THOR #1 & MORE! [Reviews]

Detective Comics #1018 CoverDETECTIVE COMICS #1018/ Script by PETER TOMASI/ Art by SCOTT GODLEWSKI/ Colors by DAVID BARON/ Letters by ROB LEIGH/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

It’s the holiday season but a strange series of murders is sapping Bruce Wayne’s limited holiday spirit. Determining the deaths are ritualistic in nature and tied to an ancient Norse rite is simple enough, but who would be conducting a deadly ritual meant to bring back the sun in the dead of winter in modern day Gotham City?

Tomasi’s script is all over the place this month, with a murder mystery that holds little mystery and some random character moments scattered slipshod around the issue. The Harvey Bullock scenes are mildly amusing, but accomplish nothing in terms of the story. The bits involving Bruce’s two dogs are also a bit confounding, as I don’t recall Bruce getting a second dog anywhere in this title!

At least the artwork by Scott Godlewski and David Baron is on par with what we’ve come to expect from this bimonthly book. Goldlewski finds the perfect balance between light and shadow with his shading, presenting a Gotham City that seems dark and foreboding without the extensive line-work common to most “gritty” artists. Baron’s colors are likewise uncharacteristically bright and vivid for a Bat-book, creating a unique and (to my mind, at least) enjoyable look.  All in all this one will please most Bat-fans, though little about it stands out.

4-5

 

Doctor Doom #4 CoverDOCTOR DOOM #4/ 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

As foreign armies mass on the borders of Latveria, Victor Von Doom fights to discover who has framed him and his nation for a cowardly terrorist attack. The trail leads to Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.)  and Taskmaster – the assassin sent to kill Doom. Without his armor and his usual weapons, can Doom triumph over one of the world’s deadliest killers and the dreaded intelligence behind him?

This has fast become one of my favorite books and that’s largely due to how Christopher Cantwell has nailed the character of Doom while introducing a level of humor rarely seen when Doom crosses paths with the Fantastic Four. In this issue, for instance, we have Doom announcing his arrival in the corporate offices of A.I.M. with a re-purposed energy weapon, declaring that he would like to speak to a manager like so many Karens in a fast-food joint. This fun yet well-informed script is matched well by the art of Salvador Larroca, whose work is streamlined while still being detail-driven. The colors of Guru-FX and Cory Petit’s letters are also praiseworthy.  One of the best comics in Marvel’s stable and a must read for anyone who enjoys a good story about a fantastic anti-hero.

5-5

 

Joker Harley Criminal Sanity #2 CoverJOKER/HARLEY: CRIMINAL SANITY #2/ Script by KAMI GARCIA/ Art by MICO SUAYAN & MIKE MAYHEW WITH JASON BADOWER/ Letters by RICHARD STARKINGS OF COMICRAFT/ Published by DC BLACK LABEL

Review by MATT MORRISON

With every passing killing, Harley Quinn becomes more and more fascinated by the new serial killer plaguing Gotham City. But is her obsession born of the thrill of the hunt? Or does she feel a connection with this unknown madman, who leaves behind artwork made from his victims?

The second chapter of Criminal Sanity is not quite so engaging as the first, with a story that does nothing to advance the plot and offers us little more than more disturbing imagery. Garcia makes this as engaging as possible, but one can’t help but feel that this chapter is padding, plain and simple. That being said, it is gorgeous padding and the artwork by Mico Suayan and Mike Mayhew (assisted this month by Jason Badower) continues to be excellent. Despite a misstep, this is still a solid mystery comic putting a unique twist on the classic Harley Quinn and Joker relationship.

4-5

 

Thor #1 CoverTHOR #1/ Script by DONNY CATES/ Art by NICK KLEIN/ Colors by MATTHEW WILSON/ Letters by VC’S JOE SABINO/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

The War of the Realms is over and Thor sits upon the throne of Asgard, now wielding the power of the All-Father. His reign is unopposed, his might undisputed and he is bored out of his mind. For while Thor is a great warrior who takes pride in a just battle well-fought, being a king offers entirely different challenges and Thor finds himself chaffing at being an inspiration to his followers rather than a general guiding them in combat. Yet a new threat to the universe will bring destruction to Asgard and offer Thor the greatest challenge he has ever faced!

Following Jason Aaron’s lengthy and popular run on Thor had to be daunting, but Donny Cates  rises to the challenge in this first issue. Cates doesn’t do anything half-assed and finds an admirable way of raising the stakes to keep things interesting in the wake of the War of the Realms event.  The artwork by Nick Klein reminds me of Cary Nord’s work on Conan for Dark Horse, with thin lines and light inks paired with vivid detail. The colors by Matthew Wilson seem oddly bright to be paired with Klein’s pencils, but the final effect is far better than one would expect. Thor fans and fans of Marvel’s cosmic series would do well to check this one out. I won’t say why but you’ll want to read this one for certain.

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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