February's Issue Ones Part 2

As promised, here's a second batch of comics titles that made their debut in February. Hits or misses? Keep reading or move on?
Loki Agent of Asgard by Al Ewing and Lee Garbett for Marvel. Heroic Loki without Kieron Gillen at the helm? I was already disappointed that he'd turned the kid into Teen Loki towards the end of Young Avengers (I certainly don't care for the look), with a completely different writer taking the character over, I was expecting the worst. But Al Ewing actually brings the same comedic vibe to the God of Mischief's new book, and more besides. Loki now embraces his role as the All-Mother's special agent and is expected to work his cons for Asgard, though his version of "M" doesn't necessarily have his best interests at heart(s). The book has some interesting things to say about magic, features the Avengers (in what seems to be slightly puzzling continuity - more a nod to the film than actual events in the MU, I dunno) and a surprise villain. Is it quite on the level of Gillen's Journey Into Mystery? How could it be, at this point? But it's certainly a promising continuation, not a disappointing new direction.
Keep reading? Yes, looks like the mischief-maker is in good hands still.
The Fuse by Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood for Image. If you're going to do a "buddy cop" detective series these days, you need two things. One is a contrasting pair of characters people will want to follow, and the other is a twist to set the series apart from everything else that's ever been done with the genre (especially on TV). While The Fuse doesn't exactly knock those two elements right out of the park, it does offer a few solid base runs (disclaimer: I have no idea if my sports metaphor makes any sense). The twist in this case is the setting. The Fuse is a space station at the Lagrange point between Earth and the Moon, a world that should be interesting to explore. Already, we know it's a rather grotty place where many go to disappear and escape their troubles, and there must be a reason why most people are extremely pale, like no exposure to the sun. If I have to quibble, I'd say its common areas don't look enough like interiors. That's a lot of wasted space over people's heads. Maybe that'll be explained too. As for the characters, we've got a female Russian ex-pat caustic veteran still smarting from her last partner's retirement, and a male black German recruit/supercop who volunteered for this shift for reasons of his own, and that creates conflict and chemistry right from the outset. Image has been coming out with lots of neat SF books of late, and this promises to be one of them.
Keep reading? Yes.
One-Hit Wonder by Fabrice Sapolsky and Ariel Olivetti for Image. The premise: A former child actor has become a hitman. That could have been an interesting hook, perhaps as an extreme example of how has-beens have been known to restart their careers with bad reality TV, etc. Instead, it's a pretty gratuitous sex and violence comic in which the protagonist has no tangible redeeming quality. He's just a psychopath for hire, and if there are potshots taken at Hollywood, celebrities, etc., they fall well short of satire. Seems like a lot more could have been done to be irreverent and topical there. The cinematically-rendered art is just as soulless. Not bad, but stiff in presentation.
Keep reading? No thanks.
Fantastic Four by James Robinson, Leonard Kirk and Karl Kesel. Marvel is pushing a lot of new books this month, among them some straight relaunches of various franchises, advertizing them clearly as jumping-on points. But every jumping-on point is also potentially somewhere you can jump OFF as well. Let's start with aesthetics. Kirk and Kesel are good artists and I have no problem with them, but the uniform redesigns in red and black seems wrong somehow. Are they actively trying to evoke the Incredibles? And the new "Fant4stik" masthead, wow, horrendous. As for the story, it's got Robinson's trademark references to past continuity, and normally I would be all about a story featuring Fin Fang Foom and Marvel's "Age of Monsters", if it weren't for the opening and closing narrations that make it clear this is going to take a dark, family-destroying turn soon. So keeping the First Foundation kids around and bringing back Alicia Masters both get applause, but if it's just a set up for dark, dreary days ahead, I'm not sure I'm interested.
Keep reading? As with Robinson's All-New Invaders, I'm feeling much too ambivalent to be trusted to keep reading, and I'm disappointed by that.
The White Suits by Frank J. Barbiere and Toby Cypress for Dark Horse. They were the scourge of the Soviet underworld and then disappeared. Now they're back, these mysterious killers and sweeping through American organized crime. Who are they? It's a mystery seen through the eyes of various parties on both sides of the law and quite violent, but Cypress' art is cool and expressionistic, making great use of a limited color palette, and giving the book an artful beauty that's, quite simply, the #1 reason for sticking with title.
Keep reading? I think I'm in for the whole 4-issue mini.
Go-Getters by Shawn Aldridge and Christopher Peterson for Monkeybrain. Some pure comics right here. Essentially, this is Angel and the Ape running a retrieval service (hostages, stolen items, whatever), if the Ape was less talkative and Angel was sassier by a factor of ten. She's actually called Maya Diaz (the albino gorilla is George Harrison), and she's a hoot, just the kind of character you need to take the stuffing right out of the usual adventure strip clichés. I'm very rarely disappointed with Monkeybrain Comics and it looks like Go-Getters won't buck that trend.
Keep reading? I can't wait for the next installment.

Hope that helped you make choices in the future. Let's do this again end of March, ok?

6 comments:

Jayunderscorezero said...

You pretty much *instantly* sold me on GoGetters, so one trip to Comixology and 69p later...

I wasn't as sold on it as you but it definitely was fun and worth a read. Thanks for doing these mini #1 reviews.

Anonymous said...

I swear there are two guys named "James Robinson" writing comics: the one did "Starman" and the other has made a career out of destroying properties.

Though really I see how it could be one guy: Robinson has HIS story that he insists on telling, and the only way he will do that without wrecking what came before is if he's given a nearly blank slate to work with. That works well with Starmen, a bunch of heroes with the same name and only one of them wasn't a C-List hero. But putting Robinson on THE family team of comics ... I was pretty sure he'd start by bulldozing the team, and it looks like I'm going to be right.

The more famous the writer, the more he or she needs an editor to pull rank.

Siskoid said...

Jay: Me? Oversell something? Never! Ok, maybe sometimes. How about, often? I do prefer to write in an enthusiastic style.

Anon: Yeah... I've liked the occasional Robinson project since Starman, but that series was a masterpiece and Robinson's never come close to recapturing that magic.

Jeff R. of the Nitpicker's League said...

The logo is either Fant4stic or Fant4stk; that vertical line can't do double duty.

Siskoid said...

Only makes it worse.

Jayunderscorezero said...

I keep reading it as Fant4stik because it looks like the c should continue into the white space and become a k.

It really is an awful cover.

 

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