Friday, April 13, 2018

Rant-Reviews: An Assortment of the Latest First Issues From this Week

New Week, New #1's
An assortment of first issues came out this week of some comic-books. I read  variety and have thoughts to offer, because you shouldn't always judge a comic series by its first issue, but you can judge the first issue itself, right?

Debut Titles
Exiles #1
I previously made a post about how I was at least somewhat excited for this comic to come-out, holding fond memories of the older, "Exiles," comic-books. This first issue basically just introduces the concept (a team from various Marvel Universes tries to save the Multiverse) and has us meet a chunk of the team, with my assuming the remaining members will be picked-up in issue #2. I'd be annoyed at how decompressed things feel--if assembling the team takes more than another issue I'll be quite perturbed--but the comic is written well enough with a good mixture of humor to compliment the, "Everything is in danger," drama that I was entertained. My concerns with the slow pacing aside, this was quite good!
4 out of 5 stars.

The Dead Hand #1
Image has been releasing a lot of first issues lately, with a good deal of them being smash-hits. I'm not sure if, "The Dead Hand," written by Kyle Higgins and with smashing art by Stephen Mooney will become one of those super-popular books, but if the first issue is any indication, it has more than enough quality to be a series people talk about. Higgins introduces us at the beginning to Carter Carlson, a Cold War operative who did a lot of terrible things but now lives a quiet and happy life in small and dull Middle-America town where everything seems great but also just a little off. The reason for that becomes clear with a killer reveal at the end of the issue that has me practically chomping at the bit for issue #2 to come out. It also helps that Stephen Mooney's artwork is amazing, with some splash-pages throughout the book just looking gorgeous in their intricacy. I am pumped to read more, without a doubt!
5 out of 5 stars.

A Fractured Mind #1
The latest release from Red 5 Comics, I've enjoyed an assortment of their works over the years and found, "A Fractured Mind," at first a little dull before a neat twist at the end of the issue piqued my interest. I was bored at first because the concept sounded a bit boilerplate. A serial killer has murdered a bunch of girls, one named Christie has escaped, and now two detectives with their own emotional baggage need her help to find the killer. I would be snarky and say, "Yawn," but if I may spoil things, at the end we witness that Christie might have something very wrong with her now and she's possibly not so helpless a victim as things first appeared. That hook at the end helped keep this interesting enough that I want to seek out the next issue and see where things are going, so mission accomplished in that regard.
3 out of 5 stars.

Xerxes #1
Frank Miller's long-promised comic-book sequel to, "300," (no, the movie-sequel doesn't count) finally has had its first issue come-out, and it is...fine, I guess? Written and drawn by Miller, the plot is basically a blending of history and made-up stuff mixed with his art-style that over the years has gone from impressively detailed-yet-rough-looking to now just being kind of sketchy-styled and rough-looking-but-not-in-a-good-way. Diehard fans of Miller should hopefully be somewhat satisfied and I guess it sates whatever small urge I had for minimalistically-drawn takes on the past through Miller's weird sociopolitical lens--which, as I've previously discussed, seems to have become a bit warped in his later years. This wasn't absolute garbage like, "Holy Terror," but is far removed from Miller's previous masterpieces. It's completely average, which when compared to the kind of things Frank Miller made in the past is actually quite depressing to say.
2.5 out of 5 stars.

Immortal Men #1
This latest of new DC books would be promising if it weren't so muddled between a confusing story and rapidly-shifting artists for no in-story reason that ruins any semblance of cohesiveness. A whole lot of people are introduced/re-introduced from other books and the general idea is there that these special people are being wiped out, but I found myself scratching my head at the general motivations behind what the villains were doing, what makes our protagonist (a young man) at all interesting, and just generally found myself underwhelmed compared to other new DC comics that I have been enjoying such as, "Damage," and, "The Terrifics." While I'm still picking-up copies of those I won't be reading issue #2 of this unless someone tells me it suddenly stops being such a mess of art and story.
2 out of 5 stars.

It Was a Hodge-Podge of Quality
The books that came out this week clearly were of mixed quality. Some quite impressed and others just left me feeling underwhelmed, confused, or both. The great thing about comic-books however is that there is always the next week of releases to look forward to regardless of how good or bad the stuff was from the previous seven days. That's part of what I love about this art-form, how there is always more coming!

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