Bookwyrm’s 10-Word Comic Reviews: Hawkeye, Extremity, Savage Things & More

It was kind of a quiet week for the Big Two, so you’re going to be getting more indie titles than normal this time. And honestly, I’m pretty excited about that. I feel like a lot of good stuff can fall through the cracks between super-mega-gigantic superhero events, and discovering something new and original is always invigorating. I feel like I may have stumbled onto some great things in this week’s pullbox, but only a read-through will tell.

In the pullbox today, Kate Bishop investigates mad men; Shade the Changing Girl is a life ruiner who ruins people’s lives; the Champions get into a friendly and rather colorful tussle; someone not named Jason Bourne kills a bunch of indiscriminate people in interesting ways; and I just found one of the best new comics I’ve read in years.

Let’s get our read on.

Publisher: Marvel
Story: Kelly Thompson
Art: Leonardo Romero

What The Trades Say:
Tempers have reached record highs with an unbearable hate wave spreading across L.A. Hawkeye’s cracked the case on who’s responsible, but it’s going to take more than a few arrows to get the entire city to cool down. The odds may be stacked against her, but this is where she thrives — nobody puts Katie in a corner!

What Bookwyrm Says:
For the past few years, Hawkeye has been a title that has been, well, surprisingly good. Writers like Matt Fraction took a second-tier Marvel character and elevated him into superstar status with several critically acclaimed arcs. So my expectations going into this pickup are a little higher than average, I admit.

Clint Barton’s apprentice Kate Bishop is the star of this run, and she’s a great title character. Fearless, a little cocky, quick-witted, and endearing, she is every bit the hero as her male namesake, and I’m glad she’s rocking her own solo series. As for this particular issue, it’s pretty decent. It features an antagonist with a… let’s say “interesting” superpower, though you shouldn’t get overly attached to him. I doubt he’ll be appearing again any time soon. Overall, it’s a pretty solid issue that wraps up a few threads from this arc. Plus, the last page reveal foreshadows a team-up in the next issue that should be fun. Verdict: Recommended if you’re already into it. But this one isn’t a great jumping-on point.

Twitter-Ready 10-Word Review:
Fun for subscribers, but not much there for new readers.

Publisher: DC
Story: Cecil Castellucci
Art: Marley Zarcone

What The Trades Say:
When Shade took over Megan’s body, Megan had to go somewhere – and that she did. The displaced Earthling flew across the galaxy and back, and now that she’s home, Megan is pissed! It’s alien invader versus teenage bully in the climactic conclusion of our first arc!

What Bookwyrm Says:
I was new to this one, so I definitely had to bone up on my DC history before I started reading. I’m still a little fuzzy on the concepts of the world of Meta and the aliens there, but I figured out the Earth action pretty easily. Basically, it’s Mean Girls with corporeal possession. It’s an interesting read, but I ended up scratching my head more than anything else.

I’m beginning to learn my lesson here. If I haven’t been reading an arc, it’s almost impossible to jump into the middle of it and give it a solid review. It seems interesting, and I can see echoes of some really cool concepts from comics past mixed with today’s high school melodrama, but there was just too much I didn’t know for me to really enjoy it. I’d like to give this one another shot in the future, as the concept and the title character are both pretty interesting. For this one, though, I’m going to have to say pass. Verdict: Check it out next time when the new arc starts.

Twitter-Ready 10-Word Review:
Mean Girls with less Rachel McAdams and more bodily possession.

Publisher: Marvel
Story: Mark Waid
Art: Humberto Ramos

What The Trades Say:
Versus their counterparts, the Freelancers! And you’ll be surprised to see who’s left standing at the end of the battle!

What Bookwyrm Says:
First of all, let’s just say that the trade synopsis is a little misleading. The battle with the Freelancers is definitely not the highlight of this issue. However, considering how much fun it was, I’m glad they didn’t give it away in the summary.

So what’s so special about this issue? One word: Paintball.

Sure, the Freelancers are in it. And the issue goes a long way to make sure you don’t like them. (Making homeless people fight each other and taking bets on the winner has a habit of not being overly endearing. Not that I would know from personal experience. Really. That was a long time ago. Don’t judge me.) This was a fun issue. With all of the super-depressing, paradigm-shifting events going on, sometimes it’s nice to see something that’s just fun. And it doesn’t get more fun than a game of paintball with superpowers. Plus, Nova gets a hell of a zinger on Cyclops. It seriously made me laugh out loud while reading. Verdict: Recommended.

Twitter-Ready 10-Word Review:
Paintball with superpowers. Seriously. That’s all you need to know.

Publisher: Vertigo
Story: Justin Jordan
Art: Ibrahim Moustafa

What The Trades Say:
25 years ago, a secret government organization kidnapped children and trained them to be chaos agents who went on to foment unrest and execute enemies of the state around the world. When these cold and unfeeling creations proved too difficult to control, the powers that be exterminated their kill squad with extreme prejudice. Too bad it didn’t work. Now a rogue band of the worst monsters the world has ever known is cutting a swath of terror across the United States, threatening not just a disruption of the peace but to expose secrets their handlers never wanted to come to light. The only way to stop them is to call back the only man who ever walked away from them. His code name is Abel, and he’s not afraid of getting his hands bloody.

What Bookwyrm Says:
Savage Things is a quick read, but a good one. One trade summary claimed this was a cross between the Bourne series and grindhouse horror, and I feel like that’s a perfect description. The concept is thought-provoking, and the execution is well done. Elements are introduced in just the right way, and we get to see some severe carnage from the perspective of people who absolutely cannot handle it. These aren’t superpowered beings who regularly watch unnatural and horrific things happen before their eyes. It’s the hotel cleaning lady who just wanted to put in her eight hours before heading home.

In a comic like this, you already know there really aren’t going to be any “good guys.” There are going to be bad guys and worse guys. And the worse guys… well, they’re pretty damn bad. My favorite bit was when the recruiter for the murderous agency leaves his elementary school-age recruits in a room with, “There are forty of you in here now. This door doesn’t open again until there are twenty. Ruthless. Verdict: Highly Recommended.

Twitter-Ready 10-Word Review:
Get ready for some cold, ruthless, intriguing action. Read it.

Publisher: Skybound
Story & Art: Daniel Warren Johnson

What The Trades Say:
SERIES PREMIERE! Thea dreams. Not of a better life, but of revenge on the clan that ruined her family. With ferocious battles between man, machines, and monsters ahead — who knows where her quest for vengeance will take her? Creator DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON (Space Mullet) and colorist MIKE SPICER present a bold new vision, where the beauty and imagination of Studio Ghibli meet the intensity of Mad Max, in this all-new Skybound Original.

What Bookwyrm Says:
“Studio Ghibli meets Mad Max.” That was the line that sold me on this series, and that’s exactly what it delivered. This is the work of a master craftsman. It’s the perfect number one: It begins the story, sprinkling out just enough tidbits about the world to make you feel immersed, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed. It was no surprise at all to find that it has already been fast-tracked for a second printing. It’s that good.

This issue is a revenge tale — the story of a young artist getting revenge for the wartime death of her mother, as well as the loss of her hand. Both were perpetrated by the same man, and his comeuppance is particularly satisfying. This one doesn’t shy away from the gore, folks. There’s blood, guts, and body parts flying everywhere. But the thing I love most? I have no idea where it’s going next. This book doesn’t start out with the first of a six-issue arc. It’s one-and-done, with the promise of more to come. And I can’t wait. Definitely adding this one to my box. Verdict: Highly, highly recommended.

Twitter-Ready 10-Word Review:
“Miyazaki meets Mad Max” says it all. Pick it up.

That’s all for this week. If you’re looking for recommendations, look outside the Big Two and pick up some indie titles. Both Savage Things #1 and Extremity #1 are well worth a look, if not an instant pullbox add. Until next week, just keep reading, just keep reading, reading, reading, reading, reading.

Ryan Haddock10 Posts

An award-winning author, avid reader, occasional roleplayer, and father to three young geeks-in-training, Ryan loves a good story in any medium — from books and movies to comics and video games. In addition to the above, he is also a dedicated Whovian, a superhero enthusiast, and a Browncoat who just can't seem to let it go. You can find him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.


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