C.O.W.L. 7 (December 2014)

C.O.W.L. #7

The issue starts off a little rocky. Reis gets a big action sequence and it’s all style and no substance. Then Higgins and Siegel gradually ease the substance out of that scene as the rest of the comic progresses. Because they’re now introducing the supervillains, or what goes for a supervillain in C.O.W.L. and things are getting very interesting.

There’s a lot of subplot building, between the murdered union member, the union boss making a deal with the villains, the guy getting out of the hospital. There’s a lot–so much when there’s this thing with one of the regular superheroes and a cop talking, it’s just too much to track. But Higgins and Siegel keep it in line and constantly surprising.

And Reis gets another good action sequence.

Then the cliffhanger brings in a whole other issue, since it’s a reveal no one knows but the reader.

Very cool.

B+ 

CREDITS

The Greater Good, Chapter One: At the Brink; writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Andy Schmidt; publisher, Image Comics.

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Letter 44 13 (December 2014)

Letter 44 #13

Soule frames the issue around a speech from the President, revealing the existence of the aliens. He’s also got some scenes in space–the majority of those scenes are useless by the end of the issue–and some earthbound political intrigue.

He also has the United States and Germany going back to war and nothing happens from it. It’s an exceptionally interesting idea, one with a lot of promise, but Soule just uses Germany as this little group of villains. It’s a strange misstep, given how smart the rest of Soule’s political intrigue usually goes.

And the stuff in space isn’t great. The issue has some of Alburquerque’s best art at the beginning during a boxing match, but then the encounter with the aliens is poorly illustrated. There’s no depth or perspective to the art.

As for the aliens… Hopefully Soule has something more going than what he does here.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Charles Soule; penciller, Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque; colorist, Dan Jackson; letterer, Crank!; editor, Robin Herrera; publisher, Oni Press.

Manifest Destiny 11 (October 2014)

Manifest Destiny #11

In some ways, this issue of Manifest Destiny is stronger than I thought Dingess and Roberts would ever actually do. It’s not high concept in the plot–Lewis is simply trying to free the ship of being stuck in the river and to get them away from the giant monster toad.

But it’s high concept in Dingess plots out this action issue. There’s the tension over the situation, but there are all these other things going on. Dingess has done so well in layering in the subplots, he can easily refer back to them with just a panel or two of Roberts’s close-ups on various characters.

Sacagawea, for example, only shows up for a couple silent appearances in panels but she’s still a presence in the comic. And the banter between Lewis and his new love interest is brief and fantastic.

Plus, there’s Lewis and Clark bonding.

Excellent stuff.

CREDITS

Writer, Chris Dingess; artist, Matthew Roberts; colorist, Owen Gieni; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Gotham by Midnight 2 (February 2015)

Gotham by Midnight #2

For a good fifth of this issue, which Templesmith paces out well, it seems like the Spectre might show up. He does, but Templesmith doesn’t show him. But for a while, it seems like Templesmith is going to show the Spectre. It’s really cool.

And Fawkes and Templesmith know what they’re doing with it. Fawkes constructs a whole flashback not just around the origin story of the nun, but also of the villains–and the Spectre gets to show up. Sort of.

The rest of the issue just isn’t long enough. Fawkes has the nun and another cop with a couple possessed kids at home, then Corrigan and the bean counter (who, surprisingly, isn’t regular cast yet) fighting the big bad of the issue. The action gets the emphasis, but one wants to see Templesmith do it all.

Fawkes has his bumpy moments, but Gotham by Midnight’s really compelling.

CREDITS

We Will Not Rest; writer, Ray Fawkes; artist, Ben Templesmith; letterer, Dezi Sienty; editors, Dave Wielgosz and Rachel Gluckstern; publisher, DC Comics.

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