BORDER TOWN #1 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Border Town #1 CoverBORDER TOWN #1/ Written by ERIC M. ESQUIVEL/ Art by RAMON VILLALOBOS/ Colors by TAMRA BONVILLAIN/ Letters by DERON BENNETT/ Published by VERTIGO COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Devil’s Fork, Arizona is a town on the border – not only of the United States and Mexico but also this world and the next. As things from the other side enter our world and start to feed upon the fears of the townsfolk, one group of outcast teens will have to fight the monsters and the establishment to save their city.

The first new series to be released as part of Vertigo Comics’ 25th Anniversary revival, Border Town is a welcome throwback to the halceon years when Garth Ennis, Jamie Delano,Warren Ellis, Mike Carey and a host of other legendary writers were weaving political parables into supernatural and science-fiction stories. Make no mistake – with hulking giants that take the form of a person’s worst fears  (i.e. black teenagers in hoodies and Tiki-torch wielding neo-Nazis), this book is unashamedly political and quite timely. While it’s too early to tell based on one issue, Eric M. Esquivel may be on the way to writing the most darkly hilarious thing to come out of Vertigo since Preacher.

The artwork is as brilliant as the script, with Ramon Villalobos utilizing a highly detailed, lightly inked-style. The colors by Tamra Bonvillain are wonderful, utilizing gradient effects to perfectly capture the sensation of a Southwestern sunset. And Deron Bennett utilizes a variety of fonts to vary up the characters’ dialogue and volume levels, as well as the narration captions.

Border Town is everything a Vertigo Comics series should be – bold, brassy and unashamed to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. The right people will find it horribly shocking and offensive. For the rest of us, it will leave us laughing and having learned something.

 

Deadpool #4 CoverDEADPOOL #4/ Written by SKOTTIE YOUNG/ Art by SCOTT HEPBURN/ Colors by IAN HERRING/ Letters by JEFF ECKLEBERRY/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by ROY BUCKINGHAM

In this issue of Deadpool, we see Wade and his team go after their latest hit, deep in the bowels of WeirdWorld – a land that lives up to its name. While hunting for his target, Wade manages to survive many attacks, wage a war, live multiple lifetimes… and more!

Artist Scott Hepburn and colorist Ian Herring get to go utterly gonzo with the artwork this time around, resulting is a fun issue that will leave you, much like Deadpool, muttering “What the F-?”

That said, the best part, for me, was seeing Deadpool’s sidekick Bob laughing in schadenfreude-driven glee at the pain and misery Deadpool goes through in Weirdworld. In the end, this issue was a door of opportunity that opened the way for future fun and craziness and, for once, came off as a true breath of fresh air.

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Green Arrow #44 CoverGREEN ARROW #44/ Written by JULIE & SHAWNA BENSON/ Art by JAVIER FERNANDEZ/ Colors by JOHN KALISZ/ Letters by DERON BENNETT/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

A new vigilante called The Citizen is executing rich people who evaded justice, and his next target is Oliver Queen. Of course Oliver Queen has a troubled past, but all of his dirty laundry from his misspent youth has already been aired to the public… hasn’t it?

Two issues in and the new creative team continues to impress. Javier Fernandez and John Kalisz continue to ably fill the shoes of Otto Schmidt, Juan Ferreyra and all the other artists who preceded them in the Rebirth era. This book remains as gorgeous as ever.

As for the writing, The Benson Sisters are playing for keeps, with this issue showing that they aren’t afraid to challenge the foundations of the Green Arrow mythos. I can’t say anything more beyond that, but if you’ve ever been a fan of Oliver Queen, you’ll need to read this issue. With amazing art and a fast-paced script, coupled with the best take on Black Canary in recent memory, this is one to watch.

 

Justice League #7 CoverJUSTICE LEAGUE #7/ Written by SCOTT SNYDER/ Pencils by JIM CHEUNG/ Inks by JIM CHEUNG, MARK MORALES & WALDEN WONG/ Colors by TOMEU MORAY/ Letters by TOM NAPOLITANO/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

There is nothing I can say to succinctly sum up this issue’s story beyond it ending the first major battle between The Justice League and the new Legion of Doom. Scott Snyder’s script leaves the characters and the readers with more questions raised than resolved, but the story is likely to keep people on the edge of their seat wanting more, rather than wishing for an immediate resolution to just get it over with.

Unfortunately, the artwork doesn’t quite live up to the writing. Jim Cheung’s pencils are a little rough this time around, with many of the character’s poses looking incredibly forced. The general look is also uneven, with three inkers having finished the book.

All in all, Justice League continues to be one of DC Comics’ best titles, despite some minor kerfuffles in the artwork. This is superhero comics done right.

About Matt Morrison

Matt "Starman" Morrison is The Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur - a non-existent but real-sounding country. He has been writing about comics since before the word "blogging" was coined. He enjoys acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @GeekyGeekyWays.

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