pencil work on background, buildings, monsters, and world detail are fantastic but there is just something about his character faces that takes me out of the story. They all look like flat featureless ovals with overly expressive eyes and it sits in stark contrast the rest of the brilliant art in the book. This looks to be another engrossing mini series from the Hellboy universe that all readers can enjoy, quirky face art aside I think everyone should check this book out.

 

GLITTERBOMB #1 (Image Comics)-

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Jim Zub takes a very real and somber aspect of the Hollywood lifestyle and gives it a supernatural twist in GLITTERBOMB #1 from Image Comics. Farrah Durante has been chasing the dream of becoming a big time Hollywood actress her whole life but besides some early success that dream has eluded her. Now in her thirties with a child at home the harsh realities of an industry rooted in very real misogyny have come crashing down on her. She is not the 'old lady' in the casting room and her agent wants nothing to do with her any more, all for the sin of not being twenty years old any more. This deep sense of abandonment and failure is seized upon by some entity that has chosen Farrah to act as its vessel. This violent and malevolent creature is now responsible for the deaths of two individuals who have pushed Farrah too far and unless she can get control of it who knows how many more will suffer. Jim Zub has written a pretty emotional tale about a young woman who has been used and discarded by an industry famous for its harsh treatment of women. Included in this issue is a small essay from Holly Raychelle Hughes about bullying and sexism in Hollywood and it acts as a real world example of the world Glitterbomb exists in. The creature that inhabits Farrah acts out against those who have hurt her but in doing so it pushes her consciousness to the side so that she is technically not directly responsible for their deaths. This is the part of the story that I keep coming back to when I think about it and I am really interested to see where it goes. Djibrill Morisette-Phan does a phenomenal job with the art and really showcases the emotion pain of the main character. Her eyes convey a lot of emotions and the pure rage and violence of the monster is a direct reflection of that. On one side it is depression and sadness and the other is pure fury and rage against the injustice of those who have taken advantage of her. This is a very different book and one that everyone should take a look at. I really enjoyed it and after only one issue I am emotionally invested in the main character and I want to see how the rest of the story plays out.

 

CYBORG: REBIRTH #1 (DC Comics)-

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The Rebirth issues from DC Comics have run the spectrum from great books that have re-established characters to mediocre titles that serve as long winded character introductions. Sadly CYBORG: REBIRTH #1 from John Semper Jr and Paul Pelletier falls into the latter category. In this issue Cyborg is pitted against a new villain named Malware, though everything interesting about him ends with his name. He is just another hulking tech brute for a tech hero to eventually triumph over. Throughout the 20 or so pages spent watching them fight readers are treated to the incredibly boring recap of the new 52 version of Cyborg's origin story. Readers familiar with his backstory will be bored to tears while new readers will most likely be put off by the excessive amounts of useless dialogue and narration crammed into each panel. There are some bits towards the end of the story that work, notably the comments from Dr. Stone about how much humanity is left in his son. This seems to hint that the direction they are taking the character is one that will see Victor struggle to find human contact and companionship again. Whether or not this will work remains to be seen but as a fan myself I never saw Cyborg as a character that lacked humanity so the entire premise just feels off somehow. The art by Pelletier is really good overall but he has gone back to the more clunky version of Cyborg that we have been moving away from over the years. Whether this is a creative change from DC editorial or a design in line with the story arc of man vs machine remains to be seen. In the end this a character recap issue from cover to cover and a rather boring one at that.

 

SUPERGIRL #1 (DC Comics)-

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The Rebirth issue for Supergirl was extremely underwhelming and seemingly learned nothing from the poor reception the character received throughout the entirety of the new 52 run, now Steve Orlando and Brian Ching are back with SUPERGIRL #1 from DC Comics and while it is an improvement some of the same mistakes continue to be repeated. One of the steps in the right direction is that the secret identity of Kara Danvers has been established and there are some great scenes with her in school struggling with technology that is so far behind what she was used to on Krypton. The isolation and alienation she feels really hits home and that entire aspect of the book works to ground her and make her a more relatable character. What does not work is the unnecessary, to me at least, inclusion of the DEO agency that pulls her strings and the fact that the creators just cannot seem to get away from Cyborg Superman as a villain. Both of these plot points are back in issue number one and I just cannot stand it. Kara almost seems to be a prisoner to the DEO in a creepy semi indentured servant kind of way. She does not have a family, more like handlers to keep her in line. Also making a return is Kara's father as the Cyborg Superman. This relaunch was a perfect opportunity to get away from that plot thread and try something new but instead we are right back into the tired plot line of bad things following Kara from Krypton to Earth, just like it was in the Rebirth issue. The art by Ching is the high point of this issue and his pencils were sharp in both action scenes and the more intimate scenes involving Kara at school. There is some real emotion conveyed in some of the quieter scenes, I just wish it had more time to breath. Supergirl has tons of potential especially with a hit show on TV, I just hope DC Comics allows the creators to try something a little different and give her room to grow instead of the tired plot threads of an angry Supergirl against the Cyborg Superman.

 

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 31, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: August 24, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: August 17, 2016

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