July 15, 2017

The Pull List: 5 July 2017, Part 1

12 year-old Cloudia, her sister Rex and their mother drive cross-country to their new home. They collide with a rift in the universe, out of which pour a pantheon of gods escaping their own destruction. Suddenly Cloudia has super-strength, the gods can talk to her through her smartphone, and her sister Rex appears to have turned into a woolly rhinoceros.

I was first exposed to Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas via their intriguing anthology series Amazing Forest. Now they're working on a longer-form work, the contemporary fantasy Cloudia & Rex. This first issue is rich with ideas, but perhaps a little too abrupt to get the dramatic traction their story needs. On the plus side the characters are appealing and believable, despite the strange circumstances in which they find themselves.

Daniel Irizarri's artwork has a rough quality to it, but very subtle and effective colours. It has a distinctive style, which always helps. Particularly impressive are Irizarri's designs for the various gods - all inspired by real-world deities. This is a promising beginning to a new independent series, and time will tell if future issues live up to its potential. (3/5)

Cloudia & Rex #1. Roar. Written by Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas. Art by Daniel Irizarri.

Under the cut: reviews of Batman, Daredevil, Green Arrow, Seven to Eternity and Superman.

Batman #26
DC Comics. Written by Tom King. Art by Mikel Janin. Colours by June Chung.
"The War of Jokes and Riddles" kicks off as the Riddler and the Joker begin to fight against each other. This issue gets bleak remarkably quickly, and Tom King writes it in an unbelievably effective and disturbing way. I think this may be the darkest his Batman run has been yet, and every indication is that it is going to get darker before it gets brighter. Mikel Janin's artwork is absolutely tremendous, and a key selling point for this arc. June Chung's colours accentuate it very well. I really like the New 52 era Riddler: he has an edge and a danger to him that he rarely used to have. (5/5)

Daredevil #23
Marvel. Written by Charles Soule. Art by Alec Morgan. Colours by Matt Milla.
When his latest crime-fighting strategy gets a court challenge, Matt Murdock seeks the assistance of fellow lawyer (and superhero) Jessica Walters - only to find himself the target of an attack, and Walters not the She-Hulk that he remembers. I always like seeing these characters team up, given their legal professions, and it is nice to see Jennifer interact with other Marvel characters outside of her own title. It is also a clever, well-developed storyline, combining vigilante action with courtroom drama very effectively. (4/5)

Green Arrow #26
DC Comics. Written by Benjamin Percy. Art and colours by Stephen Byrne.
Green Arrow is out on the road to prevent the Ninth Circle from taking over the USA. His first stop brings him a secret operation to 'mine' the speed force from a hidden crack in space/time, as well as a team-up with the Flash. It all feels rather slight and arbitrary, something not helped by the low panel count per page. It all rushes by as if the Flash was writing the thing. Guest artist Stephen Byrne's work lacks the impact of Juan Ferreyra or Otto Schmidt, but will hopefully develop if he sticks around. (2/5)

Seven to Eternity #7
Image. Written by Rick Remender. Art by James Harren. Art by Matt Hollingsworth.
Adam Osidis has betrayed his companions, rescuing the Mud King and absconding with him - while simultaneously leaving the fairy Jevalia for dead. Now those betrayed companions, accompanied by his daughter, race to save Jevalia's life. In terms of story, this new issue takes off in an unexpected direction and allows for some further world-building and character development. I appreciate all of that immensely. In terms of art, regular (and outstanding) artist Jerome Opena has taken a break and been replaced by James Harren. While Harren is a talented artist, I do miss the intricately detailed artwork that Opena brought to the series. If given the choice, I'd have been happier to see the book delayed to accommodate Opena's schedule than have the art style change. (3/5)

Superman #26
DC Comics. Written by Michael Moreci. Art by Scott Godlewski. Colours by Hi-Fi.
The guest team of Micheal Moreci and Scott Godlewski (Copperhead) take on a nicely developed one-shot story, as Clark struggles to educate his son Jonathan in how to be an effective superhero. It is a story about fathers and sons, as flashbacks allow Moreci to echo Clark's struggle against a similar difficulty he shared with his own father back when he was a child. This is not an essential storyline, but it is a well-developed character piece. Godlewski's artwork is strong and appealing. (4/5)

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