Quick Hits: Reviews of Green Lantern: New Guardians #2, Daredevil #5 and more…

New Guardians #2

Green Lantern: New Guardians #2: Last issue’s pacing problems start to fade as Kyle Rayner fends off a group of angry Lanterns in search of their stolen rings. This second outing’s a pretty solid improvement on the first, but I still don’t feel this series is exactly where it needs to be — we don’t really have any sense of most of the team that (presumably) will unite here; right now this book just reads like Kyle Rayner vs. the World, which is something we’ve seen before. On the positive front, there are a couple pretty interesting mysteries being developed, including a carryover from Green Lantern #1 involving Ganthet that took me by surprise. Additionally, Tyler Kirkham and Harvey Tolibao’s pencils are sharp and exciting; this book looks like a fantastic action comic, even if it doesn’t quite yet read like one. B-

Daredevil #5: Lawyer Matt Murdock takes the case of a blind transcriptionist who’s fired for overhearing something he shouldn’t have, something that could change the face of crime all over the globe. Somewhere in the last few months, Daredevil became one of my favorite monthly comics; it never puts out an issue less than excellent. Mark Waid’s scripts are tight and full of interesting ideas; here he introduces the concept of “megacrime,” something that seems like it should’ve been around years ago. As good as Waid is, though, the best thing about this book is its stable of artists; somehow it boasts both Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin in its corner. Their clean, action-packed and inventive styles complement each other — and more importantly every issue of Daredevil — tremendously. I would favorably compare each of them to Batwoman‘s J.H. Williams III as far as the level of attention they bring to their layouts. Put simply, Daredevil is easily one of the best-looking, best-conceived books on comic store shelves today. A

Secret Avengers #18: Steve Rogers, Sharon Carter and Shang-Chi infiltrate an alternate dimension where the wicked Shadow Council cooks up a project to raze the surface of the Earth. I love the concept of Warren Ellis’ Secret Avengers — a new espionage mission every issue, a small group of characters spotlighted in each to give every member of the team their fare shake at exposure. I like less the notion of rotating artists, only because Kev Walker’s muddy pencils basically ruined #17 for me. If Ellis keeps drafting talent like #16′s Jamie McKelvie or this issue’s David Aja (with Raul Allen), though, all is right with the world. Aja’s art is tremendous; it’s clean and swift, allowing him to perfectly sell the many kung-fu action pieces any book featuring Shang-Chi requires. His layouts, too, are especially inventive; since this book takes place in a “bad continuum” with different laws of physics, Aja gets to play with M.C. Escher-style locales, which leads to some really fun character blocking and beautiful panels-within-panels. With this formula and this story execution, Secret Avengers is a winner through-and-through. A

Star Trek #2: The idea of a new Star Trek comic set squarely in the J.J. Abrams universe is one I find very attractive. Unfortunately, this series is nothing but adaptations of classic television episodes slightly modified to fit in the timeline of the new movies. That means that what we’re basically reading are Cliff’s Notes of stuff we can see on Netflix; 44 pages of comic don’t have time to develop a story like 44 minutes of television do, so important elements of plot and character invariably get the short shrift and the whole enterprise ends up feeling a little vacant. Given the premise of the book, it’s going to live or die on the strength of its art — how much do people want to see the new cast in these situations? And while the pencils by Stephen Molnar are fine (they actually do quite a good job of capturing the new actors’ likenesses), they’re not spectacular enough to push this book past the frontiers of mediocrity. C

tags: daredevil, green lantern new guardians, secret avengers, star trek

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