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Home  >  Features  >  #1 Bullets New Comic Book Day Reviews: March 15, 2017

NEIL GAIMAN AMERICAN GODS SHADOWS.jpg

 

Geoff takes a look at a new batch of first issues, this time it's ALL NEW SOULFIRE #1, VAMPIRELLA #1, BATWOMAN #1, and AMERICAN GODS #1!

 

 

ALL NEW SOULFIRE #1 (Aspen Comics)-

3.0 Stars

The spirit of Michael Turner lives on through Aspen Comics and their latest volume of Soulfire that begins with ALL NEW SOULFIRE #1. Penned by J.T. Krull this volume picks up with Malikai living the celebrity life after being adopted by energy mogul Rainer. Malikai has been the protagonist of this series since the beginning as it is his coming that was foretold to return magic to the world. Rainer has been established as the antagonist and seeks to harness magic as a new source of energy that he can exploit. In this new series it seems that Malikai has been adopted by Rainer and he is being used as a conduit to draw energy for his dark designs. Grace is present, as well as Onyx and the other main players of the series but the status quo has been changed when reality was altered. Now Grace must get to Malikai and attempt to set reality straight of the new world of magic may never come to be.

After the Revelations event that spanned all the comics in the Aspen universe the status quo of Soulfire is not really evident in this first issue. All the players are there but the game has changed. Krull puts together an intriguing twist that will keep new readers guessing and long time fans wondering what in the world is going on. Honestly, the story is a big fragmented and while I have read Soulfire in the past it was a few volumes ago and I finished this issue without any clue as to what was going on. A quick look to the internet answered all my questions and brought be back up to speed on who was who and when I read the issue again with a fresh perspective it left a much better impression. The twist on the existing world works well though it definitely favors established readers over those new to the series.

The art by Giuseppe Cafaro is done in the Turner style though it strays further from its intended source that most of the recent Aspen offerings. I quite enjoyed the style though my only critique would be that it lacks fine detail, especially in the faces and emotions of the characters. The coloring really does an amazing job of complementing the pencils to create a final product that is very pleasing to the eye. Both Soulfire and Fathom have have new series launch this month than Michael Turner would be proud of and fans should be checking out. Readers who have been reading Soulfire of the years should definitely pick up this issue and this is also the best jumping on point for new readers that has come along in a long time.

 

VAMPIRELLA #1 (Dynamite Comics)-

4.0 Stars.gif

Writer Paul Cornell has been tasked with revamping a long established character in the newest re-launch from Dynamite Comics; VAMPIRELLA #1. Buried and forgotten for over 1000 years Vampirella awakens to a world she doesn't know and a reality she cannot understand. The world has changed, whether or not for the better remains to be seen. Upon emerging from her tomb Vampirella is accosted by some strange form of angelic warriors. Escaping south to Los Angeles she finds a world in which strife and struggle have been ended resulting in a society that is addicted to happiness and has no fear of death. Even death itself seems to be a fleeting state that is no longer feared. What place does a vampire vixen have in this new world and can she find contentment in a placid society that no longer fears death?

There are no too many ways to reinvent a classic character like Vampirella but Paul Cornell has found a way to make one hell of an interesting go at it. I think most people's first thought when they hear the name Vampirella is her sultry costume, not the character herself. By taking her out of her world Cornell offers a great point for new readers to jump on and find out who she really is beyond the sex appeal. Donning new and more practical attire Vampirella must learn the rules of this new existence. Why does everyone exist in a placid state? What has become of death? Why is blood no longer red? These are all great world building tidbits sprinkled throughout this issue that I feel will definitely bring readers back for issue number two. Vampirella herself is well written. She is strong and confident even when faced with a reality she does not understand. She confronts it head on in an awesome scene in which she teaches a lesson in humility to a group of young men who should have known better. There is also an interesting touch in that that a sort of inner monologue is displayed on the bottom of each page offering readers a unique look into the mind of the character.

Art are colors are done by Jimmy Broxton and they are absolutely fantastic. Each panel is packed with detail and the heavy set blacks do a great job of setting the somber tone for this book. This is definitely a new look for Vampirella but it is a welcome one. The character redesign is also a nice touch, it was far past time for her to find a new outfit that covered a bit more than a string bikini. I have dabbled in Vampirella comics here and there over the years but this is really the first one that has been intrigued beyond a passing glance. A new setting, a new time, an unexplored world, and a woefully needed costume update all add up to a very welcome soft reboot of this long running series. While not jaw dropping this is still a book I would recommend for both new and long time fans of the series.

 

BATWOMAN #1 (DC Comics)-

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After the recap Rebirth issue DC Comics kicks off the new ongoing series for Kate Kane in BATWOMAN #1. Co-Written by James T Tynion IV and Marguerite Bennett this new series picks up after the events of Nights of the Monster Men. The serum that turns people into raging monsters has been released on the black market and is being used for terrorism around the globe. Batwoman is traveling the world with Alfred's daughter Julia Remarque acting as her backup and weapons specialist. After breaking up an attack in a crowded market the perpetrator gives up the name of his supplier, it is this name that brings Batwoman back to Coryana Island which was a refugee for Kate during her lost years before she came back to Gotham. Some things in the past are best left forgotten and Batwoman is about to learn that lesson the hard way.

James T Tynion IV has a long standing pedigree with the Bat family and Marguerite Bennett brings a much needed female voice to Batwoman. Kate Kane is tough and independent yet still vulnerable. She shows great prowess in this issue yet when forced to confront her past that rigid exterior begins to crumble. The issue is a great start to a new story and thankfully gets Batwoman out of Gotham and on her own where she can shine. The opening action scene is great and the chemistry between Julia and Kate is fun to read, I think they will make a good pair of globe trotting do-gooders. The real meat of the issue is the opportunity to fill in a little more of Batwoman's history and throw some emotional turmoil her way.

The pencils in this issue are great. Steve Epting is one of the most consistent artists working in comics today and this series is no exception. Background, characters, and action are all expertly rendered making the art shine as bright as the new story. BATWOMAN #1 is not breaking the mold but it is trying something new by changing the setting and the main players. Moving away from Gotham and Kate's long lost sister turned villain is a good move and offers new readers a baggage free start to the series. Batwoman is one of the more interesting characters in Batman's world and I think readers will latch on to this new story that seems to be trying something new.

 

AMERICAN GODS #1 (Dark Horse Comics)-

4.0 Stars.gif

Dark Horse Comics is bringing one of Neil Gaiman's most celebrated novels to comic form with the release of AMERICAN GODS #1. This adaptation is being scripted by Craig Russell and will be released in a miniseries format. The book focuses on Shadow Moon, a man who has been in jail only to be granted an early release upon learning of his wife's death. On his way home he crosses paths with the mysterious Wednesday who offers him a job. It is this meeting that will send Shadow down the dark road of the supernatural where old myth meets new legend. To say anymore would spoil the series as a whole.

American Gods is a well established triumph as a novel so the question is how well can it be adapted to comics. Craig Russell pens a solid script with good characterization that only suffers from a lot of inner narration from the main character. This is to be expected considering the entirety of the beginning of this story is one man's thoughts as he deals with life in prison and his hopes for his impending release. Once Shadow meets up with Wednesday the dialogue begins to open up and the book flows more naturally. I enjoyed this first issue and as someone who has never read American Gods I think I am going to stick with this adaptation. The only thing that holds this issue back is that none of the supernatural journey to come is not even hinted at and thus I feel that readers with no knowledge of the novel's stellar reputation might find little reason to stick around with issue number two.

The art by Scott Hampton is incredibly moody and somber and I found that it worked very well for the material. Solid emotions from the characters an a distinct use of colors in present time versus flashbacks make this book a treat for the eyes. Overall AMERICAN GODS #1 gets off to an extremely slow start but I am definitely sticking with it due to the pedigree of its source material. Those who have already read the novel might not find much here worth checking out but those who have not might find it a fun way to catch up on the story before the release of the American Gods TV show being released by STARZ later this year.

 

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: March 08, 2017

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: February 22, 2017

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: February 15, 2017

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