Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday Number Ones 5/11/11

Wednesday Number Ones, a feature that some of you might recognize, is a weekly feature here at Top 5 Comics. We take the books that are premiering a first issue from that week and give a quick opinion on them. From time to time we may also include more than issue number ones in this feature. If a noteworthy one-shot or the first issue of a new story arc is released, we may talk about it in this feature as well.

This week, we will cover:  Batman Arkham City #1, Fear Itself Youth in Revolt #1, Flashpoint #1, G.I. Joe Vol 2 #1 and Moriarty #1.

Batman Arkham City #1
Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: Carlos D'Anda
Company: DC Comics

The one thing you really have to do before diving head first into this title is to completely separate this from the comic verse Batman.  You've wandered into video game territory, pardner, and things here work a bit different.  The setup for Arkham City is what you would expect, especially if you've seen a few of the trailers for the game.  Bad things are going down in Gotham and a new player is causing panic.  Truthfully, Dini's script is a little by the numbers and there were even a few times, especially during the dialouge of Harley Quinn, that things felt really expository and or clunky.  Still, there are ties to the previous game and enough meat here to be enjoyable, which I think are things that fans are looking for.  D'Anda's art is fine overall.  I really enjoyed his take on a bruised and battered Two-Face (being surrounded by a cadre of goons and a few fetishistic leather ladies), but there's nothing that truly stood out as exceptional.  And really, that's where things are with the entire outing; Not bad but not great either.  One would assume that a lot of what this comic will cover will be covered in the opening of the game.  But you never know.

Fear Itself:  Youth in Revolt #1
Writer: Sean Mckeever
Artist: Mike Norton
Company: Marvel Comics

I'm a fan of Sean Mckeever.  Ever since his Gravity mini and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, I always seek out his work.  That I was looking forward to this issue made the bad taste that it left in my mouth even worse.  That sounds harsh, but I am tired of the never ending cavalcade of mopy superhero stories.  I get the need to explore character feelings and the way superheroes impact the world, I just wish that those stories could be interspersed with some decent action and memorable "cool" moments.  Those things were lacking from Youth in Revolt, who's main story focuses on Steve Rogers re-enlisting many of the younger generation characters (Firestar, Gravity, Thor Girl, Prodigy, etc) into a new Initiative to turn the tide against the wave of unease that the Hammers in Fear Itself are causing.  Norton's artwork is another story entirely.  It's youthful and energetic and very smart.  His characters are insanely expressively which only lends to his great ability as an artist.  All in all though, not the greatest start.

Flashpoint #1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Andy Kubert
Company: DC Comics

Okay it's finally here, the start to DC's blockbuster summer outing...And it's a bit hit and miss for me to be honest.  Kubert's artwork is as spiffy as one could imagine and the redesigns for the various characters that make appearances are all well thought out and executed.  He exudes the cool you would expect.  Period.  I think the disconnect for me is the actual foil that is used to transform the world.  Johns seems to be in love with that character and he irks me to no end, which takes some of the fun out of it.  But that's a personal issue for me.  As is the fact that while the Elseworlds stuff has your eyes glued to the page, the Barry Allen portion of the story is kind of dull.  I get why it's there and that there will eventually be a payoff to it, but it felt like I was slogging through it to get to the good parts.  I will say though that I'm quite curious to see where things go though.  Johns winds up a lot of good pitches here, let's just see if he can deliver on them.

G.I. Joe Volume 2 #1
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Javier Saltares
Company: IDW Publishing

While I found the primer issue for the three new G.I. Joe books to be a bit lackluster, this first issue was the complete opposite.  Dixon successfully introduced all of the major players who are wanting to be the new Cobra Commander, threw in some fun action, a cool sniper battle and a rounds things out with a bit of espionage just for kicks.  You can't really ask for more from a G.I. Joe comic in my opinion.  The art, handled by Saltares is quite good too.  He reminds me a bit Fuso, who was working on the Cobra book previously.  I think he could stand to make the character's faces a bit more defined and less muddy looking, but his composition is well laid out and the action is clear.  I also was pleased that he made the guns look fairly detailed and that he was able to throw in a Trouble Bubble to sate my need to constant see those things flying about like demented ping pong balls.  Yeah, while I do have a soft spot for all things G.I. Joe, this was a solid issue that is worth checking out.

Moriarty #1
Writer: Daniel Corey
Artist: Anthony Diecidue
Company: Image Comics 

Sometimes a fun concept just comes along.  Moriarty, bad guy extraordinaire and nemesis to Sherlock Holmes, returns in this tale of suspense and intrigue, hired by the British Government to find Mycroft Holmes.  It's a pretty simple hook but of course things change quite quickly and become a bit more dangerous.  Corey's take on Moriarty is both familiar and unique.  The way that the story is told from his perspective humanizes him a bit, but Corey is not against letting him show his fangs and his true persona.  He's anti-hero with teeth, one that is the driving force behind a good yarn with some nice art.  I have never heard of Diecidue before, but there's a bit of Bachalo in his work, the scratchiness and harsh lines.  There are a few instances where things get wonky and the perspective is thrown out of whack, but really the look grabs you and draws you in, which is what counts.  I guess my one overall complaint is that the text could have been done in a different font for easier read, but beyond that, I found this to be a surprising and intriguing read. 

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