Saturday, November 30, 2013

New Release Reviews For Image Comics, for 29 November, 2013

Welcome back to another edition of New Release Reviews for Image Comics. I'm just gonna let you know, right now, that this is quite possibly the best week ever for Image Comics. Easily the best week since I've been doing this review. I'm hoping Derek takes a crack at these four issues as I'd like to see his counter-point. This week is pretty stinking awesome. Four titles. Should you them all home? Find out below. Oh, and this should be the last week that I say anything about The Hunger Games : Catching Fire. 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.

Saga - Issue 16

Just ... yes. Please.

Let me get this out in the open ... the previous issue was just OK. I mean, it was still better than most comics on the market. It's just that it wasn't the usual OMG kind of issue. The creative team have had quite a few of those in the the first fifteen issues. Last issue just wasn't one of them. I'm willing to bet that in retrospect, it will play a lot better in collected editions. As for this issue, things are a bit fragmented but something positive comes out of that. We finally get some stakes for the journalists. It's still not clear how they're ultimately going to play into things but they've finally got a hook of sorts. There section gave the story a sudden jolt as information is shared about Alana. Now, whether it is true or not is beside the point. Doubt has been sewn and it creeps into the rest of the story giving it different meaning. Just fantastic layering. And believable.

At the other end of the issue is a nice synching of characters. We knew this was coming but it ratchets up the stakes considerably and means that there are two more surprises coming which is amazing. Who would have thought the best conflict in comic books would take place between a one-eyed writer, a prince with a television for a head, and a scorned ex-girlfriend? That's an HBO TV series right there in that log-line. Lots of little great things. A list of names creates excitement and angst. A children's story is told and it's gorgeous and horrific. Lying Cat is completely out of sorts and it's wonderful. The commentary on writers working with artists is brilliant commentary. Speaking of art, it's as excellent as usual. Even the font color choices make perfect sense.

Score: 10 out of 10

Manhattan Projects - Issue 16

Science versus military? Usually not a major fight as the military tends to fund most scientific advancement. In this case, they literally were trying to kill each other. Honestly, it seems unlikely that the military will win given how smart these men are. There are a few moments that are a bit confusing but for the most part, it's an amazing build-up in tension. And it is a violent story which is amusing given all the scientists involved. The artwork is weird an pretty much perfect. The cover is as awesome as normal.

Score: 9 out of 10

Sex Criminals - Issue 3

History was delved into some more in this issue but a different kind of history. The first two issues were about the early stages of the protagonists' sexuality and the emergence of their powers. The Girlfriend had some things to say about the first issue but not as much as issue two. I'm curious about her thoughts on this one as it was a different focus. Issue one was about Suzie and issue two was about John. John's sex with actual humans was the focus of issue three. There was an interesting matter-of-fact nature to the line-up which quickly conveyed a large amount of data is small panels. Some time was spent on a same-sex relationship but it wasn't judgmental. Given the confusion about their powers, his reason seemed ... reasonable. The only real knock on this issue was the sub-plot about the bank robbery and the other group of powered beings. It gets so little page time so there's little momentum there. It should collect well.

This book is funny. Lots of humor and none of it seems forced and slap-stick. It feels very human. Even the notes over the redacted song are great. Especially the way they point out the crappy way that iTunes/ComiXology handled their series (don't forget something similar happened to Saga, as well.) It's a shame that those digital distributors ... pulled out. Ba-dump-dump. Seriously, I hope this extra publicity encourages readers to pick the series up at local retailers who need the business.

Random thoughts. The recap section continues to be as good as the Valiant Universe's. Helpful and entertaining. The music number was great for the topic of licensing. Sure to appeal to The Girlfriend. The sex shop battle was quite amusing. The overall look of the series is great. The art is solid but the true gem is the coloring. It's vibrant and it pops and enhances the lines. The cover is subtle but it works perfectly for the tale.

Score: 9 out of 10

The Bounce - Issue 7

This issue, like the series, is sort of interesting. The look and design of the tale is intriguing. It's just the execution that leaves an enormous amount to be desired. The characters are lame and/or disgusting. Much like the story. Series writer Joe Casey writes another series for Image that I dislike immensely called Sex. Both stories are so abstract that all that's left is the dirt and grime he seems to revel in. Maybe I'm missing something, here, but I don't get it. And I desparately would like to. People really seem to like his work. Help me out here, people. Oh, but I did like the cover.

Score: 4 out of 10

As this week goes, I only have myself to blame. It could have been a near perfect week of releases but I threw The Bounce in. Don't buy it. Maybe I'll come around on Joe Casey one of these days but not this day. As for everything else, hurry up and buy them. Like, right now. That's $9.99 plus tax. There isn't a better ten bucks you can spend in a comic book store. Or wherever you get these. Stop on back next week for more New Release Reviews for Image Comics.