tcreadscomics's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: The Comicbook Dispatch Reviews: 21
9.1Avg. Review Rating

Final ThoughtsMINOR THREATS #1 begins simply. When Oswalt and Blum introduce the social commentary we've had plenty of time to get to know Frankie which makes the commentary all the more effective. The point of the story is not the heroes' behavior and their excesses in the wake of The Stickman's actions. Instead, this is Frankies story, and we see the commentary through her experiences. The comic never sacrifices story for message, and as a result it makes for a compelling and fun narrative.

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In issue after issue POISON IVY has delivered a fascinating character study of someone committing terrible actions because they are motivated by a great cause. What Ivy is doing is beyond horrible on every level but she remains captivating because she recognizes how inhumane it is despite deeming it absolutely necessary, In POISON IVY #4, the strongest to date, she is forced to confront those two competing convictions in the most powerful way yet, and its hard to find fault with any part of Willow, Takara and Priantos presentation.

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Most fun visually in the issue, though, is Angulos colors and its a result of subtraction rather than addition. ROGUE SUN has been a series of vibrant colors since the first page.  Its bright when nothing is happening, and its even brighter when Dylan and company are throwing powers around. Angulo keeps that trend going in this issue. So, midway through the issue when Dylans interactions with Ornate take place in front of a completely gray background, we feel the importance of the moment because Rogue Sun and Ornate jump off the page.

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STARHENGE BOOK ONE #3 is the latest outstanding issue in a series that is among the most creative I have read in recent years. Sharp was not afraid to appeal to his readers' intelligence in the first two issues. They relied on readers' curiosity, willingness to fully engage with a new and detailed world, and patience for the story to lay its foundation. This issue begins to pay it off. It commands the same level of attention while being less dense and faster paced. The book is an elegant turn from exposition to plot advancement.

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Perhaps most surprising is that the lack of movement doesnt detract from the art whatsoever. The television series is high energy, even in the quieter moments. That energy is a big component of grabbing the viewer from the start and never letting go. Replicating that in still images presents a challenge, but its one Fenoglio is more than capable of meeting. The issue doesn't lose that energy in transition.

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The ongoing conflict between Pearl and Mr. Miike was the principal downside to the previous issue. Their interactions had reached a level of repetition that was less engaging. Resolving this conflict in PEARL #4s early pages gives the issue extra life by letting it focus almost entirely on Pearl and RIck. It also added surprise to the final page that a reappearance of Mr. Miike wouldnt have provided it. And from a visual standpoint, in a series like PEARL which uses minimal dialogue, the ability to so skillfully use color to further convey character development and plot progression is a valuable tool. Overall this issue, despite being the most lowkey, is the best of the current run.

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Borellis art is solid once again, andas with Contrerass colorsit shines especially bright in the flashback sequences. The sisters emote more and possess softer shells than in the present. This makes sense now that we know what we know. And the sequence with the sisters parents is especially intense.

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There is something to nitpick here. Its somewhat unbelievable that the two women could clean this garden area in one day. Among the garbage strewn in it is a rusted-out truck with no tires and weeds growing out of its engine. I dont know how much of the detail of the gardens original state was dictated by Willow and how much was created by Takara, but it makes what is essentially a montage sequence of yardwork feel a little silly. That said, its a very minor complaint and there is a good narrative reason for Ivy to not stick around beyond a single day of work.

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STARHENGE BOOK ONE #2 is a comic that really wants you to roll up your sleeves and fully engage with it. In that way, it feels like its building a grand epic rather than just telling a long story. And the world always benefits from new grand epics.

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But most interesting visually is Shalveys use of color. The intercutting scenes make use of different palettes, with one time period depicted in bright colors and the other faded and more monochromatic. I dont know if Shalvey intended it, but the way the issue leans into the usual color choices of this particular storytelling convention provides a nice clue to what is really going on.

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POISON IVYs strength to this point has been in presenting character vignettes that link together to form a larger, ongoing narrative. Each issue presented insightful interactions with other people even as Ivy intends to kill off most if not all of them. POISON IVY #5 breaks that pattern. Ivy doesnt spend any enlightening time with other people. The issue is not self-contained. As noted, this is obviously setting up the end of the arc. Unfortunately giving into that necessity results in the weakest story to this point. But the art, even more, interesting than previous issues, more than makes up for it.

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THE DEADLIEST BOUQUET #1 is the perfect start to a mystery story. It asks several questions as a jumping-off point for the story. And it provides an answer or two to tantalize the reader with breadcrumbs and make them eager to know more. The three sisters command attention every time the issue focuses on them. Unfortunately, that strength of character also means that the few pages and panels without them feel less energetic. The first issue's strengths outweigh its weaknesses, though, so fans of murder mysteries will be easily drawn to THE DEADLIEST BOUQUET #1.

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Dijjo Limas colors are, surprisingly, somewhat lackluster here. His previous work for Marvel has often been vibrant, but here he has gone for a more washed-out look. In fairness, this probably serves Villanovas style better than going with brighter colors, but in many places, the characters feel lighter than they should, especially in panels where theyre using their powers which Lima brightens to an almost neon degree. Those moments are more visually stimulating which unfortunately draws attention to how subdued the rest of the issue is.

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PREDATOR #1 isnt revolutionary. It does upend expectations about how a PREDATOR story is supposed to work, but it never pushes the bounds of the universe it exists in. Even so, the twist is good enough to set the new series apart. It leaves me with more curiosity than I might not otherwise have. When the name PREDATOR is attached to a movie or book or comic, the mind conjures up an image of what that story is going to be about. This issue does defy that expectation but not in a way that feels truly surprising.

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The issue quickly tempers the brief emotional outburst, though, and sends Theta off in search of materials needed to fix her ship. This is where PREDATOR #2s focus on desperation comes in. She has too far to go in a freezing cold environment and not enough rations to last her. But Theta is obviously not going to die in the second issue of her series, so she must encounter unexpected circumstances that can boost her chances. These two scenes are recognizable from just about every wilderness survival story there is. One sequence, though, does impart an additional piece of character growth as Brisson shows us what Theta is willing to do to accomplish her self-imposed mission. But mainly this sequence reinforces what we already saw in PREDATOR #1.

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The issue includes some nice dream sequences depicted largely in grayscale with hints of accent colors. Given how vibrant the rest of the issue is, this is good work from Kotian and Grundetjern to set them so very much apart from the rest of the issue and emphasize their importance.

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Luckert must also be singled out for his depiction of the married couple in the first story. The subtext of their deteriorating marriage is communicated entirely through the art before a single line of dialogue even hints toward it.

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PARASOMNIA: THE DREAMING GOD #1 is a high concept comic not unlike the issues that preceded it, and like those issues it benefits from multiple readings. The greater the interest in these concepts, the more likely a reader is to want to continue the series. And certainly Muttis art helps as it contributes to the immersion. The visuals are definitely a key selling point that elevates the book.. Nevertheless it's hard to care about characters we know little about which makes it difficult to stay interested in them.

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Fitzmartin does a good job weaving together Tim's personal life and his life as Robin in a way that assuages my worries over whether the character would have any real identity. That said, the overall character arc of self-discovery seems out of place. Even so, the writing is the strong point of TIM DRAKE: ROBIN #1 thanks to Rossmo's style ultimately proving distracting.

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A.X.E.: DEATH TO THE MUTANTS #2 is a largely compelling issue when it is focused on the Eternals society, their internal conflicts, and their ages-old struggle with the Deviants. It continues the story thread that began in A.X.E.: EVE OF JUDGMENT, tracking the Eternals with a level of detail that isnt present in any other series. Unfortunately its interaction with A.X.E.: JUDGMENT DAYs overall story is where the issue falls down. I had no idea why the Progenitor judges the way it does (it feels totally random). By the end I had lost interest in that story thread. We know the Progenitor won't destroy humanity. The compelling part of the story is the way people are judged and why. And thats a question Gillen doesnt answer in most cases.

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THE LEAST WE CAN DO #1 is largely carried by the visuals. The narrative tells us very little about Uriel, but Romboli's art makes her enthusiasm contagious. This goes a long way toward drawing the reader in. It also helps the narrative which, despite the somewhat heavy-handed delivery of exposition, effectively depicts a dangerous and oppressed world while somehow maintaining an almost light-hearted flair thanks to its depiction of Uriel. This is Zanfardino's chief success. Unfortunately, Uriel's actual story is barebones at best, and the extent to which THE LEAST WE CAN DO #1 is interesting is the result of whether or not the reader connects with its world.

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