Frontline Reviews For The Week Of November 14, 2018 – Uncanny!

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 BrantJayKat, & Mike giving reviews for books from BOOM! StudiosDC Comics, IDW Publishing, Image Comics, Lion Forge, and Marvel  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!

FIREFLY #1
Created By: Joss Whedon
Written By: Greg Pak
Art By: Dan McDaid
Colors By: Marcelo Costa
Letters By: Jim Campbell
Cover By: Lee Garbett
Variant Covers By: JG Jones, Joe Quinones, Lee Garbett, Bill Sienkiewicz, Jock, Tula Lotay, Adam Riches, Diego Galindo
Price: $3.99

Browncoats unite! Firefly is back, and this time it’s from BOOM! Studios.

It’s clear from who’s in the book that this story is set somewhere in between the first episode of the series and the Serenity movie. But we’re not told exactly where, and it really matters little. The timeline is established enough here via the characters in the story if you’re a fan.

For non-fans or new readers to the Firefly franchise, there probably could have been a little more set up as to who these characters are and how they came to be on the Serenity. But we do get a sense of what each of their roles is and their base personality types throughout the issue.

For fellow Browncoats, you might check out my Topic Time video on our YouTube channel to hear my thoughts on whether this book meets your approval or not. For me, I have to break it down into three categories: Story, Characters, Art.

Story:
As I stated above, the timeline is established enough for longtime fans, even if loosely. We open up on a heist gone wrong, which is classic Firefly. Each of the characters had a distinct role to play even in this first issue, so we get a nice balance of spotlighting here. The focus is as it should be, on Mal.

The twist with this one is it delves into untapped territory with Mal and Zoe’s past affiliations in the military. It will eventually lead to the revelation of “The Traitor of Serenity Valley.” We’ve only seen glimpses of their past most notably in the opening of the first episode of the TV series. It will be interesting to watch this story unfold as their past comes back to haunt them.

Characters:
Overall, I think Pak got the characters right. There were just a few instances for me where they seemed just a tad off center. It’s a nitpick, and it didn’t take away my enjoyment of the issue, but for a brief moment, those instances did take me out of the story.

Art:
Firefly’s tenure at Dark Horse saw it utilize several different art styles, including hyper-realistic likenesses as well as more animated style character models. There’s no problem with changing it up and doing something different as long as it looks good and works with the story. The overall art of McDaid did just that. It’s a rougher, less clean style of art, giving it almost a gritty vibe, which is okay considering the story being told. The backgrounds, the ships, the animals… all really well done. It was the figure work I took a bit of issue with. At times, it was passable, other times heads looked squished or characters weren’t entirely consistent from panel to panel. To his credit, you can tell who each character is throughout, but it just wasn’t as consistent or as polished as I would have preferred.

Final Thoughts:
Despite my nitpicks and personal taste preferences, aside from a few minor missteps, this issue was very faithful to the Firefly franchise, their story, and their journey. And I appreciate tapping a well that has yet to be tapped for this new era of Firefly storytelling. As a Browncoat, I’m also just excited to see the series make a return. ~ Brant @BrantFowler

Verdict: 3 ¾ Stars

SABAN’S GO, GO POWER RANGERS #14
Written By: Ryan Parrott
 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 & James Griffiths “Griff”
Price: $3.99

Go, Go Power Rangers #14 explores a concept that would have been easily ignored in the Power Rangers’ television show. Jason and Trini are stuck on an unknown planet, and the other rangers have to go the extra mile to keep their whereabouts a secret. This issue is a slow burn but as always has some great character moments. It was cool to learn more about Rita’s background and see Trini and Jason switch roles. But I also enjoyed the small character moments like Zack teaching martial arts hip-hop dancing and Kimberly “kind of” asking Skull on a date. Eleonora Carlini’s pencils have been a good fit for the series. But there were times where I felt the facial expressions could have been stronger, especially comparing it to Dan Mora’s previous work on the series. Go, Go Power Rangers #14 is a solid issue that places some strong building blocks towards a bigger character piece. ~ Kat @ComicUno

Verdict: 4 Power Bolts

ELECTRIC WARRIORS #1 (OF 6) 
“Round One: A Far Better Thing” 
Written By: Steve Orlando
Art By: Travel Foreman
Colors By: Hi-Fi
Letters By: Travis Lanham
Cover By: Travel Foreman & Hi-Fi
Variant Cover By: Bengal
Price: $3.99

Set years after “The Great Disaster”, Earth sends two champions. One a human, War Cry and the other an Octopus, Deep Dweller to fight for Earth’s place in the Universe. I have to admit this book was a surprise for me. I was expecting not to enjoy this book that much because the concept seemed so out there for DC. But I found myself drawn to how there. What I really liked was how the DC we know is being used here. Superman is seen as both a symbol of unity and division makes things more complex. The ending with a character we haven’t seen in a while popping up makes this a book to look out for. The art here really felt right for the book. Both the story and the art have this indie feel to it that makes it stand out from other DC titles. I can’t talk about and not mention the page layouts here, some of the most inventive and creative panels in a while.  ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ¼ Stars

MISTER MIRACLE #12
Written By: Tom King
Art By: Mitch Geralds
Colors By: Mitch Geralds
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover By: Mitch Geralds
Price: $3.99

Mister Miracle #12 marks the last issue of one of my favorite DC Comics currently on stands, and this final chapter doesn’t disappoint. What’s real? What’s important? – existentialism at its best. Is Mister Miracle in hell living the life he never could have? My interpretation is this is just one reality out of the many that Mister Miracle could be living, giving a unique spin on an old comic book concept. Mitch Geralds’ pencils and coloring are masterful, and he continues hitting a home run with this issue. I love the way he displays small moments, helping bring normalcy to a book about Gods. Mister Miracle #12 left me questioning everything I read before, and that’s exactly how I wanted this title to end. ~ Kat @ComicUno

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

RED HOOD OUTLAW #28 
“Delicious!”
Written By: Scott Lobdell
Art By: Pete Woods
Colors By: Rex Lokus
Letters By: Troy Peteri
Cover By: Pete Woods
Variant Cover By: Yasmine Putri
Price: $3.99

Red Hood’s cover is blown and can even Jason Todd take on a whole town and survive? I feel like I am falling in love with Scott Lobdell’s for the first time. He continues to grab me with his books lately and the biggest surprise for me is Red Hood Outlaw. I think a great writer is someone who can make you like something that you usually would not like, and Lobdell achieves that here. I am for the first time totally engaged with a Red Hood book. It isn’t the direction I wanted for the character but it is where the character shines. The art here also needs highlighting Woods does an excellent job conveying the ideal All-American town. Along with Lokus sows the feeling of the true sinister nature of it. I am glad I put my preconceived notions aside and gave this title a shot. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

SUPERMAN #5
“The Unity Saga Part 5”
Written By: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils By: Ivan Reis
Inks By: Joe Prado (pp1-6, 23-24) & Oclair Albert (pp7-22
Colors By: Alex Sinclair
Letters By: Josh Reed
Cover By: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, & Alex Sinclair
Variant Covers By: Adam Hughes
Price: $3.99

Superman is trapped in the Phantom Zone being hunted by Rogol Zaar along with Jax-Ur and his army. But can an old enemy turn out to be a new ally? This is Brian Michael Bendis at his best. I loved this issue, we have everything I want in it. The “New Krypton” scene was very cool. Is it a premonition or a memory from Pre-Flashpoint mixed with current knowledge? Next, we have the scene with Ma and Pa Kent that really hit the nostalgia feels, and the ending indeed gets you ready for what’s coming. Excellent job Bendis! I love the art here Reis has managed to capture the classic look of Superman while keeping it clean and modern.~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

WONDER WOMAN #58
Written By: G Willow Wilson
Art By: Cart Nord
Colors By: Romulo Fajardo Jr
Letters By: Pat Brosseau
Cover By: Terry & Rachel Dodson, Jenny Frison
Price: $3.99

A new era of Wonder Woman has begun with Ms. Marvel’s G. Willow Wilson at the helm. But sadly the Marvel alum’s debut issue doesn’t quite meet the hype. Wilson has a good hold on Wonder Woman’s character, but it takes too many pages for Diana to appear. Cart Nord’s pencils were the issue’s biggest weakness as his facial expressions and proportions were very off. Wonder Woman #58 has an interesting enough cliffhanger to keep me intrigued, although the artwork failed to make the impact it should have with this final splash page. Overall, the quality of this book was less than I expected with such a big writer taking over the title. ~ Kat @ComicUno

Verdict: 3 Stars

STAR TREK VS TRANSFORMERS #2
Written By: John Barber & Mike Johnson
Art By: Philip Murphy
Colors By: Leonardo Ito & Josh Burcham
Letters By: Christa Miesner
Cover By: Philip Murphy
Price: $3.99 

The Enterprise Away Team befriends the Autobots while the Klingons align with the Decepticons and launch an attack on their shared enemies. Another fun blast from Barber and Johnson! These two worlds, that I loved growing up meeting make the 8-year-old me scream with joy. It is like all the times I played with my toys are being performed on the page but way better. The book honors both series but also make it to where you didn’t need to watch either for them to thoroughly enjoy this book. The art by Murphy brilliantly merges the two diverse styles of these animated classics which adopt their own style. Somehow Murphy forges a fusion of the two which feels like both at the same time. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

BIRTHRIGHT #33
Written By: Joshua Williamson
Art By: Andrei Bressan
Colors By: Adriano Lucas
Letters By: Pat Brosseau
Cover By: Bressan & Lucas
Price: $3.99

This issue continues the transformation of Brennan as the rest of the family scrambles to find him. It’s interesting to see things flipped, but Brennan’s transition feels a bit rushed. I understand that time has passed, and he’s been at Kallista’s mercy for a while, but within this issue, he goes from “I could never hate Mikey” to wanting to fight him because things are always about him.

Now, one might argue the Nevermind is that powerful, that it digs in and reaches to the depths to infect and it spreads fast, but Brennan isn’t the one with the Nevermind, Kallista is. You could also argue that Mikey’s right and the price of magic is high, and it’s changing Brennan, but it still feels a bit sudden to me. The transition here was a bit clunkier than Williamson usually crafts the stories of Birthright.

Beyond that, the heart of the story is about family, and that still translates here. They are all desperate to find Brennan and are tracking him down with Rya’s help. Meanwhile, Kallista is slowly polluting Brennan’s mind, turning him so that we reach that inevitable confrontation between the two brothers.

Bressan’s art in this issue was, for the most part, of usual excellent quality, especially the scenes with magic-infused, Brennan. Those were beautiful scenes that took magic and twisted it to this weird oozing kind of malevolent ability that twists and transforms the user. However, some of the quieter moments in this issue weren’t as crisp either. It’s almost as if both Williamson and Bressan were either rushed with this particular issue, or they were both so eager to get to the next where the fight ensues that they may have done so a bit hastily.

I have to praise Brosseau’s lettering here as well. In the flashback with Mikey and company, the person they sought out in Ea, the glowing, floating lettering of the magic user was a nice touch and added to the mystique of the environment.

Overall, not my favorite issue of the series, but we still had strong character moments and a distinct forward move in the plot that left us with a nice cliffhanger to bring us back for more! ~ Brant @BrantFowler

Verdict: 3 ½ Stars

MURDER FALCON #2
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
Metal Variant Cover By: Andrei Bressan & Adriano Lucas
Price: $3.99

Murder Falcon and Jake train and battle more monsters as the meet up with Jake’s former bandmate Johann. The Three embark on a journey to discover the bass that will summon the Mastodon Halford. I have to admit when I saw the Bass spirit was summoned and was a Mastodon, now I just need a Power Ranger reference! But the best part of this story is that on the surface it appears to be about these animal spirits that are summoned and powered through music. But actually, it is a story about grief and we note that more here with Jake and Jo.  ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ¼ Stars

ROSE #14
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

Rose is being held by Dolora without Drucilla’s knowledge of it. Sir Dante and Prince Felix breach the castle. Meanwhile, Artus and Will are about to come to blows before Ila intercedes and dispatches them on their own quest to stop the Queen. Each issue of Rose delivers us deeper into the world Meredith Finch has created and the deeper she takes us the deeper still I want to go. The world in Rose is so rich I would buy minis featuring different parts of it, or just more Rose in any form. The search for Rose is indeed displaying the nobility returning to Dante and I can not wait to witness them reunite. Ig Guara does a great job bringing this world to life that he immerses you into this fantasy adventure and causes you to feel like you are alongside them. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER VOL 3 #5
Written By: Mitch Iverson 
Art By: Rubine 
Colors By: Beni Lobel 
Letters & Assembly By: Andworld Design 
Cover By: Mariko Yamashin 
Variant Cover By Daniele Di Nicuolo & Walter Baiamonte
Price: $3.99 

The Paladins take on a Sarrowspawn who is attacking the planets they are trying to transport all while the Galra attack and the universe watches. I am so happy Lion Forge is producing this book, I NEED my Voltron fix and this hits the spot every month. The way Iverson writes the characters absolutely allow you to hear the voices from the Netflix series. Rubine and Lobel unite to produce art that transcends the boundaries of TV and Comics. I feel like I am watching frames from the show everything feels like you are immersed in the world of Voltron. I hope after the series concludes on December 14th that the comic continues to live on. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9
Written By: Nick Spencer
Pencils By: Humberto Ramos & Michele Bandini
Inks By: Victor Olazaba & Michele Bandini
Colors By: Edgar Delgado & Erick Arciniega
Letters By: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover By: Ramos & Delgado
Variant Covers By: Clayton Crain, Mike Wieringo, Tim Townsend, Jason Keith
Price: $3.99

This issue is the second part of The Heist arc where important items from all the heroes have gone missing. Be it Thor’s hammer, Cap’s shield, Spidey’s webshooters, what have you. And Black Cat is there to help Spidey track them down.

At the end of the last issue as Spider-Man was plummeting to his death, no webshooters to make a web with, Black Cat saves him and then slashes him, and we’re left with the thought of “which side is she on now?” We get that answered in the early pages here, at least in theory.

It was a clever way to give us information about the Thieves Guild without an info dump or flashback. Making Felicia Hardy a member, and doing a brief flashback with her and her father to illustrate that was an interesting and plausible way to go with this story. I felt this issue was much stronger than last, and it’s always fun to see Spider-Man and Black Cat together. Spencer shows how much of a guy he is, too, being happy to… reconnect with Black Cat, even though he’s with Mary Jane. Just the subtle closeness of a former love that had become estranged.

The subplot of Carlie Cooper approaching Mary Jane (making this the issue of Spidey’s exes parade… I’m surprised Silk or that girl from the coffee shop didn’t show up) led us to an interesting side story support group led by and made up of a lot of familiar faces. I’m curious to see where that particular story goes.

I love Ryan Ottley and I want to see him on the book more, but man, I love Humberto Ramos’ work on Spider-Man. In my opinion, he is becoming almost as synonymous with Spider-Man as Mark Bagley. I think he has one of the definitive Spider-Man styles of the past decade. And his art was superb throughout this issue. His paneling and his figure work always make things look more interesting and full of energy, and we got that here as well.

All in all, this issue did for me what the last issue failed miserably to do, which is get me to care about this arc and the repercussions of it. So kudos to the team for a fantastic issue! ~ Brant @BrantFowler

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

THE BLACK ORDER #1
Written By: Derek Landy
Pencils By: Philip Tan
Inks By: Marc Deering, Guillermo Ortega & Le Beau Underwood
Colors By: Jay David Ramos
Letters By: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover By: Tan & Peter Steigerwald
Variant Covers By: John Tyler Christopher, Inhyuk Lee
Price: $3.99

I didn’t really know what to expect from this series when it was announced and approached it with a bit of excitement and a bit of trepidation. The Black Order, after all, is a relatively new group that has been used a lot in a short amount of time. Sometimes well done, other times not so much. So going in, my hesitation was understandable.

Thankfully, any fears I may have had about the book were washed away within the first few pages. For one, this is some of Tan’s strongest artwork in some time, with crisp details on each character and object within the panel, the beautiful paneling focusing on those key expressive moments and exchanges between the characters, and the interesting peoples and worlds we were introduced to. The action was swift and full of motion, purposeful with every stroke.

Landy’s writing was equally masterful, giving us deeper insight into these characters that I’ve seen, especially in the case of Corvus Glaive, the leader and first of the Five Dreadlords. The brilliant use of inner monologue here illustrates perfectly the untapped true potential in these characters. Once one of Thanos’ minions, this man, Glaive, is conflicted in the midst of a slaughter, not because of some moral quandary, but because he can’t decide if he’s funny or not. And sadly, Proxima Midnight, his love hasn’t noticed his subtle attempts at humor. This is just a fantastic character building and storytelling.

As we enter issue two, The Black Order is apparently at a disadvantage, and one has to appreciate that this deadly force of world killers are already facing imminent threats by issue two of their series. It’s a bold and much-needed move to get us to care about these characters and to hook us to come back and see what happens to them.

This team of Landy and Tan have really taken The Black Order to another level, and I can’t wait to read the next issue! ~ Brant @BrantFowler

Verdict: 4 ¾ Stars

FANTASTIC FOUR #3
Written By: Dan Slott
Art By: Sara Pichelli & Nico Leon
Colors By: Marte Gracia
Letters By: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover By: Esad Ribic
Variant Covers By: Various
Price: $3.99

Every member of the Fantastic Four unites to stop the Griever as the main team reconnects. This is what Marvel has been missing! This good feeling, heartwarming ear to ear smiling inducing book! This is the title Dan Slott was meant to write, he has every voice right in this issue, and YES Franklin said “Unca Ben”! Every joke landed perfectly and the sole disappointing thing was it was over far too quickly. Oh, did I mention that I really like Franklin and Valeria’s new code names Powerhouse and Brainstorm respectively? Dan Slott thank you! Pichelli and Nico Leon do a great job here showcasing ever character here, and I thought it was Fantastic! ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ¾ Stars

MS. MARVEL #36
Written By: G Willow Wilson
Art By: Nico Leon
Colors By: Ian Herring
Letters By: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover By:  Valerio Schiti & Rachelle Rosenberg
Price: $3.99

Ms. Marvel #36 explores the new concept of Kamala’s powers in a filler issue that misses the mark. Kamala and Bruno are on top of a rooftop imagining a world with Kamala’s ancestors. But instead of new characters, the tale is filled with familiar faces. As Kamala falls in love with another man, even though a version of Bruno is in the story. I understand the levity of using Zoe, Josh and the rest of the gang, but the continuity felt a bit jumbled. Nico Leon’s pencils and Ian Herring’s colors are the strongest aspects of this issue. I’m glad to see this duo as a mainstay for the series as they give the title a perfect cartoony look. Ms. Marvel #36 introduces a fun concept but fails with its execution. ~ Kat @ComicUno

Verdict: 3 Stars

PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #312
Written By: Sean Ryan
Pencils By: Juan Frigeri
Colors By: Jason Kieth
Letters By: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover By: Phillip Tan & Rain Beredo
Price: $3.99

Issue 312 of Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man is a Spider-Geddon tie-in. In this issue, we see a cat and mouse game between Spider-Man and Morlun. Morlun wants nothing more but to destroy Spider-Man. Morlun states multiple times in this issue that he has been beaten by the Spider three times and is truly embarrassed about the situation. Just as you think that Spider-Man is left for dead in comes Miles Morales to save the day. Our two heroes secure enough time to escape from the evil threat and come up with a plan to try to defeat the Inheritor and his family.

Even though this issue was relatively simplistic, I love the battle between Spider-Man and Morlun. Morlun feels like a threat. You can feel and see how powerful he is on the pages. Unlike the main event Spider-Geddon, the Inheritors are actually running from the Spiders because they’re busy trying to reestablish their family. The character interactions in this issue are done wonderfully. J Jonah Jameson desires nothing more but to help Spider-Man but you can’t help wondering if he is only just in the way. The conversations between Miles and Peter are great, and in that conversation that they have towards the end of the issue ties into the overall event wonderfully. After reading this issue it really completes Spider-Geddon #3 and attaches value to the overall event. The art and colors are beautiful. I always love seeing the rips and tears on Spider-Man’s costume and the facial expressions are perfect. ~ Mike Spider-Slayer @MSpiderSlayer

Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

UNCANNY X-MEN #1
“X-Men Disassembled Part 1”
Written By: Ed Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg, & Kelly Thompson
Art By: Mahmud Asrar
Colors By: Rachelle Rosenberg

Part One “A Bishop Story”
Written By: Matthew Rosenberg
Art By: Mirko Colak

Part Two “A Jean Grey Story”
Written By: Kelly Thompson
Art By: Ibraim Roberson

Part Three “An Armor & Anole Story”
Written By: Ed Brisson
Pencils By: Mark Bagley
Inks By: Andrew Hennessy

Epilogue
Written By: Kelly Thompson
Pencils By: Mark Bagley
Inks By: Andrew Hennessy

Letters By: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover By: Leinil Francis Yu & Edgar Delgado
Variant Covers By: Various Artists
Price: $7.99

Kitty Pryde is missing, Multiple Man is seeking her, Apocalypse is gone and the X-Men are being blamed for a Senator’s abduction. From the beginning of this weekly event it feels very X-Men like, and very classic old school. I loved the interaction between the X-Men. The nods to the past with the Senator being Kidnapped were great. Kitty’s importance over here was a delightful touch. All of that along with Apocalypse being here it all screams classic X-Men to me, which has sorely been missed in recent years. The art here was really tight, and I loved the colors. The sole problem this issue is the price point and the way they justify it. They fill the pages with filler content when we deserve more story like the main one. ~ Jay @ComicBookTheate

Verdict: 4 ¼ Stars

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