Author Archives: Wesley Messer

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A Relative Newbie Review: Hit-Girl #1

Hit-Girl #1 2018 CoverNow it’s time to continue my journey into the Kick-Ass world with Hit-Girl #1. Now my first journey into Kick-Ass was pleasant so let’s see how this goes. I am a little familiar with Hit-Girl but that’s because of other snippets of Kick-Ass I’ve seen. Consider this another review for the new readers entering the Kick-Ass world. No real expectations going into this outside of I hope this turns out to be a good read. There’s only so much of an intro I can give for this one. It’s Kick-Ass, it’s a new #1 for Hit-Girl so enough hemming and hawing here. Let’s get into the grand Kick-Ass adventure once more with Hit-Girl #1. Will it be fun, will it be great, or will it be disappointing? Well only one way to find out as we get on with the show.

Note this as I said in the Kick-Ass review, I like Mark Millar’s writing but I am still hit or miss on him. Okay, let’s start into Hit-Girl #1.

Now if you are unfamiliar with Hit-Girl going into this #1, you’ll be okay for the most part. For the most part all you need to know is she’s a young lady who saves the day with extreme violence. I do know she once worked with her Dad a.k.a. Big Daddy but now he’s gone. She’s now on her own after the original Kick-Ass retired and looking for a new adventure. Onwards to Columbia thanks to request from a lady there and that sets us into the story. Which also ties into a hitman named Fabio Mendoza who’s on his way to jail until certain circumstances happen. I’m trying not to spoil but this story gets weird and fast. As I now get to explain more as to what works and what doesn’t work now that I’ve summed up certain beats of this comic. As wow, this book is strange to say the least.

This could be one of the more negative leaning reviews I have written in a long time.

Okay before we start, I’m relatively fair but if I lean more and more negative, you’ve rubbed me the wrong way. As a newish reader to Kick-Ass, this book goes all over the place for me. The hitman introduction was a great action movie spectacular setup. That’s a plus for this and the quick cuts to his gang work fairly well. It’s splashy with a sense of humor so I can appreciate that. You get to learn about the larger potential supporting cast along with the hitman so it works. I was invested at this point as I was intrigued as to what role this would play in the larger story. Then the larger story began and it went from interesting to, well here comes the comical ultra violence with little substance. Yes, I know Mark Millar and I know how he operates but this is middle of the road to borderline bad Millar. You’re all going to love the next bit of this after that sentence.

Hit-Girl #1 2018 Preview Page

Wow, this Hit-Girl review is leaning way more negative than I thought it would. Sometimes you just have to let the cards fall where they may.

First off as we’re catching up with Hit-Girl she’s actually pretty likable in a weird way. She’s lonely and she’s looking for a new sidekick to work with. She’s feeling a little lost so she’s fighting crime on auto pilot so to speak. I did like that aspect of it. She’s lost her partner in the original Kick-Ass so now she can’t find anyone to replace him. Oh she’s still the same extreme violence creates great results person but not everyone is the same way she is. When the adventure to Columbia gets set up is when the story takes a really odd turn. Any sort of heart in the story goes out the window into madness fuel on overdrive. Where the story had a good balance of heart and action then dives off the rails into sheer mayhem.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like my share of goofy mayhem. Yet this was tonal whiplash within one issue of a comic. Where Millar and Romita’s Kick-Ass #1 that was released had some semblance of soul, this loses that. Of course I see this is where Millar is going to cut loose with the crazy, but it didn’t jive with me.  I will say though, there will be people who dig this and that’s cool. This just didn’t work for me in its entirety. I would say there’s half of a really solid story and the other half goes way into crazy town and doesn’t look back. Sometimes I am down for crazy but in this, the crazy didn’t entirely work for me story wise. Just soulless mayhem and madness.

Wow, now that last line there comes off quite harsh. Yikes. Yet, I think you all will find my thoughts on the art of Hit-Girl to be way more positive.

Now as much as I am harping on my severe dislike for aspects of this comic, Hit-Girl #1 is gorgeous. Ricardo Lopez Ortiz is such a fluid and smooth artist. There are parts of this comic that feel as though if it ends up being animated or even a live action movie, you could lift these panels and use them. Ortiz captures action, emotion, and lends great energy to the comic. The expressions are awesome despite any issues with the story I have, the emotions work well for this comic. Hit-Girl’s demented nature comes through with each smile that Ortiz gives her. Not many people could capture that level of fear and by golly Ortiz pulls that off. Now let’s talk about the rest of the art team as my goodness this book is beautiful in every facet.

See what salvages this comic is the overall art team of the book. Sunny Gho‘s coloring for example is absolutely perfect in working with Ortiz’s art. The story is so over the top and the coloring is bright, jaw dropping, and also brutal as needed. The opening where our hitman is introduced has this great flash effect that works nicely. Add in the letters by Milena Mikulic adding the flashing and clicks of all the cameras and it all gels together. With cool lettering and design, hyper stylized art, and beautiful coloring, this is what helps Hit-Girl #1 immensely.

Time to conclude this Hit-Girl #1 adventure. Boy oh boy, this was one wild ride.

Yeah, I can fully say outside of the art team, Hit-Girl #1 is not my cup of tea. Now if you’re more invested in Kick-Ass, you may love Hit-Girl #1. If you’re new to the world, this won’t sway you one way or the other. While Kick-Ass #1 did well in introducing the world, Hit-Girl #1 didn’t do any of that well. Hit-Girl #1 is lots of splash and dazzle with no substance.

Story: Mark Millar Art: Ricardo Lopez Ortiz
Color: Sunny Gho, Lettering and Production: Melina Mikulic
Story: 6.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

A Relative Newbie Review: Kick-Ass #1

Kick-Ass #1 is the relaunch of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.‘s mega franchise. For most people Kick-Ass either makes people extremely happy or divides them in about five seconds. That’s the nature of Mark Millar, it seems, as people either love or hate his writing with little in-between. Here’s the thing, I actually have had more good experiences with Millar than bad ones. The Kick-Ass franchise is one that I’ve not delved into as much as other aspects of Millar’s world. I know a lot of the basic concepts of Kick-Ass but not much more. If you ever wanted a new reader perspective on Kick-Ass, this review is it. Strap yourselves in my friends for a blazing fast vigilante spectacular of a review with Kick-Ass #1. Time to find out if this relaunch is worth your time and mine as well.

Hard to believe I’m one of the few people who hasn’t experienced Kick-Ass in full but here we are. We are in for a ride.

The story of Kick-Ass was initially a guy named Dave Lizewski deciding to make a superhero costume and fight crime. There aren’t superheroes in this world and the inspiration for the Dave and other heroes to follow is from comic books. Do you need to know any of this going into this #1? You can walk into this blind and be fine. The story focuses on Patience Lee coming back after 8 years in the military with her tour being up and she’s coming home. Her plans are to take care of her kids, go to college, and let her husband take up the slack for awhile. Only to see that her plan falling apart as her husband leaves her. Then that is when she has to figure out just what to do from there while being a single Mom. From there is for us to learn what leads her to get into the Kick-Ass suit.

Now what Millar does is let us get to know Patience as a person before she adopts the suit. By the time she’s in that suit you know everything you need to know. For you as a new reader this is a fresh new character and a new story. This is all from the perspective of Patience and how she plans to operate as a vigilante. Since she has military training this is actually a good fit for her and Millar makes a point to show us this. We learn too that outside of her military training that she is a good Mom and wants to do what is best for her kids. That’s one part of this that really works, Patience is a likable character and someone who knows how to take care of herself. For what Millar is going for it works.

Okay, so in the case of Patience Lee we’re in good shape. Good new reader friendly character and direction. Everything is ship shape here right? Well, yes and no.

I mean you would think that by liking the character and her motivations, I would dig Kick-Ass #1 right? Well it is a simple enough motivation but not much to hook into. I can imagine people wondering how she got the suit for one. It becomes the game of we learn why she wants to become a vigilante but the suit magically appears. Yeah I can see Millar revealing more later but I’m left wondering where the darned thing came from. It has a lot of action but outside of Patience and her family there isn’t much more sink into. Now I will add an extra note here, there is potential for this comic. Then we can go back and say that the story got better later on. For now though, it’s a little weak yet I will say I didn’t hate what I saw. There is a lot to build on and it could easily improve.

Kick-Ass #1 Opening Page

I do applaud Millar for making this first issue as new reader friendly as possible. There are references to other things in this world but it’s so loose that it doesn’t matter. Yes the way Patience gets into this game is a little cliche and goofy at points, maybe a tad over blown, but I will admit I was entertained. It’s Mark Millar and I knew what I was getting into for the most part. For the potential I see in this though and in such a strong black female character in Patience Lee, I’m willing to hang in there. I want to see where this story goes and what Millar does with it. Yet I haven’t gotten into the art yet and there is a lot to praise in that aspect of the book.

My goodness, Kick-Ass #1 has a strong art team. That cannot be denied here at all. Not one single bit.

Now John Romita Jr. is the co-creator of Kick-Ass and an oddly polarizing artist in his own right. He is in the same category of Millar in the love or hate scale of things. When I was first getting back into comics Romita’s work on Dan Jurgens Thor run hooked me like no other. You can put me squarely in the category of digging Romita’s art. In all honesty, this is some of my favorite work of Romita’s. It’s briliant at capturing the energy of the action sequences in Millar’s script. There’s even something to how he captures even the quieter sequences in and around the action when Millar is detailing Patience’s family. It’s good at capturing fast movement in battle as well as quiet emotional moments too, a perfect balance for this story.

What also helps Romita’s art here is the digital inks and colors from Peter Steigerwald. One of the opening shots replicating how it would look if our hero was caught on camera somewhere, really cool grayscale effect. Then add in the smooth lines Steigerwald adds to Romita’s art and some brilliant lighting effects alongside, this book just looks good. John Workman‘s letters in particular are always classic as they are big, bold, and exciting in the already powerhouse battle scenes. With added ink assistance from Megan Madrigal, this is one killer art team. No matter how hit and miss I am on the story so far, the art here is spectacular.

Overall it’s New Reader Friendly but with some flaws, but gorgeous art. It may not be perfect but Kick-Ass #1 is a solid read.

I will be curious to see how many other new to newer readers check out Kick-Ass #1. I have some issues but overall I enjoyed my time with it. A solid B ratings wise as it passes my tests but with some room to improve. Give this a shot yourself and I really do want to know what you think if you try it. In my own case, I now have a bunch of Kick-Ass trades to dive into and learn more about this universe. Thanks for reading and enjoying my newbie adventure into the world of Kick-Ass.

Story: Mark Millar Pencils: John Romita Jr. Digital Inks and Colors: Peter Steigerwald
Letterer: John Workman Digital Ink Assistant: Megan Madrigal
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for Review

Review: Bonehead #1

Bonehead #1 Image Comics Top Cow Productions

Bonehead #1 has style to spare in this action packed extravaganza. It’s a beautiful comic with a design sensibility that I don’t see very often. It’s got an anime aesthetic in the best way possible while still being its own thing. Now I talk about style because as we dive into review, we’re going to get into some odd territory here. Bonehead is unique and has a voice that I haven’t seen in awhile. It’s a cool comic in the aesthetic sense of the word but story wise we get into some slight issues from there. For the most part they are very slight issues. I guess as they say, I’ve delayed this long enough. On with the show, turn on the lights, and let’s begin our adventure into Bonehead #1. Let’s see if I can detail my experience with this for you and have it make sense by golly.

Bonehead #1 is a fascinating comic for sure as it has style to spare.

 

My favorite aspect of Bonehead for starters is that as a comic, the energy never stops. Bryan Edward Hill‘s writing is all about keeping the comic moving at all times. It’s helped by the fact that Rhoald Marcellius‘ art has the energy to match the writing. When you’re writing in a world with a strong anime aesthetic with a technology heavy universe, energy is key. See story wise you don’t get a full picture of what you’re getting into, it’s snippets of what’s to come. The character of 56 operates as a silent protagonist outside of emoticons/emoji and gestures, with Aleph being the narrator. Marcellius has a lot to communicate art wise with 56 and through gestures helps to get him across to the reader, that’s impressive. Aleph is also compelling as 56’s handler of sorts, and that’s only loosely explained but I am at least curious which counts.

The Bonehead Helmets also play a neat role as an identifier for certain characters in the story.

(Extra points for the Daft Punk references too.)

We only know a loose bit about the villains of the piece too, The Gladiators and even then we aren’t sure what role they play. By the end you aren’t sure if they are really pure villains, though I like the technology breakdown of how they work in the book. I think that is the one thing that I keep coming back to is we only get a snippet here and there to bite into. By the end Hill gives you a solid hook to grasp onto but that middle section bounces around a lot. Marcellius is such a strong artist though that it helps to keep things moving along, quirky story but gorgeous art. Sakti Yuwono’s colors help immensely here too as the dynamic fight scenes and action sequences capture the energy within Marcellus’s art beautifully. It also doesn’t hurt that Imam Eko and Jady Ady’s letters have a cool Street Fighter-esque look to them when it counts for the battle scenes. The story may be a work in progress but art team wise, Bonehead is on fire.

Simply put, Bonehead has a developing story but gorgeous art. A quirky situation but sometimes that is how it rolls.

Bonehead is worth checking out as I think this could become a cool series as it develops. The potential is there for this to be stronger down the line. It’s a little rough around the edges right now but it has potential. Hopefully Bonehead lives up to the potential I see for it down the line. It has an amazing art team so let’s see if the story lives up to the art as this rolls along.

Story: Bryan Edward Hill Artist: Rhoald Marcellius
Colorist: Sakti Yuwono Cover Artist: Rhoald Marcellius Letterers: Imam Eko & Jaka Ady
Story: 7.0 
Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics/Top Cow Productions provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review