Everything We Read This Week – 01/23/2019

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.

There are a bunch comic books out this week. There are a few new series that we have been waiting for. It is overall a solid week of new releases. 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, Albatross Funny Books, Boom! Studios, and Ahoy Comics. As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics.

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:

Aquaman #44, Avengers #13, Batman #63, Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1, Exorsisters #4, Freedom Fighters #2, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #2, Grumble #3, Guardians of the Galaxy #1, Hardcore #2, High Heaven #5, Justice League #16, Naomi #1, Oliver #1, Uncanny X-Men Annual #1, The Wild Storm #19,

Aquaman #44
DC Comics
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Pencils by Robson Rocha
Inks by Daniel Henriques
Colors by Sunny Gho
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover Art by Rocha, Henriques, & Gho

Kelly Sue DeConnick is diving in strong to DC and Aquaman. While the amnesiac Arthur may feel to longtime readers as a step back in the growth the character, the story being told, which is filled with mythology and mystery, is really very interesting. This issue begins to reveal more about the new characters surrounding Arthur and certainly has piqued our curiosity. Rocha’s art is glorious, and this is an excellent new direction for Aquaman.


Avengers #13
Marvel Comics
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Andrea Sorrentino
Colors by Justin Ponsor & Erick Arciniega
Letters by Cory Petit
Cover Art by Steve Epting

This issue is a complete flashback to the prehistoric Avengers story that has been sprinkled through Jason Aaron’s run. The story is well told, and the characters revealed are interesting and sympathetic. The original Iron Fist is truly heroic. Sorrentino’s interior artwork is lovely. There are revelations that may be important in furthering the ancient story. Overall, this is a solid comic.

 


Batman #63
DC Comics
Written by Tom King
Art by Mikel Janín
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover Art by Janín

Mikel Janín returns to draw this issue in the Knightmare Arc of Batman. It is beautifully imagined, designed and executed. The bizarre mind tricks that Batman has been enduring continue in this issue. The use of John Constantine as a tool for possible self actualization by King is particularly interesting. We may be getting some clarity on where this story may lead, but meanwhile, Batman is being crushed emotionally in ways that are extraordinary. That seems to have been King’s goal, and he is making it happen.


Buffy The Vampire Slayer #1
Boom! Studios
Written by Jordie Bellaire
Art by Dan Mora
Colors by Raúl Angulo
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Cover Art by Matthew Taylor

 Hot #1

Full Disclosure: I am not a historic fan of the Buffyverse. That is probably evident by using the term “Buffyverse”, because it is probably incorrect. However, we really liked this comic. Jordie Bellaire looks to be starting from scratch here, and it is entertaining, exciting, and engaging. Mora’s art is a perfect melding with the dialogue and direction of the story, and helps create a consistent tone to the book. This is nice way to start what we hope to be a successful new chapter in Sunnydale. (Yes. I had to look up how to spell the town’s name.)


Exorsisters #4
Image Comics
Written by Ian Boothby
Art by Gisèle Lagacé
Colors by Pete Pantazis
Letters by Taylor Esposito
Cover Art by Lagace & Pantazis

This is one of the most fun comics that we read on a monthly basis. Boothby and Lagacé make a phenomenal team, and this book keeps getting better. The writing and dialogue are smart and funny. The art is incredibly descriptive and cute (Yes. It is cute). Lagacé does a wonderful job of telling the story visually. The danger for Kate and Cate is getting pretty serious, and we are enjoying every page of it. There is a big cliffhanger at the end of this issue that has us eagerly anticipating next month’s installment.


Freedom Fighters #2
DC Comics
Written by Robert Venditti
Pencils by Eddy Barrows
Inks by Eber Ferreira
Colors by Adriano Lucas
Letters by Deron Bennett
Cover Art by Barrows, Ferreira, & Lucas

Robert Venditti and Eddy Barrows made a very superheroey superhero book. There are no secret identities addressed. This is a super team battle versus a giant robot, and that is about the entirety of it. Barrows created some fantastic imagery, and there are some very inspired panel layout choices. It is a stunning, beautiful, battle book. However, do not dismiss the simplicity of this issue. There is a lot of information dispensed that serves to engage the audience and bring them to care for the well being of the heroes. We are really enjoying this series and have high hopes for the next issues.


Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #2
Marvel Comics
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Juann Cabal
Colors by Nolan Woodard
Letters by Travis Lanham
Cover Art by Andrew C. Robinson

There are a lot of Spider-Man stories. You would think that they have all been told. Not so. Taylor and Cabal have us invested in another “Spider” book. The storytelling is top notch. In typical Spidey style, there are very serious dangers faced with great powers and silly jokes. It is not easy to capture the right humor for Peter Parker, and Taylor has it nailed. Cabal’s art is on par with his usual high quality work. We are looking forward to what is to come.


Gumble #3
Albatross Funny Books
Written by Rafer Roberts
Art by MIke Norton
Colors by Marissa Louise
Letters by Crank!
Cover Art by Norton & Louise

This is another of the tragically underrated monthly comics out there. This issue is better than the last, and that is impressive. Roberts and Norton are in perfect sync on this book. The mysterious aspects of the story are equally teased through dialogue and imagery. Norton makes some very cool choices in this issue with respect to the flashback panels, and the facial acting is fantastic. This book is funny and exciting and you should be reading it.


Guardians of the Galaxy #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Geoff Shaw
Colors by Marte Gracia
Letters by Cory Petit
Cover Art by David Marquez & Dean White

 Hot #1

Over the past year or so, Marvel has torn down the existing status quo of its cosmic storylines, and readers have had to endure countless mini-series to get to the point that this comic brings us to. While all of that is a bit disheartening (and deflating to the wallet), Donny Cates knocks this out of the park and across the highway! There are real and interesting missions presented, and the characterization of the new Guardian team is spot-on. Geoff Shaw had a tough assignment in putting together all the characters presented in this book, and he was certainly up to the task. This is a great jumping on point for new readers and anyone else who abandoned the cosmic Marvel books. This is our Favorite Book of the Week.


Hardcore #2
Image Comics
Written by Andy Diggle
Art by Alessandro Vitti
Colors by Adriano Lucas
Letters by Thomas Mauer
Cover Art by Dan Panosian

Alessandro Vitti is absolutely killing it on this book. The cinematic car chase scenes alone are worth the price of admission here. Andy Diggle is also bringing high quality storytelling to this series. It is a riveting roller coaster ride of a comic. We are completely on board with this fledgling story and looking forward to where it soars next.

 


HIgh Heaven #5
Ahoy Comics
Written by Tom Peyer
Art by Greg Scott
Colors by Andy Troy
Letters by Rob Steen
Cover Art by Richard Williams

As it says in the book, this is the final issue of season one of High Heaven. It is quite the satisfying conclusion. The plot is dynamic and the story choices consistent with the overall tone of the series. The art just kept getting better in each issue. There are some interesting hints as to where this series could be going in the future, and the conclusion is a fantastic twist reminiscent of a famous quote from Milton’s Paradise Lost.


Justice League #16
DC Comics
Written by Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Pencils by Jim Cheung & Stephen Segovia
Ink by Cheung, Mark Morales, & Segovia
Colors by Tomeu Morey & Wil Quintana
Letters by Tom Napolitano
Cover Art by Will Conrad & Alex Sinclair

This issue reveals quite a bit about the story that has been developed over the last sixteen issues. There is a bit of historical rewriting, which is interesting. Structurally the issue is well done. The plot flows consistently. The art is well done. Perhaps the favorite part of this story has been the Will Payton, Starman, character and where that leads. In this issue, his part in the story begins to be further revealed.


Naomi #1
DC Comics
Written by Brian Michael Bendis & David F. Walker
Art by Jamal Campbell
Letters by Josh Reed
Cover Art by Campbell

 Hot #1

This new debut knocked our socks off. It was a strong contender for Favorite Book of the Week. Bendis, Walker, and Campbell should be applauded for this effort. They have a created an instantly relatable and intriguing character. There is a compelling mystery that is beginning to develop, and the fact that this takes place clearly within the existing DC Universe makes it all the more exciting. The book is visually gorgeous and Campbell’s use of silent acting is notably good. The narrative, which is exclusively portrayed through dialogue and images, is cohesive and well planned. This is an excellent book.


Oliver #1
Image Comics
Written by Gary Whitta
Art by Darick Robertson
Colors by Diego Rodriguez
Letters by Simon Bowland
Cover Art by Glenn Fabry

 Hot #1

Billed as a reimagination of the Dickens novel, Oliver is a visual treat to behold. Robertson and Rodriguez succeed in creating a fantastic landscape of physical settings and character designs for this new series. The story is certainly intriguing and has us looking forward to the next issue.

 


Uncanny X-Men Annual #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Ed Brisson
Art by Carlos Gomez
Colors by GURU-eFX
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Cover Art by Salvador Larroca & Rachelle Rosenberg

It is not often that you will find an Annual issue reviewed in this column. This, however, is an exception. The explanation of the return of Cyclops to the land of the living is told here. Yes. Scott is alive again. I must say that Ed Brisson did a wonderful job of using creativity to bring him back. There is regret and determination for hope in Cyclops that has been missing for decades. Visually, this is a wonderful comic with interesting techniques for flashback panels. This issue sets up the next arc of Uncanny X-Men very well and has us looking forward to it.


The Wild Storm #19
DC Comics
Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Jon Davis-Hunt
Colors by Steve Buccellato
Letters by Simon Bowland
Cover Art by Davis-Hunt

This series is incredibly wonderful. The reimagining of the Wildstorm stories melded together is a true accomplishment for Ellis, and we would not want anyone other than Davis-Hunt illustrating that vision. This issue has quite a bit of exposition interweaved with some entertaining dialogue scenes. The final arc of this long limited series appears ready for lift-off, and we are looking forward to it. As a bonus, that we rarely do, we included a fantastic panel from this issue below. There is some serious stuff going down in these pages.

 

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.