This week on the Wal-Tor Weekly Review, Starve launches over at Image comics, Constantine: The Hellblazer gets a relaunch, and a fantastic adventure commences on Weirdworld. Three all-new comics for your reading enjoyment!
Starve sees master chief, Gavin Cruikshank, in a self-imposed exile from the rest of a decrepit world. Gavin used to host the cooking show, Starve, and is reluctantly pulled back into a world he loathes to complete his contract. Contracted to do eight more episodes, Gavin returns back home to learn that the life he left behind is far different now. Gavin encounters his bitter ex-wife and becomes locked in a legal battle over his money. He finds true joy when he sees his beautiful daughter for the first time in years. The true shock comes to Gavin when he discovers that Starve has transformed in his absence, turning into a show all about impressing the “rich folk” with amazing and sickening culinary acts. Only eight more episodes are left for Gavin, which to him is more than enough time to raise some hell.
Brian Wood, Danijel Zezelj, and Dave Stewart tell a fascinating tale with Starve. I’d readily compare this series as Transmetropolitan colliding with Lazarus, showing a dystopian future that has a story driven by a character who hates the world. Brian Wood does an excellent job of world building here, giving the reader a true sense of the setting and why Gavin loathes it so much. Wood’s work with Gavin throughout this first issue is truly engaging, making you care for this character far more than you’d expect after a single outing. The plot is straightforward enough, being used to establish the premise and characters who will be playing a role going forward. All-in-all, the plot itself plays out at a solid pace that keeps you invested all the way through. Danijel Zezelj may be the only thing that hurts the story, whilst also helping in some regards. The artwork from Zezelj is rough with thick lines that can be mildly unappealing when a panel zooms in too tightly. Zezelj’s artwork starts out somewhat rough to start but only improves as the issue carries on, truly shining when he is allowed to draw larger panels instead of compacting his artwork. The murkier colour palette is similar in regards to that it improves as the issue carries onward, being something that succeeds in making this comic look beautiful before the end.
|+ Solid world building||— Rough artwork|
|+ Compelling characters||— Murky colour palette|
|+ Artwork improves throughout issue|
Starve is a series with tons of potential that will leave you starving for more following the first issue. Brian Wood is in rare form here, building a fascinating world and compelling characters with masterful technique during this first issue. The plot is engaging and something that will appeal to any fan of work by Warren Ellis or Greg Rucka. Although the artwork is a little rough around the edges from Danijel Zezelj, it improves over the duration of the issue, truly shining when he is allowed to let loose and draw larger panels. The dark, backwater colour palette starts out rough as well before rounding out the entire affair into something worth reading. Look past the artwork at the start to see this series for what it truly is, one of the most interesting creator owned series to have launched this year.
The mighty warrior Akron stumbles about the strange place known as Weirdworld, an island that floats in the sky and has a multitude of different challenges for our hero to face. Akron has been fighting on Weirdworld for years in search of his home, Polemachus, but has yet to come even close to finding it. Having partaken in millions of battles during his search, Akron encounters yet another one that launches him into even more trouble than he’s accustomed to dealing with. With a seemingly endless array of monsters and beasts hot on his trail, Akron must dig deep to continue on in his search for Polemachus…especially if he intends to survive the journey.
Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo give fantasy lovers their dream comic with Weirdworld #1. Aaron casts the lead as a Conan-esque character, a muscle-bound handsome hero who offers little character wise beyond the journey he must complete. Akron is driven to find his way home and that’s this entire story in a nutshell. With Aaron, who is a fantastic fantasy writer in his own regard, the character and his adventure does manage to translate as being entertaining on the page. There are far more captions present than dialogue, hammering home that this is a story all about one character as he is, for the most part, only ever speaking to himself. Nonetheless, Aaron makes the captions worth reading, presenting a vocabulary that meshes well with the artwork. Mike Del Mundo is what blows this story out of the water. With any other artist this plot probably would have fallen flat or wandered into the realm of mundane, but with the lush and gorgeous artwork of Del Mundo, Weirdworld does anything but. Del Mundo adds a dynamic sense to the comic with his beautiful storytelling, providing some of the best artwork the fantasy genre has ever seen in comics. Just when you think Del Mundo can’t do any better, he outdoes himself on the next page with a single panel.
|+ High adventure||— Standard plot|
|+ Character driven|
|+ Luscious artwork|
A solid plot with some of the best artwork you’ll find in the industry today, Weirdworld #1 has emerged as a strong contender in the midst of the Secret Wars event. Jason Aaron presents a fairly standard fantasy tale with plenty of fun, moving parts. He focuses directly in on Akron, the lead of the story, having him mostly speak in captions. There’s a good and bad side to this as it makes you invest in this one character but doesn’t encourage character interaction. Even with a plot that is just solid, Aaron is still better than most creators when it comes to making fantasy comics. Mike Del Mundo is an all-star here, giving every fantasy fan something to cheer about because of his AMAZING artwork. I could gush all day about how great it is but seriously, just go see it for yourself because it’s worth it.
Constantine: Hellblazer #1
John Constantine returns to the scene with an all-new series…which means an all-new set of problems for him. Charming, cunning, and devious, Constantine traverses the land of the living while staying in the shadows, being an enigma of a man. Haunted by a posse of ghostly mates, Constantine balances out his sanity with the insane world he lives in. When a former squeeze, Blythe, recruits him to deal with a little problem of her own, John has to knuckle up and do what he does best…oh wait, what is that again…he doesn’t even seem sure himself.
John Constantine: Hellblazer manages to reestablish Constantine in the DC Universe with great strength. Under the guidance of Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV, Constantine is in the finest form he’s been in years. The character depiction is spot on by Doyle and Tynion IV, having John be as equally roguish as he is devilishly handsome and smooth. There are many fascinating elements to John’s character that are explored in this first issue, that feels like a one-and-done pilot episode for the series, that only boast a promising future for the stories to come. The plot itself waivers a bit, start out incredibly strong before getting tripped up only to stick the landing for the finale. We get a fantastic feeling for who John is as a character for the first half of the book, only to get roped into an uninteresting development that ends predictably but is also rewarding, to then have the issue end on an interesting note. There is a ton of potential going forward for the story with Ming and Tynion IV at the helm. Riley Rossmo is charged with the artistic duties during this issue, giving the reader something interesting to look at. The look of the book actually comes off as much lighter than one might initially expect going in, with the lighter tone not only applying to the line work but the colour palette used by Ivan Plascensia as well. Even still, Rossmo makes this issue something enjoyable to look at, with sleek character designs and strong panel layouts that allow for maximum reading pleasure. This first issue is actually a bit of a dense read, containing far more text in it than your average first issue of a book, which can only be a good thing when you consider how much bang you get for your buck with this comic.
|+ Sleek character designs||— Pacing issues with plot|
|+ Tons of story for a $3 comic|
|+ Great character portrayal|
John Constantine: Hellblazer gets off to a promising start with this first issue. With a simple, one-and-done story that perfectly introduces you to the title character as well as the future challenges he will face, how can you not love this new series? There’s tons of text for a first issue, making this comic more than worth the three dollars you’re going to spend on it. Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV seem to know exactly what they’re doing, with this first issue being a compelling argument to pick up this series for the foreseeable future. Although the plot meanders a bit around the midway point, it’s more than worth sticking around to the end because of the character portrayal of John Constantine. Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascensia lighten up a series that could have been grim and dark, instead making it fun and enjoyable. The artwork is a nice change from what you’d expect, providing some truly beautiful character designs. John Constantine: Hellblazer is a comic that deserves a spot on your pull list with this first issue being more than enough to provide a stern argument as to why you need to be reading this series going forward.