Comic Book Reviews â€” Frankâ€™s Haul 11/20/2013
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #8
What Lies Within, Part 2
Writer: Dan Abnett
Art by: Rafael Kayanan (pencils), Kathryn Layno (colors)
He-man and the other Masters of the Universe continue their flight from the overwhelming forces of Hordak. Searching for a way to dispel the invaders, King Randor sets the company on a quest to Mount Zoar and the path to Subternia within. Under a new creative team, this book still manages to continue towards a single direction while utilizing characters and elements from previous Masters of the Universe mythos.
I consider this book to be quite a treat because their were more than a few surprises. I vaguely remember Moss Man but his presence in this book was one of the highlights. He’s a powerful character and was a wonderful “voice of reason” to King Randor. The other surprising moment in the book was the talk about Zoar and returning her to Eternia. At the end of last year’s limited series, I was wondering how they would resolve this. That resolution was proposed in this book and it’s…clever. We just need to spend the next 4 or 5 comics in Subternia to see that resolution.
Just like the previous, this title actually has new creators. Dan Abnett takes over from Keith Giffen and Rafael Kayanan for Pop Mhan. Abnett’s writing was noticeably different than Giffen’s except for one thing: there’s less banter and quips from Teela. This was one of my only issues with Giffen. Still, Giffen also wrote in a way that conveyed the “magic” and fun of the Masters of the Universe and that seems to be missing with Abnett. I’m not going to drop this book by any means, but it’s just an observation of their styles. Although I am not enjoying Kayanan’s art. It’s completely different compared to Mhan and it’s my only disappointment with this book. As always, it’s not that it’s bad because I don’t believe any comic publisher would employ bad artist. It’s just not the style of comic art I enjoy.
The primary thing about this title that makes me happy is seeing the writers continue telling their stories at a leisurely pace. They aren’t rushed which means this is really an on-going series. Amidst all the superheroes and super villains at DC, we need more of Masters of the Universe and that’s exactly what we’re getting. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where Abnett takes us inside Subternia and how he helps resolve the absence of one of the most important characters in Masters of the Universe next to He-Man.
Review score: 5 (of 7)
Forever Evil: Rogue’s Rebellion
Writer: Brian Buccellato
Art by: Scott Hepburn (pencils), Nick Filardi (colors)
The rebellion against the Crime Syndicate’s rule begins! This was enjoyable to read but something about the book felt off. Half of the story was lifted straight out of Forever Evil 3 and the other half felt a bit too comical. The cover was the first thing that worried me because its tone was completely different from the previous book. I was left asking myself two questions: did the art not convey Buccellato’s story well or did he rush the writing? I’m hoping neither are true because I don’t want to place blame on anyone. But, this book just wasn’t as enjoyable as the previous.
No one writes the Rogues as well as Buccellato. He has certainly captured their friendship and loyalty to each other. I don’t know how he did it, but he also made these villains very likable. I caught myself several times throughout this book caring about what happens to them.
While this book had it’s issues, it was still good enough to keep me excited about the next. Somehow the team made it to Gotham. So maybe they’ll have a part to play in the Arkham War? That’s something to look forward to as well as finding out what’s going on with Mirror Master’s powers!
Review score: 4 (of 7)
Uncanny X-Men #14
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Chris Bachalo (pencils and colors)
Scott pushes the new X-Men to their limits. This title has been having some issues maintaining consistent quality, but the first book following the conclusion of Battle of the Atom was a step in the right direction. The story focuses on a single new mutant, Morph. His powers don’t appear to be active but Scott and Emma have a way to fix that.
Morph is a character that only comes around once in a while. He’s very average but that makes him immediately likable and identifiable. He’s also gay. Either I forgot about this when he was introduced or this is a new revelation. But, I like it. It was handled well because it was just an aspect of the character. In fact, most readers will probably miss it. I look forward to seeing how Bendis evolves this character and how his power set is utilized.
This book takes place immediately after Battle of the Atom but before All New X-Men #18. Other than the characters wondering how having the original X-Men living with them will “work”, the two titles already seem to stay out of each other’s way. While I wouldn’t mind more overlap between the two, they are both obviously on their own story paths. I worried this would hurt both titles but it works.
All the creators on this book did an excellent job. This book looks gorgeous and was enjoyable from start to finish. That’s a relief because the quality of this title has been hit and miss. Thankfully, this was a win. Looking forward to seeing Bendis and team keep up the great work.
Review score: 6 (of 7)