This week, Kylee took a look at Kurt Sutter’s foray into comics with Lucas Stand #1 from BOOM! Studios while Jackson looked at the newest Flash #1 from DC’s Rebirth event. He’s also enjoying The Might Thor #8 from Marvel Comics.
Check out the full reviews below and tell us what you’re reading in the comments!
Lucas Stand #1 (of 6)
Author: Kurt Sutter, Caitlin Kittredge
Artist: Jesús Hervás
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
Kurt Sutter, with the help of Caitlin Kittredge, brings his flair for anti-heroes and his ear for dialogue to comic books with the newest series from BOOM! Studios, Lucas Stand. Fans of Sutter will recognize the grit and moral ambiguity in this series, while exploring the fate of a veteran dealing with trauma, emotional and physical, after returning from the war in Afghanistan. But rather than end it all, he’s given a choice…
The Mighty Thor #8
Author: Jason Aaron
Artist: Russel Dauterman
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Every Thor run has to reckon with the legacy of Walt Simonson. Simonson’s long run on the character brought The God of Thunder back to basics with a focused, fantasy aesthetic that used the attitude and style of the ‘80s to create something that eclipsed and escaped Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s legacy. The problem is that every writer since has mostly tried to do the same thing.
Jason Aaron mostly avoided this when he took over Thor in 2012 by focusing on the cosmic over the fantastic. His Thor was a god before a hero and was battling appropriately unholy foes. The shift to a new hammer-wielder with Thor and, now, The Mighty Thor has struggled to find a way to step out of that shadow but it’s finally peaking out of the darkness with The Mighty Thor #8, written by Aaron and drawn by Russel Dauterman.
The issue smartly focuses on Jane Foster as she struggles to balance her heroic actions with ostensibly receiving cancer treatments but she’s quickly drawn into an investigation with intrepid SHIELD agent Roz Solomon as the organization gets closer to unraveling her heroic identity.
The meat of the issue is a roundtable among the world’s richest villains as they plot their next, world-spanning scheme and it’s a scene that crackles with electric, mustache-twirling malevolence. The book’s never more fun than when it’s letting sinister baddies be sinister and Dario Agger’s machinations getting away from him is beyond exciting to see and its focus on a grounded group of schemers present a front that Thor can’t stop with a few smacks of a hammer. The scenes with the villains poking and toying with each other are exciting and the last reveal of the newest player on the scene offers exciting things to come.
I haven’t been wild about The Mighty Thor since it came back after Secret Wars but the newest issue finally offers something readers haven’t seen with this character and world before, which is all I can really ask for. It’s a great showcase of what makes The God of Thunder such an exciting, malleable hero who can face off with a wide variety of different villains and situations.
The Flash #1
Author: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Carmine Di Ginadomenic
Publisher: DC Comics
Earned or unearned, the Flash has a reputation as one of DC’s most reader-unfriendly characters. While it’s certainly not the case, as the fact that at one point in time, the Legion of Superheroes existed while their origin was no longer canonical, the Scarlet Speedster has rarely had a run that stayed true to the character and his universe while still offering a compelling entry point for readers unfamiliar with the character.
Some of the best modern runs on The Flash, like Mark Waid’s iconic run in the ‘90s, the abbreviated Grant Morrison and Mark Millar run or the long albeit extremely controversial Geoff Johns run, all depended heavily on readers bringing a lot of knowledge and expectation into a story that demanded commitment on the first page.
I’ll say this for The Flash #1 by DC Comics newbie Joshua Williamson and artistic powerhouse Carmine Di Giandomenico, they have an easier in than most for new readers. Following some of the work done with the New 52 relaunch, their incarnation of Barry Allen draws heavily from Johns’ The Flash Rebirth miniseries, which, more than any other story, informed Barry’s portrayal on The Flash TV show.
It’s a homicidal origin story to build pathos on, with the Peter Parker sarcastic stylings of Wally West and police procedural structure to anchor a story around and it’s worked as well on TV as it does in print. Barry feels grounded and human here, even if he’s dealing with the same problems he’s had since the New 52 began.
It’s always been clear that writers on The Flash have wanted to write the more exciting, fun, interesting Wally West and have been stuck with the wallpaper paste that is Barry. As such, the scenes with Barry out of costume feel divided and lack sharpness. It’s been a persistent problem over the last 5 years and one that isn’t fixed here.
However, every scene with Barry in costume is electric. Di Giandomenico has an incredible talent for drawing bodies in motion and it’s been a long time since the Flash has felt this fast and this powerful. Every scene with him feels like it’s crackling with speed and possibility, showcasing a character that can do anything and be anywhere.
It’s too bad that the script, in a problem common to many Flash stories, keeps Barry racing to solve problems that it feels like he should be able to complete effortlessly. Still, the script plays effectively with a lightning motif, anchoring everything around electricity and storms in a really coherent, compelling way.
The Flash #1 is a compelling entry point for a new run on DC’s fastest character but it’s more iterative than innovative. It doesn’t feel like the relaunch that it needs to be after the last 52 issues of The Flash failed to capitalize on the character’s higher profile. This is a book that really needs to focus on finding what’s compelling about Barry Allen before writing him into another story that doesn’t really need him.