SUPERMAN’S PAL JIMMY OLSEN #1 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Aquaman #50 CoverAQUAMAN #50/ Script by KELLY SUE DECONNICK/ Pencils by ROBSON ROCHA & EDUARDO PANSICA/ Inks by DANIEL HENRIQUES & JULIO FERREIRA/ Colors by SUNNY GHO/ Letters by CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Arthur Curry has returned home to Amnesty Bay and brought his new friends The Old Gods of Unspoken Water with him. But as he tries to settle the forgotten ocean gods into a new home, he is met by old friends and contacted by new allies. Meanwhile, Mera shocks Atlantis with her choice of a new betrothed, as Black Manta receives an offer of alliance from the last person he ever expected after betraying the Legion of Doom – Lex Luthor!

There’s a lot to unpack in Aquaman #50, but DeConnick’s script manages the exposition from three different series with ease. The emphasis is on character, however, with a lot of great moments for the entire ensemble. My favorite aspect of all this is the relationship between Aquaman and Wonder Woman, who speak to one another like best friends who understand each other in a way few others can, due to their shared status as outsiders among their own people, whose lives are routinely manipulated by the gods.

The best thing I can say about the artwork is that it is unobtrusive and I was never aware of there being two teams at work on this book. Even now I can’t tell where the Rocha/Henriques pages start and the Pansica/Ferreira pages end. The colors by Sunny Gho are suitably eye-catching throughout and Clayton Cowles never clutters the art with his balloons.

If you haven’t been reading Aquaman, this is a fine place to start and see what you’ve been missing. The artwork is excellent and the story explains it all without feeling like a history lecture, even as it sets up the next age of Arthur Curry’s adventures. Highly recommended!

5-5

 

Firefly #8 CoverFIREFLY #8/ Script by GREG PAK/ Pencils by DAN MCDAID/ Inks by VINCENZO FEDERICI/ Colors by MARCELO COSTA/ Letters by JIM CAMPBELL/ Published by BOOM! STUDIOS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Malcolm Reynolds and Boss Moon are still fighting their way to safety, unaware that Zoe has accidentally triggered a Browncoat uprising in her efforts to get help saving Mal. Now, as Wash and Shepherd Book try to find Zoe and Inara searches for all the information she can on Mal’s new enemy on the sly, it falls to Kaylee and her new bandit friend to save River and Simon (and maybe, if they have to, Jayne) from the one man in the universe even denser than Jayne Cobb.

Firefly continues to be a solid little series bound to please Browncoats everywhere. The artwork is a little rough and indeed a bit sloppy in spots, but that suits the rough charm of the original television show and has the same spirit. Personally, I take more issue with some minor glitches in the characters(Pak’s take on both Kaylee and Simon feels a little off, for instance) and how some of them don’t seem to get much to do, even as the entire cast is being pulled every which way. Still, this series does feel like Firefly, even if it seems like one of the lesser episodes.

4-5

 

Spider-Man Life Story #5 CoverSPIDER-MAN: LIFE STORY #5/ Script by CHIP ZDARSKY/ Pencils by MARK BAGLEY/ Inks by JOHN DELL/ Colors by FRANK D’ARMATA/ Letters by VC’S TRAVIS LANHAM/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Spider-Man is dead, killed by a vampiric being named Morlun who feasts on the life force of those who draw power from the animal world. But the world doesn’t know that the Spider-Man they’ve known for the last decade is a clone of the original. Now, with his “brother” Ben dead, Peter Parker must come out of hiding to save his family from Morlun and the Avengers Initiative.

I hadn’t expected this series to tackle both the introduction of Morlun and Civil War. This take on it makes a great deal more sense than the original, however, since this world’s version of Tony Stark has every reason to be a government stooge in favor of forced conscription of superbeings. Score another one for Chip Zdarsky!

Unfortunately, the artwork seems a little off this time around. The inks by John Dell seem a bit too thin and the colors by Frank D’Armata too faded. Perhaps this was intentional, showing how the bright, four-color world of the past has become as tired and weak as Peter Parker himself. Unfortunately, the light coloration leaves Morlun looking more like Morbius and I was several pages into the comic before I realized who he was meant to be as a result.

Still, despite the flaws in the art, this is still a solid issue of a fantastic mini-series. I can’t wait to see how it is concluded next month.

4-5

 

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #1 CoverSUPERMAN’S PAL JIMMY OLSEN #1/ Script by MATT FRACTION/ Art by STEVE LIEBER/ Colors by NATHAN FAIRBAIRN/ Letters by CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Jimmy Olsen. Photographer. Superman’s Pal. And the only person keeping the lights on at The Daily Planet. Yes, as frightening as it is, Jimmy’s latest escapade (which ended in the destruction of a major Metropolis tourist attraction and a demand for Olsen’s firing by the mayor) revealed that the ad revenue from Jimmy’s v-log on TheDailyPlanet.com is the only part of the paper turning a profit. But what will Perry White do when the cost of supporting Metropolis’ biggest chaos magnet becomes too much?

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen is an interesting counterpoint to the recent Lois Lane maxi-series. Whereas Rucka’s book offers a serious examination on the power of pure journalism and its importance in a modern world, Matt Fraction’s book offers a comedic take on the realities of modern media. Lois Lane may deliver Pulitzer-Prize winning exposes on the evils of the government but people are more interested in watching Jimmy Olsen running from dinosaurs and shotgun weddings to gorillas.  Fraction doesn’t hammer the reader with this point, however, and keeps the focus on the Silver Age insanity that just happens to occur around Jimmy Olsen.

Fraction is well matched in this endeavor by Steve Lieber, whose art is as timeless as the story is timely. This book evokes the look of a Superman story from any era, even without Clark offering a wink to the reader. The colors by Nathan Fairbairn help solidify this view and the letters by Clayton Cowles are eye-catching yet readable.

Bottom Line? While this book won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s still an uproariously funny title that should appeal to anyone who doesn’t take their comics too seriously and thinks bow-ties are cool.

4-5

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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