RIDDLER: YEAR OF THE VILLAIN #1 [Mini-Reviews]

Age Of Conan Valeria #2 CoverAGE OF CONAN: VALERIA #2/ Script by MEREDITH FINCH/ Art by ANEKE/ Colors by ANDY TROY/ Letters by VC’S TRAVIS LANHAM/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Valeria is one step closer to tracking down her brother’s killer, but the answers she seeks only raise more questions. Was he killed by one of his fellow Knights of Mitra? And will a seemingly random encounter with some bandits end Valeria’s quest before it truly begins?

Finch’s script largely treads water this month, with little progress being made on the plot and the action of the issue only serving to pad the story. Still, her portrayal of a young Valeria is perfect, the fight scenes are solid and the art by Aneke thrilling, with Andy Troy’s colors offering brilliant finishes. This series will likely flow more smoothly as a single story in a trade paperback, but it is a ripping yarn despite some minor pacing problems in this chapter.

4-5

 

Red Sonja #8 CoverRED SONJA #8/ Script by MARK RUSSELL/ Art by BOB Q/ Colors by DEARBHLA KELLY/ Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU/ Published by DYNAMITE COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

As Hyrkania burns ahead of the advancing armies of Emperor Dragan The Magnificent, Sonja and her forces retreat into the woods An alliance with the king called Lord Oak might thwart Dragan’s invasion, but can Sonja and the forest lord put aside their mutual distrust in the name of fighting a greater threat?

Russell waxes philosophical this month, with the story containing several parables about the nature of trust. While those who prefer their Sonja comics heavy on action and cheesecake will doubtlessly be bored by this, I personally found the digression to be an interesting one and there is still action aplenty in this issue, ably illustrated by Bob Q. Were it not for a running gag involving a spy within Sonja’s ranks who remains above suspicion only because his plans are so idiotic no one can believe he is a traitor, this would be a solid issue with which to introduce people to the current series. As it stands, this remains a most enjoyable comic, albeit one that is drastically different than the common sword-and-sorcery series.

4-5

 

Riddler Year Of The Villain #1 CoverRIDDLER: YEAR OF THE VILLAIN #1/ Script by MARK RUSSELL/ Art by SCOTT GODLEWSKI/ Colors by MARISSA LOUISE/ Letters by TRAVIS LANHAM/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Lex Luthor is handing out favors to villains like beads at Mardis Gras and what does The Riddler have to show for it? Nothing! As Edward Nygma tries to figure out why he was passed over when so many unworthies were blessed from on high, he ponders his life of crime and considers a team-up with fellow trap-master King Tut.

Not since the Rogue-focused issues of Geoff Johns’ classic run on The Flash has a writer gotten into the heads of a villain so effectively as Mark Russell in this latest series of Year of the Villain specials. Here we see The Riddler as he’s never been depicted before – introspective and questioning himself, with Edward Nygma finding he may be the greatest riddle of all. Russell also deserves praise for his new version of King Tut, who is an actual Egyptian with more money than sense. The artwork by Scott Godlewski suits the cartoonish yet oddly deep tone of the story and the colors by Marissa Louise leave this looking like a relic of the Batman ’66 universe. Overall, this is a must-read for all fans of The Riddler and a respectable Year Of The Villain tie-in.

5-5

 

Wonder Twins #7 CoverWONDER TWINS #7/ Script by MARK RUSSELL/ Art and Colors by STEPHEN BYRNE/ Letters by DAVE SHARPE/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

With their latest adventure having resulted in Jayna’s only friend on Earth being arrested and Zan busy enjoying the newfound celebrity that comes with saving the world, Jayna feels more alone than ever. To add insult to injury, now the Wonder Twins are off of monitor duty and stuck offering guided tours of the Hall of Justice. How will they go on?!

I’m not sure how much notice Mark Russell had in developing this issue, when Wonder Twins was expanded from a 6-issue mini-series to a 12-issue one. All I know is that the story feels a little half-baked this month. There’s still many funny moments, mostly centering around Repulso – a secret Justice League member who has the power of horrendous body-odor, which makes him ideal for crowd control but utterly impossible to cope with at any other time. Yet somehow the various subplots don’t really gel together as they did in previous issues. Still, Stephen Byrne’s artwork continues to astound, with the many sight gags planted into the background making this issue a worthy investment of your money and time, if you haven’t already been reading Wonder Twins.

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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