Nico Sprezzatura's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Geek'd Out Reviews: 99
7.3Avg. Review Rating

6.9
2020 Ironheart #1

May 22, 2020

David Messinas art, on the other hand, takes after his Ironheart predecessor Luciano Vecchio with a similar overall aesthetic, which lends some continuity with Riris most recent solo title for those continuing from Eve L. Ewings quality run. His visuals arent especially flashy, but they work with the script given to him. Most of this issues action is relegated to tense conversations, which requires a certain skill to successfully convey the emotion of those scenes, and I think Messina succeeds there. Mattia Iaconos colors are similarly grounded, with occasional pops of techy purple for N.A.T.A.L.I.E., which look very pretty on the page. Overall, the package presented in 2020 Ironheart #1 is a low stakes, but worthwhile, side story.

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6.8
2020 Rescue #1

Mar 4, 2020

Im less hot on the art here, drawn primarily by Jacen Burrows and colored by Pete Pantazis. Ive come across Burrowss work in the past and liked it, but Im not a huge fan of how it looks with Pantaziss colors. Burrowss thick lines combined with Pantaziss heavy, blotchy colors and shading give an overall effect of muddiness, which doesnt suit the character especially well. Flatter, cleaner coloring might have complimented Burrowss linework better.

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7.1
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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5
Alien (2021) #1

Mar 24, 2021

Overall, the look and feel of Johnson and Larrocas Alien is too middling to really invest in at this point. Even if I'm not so hot on this debut, I am very interested to see Marvel's further plans for their newest license, which includes more stories set in this universe. There's also a brand-new Predator #1 from Marvel on the horizon, and a return to the Alien vs. Predator franchise is inevitable. What I wanna know, however, is when we're going to see Alien vs. Venomnow that it's a possibility…

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7.3
Amazing Fantasy (2021) #1

Jul 28, 2021

Something that impressed me about Amazing Fantasy #1 is the diversity of visual styles displayed throughout by Andrews. Each story begins with their own stylized vignette that shows where they were before being whisked away to the island, and they all look distinct and unique from one another.

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7.3
Amazing Mary Jane (2019) #1

Oct 23, 2019

Carlos Gomezs art is expressive and playful, which is what youd want from a Mary Jane comic. Its also consistent with the aesthetic established by Ryan Ottley on Spencers Amazing Spider-Man, making a seamless transition between readers of the flagship title and this spinoff. I havent been following Amazing Spider-Man too closely, but based on what I know of that ongoing story (as well as Ottleys art) this title feels like part of a whole with that one, which is a credit to Williams and Gomez.

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8
Ant-Man (2020) #1

Feb 5, 2020

Ant-Mans status as a comical character means artists can play with his visual depiction more than the artists of, say, Avengers might have an opportunity to, which makes Dylan Burnetts zany art a perfect match for Wellss script. Its dynamic, cartoony, and accurately reflects the vibe Scott (and Ant-Man) represent. But hes not the only member of the art team putting in some solid, quality work here Mike Spicers colors are vibrant and varied, while letterer Cory Petit really breaks loose with his rendering of sound and dialogue.

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6.5
Avengers (2018) #33

May 27, 2020

In any event, Javier Garrns art makes the proceedings at least worth looking at, with his typically kinetic style that helps move the script along at a brisk pace. Theres lots of imaginative imagery throughout, from a quick-paced fight scene between Moon Knight and Iron Fist, to MK overtaking Doctor Stranges Sanctum Sanctorum with zombie mummies. Even if the events being depicted are murky, at least they look good.

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6.3
Avengers (2018) #44

Apr 7, 2021

Javier Garrn's art is at least something interesting to look at during this arc, but even then I've seen better work from him in the past, which isn't necessarily his fault. "Enter the Phoenix" has involved a lot of fire-based imagery, and it grows similarly monotonous as it goes on (I have enjoyed seeing his Phoenix variants of existing character looks, though. Those are always fun).

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6.6
Avengers of the Wastelands #1

Jan 29, 2020

In any event, Jonas Scharfs art does a good job of emulating the darker, inkier style of previous stories set in this universe, while Neeraj Menons colors are similarly muted to match the dusty setting of the Wasteland. I havent encountered Scharfs work prior to this issue, but some research tells me his most prominent works to date have been based in both horror and superhero stuff, which is an interesting pedigree for this story. As alluded to, the OML timeline is fairly gritty and brutal in comparison to the mainstream Marvel Universe, and I wonder if well see more of that aspect moving forward.

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5.5
Avengers: Mech Strike (2021) #1

Feb 3, 2021

Thats another criticism I have to bring up with this issue: The lack of authenticity. As much as Marvel has been making an effort to diversify its roster of creators (see: Peach Momokos upcoming X-Men series, which certainly looks different than their usual fare), this is another instance wherein they probably could have taken things a step further. I dont see why this series couldnt have at least been drawn by an actual manga artist so as to bring some of that sensibility to the page. Wouldnt that be something? Credited cover artist Kei Zama, recently of the underrated Deaths Head (and flipping Transformers!) is Japanese, but thats as far as her involvement goes here. Its weird that she isnt just drawing the thing itself given her pedigree and previous history with Marvel, but alas.

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6
Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #1

Mar 17, 2021

Sergio Davilas art is fairly classical, bordering on house style-y, and suits the script given to him, but I hope he has more of an opportunity to dig into some weirder visuals as the series goes on. Most of this #1 involves an Avengers tussle and isnt especially interesting to look at, but then there are glimpses of life at his weird castle (complete with a goat-man butler) that hint at strangeness on the fringes. Since this is a Black Knight story, I would assume thatll be the case moving forward, but that much remains to be seen.

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7.9
Cable (2020) #1

Mar 11, 2020

Written by Marauders scribe Gerry Duggan, the tone he seems to have settled on here is "Saturday morning cartoon" meets Saved by the Bell, and it's surprisingly perfect? Straight away on page one, I almost expected him to say something along the lines of "So you're probably wondering how I got into this predicament," or, "I'm Cable, and my life is pretty crazy!"

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9.4
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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7.5
Captain Marvel (2019) #12

Nov 20, 2019

While Captain Marvel #12 moves along briskly, it's pretty emblematic of decompressed monthly comics at their worst, comprised mostly of pages that look nice and are fun to read but ultimately don't move the story much.

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7.6
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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7
Children of the Atom (2021) #1

Mar 10, 2021

Speaking to the issue overall, Children of the Atom #1 sets up an intriguing mystery at its core that has me interested to keep reading, but it's TBD on whether or not it ends up becoming an essential pull for readers moving forward.

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8.2
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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7
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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6.8
Deadpool (2019) #10

Jan 27, 2021

I know from anecdotal experience that artist Gerardo Sandoval apparently isnt to everybodys taste, but I do really enjoy his work and think it serves the material here well. Deadpool is first and foremost a product of the '90s, and its always been my opinion that Sandovals art retains enough of that era in style to make it appealing while still being modern enough that it doesnt come off as retro. There are some genuinely great images in this issue (e.g. Deadpool getting sucked into a symbiote monstrosity with twisted limbs, him presenting a wall of fact cards depicting his allies, generally any appearance of Jelby but specifically when he becomes a Megazord containing the team), and I think that helps make this issue feel substantial enough to check out.

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7.5
Defenders (2021) #1

Aug 11, 2021

And even with Ewings caliber of plotting, Javier Rodrguez matches and possibly even exceeds what he brings to this issue with tremendous visuals. Im not surprised to see great art from him, but his retro pulpy art style is perfect for Defenders, and it seamlessly conveys the script through clever panel composition. His last big project, History of the Marvel Universe, pushed that angle a bit further than he does here, but its hardly something I would level as a complaint. Frequent collaborator lvaro Lpezs inks are also worth a mention, as they really give Rodrguezs pencils a graphic quality that leads to some lovely contrast in the colors and linework.

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6.1
Empyre: Fantastic Four #0

Jul 8, 2020

Side stories are fun, but events can be incredibly expensive for the reader if they feel compelled to follow everything that happens. Accordingly, Empyre #0: Fantastic Four doesn't really "need" to exist because the Avengers issue succeeded in setting up expectations for what's to come.

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7
Empyre #1

Jul 15, 2020

I will say the plotting of this first issue somewhat reiterates the same beats of an Avengers-centric zero issue that was published a few weeks back, but it also gives you enough context through narration and dialogue to jump right into this issue without necessarily having to catch up on anything else.

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6.3
Empyre #6

Sep 2, 2020

Empyre #6 also suffers from a problem that's common with these big event stories: the ending isn't really an ending, or at least a satisfying one.

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7.1
Eternals (2021): Thanos Rises #1

Sep 15, 2021

While it may not be new-reader friendly, those already following the story in progress will likely enjoy the elaboration of Thanoss origins even if Thanos himself does not appear much at all throughout it. Artist Dustin Weaver also does a good job of approximating what Esad Ribi has established on the main title without it coming across as derivative or an exact copy; it feels epic but still kinetic in a way that Ribis art arguably isnt. With an origins issue that pulls from largely established material, the biggest plus I could give Eternals: Thanos Rises #1 is that it doesnt seem frivolous.

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9
Excalibur (2019) #1

Oct 30, 2019

Tos art is very much in line with what weve seen from Pepe Larraz and R.B. Silva on House of X and Powers of X, respectively, which lends some cohesiveness to the overall aesthetic of DoX. That said, he gets to play with different subject matter (i.e. magic) than what was seen in those titles, which keeps his art from feeling too samey. His linework gives colorist Erick Arciniega a lot to work with, opting for colorful flourishes to represent magic and the like.

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7.1
Excalibur (2019) #16

Dec 23, 2020

While I dont know if this issue is necessarily a good jumping-on point for those not already following the story in progress, its a promising start for this new arc that gives the team something meaningful to do, hopefully culminating in the full return of a de-shattered Betsy. Marcus Tos art also continues to be a lovely asset, with whimsical visuals that help sell Excaliburs place in the Krakoa saga. And again, Gambit in a crop top. Cant go wrong with that.

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7
Fallen Angels (2019) #1

Nov 13, 2019

Id say Hills script is a bit stronger than Kudranskis art, colored here by Frank DArmata, which comes off as something of a cross between Greg Land and modern Mike Deodato that Im not totally decided about. I will say the books horror-flavored visuals add an interesting dimension to the proceedings that enhance what Hill has written on the page, even if theyre a bit muddy and lacking definition at times. But that speaks more to DArmatas colors than Kudrankis linework. In any event, Fallen Angels has a distinct look from some of the other art seen in Dawn of X, and that has to be commended.

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8.3
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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4.8
Fantastic Four: Antithesis #1

Aug 26, 2020

All things considered, Fantastic Four: Antithesis #1 is an ill-advised blunder that wastes the veritable talents of its creators. Laura Martins colors are reliably good and letterer Joe Caramagna does what he can with such a verbose, dense script, but judging it just on this one issue alone, Antithesis simply doesnt justify its existence.

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7.8
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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7.9
Future State (2021): Wonder Woman #1

Jan 6, 2021

Having glanced at all of this week's Future State offerings, I definitely think Wonder Woman is the strongest of them all, and that bodes well for Yara's future in the DC Universe.

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9
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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8.2
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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7.5
Giant-Size X-Men (2020): Fantomex #1

Aug 10, 2020

But the real star of Fantomex is the art, done beautifully here by Rod Reis. His painterly, Bill Sienkiewicz-esque style (which makes him the perfect artist for latest New Mutants run, whenever he actually gets to work on it) works tremendously here, dealing with a setting that is increasingly more surreal each time we return to it. The panel layouts are equally as inventive, breaking form from the grid-based look of scenes set outside The World, while the visual palette of colors is varied and eye-popping. Reis shows a lot of thought was put into every aspect of the art here (also, his Fantomex is very handsome).

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8.6
Giant-Size X-Men (2020): Jean Grey And Emma Frost #1

Feb 26, 2020

As I mentioned, this issue is mostly dialogue-free, with only the beginning and ending parts containing panels with words. When used poorly, this tactic can come off as a gimmick, but thankfully, Hickman hands his sparse script to modern master Russell Dauterman.

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8
Guardians of the Galaxy (2019) #12

Dec 18, 2019

Another commendable thing about this Guardians of the Galaxy was the solid art throughout, which began with Geoff Shaw and ends with Cory Smith. Replacing an artist in the middle of a run is always tricky you either find someone whose aesthetic is compatible with the person theyre replacing, or completely swerve off the path into a new style altogether. They took the former approach here, and Smith has been an exceedingly seamless transition from Shaw that you may not even notice the change if you werent paying close enough attention. The fact that he also brought with him a new inker (Victor Olazaba) and colorist (David Curiel) from the departing Shaw and Marte Gracia makes the changeover even more impressive.

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7.2
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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8
Guardians of the Galaxy (2020) #1

Jan 22, 2020

Perhaps just as exciting as Ewing on the title is artist Juann Cabal, who has really emerged as a major name at Marvel over the past few years. I first became familiar with his work in All-New Wolverine some years back, and Im always interested in checking out what he has to offer with his visuals. Cabal proves to be a great fit for the material here, with some solid pages (and one especially impressive, intricately laid-out double splash spread) that should only further his profile as one of the companys best new finds of recent note. Federico Blees colors add a lot of dimension to Cabals linework, contrasting with the various artists of Catess run through vibrant colors opposed to their more muted approach.

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7
Guardians of the Galaxy (2020) #13

Apr 14, 2021

Juan Frigeri replaces Juann Cabal on art starting with this issue, and unfortunately itll be a tough act to follow. Cabals GOTG run cemented himself as an emerging VIP in Marvels rolodex of talent, but thats not to say that Frigeri isnt up to the task. I like his art style here; its very clean and appealing, accented by Federico Blees bright colors. He just has the misfortune of coming in after career-making work by his predecessor. Id like to see Frigeris art loosen up and play with form more as his run develops, because Guardians of the Galaxy is precisely the kind of title that allows for it.

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8
Guardians of the Galaxy (2020) Annual #1

Aug 4, 2021

It's all just a great package from every party involved, and I wouldn't be mad if the suits at Marvel decide to give Prince his own series after this fantastic issue.

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9.2
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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7.6
HaHa #1

Jan 13, 2021

Princes script deserves credit for being as restrained as it is, prioritizing a mood over gratuitous violence (which there is some of) or a statement of arent clowns creeeeeepy? (YMMV) that you might expect from the material. Its also less of an origin story, and were not meant to glean that Bart pivots into a life of crime because of what happens to him, regardless of what may or may not unfold after the final page. You could very easily see this story continuing as its own series, but I always respect when creators leave a little something to the imagination–suggesting to the reader that their subjects will continue existing whether or not we see what happens next.

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7.4
Hellions (2020) #1

Mar 25, 2020

Writer Zeb Wells has a knack for the sort of wacko-serious vibe I assume Hellions is going for, and, hopefully, it lives up to the promise of this issue (his concurrent Ant-Man run is also very good). Stephen Segovias art is comparatively tamer given the books premise, but its very consistent with the vibe established by Pepe Larraz and R.B. Silva in House of X andPowers of X, which lends some nice continuity to the overall slate. Im very interested to see what he can do with the material given to him here, especially if it involves Nanny in greater capacity.

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6
Heroes Reborn (2021) #1

May 5, 2021

If you're in the mood for capital-letter SUPERHEROING, then Heroes Reborn might be a worthy investment.

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6.8
Immortal Hulk: Flatline #1

Feb 17, 2021

I'm less sure how Flatline plays as a standalone tale set in the Immortal Hulk sandbox, so I could see it coming across as redundant for some readers. It feels like Immortal Hulkboth to its benefit and detrimentand Im not sure if it really adds anything new to Ewings lore. But in Shalveys defense, essentiality probably wasnt a directive given to him by editorial. The sole purpose for Flatline seems to be that of a spotlight for its creator and how they interpret the material, so in that ultimate sense, it succeeds.

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7
Immortal Hulk: Time of Monsters #1

May 19, 2021

Time of Monsters is bolstered with a bonus Bruce-centric story by David Vaughan and Kevin Nowlan, which is perfectly good but ultimately feels like padding to justify a higher cover price. I appreciate efforts to spotlight other creators and give them free reign to do whatever they want with characters through shorter backups, but I dont know if this issue in particular needs it.

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7
Incoming #1

Dec 27, 2019

In addition to Empyre, Incoming #1 also plugs future storylines like Outlawed (seemingly a take on Civil War but with the MUs youngsters), Iron Man 2020, Atlantis Attacks (a crossover between Namor and the Agents of Atlas), Ewings Guardians of the Galaxy relaunch, and X-Men/Fantastic Four. Even for the most cynical of readers, its hard to not read Incoming #1 and not be at least a little bit curious of what Marvel has up their sleeves for the new decade.

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6
Iron Man (2020) #1

Sep 16, 2020

As for the art, its good, but not necessarily the best Ive seen of Cafus. Ive been a fan of his work since Vixen: Return of the Lion, but Iron Man isnt especially visually interesting like that series was, which does him a disservice. Its mostly cityscapes and crowd shots, but the plentiful opportunities hes given to draw the classic armor are enough to admire. Im also not usually a fan of Frank DArmatas colors, and this issue is no exception to that. His coloring tends to come off as a bit blotchy and overly brown-toned to me, which hinders my enjoyment of Cafus linework, but not to a debilitating degree.

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5
Justice League (2018) #41

Feb 19, 2020

Unfortunately the same is true about the art, penciled by Aaron Lopresti and inked by Matt Ryan (presumably not that Matt Ryan) with colors by David Barron. Much like Vendittis script, its fairly bog standard superhero action fare thats not especially interesting or great to look at. Coming off a run largely drawn by the likes of Jorge Jimenez and Francis Manapul arguably two of DCs best regular artists at the moment anything else wouldve been a disappointment, and Lopresti/Ryan/Barrons work doesnt meet the level of their predecessors. The overall package of this issue is very meat and potatoes for a certain sect of DC fans who dont want or expect their comics to reinvent the wheel, but I cant help but be left feeling hungry for something else.

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8.2
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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7.3
Ka-Zar: Lord of the Savage Land (2021) #1

Sep 8, 2021

Thompson's story is good, but the art of Ka-Zar: Lord of the Savage Land is undoubtedly fantastic and more than worth the cover price.

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6.5
Kang the Conqueror (2021) #1

Aug 18, 2021

Despite the potentially confusing nature of this series, I do think it'll make for a pretty sturdy collected edition when it's done, and a good "official" introduction to the character's comicbook counterpart when audiences finally get to meet him on the big screen.

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6
King In Black #1

Dec 2, 2020

That being said, Im interested in checking out some of the upcoming tie-ins, such as the aforementioned The Union, Return of the Valkyries, and Iron Man / Doctor Doom, which apparently has the odd couple teaming up against a symbiotic Santa Claus? If that doesnt sound like a true Christmas miracle after the hellish year that was 2020, I dont know what does.

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8
King In Black: Wiccan and Hulkling #1

Mar 3, 2021

Luciano Vecchios art is just as crucial to selling the story here as Howards script. As mentioned above, this issue has the trappings of a big crisis crossover event but with an intimate relationship at its core. Vecchio can do all of the expected superhero action that an army of symbiotes in outer space calls for, but what impresses me the most about his work here is the quieter moments between Billy and Teddy. After all, this is meant to be their honeymoon, not an Avengers swap meet. Theres one Sixteen Candles-esque scene in the middle of the issue that really, really works, in big part thanks to how Vecchio renders the scene. While the overarching story of King in Black doesnt do much for me personally, its moments like these thatll stick with me as a reader largely invested in this one relationship (additional credit goes to Espen Grundetjern for coloring the issue as vibrant as one could in a comic otherwise drowning in a sea of black symbiotes).

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6.1
King In Black: Iron Man/Doom #1

Dec 30, 2020

With a more expressive artist to elevate the material, Iron Man/Doctor Doom #1 potentially could have been a must-read, especially for a between-holidays, fifth week one-off. But unless you're a completionist for either character, or you're looking to read every entry of the King in Black event, you can probably skip this one, or wait until next Christmas when it's on Marvel Unlimited.

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8.3
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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8.8
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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7.8
Lords Of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling #1

Jul 22, 2020

Emperor Hulkling also feels like a revelation in how unabashedly queer it is, despite being a crucial part of the company's latest crossover event. Marvel is often criticized for being reticent to embrace its LGBTQ characters, so it feels pretty momentous when a crucial fight scene takes place at a drag show attended by four queer-identifying superheroes.

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6
Maestro (2020) #1

Aug 19, 2020

In reading Maestro, I just didn't come away from it feeling like his backstory was a gap that needed filling.

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7
Magnificent Ms. Marvel #14

Sep 9, 2020

Because so much of this issue's story is internal and limited, the onus is on artist Minkyu Jung to depict Saladin Ahmed's script in a visually interesting way, which he handily succeeds at doing. Magnificent Ms. Marvel #14 gives him an opportunity to draw a bit more surreally than Kamala's monthly adventures tend to do, which is a welcome deviation from the norm, but it's the aforementioned character moments that really sell the gravity of the situation.

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6.9
Marauders #11

Aug 14, 2020

Frequent Marauders artist Stefano Caselli has a lot to work with in this issue, which should be obvious since much of this issue is centered around mourning and unexpected joy. When Kate is reunited with her trusty dragon Lockheed (who has been having a rough go of things lately himself), you really believe it; meanwhile, its hard not to empathize with Emma Frost after the funeral once shes away from the crowd and allows herself to be vulnerable.

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5.9
Marvel 2099 (2019): Spider-Man #1

Dec 11, 2019

There's nothing wrong with Spencer's script, strictly speaking, but it probably could have done with a few more edits and clarification.

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6
Marvels Snapshot (2020): Captain Marvel #1

Feb 24, 2021

Claire Roes art at least lends a playfulness that does benefit the material. Alex Rosss art on the original Marvels series was very much a grandiose, ultra-realistic aesthetic that highlighted the lofty status of superheroes compared to the street-level characters it followed, but Im glad to see that these one-shots have had room to do their own thing and not stay beholden to the original vision. Her style lends itself to character work over superhero action (which she can also do), so when Jennis discovery of the Avengers unfolds into a double-page splash layout, it does give off the sense of landing right in the middle of a superhero battle.

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6
Miles Morales: Spider-Man (2018) #25

Apr 28, 2021

In addition to the main story is a charming little backup by Cody Ziglar and Natacha Bustos, which serves as a fairly stark contrast to the Clone Saga lead. While the main story is sober and serious, Big-Time Buzzkill is bright and colorful, with lots of humor. Its not essential at all in regards to the headliner, but still worth checking out. Bustos, in particular, is a favorite of mine thanks to her fantastic run on Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, so Im not complaining about getting to see more from her.

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7.3
Moon Knight (2021) #1

Jul 21, 2021

MacKay definitely nails the desired vibe for a Moon Knight comic in his script, but where this issue really shines is Cappuccios art. Im not familiar with his work, but based on Moon Knight #1 I think theres some serious superstar potential for him in the years to come. His linework is lively and angular in a way that works for the character, and theres some impressive shadow rendering that conveys darkness even without colors. But while were on the topic of coloring, Rachelle Rosenberg does her usual good work here, draping Cappuccios renderings with a moody, dark palette thats strikingly contrasted with Marcs stark white appearance (this was an innovation expertly utilized by Jordie Bellaire in the Ellis/Shalvey run, but Rosenberg still makes it look good). I personally believe a Moon Knight run is as good as its art team, so, in this instance, I think Mr. Knight will be in good hands for the foreseeable future.

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7
Morbius (2019): Bond of Blood #1

Feb 11, 2021

But I have to say the real star of this one-shot is Tom Reillys art. Reilly, most recently of Jay Edidins Cyclops-centric X-Men: Marvels Snapshots #1, has a wonderful retro sensibility in the vein of Chris Samnee, Greg Smallwood, and Leonardo Romero that serves and elevates the material well. The truncated method of his visual storytelling, usually employing multiple smaller panels on the page rather than opting for larger splashes or widescreen panels, allows for lots of room to focus on specific moments while also keeping the momentum going. Chris OHallorans colors are also a great asset here, whose bright colors provide some contrast to what would otherwise be a dark and gloomy horror piece. After observing their quality work here, Id very much like to see the two collaborate on another project.

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7.8
Nebula (2020) #1

Feb 12, 2020

I havent seen Roes art since her run on Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, but from what I remember of it, she has a knack for expressiveness and action, both of which are represented here. Shes also upgraded her game quite a bit since then, with interesting panel layouts and detailed linework that gives her visuals a propulsive energy youd expect from the character. Mike Spicers colors are a nice match, opting for a multicolored, almost Lisa Frank-esque palette that doesnt seem like it should work, but does (speaking of the Lisa Frank connection, Jen Bartel will be doing covers for this series, and her work especially calls to mind that whole aesthetic with a modern sensibility).

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7.6
New Mutants (2019) #14

Dec 16, 2020

Along with the incoming Ayala, ongoing artist Rod Reis returns for this weeks issue, and its more than welcome. His Sienkiewicz-esque style has been a huge part of the books appeal since it began last year, and the issues without him have really suffered from his absence. His work here is especially fitting since this issue also features the return of the Shadow King, who notably appeared in the original New Mutants run drawn by the aforementioned Bill Sienkiewicz, which makes for a full-circle revelation. I hope Reis remains the regular artist moving forward, because his art is just too gorgeous and expressive to miss out on (his Warlock is spot-on and presents exactly the kind of weirdness you want for the character).

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7
Outlawed (2020) #1

Mar 20, 2020

The art by Kim Jacinto is similarly up to snuff, even if his pages tend to be distractingly busy because of the action happening in them. Theres a lot to look at. Almost too much. But at the same time, its pretty astounding how much detail Jacinto puts into scene backgrounds; at the very least its impressive.

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6.5
Reptil (2021) #1

May 26, 2021

While those not invested in Reptil might not find much here to mull over, I can see this overall creative team winning over new fans of the character

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7.8
S.W.O.R.D. (2020) #1

Dec 9, 2020

Ewing's Empyre collaborator Valerio Schiti re-teams with him to draw S.W.O.R.D., and it looks as great as you'd expect from him. Schiti is among the current class of newer Marvel talent whose work you see with increasing frequency and prominence, and there's lots in this issue to prove his clout.

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7.3
Scream: Curse of Carnage #1

Nov 27, 2019

A book like Scream: Curse of Carnage requires a darker, horror-inspired tone, which I think Mooneyham really nails, accented by Rain Beredo's brooding colors that pop when Andi transforms into Scream mode. If there's any reason to check out this comic, I'd recommend it for the art alone.

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7
Silk (2021) #1

Mar 31, 2021

Im not as familiar with Goos work as they're more known for their prose, but I can definitely speak to the art team of Takeshi Miyazawa and Ian Herring. They previously worked together on Ms. Marvel and provided some of my favorite visuals in a Marvel comic quite possibly ever. Their sensibility and synergy work tremendously well for Silk. Miyazawas mangaesque art reflects the graceful zippiness of Cindys skill set, while Herringone of my favorite working color artistslends a softly colorful vibe that makes her adventures feel distinct from those of her Spider-Contemporaries like Peter and Miles. (Herring also colored the entire Robbie Thompson run, so it's a nice aspect of visual continuity from Miyazawa's predecessors Stacey Lee, Veronica Fish, and Tana Ford.)

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8.4
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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5
Sinister War (2021) #1

Jul 14, 2021

The uninspiredness of Sinister War unfortunately extends to its visuals. Im loath to critique the artistic sensibility of confirmed industry legend Mark Bagley, but his classic aesthetic is just not an exciting aspect of this series. I actually like his modern art a lot when its used cleverly (i.e. Spider-Man: Life Story, where his old school vibe serves a metatextual purpose), but it just doesnt work for me here.

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5.5
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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7.3
Star (2020) #1

Jan 8, 2020

Star has the zippy plotting we've come to expect from Thompson as a writer, even if her protagonist hasn't really emerged from the initial sketching phase just yet.

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8
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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7.8
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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9.2
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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6
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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8.4
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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8.1
The Last Annihilation: Wiccan & Hulkling #1

Sep 1, 2021

This issues triumph isnt just in the script but Jan Bazalduas art as well. She contrasts the normal mundanity of their teen years with the sci-fi bombast of the present day sections, which makes their overall arc feel appropriately epic. It takes a certain deftness to have a couples first kiss come across as eventful and big as two cosmic entities wreaking havoc on our heroes; Bazaldua manages it. Marvel keeps teasing us with the idea of a Hulkling/Wiccan series in these event tie-ins, and this is yet another creative team permutation that I wouldnt mind seeing being given a greenlight towards.

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7.3
The Mighty Valkyries (2021) #1

Apr 21, 2021

Because it's so linked to what Aaron has done with Jane over the past decade, you might want to check out all of his Jane-relevant stuff leading up to now, or at least the last two Valkyrie runs. You could read this issue cold and probably follow along, but I think the context is crucial.

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7.3
Thor (2020) #1

Jan 1, 2020

Befitting a Thor book, Nic Kleins art here is absolutely gorgeous and easily some of the best Ive seen from a Marvel title in recent memory. Aaron is a tough writer to follow, but so are the myriad great artists (most notably Russell Dauterman, Mike del Mundo, and Esad Ribi) who collaborated with him across his run. Colorist Matthew Wilson himself a veteran of Aarons run really clinches the visuals of the book with his trademark palette, full of vibrant colors that come together (at one point, literally) into a brilliant rainbow.

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6.6
Thor: The Worthy #1

Dec 4, 2019

The last story, Rule of Reflection, reunites writer Kathryn Immonen with Lady Sif, the character she wrote in an acclaimed run of Journey into Mystery earlier this decade. This one is set during the Jane Foster era of Thor and sees them teaming up, which is a fun dynamic we didnt get nearly enough of while Jane was in Thor mode. Rule of Reflection might be my favorite of the three, if only because Im a bigger fan of Sif and Jane than I am of Bill or Thunderstrike. Immonen proves here why she may be one of the more underrated comic writers of her generation, while Tom Reillys art is appealing cartoony with colors by Chris OHalloran that match the playful vibe of Immonens script.

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8.4
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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9.6
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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7.4
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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7.8
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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6.4
Winter Guard (2021) #1

Aug 25, 2021

Jan Bazalduas art is good, with sharp visuals definitely enhanced by Federico Blees colors and shading, giving the linework added dimensionality that it might have lacked otherwise. There are some panels in particular that really have a near-photorealistic quality to them that I found impressive. The prologue of the issue is drawn by Djibril Morissette-Phan, but it doesnt really stick out as looking that out of place because of Blees coloring, once again proving the point of how important a color artist can be for the visual continuity of a book.

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6.4
X-Corp (2021) #1

May 12, 2021

X-Corp definitely has the potential to grow into something, but it's gonna be a wait-and-see until then.

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8.3
X-Factor (2020) #1

Jul 29, 2020

This is also the second go-round for artist David Balden, last seen in the X-Men world drawing Gail Simones fun Domino series from a few years ago. Balden also recently worked with Williams on Gwenpool Strikes Back, and theres a pretty good sense of writer-artist synergy throughout. His style is a bit more cartoony than some of the other Dawn of X titles, but thats a good thing; his art helps lend a sense of levity to the otherwise grim premise of the book. Im really looking forward to seeing what kinds of stuff hell get to draw in the coming issues (also, his costume designs havent gotten to show up just yet, but they are stellar). Im a little less enthusiastic about Israel Silvas coloring, which is occasionally a bit too heavy and textured for my taste, but overall it works for Balden linework.

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7.5
X-Factor (2020) #4

Sep 30, 2020

After two consecutive weeks of just one issue each, were getting a whopping three chapters: Wolverine #6, Marauders #13, and X-Force #13. We havent seen much of most of the characters in those titles yet, so Im interested to see how they feel about the current conflict. Im sure Logan will handle the prospect of war with the calm, measured attitude hes known for"

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8
X-Force (2019) #1

Nov 6, 2019

The art of X-Force, drawn by Joshua Cassara and colored by Dean White, is another reason this book feels different than the other Dawn of X titles, coming across as more lush (and even grittier at times) than, say, the clean and colorful aesthetic on Marauders as done by Matteo Lolli and Federico Blee. Cassaras inks are also much heavier than weve seen yet in the Dawn of X line, which lends a sense of foreboding that Percy clearly wants you to detect (no spoilers, but this issue ends on a major cliffhanger thats arguably as massive as the Moira MacTaggert retcon in House of X #2).

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9.3
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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7.6
X-Men (2021) #1

Jul 7, 2021

As mentioned, Duggan is taking over from Hickman on the main X-Men title, and theres enough of his style established on Marauders (quippy team dynamics, classic superhero adventure plotting) to make his take feel distinct while also retaining Hickmans grandiose tone. A big part of that undoubtedly comes from the art team of Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia, who previously provided the visual storytelling of House of X to great effect. Everything that worked so well about that run on the art side of things is back here, and Im very much looking forward to seeing more of their work on what will theoretically be the X-Men book of the entire line.

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7
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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