This week’s installment of Kabooooom’s comic review round-up is a real treat! Seriously, this round-up is chocked full of goodies. From the premiere of Rocket Girl to the Fearless Defenders, to the continuing case of Candy Capers and a fresh return for the Suicide Squad. Wait are you waiting for? Jump in!
FEARLESS DEFENDERS #10/ Written by CULLEN BUNN/ Art by WILL SLINEY/ Colors by VERONICA GANDINI/ Letters by VC’S CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by MARVEL COMICS
Fearless Defenders returns to shelves and to its main plot after being waylaid by the boyfriend brigade’s hissy fit in issue #9. Issue #10 is a tie-in to Infinity, and for those of us who aren’t reading Marvel’s latest crossover extravaganza the intro page helpfully recaps all pertinent information, which amounts to “The Inhumans’ city exploded and now people are getting superpowers when they hatch out of cocoons.”
The setup introduces the newly empowered dancer, Ren Kimura, who takes the point of view character spot usually reserved for Valkyrie or Annabelle. Ren is driven by her passion for dance (hence the issue’s cover) and has a strong will, all of which are sheathed from parental disapproval. This issue is as much her origin story as it is a continuation of Caroline LeFay’s evil Doom Maiden engineering plot, so it’s good that she’s an instantly loveable character. Plus, fans that wished for more queer representation will undoubtedly be happy with the blooming romance between her and Annabelle.
Ren’s ability brings out some of the best artwork the title has seen in a long time. Veronica Gandini’s colors on pages 14 and 15 are stellar, creating a gorgeous show of Ren’s first deliberate use of her powers. Will Sliney’s art is as good as it usually is, and Max Brooks’ cover is, as always, perfect and eye-catching. Ren will by all accounts remain a supporting member of the Defenders’ ensemble, but her time in the limelight was time well spent.
While Ren is wonderful, the tradeoff of getting her in the spotlight means the rest of the cast is upstaged. The Defenders only show up at the very midpoint of the book, which makes two issues in a row where the A-Plot wasn’t on the title team. Now that yet another new Defender has been introduced and Caroline LeFay has decided to use the cocoons containing people like Ren to (presumably) make new Doom Maidens, maybe the book will get back on track. Still, this was a great introduction issue, and one very definitely worth checking out.
ROCKET GIRL #1/ Written By BRANDON MONTCLARE/ Art By AMY REEDER/ Published by IMAGE COMICS
Rocket Girl #1 starts in full motion and doesn’t stop for a moment. By the end of the first page, we know everything that we need to about our titular heroine and her mission.
Her name is Dayoung Johansson. She is 15 years old. She’s a cop with the New York City Police Department. She’s from the future. She’s gone into the past to save the world.
Writer Brandon Montclare presents us with this gripping premise, adding on finer details as the issue progresses. The final effect is reminiscent of a classic Doctor Who story and the plot offers many interesting wrinkles that promise a wealth of material to be explored in future issues. Questions like what happened in the past that caused Dayoung’s future to become dominated by an evil, too-big-to-fail mega-corporation and for teenagers to be employed by a tween police commissioner to keep the peace in the New York City of the future?
The science fiction elements of Rocket Girl are interesting, but what makes this book truly memorable is Dayoung herself. Dayoung is a fascinating and unique character – smart, brave, resourceful and a good fighter without being a complete Mary Sue. Yet she’s also a relatable character, who became a cop for one reason beyond protecting others – gaining access to the armored flight suit and jetpack that causes her to be dubbed, Rocket Girl. The sequences of Dayoung flying and reveling in it are the very essence of what good superhero stories are all about thematically.
Amy Reeder’s artwork is as frenetic as Dayoung when she is in the air. Every page is full of action and excitement. Even the still panels are full of life and movement. The color palette also enhances the book’s theme of continual motion.
Bottom line? Rocket Girl #1 is a blast!
CANDY CAPERS #4/ Written by ANANTH PANAGARYIA & YUKO OTA/ Art by IAN MCGINTY/ Colors by MAARTA LAIHO/ Letters & Design by HANNAH NANCE PARLOW/ Published by KABOOM STUDIOS
Candy Capers #4’s got our hard-candy sleuths setting out in the search for the missing heroes of Ooo, Finn and Jake. This issue is in pretty high form in progression and effectiveness, generating an engaging stand-alone story yet remaining consistently intriguing as the overall plot of this mini-series unwraps itself.
Ananth Panagaryia and Yuko Ota (creators of Johnny Wander & Lucky Penny) continue to sweeten the pot as Peppermint Butler and Cinnamon Bun use the first half of the story for some old-fashioned investigating of Ooo’s shadier businesses. There is certainly some referencing of classic Bond-esque casino moments here that reflect how much the team enjoys making Candy Capers. What Panagaryia and Ota have in this issue is a great grasp of the mood of the story’s environment. Not only does the duo continue to flesh out the Adventure Time characters, but they also give a very clear voice to any characters that haven’t made appearances in Adventure Time canon. That out-of-the-bag freshness leaves room to imagine anything in this incredibly assorted mixed-bag world. Candy Capers #4 also provides the reader with an unlikely team-up that will send Adventure Time enthusiast over the rainbow when it combines the Ice King and Susan Strong as stand-in “heroes” in Finn and Jakes absence, which tightens the threads of Ooo’s cast.
The art in Candy Capers #4 is quite eye-catching. Ian McGinty’s angles are engaging and just the right amount of zany to drive the story along. What is so striking about McGinty’s art in this book is how well each aspect of the story pops up in sequential order as the reader’s eyes focus in and out of the details in each panel. McGinty’s attention to detail in each page is deepened by Maarta Laiho’s dynamic coloring, giving certain scenes more than a two-dimensional point of view.
To sum it up without spoiling the funniest and best aspects of the story, Candy Capers #4 is really a treat. I just want to put all these issues in a fruit roll up and let them give me deep cavities. If you have not yet put Candy Capers into your monthly bag, go do it now.
SUICIDE SQUAD #24/ Written by MATT KINDT/ Art by PATRICK ZIRCHER/ Colors by JASON KEITH/ Letters by JARED K. FLETCHER/ Published by DC COMICS
Belle Reve Penitentiary is wrecked. Hundreds of criminals are running amok throughout its corridors, and many of them want Amanda Waller’s blood. As a skilled puppet master, however, Waller continues pulling the strings of anyone who she can persuade into her quest for survival and power. A problem arises, though, when someone else begins pulling Waller’s strings.
Matt Kindt picks up the writing duties for Suicide Squad from Ales Kot, and he brings an intriguing momentum to the story that has been inconsistent throughout most of the comic’s run. Kindt’s story is firmly entwined with Kot’s development as well as the ongoing chaos of Forever Evil.
The most interesting aspect of Kindt’s story is that he subtly twists the previous development into a new direction that seems completely plausible for the characters. Deadshot continues his black ops connection with Waller, even though he despises her because she blackmails him with information, and Harley just wants to be a part of the fun. Both of these development points seem natural and should keep fans of Kot’s short run interested.
Kindt supplies intrigue by continuing the development of both the Thinker, a villain introduced within Kot’s run, and Forever Evil. Waller sends Deadshot and whomever he can scrounge together into the Arctic to retrieve a weapon from the hands of the Crime Syndicate. Running parallel to Deadshot’s extraction is the Unknown Soldier and his team of superheroes who are charged with the exact same task by Waller. As Kindt develops these trajectories, it becomes clear that a head-on collision will occur. Due to the subtle connections built into the story through The Thinker’s plans for the world and Waller’s motivations, the rising tension that doesn’t quite break by the end of the issue will successfully entertain fans of the comic.
Patrick Zircher’s art provides more consistency to the transition from Kot to Kindt, as each character is still portrayed with gritty detail. He truly shows his skills by inspiring diverse emotional responses from the readers in each panel. His shadowed, violent portrayal of James Gordon Jr. creates a quiet creepiness that resounds throughout the Belle Reve portion of the story.
Overall, Zircher’s consistently great art and Kindt’s willingness to work within the confines of the already established continuity provide a ray of light for an often doubted comic.