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Home  >  Features  >  Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: November 30, 2016

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Geoff takes a look at a new batch of first issues, this time it's MASK #1, NO ANGEL #1, SAVAGE #1, GHOST RIDER #1, and INHUMANS vs XMEN #0.

 

 

MASK #1 (IDW Publishing)-

3.0 Stars

The cartoons of my youth continue to find a home at IDW Publishing and now you can add MASK #1 to the list. Written by Brandon Easton this issue is set in the middle of the rather unappealing Revolution crossover event. In the first MASK revolution one shot we met the team and the backstory for the characters was established. When this issue picks up the team has been separated into Matt Trakker and the MASK team vs Mayhem and the VENOM team who are out to destroy the Cybertronians on Earth. Thankfully besides the introduction this issue does not deal much with the overall Revolution story line. In fact the best part of this issue is that it plays out like an old episode of the cartoon, its VENOM vs MASK with cool cars and big explosions. The characters are paper thin despite and attempt at Matt Trakker's history but that is just fine, MASK was never about the characters it was about the cool vehicles and on that front this book succeeds. The updated vehicle designs and art by Tony Vargas are the highlight of issue. He has taken the classic MASK vehicles like the camaro and the motorcycle and given them a 2016 update that really kicks ass while keeping the color pallet the same so old timers like me can still see the resemblance to the classics. There is one big reason to pick up this book and a lot of reasons not to. If you enjoyed the cartoon when you were young or had the toys this is a fun nostalgia trip that brings the simple idea of cars with big guns into a modern setting. The art is great and the vehicle designs are cool and in that respect this book totally works. However, the tie in to the Revolution crossover is not good for anybody and the plot itself it rather thin and those who are new to the property will not find much to grab onto..

 

NO ANGEL #1 (Black Mask Studios)-

4.0 Stars.gif

Black Mask Studios is quickly becoming one of my favorite indie publishers and this week they bring out another solid title with NO ANGEL #1. Written by the brother sister duo of Eric and Adrianne Palicki NO ANGEL #1 introduces us to Iraq war vet Hannah Gregory and her somber return to her home town. Her father and brother have been brutally murdered in their own home and there are no leads on the suspect. Hannah soon discovers there is more to her father than she knew when she is approached by a long time friend of his, a friend who was more than just an acquaintance. What follows is a story straight out of the Old Testament wherein angels and man would couple and produce hybrid offspring and the bloodlines of those pairings have worked their way through humanity for thousands of years. The close connection Hannah's father and this mystery women shared was that they both knew they were descendants of this bloodline and thus Hannah is as well. The pacing of the story is well done and as a reader going into it blind I was caught off guard with the twist into the supernatural, but in a good way. What started off as a murder mystery with a touch of impending revenge turned into a hidden story of long kept secrets and demonic bad guys. Adrianne's experience as an actress definitely comes through in the writing as it feels very much like a script for a TV episode but in a good way. The issue is light on narration and the dialogue relates all the story beats to the reader without ever feeling long winded. Ari Syahrazad does a good job on the pencils with a very solid likeness of Adrianne as the main character. My only critique would be that the very dark color pallet of the issue can make some panels hard to discern but overall it is a very pretty book to look at. NO ANGEL #1 is a fun read that turned out far better than I thought it would. I admit I went into it with low expectations when I saw a well known actress on writing duties but I am happy to say I was wrong and the writing was, in fact, the best part of the issue. This is a dark story with a dark twist out of christian lore with a very satisfying cliff hanger to wrap up the first issue.

 

SAVAGE #1 (Valiant Comics)-

5.0 Stars.gif

I am a sucker for lost islands, stranded passengers, and dinosaurs and thus I was a big fan of SAVAGE #1 from Valiant Comics. Writer B. Clay Moore pulls from a lot of established stories and mixes them together with a modern flair as we meet Kevin and Ronnie Sauvage along with their young baby as they fly to the United States for a try at restarting professional footballer Kevin's new career in the states. Things go bad, as they do, and the resulting plane crash lands them on a deserted island full of horrors. It it then that the opening sequence of the comic book makes sense. A sequence in which a young savage child battles a dinosaur over a clutch of eggs. Whether it is Tarzan, Lost, or The Land that Time Forgot the trope of modern people stranded on an island full of mysteries and monsters is nothing new to the world of science fiction. The real test is if you can tell a strong story with compelling characters in that setting and Moore pulls that off exceptionally well in this debut issue. Ronnie and Kevin are written with a lot of depth and emotion highlighted by the amazing about of personality Clayton Henry can put into their faces. Henry handles all of the flashback art which is where we meet the couple and start their journey. Ronnie is steadfast and responsible while Kevin is an aging star finding solace in the bottom of a bottle. Even after the crash reality has not set in for Kevin as he believes that a five star resort must be right around the corner while Ronnie is worried about rationing what little food they have. Despite this clash there is enough subtlety in the art and the writing to let the reader know there is real emotion between them. Finally I have to mention the stunning art from Lewis Larosa. The first eight pages of the book are a visual tour de force with no dialogue or narration at all. The entire sequence and tone is set by the art alone and it is great to look at. The detail, the colors, the panel movement and action are all exquisite and really do a great job of grabbing the reader and pulling them into the story quickly and almost violently. I hope that people do not pass up this book at first glance because it is yet another tale of a couple lost on a strange island lost in time with dinosaurs. The characters are compelling and the art is some of the best I have seen this month.

 

GHOST RIDER #1 (Marvel Comics)-

2.0 Stars.gif

Just in time for his starring role in Agents of Shield, Marvel Comics is putting a new GHOST RIDER #1 on store shelves this week. Written by Felipe Smith, the original creator of Robbie Reyes, this relaunch picks up where the previous volume left off. Robbie is fully aware of the evil spirit Eli Marrow who inhabits his car and is now working with him willingly as the Ghost Rider in an effort to satiate his bloodlust but only by killing criminals. The new arc revolves around a mysterious specimen being investigated by the new Hulk, Amadeus Cho. When this substance gets loose and becomes infused with Hulk blood it soon becomes a much larger threat as it takes the form of a monster rampaging through the city, now Robbie Reyes and the Totally Awesome Hulk must work together to stop it. While I enjoyed the original arc that introduced Robbie Reyes back in 2014 from the same writer this new series is off to a very bad start. The story is completely disjointed with one half being a Hulk story and the other half a Ghost Rider story but nowhere in the first issue are the two disparate threads brought even remotely close together. The Hulk portion is as grating and annoying as the character is and is nothing more than Amadeus Cho talking to himself while fighting a giant pink rat. Meanwhile the Ghost Rider portion is horribly written with Robbie and his brother moving from panel to panel with the most ridiculous smiling faces that never seem to change. There is no subtlety in this issue at all when it comes to Robbie's character and his motivations. The reader is beat over the head with the special needs brother and just how amazingly awesome Robbie is and what a great example he sets. This is then contrasted by the writers need to show what a badass his Ghost Rider side is as he takes down some thugs. Not only is the writing bad but the art is not up to par either. Danilo Beyruth's pencils feel sloppy and flat. His stylized art had a feel that would work for some books but it feels like a poor match for Ghost Rider especially when it comes to his vehicle art. If your book is going to center around a badass muscle car then you need to get someone who can draw a good looking car for as your artist and Beyruth is not the one. I had high hopes for this issue with Ghost Rider playing such a large role in Marvel's flagship television series but the book falls flat on all levels. This is a relaunch that can be skipped.

 

INHUMANS vs X-MEN #0 (Marvel Comics)-

4.0 Stars.gif

The lead up to the next big event from Marvel Comics is here and it starts with INHUMANS VS X-MEN #0. With top tier talent in Jeff Lemire and Kenneth Rocafort this event is shaping up to be the one that will determine the state of mutants in the Marvel Universe for years to come. Ever since the end of Secret Wars fans of the X-men have been is a sense of despair over the future of the mutants and exactly what it was that happened to Cyclops that caused this rift between the X-men and the Inhumans. We learned the fate of Cyclops in the Death of X mini series and now the long foretold clash between these two groups is about to kick off. This event seems to exist both in universe as well as in our world as Marvel struggles to make the Inhumans relevant while seemingly at the same time attempting to sideline the X-men franchise due to property rights battles with Fox. Lemire uses this zero issue to lay the groundwork and introduce all the main players for any readers who are interested but have not been keeping up on current events. After the destruction of one of the two terrigen clouds the stakes have been raised. The Inhumans need the cloud to preserve their species while the X-men need to destroy it to save theirs. The lines have been drawn and both sides are geared for battle if Beast and Iso cannot find a peaceful resolution. The writing is solid and Lemire has a good handle on how to write the X-men as well as the Inhumans, though the latter are always so stoic and impersonal which might be part of the reason they are not catching on. The art but Rocafort is beyond exceptional as always. His style is perfectly suited for this big event series full of action, drama, and larger than life set pieces. INHUMANS VS X-MEN #0 exists to bring readers up to speed and get them ready for issue number one and thus is not really necessary reading for everyone. However, with all that said it is still beautiful to look at and fun to read.

 

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: November 23, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: November 16, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: November 9, 2016

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