Nico Sprezzatura's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Rogues Portal Reviews: 27
8.0Avg. Review Rating

Absolute Carnage (2019) #1

Aug 7, 2019

At the very least, I can say that Absolute Carnage very much reads like it was created by people who have a deep love and understanding of Venom. (Cates is a very big fan of the character, and has stated that writing Venom was a lifetime career goal of his.) Penciller Ryan Stegman is a great fit for this kind of material, since his art has always had a frenetic, spindly quality to it that really suits the visual representation of symbiotes. Ill have to admit Im never been crazy about colorist Frank Martins work in general, which always looks sickly to me, but considering the assignment it does the job here fine.

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Canto #1

Jun 26, 2019

David M. Boohers script is also very tight and strong, sufficiently laying out the premise of the overall series based on this first issue. The mark of a good comic book writer is knowing when to say nothing and let the pages speak for themselves, which happens quite often here. By my count, theres a handful of pages without any text on them, save for the occasional sound effects. I appreciate any comic that knows when to pull back on narration or dialogue for the sake of them, letting the art breathe and do its own job of visual storytelling, so Canto gets high marks in that regard.

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Catwoman (2018) Annual #1

May 29, 2019

Though Jones doesnt draw any of this issue herself, shes joined here by competent artists (four in total) that all share her general artistic sensibility. Its easy to forget this issue has a variety of artists attached, because nothing ever feels out of place or spotty in relation to the whole. Sometimes, a cavalcade of artists telling a single story doesnt run this smoothly, so thats a testament to editor Jamie S. Richs judgement. It also helps that coloring superstar Jordie Bellaire provides a unifying visual tone that runs through all of the art it really shouldnt be underestimated how important a colorist can be in that specific way!

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Clue: Candlestick #1

May 22, 2019

Included as back matter here is an essay on the Clue franchise by Tim Hodler, which is a good read by itself, but it feels like padding to justify the issues $4.99 price tag. Its superfluous but worth reading regardless.

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Contagion #1

Oct 2, 2019

Though a horror-tinged story, Contagion #1 is fairly tame in tone, and likely wont disturb or put off potential readers. A lot of this comes down to Rog Antnios art, which is much more in line with the style seen in the current Fantastic Four run by the likes of Sara Pichelli and co. than, say, Ryan Stegmans eerie work in the aforementioned Absolute Carnage. Its not a bad thing, per se, but it definitely doesnt convey the monster mayhem as much as youd expect. The forthcoming issues have been solicited with different artists on each, so itll be interesting to see how they affect the vibe of Brissons story moving forward.

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Fantastic Four (2018): 4 Yancy Street #1

Aug 28, 2019

The art of 4 Yancy Street is uniformly great, switching between four talented artists who all deliver great visuals, even if their clashing aesthetics make for a somewhat jarring reading experience. Greg Smallwoods pages are definitely my favorite, especially the early ones that recount Bens upbringing, presented with flat coloring and grainy sepia overlay that evokes the feel of older comics after decades of aging. Im not sure if this issue will actually be printed on specific paper stock and not the glossy lightweight kind that Marvel usually uses, but it would really lend a little something extra to the proceedings if they go with the former.

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Future Fight Firsts: White Fox #1

Oct 9, 2019

Writer Alyssa Wong's script is brisk and delivers a classic superhero origin story, but told from an Asian perspective that we don't get much of in the American comic book industry.

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Ghosted in L.A. #1

Jul 10, 2019

Ghosted utilizes the talents of Siobhan Keenan, a veteran of BOOM!s youth-driven imprint BOOM! Box, to great effect. As seen in her work on Clueless: Senior Year (among others), Keenans art is perfect for this kind of story, giving off a vibe thats somewhere between a cartoon and a romance comic. Cathy Les colors are especially fitting for Keenans style, featuring a wide palette of hues, most notably the cool blue-greens of the ghosts Daphne meets in the mansion. Letterer DC Hopkins completes the visual creative team with some great on-panel text message work and comical uses of sound effects and dialogue.

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Giant Man (2019) #1

May 15, 2019

I think the art of Giant-Man, headed by Marco Castiello and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, is very good, which is reliant on two factors: big boys and a frosty palette. You do get a sense of scale despite the constrictive layouts throughout the issue youd expect at least one double-page splash spread given the premise here, but nada. And while Rosenberg does sell the chilliness of Florida (again, you read that right) setting, she also makes an effort to contrast the snowy ice with pops of warmth, like an orange sky that contrasts with the deep blues of their Frost Giant disguises. Letterer VCs Joe Sabino does his reliably good work, though Im mildly disappointed there isnt even bigger text on display here. It's Giant-Man!

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Guardians of the Galaxy (2019) Annual #1

Jun 7, 2019

The Cosmo-centric Faith is more of a book-ending series of pages than a full story, placed at the beginning and end of the issue, but it's not lacking intrigue. It seems our favorite talking (Russian) dog is being controlled by a shadowy Cabal seeking to unite the others for less-than-savory means, and were told itll be followed up in next months issue of Guardians. TBD! John McCreas brief art is worth a mention, if only because of how cute he renders Cosmo. Never underestimate the power of a cute animal.

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Gwenpool Strikes Back #1

Aug 14, 2019

Letterer Joe Caramagna deserves a special mention for his work here as well; this is a dense script that undoubtedly took a long while to put on the page. I have to imagine Gwenpool is a character any letterer would kill to work on because of how inherently subjective and expressive she is!

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Justice League Dark (2018) Annual #1

Jul 31, 2019

I have to say the art in this issue is wonderful, especially regarding the new King of Petals himself, who is equal parts creepy and beautiful as depicted by artist Guillem March and colorist Arif Prianto. The art direction of the issue as a whole is rather gorgeous, with ornate layouts (particularly around the flashbacks of the King of Petals's past life) and panel compositions. Rob Leigh's letters also deserve a mention, as there are frequently lots of them, sometimes even broken down into paragraphs on the page beside images. It's certainly a dense read that will take you some time to get through.

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King Thor #1

Sep 11, 2019

Its fitting that Aaron ends his Thor saga with the great Ribi, whom he started it all with in 2012. Ribi is exactly the perfect artist for a character like Thor, and especially one of this scale.

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Lois Lane (2019) #1

Jul 3, 2019

Mike Perkins art is another asset to the series. Going back to the comparison of Gaydos Alias/Jessica Jones, his particular art style works for this kind of story something of a hardboiled mystery wherein nothing is pretty or simple to grasp. Among the three Event Leviathan projects, they all look distinct from one another, which helps lend individuality to each despite all of them being of a piece with one another.

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Silver Surfer: Black #1

Jun 12, 2019

I dont mean to overshadow writer Donny Cates in praising Moores contributions here, because it should also be commended how well hes structuring his Guardians of the Galaxy run. Silver Surfer: Black is a spinoff, of sorts, to his Guardians saga, but I think it also stands on its own as a neat little Silver Surfer story that can be read divorced of that context. Even if I think Moores art functions so well as visual storytelling that it almost renders the text redundant, Cates has a pretty good handle on the character and his voice that will serve him well as the series continues.

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Spider-Man (2019) #1

Sep 23, 2019

(And, completely appropo of nothing, Ilove the use of the '90s animated series logo on the cover!)

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Star Pig #1

Jul 24, 2019

Dawsons script is playful on its own, but Gaston and colorist Sebastian Cheng definitely accentuate it with colorful, whimsical visuals. Tardigrades are already cute to look at, but its their rendering of Star Pig that makes him look especially cuddly, depicted in a welcoming shade of pink that almost gives the impression of a huge, floating wad of chewed gum in some spots. I also love the general art direction of the book and cover (by Sara Richard), which is very 80s/90s Lisa Frank, Trapper Keeper-esque. It gives you a sense of the tone the creative team is trying to achieve, and I think it meets it rather successfully.

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Strikeforce (2019) #1

Sep 25, 2019

Artist Germn Peralta does a good job of pulling off the supernatural horror aspects of Strikeforce, with appropriately creepy imagery that never feels too gross or off-putting but just enough that it wont alienate readers. In a comic filled with decapitations, dismemberment, and impalement, thats pretty high praise. Colorist Jordie Bellaire, a veteran of (supernatural) horror herself, comes through with reliably good colors that run the gamut of tones from page-to-page, but especially reds that arent always just blood and gore! (But usually, they are.)

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Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen (2019) #1

Jul 17, 2019

One thing you cant deny about Jimmy Olsen is the creative firepower it contains. As well as the aforementioned Fraction, whose beloved Hawkeye ended four years ago this week, he brings along fellow Marvel alum Steve Lieber, whose acclaimed Super Foes of Spider-Man ran concurrently with the former. Together, theyre unstoppable its such a perfect match of sensibilities that you have to wonder why it never happened sooner. Fractions script is witty enough on its own, but Liebers art takes it over the top. It also helps that Liebers style is very compatible with the platonic ideal of Silver Age comics, with clean lines and simple layouts. Colorist Nathan Fairbairns palette is equally suited to the aesthetic, opting for flat tones whenever possible but utilizing visual depth when appropriate. Its easy to pretend this is a comic that was published decades ago, and I say that in a good way.

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Superman: Year One #1

Jun 19, 2019

Im not saying Superman: Year One needs to be exactly that, but blending the old guard (Bagley Jr.) with the new (Zdarsky) like that title does couldve made for something a little more special. For a character whos often (derisively) called boring by some readers, Superman is capable of so much experimentation! With creators like Frank Miller and John Romita Jr., Year One feels like a wasted opportunity more than anything.

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Thanos (2019) #1

Apr 24, 2019

As far as what you can see on the page, Ariel Olivettis art is as good as ever here. Hes really the artist you wanna go to for bombastic, intimidating men doing violent things (e.g. his work on Cable, Punisher, Namor), and his rendering of Thanos makes you believe why others would fear him. While I still prefer Olivettis art as colored by himself (i.e. his recent work on Venom: Space Knight), Antonio Fabelas colors arent bad, and actually quite beautiful in many spots. Rounding out the creative team is VCs Joe Caramagnas, whose lettering does a good job of translating Howards dense script into a readable fashion without distracting from the art.

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War Of The Realms Strikeforce: The Dark Elf Realm #1

May 1, 2019

Rounding out the team is Matt Hollingsworth, whose vibrant color palette keeps in line with Matthew Wilsons on the main War of the Realms title, making for some nice visual consistency, even though Yus style doesnt resemble Russell Dautermans in the slightest. Its easy to overlook the importance of coloring throughout a major crossover event like this, but this is a clear case of how much it can make a difference in helping disparate titles feel alike.

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War Of The Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1

May 8, 2019

Having read a bunch of War of the Realms tie-ins, I gotta say this might be my favorite. The action is great, the art (by Gang Hyuk Lim, Federico Blee, and Clayton Cowles) is beautiful, and theres some really fantastic character work that helps you identify with the characters, even if you (like myself) dont share their common Asian heritage. One scene at the beginning does a great job of exploring Asian diaspora and how different each culture may be talking about the same thing but perceive it differently based on their ethnicity. Lim deserves a special shoutout for his work here; hes been on my list of names to watch since I first encountered him on Infinity Countdown: Nighthawk last year, so Im glad to see more of him.

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War of the Realms: The Punisher #1

Apr 17, 2019

Rachelle Rosenbergs colors help elevate Ferreira and Poggis art with a bright palette that reminds you that this book is Thor-adjacent, even with its comparably low stakes.

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Web of Black Widow #1

Sep 4, 2019

Web of Black Widow seems to be placing itself as a noir mystery of sorts, effectively swapping the hard-boiled detective protagonist with that of the femme fatale who's usually either a secondary love interest or ruthless antagonist " sometimes both. It's not a bad concept for a Black Widow title, since her loyalties are always being questioned, particularly by Tony Stark in this debut issue.

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X-Men (2019) #1

Oct 16, 2019

A heavyweight like Hickman obviously needs someone whos batting on his level enter Leinil Francis Yu. Fresh off a stint on Ta-Nehisi Coatess Captain America, Yu offers visuals at his austere best, with pencils inked by frequent collaborator Gerry Alanguilan and colors by Sunny Pho. X-Men is a handsome book befitting Hickmans stoic but not emotionless script that also manages to look completely different from what Pepe Larraz and R.B. Silva were doing on HoXPoX, and the diversity in visuals so far bodes well for the rest of the revitalized X-Men line moving forward.

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Year of the Villain: Black Mask #1

Aug 21, 2019

The creative team behind the issue is pretty solid, spearheaded by Tom Taylor (one of the best superhero writers currently working, in my opinion) and Cully Hamner, whose experience drawing grittier action-heavy stories like this serves Taylors script well. Dave Stewarts vibrant colors offer an appealing contrast from the darkness of Hammers inks, especially the pops of bright red when Batwoman is in the scene. In all, Year of the Villain: Black Mask is a pretty unimpeachable little one-off supervillain tale.

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