CONAN THE BARBARIAN #6/ 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
The King of Turan wishes to invade Stygia, but the sneaky, snake-worshiping soldiers of that land prove too cunning to conquer. Word comes to the king of one mercenary who has somehow survived every Stygian ambush… a mercenary from the North called Conan!
Jason Aaron continues to meander around Conan’s timeline, this time spinning the tale of how the lone mercenary first found himself thrust into the role of an officer by sheer virtue of staying alive while foolish nobles got men of greater loyalty and less sense killed. Aaron has a solid command of the dark humor that infused many of the classic Robert E. Howard Conan stories. More importantly, he writes Conan as a man of wit rather than dumb muscle, with the Turan king even commenting that Conan’s body moves as fast as his mind, having bandied words with him before seeing him in action.
The artwork by Mahmud Asrar and Matthew Wilson proves the equal of the story. The deserts of Hyboria have never looked quite so imposing and the first image of Conan, soaked in blood (most of it not his, naturally) is the most striking to come from this series so far. This book is everything a fan of sword and sorcery comics could dream of.
ICE CREAM MAN #12/ Words by W. MAXWELL PRINCE/ Art by MARTIN MORAZZO/ Colors by CHRIS O’HALLORAN/ Letters by GOOD OLD NEON/ Published by IMAGE COMICS
Review by ROY BUCKINGHAM
The enigma continues.
This time, set in a future where the Earth is no more, we are presented with more questions than answers, but in a way that keeps you engaged. What makes this comic series so interesting is not only the mysterious plot by W. Maxwell Prince, but the top notch artwork by the team of Martin Morazzo and Chris O’Halloran.
An odd mix of space opera, Silent Running and 2001: A Space Odyssey, the last remaining human is seen on what seems like an impossible mission. A cautionary tale of where we possibly may be heading and what our future could become, while teasing us more about The Ice Cream man’s true purpose in the universe. This book is uniquely memorable and unsettling, in all the right ways.
SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN #2/ Words by PETER DAVID/ Pencils by GREG LAND/ Inks by JAY LEISTEN/ Colors by FRANK D’ARMATA/ Letters by VC’S JOE SABINO/ Published by MARVEL COMICS
Review by ROY BUCKINGHAM
If you have not read issue #1 of this new series yet, do yourself a favor and do so. Symbiote Spider-Man may go down as one of the greatest Spider Man stories in comics’ history. With amazing artwork from Greg Land, Jay Leistand and Frank D’Armata combined with a great story by Peter David, we travel back to the time when Spider Man had just acquired the black suit, the Secret War had just wrapped up and The World Trade Center still stood.
Not only do we get to re-explore this time of Peter Parker’s life when alien technology gave him a boost (at a price), but we get to dive deeper into the psychology of Mysterio and why he does what he does. This is what I love the most so far about this title. A perfect blend of action, the snarky humor we love from Spidey and some unexpected pathos from the main villain. Highly recommended!
WAR OF THE REALMS: AGENTS OF ATLAS #1/ Script by GREG PAK/ Art by GANG HYUK LIM/ Colors by FEDERICO BLEE/ Letters by VC’S CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by MARVEL COMICS
Review by MARCUS HAMMOND
The War of Realms falls on Midgard and Queen Sindr of Muspelheim makes a play to claim the North Pacific. Jimmy Woo, former S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent and current contender for the role of Professor X and/or Nick Fury, sees danger and gathers a group of “unusually gifted” individuals to defend humanity. Things go wrong though, when Kamala Khan, Amadeus Cho, and Cindy Moon enter the fray, alongside Shang Chi.
The first of a four-issue War of Realms tie-in comes off as more of Champions tie-in than a New Agents of Atlas storyline. The plot moves from panels introducing new characters like Aero, Wave, White Fox, and Crescent to entire pages dealing with the turmoil between Champions members Amadeus Cho and Kamala Khan. Eventually, it is Cho’s misdirected heroism (or egotism) that creates the major dramatic turn in the story.
It feels like Pak is unsure of the Agents of Atlas team and uses the popular characters from the Champions to garner attention. From the few panels sprinkled throughout that actually highlight the Atlas team, their appearances and power sets are engaging. The final panels of the issue bring hope that the New Agents of Atlas will be more heavily featured in the subsequent issues. Gang Hyuk Lim’s art is crisp and detailed and help add intrigue to the little we see of Aero, Wave, White Fox, and Crescent. Lim’s art saves the issue from complete disappointment, and I’m willing to give Pak a chance with the second issue to allow this new team to stand on its own.