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Weekly Comic Book Reviews #9

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

A slow ending to a slow series in Heroes in Crisis #9

Heroes in Crisis #9

Written by: Tom King

Drawn by: Clay Mann

The mini-series that’s been running for the past three months finally reaches its conclusion in the 9th and final issue.

Heroes in Crisis has struggled to gain any momentum from the opening issue and after reading the entire storyline it has been an uneventful, slow paced journey that overall has been extremely underwhelming.

The story of Sanctuary, a refuge where Heroes can check themselves in to, if they feel mentally affected by their day to day heroics and traumas could and should have been a great foundation for an excellent and emotionally moving story.  Sadly the premise is dragged out at such a boring pace with so much unnecessary and uneventful filler that even two issues in, readers are left wondering when the story will pick up pace.  

The same question continues through to issue 8 when the script does show signs of life but after reading the finale, rather than ending in an emotional, dynamically changing way, it stutters and trips its way to the finish line.

After reading the full 9 issue series, I’m left wondering how this was given the green light to be the length it has been when it would have been much more suited to a more self-contained three issue story. 

The overall arc has been so shallow with an exhausting narrative, that serves little point in what the story should have set out to so, with a bland ending with little payoff, that made the first 8 issues fairly meaningless.  

Art is fantastic though and if you are a fan of Mann’s work you’ll enjoy every visually detailed panel of this series and it is no doubt his finest work yet.

King has a lot of work to do now in my opinion in terms of making a believer out of me after this shallow and long winded mini-series and the recent 7 issue ‘Knightmares’ storyline over in the ongoing Batman title.  

The only saving grace in this particular issue was the way Wally West was handled and the overall outcome of his scenes and it will be interesting to see where his story goes from here but I think his side of the book would have been better played out in the ongoing Flash title.

If you missed this series you really aren’t missing anything at all and to say that about one of DC’s ‘biggest events of the year’ is a sad shame.

Score out of 10:-

Story – 2.5

Art – 9

Overall – 3

Superior Spiderman #5 – #6 – Two Part Storyline – ‘Super Otto Magic’

Written byChristos Gage

Drawn by: Mike Hawthorne

The redemption of Otto Octavius, whose mind is now in the body of a new persona continues throughout the ongoing series of Superior Spiderman

Up to now this series has been a fun, if a fairly no thrills ride but six issues in there is still little in the way of plot development moving forward.

This two part storyline is a good story and is certainly an enjoyable enough read and features a team up with the master of the mystic arts, Doctor Strange who form an uneasy alliance to take on a bigger threat.

The chemistry between Doc Ock and Doctor Strange is very well handled with some great narrative between the two.  The team up between two characters in itself feels fresh and new and the pair squabble and insult in a comical way with Otto’s overly opinionated behaviour clashing with the calm and sensible morals of Strange but manage to both work together when it counts.  

In the case of the bigger threat, they must do battle with a demon who literally takes possession of humans and turns them into demons to control at will.

The pace is fast and overall the plot just about holds together through this two-parter but again does little to advance any overarching storylines.

Six months into Gages run of Superior and I’m starting to wonder where this series is heading with only a couple of minor subplots, the series is starting to feel a little bit of a monster of the month type of book with little payoff from issue to issue in terms of progression and overarching storylines. 

The art still continues to be just about above average, feeling a little sloppy in places, particularly with facial features and pencils still feel somewhat sketchy and a less rushed approached would help give more detail in the panels.

The best parts of the book continue to be Otto himself and his relationships with those around him, particularly with his former love interest, Anne Marie who he continues to proof himself worthy too and the redemption is more toward her than for Otto himself.  

I am hoping the next storyline starts to raise the bar and judging from the epilogue at the end of this story hints that Mephisto could be involved but the overall stories and plot advancement needs improve from  above average to being more Superior, not just in title.

Score out of 10:-

Story – 6.5

Art – 6

Overall – 6.5

Riri Williams and Miles Morales teamup In #6 of Iron-Heart!

Riri Williams – Ironheart #6

Written By: Eve Ewing

Drawn by: Kevin Libranda

Iron-Heart is a great marvel character who has attitude, brains along with a sassy, take no messing style of behaviour and it really resonates in this ongoing title.

I have been enjoying this run so far and this standalone storyfollowing the opening 5 part storyline, continues to add to that.  

This issue features everyone’s other favourite Spiderman – Miles Morales as they team up to do battle in a Groundhog Day situation.  The story takes place in a cabin retreat in the mountains all the while doing battling with alien enemiesscheming to take over, so it’s just another day in the life for our costumed Superheroes!

The plot is a direct tie in with the ongoing series, Champions as this story picks up after events in that series.  Riri and Miles are both members of the Champions team but knowing the current plot from Champions isn’t necessary, as Ewingsscript ensures that this is accessible enough for readers who don’t buy both books it but does help add detail to the story if you are a reader of Champions too.

Following a fallout between Miles and the rest of the team, due to actions in Champions, Miles escapes to a cabin in the woods to clear his head and despite coming to blows with Iron-Heart she follows him to talk things over.  The conversation is cut short when Riri realises that time is standing still in the cabin with Miles thinking he’s been gone one day but in fact he has been there for two weeks.  

The duo team up reluctantly to find the source of the problem which leads to the calm retreat turning in to all out action with an alien invasion.

It’s a fun, neat if slightly silly self-contained one shot storythat has a good mix of action, intrigue and humour.  The narrative and chemistry between Iron-Heart and Spidey is excellently written, with an ending that is very well handled.  It also does a good job of wanting readers to pick up Champions, if that was intended or not. (Champions is a great title that I do recommend by the way, true believers).

The art is sharp and detailed with a really good bright use of colour palettes and the look of the book really does complement the writing with facial features matching the conversations in the script.

Overall it’s another strong outing for Iron-Heart, the series is starting to feel a bit like a team up book in each month and next issue seems to continue the tradition with Wasp making an appearance and it would be nice to see Iron-Heart having more of the story devoted to her to help advance plot rather than guest hero of the month but overall this issue and the series in general, is a recommended read that’s worthy of your comic book spending money!

Score out of 10:-

Story8

Art: 8.5

Overall: 8

The mystery of Leviathan unravels in the pages of Action Comics: Superman!

Action Comics: Superman – 5 Issue Storyline – ‘Leviathan Rising’

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis

Drawn by: Steve Epting

The new era of Superman continues under the scribing of Brian Michael Bendis in this new story arc that lays the foundations for one of DCs big summer events – Leviathan.

This story is about a new secret organisation that have been secretly infiltrating all of the government and superhero agencies without anyone being aware, including D.E.O. and A.R.GU.S. and they have been gathering intel on all agencies along with information on all superheroes.

The story is played out in an excellent mystery, thriller style of narrative as the cast learn how to deal with this new threat that turns out to be have part of a much bigger masterplan, orchestrated years in the making.

The guess work of who is behind Leviathan runs throughout the course of these five issue.  It’s a great who done it style mystery and Bendis weaves a deep and immersive plot in Leviathan Rising and despite a large cast the narrative never gets over complicated in script and story.  The plot is easy to follow and gives a fresh angle in storytelling for quite some time in a Superman comic.

Superman enlists the help of some of the world’s greatest detectives to find out who is compromising the government secret agencies and soon come the startling fear that it is people on the inside who may even be involved in the takeovers which then becomes a question of who can you trust.

After the recent Heroes in Crisis mystery saga which was another ‘who done it style’ storyline, Leviathan Rising is a much more competent and engaging story than the slow paced, bland script of Heroes in Crisis, it also has a lot more of a payoff and reason for parting with your money.

Although this story in Action Comics, may sound more suspense than action, worry not, there is plenty of action throughout these five issues but even in the calmer parts of the Leviathan rising storyline everything serves a purpose and all adds to the deep script of the overall plot, though there is a slow pace during the halfway mark of this story it isn’t enough that it slows the exciting story down.

The pencils are very wonderfully detailed with excellent artwork throughout each issue.  There is a really great use of colours too with some spectacular large panel sections that really show of the great skills of artist Epting.

Overall, despite this leading to the bigger storyline for the DC summer event, this story really helps set the stage and is an entertaining mystery superhero thriller story.

Score out of 10:-

Story – 8.5

Art – 9

Overall – 8.5

That’s all for this week true believers. Be sure to leave any feedback in the comments below.

Until next week, this is Neil signing out. Thwip Thwip!

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