Frontline Reviews For The Week Of October 10, 2018 – What If?

Join us on the Frontlines with our weekly review roundup. This is where we have assembled to give our thoughts on various issues that are released each week. This week we have BrantJayJustinKat, & Louis giving reviews for books from Aftershock, Aspen, BlackMask StudiosBOOM! StudiosDC ComicsDynamite Entertainment, IDW PublishingImage ComicsMarvel Comics, and Titan Comics! Check out the reviews below and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Twitter. Welcome to the FRONTLINE  REVIEWS, hope you enjoy the experience!

THE LAST SPACE RACE #1
Written By: Peter Calloway
Art By: Alex Shibao
Colors By: Natalia Marques
Letters By: Marshall Dillon
Price: 3.99

The Last Space Race #1 sets up exactly what the title would imply, a race to get somewhere in space.  We are introduced to Sasha Balodis the owner of several companies most notedly for this story is Pigeon Spaceline. He gets a visit from the government and is asked to build a ship that will make it to Saturn, but what is waiting out there.   Peter Calloway and Alex Shibao show a lot of promise in this first issue and I hope the momentum continues to blast off. ~ Justin @ExileState

Verdict: 3 Stars

ARTIFACT ONE #1
Created/Written By: J.T. Krul & Vince Hernandez
Art By: Romina Moranelli
Letters By: Dez Sienty
Cover By: Romina Moranelli
Variant Covers By: JP Mavinga & Moranelli, Alex Konat & Beth Sotello, Pasquale Qualano & Enrica Eren Angiolini
Price: $3.99

I’m always excited to try out new titles from Aspen, and after reading the #0 issue, I was looking forward to this premiere issue.

Artifact One sees a young woman, Remi hunting relics Lara Croft style in what seems, at first glance, to be another world, more akin to a fantasy setting. Her father entrusts an artifact to her (hence the name of the series, one would assume) just as trouble starts to brew. The society is a very religious one that Remi and her father inhabit, but Remi’s father uses methods at his disposal that down exactly line up with what is generally acceptable. This leads Remi into a forced quest by issue’s end.

The characters in the world of Artifact One are rich and well realized, and Krul and Hernandez do a fine job of establishing the rules and of the world and the direct environment they find themselves in. There’s a clear hierarchy in their city or town, as it were, and stepping outside the lines drawn by the leadership brings on severe consequences.

Moranelli’s art style is unique and interesting, as well as befitting characters in a far-off world such as the one we are presented with early on. They are humanoid, but with an almost alien quality to them, lanky with long faces, but fluid movement and design. The colors are soft, but vibrant, and the layouts subtle, but effective. Some of the angles of the character designs could be a bit more pronounced, but overall, the style fits the book well.

While I did enjoy this issue, especially the intriguing cliffhanger we are left with that definitely makes me want to read the next issue, it wasn’t without its flaws.

Unlike the #0 issue, which thrust us immediately into the story a bit more, this issue took its time – and potentially too much time – setting up the plot before getting into the thick of the story. We saw panel after panel, and page after page of Remi and her father talking before any action of any sort was taken. I felt this slowed down the issue quite a bit, and had it not been for the reveal at the end, I could see it losing readers due to the pacing. I can only hope that with Remi now on the run, the pacing will pick up and we’ll be able to get a little more invested in the story.

Still, Artifact One is an enjoyable read that promises to deliver answers going forward based on that mysterious reveal I keep alluding to in this review. That alone is worth checking out this issue for. ~ Brant @BrantFowler

Verdict: 3 ¼ Stars

DEVIL WITHIN #1
Written By: Stephanie Phillips
Art By: Maan House
Colors By: Dee Cunniffe
Letters By: Troy Peteri
Cover By: Mann House & Dee Cunniffe, Meghan Hetrick
Price: $3.99
Black Mask launches a new romantic horror series, which get this – is actually a true story. An engaged couple moves into their new house as a haunting figure possess one of our main characters, Michelle. On top of all of this, an ex-girlfriend from Michelle’s past lays a restraining order on her. This creates tension for the engaged couple’s relationship as Michelle’s girlfriend did not know about this ex. The issue feels like a classic Twilight Zone episode, which is a negative and positive for the series. It’s a haunting tale with a nice chunk of twists and turns, but the story also feels like it could have been wrapped up in one issue. I hope the pacing picks up for the next three installments. Maan House and Dee Cunniffe are great collaborators as they create a nice tone for this horror romance. I especially love their use of shadowing. It makes the reader wonder what lurks around the corner, which helps build suspense. Devil Within #1 plays as more of an anthology story, but shapes the characters enough to allow the reader to want more. ~ Kat @ComicUno

Verdict: 3 ½ Stars

SABAN’S GO, GO POWER RANGERS #13
Written By: Ryan Parraott
 Art By: Eleonora Carlini
Colors By: Raúl Angulo
Letters By: Ed Dukeshire
Cover By: Dan Mora
Variant Covers By: Miguel Mercado, Audrey Mok, & Natacha Bustos
Price: $3.99

Shattered Grid is over and now the Rangers have try to put the pieces back while Rita decides to search for a missing piece to destroy the Rangers once and for all. Ryan Parraott is AMAZING here! I loved the flashback because it shows how important Matt is to not just Kimberly, but to Zack, they have that history. Love the tie-in/connection to the season one sixth episode “Food Fight”, and that we are following the time table of the episodes, nice continuity touches. The art here is GREAT! Dan Mora left some big shoes to fill and Eleonora Carlini did that and then some! I am very much a stickler for continuity and Carlini or Parrott did me proud here when I saw the Power Blaster and the Morphing scene done in PROPER SEQUENCE!!!! This is a great story setting up a lot of great personal stories while also building up to that big main plot, this is something that Parrott does so well! ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 3/4 Power Bolts

HAWKMAN #4
Written By: Robert Venditti
Art By: Bryan Hitch
Inks By: Andrew Currie, and Bryan Hitch
Colors By: Jeremiah Shipper
Letters By: Starkings and ComicCraft
Cover By: Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclair
Variant Covers By: Matteo Scalera
Price: 3.99

Hawkman #5 begins The Fury and The Titan story arc and starts off in the microverse where Hawkman meets up with longtime friend the Atom.   There he gets the Atom up to speed on time/space travel that he has been going through and Ray help him look for the next clue.  The clue lead them to the most dangerous planet in the microverse, Moz-Ga, a living planet possessed by a wizard.  We get great moments between Hawkman and the Atom in this issue and I can’t wait to see where Robert Venditti and Bryan Hitch take us to next on this awesome adventure. ~ Justin @ExileState

Verdict: 4 Stars

RED HOOD: OUTLAWS #27
“Outlaw Part 2”
Written By: Scott Lobdell
Art By: Pete Woods
Letters By: ALW’s Troy Peteri
Cover By: Pete Woods
Variant Cover By: Yasmine Putri
Price: $3.99

Jason is continuing his mission to take out The Underlife and it leads a small roadside dinner where he gets into it with someone in The Underlife, until he gets word about Roy’s death. There is a part of me that doesn’t want to enjoy this as much, because I like Jason as a member of the Batfamily, and I like him protecting his secret identity, but DAMN IT Lobdell will not let me! Each issue pulls me in and makes me enjoy it! The highlight has to be the discussion between Bruce and Jason, Lobdell gets that a parent and grown child especially may not always approve of  or like each other but they still love each other. The art here is great, Pete Woods does a great job with the fight scene but also brings you in on the emotion of the heart to heart. I may not agree with how fast Jason came to terms with Roy’s passing, but damn it if I didn’t love that end!  ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

SUPERMAN #4
“The Unity Saga Part 4”
Written By: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils By: Ivan Reis
Inks By: Joe’ Prado (PP 1-9) & Oclair Albert (PP 10-22)
Colors By: Alex Sinclair
Letters By: Josh Reed
Cover By: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, & Alex Sinclair
Variant Covers By: Adam Hughes & David Mack
Price: $3.99

The Earth is stuck in the Phantom Zone and Superman has to get it out before everyone including the heroes die due to the atmosphere, but first he has to go through Rogol Zaar, Jax-Ur, and his army of Phantom Zoners. Bendis again captures the voice of these characters so well. I never felt a moment where any of these characters felt off, each one felt truly authentic. But my favorite part was the flashbacks, because who hasn’t wanted to pop their brother’s head off? He really shows through the  flashbacks the human side of Superman, which is so important. The art by Reis is on point he does a great job doing the classic yet modern Superman and kills it with the action scenes. If you’re not checking out Bendis’ Superman run do yourself a favor and pick it up.  ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

PROJECT SUPERPOWERS VOL 2 #3
Written By: Rob Williams
Art By: Sergio Davila
Colors By: Ulises Arreola
Letters By: Taylor Esposito
Cover By: Francesco Mattina
Variants By: Ed Benes & Dinei Ribeiro, John Royle & Juan Fernandez, Philip Tan & Elmer Santos, Stephen Segovia & Elmer Santos, and Sergio Davila & Felideus
Price: $3.99

P:Andora’s forces start to attack while the team regroups and the American Spirit heals. Project Superpowers is one of the best Superhero books out today! The way the team is evenly showcased here shows how great Williams is with group dynamics. Not only does Williams balance the characters, but he does an excellent job balancing out the drama, the action and the humor, he actually makes the American Flag simultaneously funny and a total bad ass! Davila does a great job bringing these characters not just to life, but to larger than life scale, the detail is amazing. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

TANGLED HAIR RAISING ADVENTURE #1
Written By: Katie Cook
Art By: Eduard Petrovich, Rosa La Barbera
Colors By: Vita Efremova, Ekaterina Myshalova
Letters By: Chris Dickey
Cover By: Eduard Petrovich, Gabby Zapata
Price: $3.99

Tangled Hair Raising Adventure #1 is the most serialized and well developed series out of the lot of IDW’s Disney books. The Tangled television show is one of the stronger Disney animated shows as each episode does a good job at developing the characters. This more character focused route of storytelling is nicely blended into the comic. The issue follows Rapunzel as she wants to make the Summer Sun Festival the best day for her and her friends. This anticipation for perfection makes the day less enjoyable, and through magic Rapunzel learns that you don’t have to schedule fun to make sure you have a good time. I really enjoyed Rapunzel’s interactions with Eugene and Cassandra, they all felt like well developed characters outside of Rapunzel. As for illustrations, I liked the art team’s work on this book more than the animation for the television show. The creative team does a good job at mixing what works with the television show’s style and the higher budget look from the movie. Tangled Hair Raising Adventure #1 is the best Disney title on IDW’s lineup and should’t be missed. ~ Kat @ComicUno

Verdict: 3 ½ Stars

BIRTHRIGHT #32
Created/Written By: Joshua Williamson
Created/Art By: Andrei Bressan
Colors By: Adriano Lucas
Letters By: Pat Brosseau
Cover By: Bressan & Lucas
Price: $3.99

After a lighter issue last month featuring a flashback and sort of filler/side story, we get back into the meat of the story with this issue. A few months have passed since last issue, and now the family is getting it together to go search for Brennan. Meanwhile, Mikey is having flashbacks of his own as he deals with his newfound hatred for magic.

Williamson and Bressan, always a formidable team, bring us right back into the heart of their modern fantasy tale after the little side step that set up this next leg of the journey of Birthright. The moral quandaries Mikey is dealing with speak to the growth of the character, both his strengths and his weaknesses. His supporting cast, as usual, is very present and eager to help our erstwhile hero sort out his issues so that they can find his brother.

Speaking of Brennan, we get a nice little twist reveal with him to cap off the issue that made last issue’s events both make sense and be worthwhile.

While I did thoroughly enjoy this issue, aside from the flashbacks, we didn’t see a whole lot of action. I feel like the content we got in this story was important and integral to the overall plot, and was necessary for the development of the characters. But though we did see a bit of action in Mikey’s flashback, we could have gotten a bit more just to add a little more punch to the issue.

Art wise, Bressan continues to do an amazing job in crafting both worlds and the complex emotions and reactions of the characters. His creative genius in the designs of the various races and creatures in Terrenos inspire as well as elevate the experience of the reader.

Williamson, Bressan and team continue to deliver a solid, fun fantasy tale full of twists and turns that always excite me. Birthright quickly became a favorite series of mine, and will remain one of my all-time favorite comic reads. If you haven’t read Birthright, you owe it to yourself to dive into this rich world they have created. ~ Brant @BrantFowler

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

CROWDED #3
Written By: Christopher Sebola
Art By: Ro Stein, Ted Brandt
Colors By: Triona Farrell
Letters By: Cardinal Rae
Cover By: Ro Stein, Rosi Kampe
Price: $3.99

Crowded has quickly become one of my new favorite series of the year! Charlie and Vita’s dynamic is electrifying, which is wonderfully showcased in this issue. The creative team mixes action and comedy in one full swoop as the girls are running away from a tourist bus full of assassins. The issue not only has great character moments, but it also progresses the plot nicely as Vita figures out how the assassins have been able to track Charlie – it’s their dog. WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO WITH THE DOG?!? WILL THE DOG EVER GET A NAME?!? There are so many great questions presented by the end of the story, but my favorite scene from this issue is Charlie and Vita using the local library as a motel. This was an interesting commentary of where our technological obsessed society is heading towards. My only negative for this issue is the time used to develop the assassins. I enjoyed Charlie and Vita’s scenes a lot more, and I wish they didn’t give so much panel time to these other characters. Overall, Crowded continues to be a blast to read, and a series you should be picking up!  ~ Kat @ComicUno

Verdict: 4 Stars

FARMHAND #4
Written By: Rob Guillory
Art By: Rob Guillory
Colors By: Taylor Wells
Letters By: Kody Chamberlain
Cover By: Rob Guillory
Price: $3.99

While most of Farmhand’s story is about Zeke and Jed Jenkins, this issue focuses on Zeke’s sister, Andrea Jenkins. Readers find out that Andrea is working at Jed’s farm to feed intel to the U.S. Government. Also we discover Andrea lost a leg prior to the series and uses a prosthetic instead of an appendage grown from the Farm. Plus we see scenes of Jed undermining Andrea at work. These developments negate the assumption from the first three issues that Jed and Andrea have a close father-daughter relationship. Plus this issue sets up a future arc that could see Andrea opposing her father. ADditionally we get some more scenes that heighten the overall mystery of how the Farm affects the life in Freetown. Overall, Farmhand continues establishing interesting characters and creating an engaging mystery. ~ Louis @SpiderMan1991

Verdict: 4 Stars

MURDER FALCON #1
Created & Written By: Daniel Warren Johnson
Art By: Daniel Warren Johnson
Colors By: Mike Spicer
Letters By: Daniel Warren Johnson & Rus Wooton
Cover By: Daniel Warren Johnson & Mike Spicer
Price: $3.99

After losing his wife Jake lost his confidence and his passion for playing guitar, until he is attacked by a monster and Murder Falcon comes into his life. This is a trippy concept but it has so much heart, kid of like Heavy Metal. There is the surface story of Jake who through playing Heavy Metal on his enchanted guitar summons and powers the hero Murder Falcon, but what Johnson does is go deeper and gives us a tale of inspiration. He even shares his personal story in the back of the book and it moves you, as does this story of love passion and heavy metal! Johnson also has this gritty grungy look that really brings the feel of heavy metal to the book. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ¼ Stars

ROSE #13
Written By: Meredith Finch
Art By: Ig Guara
Colors By: Triona Farrell
Letters By: Cardinal Rae
Cover By: Ig Guara & Triona Farrell
Variant Cover B By: Jae Lee & June Chung
Variant Cover C By: Patrick Ballesteros
Price: $3.99

The Fallen and Rose’s friends fight while Rose has a meeting on another plane with Drucilla. Rose is FINALLY BACK! It feels like forever since Rose was out, but Finch makes it all worth while and then some in this issue! I love a good struggle of good vs evil and this is an epic one! I love the scene where Rose stands up to Drucilla and delivers this powerful and inspirational speech to her letting her know she is coming for her. This scene really epitomized what I love about this book, hope, love, strength, spirit, it is all on glorious displayed here. Guara continues to bring you into the world of Ttereve, making each page grip you further into this amazing fantasy adventure. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #7
Written By: Nick Spencer
Pencils By: Humberto Ramos
Inks By: Victor Olazaba
Colors By: Edgar Delgado
Letters By: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover By: Ramos & Delgado
Variant Covers By: Terry Dodson & Rachel Dodson, Sujin Jo
Price: $3.99

As much as I love Ryan Ottley’s work in general and on Amazing Spider-Man, I was pleased to see Ramos on the title again. His style has become synonymous with Spider-Man in the modern era. It honestly excites me seeing Ramos drawing Spider-Man as it does seeing Mark Bagley return to the character. That said, I do look forward to Ottley returning as well.

Art aside, which was phenomenal per usual, the second part of this foray into the world of Boomerang and “The Liar” Peter Parker was as fun a romp as the previous issue. Maybe even more so.

The issue picks up with Fred (Boomerang) and Peter in the midst of a brawl in The Bar With No Name, a regular hangout for the super villains of the Marvel Universe. As we learned last issue, there’s a bounty on Fred’s head placed by the Kingpin himself, Mayor of New York, Wilson Fisk. And everyone’s out to cash in. What we see play out in this issue, though, is the strengthening of Fred and Peter’s friendship as Peter begins to understand Fred a little more, especially after the heart-wrenching revelation of his weekly poker games! Oh, and the shooting and the fighting, of course!

Spencer continues to take us down a path that once again grounds Peter and highlights the importance of his supporting cast, two of the elements that make Spider-Man so great a character to begin with. Another aspect Spencer brings to the surface is Peter’s heart, something we missed a portion of in previous recent runs. He’s remembering how to be the hero his Uncle Ben would be proud of again, and you truly see that in this bizarre trek with Boomerang, of all people. It’s also nice to see Spencer get to flesh out his Superior Foes lead character in these pages.

All in all, this was a stronger issue than the last for me, and brings Peter back on track for what seems to be a classic Spidey tale of being in the thick of it and having to find a way out. I’m excited to see where Spencer takes us next! ~ Brant @BrantFowler

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

CAPTAIN AMERICA #4
Written By: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art By: Leinil Francis Yu
Colors By: Sunny Gho
Letters By: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover By: Alex Ross
Price: $3.99

Captain America’s battle with the Power Elite brings him to Alberia, where Sharon Carter is held captive. Ta-Nehisi Coates writes engaging dialogue for Cap’s thoughts as he plows through the Power Elite’s robots. However, the issues plot still slacks off and doesn’t progress much of the overall story. The only thing readers learn is the Power Elite’s leader, Alexa, is the widow of Aleksander Lukin. While this is a great easter egg for fans of Ed Brubaker’s run, it may draw a blank for other readers. Visually, the artwork is fantastic. Leinil Francis Yu and Sunny Gho bring a lot of action to Cap’s fight scenes. The best example is the end fight between Cap and Taskmaster. Overall, this issue’s positives and negatives keep this Captain America story an average read. ~ Louis @SpiderMan1991

Verdict: 3 Stars

MS. MARVEL #35
Written By: G. Willow Wilson
Art By: Nico Leon
Colors By: Ian Herring
Letters By: Vc’s Joe Caramagna
Cover By: Valerio Schifi & Rachelle Rosenberg
Price: $3.99

“The Ratio” has been a long winded arc that I’m glad has finally wrapped up, but the last act does have a few gems. The biggest pleasure of this story has been the old dynamic between Kamala and Bruno as they explore where they want to take their relationship. I wish the issue focused more on their relationship because Shocker as a villain was getting tiresome and by the end of this issue didn’t even sound like himself. I like the idea of Kamala getting her powers from different versions of herself through time, but it got a bit too convoluted here. As for artwork, I’m glad Nico Leon and Ian Herring have become mainstays for this book. Nico Leon has a cartoony style, but is still able to deliver an emotional punch. “The Ratio” was a nostalgic story arc that pulled inspiration from the early days of Ms. Marvel, but this story proves that Kamala and her friends have grown past these adventures.  ~ Kat @ComicUno

Verdict: 3 Stars

SPIDER-GEDDON #1
Written By: Christos Gage
Based On A Story By: Dan Slot
Art By: Jorge Molina
Colors By: David Curiel

Letters By: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover By: Jorge Molina
Price: $3.99

The Web-Warriors rush to try to stop the Superior Octopus from using his new cloning tanks to prevent the Inheritors escaping their prison. I thought Gage did a great job bringing the team together here and had each of their voices done well. My favorite moment had to be the humbling of Otto here, from him not seeing them hacking his system to being told he is just a pretender and discarded by Jennix. Jorge Molina does a great job handling all of these characters and loved the attention to detail.  ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 Stars

WHAT IF: PETER PARKER BECAME THE PUNISHER?
Written By: Carl Potts
Art By: Juanan Ramírez
Colors By: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters By: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover By: Chris Stevens & Rachelle Rosenberg (after Mike Zeck & Phil Zimelman)
Variant Cover By: John Tyler Christopher
Price: $3.99

A simple question, what if Peter Parker became The Punisher is the focal point to a great new universe filled with opportunities. Marvel has been on this kick lately of creating these amalgamations of their characters like Spider-Gwen, Gwen Pool and the most recent Cosmic Ghost Rider, but none have had the magic of their first creation, Spider-Gwen until now! This amalgam has me completely drawn into the story and the world and Potts has done what every What If writer should do, get you to want more of that world. I want to know where Peter goes, what happens when Frank take on his mantle? Then I also ask myself how awesome would it be to see this Spider-Man in Spider-Geddon, anything to just see more of him. The twists to the familiar is what really sells this to me so well. The art here by Ramirez is great he has brought the classic feel but used modern art style to give us the best of both worlds. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

ELRIC: THE WHITE WOLF #2 
Based on Novels By: Michael Moorcock
Written and Adapted By: Julien Blondel and Jean-Luc Cano
Art By: Julien Telo and Robin Recht
Colors By: Jean Bastide with Luc Perdriset
Lettering By: Kirsten Murray
Cover By: Gary Jamroz Palma
Variant Cover By: Robin Recht
Price: 3.99

Elric The White Wolf #2 give is a glimpse into the history of Elric ancestors while marooned on isle of the exiled Saxif.  This was the true quest for the lady Vassliss as she turns out the be Gratyesha.  She then sacrifices herself so that Saxif can die.  Elric and Smiorgan are expelled back into the ocean and are picked up Duke Avan Astran who informs Elric his homeland has put a bounty on his head and his homeland is at work with all the young kingdoms.  We also learn who now sits on Elric’s thrown and it’s not who we thought at all. If you feel a little lost, you’re not alone.  I left like I was missing some of the story here but maybe that’s what Julien Blondel and Jean-Luc Cano had in mind us.  The art by Julien Telo and Robin Recht is top tier once again in this issue.  ~ Justin @ExileState

Verdict: 3 Stars

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