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411’s Comic Reviews: Deadpool vs The Punisher #1, Captain America: Sam Wilson #21, More

April 20, 2017 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

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Hello and welcome to 411mania’s weekly Comic Book Review Roundtable! Each week we’ll be serving up a warm dish of reviews from Marvel, DC, and anything else that captures our interest. What did you pick up this week? Let us know in the comments.

Want to write a review? If you can write at least one review a week, consistently, email me at [email protected]!

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Yesterday we asked, “Does Comic Book Continuity Matter?”

Now on with the show!

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Deadpool vs The Punisher #1

Review by RobF

Another day, another Deadpool crossover. This time we have the Punisher battling the Merc with a Mouth over the murder of a young boy. Did the Punisher do it? Deadpool is willing to kill anyone and everyone to find out.

Fred Van Lente appears to be the go-to writer when it comes to mercenaries: First the Taskmaster, now Deadpool and the Punisher. He keeps the plot simple: While taking down a shady club owner the Punisher is turned on to a larger target, the Bank, a money launderer with criminal ties. But the Punisher’s timing is bad because at that same time the Merc with a Mouth is visiting and through some twisted sense of obligation decides to defend the Bank against the marauder.

Honestly I’m not sure what Frank Castle can do against an invincible opponent, but you can be sure he will try everything and anything to do so. Hopefully Van Lente will have free reign to let Castle do his thing or this series could be boring.

Pere Pérez’s art is solid, particularly when it comes to faces. His facial expressions really tell the tale. His action scenes are top notch as well. He might be one of my favorite artists to date.

In the end this comic does not break any new ground but it has the potential to be a fun series if the chains are off. Van Lente is the right man for the job, let’s hope he can get the job done.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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Captain America: Sam Wilson #21

Review by Rob Bonnette

This issue turns out to be pretty poignant in light of all the recent brouhaha over that Marvel bigwig claiming that diversity helped drive their sales down on the back end of 2016 (it didn’t, but don’t let facts get in the way of a good narrative). Sam Wilson’s turn as Cap while Steve Rogers has simultaneously gone to the dark side (unbeknownst to everyone except us and his co-conspirators, of course) has been a major sticking point for the ‘Don’t Change the Characters!’ crowd, and what happens in this issue may appear to be a major victory for them as (SPOILER ALERT) Sam gives up the shield and heads off to do…whatever it is he’ll be doing in Secret Empire. Nick Spencer is your writer here as he has been throughout for both Captain America books. To his credit Spencer has not shied away from the obvious elephant in the room of Sam’s race and how it affects him serving as Captain America. Sometimes it’s a little too heavy handed but most of the times it’s been spot on in my opinion.

The issue starts with Misty Knight walking into Sam’s place and finding a letter addressed to her, while the story is essentially her reading the contents of the letter while snippets of the previous twenty issues are displayed in the background. We see his early days as the Falcon, taking up the mantle of Captain America at Steve’s request, the various clashes he’s had with the Americops. Sam meeting the new Falcon, and the events that have unfolded regarding Rage, the former New Warrior turned vigilante. But that’s not all. There’s a scene with Steve Rogers and some of his co-conspirators that serves to further set things up for Secret Empire. By the end of the issue, Sam has left the shield behind and flown away while Joaquin (the new Falcon) has taken off, disgusted at how events have turned. He is doing it in protest, as Steve has done more than once in the past.

The issue was OK on it’s own, but better if you consider it within the entire arc for Sam. There were no new developments beyond the scene with Rogers and the closing pages where Sam tells the world he’s done as Captain America for now. The artwork is not great but not a turnoff in any way. I would have preferred a face to face conversation between Sam and Misty given what they’ve been through over this time, but I’m assuming the way things went will matter later on. It’s essentially a segue/entry point for Secret Empire; given that Spencer is the main writer for that Sam will likely play a large role in that story. The question is what will come after that? Is this book finished, or will it be back after Secret Empire concludes? And will Sam be the Falcon once again or return to serving as Cap? What we see in the coming months will add some context to what we got here but for now I have to call this OK, but skippable if you’re on the fence.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

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World Reader #1

Review by Jonathan Durden

One of the biggest questions of life left unanswered, and one of the biggest mysteries left unsolved, is “Are we alone?” Imagine finding out that no, we aren’t alone. We never were. Then, imagine after finding that out, that now we know we are alone. That’s the premise of World Reader, a new series published by Aftershock Comics.

The first issue of this serial opens with protagonist, Sarah, as she attempts to reconnect with life on a dead world to find out what happened to it. This time she can’t find but one life form to connect with, to go behind its eyes and see and feel everything they felt when their world was still alive. She gets a glimpse of what happened, and the answer is more sinister than “natural causes.” Someone, or something, is killing all of the life on the planet, and possibly all of the other newly-discovered “dead worlds” out in the universe. Sarah is the world reader, and she is going to find out what happened to these worlds so she can stop it from happening to Earth.

This is a good first issue for a new Aftershock series and avid sci-fi readers. Writer Jeff Loveness is a new talent to my eyes as well as artist Juan Doe and I am very glad that I was recommended this book so that I could discover this new talent crew.

One thing that really stood out to me about this issue is when Sarah and her crew member Harris were looking at runes from the dead world. Though they couldn’t understand their language or communicate with them, the runes they looked at told them all they needed to know: they were here, they tried, maybe failed, but they tried. And that’s what really matters. They realized that they weren’t so different from themselves, and they found comfort in that.

I didn’t really have any problems with this issue, only that there are a lot of unanswered questions, which is the nature to comic books, especially these sci-fi types. So I’m content to wait and let the mystery unfold.

This series is definitely one that will be going on my pull list. I’m interested in the concept and I’m drawn in by the characters and the great art and colors. I recommend this to any Interstellar or just in-general sci-fi fans. Another well done series started by Aftershock.

Rating:

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Batman #21

Review by Sankalp G.

I was waiting for Tom King to finish his first arc on the Batman series so I could read it in one go. I was genuinely excited for this issue as I loved Watchmen and was pretty excited for this ‘Button Arc’ and its implications, as well as the whole Rebirth event itself. Even though Rebirth titles have been a mixed bag for me, this arc had an excellent start and there are spoilers in this about a few references, so beware!

The issue starts with Saturn Girl in Arkham Asylum predicting the end of the Legion, with even Superman not coming to its rescue. Then there is the connection between Psycho Pirate’s mask and The Button. There are the Flashpoint references as well, be it Thomas Wayne or the Reverse Flash; this issue is packed with action, drama, cameos as well as very good art.

John Favok has done an incredible job with his art; its not rocket science that DC likes to bring him in for the events. I also loved the homage to Watchmen with some of the panel placement in the Batman and Reverse Flash fight. Tom King (Vision) has been given a big responsibility with this arc, which arguably will have long-term implications, as well as the attention of the most of the comic book community and considering this issue, he has handled it very well.

Overall, this was a near perfect issue to kickstart this arc.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Steve here! That’s all the time we have. Tell us what you’re reading below and see you back here next week! You can now find our reviews on ComicBookRoundUp.com!