NEW MUTANTS #1 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Doctor Doom #2 CoverDOCTOR DOOM #2/ Script by CHRISTOPHER CANTWELL/ Art by SALVADOR LARROCA/Colors by GURU-FX/ Letters by VC’S CORY PETIT/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

For the sake of his people, Doom agrees to surrender himself into SHIELD custody while the investigation into an apparent Latervian attack on a moon base proceeds. Yet Doom is soon given reason why he must remain at liberty and an opportunity to escape. Now alone on the streets of New York City and without access to his usual resources, can Doom prove his innocence and save his nation before everything he has built is destroyed?

I was impressed by the first issue of this new series and the second issue has only improved my opinion of it. Cantwell shows an understanding of Victor Von Doom’s character not seen in several years and capture’s Doom’s essence as a noble demon – a great man capable of heroism and evil in equal measure. More, Cantwell has pitch-perfect takes on Doctor Strange (who respects Doom, even if he doesn’t like him that much) and Reed Richards, who doesn’t appear in this issue but seems to be going out of his way to annoy Doom with the disrespect he pays by proxy. Larroca’s artwork proves equally impressive, being full of detail and deeply inked shadows that capture the dark and mysterious nature of Doom and the plot against him. The colors by Guru-FX aid in establishing this aura as well. All in all, this is a comic worthy of the Doom name.

5-5

 

Justice League #35 CoverJUSTICE LEAGUE #35/ Script by SCOTT SNYDER & JAMES TYNION IV/ Art by FRANCIS MANAPUL/Colors by FRANCIS MANAPUL & HI-FI/ Letters by TOM NAPOLITANO/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

The goddess Perpetua has risen and the sigil of Doom now hangs in the skies of the Multiverse. As the scattered heroes of three time periods regroup in the face of their failure, Lex Luthor and his Legion plot the next step in a plan to reshape all reality. Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And nothing will ever be the same again!

How many storylines at DC Comics right now are devoted to the universe being forever reshaped by some mystic force? Apart from the various Justice League titles and the related Year of the Villain crossover, there’s Doomsday Clock and everything in The Sandman Universe, though I think what is happening in The Dreaming and Hellblazer are separate crises. The point being that there’s a lot of doomsaying (no pun intended) in the DC Comics books right now and it’s hard to get excited about much of it as a result. “It’s only the end of the world again,” to borrow a phrase from Neil Gaiman.

Despite this malaise, I have still found myself reading Justice League with rapt attention. Largely this has been due to a riveting series of scripts by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, but attention must also be paid to the artwork by Francis Manapul and the colorful contributions of Hi-Fi. Put simply, these masters are all working at the top of their game and it’s a joy to watch their story unfold.

Despite this, I’m honestly not sure if I can recommend this issue as an entry point to new readers, though it is set-up as a bookmark issue to recap the action so far. Better to pick up the trades and start at the beginning, if possible. But if it isn’t, this is a fine first issue for seeing what you’ve been missing. Easily one of DC Comics’ strongest titles right now.

5-5

 

New Mutants #1 CoverNEW MUTANTS #1/ Script by ED BRISSON & JONATHAN HICKMAN/ Art & Colors by ROD REIS/ Letters by VC’S TRAVIS LANHAM/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

The mutant island of Krakoa has proven a miracle for many of the so-called sixth generation of Mutants, restoring many of them to life. No longer the latest class of Professor Xavier’s academy, they are still the youngest generation of young adults among Mutantkind and they share a certain bond as such; a bond that will send them into the depths of space, in search of an old friend who deserves to see this new paradise.

On the surface, New Mutants is everything I detest about the X-Men line, being virtually impossible to get into unless you’re already intimately familiar with the characters involved. While the opening title pages give you a roster of characters and photos, this isn’t very helpful as the roster only gives the main characters’ superhero code names. Naturally the characters address themselves by their real names throughout the issue, requiring a quick trip to Wikipedia to look up who is who and to do the detective work to figure out that Sam, the friend they are going into space to find, is the mutant Cannonball… who is not on the roster!

Thankfully, Ed Brisson and Jonathan Hickman add enough humor and personality into the story to make it worth this effort if you are a newcomer. We get to know and like these New Mutants as people well enough that trying to look up their stats doesn’t seem like a chore. The artwork by Rod Reis adds to this enticement of the story, presenting a unique look with thin inks and rich water-based colors. New Mutants #1 is a rollicking good read, if you don’t mind doing a little homework.

4-5

Red Sonja #10 CoverRED SONJA #10/ Script by MARK RUSSELL/ Art by MIRKO COLAK/Colors by DEARBHLA KELLY/ Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU/ Published by DYNAMITE COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

The war for Hyrkania is lost, with the Emperor Dragan having crowned his own weak king as reagent and Sonja’s armies scattered to the plains. Left without allies, Sonja and her few loyal retainers must change the nature of the game, if they are to see the ultimate victory.

Russell and Colak’s run on Red Sonja has been divisive, to say the least. This is largely due to the series’ reliance on dark comedy and the scripts picking and choosing location names from the Howard oeuvre seemingly at random. For instance, this issue features a dusky-skinned king of Aquilonia and depicts the greatest of all Western Kingdoms having fallen to Dragan some six years before the present day.

Granting that Robert Howard purists are not going to enjoy themselves (they rarely do with Sonja, I find), I’ve found this run to be amusing for what it is. Russell’s scripts satirize the sillier elements of sword-and-sorcery and Colak punctuates these humor by playing things completely straight in the artwork. This makes things funnier than if a more comedic artist (Amanda Conner, who has drawn many of this run’s covers, for instance) had drawn them. Crom take the purists! This is an enjoyable read!

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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