Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wednesday Number Ones 6/22/11

Wednesday Number Ones 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:  All Nighter #1Brightest Day Search for Swamp Thing #1, Rage #1 and Samurai's Blood #1.

All Nighter #1
Writer: David Hahn
Artist: David Hahn
Company: Image Comics
A slice of life story that follows Kit Bradley, full time art student and part time petty thief.  She's an interesting character, layered and morally ambiguous in most aspects.  If I had to classify her, she's more of an anti-hero than a hero, but you can already see growth for her in this first issue.  More importantly, she feels very real, and for a book like this, that's a great attention getter.  Truthfully, with David (Ultimate Spider-Man) Hahn known more for his art, I wasn't sure what we'd get from his writing.  Many artists turned writer turn in some middling affairs that never end up going anywhere interesting.  All Nighter (the name of the local diner in the story, by the way) goes way beyond middling and skews into some of the territory that Local did, which I call a win.  Hahn's artwork, while a bit plain, does have a great sense of being, and the cartooning itself is quite nice.  It has a great sense of realism to it, which helps the slice of life motif.  An impressive start.  I'm curious to see what happens next. 

Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing #1 of 3
Writer:Jonathan Vankin
Artist: Marco Castiello
Company: DC Comics
Wasn't sure how this one was going to go, especially since Brightest Day really didn't do much for me in the long run.  The good news is that the issue can really be approached by anyone.  Writer Jonathan Vankin, who's been an editor at Vertigo and is the author of several novels, does a good job of encapsulating the important things that occurred (not to mention Constantine's background) that you need to know and then heads in his own direction.  And in truth, that direction is fairly entertaining territory.  Seeing John Constantine interact with the rest of DCU is interesting and the main plotline, that Swamp Thing has gone mad and Constantine is the only man who can stop him, works better than I thought it would.  The art, by Marco (Secret Invasion Frontline) Castiello works and is way above solid.  It's clean, detailed, and evokes the right mood for the slightly darker storyline.  There were a few clunky lines here and there, but I like what I'm seeing so far with this one.

Rage #1
Writer: Arvid Nelson
Artist: Andrea Mutti
Company: Dark Horse Comics
The cover of this one boasts that the book is a new vision from the creators of Doom and Quake begins here.  That's exactly what this book feels like.  It's dark, bloody, violent and like many Dark Horse comics, it looks beautiful.  The story itself revolves around a woman scientist who wakes up 58 years after an apocalyptic event to find that while she may have missed the destruction of everything she knew, the evil that spread in the aftermath was far from over.  There are some cool ideas at play here, a few things that set it apart from the typical video game styled books, which was nice.  That said, writer Arvid (Queen Sojna) Nelson does play up the pathos a bit and makes the villain of the piece quite villainous.  Mutti, who's worked on things like G.I. Joe Origins and X-Men Prelude to Schism, has a slick looking style that plays to the violence.  That in turn means that he certainly knows how to draw gore and decent action scenes.  His one slight drawback is that his characters don't emote as well as they could.  Overall, this one's not bad, but it leans towards kind of forgettable.

Samurai's Blood #1
Writer: Owen Wiseman
Artist: Nam Kim
Company: Image Comics
Samurai tales have never truly been something that I've dug.  Sure, there have been a few exceptions over the years, stories that have risen above the genre and crossed boundaries.  Sadly, Samurai's Blood is not one of those stories.  The story, which basically is the tale of one clan decimating and killing the entirety of another clan, is actually a bit clich√©.  We've seen this kind of thing before and it's been done better and with a more panache.  Often times, this tale of revenge feels cold and impersonal.  The art is the better portion of this title.  Nam Kim handles the various sword battles well enough, though there are a few panels and pages that feel skewed and awkward in appearance.  Still, there is a fluidness in the pencils that do lend themselves to the genre and the backgrounds do ground it in realism.  Still the missteps and slightly boring story do not make for a great opener, even for a dollar.

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