Every week, comic fandom is gifted with a slew of fantastic stories from a slew of fantastic creators. These days there’s just so much good stuff out there that it can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re new to comics. Thus AiPT! presents to you, Fantastic Five! A weekly column where we pick five fantastic books released during the week, and tell you why you should take a chance on them via a snippet from our reviews.
Enjoy, and happy reading!
Once and Future #1
Written by Kieron Gillen. Art by Dan Mora.
Once and Future #1 is a really fascinating debut of an action adventure serial loaded with fun, wonder and horror, that also feels very prescient and the best of the genre it’s trying to tackle. Yes, it’s got your magic sword scabbards, your grand old mentor archetypes and even the classical Questing Beast, but it is about more than that and there’s a lot there for those who’re willing to dig. If you’re looking for pure adventure thrills, this has them. If you’re looking for something more than just that, it does offer that. It’s a wildly different endeavor in tone, style and execution than a lot of Gillen’s other efforts right now; for one, it’s not as formally rigorous as, say, Peter Cannon or WicDiv, but it is a purposeful change of pace that still feels incredibly Gillen, while being this state-of-the-art blockbuster comic from the wondrous visions of Dan Mora and Tamra Bonvillain, with Ed Dukeshire being a great draftsman. This is definitely a spin on King Arthur that’s fresh. (10/10)
Second Coming #2
Written by Mark Russell. Art by Richard Pace.
As is standard for Russell, the book continues to be incredibly funny. Russell’s use of both slapstick and deadpan humor is incredibly effective, and the jokes are perfectly executed by the art. Richard Pace and Leonard Kirk do an excellent job conveying Russell’s story, and while most of the humor involves text and items from the script, it lands as well as it does near entirely because the art team makes the facial expressions and body language of the characters work perfectly in tandem with the dialogue and narration. The issue feels perfectly cohesive from start to finish, in large part because of the art. This issue is an excellent continuation of the series, and has plenty of meaningful things to say about religion, heroism, and masculinity. (10/10)
Written by Mikey Way and Shaun Simon. Art by Ilias Kyriazis.
It’s making a statement, it has fantastic art, and the story is gripping, but you can say that of a lot of books. Collapser weaves together and forms a comic that you simply have to put on your pull list. At issue #2, it already has me convinced that it’ll be a highlight of 2019 comics. (9.5/10)
Batman Universe #2
Written by Brian Michael Bendis. Art by Nick Derington.
Bendis’s dialogue is a treat. While Event Leviathan is burdened with exposition by characters that refuse to move, Batman: Universe is unstoppable. If there’s talking, it’s during a chase or in the heat of the moment. Exposition comes across as necessary and unburdening. The banter is exquisite, especially as Green Arrow and Batman trade barbs on how goofy Gotham’s rogues gallery is. (10/10)
The White Trees #1
Written by Chip Zdarksky. Art by Kris Anka.
White Trees is singularly different from everything that Zdarsky has written prior — it’s not a comedy book, it’s not about superheroes, and it doesn’t take place anywhere comparable to the real world. It is a unique offering from all the creators involved, as Anka and Wilson have the chance to flex their design muscles to create characters and creatures that add a distinctive style to classical fantasy trappings. The book leaves a lot of potential for future stories in Blacksand, and based on this first issue the prospect of more is incredibly exciting. (10/10)