FREEDOM FIGHTERS #1 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Aquaman #43 CoverAQUAMAN #43/ Written by KELLY SUE DECONNICK/ Pencils by ROBSON ROCHA/ Inks by DANIEL HENRIQUES/ Colors by SUNNY GHO/ Letters by CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

The Drowned Earth has been restored to normal and Aquaman is presumed dead, having sacrificed himself to save Atlantis and the surface world. Yet in another dimension, in a place known as The Village of Unspoken Water, Aquaman lives. Ignorant of his life before and the powers at his command, Arthur Curry – now called Andy – lives a simple life helping the people of the fishing village that adopted him. Yet the priestess Caille believes he has a great destiny before him…

There is a heavy irony about Aquaman #43. On the one hand, this is a wonderful first issue for the new creative team’s run, being easily accessible to new readers and smoothly setting up the new status quo of the series. On the other hand, with the Aquaman movie coming out this week, this is simultaneously the worst possible week to put out an Aquaman book devoid of the high-action and Atlantean politics that have informed every issue of Aquaman since Rebirth started. It’s highly likely that many a potential new reader will pick this book up expecting to see Mera and Black Manta and be stunned to see the action limited to an amnesiac Aquaman helping to save a fellow fisherman from being washed out to sea.

This is unfortunate, because this issue is truly fantastic. Kelly Sue DeConnick spins a wonderful tale here, ironically revealing Arthur Curry’s essential character as a man who wants to help others even as he is suffering from amnesia and trying to figure out who he is. The artwork by Robson Rocha and Daniel Henriques is highly detailed yet crystal clear despite some intricate line-work. The color art and lettering added by Sunny Gho and Clayton Cowles leave the finished artwork looking fantastic.

All in all, this is a wonderful first issue that will likely be unfairly ignored because it is so unlike the Aquaman we’ll see on the big screen this weekend. Those who are willing to be patient, however, will likely find that patience rewarded as this series continues. With great artwork and a solid premise, this is one to keep an eye on.

5-5

 

Firefly #2 CoverFIREFLY #2/ Written by GREG PAK/ Art by DAN MCDAID/ Colors by MARCELO COSTA/ Letters by JIM CAMPBELL/ Published by BOOM! STUDIOS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Hired to escort a group of pilgrims to a holy site on the world of Bethlehem, the crew of Serenity find themselves in dire straits. Things were bad enough with a group of bandits stalking their caravan. Now a group of Alliance bounty hunters have come to Bethlehem in search of the infamous war criminals Malcolm Reynolds and Zoe Washburne. The heck of it is Mal and Zoe might be guilty of the crimes against humanity they’ve been accused of and Jayne is libel to get stupid thinking of how much money his current employers are worth.

I missed the first issue of this series when it first came out and kicked myself mightily for doing so. Reportedly Greg Pak had never seen Firefly before being approached about writing this book, but he binged it and then jumped at the chance to write it. You’d never know it, however, because Pak has perfectly captured the personality of Joss Whedon’s characters and you’ll likely hear the voices of Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk and the rest of the cast from the show as you read this book.

The artwork is a decidedly more mixed bag. Marcelo Costa has developed the perfect palette for rendering the dirty, dark world of Firefly but Dan McDaid’s artwork is awfully uneven. His close-ups on the characters are mighty fine but the grittiness impedes the visual flow in the middle distance. This leaves us with Captain Mal looking like a literal giant at times and having comically short arms at others. Loyal Browncoats will be able to ignore the erratic artwork for the sake of the story but this series seems unlikely to convert anyone into a Firefly fan.

3-5

 

Freedom Fighters #1 CoverFREEDOM FIGHTERS #1/ Written by ROBERT VENDITTI/ Pencils by EDDY BARROWS/ Inks by EBER FERREIRA / Colors by ADRIANO LUCAS/ Letters by DERON BENNETT/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

On another Earth, the Axis powers won World War II and Germany conquered the United States. Though a group of superheroes and noble citizens resisted, they met their end after a fateful meeting in Dallas in 1963. Only Uncle Sam, the living spirit of The American Dream, escaped capture and execution. Now, decades later, a new team of heroes cast in the image of the original Freedom Fighters stands ready to defend America and fight the Nazi menace.

More politically relevant than one would wish in 2018, the first issue of Freedom Fighters is a wonderful set-up for a revival of the classic Earth-X concept. Much of Robert Venditti’s script is devoted to establishing the world of this new Earth-X and distinguishing it from the world seen in last year’s Arrowverse crossover event. Venditti accomplishes this well enough, but it does leave him barely having time to introduce the new Freedom Fighters and their powers, much less establishing their personalities.

The artwork, thankfully, is top-notch. I’ve greatly enjoyed the work of Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Adriano Lucas and Deron Bennett on Detective Comics and they are all in similarly fine form here. This is one fantastic looking comic, with well choreographed action sequences. Its only real weakness is a lack of character development, but that will hopefully come in later issues. If you only buy one comic about punching Nazis and taking back America this week, make it this one.

4-5

 

Life of Captain Marvel #5 CoverTHE LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #5/ Written by MARGARET STOHL/ Pencils by CARLOS PACHECO & MARGUERITE SAUVAGE/ Inks by RAFAEL FONTERIZ & MARGUERITE SAUVAGE/ Colors by MARCIO MENYZ, FEDERICO BLEE & MARGUERITE SAUVAGE/ Letters by VC’S CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

With the truth about her past revealed and her hometown endangered by a Kree assassin, Carol Danvers must fight to defend everything that she loves even as the true source of her powers is revealed.

A thrilling conclusion to an excellent mini-series that changes everything we ever thought we knew about Captain Marvel for the better. It will be interesting to see how this series was driven, in retrospect, when the Captain Marvel movie arrives in theaters in a few months. For now it is enough to say that this is one fantastic book, with a great story and wonderful artwork, that is well worth reading, whether or not you’ve ever been a fan of Carol Danvers as Ms. Marvel, Binary, Warbird or Captain Marvel before.

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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