Comic Roundup! 05/06

The Comic Roundup is a quick collection of comic book single issue and trade reviews put together by Chuck on a semi regular basis. Each title is given an overview, a score and if you think you may fancy it, clicking the cover art will teleport you away to ComiXology where you may purchase said fancy book – Magic!

Comic Roundup

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Rat Queens Vol 1: Sass & Sorcery

Rat Queens is a fantasy title written by Kurtis J. Wiebe and brought to life by artist John Upchurch that is made for today’s internet loving, video game playing, foul language spewing youth – and it is terrific for it. Written as an epic comedy starring four loyal, but abrasive, female adventurers, the aforementioned Rat Queens, this stories heroes are less concerned with doing the right thing and more about earning gold, getting wasted and finding a comfortable partner for the night. While this attitude may sound irksome or overpowering, there is still plenty of heart within this books pages. The core group, whilst being rebels, certainly care for one another and are given some decent depth throughout this collections first five issues. The only character that suffers is the human cleric, Dee, who gets the least amount of time to shine though the hints at the end of this volume for the next story arc point to Dee being a major player, so she may get the depth she deserves soon enough. Feeling more like a big budget web comic than your average comic book trade, with its mixture of random humor, gore and fantasy settings, Rat Queens is a series made for people who love RPG’s, strong female characters and the troubles that come with guild organization and is one that is definitely worthy of your coin and attention.

Final Score: 9.0 / 10
Incredible

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Harley Quinn #0-3

Ever since jumping onto the scene way back in the Batman The Animated Series Harley Quinn has been a fan favorite DC villain, but one that hasn’t seen too many of her own stories. This year however DC comics has seen fit to retool the character and give her the time of day she deserves.  Writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Connor have been put in charge of this new series and take Harley and her demented psyche away from Gotham City and the shadows of the Batman and Joker and plop her down at Coney Island in Brooklyn. With traces of Deadpool and her own signature charm, Harley Quinn manages to be both fun and a little scary. One second she is caring for a wounded dog and the next she is taking out a hitman with her giant hammer. With a new cast of supporting characters as well as some old friends from Gotham making an appearance, this new series is good for longtime fans or people new to the mad jester.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10
Great

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Pawn Shop

Written by ex IGN comics editor Joey Esposito and illustrated by Sean Von Gorman, Pawn Shop is a comic that shows how diverse the industry truly is. While the majority of the comic world consists of superheroes and acts of violence, there is still a wide spectrum available that a number of creators choose to dabble with and that can be handed to non comic fans as indicators of the kind of talent and content they are missing out on. Pawn Shop is one of those comics. Pawn Shop is the story of four strangers whose lives intersect over the course of a few days in the heart of New York City. It is a story of love, loss, hope and despair and a trip worth taking. Esposito’s writing creates a somber tone that is excellently paced throughout and Gorman’s art, while simplified and rough, does help to capture and enhance Esposito’s raw emotional story in a way other artists would fail at. And as if these stories weren’t intimate enough, Esposito decided to add another touch of personality and influence over your emotions by including each chapter with its own playlist of tracks. The idea is that the reader will cue up these songs (that can easily be found on Youtube or through the included Spotify link) and allow them to play in the background while they read the story. Music is powerful, enhancing our lives and stories in a number of ways and the same can be said here. The music is perfectly chosen to elicit both joy and tears and is a highly recommended addition if you choose to read this series. Pawn Shop is a book full of heart, affordable and one that comes highly recommended.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10
Great

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Aquaman Vol 1: The Trench

Aquaman…he doesn’t exactly have the best image for a superhero. Often the butt of many jokes and cast as the ugly duckling of the DC Universe, whether he deserves it or not, Aquaman has been a stable but unfortunate background character for too long. When it was time for the “New 52” relaunch in 2011 Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis were put in charge of this longtime hero and given the task of reintroducing him to fans and potential new readers, and in particular, show them why Arthur Curry is a hero that deserves respect. Collecting issues 1-6 of the run, The Trench is a great beginning, putting Aquaman in an established world and in a new bind, while also slowly reaffirming his powers and his origins in a way that makes sense. Johns is all too familiar with the image problem his hero holds, writing it into the story itself. The citizens of this world not only openly mock Aquaman, they harass him at restaurants and ask him how he feels being the least liked superhero around! All the while this shunned protector continues to save these same citizens and try to find peaceful ways in which to deal with deadly new threats. Curry’s inner turmoil, from being an outcast of two worlds, to his unflinching honor, are on display perfectly and provide a strong but sympathetic hero who only wishes to find acceptance and discover who he truly is. If you are one of the many who have laughed at Aquaman in the past, you owe it to yourself to pick up The Trench and see what you’ve been missing.

Final Score: 8.0 / 10
Great

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Wonder Woman Vol 1: Blood

On the other side of the spectrum we have DC’s New 52 interpretation of Wonder Woman. Written by Brian Azzarello with art by Cliff Chiang, this rendition of the powerful Amazonian princess begins with a whimper and ends with a thud – a decapitated horse head thud. This trade collects the series first six issues and while I appreciate what Azzarello tries to do here, ease newcomers into the series world while giving longtime fans familiar faces in new light, it just doesn’t work. This compilation suffers from too much melodrama and not enough substance. The majority of the cast are one-dimensional and a key player barely gets any screen time after her initial introduction. As for Wonder Woman herself, she comes off more like an angsty teen and less like a strong hero. While I can see what the creative team are going for, giving readers a younger less sure of herself heroine and allowing them to see her develop, the story still implies that Wonder Woman is a renown and well respected hero, and we just don’t get that here. Vol 1: Blood is a story arc that meanders about wasting both the readers and the characters time, only to get to a point we saw coming several issues prior. While the last issue definitely picks up steam and injects this volume with some much needed energy and excitement, hinting at some decent promise for the series future, getting there feels much like taking part in the cover of this Trade – while it is certainly one way of going about it, it is a painful and unnecessary way and there are far better paths they could have used.

Final Score: 6.0 / 10
Alright

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