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411’s Comic Reviews: Powers of X #3, Ghost-Spider #1, More

August 22, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Powers of X #3

Hello and welcome to 411mania’s weekly Comic Book Review! Each week we’ll be serving up a warm dish of reviews (and previews) 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]!

Powers of X #3

Review by Jeremy Thomas

It’s hard to believe that at this point, we’re already almost halfway through House of X and Powers of X. Jonathan Hickman’s two-series epic re-orientation of the X-Men has been filled with one heavy revelation after another, with lots of set-up but less movement in terms of linear story progression. Power of X #3 is where that all changes. Changing up the alternating issue release order for a week to continue the future-set story from the 100 year era, Hickman and R. B. Silva present a much more linear storyline here, though one that is not without a stunning reveal or two.

Big action scenes have been relatively absent from HoX and PoX thus far. That’s understandable; there isn’t always room to set up the kind of story Hickman is telling when you have to get to the punching and explosions every few pages. This is the issue where that changes up. It’s difficult to discuss this in any depth without spoiling much, but Hickman has set up a mission that involves incredibly high stakes, as planned in Powers of X #2. There’s a strong comparison to be drawn to a certain Star Wars film here, and similarly it’s easy to find yourself swept along for the ride and invested in the stakes even if we haven’t really learned a lot about who these people are. That’s a credit to Hickman’s subtle twists of characterizations and Silva’s artwork.

Silva has always shown talent for big action setpieces, and he puts that on full display here with deft assistance from a glorious coloring job from Marte Gracia. The two of them clearly relish in showing these characters unleash their power, with gashes of color across the screen and kinetic blurring amidst the action poses. They don’t let the action get in the way of the characters, though. Silva’s faces and posture feel real and authentic, helping us get inside their minds in a complementary fashion to Hickman’s writing. It’s easy to lose a handle on the art when the focus is on the big, bold brushstrokes of the storyline, but that doesn’t ever come close to happening. One of Powers of X #3’s greatest strengths is in how it balances its brief but insightful character moments with the high-stakes action sequences and a few plot reveals that have major implications for the story moving forward.

The implications of where the story goes in this issue continue to resonate back to House of X #2, and the revelations contained therein. House of X/Power of X is classic Hickman storytelling in that it loves leaving the reader with more and more questions, even when it answers a few. He’s walking a tightrope here that many works of fiction have slipped on in terms of keeping readers wondering without making them too confused. In this issue, that means he and Silva bring all the elements needed to hit those sweet spots of storytelling dopamine so that we’re not needing too many answers yet. There’s still plenty of story to go, and right now if I were an enemy of the X-Men I wouldn’t be feeling too comfortable in my seat. As much as I find myself wanting to get back to X1 and see what’s going on with Krakoa and its inhabitants, Powers of X #3 is a thrilling stop along the way that more than sells its need exist first well enough that I’m happy to wait until next week.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

The Art (And Many Other Mistakes) of Eric Powell

Preview by Steve Gustafson

BOOM! Studios today revealed a first look at THE ART (AND MANY OTHER MISTAKES) OF ERIC POWELL, a brand new art book with scandalous tales, family gossip, illegally obtained medical records, behind-the-scenes character designs, sketches, and illustrations from the twisted mind of multi-award winning writer and artist Eric Powell, available in stores December 2019. Celebrate an obscene number of years of low art and high art, failure and success, and the many other mistakes from the creator of the acclaimed series, The Goon!

Never before has anyone dared to dive deep into the weird and byzantine mind of Eric Powell—and for good reason, because once you’ve entered the twisted pathways of this collection that’s half graphic memoir, half art book, you’ll find yourself traveling back to the never-before-seen origins of Eric Powell’s early beginnings as an artist then hurtling straight into the chaotic years of rough and tumble cartooning that led to the creation of the enduring hit creation, The Goon, that continues to thrill and delight fans to this very day!

THE ART (AND MANY OTHER MISTAKES) OF ERIC POWELL sheds light on the deliberate and painstaking process of becoming a world renowned comic book creator as recalled by the artist and a few of his delinquent friends. This extensive art book spotlights never-before-seen childhood drawings, early superhero test pages, film poster art, and the establishment of Powell’s homegrown publishing house Albatross Funnybooks.

Rising Sun #1

Preview by Steve Gustafson

Rising Sun, the award-winning board game published by CMON Limited and designed by Eric M. Lang, will see its epic setting, feudal combat, and political intrigue adapted to comics in an all-new comic book series from IDW Publishing.

Co-written by industry legend Ron Marz and David Rodriguez (the creative team behind IDW’s Skylanders) and illustrated by Martín Cóccolo (Star Trek: Year Five), the three-issue miniseries will debut its first issue in November, and – as an added bonus – each issue of Rising Sun will feature exclusive content to enhance the game-playing experience for dedicated fans.

IDW’s Rising Sun storyline introduces Chiyoko of the Koi Clan, leader of a group of powerful warriors – the best each clan has to offer – on a mission to save Japan from dragons and monsters. But perhaps the greatest threat she faces is not the many monsters who are ravaging the country… but her very own team!

“When I first saw the game, I immediately knew it was a world I wanted to play in,” says Ron Marz. “As soon as I found out that Rising Sun was going to move into comics, I was the first one jumping up and down with my hand raised, yelling, ‘Pick me! Pick me!’”

“Rising Sun has a huge amount of world-building and deep backstory with the Clans, and it’s been great creating characters representing aspects of those clans and throwing them together,” says David Rodriguez. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Ron, Martin, and game designer Eric M. Lang on other projects. They’re great talents, and IDW pulling them all together was a huge win for the book.”

Dreadstar Vol 1 Omnibus

Preview by Steve Gustafson

Jim Starlin is best known for his cosmic epics, and the creation of characters like Thanos, Drax, Gamora, and many more, who have become recognized worldwide thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now Starlin’s most personal, beloved story may well be the DREADSTAR saga, which is now being collected in an Omnibus series remastered by Jim Starlin himself.

Starlin has teamed up with Creation.Ink and Ominous Press once again to present JIM STARLIN’S DREADSTAR OMNIBUS, a three-volume set collecting all of Starlin’s DREADSTAR saga, more than 1,500 pages of material. DREADSTAR is the cosmos-spanning tale of Vanth Dreadstar, last survivor of Milky Way galaxy, who assembles a band of misfits in order to take on the Lord High Papal’s Church of the Instrumentality, as well as the galaxy-controlling Monrachy.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Volume 1 has been printed and now is being offered on Indiegogo for anyone who missed the previous opportunity. The 512-page tome that collects the original Metamorphosis Odyssey presented in Epic Illustrated magazine, to the Dreadstar graphic novel, The Price graphic novel, the Epic Illustrated #18 short story, and the first eight issues of the standalone Dreadstar comic series. Bonus material in Volume 1 includes Starlin’s Metamorphosis Odyssey Portfolio, as well as the rare four-page Starlin story The Prayer.

Powers of X #3

Review by Steve Gustafson

FULL DISCLOSURE! I had originally planned to write a counterpoint review to Jeremy’s here and blatantly push buttons and troll to illicit a response. I would say the writing was hack, the art was dismal, and this was one of the worst retcon attempts I had ever read.

I simply cannot do it.

This book is everything Jeremy said it is and I’m in awe that I’m this excited about an X-event at this point in my life. I’m someone who has said in the past that I’ve seen just about everything in comic books but this series slapped me in the face and reminded me that there are still grand stories to tell and ways to surprise and enthrall the reader.

If you’re not reading this, I implore you to do so.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Ghost-Spider #1

Review by John Pumpernickel

I wanted to like Ghost-Spider #1 but nothing about it caught my interest outside the art by Takeshi Miyazawa. I felt like I was arriving at a party that was just about to end and all the good booze was gone. On top of that, anything of interest had already happened before I got there.

Seanan McGuire plays it safe and by the numbers with this #1 but it feels more like a part of a larger whole. We get Gwen Stacy doing the college years on a different Earth but instead of branching out in new directions, the issue falls flat where it counts.

I’ve been vocal about Marvel’s use of Gwen Stacy and how her (over)use has diminished her influence on the Spider-Man books. I grew up with the weight of Gwen’s death and it meant something. Now it’s just another character that shares her name

This issue gets a shrug from me and I’m not sure where it fits in or where it’s necessary.

Rating: 6.0 out of 10

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