Comic Reviews: Stealth and Decorum!
Stealth #1 (Image Comics)
Image hasn’t produced a lot of great superhero comics for a while now. Ever since the end of Invincible, the publisher has shied away from superhero fare, focusing more on titles that don’t fit in with the tights and capes crowd. But Stealth, the new series from Mike Costa and Nate Bellegrade (based on an idea from Robert Kirkman and Mark Silvestri) looks to change that, with a pretty neat hook that will leave readers surprised by the end of the first issue.
Tony Barber is a reporter for the Detroit Herald, and he’s seen the worst of his city. Tired of being stuck with the usual puff pieces, he tries his best to shine a light on how the city is being mistreated by those in charge. At the same time, the hero known as Stealth is patrolling Detroit, taking the law into his own hands. But something isn’t right with Stealth, and Barber knows the truth. But that truth, if revealed, could cause major damage to the city if it gets out!
I won’t reveal the big surprise at the end of this issue, but suffice it to say, it’s a doozy. Stealth’s script from Mike Costa is a master class in a reveal, and it’s expertly designed to make you think it’s going to go a certain way up until the final few pages. In fact, Costa’s script works so well that I initially thought Stealth was just your average generic superhero rip off comic, until the final few pages completely threw the rug out from under me.
Nate Bellegarde’s art has a lot of shades of Invincible‘s Ryan Ottley, and it works really well for the tone this book sets. Bellgarde’s slightly cartoony style looks great for the action sequences, but he’s also surprisingly adept at using his art to depict the harsher aspects of life in Detroit. I fully expect Stealth to help raise Bellegarde’s profile in the industry.
Stealth was as book that I initially thought was just another superhero clone book, but by the end of the issue I was extremely surprised by it. This is a series that looks to be full of surprises, and if the next issues are anything like this one, the ride is just getting started.
Decorum #1 (Image Comics)
After rebooting the X-Men with the one two punch of House of X and Powers of X, it’s time for Jonathan Hickman to go back to doing what he does best: weird space operas. Unlike other Hickman space stories, Decorum is surprisingly easy to get into and understand, and it’s chock full of crazy art from his House of X/Powers of X variant cover artist Mike Huddleston.
Set in a far off galaxy, Decorum’s first issue follows Neha, an intergalactic courier who’s on a mission for a client. Everything is going to plan, until she runs afoul of a galactic crime boss who’s assassinated by Imogen Smith-Morley, a member of the Spiral Arm assassin guild, and one of the biggest names in the business. As witness to the murder, Neha’s suddenly very much a wanted target. So what’s Imogen going to do with her?
That’s a mystery that Hickman leaves for the next issue, but there’s plenty here to get reader’s minds turning. While he’s no stranger to crazy, out there ideas, Decorum is remarkably easy to get into, which is no small feat when you consider the sheer amount of ideas are contained within this book. Honestly it’s kind of surprising that Hickman is able to keep churning out these kinds of wild ideas. I sincerely would have thought that he’d run out of ideas by now, but he keeps cranking out crazier and crazier plots and characters.
While my synopsis might make the issue seem brief, it’s actually pretty long. But a lot of that length is given to Mike Huddleston’s art, which is pretty spectacular. While I was aware of his art thanks to the House of X and Powers of X variant covers, I had no idea what his interior pages would look like, but I’m pleasantly surprised by the how great his art is in this. There’s a ton of creativity brimming through his artwork, and it’ll be really interesting to see where he goes with future issues.
Fans of Hickman’s out there plots and science fiction will find a lot to like in Decorum, and new fans of his from House of X and Powers of X will actually find this to be a really interesting and accessible new indie series. How Hickman will be able to balance this with his other work with Marvel’s mutants will be interesting, but right now, it’s cool to see him back doing weird space stuff.