Category Archives: Reviews

Star Wars: War OF The Bounty Hunters #1 Review

STAR WARS: WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS #1
Written by: Charles Soule
Art: Luke Ross

Released: 02/06/21
Publisher: Marvel Comics

‘You know who I am. Boba Fett. You know what that name means.’

-Boba Fett, War of the Bounty Hunters #1

Let’s face it – everyone’s favourite thing about Star Wars is the bounty hunters. Or rather one bounty hunter in particular. And anyone who tells you otherwise is, quite frankly, lying through their teeth.

It is unsurprising then that, now the focus of Marvel’s Star Wars line has shifted to the often-unexplored gap between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, the House of Ideas and Lucasfilm have decided to squeeze in all the crime syndicates, smugglers and bounty hunters they possibly can. More specifically, this event, which spreads itself across a limited series, several one shots and multiple issues of the four Star Wars ongoing series, reveals what happened to Han Solo between his being loaded onto Slave 1 in Cloud City and his arrival at Jabba’s palace. That’s a big gap to fill in our knowledge and if this first issue is anything to go by, the slow reveal of events over the next few months is going to be exhilarating.

The underworld of the Star Wars universe is on display in all its glory here, ably brought to life through Luke Ross’ bold artwork and distinctively gritty yet pastelly colours by Neeraj Menon. It says a lot about Charles Soule’s writing that his Boba Fett still absolutely shines and stands out, as iconic as ever amongst all the quality and skill on show. As Fett hunts down those who have wronged him, Soule takes us to dingy dive cantinas, glowing star ship interiors, Tatooine and a Hutt war barge. Soule’s ability to hop from location to location whilst also telling a cohesive and exciting story with plenty of surprises (and, oh boy, is there a surprise at the end of this one!) and solid, incisive character moments is nothing short of sheer brilliance.

VERDICT

This is true Star Wars adventure from start to finish and the next issue looks set to explore more new ground whilst ramping up the excitement. Whether this sort of quality can be maintained across the 34-part duration of this event remains to be seen, but the start has been very promising indeed. The infamous bounty hunter’s reputation precedes him as he goes about his business, leading to some top level badassery from this fan favourite character, which will raise a smile in any who have managed to forget the utter joy that Star Wars brings at its best moments.

Review By Nathan Harrison

Batman #109 Review

Batman #109

Writer: James Tynion IV

Art: Jorge Jimenez and Ricardo Lopez Ortiz

Released: 01/06/21

Published by DC Comics

It’s been quite a few years since I picked up a Batman comic from my local comic book store. In many respects issue 109, from writer James Tynion, was probably not the best place to begin my re-entry into the world of the Dark Knight. It doesn’t help that this is the fourth part of a larger story, but I am introduced to at least three fairly major characters and, quite frankly, I’ve no clue who they are. A quick internet search filled me in on what I needed to know however, so even without the rest of the story that precedes this issue, there is no need to be kept in the dark.

The events that take place within Batman #109 created more than enough intrigue for this thirty-year Batman fan that it is a testament to Tynion’s writing that I was interested enough to even do said internet search. The Ghost-Maker character, created as a twisted mirror image to Batman himself it seems, certainly has a lot of potential to go either way as hero or villain.

The artwork in the primary story, part four of “The Cowardly Lot”, is fantastic. At one point, on page 16, artist Jorge Jimenez invokes the spirit of the late, great, Norm Breyfogle, which is always a plus in my book.

The artwork for the secondary story, chapter three of “Ghost-Maker”, while perfectly fine, didn’t really excite me in the same way and I felt it was a bit too cartoony for a Batman comic. It would be much more suited to something like Scott Pilgrim in my personal opinion. Even so, the writing by Tynion rises above it enough to make me want to go a little deeper into his work.

Verdict –

Fantastic artwork from Jorge Jimenez really compliments the intriguing character development, from writer James Tynion, igniting a desire to seek out more of both men’s previous work.

Review by Bryan Lomax, 13/06/21

Star Wars #13 Review

Written by: Charles Soule
Art: Ramon Rosanas

Released: 12/05/21
Publisher: Marvel Comics

After a string of great quality issues concentrating mainly on the wider cast (both old and new) of Marvel’s main line Star Wars comic, Charles Soule brings the focus squarely back on Luke Skywalker for this, one of the first issues of the epic, 34 part (yes, 34 parts – count them!) crossover event, War of the Bounty Hunters.

In having Luke, Chewie, C-3PO and R2-D2 follow a lead on the whereabouts of the recently carbonite-encased Han Solo (and, of course, his captor Boba Fett), Soule explores the shifty, seedy underbelly of the Star Wars universe for the first time in his run and he handles it brilliantly, whilst also giving us further insight into Luke’s growth as a Jedi. This has been well earnt since some of the very first panels of #1, which saw Luke a broken man following the events of Episode V, and Soule is deftly bridging the gap between the naïve and inexperienced young man in the earlier parts of the original trilogy, and the powerful, fully-fledged Jedi who strides into Jabba’s palace in Episode VI.

While all this means Soule has a big job on his hands, he does it skilfully, and has fun doing so – the issue is action-packed thanks to a frenetic showdown with gangsters on the smuggler moon of Nar Shaddaa and comic relief comes in the form of some classic C-3PO wittering.

Spanish artist Ramon Rosanas has been drawing this book for a good few issues now and handles the action sequences confidently, bringing a real sense of movement and chaos to each panel. His style is much more classic comic than the more cinematic approach taken by some of the artists that have graced the pages of the Star Wars since 2015 – his C-3PO and R2-D2 especially look as though they’ve been ripped straight out of the pages of the original Marvel years – and this works perfectly for this somewhat madcap caper.  

VERDICT

While this is not technically the first issue in the War of the Bounty Hunters event (that honour goes to the one-shot War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha), Star Wars #13 is an ideal jumping on point, not just for the crossover, but for Soule’s run on the main line title – all key plot points from the previous issues are quickly recapped and the story here feels standalone, like an episode lifted from the life of Luke Skywalker, whilst also acting as a tantalising set up of what is to come. Anybody who has been sleeping on this book since it relaunched should take the opportunity to pick this issue up while it’s still on the shelves.

Review by Nathan Harrison, 12/06/2021

Detective Comics #1037 – Review

Detective Comics #1037 – Review by Bryan Lomax


Writers: Mariko Tamaki (“The Neigborhood Part 4” & “Exclusive”)
with John Ridley (“3 Minutes”).
Art: Viktor Bogdanovic (“The Neighborhood Part 4”), with Karl Mostert (“Exclusive”) & Dustin Nuguyen (“3 Minutes”)

Released: 08/06/21
Published by DC Comics


Things are really heating up in “The Neighborhood Part 4”. The Huntress, having found the murderer of her friend, Mary Knox, is thrust into an investigation of the parasite that has now killed him. The parasitic antagonist that has been claiming lives throughout these last four issues is the perfect metaphor for writer, Mariko Tamaki, to explore the theme of corruption in Gotham City.

Tamaki brings the character of Mr Worth to the forefront as he goes all out in his pursuit of revenge against the man he believes is responsible for his daughter’s murder: Bruce Wayne. Worth represents much of what is wrong with Gotham. He is the flip-side of the same coin to Bruce; a man with money and power, who uses it to signal virtue on the one hand, whilst infecting the city with corruption on the other. He demands results from the mayor whilst paying off the police to look the other way.

This is a theme that Tamaki explores further in the four-page short story, “Exclusive”, which sees reporter, Deb Donovan, reluctantly cruising in and out of a high society charity ball. Donovan is a character that is fast growing on me. She is one of those rare female characters in comic books who is defined by her personality rather than sex appeal.

“3 Minutes”, by Dustin Nuguyen, takes the themes set up by Tamaki, the almost viral spread of immorality throughout Gotham, and redirects the focus of it upon Batman himself. The story is essentially a short conversation between Alfred Pennyworth and Lucius Fox, during the early days of Batman’s career, which calls into question Bruce’s decision to take on a child partner. Is Bruce, in effect, just as contagious as men like Mr Worth? It’s an effective little story, revealing that not all of Batman’s allies are by his side for the same reasons.

Viktor Bogdanovic takes over pencil duties from Dan Mora, who covered Parts 1-3 of “The Neighborhood”, which is a shame as I was really rather enjoying Mora’s haunting depiction of Gotham. I am also a sucker for continuity. Even so, there’s some very nice artwork on display here, with Bogdanovic not veering too far away from the tone that has already been established.


Verdict –

Writers Mariko Tamaki and Dustin Nuguyen explore the theme of corruption, in three powerful stories, that compliment each other very effectively. Great stuff!

Review by Bryan Lomax, 20/06/21


Action Comics #1031 – Review

Action Comics #1031

Written by: Phillip Kennedy Johnson (Superman), Becky Cloonan & Michael W. Conrad (Midnighter)
Art: Daniel Sampere (Superman), Michael Avon Oeming (Midnighter)
Colours: Adriano Lucas (Superman), Taki Soma (Midnighter)
Letters: Dave Sharpe (Superman & Midnighter)

This issue greets us with a fantastic cover by Mikel Janin, showing Superman fairly bursting from the page.  It’s a promise of what’s to come inside, and this dynamic scene encapsulates all the excitement from the opening moments of ‘Warworld Rising, Part Two’.

We join Superman and Superboy as they battle to save a refugee ship, beleaguered by a swarm of Warzoon ships intent on bringing it down.  The whole scene is full of classic Superman moments and sets up a good deal of intrigue among the action.  From there, we travel first to The Fortress of Solitude, then on to Atlantis, meeting other iconic DC characters along the way.  Here Superman is almost in detective mode, as he tries to unravel the riddle of the ship’s occupants and their pursuers.

It’s gripping stuff, revealing our nemesis first via brief mentions of his name, then later through displays of fanatical devotion from his followers.  The closing moments of this chapter foreshadow some dark days for Superman and his companions.

Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s writing is superb throughout this issue.  Through skilful use of dialogue and pacing, he entices us with enigmas and builds emotional tension throughout, rewarding us with a genuinely enjoyable read.  We are left wanting to know what happens next, in that way that only a good comic can.  His writing is presented through some great lettering from Dave Sharpe, with clear cues for emphasis and unusual speech patterns.

Meanwhile, Daniel Sampere has taken Johnson’s words and created incredibly cinematic pages with them, using everything from full page splashes to smaller, intimate panels which at times give us a ‘fly-on-the-wall’ feel.  Indeed, we are privy to the musing of god-like beings, and Sampere’s art conveys their stature perfectly.  To flow from a massive action set piece to a more cerebral sequence so effortlessly is no mean feat.  On each page, the art is enhanced by awesome colours from Adriano Lucas.  He uses clever palette changes to ease us into set changes and draw us further into the world on the page.

As if all that weren’t enough, we are then treated to a continuation of a Midnighter story in ‘The Passenger, Part Three’.  The theme of mystery continues here, even giving us some curious references to Warworld.  Becky Cloonan & Michael W. Conrad manage to work a whole lot of story into their comparatively short page count, with bone-crunching action, intrigue and even an emotional exchange between lovers working their way into the mix.  It’s immediately engaging, even without knowledge of prior events and this is a huge testament to the writers’ skill.  The Midnighter is a character shrouded in mystery and is presented here in a dynamic way.

The writing is supported by bold and exciting art from Michael Avon Oeming.  He uses some great layouts here, always appropriate to the moment (and there are a great variety).  Once Taki Soma has applied her wonderful colours to the page, we have a very atmospheric experience to enjoy.  And again, we are left wanting more.

Verdict

This issue of Action Comics is full of things to show people what comics can do.  The creators really play to the strengths of the medium and seem to enjoy their characters and settings.  They have also created something which is inclusive and (aside from moments of violence) is suitable for all ages. If you want big, cinematic action paired with intimacy, intrigue and suspense, then this is the issue to jump in on.  I for one can’t wait to see what the next issue brings!

Review by Andy Flood, 16/6/21