GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1 & MORE! [Reviews]

Batman #87 CoverBATMAN #87/ Script by JAMES TYNION IV/ Art by GUILLEM MARCH/ Colors by TOMEU MOREY/ Letters by CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

The Riddler has been in hiding for months, seeking an answer even he can’t puzzle out. He thinks he’s close but The Penguin is in no mood to discuss it, being occupied with cleaning his own nest of a cuckoo’s egg. But what does this have to do with five elite assassins, including Deathstroke, being hired to hit the same target in Gotham City and Bruce Wayne’s plans to build a better Gotham?

Tynion continues to lay out the set pieces as the stage is prepared for what promises to be a thrilling run on Batman. This is to be expected, given his earlier work on Detective Comics and fans will not be disappointed by the story here. Nor will they be let down by the artwork, though Guillem March is a decidely different artist than Tony Daniel. I dare say that March draws the most fiendish Penguin in comics history and Tomeu Morey’s colors offer the perfect finishes to his artwork. This is another fine issue of what promises to be a legendary run.

5-5

 

Detective Comics #1019 CoverDETECTIVE COMICS #1019/ Script by PETER TOMASI/ Art by SCOTT GODLEWSKI/ Colors by DAVID BARON/ Letters by ROB LEIGH/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

A brutal series of killings during the holiday season point to someone in Gotham City recreating an old Nordic ritual associated with the Winter Solstice. When a man in Viking garb attacks Bruce Wayne during the annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, will Batman find the clues he needs to track down the culprit?

Tomasi tells a true detective story, with most of the issue focusing upon the process by which Bruce Wayne tackles a mystery. We get more of this than him physically tackling crazed cultists but both parts prove engaging. The art by Scott Godlewski has a strong sense of motion to it, even when Bruce Wayne is moving around a library looking for the right book on Norse symbology and the colors by David Baron are suitably vivid. Don’t forget to pick up the first part from Detective Comics #1018 (if you haven’t already) and prepare to enjoy one of the best stories featuring the Dark Knight Detective in recent memory.

5-5

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (2020) #1 CoverGUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1/ Script by AL EWING/ Art by JUANN CABAL/ Colors by FEDERICO BLEE/ Letters by VC’S CORY PETIT/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Once, the Guardians of the Galaxy stood ready to take on any threat to the peace of the universe. Now, they’re happily retired to a galactic suburb. Well, some of them are. Peter Quill and Rocket are bored senseless, which leads to them signing on to a mission involving certain death and the newly returned Gods of Olympus running a Number Six on the major galactic empires.

If you aren’t already familiar with the status quo of Marvel Comics’ cosmic properties, be prepared to spent several hours hunting for issue summaries and character descriptions on-line. Al Ewing couldn’t be arsed to explain any of it or to introduce most of the characters in this first issue. (In fact, the only character who gets a formal introduction is Grant Morrison’s ridiculously overpowered Marvel Boy.) So if you, like me, only know about Guardians of the Galaxy from the movies, you’re going to be lost pretty quickly without an Internet connection and a link to Marvel Wiki prepared. At least the artwork by Juann Cabal does a good job of conveying the action and the characters all have unique, memorable designs, with a variety of body types on display. Unfortunately, the colors by Federico Blee seem a bit bright in comparison. Overall, this book may please fans of the previous Guardians series but its largely inaccessible to new readers.

3-5

 

Red Sonja Age Of Chaos #1 CoverRED SONJA: AGE OF CHAOS #1/ Script by ERIK BURNHAM/ Art by JONATHAN LAU/ Colors by CELESTE WOODS/ Letters by CARLOS S. MANGUAL/ Published by DYNAMITE COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

In ancient times, Red Sonja defeated her sworn enemy, the necromancer Kulan Gath, and sought to prevent his resurrection by dropping his cursed amulet into the sea. Now, in the modern day, the amulet has been discovered and is being fought over by various beings of power, who seek to use Kulan Gath’s power to make themselves into gods!

I’m not sure who precisely this mini-series was aimed at beyond collectors of sleazy alternate covers. (i.e. the target audience of Chaos Comics.)  Erik Burnham’s story assumes the reader is already familiar with the likes of Evil Ernie, Chastity, Purgatori and so on, not offering a real introduction to any of them. Not that any of these characters were ever all that deep during their heyday.  The artwork by Jonathan Lau is good, but doesn’t really cater to the usual Chaos Comics aesthetic (i.e. big splash pages with gratuitous cheesecake art and/or ultra-violence.) Even the Red Sonja section of the comic seems like an afterthought and Sonja lacks her usual fire. A largely pointless and easily skipped mess, that will only appeal to those sad souls who think the 1990s were the height of the American Comic Book industry.

2-5

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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