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Weekly Comic Book Reviews #6

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All the previous weekly comic book reviews can be found here!

The crowded but detailed cover to Heroes in crisis #1

Heroes in Crisis #1

Written by: Tom King

Drawn by: Clay Mann

Heroes in crisis is a 9 issue comic book mini series that is the next big DC event as well as hitting the mainstream titles accompanying the main title.

The story starts with one of tragedy and is certainly not without its shock value an attack that reflect real life events in the debut story opener.

The new safe haven ‘Sanctuary’ has been built for troubled heroes (and villains) and is a place they can go for support, counselling and rest bite from the outside world, it stands to reason that even heroes are impacted emotionally saving people from the amount of crisis that occurs .

Sadly this new safe haven doesn’t last long as an unknown killer attacks Sanctuary and not all the visitors within don’t all make it out alive.

Writer King doesn’t waste time thrusting readers straight into the thick of it as the story starts following these tragic events and parts of the book are flashback sections which help fill in the missing pieces and allows readers to learn more of Sanctuary and what it meant to the visitors.

As an introduction issue this issue is extremely fast paced but a little too much so.  The writing while very good, doesn’t allow the story to flow neatly enough due to the jumping from scene to scene and flashback to modern day and makes those different moments to jarring.  

The art in this comic is excellent throughout and the bold bright colours really give a warm and clear look to every page.  Mann is an excellent artist and he uses his talents to the best of his abilities in this series and is one of DC’s finest signings.

By the end of the issue and the reveals of which DC character(s), haven’t survived, it really makes the wait for #2 much more exciting. 

Heroes in crisis is nicely setup in the first issue if not really investing much in the emotional side but I hope the next issues allow more room for backstory and explanation and King, I’m sure has that all under control.

Score out of 10:-

Story – 7

Art – 9

Overall – 7.5

Godspeed returns at one of the worst times for Barry Allen in The Flash Annual #2

The Flash Annual #2 (2019)  – Too many Speedsters

Written byJoshua Williamson

Drawn by: Scott Kolins

The recent annual of The Flash directly follows on from the fallout of the events of Heroes in crisis comic #1 (so be sure to read that issue first speedsters).

The story centres on Barry Allen and the surrounding Flash family, following the death of one of their own and the impactthat is felt on those close to him and in-between all the tragedy, Barry has to do battle with a returning enemy, Godspeed – who in my opinion is one The Flash’s greatest villains in a long time.

Williamson who is the current writer of the main Flash series really delves deep in to the emotions of the cast, patricianly the heartbroken Barry and the script really does hit the emotional cords in both words and the art with Barry showing a lot of guilt and anger and the impact it has on Barry is really shown in this annual.

Godspeed as mentioned, is an excellent villain who has often boarded the lines of anti-hero to fully fledged evil villain but in this issue it is clear what his motives are and really cements his status for future stories.

There are some great action scenes and the battles with Godspeed are some of the finest he and Flash have had to date.

Art is fantastic throughout with wonderful, smooth inks that really do make the visuals a treat for readers.  The pencils are one of the standout parts of the book with some excellent double spread battle scenes and the image of Flash running through the cornfields on the first two pages are all highlights and really show off the talents Kollins.

This Annual also lays the foundations for what’s in store for the next couple of story arcs and is a pure joy to read throughout.

The current flash run hasn’t been without its ups and downs, with the recent ‘Force Quest’ comic hitting both highs and lows during its story arc but ‘Too many speedsters’ in an outstanding piece of work and one of Williamson’s greatest stories.  Do yourself a favour and race to your local comic store to pick this issue up, you won’t be disappointed!

Score out of 10:-

Story – 9.5

Art – 9

Overall – 9

The original team is back together on the cover to X-Force #1

X-Force #1-4 (2019) – Four issue story arc – Sins of the past

Written by: Ed Brisson

Drawn by: Dylan Burnett

The newly released X-Force comic book series kicks off with a four part story featuring the original X-Force members along with a couple of new additions of Deathlok and Kid Cable (yeah kid Cable)!

The story centres around the <imaginary> Country of Transia which was a safe haven for mutants but after a new president takes leadership he declares that mutants are no longer welcome in the Country and must leave or face mutant genocide!

This brings in X-force, to save the mutant refugees, while attempting to put an end to the leader’s dictatorship and with that going on the team themselves try to co-exist due to tensions amongst themselves.

The script is ok, despite the political issues slightly imitating parts of real life events it is very well handled.

Over the course of the four issues the story along with the X-Force team chemistry, is a slight let down and never really seems to kick out of third gear.

Brisson is a great writer and his recent X-Men work really shows what he is capable of but I must admit I expected more from this first story arc.   The story is not well paced with some parts feeling rushed while other parts simply dragged on and by the end of it all, I felt like the whole arc could have been told over just a couple of issues.  

If Brisson had fleshed out the character dynamics more and given more of a recap to the recent X-Termination series (of which this story loosly follows on from) it would have really helped.  I have read that previous story but for new readers it would leave them slightly confused and have to guess parts of the gap in the story.

My other issue is that the story doesn’t really give any more detail to Kid Cable, following on from his older self being killed and feels like a missed opportunity but more could be revealed in later issues. Another slight eye roller is how the whole team seem to forgive and forget recent actions and come together a little too quickly but you could simply argue that saving lives is more important than personal issues so in that regard it makes sense but for a lot of the story, despite having great mutants including Boom Boom, Cannon ball and Shatterstar, it just doesn’t quite click.

Issue four is the standout issue of the four issues and it does a great job of really opening the door for the next story arc which promises to be of much higher calibre if the hints towards the end of Sins of the past are anything to go buy.

Art wise I was not over keen sadly. Weak and murky pencils give the art a rushed feeling to them and some of the distant face images are not even filled in and as a result parts of book can come across as sloppy.  

Another frustration in art is in the way some of the characters are portrayed with some members barley looking how they should, Cannonball especially looks like he has aged 20 years and some of the body proportions are drawn out of proportion with the president having an oversized head as example and just doesn’t look believable.

The colours are good with a nice use of pallet but overall I don’t think Burnett on pencils is the right choice for what should have been one the X-Men’s standout books.

Issue five as mentioned kicks of a new story arc with s returning villain, so hopefully Brisson will get X-Force back on the strong writing path that this title deserves but for now this series is simply lacking but certainly pointing towards Improvements for future issues..

Score out of 10:-

Story – 5.5

Art – 4

Overall – 5

Hercules takes the centre stage in Avengers: No road home #1

Avengers – No Road Home #1

Written By: Al Ewing, Jim Zub, Mark Waid

Drawn by: Paco Medina

Following the success of Avengers: No Surrender the trio of writers who wrote that 10 issue weekly mini-series comic have reunited a year later to write a follow up and is again in the same 10 issue weekly format.

I found No Surrender only really found its stride after the third issue but with No road home there is no such concern with this story hitting the ground running.

The story opener does a great job of introducing the cast, which includes some returning favourites from No Surrender while also including some new recruits to this status quo ofAvengers.  The team are tasked to defeat a villain who hasliterally removed daylight, not just on Earth but throughout the galaxy sending the planets into chaos.

One of the best things going for this issue, as well as the great premise and wonderfully introduced setup is the chemistry between the main cast.  One standout scene is with Hercules and Rocket Racoon that leads to some genuine laugh out loud moments (just don’t call Rocket, a dog)!

There’s a great mix of heroes and despite a lot of introductions the story still progresses well and the main villain reveal at the end excites readers for the next issue.  

The trio of writers provide a great balance of humour and storytelling that is perfectly paced while also raising the seriousness at the right moments.  The final pages of the issue really does have a huge impact and ramifications and the script is compliments this well.

The art is another standout part of the comic, with  Medina really turning up the talent notch high with his take on the cast really delivering and the emotion on some of the heroes, particularly towards the end of the issue is to be commended.

You don’t need to have read No surrender, nor any other recent Avengers storylines to follow this series as Ewing, Zuband Waid do an excellent job of making this a very accessible story while also bringing readers up to speed on anything that they need to know to help add to the storytelling.

We are only one issue in to ‘No road home’ but if the writers keep the story at this engaging and well-paced level that it will be one of the standout comic book mini-series of the year. 

Score out of 10:-

Story9

Art: 9

Overall: 9

Thats all for this week. Be sure to come back next week where for more reviews including the full Avengers: No road home 10 issue series!

Comments, opinions can be added in the feedback below! Bye for now, thwip thwip!

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