DOMINO: HOTSHOTS #2 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Conan The Barbarian #5 CoverCONAN THE BARBARIAN #5/ Script by JASON AARON / Art by MAHMUD ASRAR/ Colors by MATTHEW WILSON/ Letters by VC’S TRAVIS LANHAM/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Trapped on a ship full of nothing but dead men and a cursed artifact, Conan fights against starvation, dehydration and the cursed abominations the artifact has created with its tainted touch.

Jason Aaron has composed a masterful blend of survival horror and supernatural thriller with this one-shot story. I’m hard pressed to think of any other story which does so fine a job of emulating the feel of both Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft. Certainly no other story I have read has seen Conan come so close to utter madness in the face of supernatural horror.

Mahmud Asrar’s art proves a perfect match for this dark, disturbing story. Matthew Wilson finishes the art with stark, muted colors as Conan’s lonesome journey continues, punctuating it with occasional flashes of color as Conan is reminded of what it is to be alive, be it by the vivid sunsets in the background as Conan takes a moment’s joy in steering the craft or the blood that flies as Conan battles yet another sea monster. If you’ve never given Conan the Barbarian a shot or understood the appeal, give this issue a try.  And if you are already a fan, by Crom, you will love this issue!

5-5

 

Domino Hotshots #2 CoverDOMINO: HOTSHOTS #2/ Script by GAIL SIMONE/ Art by DAVID BALDEON/ Colors by JIM CHARALAMPIDIS/ Letters by VC’S CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Domino wasn’t sure about bringing in three untested mercenaries to join her Posse in the hunt for an Eternals artifact. Now she’s doubly unsure, with her associates poised to betray her and Deadpool having shown up to stop them all from continuing the search. Has Domino’s luck finally run out?

Gail Simone writing Deadpool should be all the reason anyone needs to buy this book. Beyond that, this issue is just as nuts as you can imagine a fight being when it involves Domino, Black Widow and four of Marvel Comics’ deadliest female mercenaries fighting Deadpool. Oh, did I mention Deadpool is in this issue? Because he is.

Seriously, this issue offers more of the amazing work that we saw in the all-too-brief Domino monthly series. David Baldeon continues to deliver detail-driven artwork with an astonishing sense of clarity and the colors by Jim Charalampidis are lively. This book looks as great as it reads.

Honestly, I don’t know what else I can say to drive home how great this book is. Except that it’s Gail Simone writing Deadpool. Did I mention that? Or the Grease tribute? Oh well – just buy it!

5-5

 

Dreaming #8 CoverTHE DREAMING #8/ Script by SIMON SPURRIER/ Art by ABIGAIL LARSON/ Colors by QUINTON WINTER/ Letters by SIMON BOWLAND/ Published by VERTIGO COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Rose Walker continues to pour her heart out to the strange elfin man in a coma, who is in the same hospital as her injured daughter and dying mother. Little does she realize the man’s connection to her daughter’s new boyfriend and what recent events may mean for the rest of the world.

It’s a bit hard to discuss The Dreaming as this book demands that you have read the original Sandman. While its a safe bet that those interested in this book are already familiar with Neil Gaiman’s work, it is still a bit odd (for a critic at least) to try and explain the action of this issue without a lengthy diatribe as to the story so far. Suffice it to say, Simon Spurrier has done a fantastic job capturing the aura of Gaiman’s work and spinning a story in Rose Walker’s voice.

I wish I could be as complementary of the artwork, but there’s no way to describe Abigail Larson’s contribution to this book as anything but incomplete. The inks are so thin as to be non-existent and the sketchy style leaves the whole book looking as if it’s half-finished. The pale palette utilized by Quinton Winter doesn’t help matters. I can understand wanting the artwork to look insubstantial and dreamlike, but there had to be a better way of going about it than this. In the end this is a good story, robbed of greatness by artwork that just doesn’t work.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE #21/ 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

Confronted by their future selves, the Justice League are shown the utopia they will build after they win their battle with the Legion of Doom. But everything is not as it seems and Superman must escape from an inescapable prison in a universe with no suns to warn his friends of the trap that has been lain for them.

Whatever else may be said about Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez’s Justice League, it is not dull. I’m not sure what else to say, however, because this series has been moving at a mile a minute since it started and unleashes more groundbreaking concepts in a single issue than most series manage in a year. Just to throw out one of the scarier notions? Fifth Dimensional Imps can unmake reality as well as creating whatever they want. They just don’t bother because making things stop existing is boring.

That’s ONE.

While I prefer other artists who have worked on this series recently to Jorge Jimenez, I must say his work is technically accomplished and has grown on me. It’s a little busy at times, but one cannot say the man doesn’t think big and it shows in the finished artwork. Alejandro Sanchez also does an equally fantastic job on the colors. All in all, this book is probably the weirdest mainstream title DC Comics has published since Grant Morrison was allowed to write JLA. It’s also probably the best.

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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