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Home  >  Features  >  Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: March 08, 2017

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Geoff takes a look at a new batch of first issues, this time it's COSMIC SCOUNDRELS #1, EXTREMITY #1, ROYAL CITY #1, SKY DOLL: SUDRA #1, MAN-THING #1, and AMERICA #1!

 

 

COSMIC SCOUNDRELS #1 (IDW Publishing)-

2.0 Stars

If you want to know what happens when two space faring idiots get in over their heads then check out COSMIC SCOUNDRELS #1 from IDW Publishing. Writer Matt Chapman pens the tale of Love Savage and Roshambo, two characters who think themselves space pirates but in reality they are more like rejects from an early 80's music video who stumble from one bad decision to the other. The dynamic duo decide to steal a treasure case from the powerful Dimetrotron brothers and after almost getting themselves killed twice they open the case only to find that its contents will cause them more trouble that it took to acquire it in the first place.

This is a fun comic that borders on the ridiculous yet walks that line close enough to not be absurd. Chapman seems to revel in the stupidity of his characters as they literally fail upwards throughout the entire issue. The names are hilarious as are the character designs from artist Andy Suriano. The book was funny enough to put a smile on my face with its over the top antics and fourth wall breaking notes to the reader but the characters nor the story were engrossing enough to bring me back for issue number two.

While I do enjoy the designs of the characters the art overall was not to my liking. Very sketchy with thick inks and an over exaggerated style do not make for a visually appealing book. COSMIC SCOUNDRELS #1 is clever and funny and kind of reminds me of that old movie Ice Pirates but without the charm. While it was an entertaining read I do not think it is one that I would recommend readers pickup.

 

EXTREMITY #1 (Image Comics)-

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Limbs are getting chopped off all over the place in EXTREMITY #1 from Image Comics. Daniel Warren Johnson writes and draws this first issue of a new series in which we meet Thea, a young and talented artist living in a world that is a mix of technology and medieval magic. Float cities, flying war barges, and savage brutality populate this world of clans and warlords. Thea knew a peaceful life until her city was destroyed by the Paznini, in the ensuing battle her mother was murdered and her hand was cut off. A few years removed from the attack Thea and her brother Rollo prepare the offensive that will reclaim their home and avenge the death of their mother. When the blood was done being spilled Thea finally comes face to face with Asmund, the fat devil that reveled in joyous music as her hand was torn from her body. His fate is in her hands as she lifts the cleaver to deliver a fitting justice, a hand for a hand.

Johnson has created a futuristic yet barbaric world with an art style to match it. His pencils are clean and render fantastic characters and setting but the entire issue is seeping in dark tones made of of both words and colors. If I were to use one word to describe the world he has created it would be unsanitary, and it is a perfect fit. Thea is a strong character right out of the gate in this issue. The one thing that defined her in this world was taken by force and she does not hesitate to take vengeance for that act. This attack is the first of many her people will go on to reclaim their land and her emotional turmoil is already present at the close of the issue. While the overall plot of this series had not grabbed me by the close of issue number one Thea as a main character certainly has. She is both confident and unsure, brave yet vulnerable. This is a solid start to a new series that stands surely on the shoulders of its protagonist, hopefully in the issues to the come the surround characters and the world will be built up to form a more cohesive narrative. This is definitely a new series worth checking out so go pick up EXTREMITY #1.

 

ROYAL CITY #1 (Image Comics)-

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Jeff Lemire pens and paints a somber story about how a family deals with loss in ROYAL CITY #1 from Image Comics. The Pike's are a family from Royal City who lost their youngest Tommy a long time ago. When the elderly father seems to hear the voice of his long dead son in an old radio he collapses and is sent to the hospital causing the other members of the family to rally around him. As the family gathers each member is given page time to show how they have dealt with the loss of young Tommy and the manifestations they create in their own minds to cope with said loss.

First off let me say that this book is beautiful from a purely artistic standpoint. Lemire has been experimenting more and more lately with his watercolor over loose pencils style and this might be the best is has ever looked. The colors naturally bleed into one another to create a very soft gradient while avoiding spilling over hard lines and making the art hard to interpret. As I stated this is a very quiet and somber book that takes a very real look at loss and how people process it. Each family member interacts with their own version of an idealized Tommy. The mother sees the young priest she always hoped he would become, the daughter in a poor marriage sees the very young child she wishes she had, the ill father sees the young boy as he was at his time of death, the burnout younger brother sees a companion that dwells in the gutters with him, and finally the son who has had to return to Royal City from afar sees the teenager that Tommy could have become.

It is a over sized first issue dense with character building for the various members of the family. To be honest I have no idea where it is going or if these manifestations will result in a supernatural bent to the story but I do know that I liked what I read. This is a very different style of comic both in narrative and art and I think readers who are fond of Lemire's work should check out this far more down to Earth an emotional story.

 

SKY DOLL: SUDRA #1 (Titan Comics)-

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If you want to look at one of the most beautifully drawn comics I have seen in a long time be sure to check out SKY DOLL: SUDRA #1 from Titan Comics. Sky Doll has a long history and Sudra is the fourth volume of this Italian series created by Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa. Set in a universe in which spirituality reigns supreme there are two different papacies that are in conflict, those who follow Agape representing spiritual love and those who follow Lodovica who represents sexual desire. The protagonist is a life like android named Noa who is exists to serve the state's desires. Noa is on the run and her and her companions have found solace on the planet of Sudra where they attempt to blend into the religious melting pot that makes up the planet's population. Noa has strange powers of resurrection and her ties to Agape make her a constant target.

Sky Doll is an intriguing book set in a truly fantastical world. The blending of religion and power creates a totalitarian state where most people seem completely happy because they feel they are ruled by divinity. This is then blended with a sexually repressive yet slightly perverted society which has created dolls like Noa to serve the desires of the population. These elements are then combined with some of the most amazing art I have ever seen to create a book that should not be missed but is definitely for adult audiences. Each panel is overflowing with detail with amazingly detailed pencil work. There is so much going on that I would find myself pouring over each page trying to take in little bits of detail hovering the background. The character art is overly sexualized but also cartoonish so as not to feel exploitative.

The only drawback to this issue is that it is the first in the fourth volume of an ongoing story and thus I was rather lost when I first read it. A quick trip to wikipedia answered a lot of my questions and when I read through the issue again things began to fall into place. I will say that I liked this book so much that I am going to go back and get the previous volumes collected in trade and I would recommend the same for anyone who tries this issue out and enjoys it. Even if you just flip through the pages in while at your local comic shop I am sure you will fall in love with the art and want to see more of it. This is one of those little known gems that people should not miss so please check it out.

 

AMERICA #1 (Marvel Comics)-

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One of Marvel Comics' most unique young heroes gets her first solo title with the release of AMERICA #1. Written by young adult novelist Gabby Rivera this issues finds the newly appointed leader of the Ultimates taking a more down to Earth approach to life as she enrolls in a university designed for students with extraordinary gifts. Setting her space faring antics aside and leaving her partner in New York America ventures out on her own to try and grow as both a person and a leader. America's ability to break through to parallel dimensions results in her first days at school being rather eventful as she battles an inter-dimensional cult that worships her and eventually ends up back in World War Two teaming up with a newly empowered Steve Rodgers to give Hitler a punch he won't forget.

I like America Chavez as a character. She was great in A-Force and has really shined under the pen of Al Ewing in both of the current Ultimates volumes. With all that said I am sad to say that this book is not good. Rivera starts out strong with some nice character and relationship building but then completely loses the tread when America heads off on her own to school. The tone seems to switch from heartfelt hero torn from her world and her family to slapstick comedy and pandering social commentary. Yes, America is Latin and female and gay so she ticks a lot of check boxes for people who like to play identity politics but I do not think anyone wants to have the evening news thrown in their face as they read their comics. From the college she is attending being named after Sonya Sotomayor to a line about a villain with 'white power' getting hit with a 'brown fist', all of it is bad and paper thin. Referencing real world politics and social change is fine in comics but this attempt is incredibly ham fisted. I felt like I was being hit over the head with a morality stick instead of reading a book that told a superhero story built of real world issue.

On the other side of the spectrum the art by Joe Quinones is great. From cover to cover this book shines with its art which is such a shame because the writing is so poor. If you are interested in America as a character read the Secret Wars A-Force book, the current A-Force title, or the best of them all which is The Ultimates. I think that even young readers would find this issue pandering and thus I cannot find anyone to recommend it to. AMERICA #1 is a skip and it is a shame because the character deserves better.

 

MAN-THING #1 (Marvel Comics)-

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Famous author R.L. Stine is penning a new five issue mini series for Marvel Comics beginning with MAN-THING #1 and it is not off to a good start. The once feared Man-Thing who was the ever silent embodiment of fear in the Marvel universe is now apparently trying his hand at acting in Hollywood. After getting rejected and tossed aside he comes into conflict with his old self, a silent and powerful incarnation of what he used to be. As these two battle through the streets you will be wishing you had not spent your money on this issue.

Where to even start, everything about this issue is awful and pedantic. Never have a read a comic that actively seemed to be trying to talk down to me. Man-Thing was always a lower tier character but he has been treated with respect whether he was a force of nature or his brief stint as one of Marvel's premier teleporters. In this issue he is reduced to a complete joke of a character and all of his recent history has been totally cast aside in favor of some strange borderline comedic attempt at a reinterpretation. The art is fine but my god this might be the worst single issue of a comic I have read in 2017. This is the second review this week in which a novelist has done a horrible job of trying to write an established comic book character. Save your money and skip this issue, there is nothing here worth your time or your money.

 

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: February 22, 2017

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: February 15, 2017

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: February 08, 2017

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