Comics Reviews: BC looks at VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT books
ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG #11 (Valiant Entertainment, January 04, 2017 release date) Writer: Rafer Roberts. Penciler: Mike Norton. Colorist: Allen Passalaqua. Letterer: Dave Sharpe. Sisters of Perpetual Darkness Sequence: Ryan Lee and Allen Passalaqua. Covers by Kano / Marc Laming / Dean Haspiel.
Body swaps. Body dissections. Cloning. The 1%. Secret Society. Mad bath salts. Nuns robbing banks. Senior citizens going gonzo. A mad magician with crazy powers scheming to dominate the craft world market with his hand-made baskets. The talking mackerel. Archer not in his right mind, or body. Wait! Penultimate issue? Everything wraps up in Issue #12? Damn. We finally warmed up to this title, and it’s scheduled to stop.
BC RATING SYSTEM
STORY: Lots of story threads, all interesting, all amusing. A good read. 2.5 POINTS.
ART: Reminds us of the art style when Mad Magazine was still a comic book. Very cool looking. 2.5 POINTS.
COVER: They all rock. The Haspiel cover is our favorite. 1 POINT.
RE-READ?: Definitely worth more reads. There’s a lot here. 1 POINT.
RECOMMEND?: Yes. Read ‘em while you still can. 1 POINT.
TOTAL RATING: 8 POINTS. Above average and recommended.
BLOODSHOT U.S.A. #3 of 4 Valiant Entertainment, December 21, 2016 release date) Story: Jeff Lemire. Art: Doug Braithwaite. Colors: Brian Reber. Letters: Dave Lanphear.
After two issues of relentless action and danger, Issue #3 takes the foot off the pedal a little and puts things in cruise control. This allows the reader to reflect on what has happened so far, and also allows Lemire to do what he does best - - go for the heart strings. In prior reviews, we were wondering if he would get around to this - - and now he does.
Last issue, Bloodshot tried to stop Deathmate the only way he knew how, by draining the nanites from her body. It’s not clear whether or not that was entirely successful, but Ray (Bloodshot) and Kay (Deathmate) have a moment to get their bearings before they enter a dream state where they are both innocent children. There’s a surprise discovery at the end, as things will wind up in Issue #4.
BC RATING SYSTEM
STORY: Less fighting, more drama this issue. Lemire milks the scene for all the emotion he can, and with Braithwaite’s help in visualizing it, he does. 2 POINTS.
ART: Just outstanding. Braithwaite is so good, and he really portrays the young Ray and Kay so well, right down to cries, frowns, tears, etc. 2.5 POINTS.
COVER: There’s quite a variety as usual. But the best ones are poster quality. Excluding the cat cover. 1.5 POINTS.
RE-READ?: You know we’ll be going back to this one. 1 POINT.
RECOMMEND?: Most certainly. Great story. 1 POINT.
TOTAL RATING: 8 POINTS. Above average and worthwhile.
FAITH #7 (Valiant Entertainment, January 04, 2017 release date) Writer: Jody Houser. Artist: Joe Eisma. Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse. Fantasy Sequences: Marguerite Sauvage. Letterer: Dave Sharpe.
It’s a transition issue, as the previous two adventures have wrapped up and Faith is adjusting to her increasing participation and role as a member of The Renegades. She’s over-worked and lacking sleep, and exhibits some of the symptoms: visions, nightmares, and stress. Or is she under the influence of something more sinister? We’ll learn more next issue.
BC RATING SYSTEM
STORY: Nothing too complicated here. However, it seems like a normal progression for a character to have a bit of a mental and/or physical breakdown after everything that Faith has been through. Jody Houser portrays it well. 2 POINTS.
ART: When the main character of a book often lapses into daydreams and or moments of fantasizing, it helps to have a different artist illustrate those sequences. That way readers can quickly adjust to the change in setting without a lot of undue explanation to slow things down. It’s too bad that the best artist on the Faith book for some time has been Sauvage, who’s only used for a few pages per issue. We’d love to see her illustrate the main story, with a different artist on the fantasy panels. Her style seems to suit the character perfectly. Likewise, new main artist Joe Eisma has a streamlined and uncluttered style that works well, and reminds us of the Archie Comics house style. On the downside, there’s nothing happening in the art to raise it above it’s working elements. 1.5 POINTS
COVER: Good images on all of the various covers for this issue. Our favorite is the main cover, with a tribute to a classic WWII working women image 1.5 POINTS
READ AGAIN? Not necessary. The story is simple and clear. Unless you want to look for clues. ONE-HALF POINT.
RECOMMEND? We like the title and love the character, but it’s not wowing us. ONE-HALF POINT.
TOTAL RATING: 6 POINTS. Good, but average. It’s a judgment call. As always, we hope to provide enough information to help you to decide whether to check it out.
SAVAGE #2 (Valiant Entertainment, December 28, 2016 release date) Writer: B. Clay Moore. Artist: Clayton Henry and Lewis Larosa. Colorist: Brian Reber. Letterer: Dave Lanphear. Main Cover: Lewis Larosa and Brian Reber.
We learn more background details of young Kevin, Jr.’s jungle upbringing through the flashback sequences, including his father’s first regretful encounter with a dinosaur. Kev’s mother Ronnie was primarily responsible for his island education, and teaches him many valuable survival lessons. In the present day, we learn that Kev is not the only human living on this island, but they are not friendly by any means. He’s also apparently earned a reputation as “the boy”.
BC RATING SYSTEM
STORY: Aside from the flashbacks where Kev is talking with his family, the remainder of the book which occurs is present day is nearly absent of any dialogue or captions. It’s a big bold story, and Moore gives the artists plenty of space to tell his story their own way. We prefer it. It’s simple but effective. 2 POINTS.
ART: If you love well-done comic art and action sequences, then this is a book you want to pick up. The art is simply incredible. 3 POINTS.
COVER: We like all the various covers, except for the cat version. (We’ll be so glad when cat cover month ends.) The blood-stained football ticket cover with Savage versus the entire Premier League is clever. But the absolute best cover is the main one, which clearly illustrates what a bad ass Kev Junior is. 2 POINTS.
READ AGAIN: Repeated viewings are required to fully appreciate the art in this book. ONE POINT.
RECOMMEND: Do you like dynamic art? Do you like dinosaurs? Do you like escapist action? YES! ONE POINT.
TOTAL RATING: 9 POINTS, near perfect. It’s a simple yet highly effective book. We love it.