Welcome to All-New Bullet Reviews #2! Last week we were treated to a nice mix of titles to talk about so let’s jump right in and see what we have this week!
CLIVE BARKER’S NIGHTBREED #1 (Boom! Studios)
I have to admit I was surprised with this one. Both in the fact I completely missed the advanced solicits for it (I’m not a regular reader of anything Boom! is putting out) and the simple fact that is actually exists. The original Nightbreed series started as an adaptation (remember those?) of the cult classic movie from Marvel’s Epic imprint. The adaptation proved to be so popular that the 4 issue miniseries became an ongoing series that ran for a full 25 issue run. This series doesn’t connect to that at all, for now anyway, and it seems to be giving us some past and present activities of a few of our favorite ‘Breed: the animalistic Peloquin and the vivacious Shauna Sassi as we see their activities in different times and places.
Sadly, this issue doesn’t really seem to be setting anything major up. It feels more random than planned which, oddly enough, works for the Nightbreed concept. It’s always been about chaos. Also, this series is certainly aimed at the fans of the film though that shouldn’t scare those unfamiliar with the film or the previous series from trying it. There isn’t a lot of referencing what came before and can fully be enjoyed on it’s own. If you’re looking for something different than you can as always, rely on Clive Barker and his Nightbreed for that! -Skott Jimenez
C.O.W.L. #1 (Image)
C.O.W.L. #1 is the story of a superhero union in Chicago circa 1962. On all accounts, the idea of a superhero union is an interesting premise and theoretically writes itself. Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel grasp that concept partially, hitting the right beats hard and fast on some parts and at other times just missing it entirely. The story is at its best when it slows down in the second half, and becomes more focused on conversational plot set-up and defining its characters. The first eight pages or so is a messy action sequence marred by cluttered set-pieces and an overabundance of exaggerated colors. There are parts of the sequence that look nice when looked at singularly but as a whole it mostly just ended up being flashy and confusing without much substance to it. Yet when the book shifts gears and slows down, Rod Reis’ art flourishes, evoking Phil Noto and allowing Reis to play around with environments and facial expressions. I’m not sure how much this book actually captures Chicago in 1962 but it felt really evocative of an era gone by. Reis’ name is one of the strongest selling points this book has and it really shows. Just like the art, the script doesn’t shine until the latter half of the book, where things slow down, letting Higgins and Siegel nuance and fine-tune their cast even with minimal page time dedicated to each. The idea of the superhero union aptly titled C.O.W.L. is only briefly explored, but sparks a modicum of interest in the reader’s mind. Higgins and Siegel are wont to make this about the relationships of the cast rather than potential political machinations. C.O.W.L. #1 could use a little fine-tuning on both ends but is otherwise a solid indie superhero comic with major potential on hand. -Julien Loeper
DEADPOOL #28 (Marvel)
Now that Deadpool is married, he has to have a honeymoon. Why not head off to Tokyo? Deadpool and Shiklah jet off Galway around the world to enjoy the wonders of the Orient while also running an errand. The problem is that kids with super powered Pokemon-like monsters are robbing people. This issue has a weird Oliver Twist vibe, even so far as to have the man running the whole show being called Master Fagin. Nod to Charles Dickens. This issue has the yakuza, the Hand, an Elektra cameo, and even Sunfire. Tons of action and great jokes from Deadpool throughout. Shiklah is truly his perfect match. In the end, the story is one of those that gives a deeper understanding of the merc with a mouth. Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan once again put together a great story with amazing art from Skott Koblish. -Aaron Clutter
GODZILLA: RULERS OF EARTH #12 (IDW)
The first year of the latest Godzilla series comes to an end with a new threat successfully playing both the Devionian and the human race like a cheap violin. They set things into motion using monsters from Earth, space, and ones they created to get the humans to launch a full scale nuclear attack in hopes of destroying the one force on Earth that kept them from taking over: Godzilla.
This issue sees all their plans come together as a weakened Godzilla is seemingly taken out by the humans during a fight that put him, and three other monsters on the front steps of the Devonian undersea base. Seeing this as possibly the only chance to wipe out multiple threats to humanity, the powers that be order a nuclear strike and when the dust clears the human race and Earth are left defenseless and ready to be taken over.
What makes this a great series is there is more going on than just monsters fighting. You have a fairly engaging human story as well. I’ve been enjoying most of the Godzilla books IDW have put out since taking over the license and this books is a fine example of why. We get some conclusions but also have a lot of plot point still up in the air as we begin the second year. And how can you not love that cover!! -Skott Jimenez
JUSTICE LEAGUE #30 (DC)
In the aftermath of forever Evil event, I’m seeing some interesting changes in the world. The biggest and most interesting drive here is that Lex Luthor is leveraging his newfound celebrity to try and join the Justice League. Why you ask? Well the man said it best with the Lasso of Truth around his arms.
“I am an ego maniac.”
Lex wants to have the world loving him forever, and to that end he wants to help the Justice League save the world. He sees the biggest threat to their world being whatever destroyed Earth 3. As a peace offering, Lex has built a brand new Watchtower and invited Captain Marvel to join the League as well.
As you can imagine, most of the League, who has spend the last three days looking for Lex, still isn’t happy with the idea of him joining the League, even if the public blames them for the Secret Society entering our world.
At the end of Forever Evil we got a run down of all of the evil Justice League’s members. The Owlman is still unaccounted for, but they never touch upon Power Ring, mostly because he was dismembered and killed by Sinestro. The ring DID fly off however, and Justice League #30 shows us exactly who it went to; A woman by the name of Jessica Cruz.
This entire situation is pretty awesome. With the villains still on the loose in the DC universe and the threat of the new Anti-Monitor there is still quite a bit of peril to capitalize on. Can I just say how much I love that he has made his way back into world, by the way? Apart from the parallels of Lex Luthor wanting to join the League and the time period of him being the president in the past, the Power Ring and the sheer amount of knowledge and uncharacteristic charity from Mr. Luthor is really making the post Forever Evil Justice League something worth reading. Hopefully, DC can keep these things up throughout their other huge events, Futures End, Batman Eternal, and the mysterious third weekly series in the works.
THANOS ANNUAL #1 (Marvel)
I’m not a fan of books being called Annuals when there is no ongoing series to support it. Lately Marvel’s Annuals have been little more than glorified money grabs and one-shots that have next to no purpose.
Sadly, this is another example of that. Now, I’m a big Thanos fan. More to the point I’m a fan of the COMIC BOOK version of Thanos. I couldn’t care less about the movie stuff and personally dislike all the changes to Thanos and his past because of some movies. When I saw this was coming out and it was written by Jim Starlin, the man who made Thanos, I was excited because I figured all the silliness of Thanos Rising would be done away with and we would finally have THE Thanos back. Instead, we get a story that is honestly very pointless.
Having just lost the Cosmic Cube Thanos ends up in Mephisto’s realm only to be confronted with a future figment of Thanos. Apparently when the Mad Titan had the Infinity Gauntlet (back when that meant something) he sent avatars to different points of the past and future to figure things out. Sounds cool right? Well, not so much when it’s explained that once the avatar fades away neither version of Thanos will remember the interaction. So what’s the point? There really isn’t much of one other than Thanos learning how important he is to future events, something he learns while talking with The Living Tribunal (always awesome seeing the Cosmics in any book). All the conversation will do is fuel rumors of a New 52-style reboot of the Marvel Universe which, by the way, would be a STUPID STUPID STUPID idea.
My suggestion for this is to pick it up for the art. Ron Lim is one of the few people who can draw Thanos and do him justice. If you can try to find the Infinity Gauntlet variant cover, I was lucky to get it and have used the image of it here. -Skott Jimenez
TREES #1 (Image)
It’s always personally exciting for me whenever Warren Ellis puts out a new comic. Moon Knight has been rocking it in just 3 issues and feels more like a Warren Ellis classic than a Marvel-made book. Trees #1 is a prime example of Warren Ellis writing in classic mode again, with high concepts at the forefront punctuated by story beats that just scream “cool”. There are plenty of his Sci-Fi-isms floating around, and the world/history gets built within a manner of pages, leaving room for the story to come rather than floating around a “what happened over the years” scenario. The art by Jason Howard is equally refined, with a mastery of body language, movement, and conveying of action. His art is tight and concise but never feels sterilized or strangled into submission. There’s a slight freeform element to it in the designs and panel work but never feels too sloppy or loose. Howard’s penciling strikes the right balance between psychedelia and hardcore, action-packed aesthetics. On surface level, it may look simplistic and even a little standard but there’s a staggering amount of depth here, even to a single panel. Trees #1 is an easy recommendation to Ellis fans or someone looking to get into the works of Ellis. It just looks and feels like a classic Warren Ellis piece, and reminds me a lot of Transmetropolitan (arguably among the five greatest comics ever created) and Planetary (almost as good as the prior but not quite). There are a number of dense and thought-provoking ideas packed in a single issue, just like the best Warren Ellis stories on the market. I have no idea how long it’ll last, but here’s to Trees having a potentially long future, and going down as another great Ellis stories in a market chock-full of them. -Julien Loeper