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Home  >  Features  >  Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: June 08, 2016

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It is another awesome week of comics with more number ones from DC Rebirth and we even threw in a few number 900s just for fun. Check out our take on ACTION COMICS #957, DETECTIVE COMICS #934, AQUAMAN REBIRTH #1, THE FLASH REBIRTH #1, WONDER WOMAN REBIRTH #1, WACKY RACELAND #1, PROMETHEUS: LIFE AND DEATH #1, and MIDNIGHT OF THE SOUL #1.

 

 

ACTION COMICS #957 (DC Comics)-

4.0 Stars

ACTION COMICS #957 from DC Comics returns to it old numbering scheme and is pretty much as far away from a number one issue as you can get but since it is part of the Rebirth launch we will be including it in our reviews. Written by Dan Jurgens with art by Patrick Zircher, ACTION COMICS #957 is finds the pre-new52 Superman returning to his role as the greatest hero on what is now his new Earth. Turmoil erupts in Metropolis and Lex Luthor steps in to save the day clad in armor complete with a Superman emblem on his chest, but can he be trusted? An older more experienced Clark Kent does not think so. Hiding out with is wife Lois and their young son Jon since the Convergence event, this Clark Kent decides that Luthor taking on the role of Superman is going too far and leaves hiding to confront him publicly. Right from the start this issue made my smile because this is the Superman I have been missing for the last few years. Bold and confident instead of brash and angry. A nice wrinkle in this story in that for the most part Luthor has been a genuine hero in this universe and Superman's immediate attack on him does leave the reader wondering if his actions are justified. The pencils by Zircher are a bit flat but outstanding coloring and effects really amp up the art. While Superman Rebirth felt like more of a back story to bring new readers up to speed ACTION COMICS #957 read like a start to a new era of Superman with the return of a character who has been long missed. This is a fantastic jumping on point for those new to DC Comics or readers who were not fans of the younger Superman introduced in the new 52 universe.

 

DETECTIVE COMICS #934 (DC Comics)-

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While not a number one issue, DETECTIVE COMICS #934 is a new start for the bat family from DC Comics written by James Tynion IV with art by Eddy Barrows. There is a new threat in Gotham that was hinted at in the big Rebirth one shot that was released last week. A new force is watching and hunting the vigilantes of Gotham City and Batman recruits Batwoman to help train and prepare the younger recruits for what is to come. Unlike Action Comics which was also released this week, DETECTIVE COMICS #934 feels as if it were intended to bring new readers up to speed on the current state of the bat family. We get a long introduction to Kate Kane as well as Spoiler, Red Robin, Orphan, and the unexpected addition of Clayface. The art by Barrows features excellent character work with little to no background detail or cityscapes and as a result everything feels very zoomed in. The new costume design for Red Robin is long over due and it is a nice throwback to the more traditional robin costumes. So much of this issue is spread between character introductions and backgrounds that there is little to no plot movement but it does a good job of familiarizing new readers with the characters that will be featured in DETECTIVE COMICS as opposed to the more Batman centric BATMAN title. With all that said at only $2.99 comic fans should pick this issue up as it sets the table for things to come.

 

AQUAMAN REBIRTH #1 (DC Comics)-

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DC Comics gives readers a rundown of everything they need to know about the new direction for Aquaman in AQUAMAN REBIRTH #1. From creators Dan Abnett, Scot Eaton, and Oscar Jimenez this Rebirth issue is an excellent example of how to encapsulate a character and tell readers everything they need to know about him in 22 pages. Via a narration from none other than Black Manta, Dan Abnett tells us about who Aquaman is, his origin, his relationship with Mera, and his quiet suffering from being a man torn between two worlds. This character study is told over a beautifully drawn story of Arthur attempting to stop a militant faction of Atlanteans from attacking a surface city. The fight between the surface and the underwater realm of Atlantis has always been front and center in Aquaman comics and this issue wastes no time reminding readers that Arthur is seen by the surface as the leader of a hostile rogue nation while at the same time his own citizens view him as a pretender to the throne. AQUAMAN REBIRTH #1 covers everything from the love between Arthur and Mera to the meta idea of how people think he is not a real hero and only talks to fish. Even though this issue is mainly a recap and background story it is so expertly told that it is a must read. This is some of best writing I have seen from Dan Abnett outside of his acclaimed run on Guardians of the Galaxy and his current work on The Wild's End.

 

THE FLASH REBIRTH #1 (DC Comics)-

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Central to all cosmic realignment events in DC Comics is The Flash and THE FLASH REBIRTH #1 is no different. Joshua Williamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico pen a story that is part recap of who Barry Allen is for new readers while at the same time focusing on the return of Wally West which is the focal point of the entire Rebirth event. Barry senses that the speed forcing is trying to warn him of something and with Wally's return and grim warnings of a new power in the universe it seems that he was right. This investigation culminates in the Batcave wherein Flash and Batman find a connection between the letter Flash delivered to Bruce at the end of Flashpoint and the Comedian's happy face pin that was flung out of the speed force when Wally appeared in the cave during Rebirth. THE FLASH REBIRTH #1 is yet another very strong entry in the Rebirth lineup this time performing a delicate balancing act between being new reader friendly and moving the Rebirth story forward. Joshua Williamson writes a warm and empathetic Barry Allen and there are some great character moments in this issue including a heartfelt conversation with his father over what it means to be The Flash. Barry's quiet and reflective conversation with Batman is scripted so well and it is nice to see the two top scientists of the JLA working together to solve a case using the evidence at hand instead of super powers. I really enjoyed the art in this book as well. Then pencils are loose with a light hand on the inks and an almost water color look to the coloring. These aesthetics combined with a new and better take on the classic Flash costume work incredibly well together. Finally, the lightning effects are some of the best I have ever seen in a Flash comic. This issue cannot be skipped, it is great so just go pick it up.

 

WONDER WOMAN REBIRTH #1 (DC Comics)-

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DC Comics has a messy back story to sort out in WONDER WOMAN #1 from Greg Rucka. Out of all the DC characters the new 52 version of Wonder Woman was probably the most radically different. Her birth was changed from Clay to demigod, he arrival in the world of man changes from rescue to bring driven by ares, and the largest change of all is that she became the new god of war. These conflicting stories are navigated by Greg Rucka in such an awesome way that WONDER WOMAN REBIRTH #1 is by far the stand out title of the entire Rebirth event up to this point. Diana is at a crossroads and questioning her own past with the two very different versions of her origin in comics being seen through her memories. In a desire to find out what is real she uses her lasso of truth on herself only to discover that she has been deceived. By who, for how long, about what? That will have to wait for the first story arc but the way it was set up was so well done. Rucka touches on all aspects of who Wonder Woman is and what she means to the people of Earth and the Justice League. By using both of her histories as possible truths it sets up an awesome idea for a story in which she must travel over her own footsteps into her past to find out what is real and what is not. The first half of the book is drawn by Matthew Clark and it is absolutely fantastic, by far the stronger half of the issue. The remainder of the book is drawn by Liam Sharp and while it is strong it will make readers with Clark had been able to finish the entire issue. There is also an interesting artistic choice that has Diana removing her modern armor once she realizes she has been lied to and dawns an outfit far more similar to Gal Gadot's in Batman v. Superman. Along with The Flash this is the not miss book of the week. I loved the run by Azzarello and poured over every panel in this issue to see where Rucka was going to go with these two dramatically different takes on Wonder Woman's history. GO PICK THIS UP!

 

WACKY RACELAND #1 (DC Comics)-

2.0 Stars.gif

DC Comics has released the third of four comics from the Hanna-Barbera line this week in WACKY RACERLAND #1 by Ken Pontac and Leonardo Manco. A gritty re-imagining of the old cartoon with a heavy influence from Mad Max, WACKY RACELAND #1 features classic characters like Penelope Pitspot, Peter Perfect, and Dick Dastardly as they race across a ravaged wasteland for the promise of a chance to get to Utopia. The original source material was devoid of any narrative making this the hardest of the old properties to convert into an ongoing comic and in the end it did not turn out very well. There are some interesting ideas at play in this comic and I like the new darker take on the characters. Penelope Pitstop has gone from a stereotypical pink girl who gets fooled by fake beauty salons to a genuine wasteland badass. On the other hand Dick Dastardly is still up to his old tricks of sabotaging bridges to thwart his opponents with the help of his cybernetic dog Muttley. While I do enjoy the new take on the cast there is still no real plot to pull in readers and they are so many characters nobody is given any time to shine even with an extra backstory to flesh out the origins of Lazy Luke. However, all of this could be forgiven as a slow start to a comic with large cast but the real problem is in the art. While the new designs are great the panel art is so dark and cluttered I had a very hard time keeping up with what was going on from page to page. The vehicles are incredibly detailed but there are so many on the page at once that it is incredibly hard to follow the action which is happening at break neck speeds. Whether it is a race through the desert or a bar room brawl the art is just too dense with nothing standing out to the eye to easily identify who is who or what is what. WACKY RACELAND #1 did not work for me on multiple levels and that is too bad because it seemed like a really fun idea to update a silly short cartoon into a Mad Max style gritty combat comic.

 

PROMETHEUS: LIFE AND DEATH #1 (Dark Horse Entertainment)-

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The second arc of the Life and Death crossover event begins this week with PROMETHEUS: LIFE AND DEATH #1 from Dark Horse Entertainment. Written by Dan Abnett, this issue picks up directly after the events of the Predator story arc. The Colonial Marines have successfully left the planet with one group returning to the USCM vessel in orbit and the other taking control of the down alien spacecraft. While exploring the derelict vessel the Marines unwittingly awaken the lone residing progenitor alien who does not take kindly to their presence on his ship. While the first arc was more action oriented as a result of fighting the Predators this volume seems to be heading in the more mysterious direction. We as readers know little to nothing about the race featured in the Prometheus movie so there is a lot of room for Abnett to explore their motivations. That said, there are a few scenes in this first issue that feel like they were taken directly out of the movie including the head crushing of one soldier and the Weyland-Yutani synthetic who views the alien as some sort of god. In the end I feel like Abnett played it very safe and as such there is not much that grabbed my attention until the end of the issue which finds the alien vessel full of Marines heading out into the uncharted regions of space under the control of the alien. The art by Andrea Mutti is serviceable. Established design elements are there and will be familiar to fans of this universe. Much like the movie it is based on PROMETHEUS: LIFE AND DEATH #1 is full of promise but short on delivery.

 

MIDNIGHT OF THE SOUL #1 (Image Comics)-

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Howard Chaykin takes on writing and art duties in the latest number one issue from Image Comics, MIDNIGHT OF THE SOUL #1. This first issue will appear to be a rather straightforward on the surface. Joel is a WWII vet dealing with PTSD and alcoholism while trying to make a life for himself after the war as a writer but nothing seems to be going right. His novel pitches keep getting rejected, he has lost his house to his brother in law, and his wife is anything but kind to him. However, there are clues in the art and the narrative that there is more going on. Joel mentions that he is obsessed with parallels and that motif comes up multiple times in the issue. The traumatic scene that triggers the PTSD is repeated twice with different narration, Joel's novel describes a parallel world in which the Nazi's won WWII, and Joel's wife is leading a double life. What these ideas have in store for the future I am not sure but it definitely leaves room for a more complex and multi layered narrative that is found on the surface of the opening issue. The art is outstanding as Chaykin's art tends to be, especially the establishing panels that serve to set the tone and place of the world and the state the character is in. This was definitely a slow start but I have a feeling this could become another hit from a top creator moving to Image to tell his own story. Even if you pass on this first issue keep an eye out for the eventual trade if the story catches on.

 

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: June 01, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: May 25, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: May 18, 2016

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