Hobby Hole: Jan. 16, 2014 Comic Reviews

Fantastic Four no. 16 by Matt Fraction, Karl Kesel and Raffaele Ienco | Marvel | $3.99

Note: This review is for the first half of the comic only, as I was informed the second half spoils the conclusion to the upcoming finale to FF, which I enjoy much, much more.

And so this volume of Fantastic Four ends, not with a roar but with a whimper. Taking the broadest strokes from what seems to be Fraction's outline, this issue simply plays paint by numbers with the plot, filling in where necessary but without any real passion or resolve to offer an outstanding comic. It's rather generic, really, and far too overwritten in some sections while horrifically underwritten in others (yes, please offer expository explanations for everything except how they returned toward the end).

The art was much the same: fully competent in telling the story, yet lacking entirely in any standout moments, while there really should have been more than a few. The plot's epic level is completely lost, its lasting effect moot and likely to never be picked up again.

Like editor Tom Brevoort, this, unfortunately, will be my last issue of the series, as I will not be following it into the next volume. Marvel burned me much too badly in the way it mistreated this volume.

Hobby Hole score: 5.1/Forgettable
Previous issue's score: 4.4/Bad

Ghosted no. 6 by Joshua Williamson and Davide Gianfelice | Image | $2.99

I didn't like the shift in art style seen in last issue's finale (which was actually a preview from this issue), and, though Gianfelice makes a legitimate effort toward this full artistic debut, I must say I enjoyed Goran's take much more. That appeared more Criminal-like and less Thief of Thieves, as this issue, and the remainder of the arc, does and will. 

That said, I did like this issue, including the art, though it feels very different than the first arc, which I thoroughly loved (well, mostly, anyway). What may have spurred my affection toward the issue was the mid-book twist, which completely shocked me. Though it was quickly sorted, and could've (and would've, under a different writer) led to a whole issue's storyline in itself, I appreciated the brevity, and Williamson's guts to commit such an horrific act, especially on his main character.

Hobby Hole score: 8.1/Great
Previous issue's score: 7.8/Alright

Justice League 3000 no. 2 by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Howard Porter | DC | $2.99

"Hey, Clark's back!"

The emotional juggling in this book, from absolute humor, like the way the line above was perfectly delivered by faux Batman, to intense horror just a page or two later, makes this the best written Justice League book currently on stands.

While detractors have chided the book for offering the same cast as the current Justice League series, this feels like a much different group of characters and, because of that and because it's set in the quite-distant future, it feels as if anything could happen. This issue alone proves that, and though I don't believe for one second we've seen the last of that particular character, I doubt we'll see that exact same iteration in future issues. Which has me tickling with anticipation.

The art, unfortunately, is not as strong as the writing and is very hit and miss, just as it was with the first outing. Certainly, there is some great imagery, such as the page depicting Green Lantern transporting all the others, but there are an equal number of poor mid- and far-distance panels that are too lacking in detail to be appeasing.

Hobby Hole score: 8.4/Great
Previous issue's score: 8.0/Great

Justice League of America no. 11 by Matt Kindt, Tom Derenick and Eddy Barrows | DC | $3.99

Today, Jeff Lemire announced Justice League of America would be ending in April and "relaunched" as Justice League Unity. If the series continues rehashing the same plot beats as it has these last few months, that will certainly be a good thing, though I must admit, despite the churning storyline, I'm rather enjoying JLA at the moment.

Much of that enjoyment, however, is due to the art, which was incredibly dynamic and, although a tad confusing near the end (a different coloring scheme likely would have helped matters), the action was depicted gorgeously, and the facial work held up really well. 

I keep thinking, perhaps hoping, that Martian Manhunter and Stargirl remain imprisoned, and this storyline, which sees them battling random rogues and forever aiming toward their goal, is simply their specifically designed prison. I rather think that will not happen, though. Unfortunately. But, damn, I would be thrilled if it did.

Hobby Hole score: 7.6/Alright
Previous issue's score: 8.5/Great