Welcome to the weekly SuperBro Comic Corner. Every week, a few of our avid comic readers will be reviewing, analyzing, and recommending which comic books we feel you, our readers, should check out. Could be old, could be new. Comics are the source material for our most beloved films and TV shows so let’s take a look at what our staff read this week, who knows? Some of them may or may not be made into a movie one day (if they haven’t already).
Review by Michael Marinelli (@mmarinelli98)
Cyborg #5 is another example of John Semper Jr.’s great ideas that are shown well and are then unnecessarily reiterated by dialogue. The issue is full of nuance and heart, but is held back by conversation and internal monologue.
Timothy Green II’s pencilling, with Joseph Silver’s inks and Guy Major’s colors give a simplistic feel that aesthetically pleases. Green II uses blank space very effectively in his panel layout. This has the same effect as a splash page, but works in a different way. It’s effective and different, both in good ways. Green II also uses intelligent side-shots of Cyborg when his emotions and human mind are in control versus when his computerized body is in control. The computer side is shown from the side when in control, while his human side is shown when in control. These dichotomies serve to further Semper Jr.’s extended theme of man versus machine throughout this arc.
Semper Jr.’s stories are in no way lacking in plot nor deeper meaning. However, they consistently miss the target in meaningful dialogue. The text always gets the point across, but this issue is another where the audience is told too much, when the story is already partially being told through the art. Semper Jr. doesn’t have to tell us what the metaphors of the issue are. We should choose to dig in, as the audience, to find and analyze the story ourselves. Cyborg doesn’t need to tell us his worst memory is of his mother’s death when we saw it a few issues ago. It makes the story feel clunky and feels, at times, to be written in first-person, as if Cyborg were talking to the audience. Semper Jr. shows us he can show without telling, however, because in the last page, he creates a powerful moment with no text. He has the ability and skill to tell a story through visuals, he just needs to stop relying so much on text, trusting the reader to figure things out on our own.
This issue is solid in almost every department, with some aspects bordering on the great. Dialogue is, yet again, lacking, but made up for with good art and story. We get a good look into Cyborg’s mind as he explores it in search of hidden memories and stumbles upon his subconscious fears.
The Flash #20
Review by Marcos Melendez (@bizgamer9)
With the Flash/Batman crossover coming very soon, called “The Button,”one would think that this week’s Flash would act as a set up to that story. It doesn’t however, issue 20 of The Flash is what I like to call a “meaningful filler.” What I mean by this is that this issue really only serves as filler in between storylines, but at the same time works by itself with only a couple of nods to potential future storylines. This is actually pretty surprising, primarily because the issue doesn’t focus on the Flash at all, but instead chooses to show Iris West’s point of view of things. I think that this worked out really well and it got me to care about her character a bit more.
We see what she thinks about Barry and The Flash, and how he affects her life in in all types of ways. We also get to see her do her job and how hard she works in order to do her best. Iris goes to investigate when scientists of Black Hole have been stealing the bodies of dead speedsters. When she is investigating, writer Joshua Williamson does a great job showing her process and making it seem realistic. It was an interesting way to ground the storyline in reality and show that you don’t need superpowers to do something heroic.
The Williamson does a great job balancing the storyline and bringing a good pace throughout the issue. Although it may seems like filler, the issue does actually have an extremely interesting ending setting up the storyline post-The Button crossover. With that being said, I still felt like the issue was missing a bit of the Flash and it was in the back of my head reading the whole issue. Nonetheless, I was able to really enjoy myself with this issue. The issue also has fantastic art, it really pulled the issue together and made it a treat to look at.
Overall, the issue is centered around Iris and, yet, it doesn’t lose the type of impact that previous issues had. We don’t learn anything new about the Flash but there is still a lot of things to be invested in.
Review by Johnathan Brin (@BlackHispanic_)
Dishonored Issue 1 is a comic that is a follow up to the hit game “Dishonored.” This comic takes places twelve years after the events of the first game but still before the sequel. The comic starts right in an action scene with Corvo going against the Dunwall City Watch training them. Corvo is clearly not going all out by not using his powers but is still able to take all of them down with easy. There is one member that does shine more than the others, Cottings, but she is still beaten. After the spar Corvo talks to Alexi telling her that Cottings does impress him but that she is too good for the City Watch and is too young.
We then cut to night were Corvo is going through the city at night with his mask so he doesn’t get recognized while he uses his powers to protect the city. We get to see him use some powers at night before he overhears a conversation of contraband coming into the city. Corvo then heads to the Old Port District and sees a gang talking about how they were able to bribe city officials to bring in the contraband. Corvo starts disposing of the guards one by one by using his Blink power which from the games allows him to teleport to a location. Once he gets rids of the guards around the building he finds a spot to hide and uses his Dark Vision to hear in on the conservation of the two people who seems to be in charge. He then goes back into disposing of more of the gang. Corvo then gets discovered before he takes everyone out with even one of them noticing his outsider mark. Knowing he will have to straight out fight them, Corvo takes out his spring sword and begins to fight.
Corvo clearly has the upper hand as his powers give him the edge as he takes people down. That’s when one of the head guy grabs a child they had with them and threatens to shoot him but Corvo is able to stop him. Corvo tries to make sure than kid is safe but the kid is scared because of the mask which then he removes to show the kid that he is a friend. Corvo then seems like he knows the kid before a TallBoy from the first game comes out with a flamethrower and starts burning everything. Luckily for Corvo the Dunwall City Watch comes in to help him out.
The boy runs off before Corvo can get him to safety but the TallBoy is still running rampant with Corvo not being able to uses his powers like Bend Time to kill the TallBoy without exposing himself. Corvo gets lucky again with Cottings being smart when she grabs a grenade and throws it into a pile of explosives that destroys the tallboy. Corvo starts thinking that she might be the one to be his apprentice. Corvo tells Cottings to take the investigation of the source of the contraband while he goes searching for the boy. We than end with two new characters talking about how Corvo will chase boy since the boy is his sister’s son.
In all this comic is a great story to add to the Dishonored universe. Its great that we get to see a Corvo that is more experienced with his powers and is struggling with the fact that by having them he is no longer human, The story with the boy being his sister’s son is sure to be an intense story for future comics.
X-Men Blue #1
Review by Jordan Humphrey (@airjordo398)
X-Men Blue features some X-Men favorites: Jean Grey (Marvel Girl), Cyclops, Angel, Beast, and Iceman. On the front page we get this note (paraphrased): “Hank McCoy, otherwise known as Beast, feared that a war among the mutant kind was on the horizon he sent forward in time the original X-Men. Now they are stuck here in our timeline hoping to show the world the heroes they are meant to be.” We start from the beginning of the issue with the team being led by Jean Grey going to investigate a yacht that seems to be abandoned.
Once on the vessel the team quickly finds life and that Black Tom Cassidy is holding up the tenants for their money. The team quickly takes care of the suspect but then discover the unstoppable force that is Juggernaut. The team struggles finding a way to stop the unstoppable, we see the team come up with ideas and even come close to stopping Juggernaut. The only way the team was able to stop him was Beast using a spell to teleport him away. We then see the team realize that the vessel is in the process at sinking to which Marvel Girl uses her telekinetic powers to keep the vessel afloat. The team then heads to Madripoor where we then learn who the true leader is, Magneto. This came as a shock as Magneto was behind the team going to help the people stuck on the yacht and even the artist stuck in “master of magnetism, the X-Men’s oldest enemy”. The page then has a to be continued at the bottom of the page, with the next page being a meanwhile. The story then takes us to a small town where we see the sheriff and a bunch of civilians trying to find some sort of monster that has come through town. The monster takes out a few of the men then we see a mysterious stranger approach and then comes three claws out of his knuckles. The two fight and then we see the mysterious stranger tell the sheriff to run as they continue to fight with a “not the end” tagged at the bottom of the page. Could this be the return of the Wolverine?
The story was great and was fun to see a younger team opposite of the more experienced X-Men Gold team, but a great setup for a new story. The art done by Jorge Molina and Matteo Buffagni is very well done and great to see it along with such a great story.
Justice League of America #4
Review by Demi Mertakas (@DemiMertakas)
The latest issue of Justice League of America gives readers a conclusion for the JLA’s storyline with The Extremists, with each JLA member facing off against members of The Extremists. While it may not be the most captivating story at first, the theme of this storyline, which discusses power and terror to rule over peace and freedom in an interesting way. The Extremists (their leader Lord Havok in particular) have their own mindset on how peace should be kept in the world and it mainly involves them using their power to control people. Their motive is clear and the theme on how unity wins over terror is a very compelling theme and while it’s expressed well here, it could be developed more.
The Extremists themselves, are interesting characters with some of them having more of their backstory revealed and more development than others. Dreamslayer is definitely the most interesting, complex and powerful member of the group, with his fear of his own power leading him to join The Extremists. This also sets up an interesting parallel and conversation with The Ray who reveals he has had problems with his own powers in the past.
As for the JLA members, they all get at least a small moment to shine in this issue, but due to the fact that they’re split up for most of the issue, we don’t see a lot of interaction between some of them. Lobo continues to be the entertaining part of the series, Vixen, Black Canary and Batman are as badass as ever, Killer Frost’s new life as a hero is interesting to see unfold and The Ray and the new ATOM are the endearing younger members of the team.
Overall it’s an interesting line-up of characters and some more interaction between them would benefit the series more. This issue gives a nice ending to this storyline and some great character action. But it’s still the fourth issue of this series, so we haven’t fully seen the interactions of some of these characters, and some of their motives which have been hinted at, will most likely make interesting reveals.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #19
Review by Weston Sheffield (@sheff_wes)
This week’s issue of the most bright-eyed and bushy-tailed superhero series on shelves was another solid hit in what’s been an interesting arc.
Doreen Green recently gained a wealthy benefactor, Melissa Morbeck, to help fund her fight against crime, who supplied her with a rad new flying squirrel suit. Not only was this new mentor rich, but she could also talk to animals, just like Doreen! It was, at first, a situation that had no downsides. But, as can be expected in the life of any superhero, things weren’t that easy. Turns out Melissa is kind of evil, using microchips to control the world’s animals.
The thing that’s been really interesting about this arc has been its examination of power. Squirrel Girl is a hero so strong and resourceful she could take out anyone she wants, but is so kind-hearted she only wants to use her powers for good- including the good of criminals.
We get to see a parallel in Melissa Morbeck, who grants herself unlimited power and believes that power gives her right over everyone weaker. It’s her ability to cause change by force versus Squirrel Girl’s ability to cause change by being a good person, which makes for a fascinating dynamic and solidifies Melissa Morbeck as the best original villain of the series. She proves the point that is often illustrated in this book: power without compassion corrupts.
Despite the animals taking over the world, tons of fun is had in this issue. We get to see Doreen fight multiple types of bears with what she does best: punches and puns. It’s clear that artist Erica Henderson, who continues to prove herself as the definitive Squirrel Girl artists by displaying an uncanny ability to grasp Doreen’s character through her art, had a lot of fun in drawing various bears in various types of clothing.
All of this makes for a strong issue that does a good job setting up the resolution of the arc in next month’s. Throw in a Howard the Duck cameo for good measure, and creative team Ryan North, Erica Henderson, and Rico Renzi have crafted another winner.
Feel free to tweet us @superbromovies with your thoughts!