Welcome back to this all Marcus Hammond edition of the Kaboooom Comics Review Round-Up! Being an equal opportunity reviewer, Marcus digs into the debut issue of Hunger from Marvel and continues with the Trinity War in the pages of DC’s Justice League Dark.
HUNGER #1/Written by JOSHUA HALE FIALKOV/Art by LEONARD KIRK/Colors by JESUS ABURTOV/Letters by CORY PETIT/Published by MARVEL COMICS
Review by MARCUS HAMMOND
Joshua Hale Fialkov incorporates universe ending threats, cosmic war, and teenage angst in a wholly introductory format to begin the Age of Ultron aftermath mini-series, Hunger.
Hunger #1 opens as Rick Jones, an angst-ridden teenage defender of the universe, gets thrown headlong into an ancient war between the Kree and Chitauri only to realize his superpowers are needed to stop an even bigger threat than an intergalactic blood feud.
Fialkov’s portrayal of Rick Jones as a distressed, impulse driven teenager who has been gifted unwanted superpowers is very reminiscent of the same emotional turmoil that made Ultimate Spider-Man extremely popular. While Rick is expected by the Ultimate Watchers to patrol the universe for cosmic threats, he is standing in line for a burger. When the Watchers admonish him for his lack of responsibility Rick’s aversion and anguish about his position as a superhero becomes apparent. As the Watchers take control of his body, Rick yells, “Oh my God, dude, back off! I gave up my whole life for you, and you can’t even give me five minutes to eat—.” Dialogue like this helps establish the familiar teenager against the universe structure that was done so well by Bendis in Ultimate Spider-Man. By connecting to such a successful development aspect, Fialkov makes Rick Jones interesting and relatable.
Readers who are familiar with the Ultimate universe may be disappointed by the introductory nature of this issue. Fialkov spends a lot of time des111cribing the background on Rick Jones as well as the feud between the Chitauri and Kree. Other readers who are not avid followers of the universe, however, will feel a seamless transition into the story.
Kirk’s interior, high-quality artwork helps portray the vastness of both the environment that Rick Jones is dropped into and of the threat Galactus poses. The innocent facial expressions used for Jones combined with the detailed and chaotic action that surrounds him emphasizes how poignant the events are prior to Galactus’s first appearance.
Fialkov’s character development and the supplementary artwork by Kirk help Hunger #1 surpass any expectations of a dull introductory nature that may be expected with a first issue. It will be interesting to see how Fialkov continues to develop the emotional elements surrounding Rick Jones alongside the multi-layered conflicts within the universe.
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #22/Story by JEFF LEMIRE/Art by MIKEL JANIN/Colors by JEREMY COX/Letters by CARLOS M. MANGUAL/Published by DC COMICS
Review by MARCUS HAMMOND
Justice League Dark #22 continues the furious pace of the Trinity War’s previous two chapters as Jeff Lemire continues to mix turmoil and deception into a continuously intriguing storyline that is already rife with chaos and mystery.
There is little to no confusion as to what may have happened in between issues as Lemire flawlessly transitions from the previous chapter. Each story thread that has been established in previous chapters gets attention throughout the issue, no matter how big or small its importance may seem.
Lemire keeps with the tradition that while there is a much bigger picture being developed, each character with his or her unique attitude plays a vital role in the building turmoil. Lemire develops several schisms throughout this issue as JLA members change sides to help Superman, JLD members join Wonder Woman, and even more members take a stand with Batman to move forward on his beliefs. All of this leads to a very disorganized world of super humans.
Mikel Janin does an excellent job of providing detailed interior art that, at first glance, may seem consistent with the other Justice League titles but still maintains its own unique qualities. Janin’s character work is detailed, yet simplistic, and very crisp. Panels that contain individual characters lean on intricate detail—Batman and Superman’s musculature are well defined while each member of the Justice League Dark has an otherworldly shadow cast over them. When the issue transitions to larger group panels, Janin relies less on detail and more on creating tension through perceived motion and action. A shining example occurs as Batman and Wonder Woman draw a line between each others’ plans to help Superman. The page is bordered by the two heroes staring at each other from across the page, while various members of each League rush forward, toward the reader, to the side of the argument they wish to be aligned with. This sequence helps to visually establish an emotional break within the superhero teams.
While this is a Justice League Dark issue within the Trinity War, Lemire’s expert plotting makes this feel like much more than just another issue of a single comic. His flawless transitioning helps move the Trinity War story forward without focusing on one specific team. The plot structuring alongside Janin’s emotional visuals help Justice League Dark #22 go beyond the confines of a specific team of heroes to create an exciting chapter in the larger crossover storyline.