*edit. I only noticed today (April 20, 2012) that I miss-titled this post. It’s supposed to be a review of The Walking Dead 92, not 96. Sorry about that.
The Walking Dead 92:
This is my new comic for the week. Every week I try a new series I’ve never touched before without researching it beforehand. I’ve wanted to check out this series for a while, but my local shop often runs out of issues fast.
In fact, my only previous experience with this series was watching the Season 1 finale with some friends. I thought it was alright, although I barely remember what happened. Like I said in my iZombie 19 review, I’ve never been that huge on zombies but I can still enjoy a well done zombie flick. In reality, a zombie outbreak wouldn’t last since humans in general are very good at killing things. Also, those rotting corpses would lose all muscle function very quickly, especially in hot or cold weather. But I’m getting sidetracked, on to the review.
Maybe I lucked out, but this was a great starting point. It seems to be introducing a big new storyline. It introduces a zombie apocalypse survivor who offers a trading agreement with the series’ main group. Here, they learn that they aren’t the only survivors, and that there are other larger groups of survivors with trading agreements. Of course, their introduction goes about as smoothly as a Taiwanese government brawl.
With this issue alone, I can see that this might be a great comic series. While there are very few zombies in this issue, it didn’t need them. It was more about the survivors and their sanity than it was the zombie apocalypse. The season 1 finale was like that as far as I can remember. If that’s regular for this series, then it makes it unique among the majority of zombie movies/comics which mostly focuses on zombie attacks and gory killing. There’s still enough action to keep the pace going.
The only complaint I have about this issue is the art. Not because it’s black and white, but because at times the grey and black blends together a little. Sometimes it’s hard to see what’s going on in the background. This is a minor complaint as the comic still looks fairly good, it’s just that it could look better.
This was a great jumping on point, and a great issue overall. If a weekly ongoing series about the survivors of a zombie apocalypse interests you and you haven’t tried this yet, try it as soon as you can. I probably won’t get this series every week, but I’m sure I’ll get more issues down the road.
Avengers Academy 23:
Ever since they announced that X-23 was joining the academy, I’ve been both excited and concerned. Excited that she was joining a team again, but concerned that they might cancel her series (they did) and that she wouldn’t be portrayed properly. The wordless Images showing her tearing apart Tigra didn’t ease that concern. Because this issue introduces a high-profile character to the series, I’ll be focusing on that more than anything else.
This issue was good, but definitely not great. X-23 was portrayed fine, and it’s obvious that Christos Gage (the writer) has been paying attention to her solo series. The second page confirms that she doesn’t need any combat training whatsoever and that the academy can learn a lot from her. She’s still iffy about the academy, worried that she might not fit in or that the trigger scent could cause her to kill the other students. While she talks a lot in this issue, more than the majority of her solo series, it actually makes sense here. The only problem is that when she introduces herself to the other students, she tells them her origin story and even mentions that she killed her own mother. She says this with no emotion whatsoever, despite that she’s grown more in touch with herself throughout her solo series. Not to mention that her assassin days, and her mother in particular, brings her lots of pain and guilt. It doesn’t make sense that she’d openly talk about this to a bunch of kids she just met, especially without any tears.
She later consoles Mettle about his killing of a Neo Nazi, which traumatized him. She assures him that killing to save innocent lives is not the same as killing innocents, something she’s been forced to do. She also describes her past to the rest of the students and to the audience, but keeps it brief enough to not take up too much space and leave some for those who want to explore her past. She ends up fitting in very well and I’m looking forward to seeing where this leads. That said, I’m still concerned that she’ll be portrayed as too much of a robot rather than a 3-dimmensional character like she’s become over the last year.
X-23’s eyes are blue when they’re supposed to be green. This seems to be a common problem with the character, nobody seems to understand that her eyes being green is her only link to her mother. In half of her cameo rolls her eyes are brown. With any of her Chris Claremont appearances, her eyes are brown. This is the first comic I’ve seen where her eyes are blue though, where did that come from? This doesn’t bother me that much, but there are fans of the character who are furious whenever someone draws her eyes the wrong colour. Hopefully that will be fixed in future issues.
The rest of the issue is good too. There’s a narrated plotline where Reptil’s mind is somehow trapped in the future while his future self is in the present. Considering how there was tachyon particle traces surrounding the murdered Jocasta, I’m wondering if he was involved. He was sent back to make sure things happen the way they were supposed to, but he decides to change minor details here and there. What is supposed to happen? That hasn’t been revealed yet.
Another major moment for this issue was the reveal that Striker, another student at the academy, is gay. This is probably the weakest part of the book. While this scene is kind of touching, it’s all over the place emotionally. One second he says he doesn’t like pity, the next he’s crying on Lightspeed’s shoulder and thanking her. Despite the scenes problems, the ending is fairly strong. These two characters just met and they get to know each other very well here.
The artwork is a mixed bag. There weren’t very many details on anything. Heck, we can’t see anything through Hazmat’s mask. The sky looks boring and there’s barely anything in the background. There’s only one panel where we see the academy building in the background and even then it’s just a corner. It’s not horrible though; Reptil’s scales look accurate when he turns into reptiles, Mettle reflects light like metal and the facial expressions are done well for the most part. The art feels lazy but I’ve seen much worse.
I still recommend this book for anyone who’s interested in a group of troubled teenagers at a superhero academy that is trying to help them. The team dynamic is good and the storyline is becoming interesting. The issue’s biggest problem is that it tries to do too much at once, but most of it works out fine. Some things work very well, like X-23’s scenes with Tigra and Mettle, and Reptil’s futuristic narration, but the rest is hit and miss. Everything you need to know is either explained on the recap page or inside the issue itself.