This week, Matt Kindt brings his Divinity series to an emotionally satisfying conclusion. For the past three issues, readers have followed Abram Adams on his journey from aspiring Soviet cosmonaut to deep space explorer to cosmic powerful entity. He has traveled to the furthest reaches of the galaxy, where he came face-to-face with an anomaly that killed his two crewmates, while leaving him with fantastical powers. Feeling a new purpose, Abram returned to Earth, where he hoped to seed new hope for both himself and others.
Abram tried to build a new home for himself in the Australian Outback, only to find that his newfound peace could not last for long. Followers soon drifted into his orbit, attracted by his miraculous powers and compassionate nature. Abram only wishes to build what is good, fulfilling people’s innermost wishes. For himself, he reaches through time in an attempt to reunite with the love of his life and their daughter, who he never knew. Abram learns, though, that good intentions are rarely enough. Continue reading Advance Review of Divinity #4→
As was inevitable, Marvel Comics brought back Steve Rogers for the Captain America role this week but not without a huge reveal at the issue’s end that like clockwork, is making the ever expanding internet idiot brigade congregate around dopey hashtags. The debut of Steve Rogers is interesting in a lot of ways as writer Nick Spencer makes some unorthodox choices while leaning on his strengths. Unfortunately, artist Jesus Saiz really stumbles out of the gate here and ultimately, it’s the books alarmingly substandard visual storytelling that leaves this new iteration of the character lacking. Spoiler’s if you don’t want the reveal going forward
Spencer opens the book with a happy Steve Rogers back from old age kicking ass and taking names. The writer’s trademark humor and political commentary are in full force throughout the titles debut with a twist at the books conclusion that Rogers is now a member of Hydra and his mother may have been as well. You take away that reveal and the writing is fine if ultimately unremarkable and redundant to Spencer’s Sam Wilson book. For that reason, the issue’s finale is more or less the only reason for the comics existence conceptually, otherwise it’s just another Nick Spencer Marvel book and one of his less inspired efforts as of late. In that way, it does feel like an interesting idea to start the story off with and without having any context of why, it’s hard to feel much of anything about it other then curiosity and by proxy, hard to feel anything about the writing in and of itself. Although it’s tough to judge the writing as part of the final product too harshly because Jesus Saiz’s art is incredibly off-putting. Saiz is a talented illustrator who managed to make lush and detailed visual story telling out of a line style that was light and straightforward in his extended run on DC Comics Swamp Thing. In Steve Rogers, Saiz is credited for “art” meaning pencils, inks and colors are all the his doing; it’s really bad. Saiz coloring is messy and has a bland sheen that recalls Greg Land or Salvador Larrocca while his actual illustrations are misshapen and muddled. The way Peggy Carter is made to look aged instead makes her appear deformed while the rest of the book runs between barely passable to almost incoherent in it’s visuals. Captain America Steve Rogers looks like a low end Dynamite comic which is problematic for what’s supposed to be a high end Marvel comic with a well established creative team.
Where as the result’s of Spencer’s story decisions will ultimately bear themselves out over time, the issues artistic deficiencies are apparent from the beginning and will require either an experienced colorist or new art direction altogether to make this a comic anything close to passable or worth reading no matter how many controversial twists are contrived for the character.
by David Walker, Ramon Villalobos & Tamra Bonvillian
On the debut of Nighthawk #1, writer David Walker along with artist Ramon Villalobos & colorist Tamra Bonvillian craft a strange opening chapter that uses contrast in tone and style mixing real world politics with a unique conception of the character.
Nighthawk was the Batman analogue for Marvel’s Squadron Supreme. Previously portrayed as the more level headed member of the team and the voice of reason against the classic Squads turns toward totalitarianism in search of utopia, the new Nighthawk fit’s into Robinson’s Squad vision of an ultra violent team that uses deadly force as necessary and beyond. Nighthawk, now African American and living in Chicago, makes his case as the Squad’s most lethal member in the series introduction. To Villalobos credit, Nighthawk’s new design basically erases any semblance to Batman and instead gives the character a more functional costume, including the latest Addidas Yeezy’s, which in turn allows the character to fall somewhere between Moon Knight & The Punisher as the book open’s with an exciting fight between Nighthawk and a group of white supremacist with some brilliant color contrasts from Tamra Bonvillian. From the explosive opening, writer David Walker allows the story to step back as it establishes the cast and setting while introducing multiple mysteries and the book settles into a sort of horror thriller motif. Nothing matches the dynamic first few pages but Walker’s gift for dialogue moves the story along while Villalobo’s shows off his acting skills and Bonvillian makes her color work more dark to match the plot’s overall direction.
Walker himself is touching on multiple aspects of racial politics but in the debut, it’s muddied and unclear what it all means. While the mainline theme of being Black in America runs throughout the books subtext with White hate groups, casual racism in the private sector and gentrification all getting touched on, the book does so more in a way that embed’s them within the story. It’s an ambition direction for Walker whose still relatively new to work for hire but it gives the book a necessary level of intrigue that sells the character’s and premise.
Nighthawk is not as fun as Walker’s excellent Powerman & Iron Fist but the latter’s bombast carries over here while the book’s tone and direction takes a darker turn. It’s interesting and while it won’t blow away readers, it gives enough to keep them coming back and that’s a skill unto itself.