One, Two, Kapow Comic Reviews
Best of the Week 02/05/14
Title: Apocalypse Al #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Sid Kotian
The fourth series in Straczynski’s new line of Joe’s Comics is here. Ten Grand and Sidekick have been fantastic and I have been eagerly awaiting each new issue. Protectors Inc. on the other hand has been slow and disappointing so far; I keep waiting for everything to click and it hasn’t happened yet. Here we are with Apocalypse Al and I can happily say that things are back on track as this first issue was an absolute wonderful, fun read this week.
Things immediately begin with introducing Allison Carter, otherwise known as Al for short, a private investigator who specializes in the end of the world. An occultist has just unleashed the Eater of Worlds using an amulet, the Seal of Balthsar. Apparently demon’s don’t like to be woken from their slumber, so Al shoots the amulet, unleashing the Eater of Worlds from control. The occultist is hungrily eaten by the demon before it goes back into its slumber. First case closed.
After arriving home she is met by former LAPD detective, Mike Rose, who happens to be a helpful undead zombie. He informs her that someone has stolen the Book of Keys, a book that can unleash the doorway to hell on Earth. Luckily for Al, the person trying to unlock the doorway to hell has no idea how to read the book he stole, so is unlocking every supernatural doorway he can, giving her some time to investigate.
Having no leads, she goes to a friend for answers. This friend is Max, an insane homeless prophet that can foresee just about anything, including rising prices of cucumbers. He zero’s in on the location of the Book of Keys being used, so Al rushes to the location, only to be sucked into the dreamscape as that doorway is unlocked. After wading through some interesting dreams, such as a nightmare of being trapped as a temp in a legal office, she finally makes her way out of the dreamscape, only to find her target is gone.
Going back home to refresh and regroup, a man comes to her apartment and tells her a Mr. Abernathy needs to see her immediately. Mr. Abernathy is a powerful business man who represents several major businesses, countries, toy companies, and the devil. She meets him at his office where he and the devil are waiting to talk to her.
The issue is very light and fun. Straczynski mixes a lot of quirky humor into the issue separating itself from Ten Grand, which takes itself more seriously. The art matches the tone. I really like what Kotian did with the art, and especially Bill Farmer’s vibrant colors. Everything is very upbeat and clean. The dreamscape sequence was especially one of my favorite parts. It was really bizarre, but really funny as she tried to escape.
Everything else under Joe’s Comics are definitely darker than what you’ll find here, the one about the end of the world. It has a different feel than from what Straczynski usually does, but that is what really makes me like it. There were a lot of new number 1’s this week (coughMarvelcough), but treat yourself to something different and pick this up.
Title: Green Arrow #28
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
The Green Arrow is hot right now. The TV show just seems to be getting better and better every week. The same can be said for the comic. Before Lemire and Sorrentino took over, Ollie had a rough relaunch; it wasn’t the worst of DC, but the character deserved better. Lemire has been on fire since he took over the book, though, and is beginning to get into stories that wouldn’t have been possible without the new 52. Last issue is a huge example of this, so if you are viewing this and haven’t read issue #27, stop now, MAJOR SPOILER ALERT. With that said, let’s jump in.
As cliffhangers go, last issue’s was a whopper. Robert Queen, his father, is alive and well. With that reveal over, now comes time for some more bombshells from Oliver’s dad, as Robert explains how he was still alive, along with some other juicy tidbits, all of which Shado was in on. With Komodo having turned on him, Robert worked with Magus and Emerson to fake his own death at Komodo’s hand. So he had a place to hide while everyone thought he was dead, he bought the island that Oliver would eventually be shipwrecked on. Staying there, he waited for his son to come of age. When he believed the time had come, he arranged the shipwreck to strand Oliver on the island so his son could learn to survive and fight.
Once he thought Oliver was prepared enough, Robert, in costume to keep his identity secret, fought Oliver one on one. He knew his son was ready, but did not realize how strong Oliver had become. Oliver nearly killed Robert during the confrontation. Magus saved Robert and looked after him during his recovery while Emerson was given word to finally “rescue” Oliver from the island.
Oliver is not given much time to reflect on this before Kodiak of the shield clan attacks the three. Oliver and Robert take on Kodiak to no avail, but which allows Shado to strike. With Kodiak distracted by Shado’s attack, Oliver is able to get a kill shot and end the fight.
In the meantime, Henry and Naomi are alone at the headquarters trying to figure out what is happening with Star City’s underworld. Making another comics appearance, John Diggle surprises them, looking for Oliver because of the same thing.
At the end, Komodo decides it is time to consolidate the clans of the Outsiders under himself. With the help of the fist clan, Komodo kills the current leader Golgotha, the leader of the spear clan, and takes control. With this, he decrees “it’s time for war.”
The Outsiders War arc, and the prelude to it have at times become slightly overcomplicated. Lemire has been stuffing a lot into his run which at times can be a bit much. Here the issue slows down a bit. Sure it has a lot of big revelations, but it seemed like a regrouping issue before moving on to the next part. Of the three issues of the arc, this has by far been my favorite. I’m exicted to see what’s next, I just hope Lemire doesn’t have to many balls in the air at once.
The art is amazing. I love what Sorrentino brings to the book. His art is beautiful, every page is draws is exciting. The battle with Kodiac is a treat; the entire battle is done within the giant action words. I’ve never seen anything like it before, and I loved it. A strong mention must be made of Marcello Maiolo as well. His colors are a natural fit to Sorrentino’s pencils, the contrasts he use are unique and fit the story perfectly.
Issue three of a story arc is never the best place to jump in at, but this is. It has several heavy revelations that I’m sure will follow the book for quite some time. It also mixes in some great actions sequences at the right moments. Beyond that, you’ll be looking at some of the best art currently in comic books.