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: Critter #1, Spider-Island Cloak & Dagger #1, and War Goddess #0.
Writer: Tom Hutchison
Artist: Fico Ossio
Company: Big Dog Ink
To be blunt, Critter fails on multiple levels. The story, which focuses on a girl from the country, who has protected farm cows from hostile cow-tippers to name just one of her duties, as she moves up in rank in the world of superheroes. I'd like to say that it has a lot in common with books like Dynamo 5 or Invincible, but it doesn't. The originality of those books set them apart from the staples of Marvel and DC. Critter's originality is thrown out the window fairly early on and we get analogs for the Justice League and standard superhero fare that skates from being boring and goes right back to bland. Ossio's art is more the star here, with it's animated lines and decent character design work. It isn't perfect by any means, as consistency is an issue from panel to panel, but there's enough energy at work here to keep the eye entertained. Overall though, Critter's story just isn't compelling. We've seen it done before and done better.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Emma Rios
Company: Marvel Comics
Let me start by saying that it's always nice to see Cloak & Dagger get some of the limelight, especially in a big crossover involving Spider-Man. The characters are just cool and there is a plethora of untapped potential bottled up in them. Now, as for the issue itself, I wish that I could say that it was better. Nick Spencer, the man responsible for things like Iron Man 2.0 and Morning Glories, offers up a story that gets readers caught up with who these characters are and then injects them into the overall story that sees the people of Manhattan receiving spider powers. The main issue here is that the split inner dialogue of the issues, a back and forth between the main characters, feels entirely too cutesy and a bit dismissive of things. There are some neat ideas at play, but there's almost a feeling that maybe Spencer was trying too hard with them and couldn't pin down a great way to tie them together. Emma Rios on the other hand throws down some gorgeous artwork that resembles in many ways a mash-up between Paul Pope and Alan Davis. Her pencil line and ink work has a strategic roughness that really lends itself well to the characters, making the story more memorable. It's perfect, truth be told. In the end, a merely okay first issue.
Writer: Mike Wolfer
Artist: Pow Rodrix
Company: Boundless Comics
War Goddess, a book who's story revolves around the activation of a supercollider that results in the opening of multiple gateways into a hellish alternate dimension, fails to provide a great deal of entertainment. Mike Wolfer, the man behind Lady Death, offers up a good versus evil story that somehow feels flat and unexciting. It's one of those books that feels like it's verbose in its story but what it's exactly saying just feels stagnant and unimportant, almost as if you were reading something out of a text book. That coupled with the pantheon of one dimensional characters, and you have a recipe for disaster. Rodrix's artwork is better than the story, but it too is hit or miss. His women, which total 95% of the characters that appear in this issue, all feel as though they have been cut from the same muscular, overwrought body structure tree. He also has the problem of his storytelling being a bit frozen too, which doesn't help in the way of conveying a sense of energy, even in the many action scenes. Plain and simple, War Goddess fails.