Quick Comic Reviews (December 16, 2015)
Here’s another dose of our semi-regular comic reviews! This week’s been pretty interesting, but let’s get the intro out of the way and head straight for the titles we have this week!
Writer: Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher
Artist: Babs Tarr
The series continues to be quite strong and with a distinct and fun voice, and does a good job of reintroducing Stephanie Brown into the Batgirl title. Stewart and Fletcher give enough attention to each of the different plot threads to develop them further without sacrificing pacing. Tarr’s art is as strong as ever, her cartoony and expressive style working extremely well for the action sequences as well as the more talkative sections.
Clean Room #3
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Jon Davis-Hunt
This is rapidly becoming the most idiosyncratic of Gail Simone’s books, and it is just stunning because of that. Her penchant for strong characters is mixing well with her first real foray into the horror genre, and the central mystery is definitely intriguing. Jon Davis Hunt holds well off on his own, not shying away from depicting the many different horrors, and Gail gives him a lot to work with.
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Lemire and Nguyen have been on fire with this series, with this issue being another homerun. Nguyen successfully translates some of Lemire’s medium-specific devices, such as using two different art styles to signify which parts take place in the past vs the present, and continues to inject enough of his own personality to the work to make the book feel like a real collaboration. Lemire wisely spends time building from the reveal of the last issue, specifically building on some of the character’s backstory and why Tim is important to him, giving him more depth and making him more multi-dimensional.
The Goddamned #2
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: R. M. Guera
Aaron and Guera deliver a strong follow-up to their first issue, with probably the darkest and grittiest take on Noah ever. The imagery is haunting and visceral, with each page and panel highlighting the hopelessness of humanity; that there hasn’t been as much plot progression yet is actually beneficial to the story because of how much further it illustrates why God sent the Flood.
Writer: Joshua Dysart
Artist: CAFU and Juan Jose Ryp
Each issue of the series has been typically dense, and this one’s no different. As Harada finally takes a break and everything goes to hell, the various members of the cast make their moves towards defeating or protecting Harada. Dysart has, across predecessor series Harbinger and in past issues of Imperium, been so meticulous with his pacing; he understands how to cram an issue with a lot of plot development and character interactions without reducing tension. CAFU and Juan Jose Ryp do a great job, especially when it comes to LV-99, the Vine operative; they both make this monstrous-plant seem threatening and deliver on the action sequences.
Justice League United #16
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Travel Foreman
Jeff Parker and Travel Foreman’s final issue also closes off the series and is centred on rescuing Adam Strange. It’s a good closing chapter for the series, and explains why Strange was sidelined for the bulk of the run, while also giving each of the characters a nice moment to shine, but it’s a little hampered by how inconsistent Foreman’s art is in this issue.
Martian Manhunter #7
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Ronan Cliquet
Rob Williams is doing some really interesting work with J’onn J’onzz, going far more in depth with the character than any other creator has since John Ostrander’s great run. Williams really highlights how alien the titular character is, and has pushed him in a really fascinating direction. While bringing back Mars (and the White Martians) is typical as far as Martian Manhunter stories go, Williams’ approach feels fresh; it has been really cool how the nearly the entire cast so far has been aspects of J’onn. Cliquet does a good job of emulating Eddy Barrows’ style, with some good work on the more alien designs.
Secret Six #9
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Tom Derenick
It turns out that Gail Simone isn’t interested just inspiring nightmares in only one series this week, as she piles on the nightmare fuel in this Secret Six, especially in the second half. As always, Simone gets each of her characters perfectly, and injects enough humor to counter the general heaviness of the series. Fill-in artist Tom Derennick does a great job with some fine work on the various characters, especially with the more Cthulhu-esque creatures.
We Are Robin 7 (Robin War Part 4)
Writer: Lee Bermejo
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
A pretty thrilling continuation to the Robin War crossover, with an action heavy second half with a more contemplative first half. Lee Bermejo’s gradually improving as a writer, and gaining more confidence, with some good work on differentiating the voices of each of the characters. Some of the character interactions feel a little repetitive however, and the fight might feel a little too trite. Di Giandomenico is as good here as he was in All New X-Factor, with some strong layouts and especially great work on the action scenes.