By Daniel Cole
Welcome to the Six Shooter! This is a weekly column that will review six specific comics. Big new releases, small interesting titles and random curiosities. All will be looked at. The way it works is that there will be a brief review of the comics followed by our rating system. Our ratings are:
Headshot (Best of the week)
Miss (Don’t Read)
Misfire (Worst of the week)
An eclectic collection of books this week. From high fantasy to time travelling superheroes. That’s see how they do.
AGE OF ULTRON #9 – Marvel Comics
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Brandon Peterson, Carlos Pacheco, Paul mounts & Jose Villarrubia
The latest issue of this bloated event essentially renders everything that has happened before it pointless. But that is what you get with time travel stories that have no real impact.
We all knew there was going to be that moment when our heroes realised that killing Hank Pym isn’t the solution and that there has to be a way to put things right. So Bendis happily delivers an issue dealing with just that. He throws in explanations about the timestream and notions of artificial intelligence, but there seems to no real thought about what the characters are saying. Add to this the dull opening segment that wastes time showing us Wolverine killing things (again) and there is nothing within these pages to shout about.
Even the art seems to have taken a turn for the worse. Pacheco’s scenes seem uncharacistically messy for someone who often has clean renderings. Peterson has little to work with and the constant images of a destroyed New York no longer have impact.
Never before has an event comic been so devoid of intrigue, intelligence and general entertainment.
SIX SHOOTER RATING – MISFIRE
MICE TEMPLAR IV: LEGEND #3 – Image Comics
Written by Bryan J.L. Glass
Art by Victor Santos & Serena Guerra
There is much to like about this tale of mice. It is an epic high fantasy and is charmingly centred on some unlikely creatures. Its literary influences are easy to spot, but that isn’t a bad thing.
Glass does a lot with his characters this issue as the main protagonists discuss ideas of destiny. It is an engaging coming of age tale, but it is also filled with action and adventure that will satisfy anyone. Rooting itself in familiar myths and legends only helps to enhance the overall experience. Glass just knows how to deliver on character and plot.
At his side is artist Victor Santos. His style really lends itself to the concept and tone of the narrative. He makes the mice surprisingly emotive and manages to convey much of their feelings with his pencils. His grasp of action is dynamic and he has a keen eye for detail. Serena Guerra’s colours give the book a vibrancy that lends itself to classic animation.
It is a great triumph of a book that really pushes forward both its overall narrative and its characters. Glass and Santos are a perfect pairing and they make this a joy to read.
SIX SHOOTER RATING – HEADSHOT
VIRGA: SUN OF SUNS #1 – Blind Ferret Entertainment
Written by Karl Schroeder & Jeff Moss
Art by Guy Allen & Michael Birkhofer
Sometimes a new comic book comes out that is a breath of fresh air, Virga is that comic. A science fiction with steampunk elements, Virga is a rewarding read from the get go.
Based on the novels by Karl Schroeder, Virga deals with fun sci-fi concepts from the use of gravity to the creation of artificial suns. In Jeff Moss and Guy Allen’s hands the source material comes alive on the page. Moss doesn’t spoon feed the reader exposition, instead he allows it to naturally flow. The time jumps are handled well and the characterisations are intriguing. Moss’ script has started a lot of wheels turning and he has created a sense of depth to the proceedings, which will draw the reader in.
Guy Allen does wonders in depicting this strange new world. His art is awe inspiring at points and his character work is just as impressive. His clothing designs are also excellent and much like Moss he has added a lot of depth to the book.
This is a comic that seems fresh and distinctive, which is a great thing in a crowded market place. Its beautifully draw and wonderfully written. Its also only a dollar on comixology so go seek it out.
SIX SHOOTER RATING – HEADSHOT
MISS FURY #3 – Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Rob Williams
Art by Jack Herbert & Ivan Nunes
Miss Fury is an average comic let down by some bad dialogue and tired ideas. The inherent appeal of seeing a pulp hero in the present doesn’t justify the title’s existence and our heroine has a somewhat frustrating characterisation.
Williams’ script is littered with clichéd dialogue and the overall plot isn’t exactly exciting. The balance between action and drama is okay, but it isn’t presented in an engaging way. We get to know more about our heroine, but her character in costume is a little annoying due to the bad quipping. The violence on display is in keeping with the pulp style Williams is aiming for, but the tone of the book is all over the place.
It doesn’t help that Herbert’s art is inconsistent as well. His rendition of Miss Fury is solid and the action is kinetic, but the quieter moments need work. His characterisations are serviceable at best. If anything it is Nunes colours that make the artwork. Nune gives the book the right visual tone and it is a plus that he’s on board.
It isn’t inherently bad as a concept, but the execution is lacking. There is some appeal, but Miss Fury is simply a mediocre comic book.
SIX SHOOTER rating – MISS
SHADOWMAN #7 – Valiant Comics
Written by Justin Jordan
Art by Neil Edwards & Brian Reber
Shadowman is trundling along nicely from a narrative perspective. The supernatural concept behind the series has enough about it to at least make it interesting.
However the book has a big problem. Neil Edward’s art does hinder the enjoyment of the issue. It is often messy and looks rushed in places. Reber’s colouring is flat, which doesn’t help matters. The art simply takes you out of the narrative.
It is a shame as Jordan does some interesting things here. Baron Samedi is an entertaining pantomime villain and steals the show. The main narrative may not be original, but Jordan infuses it with enough drama to make it appealing. Also there is a sense that the stakes are high and the cliffhanger will have interesting repercussion for the series.
The writing might be solid, but it can’t save the title. The art drags the book down and makes it hard to recommend.
SIX SHOOTER RATING – MISS
ASTRO CITY #1 – Vertigo (DC Comics)
Written by Kurt Busiek
Art by Brent Eric Anderson & Alex Sinclair
The return of Astro City has been met with excitement from fans of the original series. The legendary writer seems to be having a ball playing with his old toys and it is a treat to read.
Busiek presents us with a meta-textual narrative that focuses on the civilians as oppose to the actual superheroes. It is a nice way of introducing new readers to the concept and gets the ball rolling. Old fans will find a lot to enjoy here, but it is a refreshing surprise that Busiek delivered something so accessible for new readers. The script is filled with big ideas and concepts, but it is presented in a more personal way. Using the character narration to really define the world in which these characters inhabit.
However Anderson’s art style is a little jarring. This is mainly due to the Alex Ross front cover and the inclusion of hero American Chibi. But on the whole the art is clean and expressive. The art catches your attention in a good way, but the inking is a little off in places. Sinclair’s colouring brings the whole thing to life in a larger than life way, which works well.
This is one for new readers and fans. Busiek is a master craftsman showing what can be accomplished with superheroes and the medium in just one issue. This is impressive stuff.
SIX SHOOTER RATING – HEADSHOT
Well three headshots means that this is a great week. Mice Templar, Astro City and Virga show off what the medium can achieve in the hands of great creators. Two books suffered from poor execution and the worst of the bunch has collapsed under its own weight. But lets declare this week a win for us readers!
Do you agree with the reviews? Did we get them wrong or right? Have any suggests on what we should review next week? Get in touch in the comments section.
For more comic views and reviews follow Dan on Twitter at @gizmo151183
Posted on June 8th, 2013
Category: REVIEWS, SIX SHOOTER
Tags: Age of Ultron #9, Astro City #1., Comic Reviews, Daniel Cole, DC Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, marvel comics, Mice Templar IV: Legend #3, Miss Fury #3, Shadowman #7, Six Shooter #002, Vertigo, Virga: Sun Of Suns #1