Hobby Hole: Oct. 2, 2013 Comic Book Reviews

Forever Evil no. 2 by Geoff Johns and David Finch | DC | $3.99

A month or two ago, I noticed an oddity within comic books’ dialogue, particularly those in the DC and Marvel universes. That is, characters will identify who they’re speaking with and about constantly, even while talking to the same person for pages on end. Like Dutch angles and lens flares in movies, though, it’s something we just accept as the norm, moving on with the plot.

But, as is the case with Forever Evil, when characters don’t namedrop, it feels distracting and contrived, as though they’re clearly talking around something for the benefit of no one involved. This is a prime example of the horrible mismanagement of so-called “mysteries” in some of today’s comics (I had a similar criticism regarding Secret Society last week).

Still, despite that annoyance, the second outing for this mini-series was rather enjoyable, though not as great as the first. The art especially looked extremely polished and easily ranked among Finch’s best work, accentuated as it was by dark, brooding shadows and strong, bold colors centered on the most prestigious of DC’s roster. Though there were a few art hiccups, the book was certainly a most welcome sight.

Hobby Hole score: 8.3/Great
Previous issue’s score: 8.6/Great

Green Arrow no. 24 by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino | DC | $2.99

For those who unfortunately opted not to jump aboard Green Arrow with Lemire and Sorrentino’s premiere arc, this issue is perhaps the best for new readers to come aboard. Although it (surprisingly) plays as a one-shot on the surface, it properly establishes all the main characters and their relationships for the coming conflict and even incorporates a recap page into the narrative.

Despite my newfound appreciation of Lemire’s work, Sorrentino has been the real draw for me and continues to shine, with several absolutely stunning displays this issue. Credit is aptly due Marcelo Maiolo as well, as I’m highly doubtful the spreads and set pieces would have worked nearly as well without the interesting techniques utilized to highlight them.

I mentioned above this issue wraps its arc in a neat bow, and though that proves almost too quick, it’s also satisfying. It’s unfortunate Green Arrow will be dragged into another crossover next month (“Year Zero”), but, given the strength of last month’s Count Vertigo, I have faith the derailment will not be as horrible as it could be.

Hobby Hole score: 8.4/Great

Swamp Thing no. 24 by Charles Soule and Andrai Bressan | DC | $2.99

This issue perfectly exemplifies the effectiveness of Marvel’s recap pages. Because, although I appreciated the reveal of Seeder’s true identity as teased on the cover, it was met with a big question mark on my end. Too much has occurred, too much time has passed since I read the reference tale that the reveal simply fell flat.

It wasn’t the script’s only weakness (granted, perhaps it’s not as weak to those who read in large chunks, but I shouldn’t draw a nearly complete blank on what was obviously meant to be a memorable character), as the concluding pages and the upcoming conflict seem terribly contrives. Granted, Swamp Thing himself clearly feels similar based on the cliffhanger reaction, but the turn of events didn’t feel like a plot twist, rather a poorly crafted push in another direction. It’s unfortunate, given the strength of previous issues.

After admiring the fine art of last month’s Arcane, this issue’s simply wasn’t the best for the series, even if it did channel Hawkeye with some of its layout and color schemes. It never felt as fine-tuned as that series, though, and even caused some curious page flipping on my part when, what I believed was a malformed head, actually was just some unfortunately placed hairs. Toxic Avenger he was not.

Hobby Hole score: 7.2/Alright

Trillium no. 3 by Jeff Lemire | DC | $2.99

Given the stylized nature of Lemire’s art, it’s tough to criticize his art, as there’s a fine line between weak and rushed and thoughtful and meticulous. Unfortunately, I think most of this third issue veered more toward the former.

Of particularly concern were the characters, especially those in the opening, where they appeared almost deformed compared to what was shown in previous issues. One need only look at the close-up of the woman’s face on the right side of page four to know that, unless she had been involved in some interstellar firefight that left her beaten with an ugly stick between issues, she shouldn’t look that way.

I continue to admire Lemire and Trillium, though, as the author and artist isn’t afraid to push the medium’s experience with adventurous designs. Somewhat cumbersome, rotating the comic to read the divergent plotlines allowed a different sort of scene break than normally found in comics. This could have frustrated, but truly accented the diverse nature of the book.

Hobby Hole score: 8.5/Great
Previous issue’s score: 8.9/Great

Uber no. 6 by Kieron Gillen and Canaan White | Avatar | $3.99

The start of Uber’s second arc must have been precisely the kind of punch to the gut Canaan White needed to up his game, as this sixth issue is easily the best-drawn to date, with several gorgeous splash pages that feel straight out of a Michael Bay movie and experimental layouts that drive the action without ever once becoming difficult to follow.

That said, despite the overall beauty, some errors in the art’s finer characters details also served to hamper the story as, while the set pieces and action were intricately designed and drawn, the people looked entirely too similar—a notable concern in a comic meant to chronicle battles between American and Japanese soldiers.

For instance, when the Japanese army’s secret weapon was unveiled, I believed it had deliberately attacked its own ship through some grievous error and fully expected the book to run with that plot. Only through inference was I corrected (the text boxes were too vague to offer any assistance on those pages).

Still, the mix of fact and fiction was well-managed here, the balance better maintained than in some previous issues, and that this issue is half a contained arc has me intrigued and optimistic for next month.

Hobby Hole score: 8.0/Great