THE DREAMING #7 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Conan The Barbarian #4 CoverCONAN THE BARBARIAN #4/ Script by JASON AARON/ Art by GERARDO ZAFFINO/ Colors by MATTHEW WILSON/ Letters by VC’S TRAVIS LANHAM/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Literally bored sick by statecraft, the newly crowned King Conan can only find relief in the rigors of battle. Alas, with Aquilonia at peace there seems to be no cure for the king’s ills… until Conan begins sneaking out of his own palace to do battle with the capitol city’s criminals!

What seems a silly conceit to win-over those superhero-loving comics readers who might not otherwise give Conan the Barbarian a chance is actually a clever nod the source material. Jason Aaron’s script is forged of the Howard mold, with its central idea taken from the first line Conan ever spoke in any short story. Alas, the art is less inspired, and is barely legible even at the best of times. The colors by Matthew Wilson are dull and muddy and while one can justify a certain level of grit in a sword-and-sorcery comic, Gerardo Zaffino over-inks most of his linework, leaving the action hard to follow as the reader tries to figure out what they are looking at. The end result is passable, but barely.

 

The Dreaming #7 CoverTHE DREAMING #7/ Script by SIMON SPURRIER/ Art by ABIGAIL LARSON/ Colors by QUINTON WINTER/ Letters by SIMON BOWLAND/ Published by VERTIGO COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

A young couple in love. A sick stranger. A mother’s tale of her family’s long history with weird things. And one more clue as to the strangest that has shaken the world of dreams…

I had not expected to see Rose Walker turn up again in the pages of The Dreaming. I had thought her story over and done with in the original Sandman. The latest story arc suggests, however, that The Endless are not yet done throwing “weird shit” at Rose and her daughter, who has apparently won the heart of the reborn Dream.

I’m not sure exactly where Simon Spurrier’s story is going after this first chapter, which emulates Neil Gaiman’s style so well I have to wonder where Gaiman’s ideas for a new Sandman Universe stop and Spurrier’s own innovations begin. I can say that Abigail Larson’s art, stunningly simple in its clarity, proves uniquely suited to this story, though the colors by Quinton Winter almost seem to be too soft for a story that seems to demand a degree of boldness that isn’t there visually. Time may prove me wrong in that regard. As it stands, this is a solid comic and a good start to the second story arc.

4-5

 

Green Arrow #50 CoverGREEN ARROW #50/ Script by COLLIN KELLY & JACKSON LANZING/ Art by JAVIER FERNANDEZ/ Colors by JOHN KALISZ/ Letters by ANDWORLD DESIGN/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Betrayed by the woman he loves, Oliver Queen is forced into hiding when a shadowy section of the US Government goes after the secret weapon that can destroy the Justice League!

It would be giving Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing too much credit to say that they destroyed everything that the Green Arrow: Rebirth series accomplished. They have, however, proven their complete lack of understanding of the characters of Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance, as they attempt to justify every terrible decision since 2011 involving Dinah Lance’s horribly convoluted New 52 background. The artwork by Javier Fernandez, as sloppy and half-heartedly executed as ever, proves the perfect partner to the half-assed writing.

I refuse to waste time explaining everything wrong with this issue on a logical level. The fact that the same government agents who claim to know Dinah Lance well enough to know that a staunch feminist like her would never risk her life over a man allow her a chance to try and talk reason into her boyfriend when it comes to fighting the government says it all. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

1-5 Rating

 

Justice League #19 CoverJUSTICE LEAGUE #19/ Story by SCOTT SNYDER & JORGE JIMENEZ/ Script by SCOTT SNYDER/ Art by JORGE JIMENEZ/ Colors by ALEJANDRO SANCHEZ/ Letters by TOM NAPOLITANO/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

With two more powers of creation left to unlock, the Justice League plan to get the jump on the Legion of Doom and move into the space where the next power resides – The Sixth Dimension! Unfortunately, getting there requires the aid of a being from the Fifth Dimension which means the team must contend with the games of Mister Mxyzptlk!

Scott Snyder may beat out Grant Morrison for the most sheer insanity in a single Justice League run by the time this storyline is settled. As it is, this issue is a lot of fun and Jorge Jimenez does a good job depicting the maddening imagery required. (My favorite is John Stewart slowly sprouting light-blubs.) Fun and funny in equal measure, with a stunning ending I can’t wait to see resolved, this is everything superhero comics should be.

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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