The Reading Pile #6


This week we take a look at The Seeds, Leviathan, The Immortal Hulk, Descender, Justice League and Thor. The Reading Pile starts NOW!

Descender 32, Image Comics, 7/25/2018
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dustin Nguyen

So this series ended this issue and it felt rushed and kind of hollow. Writer Jeff Lemire even admits to not ending the title the way he originally intended in the issue’s postscript letter.

The good news, I think, is we now get Ascender in 6 months. Which, in Lemire’s words, will be a “fantasy/sci-fi hybrid” so there will further adventures that include Driller Killer and Tim-21.

I gushed about Descender in Week 1 of The Reading Pile, but I wasn’t crazy about this issue. Could be one of those things where it’s more about the journey than the destination. I will be checking out Ascender. 3/5

The Seeds, Berger Books/Dark Horse Comics, 8/1/2018
Writer: Ann Nocenti
Artist: David Aja

Immediately struck by David Aja’s art as I open this book up. It’s a really muted duotone palette using only an olive green and blacks. At first I didn’t like it, but it serves the story very well as this is a bleak, post apocalyptic world.

Three main scenarios are presented here. A journalist, named Astra, introduces us to this damaged, deconstructed society that sort of reminds me of DMZ (DC/Vertigo, 2006). There’s a wall that separates what’s left of civilization; the folks who still have some semblance of modern amenities, like technology, and the other side, Zone B, which we don't know much about in this issue of the story. Folks jump this wall, leaving loved ones behind. Sound cliché? It gets better.

Then there are these creatures, they seem to be aliens, who wear gas masks and space suits and collect seeds of the planet. They are beekeepers and there are some creepy, mysterious happenings that I’m not going to spoil.

Heading into the close of the book, Astra is assigned a story to cover Club Death; a place where people take drugs to “see their own death,” she eventually sees an alien and is greatly affected.

I don’t think my summation conveys that this is one of the weirder books I’ve read in awhile (though maybe mysterious or cryptic is a better description) and that’s not a bad thing. This book, which is a 4 issue mini series, could be on to something really cool here. 4/5

Justice League 5, DC Comics, 8/1/2018
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Doug Mahnke

Wasn’t going to review another JL title so soon, so I will keep this short.

What the hell, DC? Another creative team already? The first arc didn’t seem done. Feels a little like a bait-and-switch. My annoyances are somewhat abated by this awesome display of the Legion of Doom’s lair.

But, then, I dunno. I love the Legion of Doom and Luthor recruiting the team is awesome. But then we get to issues of time travel and the Multiverse and don’t you want your A team on that?

I am still in, at least until this Legion of Doom arc is done, but I’m disappointed. Justice League is KILLER when they make it the flagship book, with the attention it deserves. I don't know what Scott Snyder has planned, but I'm disappointed he's not still on this title.

Edit: I just read on Snyder’s Twitter he is on the JL until issue 50. James is doing the Legion of Doom issues after every 5 issues or so. My rage was for naught and I’m happy again. Yaaaaay for Justice League!
3.5/5

Leviathan 1, Image Comics, 8/1/2018
Writer: John Layman
Artist: Nick Pitarra

If you didn’t know, Leviathan is a monster represented in both Christianity and Judaism. This monster threatens all of God’s creatures by attempting to eat them. Interesting.

Anyone reading this probably already knows writer John Layman wrote Chew (Image Comics, 2009) and artist Nick Pitarra did the art for Manhattan Projects (Image Comics, 2012). That’s my only exposure to these guys, previously. Just in case you care. Wink, wink.

The first page already has me laughing with Father Gabriel Baron smoking a cig and reviewing a sermon and Hobo Jenkins screaming at a street corner. What have I got myself into here? Cut to Ryan and his buddy going on a beer run and a creepy looking character named Goth Jimmy at this beerless party and this book is officially impossible to take seriously. Cue the “Godzilla-type monster” and I can’t describe this anymore without giving away too much story. If any of you are familiar with the indomitable Clint Joslin, he describes it thusly, “Bill & Ted meet Cloverfield on acid.” That’s as apt a description as your going to find, I think.

The character and process designs in the back of this book makes me want to pull out my sketchbook and draw. Love it when comics include this stuff.

Recommended. 3.5/5

Thor 3, Marvel Comics, 7/18/2018
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Mike Del Mundo

This issue is fairly action packed from the jump. Thor and Loki battle in “Hel,” Hela’s trying to get married and there’s a sh*t ton of dialog to decipher from page to page. The art, that was initially annoying me, is kind of fun this issue. There’s a big surprise at the end, too.

Apologies for this lazy review; I love Thor, but this just isn’t my favorite iteration of Jason Aaron stories. Still a decent read. 3/5

The Immortal Hulk 4, Marvel Comics, 8/1/2018
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Joe Bennett

First things first, GREAT Alex Ross cover. Looks like the zany story last issue was a one off, as I suspected. We are back to moving the “Bruce Banner is alive, where is he?” story arc forward.

This is kind of cool, we are learning about Banner in college (has this been explored before?) courtesy of his roommate in college, Walter Langkowski. Langkowski, Canada’s own Sasquatch from Alpha Flight, is being interviewed by Jacqueline McGee and that has to be a nod to Mr. McGee of the 1970s CBS TV Hulk fame. The art is in that slick Marvel style, you know what I’m talking about, but has great detail and conveys a sense of space and emotion really well.

It wouldn’t be much of a Hulk book without some kind of conflict and this issue doesn’t fail in that regard. That’s all your getting outta’ me in regards to this book. Really fun read, I enjoyed it. 3.5/5

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