Comic Reviews: Marvel Knights and The Green Lantern!
Marvel Knights #1 (Marvel Comics)
Twenty years ago, Marvel launched the Marvel Knights imprint, and changed the publisher forever. Naturally with a big anniversary coming up, Marvel wants to capitalize on that nostalgia, and hiring Donny Cates and Travel Foreman to create the new Marvel Knights #1 is certainly a good way to celebrate. Focusing on an intriguing mystery that revolves around our favorite street-level heroes forgetting their true selves, this opening issue is really interesting, even if it doesn’t quite match up with what is happening in the other characters’ solo books.
Matt Murdock doesn’t remember who he is. He’s in a graveyard, at the gravestone of a woman named Karen Page. He knows she means something to him, but he can’t remember who she is. When a policeman named Frank Castle comes to him and tells him he’s Daredevil, he doesn’t believe him at first. But that would explain why he can still “see” despite being blind, and the strange costume underneath his clothing. But he can’t be Daredevil, can he?
That mystery is thankfully solved fairly early in this opening issue, but the larger mystery of what has happened to these characters is still very much intact by the time you hit the last page. Donny Cates, no stranger to big ideas, is really swinging for the fences with this series, so much so that I wonder if this is even going to be considered canon or not. It can all certainly work within the Daredevil, Punisher, and other solo series that feature these characters, but the change is so drastic that I wonder if it will actually count or not.
Travel Foreman’s art is surprisingly well suited for this issue, which I wasn’t expecting. While Foreman is a great artist, I initially didn’t think his style would work well with this series, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that his art is really fluid and able to convey all the different elements of Cates’ script really well. From the emotional moments earlier in the issue to the quick action beats of Matt Murdock frantically running through the streets of NYC, Foreman’s art is really fantastic and able to convey the action extremely well.
Marvel Knights is definitely building to something really cool, but I can’t tell if it will have a big impact on the Marvel Universe or not. It’s not billed as a big event, but it’s clearly an important series that Marvel wants people to check out. Either way, it’s an intriguing series that only adds to Donny Cates’ stellar work for the publisher.
The Green Lantern #1 (DC Comics)
Hal Jordan has been through a lot of relaunches, but few have as much hype around them as The Green Lantern, which finds comics legend Grant Morrison returning to DC with artist Liam Sharpe. Instead of a grand, over-arching mega epic like his run on Batman years ago, Morrison’s The Green Lantern is being pitched as a “cop procedural in Space”, focusing on the day to day life of Hal Jordan, the greatest of the Green Lantern Corps. Like any comic with Morrison’s name on it, there’s a ton of hype around this book, and I’m pleased to say that this opening issue lives up to that hype.
Just because Hal Jordan has been ex-communicated from his fellow Green Lanterns, that doesn’t mean that the corps have stopped patrolling the universe. But when a recent failed mission leads to Earth and gets Hal involved, it’s up to him to power up once again and take to the space ways. While the Guardians of Oa aren’t thrilled to have Jordan back, they do know that they need him, especially when the Book of Oa has new chapters written into it that that they didn’t write, leading them to believe that a traitor may be in their ranks.
I’ve always believed that there are two Grant Morrisons. There’s the Grant Morrison who can write some of the best straight-up superhero action, like New X-Men and Justice League, and the Grant Morrison who gets so weird that his work is impossible to follow, like Final Crisis and parts of his Batman run. Despite this, I’m still a fan of his work, because you have no idea what you’ll get, and even if the end result isn’t great, it’s still memorable. Well, I’m happy to report that so far The Green Lantern is the perfect balance of both of the Grant Morrisons, with a ton of insane space action and aliens, but presented in a way that makes this feel like a show you’d watch on TV. What makes this book work is the fact that this insane space alien action is treated as very mundane by Hal Jordan and the other Lanterns. To us, it’s weird seeing an alien spider space-pirate. To the Green Lantern Corps, it’s a Tuesday.
Adding to the insanity of the script is Liam Sharpe’s art, which is simply stunning. After awesome runs on Wonder Woman and the Brave and Bold miniseries (which he also wrote), Sharpe’s established himself as one of the best artists that DC has, with a fantastic, old-school style that reminds you of Bernie Wrightson and classic Neal Adams. He had already proven himself with the fantasy elements of Wonder Woman, but with The Green Lantern he outdoes himself.
The Green Lantern is, in all sincerity, one of the best debut issues of the year, and extremely accessible as well. As long as you know the basic concept of the character, you can grab this issue and start. It’s an amazingly impressive debut issue, and promises some awesome things to come for Hal Jordan. Get in now before it’s too late.
Posted on November 7, 2018, in Comic book reviews and tagged DC Comics, Donny Cates, Grant Morrison, Green Lantern, Liam Sharpe, Marvel Comics, Marvel Knights, Travel Foreman. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.