Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday Number Ones 6/29/11

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 Winners Squad: Band of Heroes #1Fear Itself: Black Widow #1, Marvel Universe versus Wolverine #1, and Witch Doctor #1.

All Winners Squad: Band of Heroes #1 of 8
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Company: Marvel Comics

Well, where to begin with this one?  To be fair, let's start with the positive aspects, though there are only a few of them.  The main one is the art.  Di Giandomenico, who's worked on Daredevil: Battlin' Jack Murdock and Spider-Man Noir, is a talented Italian artist who's style feels vibrant and eye appealing and carries with it many of the stylings that are rooted in traditional European comics.  Seeing Captain America and a company of superpowered beings blast through the streets of Germany is strangely entertaining, especially drawn in this style.  That said, Jenkins' script is a bit of a mess.  The idea of a dark secret from the past coming back to haunt the heroes who worked with Captain America feels a little blah and uninteresting.  Jenkins also stamps on the emotion pedal several times (the relationship between the narrator and his granddaughter and the way the characters act during the action sequences) and really wants you to feel the EMOTION of it all in a way that really isn't necessary.  Glance at it for the art, but there's not much here beyond that that makes you want to stick around to see what happens.

Fear Itself Black Widow One Shot
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Peter Nguyen
Company: Marvel Comics
A done in one comic that sees Black Widow take on a terrorist cell that is feeling a bit left out and not being taken seriously, what with all of the Hammers and the rampant chaos that The Serpent is causing.  Cullen (Sixth Gun/The Damned) Bunn brings both flash and substance with this one.  He captures what makes the character of Black Widow tick without ignoring what is going on in her life currently.  He also knows a thing or two about crafting cool action sequences that feel thought out instead of events just thrown together.  Peter (Gotham City Sirens) Nguyen's art is a nice blend of realism and traditional comics.  There's a flash of unconventional-ism to his linework that draws the eye too.  Overall, this is one of the more satisfying of the Fear Itself books, but that's because it was a Black Widow story and only tangentially fits into the grand scheme of the event.

Marvel Universe vs Wolverine #1
Writer: Jonathan Mayberry
Artist: Laurence Campbell
Company: Marvel Comics
Dark.  Depressing.  Dire.  Damned good.  I was a fan of Jonathan Mayberry's first foray into this story with Punisher vs the Marvel Universe.  With this prequel comic that tells the story of the first days of the plague, and specifically, how Wolverine reacted and coped with it, Mayberry has reached the same heights.  This is basically Marvel Zombies with the humor eaten away and replaced with fear and blood and claustrophobia as we see things in Wolverine's life go from bad to worse to downright horrifying.  Campbell's art perfectly conveys the story beats.  There are a few times where things may look a little stagnant or don't match the hack and slash that's appearing on the page, but overall it reminds me of Michael Gaydos or Michael Lark and was quite impressive, especially with Lee Loughridge's intense colors.  This one might not be for everyone.  Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine is not an upbeat comic, but it's one that sticks with you and provides a morbid sense of entertainment along the lines of Walking Dead.  Check it out.

Witch Doctor #1 of 4
Writer:  Brandon Seifert
Artist: Lukas Ketner
Company: Image Comics
What if Sam Raimi wrote the Exorcist and had Warren Ellis as a drinking buddy who was whispering in his ear during the process of creating said movie?  I think if that happened, Witch Doctor would be a pretty close approximation to what you would get.  This is the first thing that I've ever read from Brandon Seifert, but the humor and the crazy, very off the wall ideas that he puts forth in this first issue are so addictive that I'm chomping at the bit for more.  As for story, this first issues sees a very done in one approach to finding a cure for a non-traditonal demonic possession by the off-kilter character of Dr. Vincent Morrow.  He's an immediately likable character that eats up the screen and you want to know more about him.  Ketner's artwork is another check in the win column as his demon designs are very Cthulhu inspired and look tremendously awesome.  He also has a great panel layout and a clean lined feel that really makes the oddball story approachable.  Simply put, a riotous and memorable affair that hits all of the right buttons in all of the right ways.  Color me impressed.

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