Outright Geekery continues its rundown of the year that was 2014, and I’m sticking with comic books again, but this time it’s my favorite artists of the year. Man, there were so many pretty pictures, so much great art, this year that it was nigh impossible to come up with a short list. So, I made a long list featuring my favorite artists of the whole year, and instead of some long, drawn-out critique of how awesome these folks are at drawing lines on paper, here’s the list and some of their best stuff from the year. I implore you to click the images to make them larger, and behold the most awesome art of the entire year. Continue reading Gaumer’s Top Comic Book Artists of 2014
New Comics Wednesday is upon us again, and some of us here at Outright Geekery are running down the top pick on our comic stacks for this week. What are you looking forward to reading this week? Continue reading Geeks’ Picks for New Comics: October 1st, 2014
When Marvel recently announced their latest promotional onslaught revolving around everything Avengers NOW!, most of the buzz surrounded the big changes coming to Captain America and Thor, with most of the push, seemingly, put behind a few new series and a lot of current ones. A closer look at the released teaser image for Marvel’s new branding shows-off a lot of good, a lot of potential, and maybe even a bit of mystery. Continue reading Avengers NOW!: Are More New Books on the Way?
Time again for another Annual, and fans of Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme will be glad to see that New Avengers Annual #1 features a solo adventure for Doctor Strange. This book doesn’t really tie into the current events of New Avengers so much as it draws inspiration from them as we watch Steven Strange continue to walk down a darker path, even as he continues to work for the greater good. And with a well-suited creative team in place, I’m happy to say that the story are quite impressive.
Following the Doctor as he makes a house call in a nearby dimension, the narrative switches focus back and forth between Steven’s struggle to exorcise a demon from a little girl and his early days as a neurosurgeon. Both settings place their focus on Strange’s drive and personality, his willingness to do or try anything save a patient, and his refusal to accept the impossibility of a given situation. This focus displays a level of savvy storytelling from Barbiere; Doctor Strange, after all, is a difficult character to write, what with his vast powers with practically no set limits on what he can and cannot do. By centering the story on Strange’s morality, though, Barbiere allows the readers to be compelled by the decisions he makes rather than his bout with the demon.
Yet while the writing is very strong, this issue is worth reading just for the artwork alone. Marco Rudy uses every inch of the page to bring the exotic, bizarre setting to life, sprawling beautiful artwork across the page while eschewing panels and traditional layout, with stellar results. As Strange battles his demonic opponent on the astral plane, Rudy lets his imagination run wild, using a variety of shapes and colors to display the action, even using rough sketch work when the situation calls for it to show the Doctor in dire straits. From cover to cover, this comic is a wonder to behold, and a perfect fit for the exotic adventures of the Sorcerer Supreme.
With strong writing and beautiful art, then, this issue is a standout comic book, and treat for any fans of Doctor Strange. There is one sticking point, however, that might be off-putting for some: the price. This being an annual, it comes with the obligatory $4.99 price tag. And while the story itself is amazing, and does clock in at 30 pages, the issue comes with nothing else to justify the price hike. Still, this is ultimately a very small complaint, and there will no doubt be many people who are willing the pay an extra dollar for very strong work.
Verdict: 4 out of 5
UNCANNY X-MEN #18
Writer: BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Artist: MARCO RUDY
COVER BY ALEXANDER LOZANO
• Cyclops finds himself in serious trouble.
• Who’s got Scott Summers at gunpoint?
Brian Michael Bendis is a great writer. For better or worse he changed The Avengers in ways that will forever impact the brand. His work on the Ultimate Universe, albeit primarily Ultimate Spider-Man, cannot be denied as some amazing comic book writing. His more recent work with the X-Men also stands as a great example of how the writer brings his own unique style to each and every book he writes. And it’s paying off! We’ve been getting some quality X-Titles out of Bendis since he left duties on Avengers books and made the switch to writing X-Gene only characters. Oh, and he’s also writing the Guardians of the Galaxy, but honestly THAT seems more like an X-Title lately than anything else. And that’s the problem with this issue of Uncanny X-Men #18: It’s the same story I read in just about every Bendis book in the last month or so, and it’s gotten pretty tiring. Good thing the art is fresh!
This issue was another great use of nostalgia and previously detailed newer character developments all surrounding the Original X-Men team, Bendis’ current bread and butter in the X-realm of comic books. The neat character interactions between the Original X-Team and their present-day counterparts continues to bring smiles to the faces of X-readers, no matter how many times it’s seen. The true standout of this single issue is Marco Rudy and Val Staples on the artwork. Layout, design, pencils, colors; everything just comes together in such a brilliant fashion. Each and every page is a feast for the eyes, and the level of effort put into this single issue of a comic book is rarely seen even in a 5 issue story arc. I have to be completely honest and tell you that I hadn’t heard of either of these two artists prior to reading this issue, but now that they are on my radar there’s no way I’ll let a book with their names on the cover without adding it to my stack.
Alright, Bendis, we get it! The Original X-Men have traveled through time, and their interactions with their present-day counterparts are interesting and entertaining. But, damn it, we’ve been given this same exact story; these same exact character interactions; in every damned book Bendis has put out this month. The last Guardians of the Galaxy and the last 2 issues of All-New X-Men were this same exact issue of this Uncanny X-Men #18, with a worse paint-job. There’s NO ONE holding a gun to Cyclops’ head at any point in the entire issue, despite what the cover OR the solicit says. This was just an outright boring issue, depicting things we’ve already seen before.
If you’ve read anything from Bendis in the past month or two you’ve probably already read this comic book. It’s nothing more than the same old tired and overused cliches and nostalgic interactions that have been the mainstay of Bendis’ work with the mutants of Marvel Comics. But the art was amazing! Almost enough to save this book from being entirely worthless. There’s obviously something to say for good art, and there’s certainly something to say for good writing, but, damn, it would be nice to get both in a single package. Unfortunately, Uncanny X-Men #18 is NOT that package.
Writing: 2.5 out of 5
Art: 4.5 out of 5
Overall: 3.5 out of 5