INVISIBLE WOMAN #1 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Detective Comics #1007 CoverDETECTIVE COMICS #1007/ Script by PETER J. TOMASI/ Art by KYLE HOTZ/ Colors by DAVID BARON/ Letters by ROB LEIGH/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Gotham City Police Detective Jim Corrigan has been kidnapped by a strange cult who seek to claim the power of God’s Wrath for themselves. The Spectre remains at liberty to seek Batman’s help in finding his host, as the mystic connection between him and Corrigan has been broken. But will Batman aid a being whose only purpose is to kill, even to save an innocent man?

I first got into comics at a time when every other Batman story seemed to involve supernatural threats that Bruce Wayne barely acknowledged as possible and even then he was quick to dismiss them as being real ghosts/magic/demons/etc. This was slightly surreal given that at the same time Batman was on the Justice League with an honest-to-goodness angel named Zauriel. This story by Peter Tomasi reminded me of those days, for all the right reasons and the artwork by Kyle Hotz and David Baron also evoked memories of the dying days of the Dark Age of comics before a new day dawned and, for a time, comics lightened up. Those children of the Nineties who chuckle at the cover of this issue and Spectre shouting “I am Vengeance!” as Batman shouts “I am the Night!” will likely enjoy this issue as much as I did… as will everyone else.

5-5

 

Hawkman #14 CoverHAWKMAN #14/ Script by ROBERT VENDITTI/ Pencils by PAT OLLIFFE/ Inks by TOM PALMER/ Colors by JEREMIAH SKIPPER/ Letters by STARKINGS & COMICRAFT/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Carter Hall has faced many evils in his long line of lives, but the most sinister in recent times is Carl Sands – a tomb raider whose technology allowed him to become a living shadow. Now Sands has returned but he’s out for more than the ancient sanctuary that Hawkman has sought to ease his troubled soul… and his powers are fare more formidable than Carter Hall remembers.

Hawkman’s never been one of my Top Ten heroes, but I’ve kept up with this series purely because I liked Robert Venditti’s new conceit and explanation for Hawkman’s immorality and the idea that he was reincarnated across all of space and time. This issue revamps the Shadow Thief and expands upon his powers in a similar way, all while tying into the Year of the Villain event. The story is solid and does a great job of introducing both Hawkman and the Shadow Thief to incoming new readers. The artwork by Pat Olliffe, Tom Palmer and Jeremiah Skipper is rough and gritty but that suits the setting and the hero perfectly. All in all, this is a great start for The Year of the Villain and a great introduction for those who are new to this series.

5-5

 

Invisible Woman #1 CoverINVISIBLE WOMAN #1/ Script by MARK WAID/ Art by MATTIA DEIULIS/ Letters by VC’S JOE CARAMAGNA/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Before she became world-famous as part of the Fantastic Four and the matriarch of a family of superheroes, Sue Storm was a newbie hero whose powers made her an ideal Agent of SHIELD. This issue reveals an untold tale of the Invisible Woman’s early days and what happens when she gets dragged back into the spy game over a decade later.

Sue Storm has never been one of my favorite characters, but I was curious about this issue for two reasons. The first was that part of it was set during a point outside of everything that defines Invisible Woman in the modern Marvel Universe (i.e. Reed Richards’ wife, mother of two super-kids, etc.). The second was that it was written by Mark Waid, whose run on Fantastic Four is one of the few that’s ever made me care about Marvel’s First Family in any capacity.

While Waid doesn’t get much chance to develop Sue outside of the context of her familiar roles in this issue, he does establish a solid base for building her into a new character. Unfortunately, awkward balloon placement, forced posing and some disjointed panel layouts by Mattia DeIulis make the story flow a little difficult to follow. Fans of a good spy story and Fantastic Four will want to check this mini-series out, regardless, but there’s little to interest a general audience.

3-5

 

Savage Sword Of Conan #7 CoverSAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #7/ Script by JIM ZUB/ Art by PATCH ZIRCHER/ Colors by JAVA TARTARGLIA/ Letters by VC’s TRAVIS LANHAM/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Conan gambles with his life most every day, but a chance encounter in the streets of Shadizar sees Conan playing an unfamiliar game for the greatest stakes possible. The Cimmerian must rely upon his wits in a battle where no sword may save him, as Conan the Barbarian becomes Conan The Gambler!

I’ve been enjoy the new Savage Sword series immensely, but I thrilled to learn Jim Zub was writing a three-issue storyline for the series. Zub co-wrote the excellent Conan/Red Sonja mini-series with Gail Simone and has shown a great love for the character of Conan. That love is well-displayed in this tale, as is Zub’s knowledge of the Hyborian oeuvre. All is illustrated in epic fashion Patch Zircher and Java Tartarglia.

There is only one thing that might make this book better and that is the inclusion of a free game. Yes, the comic teaches how to play an original card game called Serpent’s Bluff, which will be released in a professionally published set later this year. For now, however, a demo deck can be downloaded at Conan.com. A great story, amazing art and a free game along with a short story. By Crom, this is the perfect Conan comic!

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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