Want to see what other comic books I read each month? Well, look no further: One Shots is my weekly comic book round-up, covering everything I can’t get to in my regular reviews. This week I’ll be covering books from Image Comics and Marvel Comics, so prepare your face for some rapid fire reviews!
The Legacy of Luther Strode #1
Scripter: Justin Jordan
Artist: Tradd Moore
Colorist: Felipe Sobreiro
Score: 4 out of 5 Stars
Justin Jordan, Tradd Moore, and Felipe Sobreirio are back to bring us the final installment of Luther’s superhuman exploits in The Legacy of Luther Strode #1. As fans of the series are well aware, excess is the hallmark of Luther Strode, and Legacy is no different. From Jordan’s bombastic characterizations, to Sobreiro’s vivid color palettes, to the sheer visceral hyperbole of Moore’s artwork, everything about Legacy is over-the-top, ridiculous, and violent. And more than that, it’s damn fun.
It’s easy to underestimate the respective technical prowess of Moore and Sobreiro, lost amid frenzied scenes of blood and violence. While incredible fight scenes and wholesale destruction is the allure of this series, Moore’s clever use of compressed time and space make for some fascinating tableaus throughout. His kinetic page designs and panel compositions pull the reader into the brutality of his wonderfully choreographed fight sequences, demanding attention be paid to the incredible level of detail that construct these spaces. Sobreiro’s intense palette choices emphasize the ferocious physicality of the fight scenes and crank up the insanity to seemingly impossible heights, making each page more explosive than the last.
Crazy, cool, and totally confident in its execution, The Legacy of Luther Strode #1 is a wild ride from start to finish.
All-New Hawkeye #2
Scripter: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Ramon Perez
Colorist: Ian Herring w/ Ramon Perez
Score: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
The real horror of Project Communion creates uneasy parallels with Clint Barton’s backstory in All-New Hawkeye #2 from Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez. Wunderkammer, the book’s introductory five-part storyline, continues to delve into Clint’s origins as a runaway who joins the circus with his brother Barney to escape their abusive foster father. Perez and colorist Ian Herring investigate these seemingly conflicting plots through thoughtful uses of style, pacing, and color.
The soft dreamy watercolors of Clint’s childhood memories starkly contrast the minimalistic style and bold palette choices of the present. This creates a measured dissonance between plots, which, while it may be off-putting to some, makes for interesting visual storytelling overall. The tension between these overlapping facets of Clint’s life, defined by violence and the exploitation of children, is made poignant by recurring themes of family, trust, and safety. Lemire has certainly put his best foot forward with this storyline, but his characterizations are still a bit dry at this point. It will take more time to find stronger voices for both Clint and Kate, but I look forward to seeing where this creative time goes from here.
Scripter: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Score: 5 out of 5 Stars
As the crew approaches Xibalba, the thin divide between madness and reality completely unravels. A little bit Lovecraft, a little bit Event Horizon, Nameless #3 from Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham is a tense and visceral read from the first page to the last. It’s horrific, grimly funny, and maddeningly ambiguous, and continues to be a stand-out miniseries for Image Comics.
Morrison’s surreal and increasingly claustrophobic sci-fi/horror themes are brilliantly realized by Burnham’s compelling and finely detailed narrative style. Scenes shift seamlessly from the austere geometry of the prison and ship interior to the visceral frenzy of nightmarish body horror, sometimes on the same page. It’s never quite made clear what is real and what is déjà vu as Nameless continues to move between hallucination and reality, acting as an unreliable narrator to question his own perceptions.
Morrison and Burnham use this Lovecraftian device to their advantage as time, space, and dimensions compress on the page, wherein Nameless is both relatable and objectionable, conscious of what’s happening but never sure of its validity. Jarring page designs and volatile pacing keep the reader guessing as the characters tumble toward the inescapable hell of Xibalba. Colorist Nathan Fairbairn continues to do some amazing work on this series, rounding out this stellar creative team. Nameless is an amazing ride, but certainly not for the squeamish.
Odyssia returns to square off against the Cyclops in ODY-C #4 from Matt Fraction and Christian Ward. The grisliest issue to date, Odyssia leads what’s left of her crewwomen against the monster, by hiding in the entrails of the dead and using their bones to craft weapons. Ward imagines the Cyclops’ world as a sumptuous blood-soaked landscape, marked by rivers of gore and rocky mesas under a murderous red sky. In the end, Odyssia emerges victorious with an amusing twist on the Cyclops’ final line, only to find herself immediately drawn into the next power struggle between the gods/goddesses.
As gorgeous as ever, Fraction and Ward weave a fascinating retelling of Odysseus’s journey, interposed by hallucinogenic scenes of fighting Olympians and visceral depictions of space travel. The intersection of smooth, sterile technology and the sensual world of sex and death continues to be one of the most fascinating motifs of the series. Gods, monsters, and mortals alike operate within a fluid and expansive world that toys with the boundaries of performative gender, one that is both beautiful and violent, feminine and masculine. I look forward to what the next issue has in store.