June 18, 2014 Comic Reviews

Manhattan Projects no. 21 by Jonathan Hickman, Ryan Browne and Jordie Bellaire

The last dog-centric comic I read was the near perfect Hawkeye no. 11 (which was released before I began reviewing books on this site, funny enough). While I knew that issue, which focused on Lucky/Pizza Dog, couldn’t possibly be topped, it gave me high hopes for this issue, which focuses similarly on Laika. 

Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed.

The book starts out strong enough, and Browne’s art fits well within the universe established by Nick Pitarra thus far (thanks in no small part to Bellaire’s continued brilliance with the color contributions), but the story quickly derails in the second act, losing all sense of steam and coherency. The ending didn’t help, and removes much of what made Laika so fun and unique, leaving her as some amalgamated plot point that will likely spurn Yuri’s love somewhere down the line.

Oh, speaking of Yuri, wasn’t it odd the same paneling was used to bookend the book on both ends, only shifted into a different order? I thought so, too.

Hobby Hole score: 6.8/Meh
Previous issue's score: 7.6/Alright

Silver Surfer no. 3 by Dan Slott, Michael Allred and Laura Allred | Marvel | $3.99


I almost stopped after writing that to jump write to the score. Honestly, that one word could be a review in itself. It sums up all that is great about this series, particularly this issue: incredible, heartfelt humor; insatiable lust for the new and unknown; and a divine sense of amazement.

Though I was somewhat unsure about the series after the second issue, all is right with the world, and Slott’s storytelling, combined with Allred’s adaptive, near-flawless art (the only bit that irked me was some extra-thick lines around Dawn’s mouth in one panel that made her look like something entirely different), makes this the perfect pick-me-up after reading most other titles on the stands.

(Also, I finally got to read an issue with Eternity in it. I had his trading card back in the nineties and never knew much else about him. It’s good to see he’s getting along well.)

Hobby Hole score: 9.8/Fantastic
Previous issue's score: 8.6/Great

The Wicked + the Divine no. 1 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson | Image | $3.50

This comic was a victim of its hype. 

I follow both Gillen and McKelvie on Twitter, and I’ve read innumerable posts from them both about this series for months on end. Most recently, a number of these included praise as this being one of the best debuts of a series ever, or at least in recent memory.

Well, I’d have to disagree. Though I enjoyed it, it certainly wasn’t without its flaws (and I personally believe Trees holds that last title), as it is extremely back-heavy with exposition and plot development, and framed and narrated around a character with little to no characterization. If it weren't so overhyped, I likely would have enjoyed it more, so perhaps the second reading in a few weeks will see a different reaction.

That said, this is one of the prettiest books I’ve seen in some time, particularly in regard to Wilson’s colors, which infuse the book with pop art to match its focus on pop music. McKelvie also delivers in terms of portraying such kinetic movements, though the faces are highly reminiscent of the pair’s previous Young Avengers characters and, like that book, a large number of panels completely lack any sort of background.

One last thing: this comic completely shames Marvel's $3.99 books as, at $3.50, this feels twice as thick and looks simply exceptional. Its production is well worth it at that price compared to the newsprint most Marvel titles are pasted onto nowadays.

Hobby Hole score: 8.1/Great