I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and gave thanks for all the good things in your life. Now we can get down to business, which is taking three comics, giving them the once over and me telling you if they’re worth your time. That, in a nutshell, is the Comic Roundup.
This week I read and review Aspen Comics Soulfire, Marvel Comics new flagship book Uncanny Avengers and the rebirth of Top Cow’s Cyber Force.
Cyber Force #2
By Marc Silvestri, Matt Hawkins and Khoi Pham
When Top Cow announced their Kickstarter project to fund the first 5 issues of a new Cyber Force series so they could give them away for free, I don’t think anyone thought they wouldn’t reach their goal. Everyone loves free comic books. But I think what worried most fans is just how good the book would be. It may be free, but would it be worth the time to read?
They shouldn’t have worried.
The new Cyber Force sees the Marc Silvestri return to the characters he created to take control of the book and steer it in a whole new direction. We see old friends and new faces, all done in that classic Image style that the company became known for. The new Cyber Force is equal parts action and story and is really just a blast to read. But the big revelation here for me is Khoi Pham. After doing some hit or miss work for Marvel, here he just explodes with some of the best art I’ve seen from him in some time. He manages to give the characters that classic Silvestri look and feel, but makes it entirely his own. You can mark my words; Pham is an artist to watch.
You really have no excuse not to give the new Cyber Force a try; it’s free for God’s sake. But if the book can stay this good for the entire initial run of five issues, I can definitely see myself actually paying for issue #6.
By J.T. Krul and Mike DeBalfo
Aspen Comics made quite a splash this year when they announced a fairly aggressive program of new titles and getting current books coming out on a regular schedule. Soulfire falls into the later category as it’s now in it’s fourth volume and continues the story of the quest to bring magic back to the world.
J.T. Krul, who has done a lot of work for DC Comics lately, is a mainstay of Aspen who has written all the Soulfire stories to date. In Issue #3 we see the finale of the battle in Pompeii as well as the team trying to save one of their own. As such, the story has lots and lots of action as Malikai deals with a dragon made of fire. The story moves briskly with a lot going on, but it never gets confusing or feels rushed. DeBalfo’s art is a breath of fresh air for me, as most Aspen titles have a “Michael Turner” look when it comes to the artwork and here, he has his own unique style that helps the book stand apart.
My only problem with Soulfire is that unless you are familiar with the book, it’s very easy to become lost. I had never read the title before and was a tad confused by the end. But is was good enough that it has made me want to go out and read more and discover the back-story of Soulfire. I guess there isn’t any better compliment than that.
Uncanny Avengers #2
By Rick Remender and John Cassaday
In the wake of the disappointing Avengers vs. X-Men event, Marvel has spun out of that the new Uncanny Avengers book, which combines members of both teams into one new mega-group. They have handed the reins over to Remender, fresh off an acclaimed run on Uncanny X-Force and artist Cassaday, who knows his way around the mutants of Marvel. And the result is a book I liked way more than I should have.
Uncanny Avengers #2 sees the new team still coming together as the Red Skull plots and schemes in the background. This is vintage Avengers all the way that reminded me more than once of the Busick/Perez run that so many fans consider their favorite.
Remender is writing the book with a classic Avengers sensibility (with some X-Men mixed in for good measure) that is really nice to see after years of Bendis penned stories. It’s been way too long since the Avengers comic felt like the Avengers. Cassaday’s artwork is just spectacular, easily his best work since Astonishing X-Men. And his Red Skull is just… disturbing, really unnerving.
It’s weird that an Avengers book that is half made up of former X-Men would be the most Avengers-like book I’ve read in quite some time. I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s next.