Welcome back to The Round-Up! This week, we have the zero issue for Harbinger, the debut issue of Jeff Lemire on Green Arrow and the second issue of the new Fionna & Cake series!
Every once in awhile there is a series that reminds you that comics aren’t just about superheroes and capes but about art and humanity. Harbinger is such a series and after this issue, fans will be anxiously waiting to see what Dysart has in store for them.
Harbinger continues its fantastic run in this issue that, while unnecessary, is absolutely entertaining and breathtaking. Since the relaunch of this fan favorite series, Joshua Dysart has given us nothing but solid writing and almost every single issue has been better than the one before it. Some wondered whether he could keep the momentum up for long, and with this issue, Dysart shows readers that the best is yet to come.
Focused on the central villain of the series, Tony Harada, this issue tells readers of his childhood during World War II Japan and gives us a glimpse of why Tony has become the man he has grown to be. With some writers, going back to the origin of a villain only clouds the present story and really doesn’t add anything to the mythology. Dysart, however, has managed to give his villain a depth that readers could have only imagined and the story is all the better for it.
Mico Suayan and Pere Peréz really stepped up to the plate with this issue and have given us images that are both horrible and beautiful and enhance the story with every panel. From the scenery of a war torn city to survivors suffering from radiation poisoning, every single line was well thought out before the pencil ever touched the page. Brian Reber really struts his stuff as well and truly captures realistic colors while enhancing them in the memory of Harada. The panel in which a lonely Harada, as a child, is alone and discovering that something horrible enough to turn the rain black has occurred is dark and wonderful, and may be one of the best panels of the year so far. Then again, the same could be said for almost every panel in this book.
Adventure Time continues to be one of the best cartoons and animation franchises since Batman: The Animated Series. Adventure Time Presents: Fionna & Cake comes riding into town on the heels of the Marceline book and shows the strength of the franchise.
In this issue, we get to see Cake’s sweet back “attic” space, kitty litter swords, the Flambo-like flame-babies called “boogers”, and some pretty awesome variant cover art (See: Fionna in a Tanooki). The best part of this book is how much it feels like the existing gender swapped episode of the show. The lettering choice actually made the characters voices pop up in my head. The art and dialogue are both faithful to the source material, but that’s to be expected from an Adventure Time writer and the creator of Fionna and Cake.
This mini series has the potential to be just as great as the Marceline & The Scream Queens and Adventure Time comic/show, but it’s an easy read and is lacking some of the wit and charm of Adventure Time. It’s only issue #2, but I’ll be coming back for sure.
It’s been a long time since anyone had a reason to be excited about Green Arrow. Even with the relaunch in The New 52, Green Arrow still struggled to bring in new readers. However, with this new storyline which also marks the introduction of a new creative team, Oliver Queen may finally have a new and, more importantly, interesting lease on life. In the issue, a new villain named Komodo is taking everything away from Queen, from money to friends, and from the first panel readers know this is a different Oliver. Broke and lonely, this Oliver is humble and sad and questioning his place in the world.
The story suffers a bit from being too fast paced and it does seem that Jeff Lemire truly wanted to get in as much as he could. This first issue could have been spread out over two and Lemire could have added a bit more depth. As it is, this issue is flashy, dramatic and entertaining, but once you dig a bit deeper, there really isn’t much to be found. That being said, there is enough of the flash to get readers back for the next issue in the series and hopefully Lemire will give readers a bit more of a reason to care about our hero.
Andrea Sorrentino stumbles a bit with this one, choosing to leave out any rich details or even realistic colors. It does work with the story but given the serious nature of the arc, it would seem that a bit more detail is in order.
All in all, this is a story worth picking up even if you have never been a fan of the series before. It may not make every reader a convert, but DC Comics can expect Oliver to pull in a few new fans with this issue.