This week from BOOM! Studios, Sam reviewed Lantern City and Kylee is enjoying the latest offering of Zodiac Starforce. She also reviewed Dark Horse’s new series Last Sons of America and continues to enjoy Harrow County, though this issue may have been the series’ first stumble.
Jackson wasn’t thrilled with the first issue of Superman: American Alien from DC Comics, but The Darkseid War: Green Lantern #1 somewhat made up for it. Thors from Marvel got our highest rating of the week and much well-deserved praise from Jackson.
Check out all of our reviews below and let us know what you think in the comments!
Lantern City #7 (of 12)
Author: Matthew Daley & Mairghread Scott
Artist: Carlos Magno
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
Well, shit. Things don’t go well for Sander this issue. I mean, talk about a blow. When Killian’s men find Karla working in a foundry Sander is elated. He brushes Terna aside and refuses Killian’s help, determined to rescue her himself. Using the information Killian’s men provided he goes to the foundry where she was last seen, but he doesn’t find Karla slaving away like he expected. No, instead he finds her running things in Pont’s name and watches as she murders a woman in cold blood.
Reeling from that revelation he goes back to Killian only to get another shock to the system. He learns just how crazy Killian really is when he takes him to his secret labratory and starts talking about experiments to escape this world and venture into a new one. Yeah, he wants to travel from dimension to dimension with some ‘lantern’ device. Dude’s crazy. On the plus side, now Sander realizes that if there’s anyone he can trust it’s Terna. Looks like if he ever finds Rennie he’s getting a little brother in Jom.
Glad to see that Sander is taking this all as well as he is. But I guess when your world has gotten this insane this quickly you don’t really have much of a choice but to roll with the punches.
Harrow County #7
The visuals that Tyler Crook brings to life in Harrow County continue to be worth the read alone – which is a good thing, as issue #7 may be the first in the series that really didn’t strike me as anything special. For a time, readers have known that Kammi isn’t exactly altruistic with her intentions, while we’ve repeatedly been witness to Emmy ignoring her own feelings of unease regarding her sister.
She finally grapples with these feelings and her ignorance of the situation between panels and scenes of Kammi recruiting the supernatural beings that Emmy was happier left alone. While the imagery is both beautiful and stomach churning at most points, it… is beautiful and stomach churning and repetitive. Kammi is amassing a following. That’s pretty much all that happens until the final panels when Emmy makes her decision to confront her sister.
It’s something of a filler issue that is setting up a larger showdown between the siblings, but if this is the worst that Harrow County has to offer to date, the series isn’t doing too shabby. As mentioned, the visuals of these supernatural creatures are worth the time alone. The way they are presented gives them the ethereal feeling that they could side with either sister – good or evil – and it just so happens that Kammi beats Emmy to the punch. Issue #7 is one of the weakest issues to date, but it’s setting up something that should be worth the wait, if past issues are accounted for.
Last Sons of America #1
A biological terrorist attack on America leads to a new kind of business – bringing in children from other countries to be adopted by childless families. Jackie and Julian are brothers and adoption agents based in Nicaragua who get mixed up in the competition and the local crime in this new series from BOOM! Studios.
With the easy comparison to Children of Men, this series raises some interesting questions while boiling the sci-fi elemends down to the smallest cogs in the machine.
Zodiac Starforce #3
Issue #3 of Zodiac Starforce gives readers a lot to think about in terms of Astra and the teams. After ignoring her advice that nature must take its course with Emma and her infection, the team opened up a portal to fight the infection at its source and they… can’t… close it. This leads to a battle-heavy issue that still maintains the heart of what I love about Zodiac Starforce. There’s teenaged squabbling about what the next move should be, the kind of teasing only your best friends put up with, and a High School Detective Club that stands in for the fangirls in all of us.
The most interesting turn comes when we allow Diana her evil monologue, where she reveals what happened to her old team and how Astra had refused to help her then. It was Cimmeria who granted her help and thus, Diana became a member of team evil. This allows readers to question whether the current Zodiac Starforce team going against Astra’s wishes is going to have the same kind of consequences.
Artist Paulina Ganucheau continues to bring bright pops of color and diversity to Zodiac Starforce even as the storytelling takes a turn for the dark, as well as showcasing her prowess with Magical Girl battle scenes. The interactions amongst the characters feel real and grounded, making this series one I wish was around to give my teenage self.
Superman: American Alien #1 of 7
Author: Max Landis
Artist: Nick Dragotta
Publisher: DC Comics
DC has spent more than 75 years trying to improve on perfection. The Superman origin has never been anything less than idea, blending biblical mythology with before its time sci-fi wizardry and giving a child the perfect mission, saving a world that’s not his simply because he has the power to do so. Still, countless writers have attempted to put their own spin on the early days of Clark Kent. Honestly, very, very few of them have been worth reading and fewer still could even be considered good.
Max Landis has probably been the closest thing to a crossover comics personality, between the success of Chronicle and his “Death and Return of Superman” YouTube film but his actual comics writing is, well, more miss than hit. DC’s given him a real shot at flexing his cinematic sensibilities with Superman: American Alien #1 but the results are less than exciting. The first issue of the miniseries, illustrated by Nick Dragotta but each issue will have a different artist, tells the story of a young Clark Kent trying to control his flight powers while his adoptive parents learn to overcome their fear and suspicion to help the child they still don’t fully understand.
Lots of this issue is well realized and emotional and Landis makes Clark both achingly human and, occasionally, frighteningly alien but there’s a creeping sense that the whole issue is unnecessary. We’ve read this origin story so, so many times and little wrinkles, like Martha Kent’s miscarriage and a young Clark’s burgeoning anger, only weaken or flatten these characters, not add more to them.
In the last five years, we’ve already gotten at least three different origins for Superman, one which did so much more than this issue in only 8 pages. I came away from this issue with only a feeling that I’ve been there, done that and no amount of artful flourishes or tragic additions are going to make it feel like this is worth another seven issue miniseries.
It’s weird to still be talking or thinking about Secret Wars as Marvel rolls out its new publishing initiative but the ending of Jason Aaron and Chris Sprouse’s Thors miniseries justifies looking backwards. Aaron takes the opportunity to empower his Jane Foster hammer-swinger with a sense of legend and power, suitable for a character who’s already earned rave reviews since her debut and Sprouse is the perfect artist to bring that moment to life.
In this week’s Thors #4, Ultimate Thor and Thor the Unworthy storm Doomgard to bring the Fosters Killer to justice. It’s mostly a fight comic, with Sprouse showing off why he’s one of the most well regarded artists of this generation. It’s a burly, epic fight, with each of the different Thors getting a moment in the spotlight as they shatter walls, break bones and makes sure their hammers ring out across Battleworld.
It’s all in service of empowering Aaron’s new Thor, whose new series starts next week and, honestly, I couldn’t be happier. Many were worried how the Jane Foster’s time as Thor would fare with her entering Secret Wars with only eight issues before the crossover but Thors ends with a confirmation that this character means more than just being a “woman Thor.” She’s part of a long history, a long line of characters, all worthy of holding the hammer.
The Darkseid War: Green Lantern #1
Author: Tom King
Artist: Doc Shaner
Publisher: DC Comics
I’ve been a critic of Geoff Johns’ already too long Darkseid War storyline in Justice League. The death of Darkseid feels like it should be an event that leads to more than a handful of one-shots and turning the League into a Host of Apokaliptan gods but a few of the one-shots have done a decent job fleshing out the character changes in a way that’s rooted to who the heroes are.
The Darkseid War: Green Lantern #1 is mostly notable for art by the great Doc Shaner but those reading Tom King’s story are in for a surprising treat as well. Rushing to Oa to stop Parademons from seizing the central battery, Hal Jordan is forced to confront overwhelming odds and take on his former friends as he questions his lack of faith. The issue has a layered story structure that’s hard to explain without ruining a great twist ending but it all adds up to a story that does a great job explaining the dangers and relative advantages of Hal’s relentless belief in himself.
More than almost any of DC’s other marquee franchises, Green Lantern has been in a strange position over the last year, with Hal on the outs with the Corps and becoming a criminal in order to take on the galaxy’s greatest threats. The Darkseid War: Green Lantern #1 shows that Hal is stronger and braver than the position he’s in right now and is a nice testament to those longtime fans who’ve stuck with the character through his many dubious incarnations. Even if it’s shackled to a less than dubious premise, it’s an issue well worth buying for long time Green Lantern fans.