Comic Reviews: Iceman and Archie 1941!
Iceman #1 (Marvel Comics)
After being canceled last year, many thought that Bobby Drake, also known as the X-Man Iceman, would be back to being relegated to the X-Men books. Luckily for fans of the cool mutant, Bobby is back in a new solo series, with his former writer Sina Grace and artist Nate Stockman. The series focuses on Bobby’s efforts to find out who’s hunting Morlocks for sport in the sewers of New York City. That sounds like a heavy comic, for sure, but surprisingly Grace and Stockman’s Iceman #1 is a really fun and engaging opening issue.
Teaming up with Bishop, Iceman finds that this Morlock massacre isn’t all it seems, and that he just may be in over his head. While it’s a little weird seeing the Morlocks again in an X-Men book, writer Sina Grace has some fun with this being “Mutant Massacre Vol 2”, and actually adds some pretty interesting stakes to the book too.
Speaking of Grace, he’s got a really great take on Bobby Drake, who’s a lot funnier than I remember him being. Bobby Drake is at an interesting point in his life now, and while he’s come to terms with his sexuality, it’s still difficult for him to date, and that makes for a really relatable read as he navigates the world of dating in the modern day. Drake’s also a bit of a goofball, but it’s charmingly offset by the fact that he has a pretty big sense of honor, so he’s not a complete jokester.
Nate Stockman’s art is, simply put, awesome. He has a very crisp and clean style that works wonders for this series, and his mutant designs are dynamic as well. Stockman has a lot of fun playing around with Iceman’s powers, and the action sequences that Stockman comes up with are extremely fluid and engaging.
I fell off the previous Iceman series, but after reading this issue, I’m definitely going to go back and check it out. Sina Grace’s characterization of Bobby Drake is a lot of fun to read, and has made me care about a character that I honestly never gave much thought to before. But it looks like Iceman falls into that old adage: any character can be great if they have the right creators behind them.
Archie 1941 #1 (Archie Comics)
The Archie comics line continues to expand, and with Archie 1941 they go into uncharted territory for America’s favorite teenager: World War II. Set in Riverdale at the beginnings of the conflict overseas, this new miniseries from writers Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn and artist Peter Krause puts a far more dramatic spin on the Archie universe than I was expecting, but in doing so, it creates a pretty compelling opening for this miniseries.
Archie, Jughead, Betty, and the rest of the Riverdale gang are all high school graduates, and more importantly, reaching adulthood. Yet Archie is having a hard time enjoying his Summer. From an overbearing father to the constant news of looming war overseas, it seems like the weight of the world is on Archie’s shoulders. Unsure of what to do with his life, and struggling to get a job, he starts to lash out in strange ways. When he reaches his eighteenth birthday, he realizes that he’s now able to enlist, but will he?
That’s the cliffhanger that Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn leave us with, and I have to say, it’s really compelling. I honestly thought this miniseries was just going to be an even more old-fashioned take on Archie, but I found it to be really moving in a way. Waid and Augustyn’s script focuses mainly on Archie and his struggles with what to do with his life, and that was surprisingly really relatable. We’ve all had those feelings of not knowing what to do with our lives, and seeing Archie struggle with that same question, while seeing newsreels about the war in Europe, adds to the drama of what Archie will do.
Naturally, with this being a series set in 1941, you’d expect the art to have a throwback style to it, and Peter Krause’s art definitely has that. But it’s also fairly modern as well, with a look that harkens back to some of old Marvel Mythos one-shots from the early 2000’s. With this kind of art style, there’s always the risk of the characters looking stiff, but somehow Krause is able to not only match the old timey art look, but make it look fluid as well.
Archie 1941 is certainly an interesting miniseries for the publisher to handle, and it’s a little surprising that they haven’t tackled this idea earlier. While I’d of course prefer that they focus more on getting Chilling Adventures of Sabrina out on time instead of producing new miniseries, when they’re this good I can let it slide.
Posted on September 12, 2018, in Comic reviews and tagged Archie 1941, Archie Comics, Brian Agustyn, Iceman, Mark Waid, Marvel Comics, Nate Stockman, Peter Krause, Sina Grace. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.