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Home  >  Features  >  Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: September 21, 2016

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Geoff takes a look at a new batch of first issues, this time it's ALIENS: LIFE AND DEATH #1, BRITANNIA #1, REVOLUTION #1, SEVEN TO ETERNITY #1, TRINITY #1, and CYBORG #1!

 

 

ALIENS: LIFE AND DEATH #1 (Dark Horse Comics)-

2.0 Stars

The Life and Death cross over event from Dark Horse Comics continues with the third volume ALIENS: LIFE AND DEATH #1. Dan Abnett has been writing the entire series as it crosses over the various properties in the AvP universe and his duties continue on this title as well. From the beginning the story has focused on the group of colonial marines who have stumbled across an Engineer spacecraft. The original incident coincided with a Predator hunting party and then the arrival of the Engineers themselves, now the Xenomorph threat has come to pass as the marines struggle to escape the planet. The writing is solid and has been consistent across the entire series but it feels like we are constantly retreading the same ground of movie bad guys making life rough for colonial marines in a set order. The plot itself almost feels inconsequential as this issue starts exactly where it ends with humans on the run from aliens. In the end it is just... boring. Now, I can handle a weak plot on movie property comics if the action is fun and it looks great but Moritats pencils on this issue are really messy and loose. His twist on the Xenomorph is just flat out ugly and his art style is not conducive the the universe at all. The at designs for the Predators, Aliens, and Prometheus movies are a huge part of why they are so appealing. Those movies just look 'cool', but when that design is turned into a muddy sketch it just looks bad and takes you out of the story. This is the weakest entry of this cross over and the story seems to be devolving instead of picking up the pace. If you want to read a good original Aliens story please check out Aliens: Defiance by Brian Wood.

 

BRITANNIA #1 (Valiant Comics)-

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A new entry from Valiant Comics that is quite a bit different than their normal superhero books, BRITANNIA #1 is a story that mixes little known truths and ancient myth into a captivating story set during the height of decadence in the Roman Empire. Nero rules an empire that stretches from North Africa to Hadrian's Wall in the province of Britannia. This northern country is dark, untamed, and populated by pagan tribes who worship strange devils and practice ancient magic. On the opposite side of the spectrum are the Vestal Virgins of Rome. Women who are chaste and uncorrupted that wield enormous influence over Nero and thus the empire itself. The story written by Peter Milligan centers on Antonius Axia, a Roman Centurion who has caught the eye of the Vestal Virgins for reasons still unknown to the reader. Saved by the Vestals after a brush with Druid magic Axia has become a powerful man in the Empire. However his newfound power bestowed by the Vestals comes at a cost as they manipulate Nero to ensure that Axia is sent to Britannia to investigate growing rumors of disappearing soldiers and strange creatures in the night. This was a complicated book that used both the real life mysteries concerning the Vestal Virgins and the myths surrounding druid magic and human sacrifice. Axia's character was well flushed out and surprisingly real in his motivations. He is neither a hero nor a villain, just a pawn in a larger game. The art by Juan Jose Ryp is stunning. His pencils are sharp with amazing detail on both characters and the environment. BRITANNIA #1 was a surprising read that was not on my radar yet impressed me with its quality start to finish. I found the mix of history and myth to be a fun combination and the first issue ended on a good hook that makes me want to come back and find out what happens. I think this is one of those sleeper hits so definitely check it out.

 

REVOLUTION #1 (IDW Publishing)-

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IDW is throwing their hat in the ring for giant cross over events with this weeks release of REVOLUTION #1. Written by John Barber and Cullen Bunn, REVOLUTION #1 brings Transformers, GI Joe, Action Man, and ROM all into the same shared universe. The action is kicked offed by the death of British agent Big Ben who with his last words places the blame on GI Joe while at the same time the Joe squad is preparing to face off against Optimus Prime and his cybertronian forces. I know that bringing multiple properties into the same book is difficult but REVOLUTION #1 steps right out of the gate with the most cliched and boring tropes of the genre. Yet again we have multiple factions of heroes deciding that instead of talking or thinking about things for just one minute decide to start trying to kill one another. Half way through the series there will be some revelation and mutual understanding that will allow all sides to see clearly and then proceed to take on the bad guy together. It was boring when Marvel and DC Comics did it with JLA vs. Avengers and it is boring when IDW is trying the exact same thing. None of the motivations make sense and the plot is beyond paper thin. The art by Fico Ossio is really good for both human characters and backgrounds but the real stand out is how good the Transformers characters look. Get this art on the current Transformers ongoing title quickly because it looks amazing. The panel to panel action and movement can be a little hard to follow at times but the art is by far the best part of the book. As a big fan of both Transformers and GI Joe I was looking forward to this book for a long time and I could not be more disappointed in how it turned out. It follows the formula for cross over events so closely is comes off as just boring and predictable.

 

SEVEN TO ETERNITY #1 (Image Comics)-

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Rick Remender and Jerome Opena have brought brought one of the most beautiful and well crafted comics to Image Comics with SEVEN TO ETERNITY #1. Set in a whole new world with no rules to obey other than their own the creators of this book have built something truly special. The stage is set via a journal entry from Adam Osidis, son of Zebadiah Osidis who was the one man who dared defy the God of Whispers. With his family exiled Zeb took up life on the frontier until the war he had long avoided came crashing down all around him. Now Adam must take his dead father's place as the patriarch of the family and once more confront the God of Whispers. There is so much world building and character development in this one single issue and it all flows naturally without an overabundance of narration or exposition. The subtext to the story is a villain who controls not through strength but through lies and deception. The God of Whispers earned his name by having eyes and ears in every house and will turn entire armies against each other through the spread of rumor and false truths. The Osidis family has stood alone against an overpowering force and yet the local population condemns then as traitors. When Adam walks back into town for the first time in years it is a read gut punch to see how he is treated by those who should be standing behind him against an oppressive warlord. The art by Opena is just breathtaking. It might be the best work he has ever done. Pencils, colors, layouts, character work, background, action... it is all flawless and a real treat for the eyes. This is one of the best comics I have read this year so do not miss it. If you did be sure to hit up your shop and have them order you a second or third printing because this is a book that you will want to get in on from the start.

 

TRINITY #1 (DC Comics)-

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The big three of the DC universe are back together in TRINITY #1 from DC Comics. Written and drawn by Francis Manapul this issue serves as a touching reunion in which Batman and Wonder Woman head out to the Kent farm to meet the new Superman who has come from the pre Flashpoint universe. What entails are a series of flashbacks in which these characters who were once friends and now strangers attempt to fill in the gaps of their relationships. The best by far is Superman informing Batman of the time he remembers the caped crusader dawning a rainbow costume in order to draw attention to himself while trying to protect Robin. The look on the new Batman's face when confronted with his silver age antics is priceless. Mixed with some touching moments between Bruce and Jon and Diana and Lois this issue really hit home with how much the relationship these three had has been missed over the last five years. Their friendship and support of one another formed the backbone of the DC universe and I am glad to see the trinity coming back together. Manapul's pencils are in top form as this issue is beautifully drawn from cover to cover. Dynamic panel work, stylized flashback art, and great colors compliment the story and make TRINITY #1 a slow but endearing comic. This is an easy comic to recommend to long time DC fans looking for the re-establishment of this trio of iconic characters. I am not sure as to the ongoing longevity of this book because there was little more than a final splash page hinting at where the arc is going but even as a stand alone read this is one all readers can pick up and enjoy.

 

CYBORG #1 (DC Comics)-

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After a lackluster Rebirth issue John Semper Jr. and Paul Pelletier are back with a better comic in this week's CYBORG #1 from DC Comics. Vic Stone is struggling with the revelation that his father fears he might be more machine than man and might lack a human soul. This self doubt leads to a bit of searching for said soul amongst the jazz clubs of Detroit. It is there that Victor finds his confidence to realize he is indeed still human only to be attacked by the mechanized giant Kilgore. While better than the Rebirth issue this book still suffers from a lack of a story hook to grab readers. For two issues now we have only had the brief hint at a villain who looks eerily similar to Cyborg for a total of 3 pages over two books as well as the journal from Silas Stone regarding his doubts surrounding Victor's humanity. It is just not enough, especially for a B tier hero like Cyborg. I honestly just found it boring. The majority of this issue was a touchy feely 18 page long pat on the back for a character who is not that interesting with an almost non-existent rogues gallery. The art by Pelletier is solid with clean pencils but it is not enough to make this an showcase that does not need to rest on a strong story. I think the new Cyborg series is one of the rare busts of the Rebirth event and should be a skip for all but the most hardcore fans of Victor Stone.

 

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: September 14, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: September 07, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: August 31, 2016

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