It's two team books facing off as Marvel's mercenaries go head to head with DC's digital dynamos! Who will take the crown this week?
Credits & Solicit Info:
Villains for Hire #.1: Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Renato Arlem, Jay David Ramos, Joe Caramanga, Patrick Zircher, Andry Troy
Stormwatch #3: Paul Cornell, Miguel Sepulveda, Alex Sinclair
This week I had something different in mind. I wanted to take two books that weren't on my list at all and see what happened. However, T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents didn't come out this week, so I went with Stormwatch for our Blue Book. Will it be able to stand up to Villains for Hire? Let's find out!
Red Book- Villains For Hire #.1
This is the setup for a new miniseries in the Marvelverse. Taking place in New York (where else?), we're introduced to a new lineup of heroes working for pay on an as-needed basis.
Writing- I have to say that this book does acheive its goal of accessibility. I enjoy the use of each character's unique personality. Plus, Black Panther's in it, so I'm good to go. If there was a jumping on point for his book, someone let me know, because he's just a bad motha. Also, it introduces several other characters who were completely new to me (or B/C-listers for regular Marvel fans). I always appreciate it when the publishers give lesser-known characters a chance to shine.
Art- This book makes New York feel like a real city. In most comic books, it just looks like they're in New York, but here the art makes it look dingy and realistic, adding to the credibility of this street-level team concept. The character designs are pretty cool as well. Again, going to my fondness for Black Panther, his costume is boss. The other characters all have unique looks to them so it's easy to know who's who.
Writing- Unfortunately, T'Challa isn't enough to save this series for me. It opens with a bad catchphrase (that is used far more often than necessary) which is met by a bad joke. That could've been fine, but then the characters address the fact that it was a bad joke. It's self-awareness done wrong, in my opinion. Beyond that, the introduction of a new villain carrying a legacy name is also handled poorly. I think this stems from the "oracle" figure of Misty Knight being generally unlikeable. Even the villain who only appears at the end is more interesting. Heck, even the ad for the next issue was more intriguing. I actually was more invested in the free preview of The Defenders that came with my subscriptions.
Art- Actually, I don't have all that much to criticize about the art here. It is a nice-looking book and Renato Arlem has a cool style to his work. I probably would've brightened things up a little bit, though. I get that the story takes place at night, but it still feels too dark a lot of the time.
Blue Book: Stormwatch #3
The team gears up for an epic battle with the fate of the world itself hanging in the balance! Can they put their differences behind them and save the planet?
Writing- For those who have read previous entries of this column, you know that I'm a growing fan of Paul Cornell's writing. It's funny, there's plenty of action, and the pacing is quite well-planned. With Stormwatch, Cornell uses a few different techniques than with Demon Knights. The characters have more conflict between and within themselves. The stakes seem significantly higher, and it's a series that grows on you if you give it a chance.
Art- Miguel Sepulveda's art is great to look at. There's a lot of futuristic colors and designs in the environments. The characters all look great (I'm especially partial to the look of Jack Hawksmoor) and everything has a very sci-fi vibe to it. This issue has one of my single favorite panels in it: Hawksmoor needs to communicate with several different cities at one time. The way this scene is drawn actually made me say "This is awesome." I hope that this kind of scene happens again.
Writing- As good as this series is, it has its faults in the accessibility department. I've followed this book since issue 1 and I still have trouble keeping up at times. There are a lot of jumps to different locations and situations, so that can be a little confusing at times. Also, there are some characters that have yet to really be focused on. It feels like there are more characters than necessary at this point, so we'll see what happens there.
Art- I think that this style of art could be hit-or-miss. There are times when I don't really care what I'm looking at, but these are balanced by the cool sciency-looking panels I mentioned earlier. Those bits come around almost too often, though. It's a little hard to explain, but it seems as though they know that those are the panels people want to see but they can't do them all of the time, so they throw them in when they haven't done one in a couple of pages.
Winner- Stormwatch #3!
Running score: Red Book 2, Blue Book 2
Honestly, I almost didn't feel like doing this face-off. It didn't really seem fair to compare these two books. I read Villains for Hire and immediately knew that Stormwatch was going to win, even if it wasn't very good. Villains is a miniseries, so it obviously can't try to do too much, but for me it seemed like they were phoning it in because they knew it was a miniseries. Stormwatch is a series that's building momentum towards being one that could run for a good while (which in this sense means at least its first arc). I wasn't completely into it before, but now I'm sold. For those who've picked up #1 but weren't sure, go for it and pick up the rest. You won't regret it!
Check out past installments here, here and here!
Review by: Veggieleezy