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Review: Event Leviathan #1

Event Leviathan #1

There’s gorgeous, atmospheric art and colors from Alex Maleev, but also tiresome, repetitive arguments about Talia al Ghul from Brian Michael Bendis even after the previous Leviathan Special basically proved that the destruction of all the DC Universe’s secret organizations isn’t her doing. This sentence shows that Event Leviathan #1 is the ultimate mixed bag. However, it does a nice job setting the mood for the ultimate DC Universe closed door mystery unless it veers off and does a Heroes in Crisis, which I don’t expect from the writer of Powers and two of Marvel’ greatest crime sagas (Alias, Daredevil).

In true decompressive fashion, Event Leviathan #1 is all set up, and it doesn’t really introduce any new information that previous issues of Action Comics, the Leviathan Special, and marketing material haven’t covered. However, Bendis and Maleev give readers Batman, Lois Lane, Steve Trevor, and a couple surprise guests in the ruins of ARGUS asking questions, bickering, and generally acting very paranoid. Except for a couple glorious flashbacks showing the destruction of ARGUS and the other organizations, Maleev predominantly uses small box panels or quite thin vertical panels to show how characters have been stretched to their breaking point as they figure out the identity and mission of Leviathan.

In particular, Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s Steve Trevor is a revelation as he somehow survived the destruction of ARGUS’ Odyssey, a building that was the brainchild of the mysterious Dr. Strand and was supposed to bridge superheroes and ordinary humans. The fact that he survived such a colorful and complete explosion has basically given Trevor PTSD, and he is worlds away from the competent agent and occasional Wonder Woman squeeze.

Bendis gives his dialogue almost a babbling pattern with a veneer of self-awareness that clashes with the sharp deductions of Lois Lane, brooding presence of Batman, and the quips of Green Arrow. He’s paranoid as hell and starts pointing and firing guns when Batman is just a little soft on Talia’s connection to Leviathan, probably, because she is Damian’s mother. (Lois Lane and Steve Trevor don’t know this.) But Trevor has a badass side too like when he lands a solid jab at Batman by saying ARGUS always comes up with a countermeasure when he comes up with a new gadget.

That line is the perfect setup for the flashback to the ARGUS explosion, which allows Maleev to work in a more widescreen mode with a sunnier color palette. (Even if that sun is more of a sunset.) It represents Dr. Strand’s optimism in her project contrasted with Trevor’s stubble sporting realism as he knows what happens to the DEO and other organizations, just wants to get the hell out of there, and doesn’t care about optics or lofty ideals.

Then, there’s a symphony of colors like blues, reds, oranges, and yellows with just a touch of Kirby krackle that builds to a full page crescendo that almost looks like Maleev’s painted work. Yeah, it’s just a big explosion like readers have seen in almost every summer event comic/blockbuster movie. But Maleev’s choice of palette and staging make it stick in the brain for an extra half second and ponder why Steve Trevor was caught in a kind of blue force field while the rest of his team perished. It’s the raw material that the team of detectives will sift through in future issues.

Maybe, I’m getting blinded by cool Alex Maleev visuals and storytelling techniques, and Event Leviathan will be five issues of circular banter and quickly resolve the plot in issue six. However, the Batman/Lois Lane dialogue will at least crackle as two of the most competent individuals on the planet try to find a needle in the DC Universe haystack. And did I mention that they have a complex relationship with the most powerful person on the planet too? Plus it’s fun to see the crack team of Bendis and Maleev get down and noir-y in a new universe. Maleev’s use of shadows that imply Batman is hiding something are a thing of beauty, and as long as you’re okay with a little bit of decompression with your espionage noir, Event Leviathan #1 is worth checking out and is more Agatha Christie than Michael Bay.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Alex Maleev Letters: Joshua Reed
Story: 7.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: DC’s Year of the Villain #1

DC's Year of the Villain #1

Evil is winning! Lex Luthor and The Legion of Doom conspire with Cosmic Gods, bending mankind toward a dark destiny. Elsewhere, the scourge of Leviathan spreads unchecked, seizing power in every corner of the world. And all the while the Batman Who Laughs busies himself in the shadows, aligned with no one-yet with sinister plans for all.

The carnage starts here as the badguys take center stage in “The Year of the Villain,” the most treacherous event in DC Comics history. Some act with united goals, others with plans selfish and secret, every one of them on a monstrous collision course against Batman, Superman and the heroes of the DC Universe. And our heroes will fail us.

For just 25 cents, is there really any reason to not get this comic? Your only excuse is if you think it’ll be give away by your shop for Free Comic Book Day.

DC’s Year of the Villain is a teaser comic featuring three stories and lots of back material setting up major storylines either beginning or already started in various DC Comics. For 25 cents, there really isn’t much to quibble about when it comes to the price and what you get and each story has its strengths and weaknesses.

I myself have paid half attention as to what’s going on in the various series this comic touches upon and was able to follow pretty well what was being set up but overall I’m not sure how much this sampler (not sure if that’s the best description) will suck in a new reader as say a full story comic for Free Comic Book Day. If nothing else, it’s a solid marketing idea that more publishers should try and see how it does.

Doom” by writer Scott Snyder, artist Jim Cheung, colorist Tomeu Morey, and letterer Tom Napolitano focuses on the storyline building over in Justice League as Lex Luthor has been gathering is Legion of Doom.

The story is over the top in its brazen action delivering a Luthor that you have to wonder how he can ever go back to being the industrialist enemy of Superman in the future (though there’ll always be some way for that to happen). The visuals are amazing as Luthor lays out his vision of what must happen to Brainiac delivering an ending that’s shocking and unexpected.

Leviathan” by Brian Michael Bendis, artist Alex Maleev, and letterer Joshua Reed focuses on the ongoing Superman story that has a mysterious organization that’s taking on the “black-ops” like organizations that pervade the DC Universe. Focusing on Batgirl and Green Arrow, the story is interesting in what it hints at and where it eventually goes. Maleev’s art is the draw here and it makes me long for him to draw a Green Arrow series.

Justice” is the third story by writer James Tynion IV, Francis Manapul on art, and Tom Napolitano on lettering. This focus is on the Source Wall storyline that has taken the DC Universe in whole new directions with their cosmic end of things. It’s the end chapter of this trilogy of stories bringing them all together into something rather interesting.

This teaser comic is interesting in that each separate story is just ok but once it’s clear how each ties together it’s something so much more. There’s clearly a lot of thought being put into this upcoming year at DC and it shows within this comic. Not to mention the amount of extra material to get you more interested. The comic also acts as a guide as to what you should read next and what you might want to go back and read.

It’s hard to say overall how good this comic really is. It has me both interested and not in what’s coming and while each individual chapter is interesting none really have me excited for what’s next. Still, for only 25 cents it’s hard to argue to not get it.

Story: Scott Snyder, Brian Michael Bendis, James Tynion IV
Art: Jim Cheung, Alex Maleev, Francis Manapul
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Tom Napolitano, Joshua Reed
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.75 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Scarlet #3 (of 5)

Scarlet has fought back against the corruption that destroyed her life-and now the next American revolution is underway! The city of Portland has been shut down-or, in the eyes of some, taken hostage-and Scarlet must decide how far she is willing to take her crusade. Enter Kit, the woman who will reduce Portland to rubble.

It’s weird to read and review a comic about revolutionaries (or terrorists depending on your side) on a day when some is sending bombs to likely political opponents in real life. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Scarlet #3 describes itself as telling the “story of a generation pushed too far in an alternative world we may soon find ourselves in.” Except, it doesn’t feel all that alternative at all and that we’re in the beginning stages of the world Bendis created so many years ago.

When Scarlet began, it was a response to the situation of the time which gave rise to the Occupy Movement. It was Occupy gone to the extreme of militancy. Since then, while the book slumbered awaiting a return, Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, the Women’s March, March for Science, and so many more movements have risen up and mostly simmered down. Scarlet is what happens when that spark finally happens and it questions what comes after the revolution?

And this is specifically looks at that spark, the first gunshot, the moment that takes things to the next level. And again asks, what’s next?

It’s an interesting issue that explores how this, all of this comic and the real world movements, are born out of abuse by those in power, those with privilege. And it shows that some just won’t stand for it anymore and whether consciously or unconsciously, we’ll fight back.

The art by Alex Maleev, with lettering by Joshua Reed, is amazing as always. There’s a reality to it all despite the destroyed American city. We, the reader, can still connect and relate to everything. This doesn’t feel like a foreign future but a reality we can experience now. Reed’s lettering too is key as Scarlet has a habit of talking directly to the reader and with subtle switching of the speech bubbles, a different tone and experience is had.

There’s something surreal about this issue’s release today of all days and it feels as though it’s as pertinent to today’s political situation as it was when the series debuted 8 years ago. It’s the rage many of us feeling and a reality many of us would like to see happen. All it’ll take is a spark and some inspiration. But for now, we can imagine that revolution kicking off and experience that possible reality on the printed page.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Alex Maleev
Lettering: Joshua Reed Design: Curtis King, Jr.
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Scarlet #1

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the return of Scarlet!

Scarlet #1 is by Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, Joshua Reed, Curtis King, Jr., Michael McCalister, Michael Gaydos, Iva, and Alisa Bendis.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Review: Pearl #1

Pearl is the story of an exceptional tattoo artist and accidental assassin for one of the modern-day San Francisco Yakuza.

She was born into one life, but another is calling to her. When Pearl accidentally meets one of her peers, her doppelgänger from another clan, she starts to dream of a better life. But Pearl has a very special ability that keeps pulling her back into the violent world she is desperate to escape.

I’ve always been fascinated by tattoos and especially the use of them by some gangs to tell a story. I myself have two and both tell a story though are simple designs. They are memories to me and there’s many more to come to tell my life. Brian Michael Bendis dips into the world of tattooing with Pearl and it’s an intriguing first issue that reminds me a bit of his previous series Scarlet.

The issue is interesting as it’s the debut of Bendis’ Jinxworld by DC Comics and while it’s a good start, it’s not one that has me super excited. What’s interesting though is, I think by the time things are done, the whole will be so much better than the individual issues.

The story isn’t bad in any way, there’s just a spark that’s missing and there’s a sense we’ve seen this before in Bendis’ other work. There isn’t that think that makes it really stand out when it comes to the story.

Where it does stand out is Michael Gaydos‘ art which is as stunning as expected. Gaydos is one of the best artists today and the watercolor like imagery is beautiful and haunting perfectly capturing the story. While the story lacks, the art is a draw, standing out and making this a comic worthy of checking out.

Again, the first issue isn’t bad, there’s just a spark that’s missing to make it stand out from the pack. It is fairly standard Bendis and something we’ve seen before. It’s not a first issue I’m jumping up and down about but I have a feeling that by the time things wrap up, that may change. If you’re a diehard Bendis and/or Gaydos fan, then this is one to get, but for me, this is one to wait and see where it goes.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Michael Gaydos Letterer: Joshua Reed
Story: 6.85 Art: 8.75 Overall: 6.95 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review