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Home  >  Features  >  Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: January 04, 2017

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Geoff takes a look at a new batch of first issues, this time it's THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP #1, U.S. AVENGERS #1, STAR TREK GREEN LANTERN: STRANGER WORLDS #1, THE FALL AND RISE OF CAPTAIN ATOM #1, and JLA REBIRTH: THE ATOM #1.

 

 

THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP #1 (Marvel Comics)-

4.0 Stars

The first new number one issue of 2017 is here and Marvel Comics brings readers yet another teenage version of a long known hero in THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP #1. Written by Jeremy Whitley the new Wasp is none other than Nadia Pym, the long lost daughter of Hank Pym and his first wife. Born in the top secret Soviet Red Room she was sequestered all her life until she finally escaped by replicating her father's Pym Particles and creating her own Wasp suit. However, when she finally came to the United States to find her father she was devastated to learn he had died in the Rage of Ultron event. Now Nadia Pym has to create a new life for herself as The Wasp.

This is one of those comics that is hard to review because there is definite quality in both the story and the art but it is nothing I would ever be interested in. The continuing trend for Marvel Comics to re-brand their established characters as younger teenagers is reaching a tipping point for me as a long time reader. Nadia is an endearing and charming new character. She is bright, optimistic, and cute and jumps into her father's legacy with reckless abandon in the best way. Whitley does a good job of channeling her youth and exuberance via Nadia's relationship with the young Ms. Marvel while also showing her reverence for the older generation of heroes as demonstrated with her interactions with Mockingbird. The idea of girl power in the Marvel universe is front and center in this issue and for that reason I think that while it may not be for me this is a perfect book for young girls looking to get into reading mainstream superhero comics.

The art by Elsa Charretier is done in a bright cartoon style with exaggerated features that lend to tons of emotion. From cover to cover the characters pop off the page and you can almost feel the enthusiasm as Nadia and Kamala go about their little super hero adventure. The pencils are clean and the colors are a softer tone that work well together. As I stated before this is a book I feel most long time Marvel fans will bounce off of, but it is not for us. This is a jumping on point for new younger readers and as a vehicle for that sole purpose THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP #1 hits the mark.

 

U.S. AVENGERS #1 (Marvel Comics)-

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Al Ewing has been one of the best surprises to come out of Marvel Comics since the relaunch and this week he debuts his new Avengers team with U.S. AVENGERS #1. Roberto da Costa has moved on from the New Avengers and in partnership with SHIELD and the US government has rebranded A.I.M. into American Intelligence Mechanics. This new team will work in partnership with those departments to ensure the protection of the United States from an threats the country may face.

Ewing has returned with a new Avengers team that might seem overly jingoistic at first glance but in reality it is extremely fun with over the top action and instantly endearing characters. The book switches back and forth between heartfelt testimonials of the team members and a ridiculous yet awesome fight against the Secret Empire's new super volcano flying fortress. Read that last line again, super volcano flying fortress, and you will have a good idea of where this book is going. A new Iron Patriot, old favorites Cannonball and Squirrel Girl, and a new Red Hulk round out the team as each member gets a some one on one time with the American public. These small character segments are a perfect mix of patriotism and genuine desire to help those who need it and it is also a perfect vehicle for introducing new readers to a cast of mostly unknowns. U.S. AVENGERS #1 does not take itself too seriously and it is all the better for it.

Paco Medina returns from his New Avengers partnership with Al Ewing to add a sense of continuity to the new series. His art is solid as ever and he takes full advantage of the crazy action in the script to deliver some stunning art and two page layouts. This bombastic style full of action, motion, and red white and blue is contrasted with the quieter moments of individual monologue from the team. This is a book I had all but written off due to its title and the fact it was comprised of a team of odd characters but now that I have read it I think Ewing has struck gold again. The characters are fun, the action is intense, and the premise is just plain crazy fun. If you were a fan of Ewing's New Avengers this is a close carryover from that series and you should definitely check this book out. With said I think this is a good recommendation for any readers looking for a new title to pick up.

 

STAR TREK GREEN LANTERN: STRANGER WORLDS #1 (IDW Publishing/DC Comics)-

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I am a sucker for a fun publisher crossover and this week DC Comics and IDW Publishing are bringing two of my favorite franchises together in STAR TREK GREEN LANTERN: STRANGER WORLDS #1. Author Mike Johnson pens the second volume of this cross over that finds various members of the lantern corps transported to the J.J. Abrams alternate Star Trek Universe. In the first volume Nekron, head of the Black Lanterns, destroyed the DC universe and a small group of lanterns were able to escape. Now Hal Jordan and several other lanterns are assisting Star Fleet while Sinestro has taken over the Klingon Empire. Separated from their power batteries all the lanterns are losing the power in their rings with no hope of recharging them until a manhunter is found on a distant planet. The realization occurs that if the manhunters are in this new universe then the guardians must be as well, now it is a race to see who can find Oa first and recharge their rings.

IThis issue is full of strikes against it but in the end I still enjoyed it, but that is mainly due to my love of the properties involved. The beginning is exhaustive narration to bring new readers up to speed, character introductions are overly dramatic and ham fisted, and Sinestro's arrival at the end force feeds the importance of the downed manhunter to the reader like we are not smart enough to figure out its significance. With all that said it was still fun to watch Hal Jordan and the crew of the Enterprise work together to evacuate a space station and Guy Gardner attempt to hit on a Vulcan. All of the character voices felt somewhat muted and simplified but the book still moved at a fast clip and by the end I was genuinely interested in a race to see who could find Oa first, Jordan and the Enterprise crew or Sinestro with the Klingons.

IAngel Hernandez turns in adequate artwork that tells the story without wowing the reader. Character likenesses for both universes are find and the Star Trek universe ships and stations all match the designs of the movies but it is all rather flat and lacks detail. This is the perfect example of art that is good enough to convey the story but not something that will stand out from the crowd. I like this book, I really do but its faults are too apparent to give it a higher score. I think big Star Trek fans like myself who are also into DC comics will get a kick out of the cross over but that is all, there is nothing here to pull in readers from outside of those fan bases.

 

THE FALL AND RISE OF CAPTAIN ATOM #1 (DC Comics)-

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Captain Nathaniel Adams has been gone from comics for years and the story of his disappearance and eventual return are being told this week in THE FALL AND RISE OF CAPTAIN ATOM #1 from DC Comics. Cary Bates and Greg Weisman have teamed up to finally tell the tale of just what exactly happened to Captain Atom. The character has been missing from DC Comics for almost the entirety of the New52 universe and now with Rebirth well underway it was time to bring him back. Captain Atom is the very definition of a character that is a ticking time bomb. Composed of pure nuclear energy his is literally trying to fly apart all the time, only held in check by his special suit. In 2013 that containment finally failed and despite the best efforts of the Justice League and the Continuum he finally succumbed to his condition in a massive explosion. Everyone involved thought he had perished at that moment, but we learn in this issue that his powers surpass the limitations of time and space. Captain Atom is not dead but rather lost in time.

Bates writes a first issue that starts hot and never lets off the gas until the final cliffhanger. We start with a Captain Atom who is at the brink, both physically and mentally. His cannot control the raging nuclear fire within him and the risk he is bringing to everyone around his is too much to bear. Bates explores his mental collapse via his constant communication with the scientist trying to hold him together as well as the Justice League. Even in the midst of one last heroic deed he knows that he is falling apart and putting innocent lives at risk. When his final moment eventually comes he meets it head on and it really works to set the tone for this character. A man who wants nothing more than to be a hero while at the same time having to face the undeniable truth that he is, in his own words, a walking nuclear freak show. The comic is a bit dialogue heavy with lots of technobabble being thrown about but it still moves along fairly well. It is an abrupt and fast start that gives readers the chance to see Captain Atom at his worst right out of the gate so that we can root for him and his eventual resurrection.

Will Conrad provides beautiful pencils for this series. His character work is top notch and full of detail. For a character whose costume is basically just shiny silver skin Conrad still manages to make it fun to look at. The radiation effects being used to simulate hair and even emotion works out really well and I think it was a smart choice. Colors and background art are all superb making this a beautiful book to look at. Captain Atom is not the most interesting character in DC's library but this series is off to a good start in its attempt to make him relevant again. With the arrival of Dr. Manhattan in the Rebirth universe there is some opportunity here to tell some real mind bending stories about the fabric of space and time and I hope that the connections between these two characters are not missed. As a six issue mini series I think this is an easy book to recommend with good writing, great art, and a definite end in sight with a fixed story to tell.

 

JLA REBIRTH: THE ATOM #1 (DC Comics)-

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JLA REBIRTH: THE ATOM #1 is the first of four one shot Rebirth issues from DC Comics highlighting the characters of the forthcoming Justice League of America comic. These four one shot issues will be penned by JLA writer Steve Orlando so you know there is going to be a nice sense of consistency between these solo stories and the main series to come. Ryan Choi is far from his home in Hong Kong as he attends Ivy University under the tutelage of Dr. Ray Palmer, the one and only Atom. Trusted with Dr. Palmer's secret Ryan soon becomes a vital part of team Atom, assisting the super hero in his adventures for years while at the same time seeking his degree in theoretical physics. When Dr. Palmer goes missing in the microverse it is up to Ryan to take up the mantel and become the new Atom in an attempt to save him.

Ryan is just about the last person you would ever think of as a super hero. He is small, suffers from allergies, and has glasses thicker than coke bottles to correct his nearsightedness. Yet even in this short introduction his drive and determination are irrefutable. Steve Orlando walks a tight rope with this character in that readers want to root for the underdog but if you make him too sickly sweet he becomes a caricature. I think this pitfall was avoided by one cleverly written scene in with Dr. Palmer is attempting to suss out Ryan's true motivations. Palmer presses him over and over about what it is that drives him to be the amazing student that he is. When he learns that it is Ryan's desire to prove that even those who are small can still have a lot to offer he knows he has found someone he can trust. Someone whose motivations are pure. It is a touching scene that is capitalized on when Dr. Palmer goes missing and bequeaths a size changing belt to Ryan with the hopes that he can come save him. Again, Ryan is nothing close to the ideal super hero but it is his determination that leads to him becoming the next Atom.

The pencils in this issue are done by Andy MacDonald and his talent for character faces is undeniable. Both Ryan and Dr. Palmer are a showcase for subtle emotion with a rather simple art style. His work is not overly flashy or stylized but it works well for this one shot. The backgrounds tend to be rather simple and the action panels are isolated in single frames so there is little kinetic movement. Overall I think the art is solid while not remarkable. In fact that is pretty much what I felt about this issue. It serves as a nice little back story for a new character but was rather forgettable.

 

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: December 28, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: December 14, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: December 07, 2016

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