Everything We Read This Week – 01/09/2019

Welcome back to Everything We Read This Week.  This is the place that we make our weekly trip through this week’s pull-list. It features mostly spoiler-free brief analysis and commentary of each book.

This is a great week for new comic books. There are some series that begin, some that end, some that get more interesting, and some that get crazy! We reviewed a bunch of them below. There are even more that we did not even have time to get to and review for you.  We say this often, but seriously, GO OUT AND FIND SOME COMICS TO READ!! They are good for you.

We reviewed books from DC, Marvel, Image, Black Crown, Abstract Studios, and Ahoy Comics. As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics.

Marvel Comics tribute covers to Stan Lee continue this week. Also, it must be noted that Clayton Cowles seems to be the busiest letterer in the business based on the number of books he worked on this week. Fortunately, he is very good at what he does.

Also, Don’t forget to check our hotlist of new books debuting this month over here. You will see books that we were looking forward to with the designation Hot #1 by them. There are a few of them out this week and they are really good.

DISCLAIMER: 

There is a 4 star rating system. It is simple and not to be taken too seriously as everyone gets their own impressions of art. These ratings are just to give our readers an idea of what we thought of the book, and they will be on the generous side normally. So don’t expect to see a lot of 1 Stars. After all, it’s not often that you have a bad book on your pull-list.

The rating system is as follows:

Great

 Good

 OK

 Not Good

Also look for the book we deemed Favorite Book of the Week. It is the comic that we like the most this week. The criteria are difficult to pin down, but suffice to say it is a book that moved us.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Avengers #12, Batman #62, Bitter Root #3, BlackBird #4, Captain Marvel #1, Cemetery Beach #5, Criminal #1, Die #2, Domino #10, The Dreaming #5, Euthanauts #5, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1, The Green Lantern #3, House Amok #4, Iceman #5, Nightwing #56, Outer Darkness #3, Strangers in Paradise XXV #9, Uncanny X-Men #9, The Wrong Earth #5, Young Justice #1


Avengers #12
Marvel Comics
Written by Jason Aaron
Pencils by Ed McGuinness & Cory Smith
Inks by Mark Morales, Karl Kesel & Scott Hanna
Colors by Erick Arciniega
Letters by Cory Petit
Cover Art by Alan Davis, Mark Farmer & JIm Campbell

Jason Aaron really stretches his legs as a storyteller in this issue. This issue is a “get the team together” book crossed with a “prelude to the next arc”, but Aaron does an admirable job of making it engaging. The characterization is excellent, and selection of Avengers support staff members is inspiring. The art in this book is on par with the normally high quality that the group of artists has been delivering on this series.

 


Batman #62
DC Comics
Written by Tom King
Art by MItch Gerads
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover by Gerads

 Favorite Book of the Week

This comic floored us. It is a tale of Batman fighting through a mental confusion. It is fantastic. The choice of Mitch Gerads on the art for this issue is genius. His use of psychedelic background designs and colors sets a tone of confusion that King’s writing only furthers to establish. The fall of Batman that has been building for sixty-odd issues is getting serious. The economic use of words by King is powerful, and Cowles’ delivery of the words is fantastic. The comic is a joy to read. It is emotionally jarring and disturbing, but it all feels natural to the larger story that is being told. This is our Favorite Book of the Week.

 


Bitter Root #3
Image Comics
Written by David F. Walker, Chuck Brown and Sanford Greene
Colors by Rico Renzi & Greene
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover Art by Greene & Jarreau Wimberly

Sometimes a comic will use a storytelling technique that is different from the norm. In this issue, the authors develop three separate plotlines. The use of the the first three pages to introduce the plotlines simultaneously and then split out into two to three page focus points at time is a truly an ambitious choice. It is pulled off flawlessly. The audience is given a responsibility to manage the consumption of information, and it results in their conscription to the service of investigating where the plotlines lead. The quality of Sanford Greene’s world building designs and style as well as the intriguing nature of the story threads certainly help the execution of this high-reaching storytelling effort. This series continues to impress.

 


BLACKBIRD #4
Image Comics
Written by Sam Humphries
Art by Jen Bartel
Layout Artist by Paul Reinwand
Colors by Triona Farell
Letters by Jodi Wynne
Cover Art by Bartel

This comic is beautiful. Bartel’s “in panel” art seems to be getting more alluring. The story is unfolding in very intriguing ways. Up until now, there has been a feeling about the protagonist in this series that has kept us from fully buying in to her struggle. There has a been a pity-party vibe that she has been giving off. That seemed to change for the better in this issue. We are looking forward to where that goes.

 


Captain Marvel #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Carmen Carnero
Colors by Tamra Bonvillain
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover Art by Amanda Conner & Paul Mounts

 Hot #1

Kelly Thompson is a very good writer, and she is bringing her “A” game to this new series for a very important character in the Marvel Universe. The series is off to a good start. This issue does a nice job of giving enough backstory to newbies without it being anything close to an origin retell. There are some interesting character choices, and the dialogue is smart and entertaining. The art is well done. This series has achieved lift off with this debut issue.

 


Cemetery Beach #5
Image Comics
Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Jason Howard
Letters by Fonografiks

The five issue chase scene continues in this installment of Cemetery Beach. Ellis does take some time to engage in a bit of character development, which is fascinating. Howard persists in his fantastic action escape sequences, and this comic remains a visual adventure. The color choices are strong, and the audience can’t help but feel bad for the inhabitants of this colony, due to the lack of natural light.

 

 


Criminal #1
Image Comics
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Sean Phillips
Colors by Jacob Phillips
Cover Art by Phillips

 Hot #1

With this extra-sized issue, we have the return of the fan favorite hardscrabble crime series by Brubaker and Phillips. This book is everything that you could expect from this pair. It is an entertaining read that delves into the unseamly underbelly of the human condition. It is beautifully rendered and a welcome return from an excellent team of comic talent.

 

 


Die #2
Image Comics
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Stephanie Hans
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover Art by Hans

When a new series debuts like this one did with a jaw dropping explosion of awesomeness, it is very understandable that the second issue might fall short of that high bar. That is not the case here. The tragedy of the group of roleplayers that we met in the first issue is so much more terrible than was first thought. Hans delivers a visual story with a smartly limited color palette, and her painted style does not include tremendously detailed lines. Both of those techniques further the harrowing story that Gillen is rendering. The fear, sadness, and danger that is on display in this issue is compelling storytelling. This series is a hit and there is no denying it.

 


Domino #10
Marvel Comics
Written by Gail Simone
Art by David Baldeon, Michael Shelfer, Alberto Alburquerque and Anthony Piper
Inks by Victor Olazaba, Ed Tadeo and Michael Shelfer
Colors by Carlos Lopez
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover Art by Gang Hyuk Lim

Gail Simone has delivered a wonderful ride with Domino. Unfortunately, this is the last issue of this series. The characters will return in a few months with a mini-series. This issue on its own is fantastically enjoyable. There is some significant revelatory development in the final issue that feels like Simone has been trying to tell the audience all through the series. We have enjoyed this series, and this is a worthy way to end it.

 


The Dreaming #5
DC Vertigo / Sandman Universe
Written by Simon Spurrier
Illustrated by Bilquis Evely and Abigail Larson
Colors by Mat Lopes and Quinton Winter
Letters by Simon Bowland
Cover Art by Jae Lee & June Chung

A Sandman comic not written by Neil Gaiman might be a hard sell. This comic proves that it can be done in excellent fashion. Spurrier is crafting an absolutely wonderful story using fantastic characters and interesting plot decisions. What is going on with Dora is fascinating, and Lucien’s decline is heartbreaking. Evely’s art is exquisite. The fractured Dreaming and other realms that she puts on exhibit in this issue are lovely. Simon Bowland’s lettering is a very real asset to this book and series. Well done by all.

 


Euthanauts #5
Black Crown / IDW
Written by Tini Howard
Art by Nick Robles
Colors by Eva De La Cruz & Nick Robles
Letters by Neil Uyetake
Cover Art by Robles

As the saying goes, “All good thing must come to an end”, and so it is with this wonderful series. Howard and Robles’ metaphysical adventure reaches a fantastic climax with this finale. There are themes explored about the acceptance or rejection of death that will have one’s head spinning for days, and Nick Robles did an absolutely amazing job in visually realizing massive concepts in the most beautiful way. We are truly sorry to see this series end. It is tragic, sweet, and exciting all at once. Rest well Circe.

 


Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Juann Cabal
Colors by Nolan Woodard
Letters by Travis Lanham
Cover Art by Andrew Robinson

 Hot #1

There was a great sense of comfort that came with reading this comic. There are acts of kindness and true altruism that make one admire them rather than compare them to the lack thereof in reality. Kindness for its own sake. It was refreshing. Taylor tells a good Spider-Man story and shows enough mysterious elements that will bring readers back for more. Cabal does as wonderful job visually describing an excellent and satisfying debut issue for this series.

 


The Green Lantern #3
DC Comics
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Liam Sharp
Colors by Steve Oliff
Letters by Tom Orzechowski
Cover Art by Liam Sharp & Steve Oliff

When this series was announced, it was billed as a “police procedural in space”. This issue is the most “cop story” so far. There are grand concepts about the selfish nature of humanity that are explored in this issue, but the actions of Hal Jordan are the primary plot drivers. Sharp’s art keeps getting better with each issue of this series. Please understand, that it started at a incredibly high level. The constructs used by ring-wielders in this issue are particularly fascinating. This book got very interesting with this issue.

 


House Amok #4
Black Crown / IDW
Written by Christopher Sebela
Art by Shawn McManus
Colors by Lee Loughridge
Letters by Neil Uyetake
Cover Art by Shawn McManus

This comic book is full of crazy. It is heartbreakingly terrifying. It is wild and outrageous. Sebela and McManus put on a show to thrill the imagination. The art in this book, and the series in general, is fantastic. The cartoonish style softens the absolute horror of the plot to the book. The advancements to the plot in this book are important as the series races toward a conclusion. We will wait in terrified anticipation for the final installment.

 


Iceman #5
Marvel Comics
Written by Sina Grace
Art by Nathan Stockman
Colors by Andres Mossa & Federico Blee
Letters by Joe Sabino
Cover Art by W. Scott Forbes

The end to this series is well done. The care that Sina Grace has for Bobby Drake is evident in every panel, and that makes for a better comic. Stockman continued to bring exciting a style to Iceman that was both fresh and nostalgic. The large arc of this story has never been what drove it, and while there was a conclusion to the conflict with Mr. Sinister, this story has always been about Bobby, the man behind the ice. His self acceptance and realizations are the key to the tale that was told, and it was wonderful.

 


Nightwing #56
DC Comics
Written by Scott Lobdell & Fabian Nicieza
Art by Davide Gianfelice
Colors by Nick Filardi
Letters by Andworld Design
Cover Art by Chris Moneyham & Filardi

Nightwing’s recovery hits a crossroad in this issue. Lobdell and Nicieza find Ric Grayson in a situation that requires him to truly decide who he is. The plot decisions follow with satisfactory outcomes. The art by Gianfelice is dynamic and well laid out.

 

 


Outer Darkness #3
Image Comics
Written by John Layman
Art by Afu Chan
Letters by Pat Brossueau
Cover Art by Chan

Layman and Chan deliver another excellent installment in this weird series. The mix of science and occult in this spacefaring series is a bit mind bending, and the matter of fact way that it is delivered makes it all that more interesting. The characters are very well differentiated and make the story compelling. This is not a Layman laugh track. There are serious threats that are being addressed by serious characters; however there is something intriguing about chasing a soul down through space and reincorporating it into a lost crew member. Yeah. That kind of crazy is what you find in this series.

 


Strangers in Paradise XXV #9
Abstract Studio
Written by Terry Moore
Art by Terry Moore
Cover Art by Moore & Steve Hamker

This black and white comic is excellent. There are some very important plot revelations that are delivered in this issue. This is the most “Rachel Rising”-ish installment of this series so far, but the interplay of the Terry-verse that is on display in the series is a treasure. Moore’s dialogue is brilliant, as always, and the characters are full of individuality. We are hooked on this series.

 

 


Uncanny X-Men #9
Marvel Comics
Written by Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson & Ed Brisson
Art by Yildiray Cinar
Colors by Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Cover Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Roberto Poggi & Matt Milla

The writers of this series are definitely thinking big. The stakes keep rising conflict escalates. The management of such a huge cast is well done. The ability to show quiet scenes away from the battle, particularly with Beast and Anole, is one of the highlights of this issue. Cinar brings so much goodness to this all out chaotic battle. This is a very good issue, especially for a weekly series.

 


The Wrong Earth #5
Ahoy Comics
Written by Tom Peyer
Art by Jamal Igle
Inks by Juan Castro
Colors by Andy Troy
Letters by Rob Steen
Cover Art by Igle

This is good stuff. The series, the issue, the writing, the art. It is all good. There is excellent storytelling with intriguing plotlines. The art leads the story by executing distinct design choices that are clearly identifiable. In simple terms, it looks good and reads like a superhero mystery comic. This issue is particularly important to the larger plot because some interesting hints to the mystery are revealed.

 


Young Justice #1
DC Comics
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Patrick Gleason
Colors by Alejandro Sanchez
Letters by DC Lettering
Cover Art by Gleason & Sanchez

 Hot #1

Young Justice is back, and it looks great. We are not sure how Young Justice is back in the current DC timeline that began after Flashpoint since the whole younger hero continuity was rewritten and a lot of it thrown out. This story is fun and engaging. The art is wonderful and the layouts are inspired. We have a lot of questions  about how this story fits, and they are not all answered in this issue. We will see where it goes, but Bendis still has a lot of explaining to do.

 

 

Well, that is it for this week. Thanks for reading, and let us know what you think about these books or any books you are reading in the comments.