Written by Eric Kripke, Art by John Higgins
Jacked is not for the faint of heart, not because of the sex and violence, but because of the self-examination. If you’re headed towards middle age or are currently looking back at the best years of your life, then Jacked may reach you on an emotional level that you’re not expecting.
Jacked is a day in the life of Josh, a middle-aged man letting his life slip away. This issue is for the most part set up. You’re getting to know Josh in this issue and it’s handled fairly well. It’s written like a TV pilot trying to sell you on its themes, which is no surprise as the writer is Eric Kripke, creator of the Supernatural TV series.
The longterm goal of this series will be Josh’s eventual addiction to praise, gained through super-heroics, and what that means for his mental state and his loved ones.
The artwork here is highly detailed with a focus on the mundane, which is by design to show the reader just how much of an everyman Josh is. The character design is strong and I like the world that the artist is helping to build. Mundane meets superhero. This first issue has me intrigued and will pull me to issue 2.
The Totally Awesome Hulk #1
Written by Greg Pak, Art by Frank Cho
This comic asks the question, “What if the Hulk was a hormonal lusty teenager who also happens to be the right smartest person in the world?” Kind of a weird question, but hear me out. For reasons yet to be revealed, Amadeus Cho now can transform into the Hulk. Cho has always been a bit player in a lot of Hulk issues; now it would seem that he is the star.
So what does that mean for readers of the Hulk? It means that the Hulk drops a lot of the brooding and angst, and instead takes on a much more light-hearted and fun tone, with a simmering anger under the surface that could have greater repercussions later on in the series.
But right now, this issue is mostly fun and hits the right notes for this sort of book, plus for Bruce Banner fans there is a smaller subplot concerning the fate of the original Hulk that will be revealed over time.
Frank Cho has such a unique and evolving art style and is the perfect person for this book. His character designs are a little softer, less hard edges, which will work well in the context of a more light-hearted book. That’s not to say that his artwork isn’t detailed, it is. His Hulk designs are probably the best I have seen in a long time, and he gets to create two different but equally impressive designs, one for Amadeus and one for Bruce Banner.
With all the components fitting together nicely, I think Hulk fans old and new can find something to love in this book.
Invincible Iron Man #4
Written by Michael Bendis, Art by David Marquez
If you’ve been following my reviews, you’ll know how much I am enjoying this series. That’s why this week’s issue was a bit disappointing for me. This issue really felt like filler. The plot didn’t really progress. Nothing was learned about the threat, where it was coming from or why.
Even the snappy dialogue was a little less snappy, so on the whole I’m not really sure what this issue was trying to achieve other than to get us to Mary Jane’s nightclub for another superhero/villain confrontation, and when it comes to Brian Bendis I expect more than that, especially from a series that I’ve really liked so far.
What saved this issue is the beautiful artwork by Marquez. This issue had Marquez expand his set pieces. Going from a ninja fight on the beach to a packed nightclub gave Marquez the opportunity to work on setting and detail.
I did notice that one or two panels seemed slightly flat. This caught me off guard at times because the rest of the book and the series so far has great artwork. I wonder why those panels looked a bit dull, and it took me out of the story.
For a series that was doing so well, this is a step back for this team. I’m hoping that next month gets the series back on track.
Robin War #1
Written by Various, Art by Various
The “We are Robin” books have carried the themes of the disenfranchised well, so Robin War #1 had its work cut out for it. I’m pretty happy to say this book does deliver on those themes.
The story starts in a fairly interesting way when a young Robin accidently kills a police officer. The state authorities impose a ban on any Robin paraphernalia, and anyone caught wearing the Robin R is immediately detained.
It’s an interesting read because in our current climate of fear mongering from on high politicians and detention without evidence, you can see parallels to real world issues, and it’s that relatability that sucks you into this story.
Another plus here is that the flow of the story isn’t interrupted at all, which is no small feat considering how many writers worked to bring you this book.
The art is the same. For so many artists working on one book, they manage to keep the feel consistent and the artwork is a cut above the rest. More colour than I am used to seeing in a Gotham book for sure, but I like it.
There may have been times when the ball was dropped a little, but the near misses are so far and few between that I don’t think it detracts from the overall feel of the book.
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