Hobby Hole: Jan. 8, 2014 Comic Reviews

All-New X-Factor no. 1 by Peter David and Carmine Di Giandomenico | Marvel | $3.99

I've mostly strayed from Marvel's relaunch titles, but decided to give the newest X-Factor a chance given Young Avengers ended today and both FF and Fantastic Four are doing the same in a few weeks (Fantastic Four is getting relaunched, but I'm not continuing with the series). And while this wasn't my favorite issue of the book ever, it's a promising start and, given David's ability to build upon his characterization issue after issue, I have a feeling this book's strengths will only continue to grow.

What will take some getting used to, provided he stays on the book, is Di Giandomenico's art along with Lee Loughridge's coloring. The two combined create an odd look that almost appears metallic at times, and much of the book seems questionably designed, from the team's skin-tight (I'm looking at you, Quicksilver) outfits to the see-through floors of their "hideout." Anatomies are also a bit odd, particularly noses, which I thought a few times were broken throughout the issue.

Hobby Hole score: 7.7/Alright

Green Arrow no. 27 by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino | DC | $2.99

That ART. Can we just take a moment to fondly consider what beauty Sorrentino has delivered unto us? This issue was likely the prettiest of the run so far, with fluidic layouts clearly, yet while offering extremely fine detail, following the heavy action. The designs behind the new foes were also insane, and I shouted with joy when the head of the Shield clan literally crashed into the panel, skewing the focus as our heroes reacted. 

I know I'm talking about the art a lot, and while Lemire's story was fantastic, again, it was all about the visuals for me this issue. Because Marcelo Maiolo's colors simply nailed it. I've read many criticisms on the overuse of green and red to highlight certain pieces, but I can't believe there would be any here. The blend is quite perfect, narrowing our focus on given items or differentiating within the action scenes mentioned above, or simply used for shock and effect. It works extremely well this issue, and I truly don't believe the art would have been anywhere near as effective without it.

Hobby Hole score: 9.4/Fantastic
Previous issue's score: 8.1/Great

Swamp Thing no. 27 by Charles Soule and Jesus Saiz | DC | $2.99

That. Was. Intense.

I've rather enjoyed the Swamp Thing issues since Soule's taken over the book, and I've been more than amused by his exploration of the Green, especially its eclectic cast of characters. The thought and depth to this realm made me believe we'd be exploring it further, and for some time--think of Rotworld's length--but no, Soule managed to surprise yet again with an Alec Holland I never expected, yet which makes nothing but sense.

Saiz's art is just as important to the strength of this book. Though it lacks the creative layouts of the series' earliest issues, opting instead for traditional storytelling, it works absolutely perfectly to convey the storyline while still managing to surprise with pages like the Parliament's reveal and Alec's comeback toward the end. 

What I enjoyed the most, though, of course, was the dinosaur. And note the dino wasn't present at the end? Does that mean... please, please tell me there's a velociraptor running around next issue. Please.

Hobby Hole score: 9.5/Fantastic
Previous issue's score: 7.9/Alright

Three no. 4 by Kieron Gillen and Ryan Kelly | Image | $2.99

Just before writing this, I tweeted to Kieron Gillen asking if Three is a limited series and not the ongoing I had believed. Because, after this issue it's hard to see it continuing for much longer, though I can certainly see where it might progress.

The speed with which the story is flowing is certainly one of the book's greatest strengths, as it never feels padded or overwhelmed with senseless exposition, yet we continue to get excellent, albeit brief, characterization combined with over-the-top action. The latter is where the story takes a backseat, but it's done so effectively it's never a problem, especially on the pages where all dialogue ceases and we're treated solely to the gorgeous pencils from Kelly.

Hobby Hole score: 9.2/Fantastic
Previous issue's score: 8.3/Great

Young Avengers no. 15 by Kieron Gillen and Various | Marvel | $2.99

I read an article the other day about a man fearful of a bisexual conspiracy to take over the world (I'm paraphrasing), which was interesting timing given this issue of Young Avengers, which basically concludes--in grand fashion, mind you--with the entire team being revealed as such. It didn't feel cheap per se, just... well, a bit cliche ridden.

However, for these characters and for this story, the development completely made sense, and I found it particularly engaging. Of course, that may have been due to how great Gillen crafted this finale, which concludes the series of vignettes begun last issue. I particularly enjoyed Noh-Varr's section, which was fashioned beautifully by Becky Cloonan, who recently concluded The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys as well. Here, her talent for subtlety and emotive expression is put to much better, and more effective, use.

Cloonan started the book beautifully and Jamie McKelvie finished it the same way, but I wasn't fond of those between, particularly the David and Tommy sections, which transitioned far from seemlessly into one another. It was a brown mark on this otherwise fantastic book.

Hobby Hole score: 8.4/Great
Previous issue's score: 7.6/Alright