October 23, 2016

The Pull List: 19 October 2016, Part 2

On the spaceship Hadrian's Wall, investigator Simon Moore is attempting to get to the bottom of the suspicious death of the ship's first officer. None of the crew want him there, poking his nose into places it doesn't belong - particularly Moore's resentful ex-wife. Moore is also addicted to painkillers, and somebody has broken into his cabin and flushed his supply down the sink.

Hadrian's Wall is a murder-mystery told in space, with an aesthetic and a nice retro tone that seems quite reminiscent of the 1980s. It follows a well-worn formula, with a group of suspects and a growing amount of evidence and clues. Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel write a strong script with well-defined characters, but it's Rod Reis' artwork that really makes the book sing. It has a lovely painterly style to it that makes the book one gorgeous read.

I am still fascinated by the unexpected niche that Image has carved out in recent years, producing not just excellent science fiction comics but excellent science fiction crime comics. This is yet another great one. (4/5)

Hadrian's Wall #2. Written by Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel. Art by Rod Reis.

Under the cut: reviews of Aquaman, Doctor Who: The Third Doctor, Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen, and Green Arrow.

Aquaman #9
DC Comics. Written by Dan Abnett. Art by Scott Eaton and Wayne Faucher. Colours by Gabe Eltaeb.
The Shaggy Man is bearing down on Amnesty Bay, with only Aquaman and a handful of Atlantean warriors standing in the way. This is a solid action-oriented issue, with plenty of great beats and a strong narrative drive. For once Aquaman isn't trying to prove he's a powerful superhero to the readership - a perennial problem in this title since its New 52 reboot - but tries to save the day single-handedly because after his altercation with Superman he simply doesn't trust his position in the Justice League any more. (3/5)

Doctor Who: The Third Doctor #2
Titan Comics. Written by Paul Cornell. Art by Christopher Jones. Colours by Hi-Fi.
For the ardent fan of Jon Pertwee's tenure on Doctor Who, this book is a real treat: the Doctor and Jo, the Brigadier and UNIT, Bessie, the Master, and an alien invasion of Earth. The surprise at the end of issue #1 was the arrival of Patrick Troughton's 2nd Doctor, a development that screams of a fake-out - something that I desperately hope isn't the case. Artist Christopher Jones has a visible love for the source material, giving each of the characters perfectly suited facial expressions and mannerisms throughout. If you're going to do a TV tie-in, you should do it properly: and this is a great example of doing it properly. (4/5)

Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen #4
IDW. Written by George Mann and Cavan Scott. Art by Ivan Rodriguez, Walter Geovanni, Nelson Pereira and Rob Lean. Colours by Nicola Righi.
Then there are bad ways to do a TV tie-in. Supremacy of the Cybermen has simply piled on one continuity reference after another until the story is basically 100 per cent masturbatory fan service without any actual plot to drive things forward. The artwork feels inconsistent and below par as well. With one issue to go, I find myself completely disinterested in what is going on. Titan have proved they're better than this. (1/5)

Green Arrow #9
DC Comics. Written by Benjamin Percy. Art and colours by Stephen Byrne.
There's a really nice combination going on here between the bold, slightly heightened artwork and the fairly subtle and muted colours. It gives the issue a really interesting look. What's particularly interesting is that they're both by the same guy: artist/colourist Stephen Byrne. Sadly the issue's script doesn't seem to be a good match. It's much too truncated and fast, leaving a lot of story opportunities on the table in a rush to leave the mysterious "island of scars" and return to Seattle. Good character work remains for Green Arrow and Black Canary, but this weird two-part story just doesn't seem to have enough to it to be worth the read. (3/5)

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