Mini Reviews for 9/9

This article was originally published at ComicBook.com on September 9, 2020.

DC

DARK NIGHTS: DEATH METAL – TRINITY CRISIS #1

I felt the headache about five pages in. There is so much jargon, identification, and explanation in the introductory sequence of this overly complicated attempt to justify DC Comics’ obsession with crises that it gave me a headache. The rest of the issue isn’t much better, and that includes the bizarre nature of a one-shot that knits itself so closely to an ongoing event series as to suggest it should have simply been part of that series. Instead, space is used trying to remind readers of a conspiratorial reimagining of the multiverse that makes the gif of Charlie in It’s Always Sunny seem like the height of rationality. There are quick moments of forced levity or notable character beats, but they appear in a shoehorned fashion that only sometimes allows Manapul the opportunity to land a specific emotional note. There are some genuinely excellent panels in this comic book, but they don’t offer enough to justify reading this headache. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 1 out of 5

Marvel

WEB OF VENOM: WRAITH #1

Why infuse an ongoing series with hints and subplots about the future when you can publish those elements as one-shots with a higher cover price? Wraith is nobody’s favorite character, but appearances in events like Conquest and a recent Guardians of the Galaxy run prevents him from being forgotten. However, his appearance here is solely in service to the mounting conflict with Knull in the pages of Venom. Every moment that builds to the intersection of the series is devoted to either explaining who Wraith is or retrofitting his origin to reveal something new about Knull. As a sub-plot in the pages of Venom it might have provided some extra points of interest, but it reads like apocrypha for an already tortured plotline in this format. It’s another publication that will be quickly summarized in a few lines on a wiki before being promptly forgotten. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 1 out of 5

X-FORCE #12

X-Force #12 functions primarily as a prologue for the upcoming “X of Swords” crossover, but manages to maintain some of its own story momentum, like showing Beast to be the absolute worst X-Man ever. The swerve to persecuting Russian mutants exists at cross-purposes with the basic tenets of Krakoa, and it’s unclear whether this is an idea that will be addressed outside of the pages of X-Force. In this issue it reads as being rushed, especially the splash panel featuring so many characters who would have a stake in the choice being made before them. However, much of this issue is devoted to developing ideas and positioning characters for another story altogether and that prevents it from ever being a wholly satisfying read. Readers can hope that “X of Swords” won’t undermine what works in the “Dawn of X” line, but its impact on X-Force this week is not cause for optimism. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

Other Publishers

ICE CREAM MAN PRESENTS: QUARANTINE COMIX SPECIAL #1

Quarantine Comix Special may provide charity to comic book stores hit hard by the pandemic, but this collection of minicomics from the Ice Cream Man team and some guest creators doesn’t require any charity from readers. What’s surprising is that—even with such an impressive array of unexpected talents, including Al Ewing and Declan Shalvey—the six Ice Cream Man stories that fit naturally into the series atypical routine are the most intriguing. This is a comic book that has always excelled when executing original concepts in a single issue, and they deliver that same impact in a handful of pages six times over. It’s a testament to what makes this book consistently engaging. The guest creators never slouch, though, and each of the four additional stories in the issue’s back half provide at least a solid chuckle. Quarantine Comix Special is an outstanding collection of talent and ideas, and one that also does some good with each purchase. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

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