The Top Five Comics Of The Week - August 10, 2022
How the hell is it August already?
What if I just dove in and started reviewing without a whole lot of preamble?
The Scumbag #14. Written by Rick Remender. Artwork by Roland Boschi.
This is the final issue of The Scumbag. It feels like it was time for this series to go. The conceit had been wearing a bit thin the past few issues, but this final issue wraps things up brilliantly. The book started out as an over-the-top, ridiculous action romp whose protagonist was the worst of humanity. As the series progressed, that shifted and it turns out the Scumbag is the best of humanity. And the worst. It’s complicated.
You can tell Remender had a lot of fun with this book. He used it as a chance to collaborate with a different artist for each issue. While that could have ended up being a disjointed mess, it mostly worked. It’s an effective essay on humanity and the perils of extremism on any side of the aisle. I don’t necessarily love Roland Boschi’s artwork, but it’s serviceable. Some of the panels are a bit vague and his depiction of the Scumbag isn’t my favorite. That said, it all works well enough and this series does end in a fitting fashion.
Eight Billion Genies #4. Written by Charles Soule. Artwork by Ryan Browne.
This book is still fairly light on an actual story, but it’s a fun romp. What if everyone on the planet each got 1 wish? That’s the big question posed in this title. I don’t necessarily think things would turn out the way they do in this comic, but it’s a fun exploration. We start to get a few answers as to what’s actually going on and why the genies are granting wishes. There are 4 more issues to go with this book. I’m hoping an actual cohesive plot starts to emerge at some point.
Soule really is using this as an excuse to play around. There are several minor B plots that weave things together and keep the book from just being a series of wishes. But barely. At least it seems like he has a direction and a plan for how everything’s going to wrap up. Ryan Browne’s art is a lot of fun and fits this title pretty well. He gets to draw everything from superheroes to Kaiju to, well, whatever he can imagine. Whether or not subsequent issues stay in the top 5 will really depend upon how the story progresses.
Mindset #2. Written by Zack Kaplan. Artwork by John Pearson.
What if a bunch of grad students invented mind control? That’s the big question posed by this title. I thought issue number one was interesting, but a bit slow. This 2nd grabbed my attention a whole lot more and really stood out to me. It starts to play around with philosophical and moral dilemmas posed by the premise as well as showing that people can be kind of dicks.
Kaplan writes a lot of speculative fiction. He likes to play around with near-future ideas and ask big questions. That’s sci-fi at its best. He really ramps things up in this issue and, if he can keep this up, this book could be something special. John Pearson’s art is fabulous. It reminds me a lot of a toned-down Sienkiewicz. It’s painted and sketchy and lovely. I dig it. I can’t wait to see where this series goes.
Astronaut Down #3. Written by James Patrick. Artwork by Rubine.
This book is turning into one of the surprises of the summer. I didn’t expect a whole lot going into it, but it’s grabbed me. It’s another sci-fi book on the list. I know. I know. Things go in waves in the comic industry. Last year it was all post-apocalyptic stories. This year it’s near future sci-fi. Okay, this is also kind of post-apocalyptic. Or near apocalyptic? Whatever. The world is ending and Douglas has been sent into an alternate reality to try and find a way to stop the end of the world. This issue really plays up the emotional tension and does so very effectively.
James Patrick is writing a book that continues to get better with each issue. That’s no small feat. Most books tend to start well and then fizzle. This one started off fine but has turned into something that I’m looking forward to reading each month. Rubine’s art is…okay. It doesn’t wow me but it doesn’t annoy me, either. It’s not super dynamic. He does a good job of capturing likenesses, and you’re never confused about which character is which. That’s essential in this kind of story. I’m hoping this book continues on its strong run.
Stillwater #14. Written by Chip Zdarsky. Artwork by Ramon K. Perez.
Another solid issue in what has been a great series from issue number one. This is the final story arc for the series. It’s difficult to say anything really new in this review. It has been a good book and continues to be a good book. I’ve noticed that the majority of the issues this week have a “what if” flavor to them. It could just be that I gravitate to those types of tales. Maybe. But I do think that asking “what if” can lead to some pretty interesting story ideas. What if there was a town where you couldn’t die? That’s Stillwater.
Zdarsky is one of the best writers working right now. Stillwater, if it wraps up well, could be one of the better things he’s written and that’s saying something. How do you end things in a town where death is impossible? I guess we’ll see. Perez’s art on this series has been solidly decent as well. He reminds me a lot of Chris Samnee. Somewhat sparse use of line work. Fairly thick inks. Effective choreography and storytelling. Damn, I hope this book ends well.
Okay, that’s all for this week. You can watch my reviews of every book I read this week here - Cranky Comic Book Review
Thanks as always,