WEST COAST AVENGERS #8 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Daredevil #2 CoverDAREDEVIL #2/ Script by CHIP ZDARSKY/ Art by MARCO CHECCHETTO/ Colors by SUNNY GHO/ Letters by VC’S CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

With a man apparently dead at Daredevil’s hands, the police are more desperate than ever to meet Mayor Wilson Fisk’s demand that The Man Without Fear be brought to justice. Matt Murdock is equally determined to keep his heroic identity in the limelight rather than make it look like he’s guilty by hiding himself away. Still, with a hot-shot detective from Chicago on his tail, Matt can’t afford to make any mistakes. Particularly when he considers a frightening possibility – he might actually be guilty, if only of accidental manslaughter than cold-blooded murder!

Chip Zdarsky poses an interesting idea with this new Daredevil series, forcing Matt Murdock to consider that he may be losing his edge and may not be capable of being the hero he once was. Not many superhero comics have examined this angle (Grell’s Green Arrow and Isabella’s Black Lightning are the only two that come to mind) and the possibility adds an interesting undercurrent to an already excellent Daredevil story. Ably illustrated by Marco Checchetto and Sunny Gho, this book’s artwork is the equal of its writing, with amazing action sequences and a dynamic sense of motion even in the static scenes of people just talking. This is Daredevil done right, but those who aren’t already fans of Matt Murdock probably won’t be won over by this run.

4-5

 

The Flash #65 CoverTHE FLASH #45/ Script by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON/ Pencils by RAFA SANDOVAL/ Inks by JORDI TARRAGONA/ Colors by TOMEU MOREY/ Letters by STEVE WANDS/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

With an enraged Gotham Girl set to destroy Central City, The Flash needs all the help that he can get. Of course given recent revelations, Barry Allen isn’t about to accept Bruce Wayne’s assistance and the rift between the two detectives may be too great to be bridged.

As wonderful as the action of this issue is, it comes from a false and faulty place. To say that the sudden conflict between Barry and Bruce doesn’t ring true is an understatement. It would be problematic enough trying to push the idea that Barry Allen blames Batman for the death of Wally West without trying to use this issue – a tie-in to Heroes in Crisis that barely involves that story and is more deeply invested in the lore of Tom King’s Batman than anything else to kick-start yet another crossover event.

Despite how utterly forced the conflict of the issue is, Williamson is to be commended for being the only writer at DC Comics to in any way address Wally West’s death, much less actually capture the scope of how utterly senseless that death is some two years after they brought West back from limbo. The artwork by Rafa Sandoval and Jordi Tarragona is also far better than this over-hyped “event” deserved. Overall, this issue is underwhelming and far weaker than the sum of its parts. The good parts, however, deserve consideration on their own merits.

Shazam #3 CoverSHAZAM! #3/ Script by GEOFF JOHNS/ Art by DALE EAGLESHAM, MARCO SANTUCCI & MAYO “SEN” NAITO/ Colors by MIKE ATIYEH/ Letters by ROB LEIGH/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Don’t let the cover fool you! There’s no Mr. Mind to be found in this issue. Thankfully, this issue does have a lot of the fun we’ve come to expect from this series as well as a neat expansion of the world of Shazam! Picking up where last month left off, the Shazam family are still in The Funlands – a magical theme-park ruled by a figure known as King Kid, who tells the six heroes something of his world and the other magical worlds that are but a stone’s throw away.

Johns is building a whole new mythology from the ground-up and it is amazing. Shazam! reads like a true kid’s comic from the Golden Age while still maintaining a mystique that is equal parts Peter Pan and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Suffice it to say, DC Comics screwed the pooch handing control of its new youth comics line to Brian Michael Bendis over Geoff Johns based on the work we see here.

The most amazing aspect of the artwork is you’d never believe three separate artists were responsible for this book. Somehow, the works of Eaglesham, Santucci and Naito blend together effortlessly with no loss of visual continuity between pages. The colors of Mike Atiyeh help in this, being consistently vivid and beautiful.

If you haven’t been reading Shazam! you’ve been missing out. This is a fun little comic that should be on everyone’s pull list. Don’t wait for the TP – grab the back-issues now!

5-5

 

West Coast Avengers #8 CoverWEST COAST AVENGERS #8/ Script by KELLY THOMPSON/ Art and Colors by GANG HYUK LIM/ Letters by VC’S JOE CARAMAGNA/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Marvel Boy is convinced that a dangerous cult is winning the hearts and minds of Hollywood’s Elite. (No, not that one!) Most of the West Coast Avengers are skeptical but Kate Bishop persuades them all to help her ex-boyfriend investigate things anyway. And then it gets complicated…

For my money, few titles are as consistently fun and funny as West Coast Avengers. This issue proves a perfect jumping-on point for those who might have missed out on the first few issues. The comedy this month is a little different, however, with Kelly Thompson having established the cast well enough to depend on the humor inherent in their interactions rather than ludicrous concepts like BRODOK or the attack of a 50-foot Tigra. The book is still funny regardless and for those who have to have a thrilling action sequence, you’ll get to see Gwenpool fight a bunch of random minions.

The artwork by Gang Hyuk Lim is different from what we’ve seen before in this series, being more photo-realistic in style. This only serves to enhance the humor of things, however, as we see Gwenpool caring for her new pet landshark and Quentin Quire totally failing to blend in when going undercover. This book is one of the best things to come out Marvel in 2018 and it will win an Eisner if there’s any justice in this world.

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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