INJUSTICE 2 ANNUAL #2 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

American Carnage #1 CoverAMERICAN CARNAGE #1/ Written by BRYAN HILL/ Art by LEANDRO FERNANDEZ/ Colors by DEAN WHITE/ Letters by PAT BROSSEAU/ Published by VERTIGO COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

A disgraced FBI agent is offered a shot at redemption, when his mentor recruits him to infiltrate a Christian charity that is believed to be a front for a White Nationalist terrorist group.

Imagine Incognegro in a modern setting and you have the base concept of American Carnage in a nutshell. Bryan Hill distinguishes his story from that earlier story, however, by leaving it ambiguous as to whether or not the group is what it seems or if Richard Wright’s mentor is just paranoid. The mystery would be gripping enough to make this book worth reading, even ignoring the excellent artwork by Leandro Fernandez, Dean White and Pat Brosseau. While this book won’t win any points with the comics-gate community, true crime fans will find American Carnage quite engaging.

4-5

 

Injustice 2 Annual #2 CoverINJUSTICE 2 ANNUAL #2/ Written by TOM TAYLOR/ Art by BRUNO REDONDO/ Colors by REX LOKUS/ Letters by WES ABBOTT/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

As Ma Kent goes to visit her son in prison and Pa Kent takes Bruce Wayne out for a drink, Batman recalls the first time he met Jonathan Kent and an adventure from when he and Superman were still the World’s Finest heroes.

The Injustice saga in comics ends not with a bang, but a respectful silence. This annual issue is a fitting capstone for a series that few expected to be any good, much less a New York Times’ best-seller and critical darling. What makes this issue so astonishing, however, is that the greater portion of it is given over to a Superman/Batman team-up story that is easily accessible to new readers and will leave you wishing that it was Tom Taylor overseeing the Superman family of books instead of Brian Michael Bendis. The usual gang of artistic collaborators saddle up for one last ride as Bruno Redondo, Rex Lokus and Wes Abbott show off the skills that endeared them to so many readers every week when Injustice was released as a weekly digital-first book. If you haven’t given this series a shot yet, this is your final chance to sample it fresh. You won’t regret it.

5-5

Justice League Dark #5 CoverJUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #5/ Written by JAMES TYNION IV/ Pencils by DANIEL SAMPERE/ Inks by JUAN ALBARRAN/ Colors by ADRIANO LUCAS/ Letters by ROB LEIGH/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

As John Constantine and Swamp Thing prepare to go on a suicide run against the Lord of Order Nabu, the rest of Wonder Woman’s magical strike-force set off for the mystic realm of Myrra. Only Detective Chimp can open the way, but he’s reluctant to go to the world he is supposed to protect as the current Nightmaster… for some reason.

There are a lot of mysteries to be explored in this latest issue of Justice League Dark, yet it is the quieter, character-focused moments that are likely to stick with readers. The opening sequence depicting the funeral of the Nightmaster before Detective Chimp, for instance, is one of the more fascinating and artfully-executed funeral stories I’ve ever seen in a comic. Tynion’s script is wonderfully brought to life by Sampere, Albarran and Lucas who remain one of the most underrated artistic power-trios in American comics. A wonderful jumping on-point for new readers, this series is magically fantastic!

5-5

 

West Coast Avengers #4 CoverWEST COAST AVENGERS #4/ Written by KELLY THOMPSON/ Art by STEFANO CASELLI/ Colors by TRIONA FARRELL/ Letters by VC’S JOE CARAMAGNA/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

BRODOK continues to menace the greater Los Angeles area with his army of giant animal women and Kate Bishop just became his latest victim! Can Kate’s assemblage of screw-ups, misanthropes and lunatics save Tinsletown? Will anyone notice or care if they don’t? And most importantly, what will they do when Captain America learns that a team with a reality show has appropriated the proud Avengers name?

Four issues in and this series continues to be a hilarious send-up of classic Marvel Comics and superhero team books in general. I would recommend it purely for Kelly Thompson’s hilarious concept for BRODOK alone. Throw in the gloriously animated artwork of Stefano Caselli and the eye-catching colors of Triona Farrell and you have a book that is as beautiful and well-blocked as it is humorous. A must-read for all fans of fun and funny superhero stories.

5-5

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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