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Comics: You've Been Hit by a Smooth Criminal
by Dee. 12/1/2022Hey hey, kids! It's once again time for Auntie Dee's comic reviews. I have quite a selection for you this month, so stay tuned. Up first, Once Upon A Time At the End of the World from Boom, Stargirl: The Lost Children from DC Comics, and Avengers Assemble Alpha from Marvel Comics.
Once Upon A Time At the End of the World (Boom! Studios): Written by the author of Scalped and Southern Bastards, Jason Aaron is back to bring us a story about a post-apocalyptic world. Though it sounds like a familiar backdrop, this Western themed, thoroughly trashed planet follows two young teens Maceo and Mezzy as they try to survive. There is a time jump which is abrupt, right before a cliffhanger in this first issue.
The art style is less detailed than you'd hope for, but seeing as each frame and splash page have so many elements to draw, you can tell the French artist Alexandre Tefenkgi (Good Asian, Outpost Zero) has his work cut out for him. The change from red tinted panels to blue hued and yellow colored really fits the mood and setting changes. Overall, the script and composition compliment each other. It was a very entertaining read, and I look forward to the next issues.
Stargirl: The Lost Children (DC Comics): I'm glad that Stargirl had a good CW TV series in 2020, seeing as many people might not have heard of her otherwise. Teen Titans writer Geoff Johns and Young Justice artist Todd Nauck have teamed up to write a fantastic teenage superheroine book. Starting in the early 1940's with a faded but classic color palette and texturing, this comic reflects on the history of heroic sidekicks and setting the scene. I really enjoy that aspect change. We then jump to current day in Nebraska with Courtney Whitmore's life in progress, as her parents are aware of her secret identity.
The aforementioned "Lost Children" are the sidekicks who have disappeared over the years, and the mystery is gripping.The action explodes throughout the pages, with dynamic poses and sound effects.There are a few pieces of dialogue that feel like pure exposition, but it is otherwise well done. As a fan of the TV show, it definitely feels like Courtney's voice comes through.
Well done, gentlemen.
Avengers Assemble Alpha (Marvel Comics): Avengers from across different universes have been selected by Avenger Prime to thwart the most evil that ever evil-ed: the Multiverse Masters of Evil. This Earth, aka Earth-616, is being attacked by the time-travelling demon Mephisto who is trying to undo the Avengers' history. So there's time-travel shenanigans as well as a big cast of characters which has a helpful literal flowchart in the front of the book.
There is a little bit of back issue reading that you can do in order to get the setup, but I like to jump into stories and just wade through the action as it unfolds. If you've been watching the MCU movies and the What If...? TV series, you have a pretty good grasp of the multiversal heroes involved.
There's a great list of artists and writers involved with this story, including our friend from the first comic on the list, Jason Aaron. The art is definitely up to Marvel standards, with cool splash pages and modern visual storytelling (as opposed to strict panel layouts of 9 static boxes with the characters crammed into it). The character design on the prehistoric Ghost Rider is particularly great, but I won't spoil it for you. The fight scenes are very dynamic, and the action moves quickly across the pages.
I want there to be more of it, but sadly it's a one-shot. They really pack a lot into these pages.
That brings our time together to a close, but never fear! I will be reading more comics for the new year, and maybe suggesting a few good trades.