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Home  >  Features  >  Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: October 26, 2016

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Geoff takes a look at a new batch of first issues, this time it's VIGILANTE: SOUTHLAND #1, BATMAN BEYOND #1, TEEN TITANS #1, DOCTOR STRANGE MYSTIC APPRENTICE #1, PROWLER #1, DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #1, THE SKEPTICS #1, SERENITY: NO POWER IN THE 'VERSE #1, and BLOODSHOT USA #1.

 

 

VIGILANTE: SOUTHLAND #1 (DC Comics)-

3.0 Stars

The first of a six issue mini series, VIGILANTE: SOUTHLAND #1 from DC Comics asks how far one would go to fight against the system and the barriers society can put in place. Donnie is a young man who saw his dreams of professional sports pass him by and is now lost. When his girlfriend is killed in a hit and run accident that does not add up Donnie finds a new purpose and strives to find the truth no matter the cost. His quest for answers lead him to his estranged father and the realization that his girlfriend was far more than a young activist, she was a vigilante. Written by Cary Phillips VIGILANTE: SOUTHLAND #1 takes on the subject of inner city racism against black youths head on and beats the reader over the head with it. From the white cops interrupting an innocent basketball game to the collection of white people in power acting as villains there is really no subtlety here. However, with all that said while the book is a bit preachy the story is still solid and well told. The mystery to find out what Dorrie was really up to and he character development of Donnie both make for good reading and a solid setup for a mini series. Elena Casagrande does a good job on art except for a few instances of panel to panel action and movement not being consistent which causes the reader to go back and forth and breaks some of the pacing. This is a good story that spends just a little too much time beating the reader over the head with its message.

 

BATMAN BEYOND #1 (DC Comics)-

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Dan Jurgens picks up with BATMAN BEYOND #1 from DC Comics right where he left off with the Rebirth issue. Terry is back as Batman and gotten in over his head with the Joker gang. His girlfriend Dana Tan has been kidnapped and Terry is on the losing end of a battle against a venom enraged brute of a Joker. While he manages to escape it is clear that he underestimated the Jokerz and is out of practice as Batman. The solution... infiltrate the Jokerz as one of their own. A fun book with lots of action, BATMAN BEYOND #1 does not disappoint as a page turner. The story still has yet to really kick off with two issues in the bag teasing the image of the original Joker possibly being brought back to life. Some good self realization from Terry about being overconfident and some interesting discussion about who mattered more to Gotham, Batman or Joker, round out the fast paced action. Pencils by Bernard Chang are really stellar and the big action fight that makes up the bulk of this issue is a great example of that. Movement is kinetic and frantic all around. This mixed with a heavy dose of red coloring on both characters and backgrounds strive to make this book look and feel different than anything else coming out of DC. In fact I think what it really reminds me of, appropriately so, is the color pallet of the Bruce Timm cartoon and with that in mind it is a great fit. BATMAN BEYOND #1 is not doing anything revolutionary but it is a fun book and an exciting read. Fans of the old cartoon looking for a good jumping on point should pick this issue up and see what the Batman of the future has been up to.

 

TEEN TITANS #1 (DC Comics)-

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Picking up right where he left off with the Rebirth issue, writer Benjamin Percy and DC Comics bring us TEEN TITANS #1 and one of the strangest superhero team formations in history. Damian Wayne has captured Starfire, Beast Boy, Kid Flash, and Raven but using their individual weaknesses against them. Only when they come together as a team can they escape his trap and defeat him. This is a tough love lesson from the new Robin but it does accomplish its intended goal and bring them all together. I think Benjamin Percy even threw in some commentary about the New52 Teen Titans book when Damien refers to that group as a failed experiment made up of failures and criminals. Robin is the character everyone loves to hate but I love him and Percy does a great job of walking that fine line between badass and obnoxious. While his method to bring the team together is questionable his motives are not. Everyone one of them is being targeted by the League of Assassins and only together can they stand a chance. Jonboy Meyers is great on art with an style that using very light inks, if any, and has a slight anime influence. All of the character art is absolutely fantastic and the panel work in the action scenes has a great sense of movement. This book looks great and was a fun read cover to cover. The Teen Titans were yet another group handled horribly in the New52 universe and this is another great Rebirth success story that brings back the characters you wanted to see in the first place.

 

DOCTOR STRANGE MYSTIC APPRENTICE #1 (Marvel Comics)-

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In the build up to the release of the Doctor Strange movie Marvel Comics has published DOCTOR STRANGE MYSTIC APPRENTICE #1 that serves as both a modern retelling of his origin as well as including the classic Stan Lee issues from Strange Tales. The new material is penned by Will Corona Pilgrim and covers Steven Strange's quest to finally master the art of astral projection while flashing back to his accident and recovery. The art and story are fine but there is nothing in this new content for existing comic book fans with at least a passing knowledge of Dr. Strange. What does make this book worth picking up are the reprinted Stan Lee and Steve Ditko stories from Strange Tales #110 and #115. Covering his origin and a small story about the astral plane these classic comics hold up and were a great read with the new movie right around the corner. I was familiar with the history of Stephen Strange but I had never read the original stories so I personally found these reprints to be the real meat of this collection. The only reason I could think to recommend this issue is if you want to check out these Strange Tales comics that are included. If that appeals to you I think it is worth the $4 to get some classic Lee and Ditko Greatness before heading off to see the movie.

 

PROWLER #1 (Marvel Comics)-

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Marvel Comics is dipping its toes back into clone controversy again this week with PROWLER #1 from Sean Ryan, Javier Saltares, and Jamal Campbell. Hobie Brown has been through it all as the Prowler from villain, to Spider Man stand in, to mercenary, and finally back to being a stand in for Peter Parker to help him cover his absences due to Parker Industries. The Jackal is back and has set up shop in San Francisco once again using cloning technology to bring characters like Jack-O-Lantern, Madame Web, and even Prowler himself back to life. What this holds for the future and what The Jackal's true motives really are remains to be seen but something is definitely not right with the entire endeavor. PROWLER #1 is one of the stranger books to come out of the NOW releases because how much success can Marvel Comics expect out of a new series based on a D list side character. Frankly, after reading the first issue there is nothing here that makes it seem like a good idea. Wrapping the entire ordeal around yet another clone story with The Jackal is another big reach with stories that could have been told in the main Spider Man comic itself or even a four issue mini series. The art and writing were solid with good talent all around but when I closed the final page the only thought I was left with was "who cares?".

 

DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #1 (Marvel Comics)-

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It is all things Strange this week and the trend continues with DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #1 from Marvel Comics. Written by Robbie Thompson this new Dr. Strange ongoing title brings various Sorcerer Supremes together from across time to battle an ancient evil Merlin has let loose on the world. The idea is a great concept, mix the Marvel universe and real history to answer the question of who would have been the Sorcerer Supreme at various points throughout history. Merlin is an obvious choice but the inclusion of Sir Isaac Newton and a Native American Shaman are nice touches as well. DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #1 is a comic based on a great idea that fails to fully capitalize on capturing readers with the first issue. Bringing all these figures together to battle one of Merlin's dark secrets is an imaginative idea but there is no tease or hook that drew me in. All we know is Merlin is hiding something that has gotten loose but with no idea as to who or what it is there are no stakes. In the end the first issue ends up being a series of character quips and introductions with no room left for moving the plot forward. The art by Javier Rodriguez is serviceable but not outstanding. The book features sharp pencils and good character designs but there is nothing about it that really stands out. With all these magical figures I feel there was some potential missed by not picking a more stylistic artist. In this end this is a great idea that fell a bit short but there is hope that the second issue will build on the mystery and give readers something to grab onto.

 

THE SKEPTICS #1 (Black Mask Studios)-

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Black Mask Studios has quietly been releasing some great creator owned comics recently and this week that trend continues with The Skeptics #1 by Tini Howard and Devaki Neogi. Set in an alternate history wherein the cold war between the United States and the USSR is at its peak under President Rockefeller two youngsters are recruited into a arms race of super power beings... or are they? Dealing with issues such as propaganda and false flags these two young people with supposed psychic powers are little more than clever charlatans. The idea being that neither side really believes in the supernatural but both pretend to in order to sow fear and confusion. The book is extremely clever in this subterfuge and watching the characters either pretending to buy into it or truthfully believe it makes for a good read. The art from Neogi is heavily stylized in a way that reminds me of Mike Allred. The pseudo 60's time period lends itself perfectly to this style with colorful characters and great wardrobes. The only fault in the art is a real lack of ability to convey movement. There are a few panels that look like an old Scooby-Doo running animation in still frame, it just looks really bad and pull you out of the story. In a book that is mostly talking this is not a huge detriment but the few action scenes involved are really jarring. THE SKEPTICS #1 is an interesting setup for an original idea that fans looking for something other than capes cowls will enjoy. It is not perfect and a bit dense with dialogue but the story was intriguing and personally it hooked me enough to pick up issue number two and give it a shot.

 

SERENITY: NO POWER IN THE 'VERSE #1 (Dark Horse Comics)-

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Dark Horse Comics is bringing back everyone's favorite short lived TV show with SERENITY: NO POWER IN THE 'VERSE #1. Written by Chris Roberson this new mini series picks up after the events of the Serenity movie in which Wash and the preacher are dead and the crew have exposed the truth behind the Reavers and their connection to the Alliance. Mal and his group of wayward souls are picking up odd jobs here and there but their high visibility is making them targets and good money is hard to find when you have to keep your head low. Soon enough an old friend of Inara's has gone missing and some rogue browncoats who never gave up the fight are somehow connected. The crew of Serenity go to investigate and before they know they find themselves on the wrong end of a gun barrel. The storytelling and voices of the characters feel right at home, this could easily be just another episode in the show and that is what most fans are looking for. The art by Georges Jeanty, however, is a bit hit or miss. Some characters like Mal and Inara have a fantastic likeness to them while others like Kaylee, Jayne, and River are completely unrecognizable. The positives of great ship and structure art are countered by lumpy and awkward character art. With all that said I still think this is a book for Firefly fans, but only for existing fans of the show looking for anything to read that keeps the story going.

 

BLOODSHOT USA #1 (Valiant Comics)-

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The Bloodshot nano-virus has been released on the world and that means it is cross over time at Valiant Comics, it all kicks off with BLOODSHOT USA #1. Penned by Jeff Lemire this issue builds of the last years worth of events in the Valiant universe. The evil Project Rising Spirit has learned that the Bloohshot nanites can be harvested and re-purposed to infect a large population center causing mass casualties and panic. This evil organization can then swoop in to save the day and 'turn off' the chaos it created leaving them set to be viewed as the saviors of the country. When the Unity Squad, Ninjak, and the recently rescued Bloodshot arrive at the scene the true scope of Rising Spirit's plan takes shape as it is learned the infection has been lying dormant for months even in the heroes themselves. Everything comes crashing to a close as an out of control Ninjak decapitates Bloodshot on the final page. I personally am not up to speed on Valiant comics or their universe, I really have no idea who most of these characters are and yet even with that lack of knowledge firmly in place this was still a kick ass comic book. The bad guys are super bad, the good guys hopelessly outnumbered, and the final page left my jaw on the floor. This was pure 100% full speed comic book craziness and I loved it. The issue is written at a breakneck pace and even with all this information and background thrown at the reader to let us know who is who it still flowed exceptionally well and was done before even a hint of dragging plot overflow set in. The art by Doug Braithwaite is sketchy and rough and great to look at. In a book where the reader is meeting a lot of new characters for the first time having an artist that can drawn distinct faces is a must and this is a shining example of that. I was never lost, I knew who was who, and the action flowed briskly from panel to panel. This is a big action packed set piece book and it looks fantastic cover to cover. This is one for all readers, those familiar with Valiant and those like me who have no real idea who these people are. Check this one out and if it grabs you hit up your local comic book shop for some Valiant trade paperbacks or back issues to get caught up.

 

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: October 19, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: October 12, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: September 28, 2016

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