Mini Reviews for 1/1

This article was originally published at ComicBook.Com on January 1, 2019.

DC

LOIS LANE #7

Lois Lane #7 reads like stalling for time. Most of the issue either services a plot line that the rest of DC Comics has already moved past (with little effect) or building to a cliffhanger that doesn’t enhance this issue so much as it provides at least one reason to stick around. Despite being promoted as a 12-issue maxi-series, this reads like a standard monthly cape comic where the goal is to always fill the time and keep going. Why limit the span if there’s not enough plot or intrigue to flesh out each individual segment? When the seeming non sequitur at the start of the issue is the most engaging element of the entire entry, perhaps it’s time to pack things in and wrap it all up, because it’s not even entirely clear what Lois Lane is about past its halfway point.. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

Marvel

DAREDEVIL #16

Daredevil #16 delivers a small, but entertaining, heist as it assembles its protagonists and antagonists in their new roles for the coming year. As strange as it may sound, this sixth part in a story arc offers an excellent starting point as each character is clearly positioned between where they come from and where they are now motivated to go next. It’s a neat collection of character work that builds upon the familiar lore of Daredevil in order to make the series’ focus on strata of power more clear, and it’s working very well. The addition of Jorge Fornes on art provides a much needed punch-up of style and presentation, one that readers should hope to see continue as every issue of this series should look as excellent as this one. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

PUNISHER: SOVIET #3

This is a horror comic and a war comic, and will leave you feeling isolated and shocked as only the best stories from either category can. It’s difficult to recommend Punisher: Soviet #3 because it’s genuinely hard to stomach; Jacen Burrows work on Providence prepared him well to depict the horrors of Soviet-Afghan War here. Some of the crimes committed are so heinous that I had to seek out evidence that such atrocities occurred to not write them off as racist hyperbole. With that warning in mind, the issue is told through the filter of memory framed as moments and ideas in a conversation decades removed from their occurence, and it is all tremendously effective. It evokes pain and terror and so many cruel feelings, and does so incredibly well while only being a slight sidestep away from the honest events that inspired the story. It is an achievement, even if it is not a pleasant one. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 5 out of 5

X-MEN #4

The Autumn Council arrives at Davos as X-Men confronts one of the key themes from HoX/PoX: the evolving nature of power in the 21st century. It’s astounding how much ground is covered in a relatively brief meeting here, one that examines what control means now and how capital is central to its nature. The issue doesn’t simply deploy its characters as mouthpieces for a critique either, but instead utilizes the unique histories of Magneto, Apocalypse, and Professor X in order to enhance its observations and plans to address these ideas further. This centerpiece of a dinner is laden with tension and plenty potent on its own, but the deployment of action between panels adds another level of menace and meaning that puts X-Men #4 over the top. This is the promise of the summer’s dual mini-series fully realized and everything I want from X-Men comics going forward. Bravo. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 5 out of 5

Other Publishers 

COPRA #4

The first few pages of COPRA #4 alone are worth the price of admission. They feature a conversation every bit as intense as Fiffe’s best action sequences, deploying a wide array of tools to develop tension and threats as two of the series’ longest-standing individuals finally confront a key point of contention. It’s a thrilling experience and one the rest of the issue doesn’t let down. Much like the “Personal Files” issues from the original Suicide Squad series, this issue provides readers with a check-in on most of the cast, sets up future threats, and does it all in a deeply compelling fashion without needing to force an action sequence. This issue sets up a lot of what is to come in COPRA, but reminds us all that the reason we’re reading is for this brilliantly illustrated set of characters who are at risk when the action returns. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 5 out of 5

GRENDEL: DEVIL’S ODYSSEY #3

Matt Wagner introduces a new planet complete with its own ecosystem, history, culture, and forms of life in the third installment of Devil’s Odyssey. While the formula feels familiar to what occurred on Gyk, it’s a formula that can be repeated without diminishing returns based upon how interesting the newly discovered planet is. It’s the ingenuity and sprawling depictions of this ice planet that make round two almost every bit as intriguing as the first outing. That mode of storytelling may become tiresome if Grendel Prime arrives at a fourth or fifth planet, without much changed, but for now it’s exciting to learn about these imagined biospheres and watch how Grendel Prime survives them. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

MANIFEST DESTINY #40

Manifest Destiny #40 is an extended, tension-building countdown to a twist that almost any reader can see coming from the first page. It’s a story built on tropes that date back to Homer’s The Odyssey without much of an update besides the setting and aesthetics already very familiar to readers after 39 issues. That makes the foreshadowing something of a chore and there’s little dread to be felt about an outcome already witnessed many times over. It’s only the final few pages and the depiction of a twist on how exactly these “sirens” function that make it work and put a little gas in the tank to keep going. The last two pages are excellent, but the long slog to reach them was anything but. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

OLYMPIA #2

Elon is a protagonist with so few memorable features that it’s difficult to remember his name between pages. In Olympia #2 he moves through the plot like an 8-bit video game figure, lacking distinctive features and functioning to expose narration and action. Unfortunately, even the action embedded in another comic falls flat, aping Jack Kirby’s style with none of the man’s confidence or skills. Olympia is a slog to read and all of the inspiration it touts on the front and back covers are pasted throughout the comic itself without a single spark of imagination or interest. Naming the fictional creator of Olympia as Kirby Spiegelman reads like the least creative nom de plume since Akira Yoshida, something dashed off without a moment of consideration, but at least that fits with the aesthetic of everything else occurring in these pages. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 1 out of 5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *