Getting a weekly sub list at the Local Comic Shop, I’m hoping to do some short reviews. These are less about “I recommend you buy these” and more my own sketchy attempts to figure out what works and doesn’t work in comics.
Thor #2 by Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo – 4/5
I’m taking this off my pull list, but it’s got a lot going for it. Aaron is clearly building off his prior years on Thor, and I’m finding that I want to go back and read those before continuing at this point.
Story: Aaron’s weaving a big tale of war across the realms. While the last issue was mostly a “here’s where Thor is” issue, this one begins painting the multitude of players. Hel, the land of the dead, is the main stage here, and by the end of the issue we’re seeing three claimants to it’s throne moving around their pieces.
While this is interesting, Aaron makes sure to keep things personal. This is not a story about the Realms, but about Thor and his relations dealing with that problem. To that end, Aaron brings out the other dead Odinson’s – Tyr and Balder – along with Loki for a family reunion occur. Seeing them interact is great, and Aaron does a good job of making them unique characters.
Of special mention is Thori, Thor’s faithful hellhound. The beast, a lovable mutt who just wants to murder his master’s enemies, steals every page he’s on.
Art: Mike del Mundo is a skilled and attractive artist, but is crap as a sequential storyteller. His style makes for great pages when things aren’t concrete. See the opening pages where an unseen speaker describes Hel, the disembodied voice overlaid on a map, through a which a train is making it’s way. These sort of dreamy formalist pages are beautiful.
But as soon as he needs to give a sense of specific place, things quickly get murky. His painterly style should be great, in theory, for the flame and ice images of fire giants roving through frozen Hel, but it just gets messy with pages that constantly take effort to discern the basics of what’s going on. The guy would make a great cover artist or a guest artist for specific storylines (I’d love to see him do Dr. Strange on a dream-adventure), but not concrete enough for the basics.
Further reason why I’m taking this off my list. But Aaron is great.
Marvel 2-in-One #7, by Chip Zdarsky and Ramon K. Perez – 5/5
Zdarsky’s Marvel 2-in-One continues to be my favorite monthly read. Full of heart with great artists, it’s a pitch perfect Fantastic Four story (minus 2 of the Four). This has set the bar for Slott’s run on the main F4 title beginning next month, and it’s a damned high bar.
Story: Zdarsky continues the tale of Ben, Johnny, a reformed(ish) Dr. Doom, and newbie Rachna Koul traveling through multiverses. While the vistas have changed and allow for great high-adventure tales, the core of the story continues to be the lie that Reed and Sue are still alive. Johnny is still in the dark, Ben continues peddling it, Doom digs the knife into Ben for his lies, and Rachna has her own schemes.
While Ben and Johnny are great, Doom is stealing the comic. He’s still the prideful jerk he always is, but being on the side of the angels means that, well, he’s often right. He sees right through Ben’s very dangerous white lie. And really, one is left siding with Doom. It’s delightful, in a terrible sort of way.
Art: Perez’s work is great. This book’s art has been nothing but awesome – Jim Cheung, Valerio Schitti, Declan Shalvey – and Perez continues. It’s a clean style, emphasizing soft, curved lines. It gives it the feeling of a cartoon, but it stays classical enough in it’s form to keep it mature. There’s a few panels which are confusing, but nothing egregious (though one clearly mis-applied word balloon does raise one’s ire).
The designs also continue being great. As a multiversal travel book, each locale offers their own unique take on classic characters. This world shows off a Dr. Strange with an Eye of Agamotto eye-patch and a Spider-Man gone Mad-Max crazy with a Captain America hood and Kraven jacket.
I adore this book.