This weekly on the Wal-Tor Weekly Review, the “DC Comics Bombshells” series kicks off, we take a look at the new Image Comics series “The Beauty”, and the latest issue of “Secret Wars” answers some questions for fans while also presenting a few more.

 

DC Comics Bombshells #1

dc_comics_bombshells_1Set in the 1940s, at the height of World War II, women are taking care of America while men are overseas taking part in the war.  These women take on many of the general labor roles but also roles of entertainment, providing a distraction from the war for the entire country.  The war itself appears to draw reluctant females into the fold, with characters like Wonder Woman being forced to protect her homeland or Stargirl piloting fighter planes.  Even with the war as a backdrop, these female heroes step up and save the day where ever they can.

Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage bring the popular DC Comics statue line to life in comic book form with DC Comics Bombshells #1.  Bennett focuses heavily on the fact that these characters are from a specific time, making this comic more of a period piece than anything.  It’s a joy to see Bennett writing a comic that shines the light on how the world was for women back in the 1940s.  The story is basically split into three different parts, focusing on Batwoman, Wonder Woman, and Stargirl, with the each section varying in how compelling it is.  While things like the Batwoman section are entertaining, I felt as though the Stargirl part of the book just fell flat right until the end wherein the cliffhanger actually perfectly ties into the entire period piece element of the book.  Marguerite Sauvage is a great artist to bring the Bombshell version of these DC characters to life but hits a few snags in terms of storytelling.  Her characters are all beautiful but some of the pages become hard to track because of how much is occurring in each panel.  During the Wonder Woman section, which is exciting and fast paced, your eyes may end up struggling to track the sequence as it unfolds, as there are so many moving pieces within the panels.

PROS CONS
+ 3 stories in one issue — Erratic pace
+ Excellent character designs — Art can be hard to track at parts
+ Enjoyable period piece

Wal-tor_Rating_3_5Overall:

DC Comics Bombshells starts off with a solid first issue.  Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage work incredibly well together to bring the 1940’s to life, showing the lives of three different characters in unique situations as they go along.  Bennett gets these characters right, making them all believable but her writing makes some sections of the book shine while other areas struggle.  Sauvage works off the already great Bombshell character designs to bring these characters to life with ease.  The artwork does become hard to track during certain sections of the book (namely the Wonder Woman part) which hurts the storytelling aspect.  Even with that in mind, she still does a fantastic job overall to guide your eye and keep you entertained.

 

The Beauty #1

Beauty_1A few years ago, a new STD began to circulate its way around the world.  Referred to as “The Beauty”, it resulted in any carrier of it to immediately become beautiful.  Wrinkles would disappear, fat would suddenly turn into muscle, and grey or lost hair was immediately turned back into luscious locks.  Now over half the population has “The Beauty”, making those without it feel like outsiders.  When a woman seemingly spontaneously explodes from the inside out, a mystery begins to unravel surrounding this disease as detectives Foster and Vaughan try to solve what happened.

“The Beauty” by Jeremy Haun and Jason A. Hurley is a true triumph in the comic medium.  From storytelling down to simple but brilliant visual aspects, The Beauty seems to do everything right for a first issue.  Haun and Hurley set off with building a realistic and immersive world from the opening caption of the book, setting up the rules of this sandbox they invite readers to play in.  Although the lead character in Detective Foster is nothing short of forgettable at times, we learn enough about the character in this first issue to entice the reader into wanting to learn even more going forward.  The duo brilliantly hide a detective story within the high concept of The Beauty, something that will surprise readers who come into this book completely blind.  The artwork of Jeremy Haun and John Rauch is yet another highlight of this first issue, with the visuals being clean and crisp from Haun but then entirely elevated to a higher level of quality by Rauch’s colouring.  Haun brilliantly juxtaposes the appearances between those with “The Beauty” and those without, using shading to conceal the faces of those who are less beautiful while having those with “The Beauty” stand out in every panel.  Rauch’s colouring helps with this task tenfold, as it’s his vibrant choice of colours that help to make characters with “The Beauty” really pop off the page.

PROS CONS
+ Brilliant world building — Forgettable lead
+ Fantastic artwork and colouring
+ Fun detective story

Wal-tor_Rating_5Overall:

Even with a largely forgettable lead character, The Beauty by Jeremy Haun and Jason A. Hurley is a resounding success for a first issue.  You get some clear-cut introductions to your characters, learn about the problem they’re going to face, sprinkle in some mystery and we even get a bit of world building.  If that wasn’t enough the artwork is beautiful, with simple art and colouring touches paying off incredibly well from a storytelling standpoint.  It’s easy to sit here and say “The Beauty” is a beautiful comic that deserves your time and love.

 

Secret Wars #5

Secret_Wars_5Following the thrilling conclusion to the most recent issue, God Doom’s court is reeling following the inexplicable death of Doctor Strange.  Doom turns to his “daughter”, Valeria, in hopes of using her to find the scattered heroes and villains of Earth-616.  After laying Strange to rest, Doctor Doom visits Owen Reece, a.k.a. Molecule Man, to discuss how Battleworld came to be.  Molecule Man and Doom speak openly about what caused the creation of Battleworld as well as the personal sacrifices that came with it.  Meanwhile, the scattered heroes and villains from the Earth-616 begin to react to their new environments on Battleworld.

Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic take a gentle step back to enlighten readers a bit more about Battleworld with this issue of Secret Wars.  This issue focuses heavily on explaining how the Marvel Universe got where it did, showing readers why Doom, Doctor Strange, and Molecule Man are at the epicenter of Secret Wars.  The explanation given may be a bit of a head scratcher for readers who jumped into Secret Wars with no prior knowledge to Hickman’s work but its still an explanation that mostly makes sense if it’s your first time hearing it.  The back-and-forth dialogue between Doom and Molecule Man is nothing short of entertaining, making an issue that is mostly people talking still feel as though it has some action to it.  If anything, Hickman isn’t shy about the fact that he’s using this issue to set up the pieces to launch this event into it’s conclusion, still leaving readers with plenty of questions to come.  Esad Ribic continues to be a brilliant artist on this book, turning in pages that range from heartfelt to menacing at the drop of a hat.  Complimented by the colouring of Ive Svorcina, the artwork comes off at its best during the Doom and Molecule Man scene with the heavy use of white, yellow, and purple, an odd colour combination that shouldn’t work but does brilliantly.  With Esad and Svorcina still helming the artwork of Secret Wars, rest assured that this book with stay beautiful until the end.

PROS CONS
+ Strong character moments — “Filler” issue
+ Excellent artwork/ colour pallette
+ Interesting direction

Wal-tor_Rating_4Overall:

Secret Wars #5 slows things down a bit to give readers a taste of not only what happened but of what’s also to come.  Hickman scripts out a largely enjoyable scene between Molecule Man and Doctor Doom that explains how we ended up with Battleworld.  Although it eats up a large chunk of the pages, the scene is still thoroughly entertaining.  Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina are excellent together on this issue, combining stellar artwork with a beautiful colour palette to leave readers in awe.  With only three issues left it’s hard to predict where Secret Wars will be going but I think it’s safe to say it’ll be one heckova ride.