Epicstream Comic Book Reviews for the Week: 12/19/2018 - Featuring Klaus and the Crying Snowman #1, Livewire #1, Hardcore #1, More!

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By Brian McCormick | More Articles
December 27, 2018  02:17 PM

COVER #4
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by David Mack

Bendis really likes beating the crap out of his title character. I was beginning to wonder if the series was ever going to leave the interrogation room with Max and Sinns. It does. The issue is a bit odd with random pages featuring short stories that feel more like filler than something that progresses character or plot development. Bendis has an interesting concept on his hands, but the story and art feel a bit to thin to justify the $3.99 cover price.

Rating: 5 out of 10
 

DEFENDERS: THE BEST DEFENSE #1
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Joe Bennett

Al Ewing directs the Defenders to a satisfying conclusion with the Silver Surfer, The Hulk, Namor, and Doctor Strange. Namor played his part, but it felt like Al had to jump through hoops in order to make him relevant to the team's victory. There's a cliffhanger at the end, and I hope Al Ewing has a chance to delve further into exploring it.

Rating: 8 out of 10

 

FREEDOM FIGHTERS #1
Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Eddy Barrows

What if Germany won WWII and the USA lost? It's a story that has been explored in numerous novels, such as The Man in The High Castle (now a show on Amazon). In this universe, there is a motley cast of superheroes. At the head of this team is the beloved Uncle Sam, whose powers and existence is largely a mystery. I'd like to see Venditti add a bit more personality to the heroes. The first issue primarily serves as a backdrop to the times and sets the tone of the series, but lacks a focal point.

Rating: 7 out of 10
 

HARDCORE #1
Written by Andy Diggle
Art by Alessandro Vitti

Hardcore is an ingenious thriller with non-stop action. Agent Drake is a human drone pilot. An elite military ops force snipes enemies with hidden tech that allows special agents to gain control of their bodies for 72 hours. After this time has elapsed, the tech biodegrades on its own. With Hardcore, Diggle and Kirkman have created a story with a lot of forward momentum that entertains and begs the reader to turn the page. I can't wait to see what the next issue has in store.

Rating: 10 out of 10
 

KLAUS AND THE CRYING SNOWMAN
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Dan Mora

The art and colors are spectacular in Klaus and the Crying Snowman. I was a bit confused by the opening, which was eased by an exhilarating action sequence that followed. Klaus and the Crying Snowman doesn't go out of its way to explain what is happening. Instead, it showcases some of the most epic battle sequences you will find in any comic book. There's plenty of winter charm, characters, and aesthetic that makes it worthy of a Christmas comic. The cover price is a bit over the top at $7.99 for a 50-page comic without a spine, but you are getting exceptional quality in the art department.

Rating: 6 out of 10
 

LIVEWIRE #1
Written by Vita Ayala
Art by Raul Allen

Valiant has finally treated us with a Livewire solo series! For those unfamiliar with the character, Livewire #1 provides enough context for understanding without slowing down the pace for Valiant readers. Vita kicks off the story with an action-packed catastrophe at an airport, where Livewire comes to the rescue just in time. The public still treats her like public enemy #1, but she is trying to make amends. Art is sharp, clean, and modern, which fits the character well. 

Rating: 7 out of 10

 

LUCIFER #3
Written by Dan Watters
Art by Max Fiumara

There are 3 parts to this issue. Lucifer's story, William Blake's story, and the plot on Earth. Lucifer continues to be pitifully trapped and losing what little powers he still possesses. The issue goes on to explore William Blake's fervor as a mad poet and Lucifer's secret offer to him, which Blake rejects. After 3 issues, the plot on Earth feels rather uninteresting. Waters seems to be stretching Lucifer's plot over too many issues by including side stories and a subplot. The end result is that it feels more like a mix-mash of stories reminiscent of Marvel's Strange Tales format than a solo title.

Rating: 5 out of 10
 

SEASON'S BEATINGS #1
Written by Jason Latour
Art by Greg Hinkle, Chris Brunner, Veronica Fish, Mario Del Pennino

Why is Deadpool dressed as Santa Claus? And in a trash bin? And covered in blood? And why are people in line to greet the classic X-Force team at the mall? I mean, who remembers the X-Force anyway? To find out, you'll have to read Season's Beatings #1. It contains the signature mix-mash of stories we see in annuals and specials, which contribute to an overarching plot. Season's Beatings primarily focuses on a murder mystery case being worked on by a few of the West Coast Avengers and Deadpool. There's plenty of fourth wall breaking meta humor dashed with some light action and a heavy sprinkling of Christmas flavor.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Pick of the Week: Hardcore #1

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Brian McCormick is a Fantasy and Science Fiction enthusiast & Co Founder of Epicstream.com