This week on the Wal-Tor Weekly Review, we take a look at the second issues of Thors and X-Men ’92, as well as the new Deathstroke annual!
Deathstroke Annual #1
Deathstroke has recently travelled to Paradise Island, taking on a contract from a mysterious benefactor. The contract? To kill the God of Mortality, Lapetus, who was trapped in Tartarus on Paradise Island. Deathstroke accidentally frees Lapetus before he can kill him, unleashing his evil army upon the island. Wonder Woman, the Queen of the island, doesn’t take too kindly to either trespasser but is forced to team up with Deathstroke in an attempt to defeat Lapetus. Lapetus won’t fall easily though, as he forces the two characters through a psychological and personal journey.
Frequent Deathstroke writer/artist Tony S. Daniel steps off art duties for this issue, handing them off to Tyler Kirkham, while he writes this annual with James Bonny. The plot itself is nothing to write home about, being your average type of good guy vs. bad guy type of story. The dialogue has felt smoother in recent Deathstroke stories ever since James Bonny has stepped on to the title as co-writer and that remains constant with this issue. At worst you get an average type of anti-hero story, at best you’re walking away thrilled by the surprisingly fun dynamic shared between Deathstroke and Wonder Woman. Daniel and Bonny do an excellent job of turning adversaries into unlikely allies in a way that makes you care for the growing trust shared between the two characters. Tyler Kirkham is an excellent artist for this annual, being energetic and comfortable in all the right panels. Arif Prianto’s work on the colours is a fantastic addition to the already great Kirkham artwork, with the colour tone being soft yet beautiful. The duo of Kirkham and Prianto steal the spotlight on this issue without a doubt, with more than a few instances where you can look at a page and just be amazed by the artwork they put forward.
|+ Solid dialogue||— Predictable|
|+ Excellent artwork|
|+ Colours and art compliment each other|
Taking this issue for what it is, a simple anti-hero story, Deathstroke Annual #1 isn’t an issue that really treads any new ground but is still surprisingly fun to read. The co-writers in Tony S. Daniel and James Bonny appear to have a solid working relationship as they guide this series in a direction that is entertaining. The dialogue has some snap and fluidity that this series lacked before Bonny came aboard. Your show stealers for this issue are definitely your artist and colourist in Tyler Kirham and Arti Prianto respectively. These two creators go together like LEGO, being perfect fits for each other’s styles of art. There are plenty of panels with soft colours that forcing you stop and admire them in awe. Even the use of silhouettes in this issue is excellent. If you’re looking to jump on with a DC title you haven’t given a shot to yet, this Deathstroke annual may be a good jumping on point for you.
Following the unexpected death of Beta Ray Bill, the Thors cry out for vengeance against any and all who could have committed the crime. The Thors tear out across Battleworld, lead by Ultimate Thor (Beta Ray Bill’s partner) in an attempt to capture the criminal who killed one of their own. Along the way Ultimate Thor tries to also uncover why there is a serial killer travelling to all regions of Battleworld to kill the different versions of Jane Foster. As Ultimate Thor does this, he also encounters a surprise version of Thor that only further complicates things for everyone.
Jason Aaron, Chris Sprouse, and Goran Sudzuka continue their awesome police procedural with Thors #2. Jason Aaron tackles what would be a standard plot but amplifies it with the inclusion of all these different types of Thors. It’s a true treat to see how similar yet different all these Thors are from one another, with Aaron going to great lengths to make each character unique from each other. On top of all that, the dialogue is sharp and Aaron even throws in some nice little nods to anyone who’s been following his Thor series for the last few years. The art department is where this issue truly struggles as the shared art duties just don’t mesh. On their own, Chris Sprouse and Goran Sudzuka are both respectable artists but their styles don’t compliment each other in this issue. With Sprouse illustrating the first handful of pages, your “procedural cop” feel shines through brilliantly because of his exquisite artwork. The tone of the book gets immediately choked when you change over to the almost cartoon-like style of Sudzuka, immediately taking you out of this dark story with some gentle grit to it. It doesn’t help that the flips between the artist continue to happen throughout the issue and remove you from the narrative because of how differently they both draw.
|+ Manages characters well||— Clashing artists|
|+ Handles genre well|
Thors #2 is a great attempt by the creative team that largely fumbles because of the art. If you’ve been a fan of Jason Aaron’s Thor work up to this point, don’t worry, as you’ll still love this issue and largely enjoy the entire concept of the Thors story. Everything Aaron tries to execute in this issue works well, bringing plenty of interesting pieces to the table. The artwork from both Chris Sprouse and Goran Sudzuka struggles when the artists hand off the baton to each other multiple times throughout the issue. With only two issues left, Thors seems poised to be a standout series for Secret Wars so long as it can get the artwork to be a bit tighter.
X-Men ’92 #2
Cassandra Nova, an evil telepath, has all of the X-Men within her clutches. She hopes to reform them all much like she has done with several evil mutants so that Westchester can be considered one of the safest places on Battleworld. Cassandra begins to tear down the mental walls of X-Men like Wolverine, Rogue, and Storm whilst Jubilee works diligently to try to find out what’s really happening at Cassandra’s home base of Clear Mountain. What she discovers shocks her as she is forced into action against the twisted enemy. Meanwhile, some surprise guests pop up on the scene to potentially aid the X-Men.
Chris Sims, Chad Bowers, and Scott Koblish continue their dense take on X-Men ’92. One thing readers can’t deny from this series is the fact that they definitely get their money’s worth. These issues are dense, loaded with tons of text from Chris Sims and Chad Bowers. Although it may be daunting to people who read a huge amount of modern comics, it’s a great joy to finally have a comic that doesn’t take thirty seconds to read. The plot is fairly derivative for this issue, doing a similar trick repeatedly to fill page space, Sims and Bowers still guide this issue in a strong enough direction that you don’t feel like you’re being dragged through it. Scott Koblish is such a strong artists for this series, capturing all the 90’s sensibilities that you could ask for. Koblish packs plenty of psychedelic panels into this one and has a knack for guiding your eye with his storytelling abilities.
|+ Solid artwork||— Repetitive plot|
|+ Dense, lots of story|
|+ Great characters|
X-Men ’92 #2 is another solid outing from Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, and Scott Koblish. The plot basically goes in a big circle, doing the same thing repeatedly (which makes this story rather predictable within the first 5 pages) but it’s still a fun enough read that you can forgive that choice of style for the writing. The characters feel well represented through their dialogue and actions so kudos to Bowers and Sims for getting that right. Koblish is as solid as ever, illustrating some great panels and displaying how great of a storyteller he can be. It’s awesome to see just how well Koblish draws a lot of these characters in their 90’s get ups, giving you a kick straight in the nostalgia.