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The Next Issue Comic reviews – 3/5/14

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**AS ALWAYS BE MINDFUL THAT THERE WILL BE SLIGHT SPOILERS, READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL!!**
Moon Knight #1

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Writer:  Warren Ellis
Artist:  Declan Shelvey
Reviewer:  Aitch Cee

Ok so sue me, I haven’t been exposed to a lot of Warren Ellis’ works over the years.  Also every time I try to get into a Moon Knight comic, it’s cancelled before it gets off the ground.  So it’s no surprise that this first issue may be the basis as the reason a few months from now this may(or may not) be a stellar Marvel book.

The book was almost 2 halves and in truth I almost didn’t finish it as we are introduced to Marc Specter and it almost feels like a parody of a Batman book with the police trying to investigate a suspicious crime with “Mr. Knight” as an off the book consultant. The dialogue is even almost Batman-esque. Readers will also note that Specter has a lot of gadgets a’la Batman but of course the big change (yes, he IS insane) is the white suit, tie and mask.  From there he pursues the criminal which is where the book picks up, wraps the case and then goes for a couch trip where in the end readers will feel like are more questions to be asked than there are answers.

While the story itself may be just as insane as the characters, the art from Shalvey is every bit as stark and poignant which is fitting for this book.  I really dug the way the Specter’s character just doesn’t feel ‘colored in’ with the whites and blacks contrasting each other thanks to Jordie Bellaire’s coloring. I also liked a lot of the facial expressions as well as how well some of the set pieces that appear in the book.

I have a feeling that this may not be a Moon Knight that we are familiar with but once more comes out about Marc Specter and where he is in this life, then hopefully the book will bring it together.

3 out 5 stars

Starlight #1

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Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Goran Parlov
Reviewer:  Lee Gordon

Mark Millar is a name in comics. In nineties when the “names” in comic books branched out Image Comics was formed. With number ones becoming numerous in titles that are older than me and no reason for them other than a marketing ploy, this number one is refreshing. It’s tagged as being  “the title that launches the Millarworld Universe”.

In 1980 I fell in love with Flash Gordon, this cheesy movie based off the serials from my father’s time. During the movie’s release I didn’t know that until later.  I thought Flash Gordon was the newest flick inspired by a space opera I saw three years earlier. Ming the Merciless was just as new to me as Flash, Dale, and Dr. Zorkoff.

Starlight is poignant and the artwork simplifies the ease of storytelling. I’m introduced to Flash’s counterpart, Duke McQueen. Time jumps around beginning when Duke was young and saving the universe. It’s been forty years since he had his adventure, came back to Earth, raised a family and buried a wife. You get the feeling he was the butt of a joke as he is ripped on by a few kids, not to mention, his own kids consider him a burden. A year after Duke’s wife passed, Duke makes a big deal about seeing his family again, however his kids don’t. It’s here that the story begins just as the comic book ends and you see the last panel and could only wonder, what’s next?
I’ve been familiar with Mark’s storytelling, his work on the Fantastic Four is what made me take notice beginning with issue #554, but it’s the artwork of Goran Parlov that intrigued me most. It’s not great by any means but it matches the story. His style is archaic while breaking every single style of artwork I know, much like what Bill Sienkiewicz did with New Mutants #18. It sounds like I don’t like the artwork, which isn’t the case at all. It’s that I don’t believe this book would have worked without it.

The flow is liquid, with each panel conveying a story with not just words but with facial expressions to match and nothing was more heartfelt than a simple question, “Can you feel a lump under my arm?” As a teen I never would have thought anything if it, but as an adult it’s stronger than Superman.

This isn’t another in your face hero book, no this is a hero of a different caliber, one that makes me eager to devour the next one and watch Flash Gordon again.

4 out of 5 stars

Forever Evil: Arkham War #6

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Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artists: Jaime Mendoza & Scott Eaton
Reviewer: Ray Willis

All good stories must come to an end with this last issue of Forever Evil: Arkham War. Batman’s rogue’s gallery of criminals bring the pain with each one on venom synthesized from Bane’s blood by the Scarecrow. The beginning of the issue has Bane giving a monologue about how he is better than the Batman but still a man under the mask and how he has persevered through his takeover of Gotham. Bane has been through hell dealing with the many denizens of the Arkham gang consisting of Mr. Freeze, Scarecrow, Man Bat, Poison Ivy, etc.

This final issue of the miniseries ends in an all out brawl between the villains which comes to a satisfying ending. The fights in this issue are good but I wish there could have been more brawls than a few skirmishes. The Talons that were recovered from the previous issue could have turned the tide but with them healing they couldn’t have been any use.

This issue was all about Bane though all the way to the end. Bane has really became one of my favorite characters over the past few years and in this miniseries has established himself to be even more of a threat. The art is also real good with each of the Arkhamites jacked up on Bane’s venom. I can’t wait for Batman’s return to see what Gotham has become with Bane as the head honcho.

4 out of 5  stars

Loki: Agent of Asgard #2

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Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Lee Garbett
Reviewer: Oz Longworth Jr. (or so the humans call him…and the collection agency)

Refresher: Loki, the god of mischief and Thor’s asshole brother has been commissioned by the All Mother of Asgard to use his asshole powers for good.

One unexpected bonus from the Marvel Cineverse has been the proverbial rounds of thunderous, well deserved applause for Loki. Tom Hiddleston’s performance in Thor and The Avengers has called for a much needed overhaul of the character. Couple that with the fact that Marvel would happily tie any of it’s characters to the nearest tree and beat them like loan sharks with sticks if there were any chance of them coughing up money, it was only a matter of time before we ended up getting Loki in a “good guy” adventure series.

No longer the one dimensional, cackling heel of old, he has evolved into more of an endearing, anti-heroic sword and sorcery version of White Collar’s Neal Caffrey. Al Ewing’s tale reads much like a lighthearted spy romp would if there were spells and swords where silenced pistols and wristwatch communicators should be. This issue sees Loki infiltrating a speed dating event in search of Lorelei, the Jan to the Enchantress’ Marcia Brady (probably not a coincidence that this issue dropped on the same week Lorelei made her cameo appearance on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). This book, as it did last month, succeeds in being engaging and exciting without ever taking itself too seriously. Loki leaps from one caper to the next with a charming wink and a smile while struggling to make a new sort of life for himself with potential friends and a home. It’s just as fun reading about him, getting his apartment ready for company as it is seeing try to foil a heist in Monte Carlo.

Meanwhile, Lee Garbett’s pencils are a delightfully detailed compliment to this particularly well meaning good time of an issue. He really manages to bring Loki’s newly youthful, smooth talking nature to life and the detail in some panels is just amazing….especially in a scene that has Loki standing vigilant in the middle of France. The All Mother appearing in a bowl of punch was as visually delicious as it was hilarious.

Bottom Line: This book is exactly the kind of lighthearted action ride Marvel needs to push more seriously. It accomplished what was once thought impossible: making Loki a forgivable almost-villain.

4.5 out of 5 stars

About Armand (1270 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill
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