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: Buffy the Vampires Slayers Season 9 #1, Pigs #1, and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #1
Writers: Joss Whedon & Andrew Chambliss
Artist: Georges Jeanty
Company: Dark Horse Comics
Company: Dark Horse Comics
After last "Season", I was hoping to get a Buffy comic that had the ability to draw me back in and care for the cast of characters again. One that had some cool action, some decent writing, and a certain sense of charm. Sadly, this is not that book. It's entirely too quip-y, as it seems everything's a joke. Buffy feels different too, behaving like an entirely new character. She feels more like a teenager than a grown woman who's gone through so many life changing events. Perhaps that's intentional, though it doesn't quite work. What happens in this issue would definitely be considered a downtime episode, one where Buffy's new roommates are introduced and a few of the old gang shuffle along and throw more quips. A big bad is revealed, but even that is a little meh inducing. Jeanty's art is decent. The likenesses still elude him a bit, as it's tough to figure out who some people are. If that wasn't such a key element to the book, what else he brings is rather nice. Still, the story drags this one down, especially the "shock" ending, which merely made me groan and wish for Angel to come back as Twilight and cause more nuttery. That at least made me care about the characters that were being destroyed.
Writers: Nate Cosby & Ben McCool
Artist: Breno Tamura
Company: Image Comics
Cold War espionage, conspiracy theories, and revenge (served with a rocket launcher). These are the things that the first issue of Pigs, written by Nate (Story Teller) Cosby and Ben (Choker) McCool, touch on as the past finally catches up with us. It's a sly little opener, one that tells a taut and historically entrenched story from the perspective of a "family" of undercover Russians living in Cuba, which makes things a bit more intriguing. The cleverness of the story goes a long way and the authenticity is engaging. There are a few times where characters and story elements get muddled, but it isn't to the point where the story loses the reader or it becomes too distracting. Tamura, a relative newcomer to comics (at least to me), has an interesting style. It's very gritty and heavily inked, the lines thick on the page. There's a bit of Jock (who supplied the fantastic cover) in it, as is there a bit of Ryan Kelly. Really though, it's extremely solid and works well at conveying the proper tone, which is paramount. If you're in the mood to have a bit of fun thinking about the consequences of our action and like a good suspense yarn, Pigs is right up your alley.
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Company: Marvel Comics
A very solid issue. I still believe that with Ultimate Spider-Man, Bendis brings his A game. This issue is yet another example of that theory. In a lot of ways however, this first issue mirrored much of what happened in the very first issue of the Peter Parker driven book. Circumstances are introduced, a spider is revealed, and a character is bitten which leads to the realization of new powers. It's a bit of a slow read, one that has a few instances of long drawn out conversations that could have easily been shortened. Still, I do think Bendis has a good handle on Miles Morales and his family. That dynamic is actually my favorite portion of the story. It's real and you can sympathize with the kid, which are the same sort of things that made you care about Peter Parker. Morales also feels unique, and I'm excited to see him out and about, finding his own way. Which leads to my one real complaint...Where is the action? It's completely absent and that feels like a gross misstep. Despite that, Sara Pichelli's artwork makes up for a lot of things. She has a style that is steeped in realism, one that allows the world that these characters running around in to be very believable. That said, there is a softness and very animated feel to it as well, which I think is dead on what you need. So yes, a slow start, but there's the promise of better to come. I'm looking forward to it.