Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Release Reviews For Image Comics, for 17 April, 2013

Welcome back to another edition of New Release Reviews for Image Comics. This is an interesting week for releases with a fairly cool selection. This mirrors the growth Image has gone through in the past decade, moving away from the beautifully drawn yet horribly written time on the 90s. Instead, some really great stuff is being published by them. This is reflected in the announcement of this years 2013 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards nominations.

Image is very well represented with four of the five Best Continuing Series nominations with Fatale, The Manhattan Projects, Prophet, and Saga. Each of those books' writers were nominated for Best Writer, as well. Saga and Fatale were both nominated for Best New Series. Sean Phillips was nominated for both Best Penciller/Inker and Best Cover Artist for Fatale. Brandon Graham got two nominations for Best Cover Artist and Best Coloring. Paul Grist got a Best Lettering nom for Mudman.

Mazel Tov to all the nominations.  As always … titles are scored on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the very best possible. We take the time to read these books so your time isn't wasted.

Mara - Issue 4

This is a paint-by-numbers kind of story about the beginnings of massively powered superhero. There is plenty of logic to this story as though the creative team had a check-list of beats to hit and they ticked them off one by one. However, this causes it to be a very flat story. Not helping it are the extremely flat characters who are virtually emotionless and communication as though they're just word on pages. Which is a shame because Mara seems like she has some potential to take on some tough subject matters.

But otherwise, the story is almost confusing. Conflict is hard to follow at times. And there is no good sense of scale for the character and her powers. All of a sudden, she can do all sorts of things and is making decisions that seem out of place for her. The interior artwork is decent and generally helps the story along though there are moments where things are a bit off. Coloring is just OK. The cover is pretty stylish but the coloring is horribly bland.

Score: 6.5 out of 10

Danger Club - Issue 5

Everything was swerves in this issue. Characters have plans and back-up plans. But nothing mattered as American Spirit unleashed his diabolical plan and ... maybe changed time? It's not all that clear. What is clear is that this is a violent comic. Like crazy violent. The interior art is excellent even though the character design is a bit soft making some characters hard to tell apart. The cover was minimalist and it hinted at things to come.

Score: 7.5 out of 10

The Li'l Depressed Boy - Issue 16

For a comic that had almost no action (there was a punch thrown this issue) there is a large amount of drama to this story. The biggest drama comes from a snow-storm and some bored townsfolk. And Toby. Toby screws things up but we all saw this coming. It's curious to see what this will do to LDB and Spike's growing relationship. The cover is great. The recap is great. Even the low fi art is alright.

Score: 9 out of 10

Five Ghosts - Issue 2 (of 5)

Like all fiction somethings just have to be accepted in order for anything to make sense. In this case, the strange powers the protagonist has make almost no sense but you go with it. He gets powers from the ghosts of fictional characters. It seems so odd but whatever.  Also, the decisions he and his friend make are confusing but without them it would just be two guys hanging around. The story is exciting. It's effectively one battle after another in a issue long escape. It's far from perfect. The opening climax resolves itself weakly.

The threats are pretty cool as the giant spiders are menacing. There is a new, possible ally that arrives that's pretty exciting, though he is as overpowered as the protagonist.. Characters are pretty-much one-note which grinds character development to a halt. The cover is very cool and dramatic, feeling very much like a sixties-era cover. The interior artwork is fine. It's dramatic and stylish and it handles the story well.

Score: 6.5 out of 10

What a great week for Image Comics and what an alright week for readers of Image Comics. The Li'l Depressed Boy is the clear winner of the week. Everything else is just ... meh. Congrats to all the nominees this week, as well. Stop back next week for more New Release Reviews for Image Comics.