WINTER SOLDIER #1 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Green Arrow #47 CoverGREEN ARROW #47/ Written by JULIE & SHAWNA BENSON/ Art by GERMAN PERALTA/ Colors by JOHN KALISZ/ Letters by DERON BENNETT/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Oliver Queen is in the clutches of The Citizen – a violent vigilante out to punish those Star City elites who have used their fortunes to evade justice. As the countdown to a live-streamed execution approaches, the audience wonders… where is Green Arrow and will he save Oliver Queen?

Simply put, this is a perfect capstone for an amazing series. The Bensons have spun a timely, action-packed saga and German Peralta’s artwork perfectly brings the epic conclusion of their story to life.  In times to come, this brief run on Green Arrow shall be viewed as an all too brief treasure, akin to Warren Ellis’ tenure on Hellblazer.

5-5

 

Justice League #13 CoverJUSTICE LEAGUE #13/ Written by JAMES TYNION IV/ Art by GUILLEM MARCH/ Colors by ARIF PRIANTO/ Letters by TOM NAPOLITANO/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Lex Luthor’s plans have suffered a major setback following Black Manta’s treachery and The Drowned Earth incident. Now, the greatest criminal mind of all time must contend with another unexpected surprise – a rebellious Joker, who has turned on The Legion of Doom after being slighted by Lex. Of course Luthor can counter any plan but can he match wits with a madman whose specialty is doing the unexpected?

James Tynion IV perfectly captures the voices of all the characters involved and Guillem March masterfully reflects each character in his designs. There are lots of subtle details in March’s artwork (my favorite is a safety sign in the construction area of Joker’s hideout which reads “At this point, you are already dead.”) and you can hear the voices of Mark Hamill and Clancy Brown as you read Tynion’s dialogue.  This issue is a perfect union of form and function.

5-5

West Coast Avengers #5WEST COAST AVENGERS #5/ Written by KELLY THOMPSON/ Art by DANIELE DI NICUOLO/ Colors by TRIONA FARRELL/ Letters by VC’S JOE CARAMAGNA/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Kate Bishop has survived a major dressing down from Captain America, who really isn’t happy about a West Coast Avengers team being tied to a reality show. That may be the least of her problems, however, when a meeting with the mayor leads to an abandoned amusement park full of death traps!

More laid back and less action-filled than earlier issues, Thompson’s strength still lies in her tight characterization and dialogue. The situation at the center of this issue is Superhero Cliches 101 but Thompson’s brilliant use of the characters keeps things lively. Adaniele Di Nicuolo does a fair job with the artwork, despite some overly forced poses in some pages. A solid comic, but not a great one for winning over new readers.

4-5

 

Winter Soldier #1 CoverWINTER SOLDIER #1/ Written by KYLE HIGGINS/ Art and Colors by ROD REIS/ Letters by VC’S CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Bucky Barnes has a new mission – helping other people who have gotten in over their heads in criminal organizations to start new lives. It’s a noble pursuit and he has the full backing of Sharon Carter and Tony Stark, which is a big help when it comes to crossing the t’s, dotting the i’s and paying the bills. Unfortunately, Bucky’s new venture has attracted the wrong kind of attention and more bad people are after him than usual.

Kyle Higgins efficiently establishes the premise of this new Winter Soldier series, but there’s very little pop and sizzle. There’s no sense of unique personality among the various characters. The artwork is a larger problem, with Rod Reis’ gritty, realistic style a poor partner to the cartoonish action balloons utilized by Clayton Cowles. This is not a bad book, but it is not that great either.

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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