Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New Release Reviews for Image Comics, for 8 May, 2013

Welcome back to another edition of New Release Reviews for Image Comics.  It's an interesting week for Image with four titles reviewed. Obviously, that's not the big comic book news of the week. Disney and Marvel Comics released Iron Man 3 in the US, after an extremely successful international debut. But not all news is good about this as the studio is trying to lock up Robert Downey Jr. for future roles and it sounds like not everyone is happy about working with Marvel.

Fans seemed mixed on Sir Ben Kingsley's performance as the Mandarin. Also, word has it that Shane Black is set to direct another comic book related property with a movie version of Doc Savage. Lots of exciting news but let's stay focused on Image. 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.

I Love Trouble - Issue 5

This series finally has turned the corner going from something sophomoric to something a little more engaging. When it began (so many issues ago) it had a certain bad girl feel to it. Punky girl with a sexpot poise being thrown into a trashy situations and a sudden power that would put her in uncomfortable positions. Quickly, they moved out of that trope. However it became more of a 007 style adventure as Felecia, the protagonist, seemed to embrace her new powers. Mostly running around and assassinating people. A slight shift began when her boyfriend revealed his true colors opening the door for growth.

A lot of that happened in this issue as the trauma of her job began to hit her. The cover touches upon the demons she's battling and it carried over into a rather odd therapy session. Two of them if you count her trip to the local bar with a coworker. The malaise that she's feeling interestingly mirrored in the coloring of the book. It's an odd tone they use and it captures the tormented soul of the hero. The early signs of healing growth are evident as she's willing to share her feelings and open up with her coworkers.

Though not a fully changed character, slow steps are being made and that's encouraging. And the issues she's faced and is facing have not gone away so there is opportunities for her to rise and fall. The interior artwork is deceptive in style. It's sort of cartoony but kind of hip in its own way. A lot of attention given to layouts and it pays off. The cover design is excellent and stylish. The title treatment is outstanding and deserves a lot of attention for the way it differentiates itself from most other titles on the stands.

Score: 8.5 out of 10

Savage Dragon - Issue 187

There are numerous moment when reading Savage Dragon that feelings are evoked about Jack Kirby. Creator and artist Erik Larsen is doing a type of Kirby with this book. He's not as talented but there is enormous influence felt within the pages. Say what you will about Larsen and his ability, this series has been a long undertaking and he deserves credit. He, also, deserves props for trying different things. In the letters column of the issue, he mentions trying to do several things different with this issue and the results were mixed.

Certain design tricks were employed to force Larsen to tell a different kind of story. He employed a rigid six panel layout with results that were a bit hard to follow. There was a chaotic pace to a story that leans heavily upon almost 200 issues of story. If you're not familiar with all the prior issues, this will be confusing. The drama was rather odd at points with unusual stakes. The art was rough at points and the coloring was very experimental. The cover is dramatic, and it had a decent look.

Score:6.5 out of 10

Invincible Universe - Issue 2

There two battles occurring in this issue. The first is Robot trying to save Liu's brain. That seems like a strange concept but, essentially, Liu is a bad-guy who has a Chinese dragon trapped in his brain. The thing is that he's very old and his brain is falling apart. So, Robot works very hard to fix him so they can stop the dragon from rampaging. That would be the other battle. The dragon is rampaging and it's almost unstoppable.

The dragon fight was mostly heroes posing and pointing and flying. So, honestly, it wasn't very exciting or interesting. The battle to save Liu's brain was much more interesting. There was some cool medical stuff and thinking on their feet. Other stuff happened like a near proposal and Cecil learning a lesson about assistants. The artwork was fine for the issue. The cover is fun and exciting  which heightens the super-heroic aspect of this universe.

Score: 7 out of 10

The Walking Dead - Issue 110

Sometimes a lot of action happens involving zombies and fighting and stuff. This isn't one of those issues. Sure, Jesus (post-apocalyptic survivor, not the son of god) kicks some major ass by catching a spear in mid-flight with his bare hands. But that's about everything physical. Everything else is emotional conversationally violent. Much revolves around Rick's planned rebellion against Negan and Jesus having to deal with a (temporary) traitor. The rebellion is the main source of conversation and conflict. People are reacting differently to this and it seems confusing that people would still be scared after surviving the zombie apocalypse.

If you can get past the looming betrayal you expect one of the characters to initiate, it was an interesting tale. Especially with the story about Ezekiel and his tiger. It's a striking image and I hope the show lasts long enough for him to appear. His interaction with Michonne was solid. The interior artwork is just fine and is very consistent for this series. The cover is pretty simple but it does tall you all sorts of things that are about to happen in the story.

Score: 8 out of 10

It's not a bad week from Image Comics. Certainly no Iron Man 3 but it's still pretty solid. Obviously, fans of The Walking Dead should be happy with the new issue. And I Love Trouble is definitely worth looking at. Everything else is just OK. Stop on back next week for more New Release Reviews for Image Comics.