Curious to know what some of the new Image/Boom! issues releasing this week are like? Look no further than the latest edition of this segment!
The issues covered this week are:
Good Luck #4
Mirka Andolfo's Sweet Paprika #3
King Spawn #2
Radiant Black #8
Once & Future #20
All reviews will be spoiler free.
This was one I had heard of in passing, but hadn't read the solicitation or anything so didn't really know what to expect. But reading the solicit after reading the issue, there was one particular line summing it up where I can see what they're going for, but I need another issue or two to properly get that and be hooked.
That line from the solicit I mean is:
"Frontiersman is coaxed out of retirement by an environmentalist group, only to find that being a spokesperson makes him a target for old and new enemies alike!"
That to me is a compelling pitch for a new ongoing series, but taking this first issue on it's own it just set up that first part of the sentence, where it looks like we'll start to get that second part from next issue.
It's too early to tell how I feel about this series. Which might sound obvious considering it's only the first issue, but there was definitely lots of potential, I just hope that in future issues that potential is fully explored. Honestly a few pages in and I could tell this could be a series that I would really like. The art is super nice and clean and energetic and the colours are rich. It's a classic "retired superhero coming out of retirement" story but grounded in important social issues of the day, which some might find irritating about this issue but it does it in a complex way that was really interesting to me. Needs a bit more in issues to come to really get me hooked, but this was a solid nicely done opening issue and it's got me intrigued to see how the series is going to develop. Which is often all you need I suppose.
Good Luck #4
Pure chaos. That's what this issue was mostly, and I loved every second of it.
I can definitely see how some people might find this series too over the top and not for their taste, but I've loved the crazy feel of it. There's just a certain feeling of whimsical playfulness that I get whenever I read a new issue of Good Luck that just always makes it such a fun read.
After the revelation at the end of last issue, this was mostly action and man what a visual treat it was. The artwork is so kinetic and the colouring is so bright and vibrant just wow. I'm really liking where the story is going, one of those premises where they pitch it in a single sentence but it expands so much from that into a rich story that is sure to make an awesome trade eventually. Finally I have to say that's a really nice cover, honestly this whole series has had some awesome covers and this issue was no exception.
Mirka Andolfo's Sweet Paprika #3
What I love most about this series, and independent comics in general, is how pleasantly surprised I can be by some of them. Quite a few of my now favourite independent comics didn't seem like something I would be into when I first heard of them, but man it just shows if the story and the art is good then that doesn't matter.
This series has just been so much fun. It's raunchy and at times quite over the top but the art style really makes it work. It was the sort of thing where when I was deciding which book to read next after the last two, I decided I wanted something light hearted and easy and this delivered on that yet again. It's definitely the lightest comic I'm reading but that's only a good thing, just continues to be so refreshing and enjoyable to see more of what Paprika is up to every month. The artwork is incredibly expressive, quite exaggerated which might be too much for some people but gives the book a nice animated feel that makes it such a smooth read, especially with such gloriously vibrant colouring. Really liking this series still another great issue.
King Spawn #2
Wow the colours on that cover are just gorgeous, the red so rich it's just so nice to look at.
This was a solid second issue. It definitely benefited from not having any back up stories, whilst I did like them in the first issue it did make it feel bloated, the main story stood on it's own really nicely. Honestly I don't know what much to say, I'm loving the vibe from this series so far, I said this with #1 but the main Spawn title got quite bombastic recently, this issue just continues that (relatively) grounded feel. Spawn is doing some investigating and there's this strange cult thing going on with the return of Kincaid.
In the way that you have action packed Batman stories where he's fighting all sorts of crazy things, and then more low key detective stories, this feels like the latter. Much more subtle in it's atmosphere and tone but still a very effective read. And man something about the art I just love, there were some pages that were just really nice to look at. It's capable of darker more sinister moments reminiscent of what I've seen of Jason Shaw Alexander's work on pre 300 issues of the main title, but with a less rough and more animated feel similar to Carlo Barberi's work currently on the main title. It's a nice balance. Two issues in and it's shaping up to be a good read, worth checking out.
Radiant Black #8
I think I've worked out what works for me so much with this series. Personally I think that it strikes the perfect balance between telling parts of a larger story and having satisfying issues in their own right. That's a big thing for me nowadays, with so many series, whether that be big two or indie, "writing for the trade" finding something that works both month to month and all at once can be a treat.
It's why I'm wary of buying a mini series in single issues instead of buying the trade, because sometimes it can feel like a story chopped up into 6 parts rather than 6 issues that cohesively tell one story. If that makes sense.
But anyway, this series is such a joy for me and this issue was one of those that proved that again. Fun bright vibrant action, nice character moments and another tease of a larger storyline to come. All round another awesome issue.
Got a few things to say which might come off as negative but in all honesty come from a place of love. Thought about it for a few moments and I think the best way to say it is that my thoughts on this issue very much depend on whether we ever get anymore of this series. I'm not sure whether this only having 3 issues was a decision by Top Cow and we might see a sequel in the future if this did well, or whether it was a creative decision where the creators had a story to tell and they've told it.
Because I do admire that, having a set beginning, middle and end and leaving when you're done. There's something particularly irritating about a comic run overstaying it's welcome and dragging on longer than it needs to, so I understand if the creators are happy with what they've done and there's no plans for more, but I think it would be a shame. There feels like so much more potential than could be explored in just these 3 issues, I don't want to say the series felt rushed as I don't think it was, but after the ending to #1 these past two issues while visually stunning and enjoyable, have been somewhat predictable. It doesn't say "The End" or anything and the last couple of pages feel like a tease for another round of issues, but I guess we'll have to see.
All that being said, the artwork was gloriously vibrant in this issue and this whole series in general. Such a visual treat.
If you've been thinking that this second arc of Stillwater has been too slow so far, you do not want to miss this issue. I saw some worries after the end of #6 that this had just turned into a cliche societal breakdown comic, and at the time I understand how that was a worry, but I hope all those fears of this becoming too cliche or generic are alleviated after this issue if they've haven't been already.
Yes, the society within Stillwater does look noticeably different from when we first entered it with #1, but the way events have unfolded and how it culminates in this issue?! Brilliant. At a risk of sounding too dramatic, this feels like a turning point, bringing in plot threads from the past 10 issues and forging a new beginning for Stillwater based around one of the most interesting questions in the series. It's felt like a long time since the last issue of the series, when I looked it had been almost two months. No skip month, just yeah 7 weeks between issues so it's been a while, but it's back with possibly one of my favourite issues yet. Really excited to see where this is going to go as we head into the last couple issues of the second arc.
Once & Future #20
Coming to think of it, I think the reason why this felt like such a killer week is not only due to the amount of books coming out I read, but because so many of them were action packed or at climatic points in their respective stories.
As I ever so carefully put it in my review of last issue, everything has currently gone to s*** for England for reasons you can find out by reading the series. I really liked how this issue got the right balance between emotional moments with the main characters, and epic action scenes with, as the solicitation puts it, Arthur vs Arthur!
That was a real treat to read. Mora and Bonvillain have put in some legendary work throughout this series, and some of the action scenes in this issue just continues to show that. But equally they also nail the talking scenes which is arguably just as important, the animated style means the characters are really expressive and yeah this is such a fun read and it's only getting more and more epic as the issues go on.
This article was written by JoeLovesComics, who you can follow over on Twitter for (albeit shorter) thoughts on comics he loves.