Here we go, in this edition of Bullet Reviews, we have a mixed bag of books from this week and a few more from previous weeks that just needed to be mentioned!
DAREDEVIL #1 (Marvel)
That’s right, Daredevil…I grabbed the first issue of the new Mark Waid written series and, no, I’m not a fan of the character. So why did I buy it? Well, it was a slow week for one thing and the cover art was interesting. I picked it up, opened it and noticed two things: 1) this issue has The Spot in it, don’t know why, but I think he’s a cool stupid character and 2) the art was by Paolo Rivera who I really liked in Amazing Spider-Man and his art, with its classic 60’s Marvel flair, always interests me and works with characters like Spider-Man and Daredevil. The new debut issue features a lighter tone for The Man Without Fear and also adds a new layer to his radar sight that just needs to be seen. Overall, this issue was a good, old-fashioned light hearted super hero comic with several nods to the dark phase the character recently went through. Matt Murdock is trying to rebuild his life and separate himself from his masked identity, something the rest of the world seems to refuse to let go. He’s even told that he would do more harm than good as a lawyer because of it. Yet, he steadfastly denies being Daredevil. This has everything a classic comic needs, though I have to admit the art does waiver during the non-action scenes but it doesn’t hurt the story at all, and I have to admit, I would recommend this to anyone wanting a fun read. The final panel is very cool as well. Will I pick up the second issue? Before I read it I would have said ‘no’ but after reading it it’s a solid 50/50 chance. -Skott Jimenez
FLASHPOINT: SECRET SEVEN #2 of 3 (DC)
After stretching the definition of a team book to breaking point with this crossover’s first issue, writer Peter Milligan finally introduces the other members of this group, nominally on a mission from hero Cyborg to help end the war in Europe between the Atlanteans and Amazons. Which means – the return of Amethyst! Of course this is still a Milligan book and much like Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers the joke here seems to be that this is a team of superheroes who are never going to actually become a team. In fact before the end of this issue at least one prospective member has died, another has already betrayed them and one appears to be trapped in Limbo. Secret Seven is slightly reminiscent of Milligan’s Marvel team book X-Statix with none of the characters’ guaranteed to survive to the end, with their leader Rac Shade confused and possibly psychotic (echoes of the mutant Mister Sensitive). Throw in Zatanna undergoing a spontaneous Elektra complex (“Half a mile back my bike turned into my father”), an interesting new look for Raven, as well as the Enchantress’s ridiculous cleavage (is she using spirit gum? How does that top stay on!?), and Secret Seven remains the most intriguing of these off-the-wall Flashpoint books released so far. -Emmet O’Cuana
MALIGNANT MAN #4 (Boom Studios)
Well here it is, the close-out to the final chapter of this all to brief mini series from Boom. This is the finale that sees the big showdown with the ‘end boss’ Mr. Cancer as Alan’s memories have returned and he is out for a classic crescendo to this tale of revenge. If you’ve been reading the series then this is the climax you’ve been building towards, if you haven’t been reading then you, sadly, have missed a dark and twisted tale of top quality sci-fi.
Fast and frenetic, Malignant Man‘s only flaw is, perhaps, that it’s a little too rushed. What has been folded into 4 issue should easily have deserved a 6 issue arc. The writing by film-maker James Wan (Saw, Insidious) and Michael Alan Nelson has cutting, to-the-point dialogue that flows and bounces from panel to panel. A 4 issue mini series had to be tight and Wan and Nelson have kept this series tighter than…well you can insert many a rude metaphor in there. And they may not be out-of-place in this incredibly graphic outing. Bodies cleaved in half and heads lofted a sunder, blood has soaked many a splash in this series. Pitor Kowalki’s art is bold, brash and keeps the eyes focused as you linger on each page taking in the carnage.
But it’s not all blood, guts and alien symbiotes as this has been a gem of a series, captivating with the double hitter of quality, both story and art. A spoiler free review means the final conclusion must be omitted, the only thing than can be said is that it isn’t exactly ‘final’. You may hate to see this series go, but you’ll love to watch it leave. – Thom Atkinson
RED WING #1 (Image)
The hype is real. Red Wing is something very special indeed from the wonderful imagination of Jonathan Hickman. Ostensibly the series is about a ‘time war’ a concept that has been popularized recently by Russell T. Davies’ Doctor Who revival, but is certainly nothing new.. Think Julian May’s Pliocene Exile novels, or Ray Bradbury’s short story The Fox and the Forest – time travel opens up just as many new opportunities for conflict as exploration. The war shown by Hickman, centering on Earth’s 23rd century but spread over the preceding periods, is being fought between humans and a largely unseen alien force, identified only by their monstrous Wellesian war machines. A series of blank pages following the book’s opening announce that there are no time paradoxes and later an instructor tells the young pilots about to enter the war that they need to stop thinking in linear terms. The story concerns two young legacies whose fathers died in the war. Given the book’s themes, there is a possibility that Hickman may be having some fun with that old chestnut the ‘grandfather paradox’. In the first issue though he concentrates on setting the scene as our heroes are catapulted into this weird war. The story’s mysteries are tantalizing, but even more so is the fantastic art from Nick Pitarra, whose style is somewhere between Frank Quitely and Moebius. Red Wing is yet another excellent and brain-bending hard sf tale from Image following on from the impressive Infinite Vacation by Nick Spencer. Well worth a look. -Emmet O’Cuana
SECRET SIX #35 (DC)
♫IIIIIIII’m a Shark! ♫ Trust me that will become the greatest comic book ear-worm this side of ‘Nananananana-Bat-man!’ once word of Gail Simone’s latest issue gets out. The team has returned from hell and are feeling a little raw still after the experience. As one antagonist sums up their situation this month: “A glutinous gaggle of perverts and failures. Who among you has achieved anything!” As it happens Bane agrees and has decided to finally finish what he started years ago – and kill the Bat. This is a far more ruthless Six than we have seen for some time, perhaps since their formation during the Infinite Crisis crossover. Part of the book’s appeal over the years has been Simone’s ability to let us sympathize with confirmed monsters, but they are still villains and in comics – bad guys never win. The Six usually just manage to escape with a little victory. Surprisingly Bane finds a willing ally in the conflicted Catman, both finding common ground in their desire to take out Batman. With a plan in place, the team mobilizes and begins to eliminate a series of targets that will lead them to the Dark Knight. But on the way they stop to pick up a new recruit – and King Shark sings a little song. One of the greatest shames of this coming reboot is that we’re losing the Six for good and it seems Simone and artist J. Calafiore are determined to leave us wanting more. The book’s cover by Daniel LuVisi is also very striking – make sure to snap it off the shelf of your local. -Emmet O’Cuana
STAN LEE’S SOLDIER ZERO #10 (Boom Studios)
This is the counterpart to the cross over we already witnessed in last week’s issue of Starborn, sorry, Stan Lee’s Starborn to give it the full title. Also to include ‘The Man’s’ (sorry, just wondering how many times you can write Stan Lee in one review) The Traveler this continues the cross over to ‘gain new readers’. All three titles have similar characteristics, but are by no means mutually exclusive. Which is a shame then, as to find out the fate of one character, you may need to pick up an issue from a new series. Even though it is Starborn that is the stand out of the trio, Soldier Zero is no slouch.
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning do a decent job of keeping things tick tocking along revealing bits and pieces of character info like a broken Mr. Whippy ice cream machine leaking the good stuff into your empty cone. Issue 9 saw the narrative simmer down to a low heat as Capt. Stewart Trautman and Kaylee Sakai took time out in a diner to re-establish the stories staple points. After the first 8 issue arc it was the perfect point for new readers and a welcome breather for those who have been on board since the beginning.
But gone is Javier Pina emotionally expressive artwork in favour of getting back to the action. Alien bar room brawling takes almost the entire issue from start to finish, throw in some pesky government types on their way and prepare yourself to actually not see any cross over action (Starborn‘s Ben Warner battles a large group of The Pride out in the cosmos, Soldier Zero does said brawling with a scouting party on Earth), you still have a pretty entertaining issue. – Thom Atkinson
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