Epicstream Comic Book Reviews for this Week: 11/14/2018 - Featuring The Outer Darkness #1, Firefly #1, The Black Order #1, More!

Author Thumbnail BY Brian McCormick - - November 16, 2018

BITTER ROOT #1
Written by Chuck Brown, David Walker
Art by Sanford Green

During the 1920s, a family fights against demonic humans who have been corrupted by hate. The Sangerye family seeks not to destroy these demons, called Jinoo, but to cure them through a special serum. Bitter Root is a classic monster hunting comic that will satisfy fans of the genre, while also addressing racism through metaphor. Creators David Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Green do an excellent job creating a distinct cast of characters full of personality. This series reminds me a lot of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and is off to a promising start.

Rating: 7 out of 10


THE BLACK ORDER #1
Written by Derek Landy
Art by Philip Tan

The generals of Thanos are sent by the Grandmaster to destroy a rising empire. As a #1, there's some backstory that would help me understand the characters better, but there's enough context in the comic to get by. Derek Landy is writing a space epic with The Black Order and it reminds me a bit of Dune. I'm intrigued by the plans of the emperor, who is the main antagonist of the story. Action and pacing are excellent and Philip Tan's artwork is kinetic and visceral. Jay Ramos creates a vibrant and cosmic vibe with colors. If you're looking for a cosmic epic from Marvel, The Black Order #1 is a good place to start.

Rating: 7 out of 10


BLOODSHOT: RISING SPIRIT #1
Written by Kevin Grevioux, Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson
Art by Ken Lashley

Bloodshot: Rising Spirit reveals the backstory of the iconic Valiant character. It tells the tale of Project Rising Spirit's initial attempts to create Bloodshot. Mistakes are made, and carnage ensues. Hardcore fans might be dissuaded by the way this story portrays Bloodshot and molds his history. Action sequences feel vanilla and supporting characters lack personality.

Rating: 5 out of 10


FANTASTIC FOUR #3
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Nico Leon, Sara Pichelli

Marvel makes big promises with "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine" labeled above the F4 title. Does it live up to the tagline? Fantastic Four #3 finishes the first arc of the new series as Reed and all of the old Fantastic allies take on the Griever, the living embodiment of destruction. Dan Slott's plot is ambitious in scope, but attempts to do too much at once. Cameos feel superficial and suspend belief, such as when Sue Storm is exchanging dialogue with the Griever and just goes invisible to whisk Franklin out of her grasp. The suspension of belief required for this fight sequence is too much to ask. At the beginning of the Issue, Sue states that this battle is the greatest threat the multiverse has ever faced, yet in the end, it felt like one of the easiest battles of all time.

Rating: 5 out of 10


FIREFLY #1
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Dan McDaid

The Serenity is back in action as writer Greg Pak and artist Dan McDaid return Malcolm Reynolds and crew to the Sky in Firefly #1. The cast seems just like we left them at the end of the first season of Firefly. Issue #1 kicks off with a classic western theme as the Serenity is forced down on a lonely planet known as a pilgrimage site. Pak does an excellent job capturing the magic of the 1st season, putting in bar scenes, fights, and shady jobs that we have come to expect. I wasn't expecting to enjoy this issue as much as I did, but it's like reading an unaired episode. Firefly is in great hands with Greg Pak.

Rating: 9 out of 10


COSMIC GHOST RIDER #5
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Dylan Burnett

This is the final issue of Cosmic Ghost Rider which concludes the series. Thanos and Frank face-off in a rather short-lived battle to decide the fate of their timeline. Afterward, the fate of baby Thanos is revealed. The issue didn't offer any surprises and was a bit light on content. It wrapped up the series well and didn't leave any loose ends. Antonio Fabela's coloring in Cosmic Ghost Rider is my favorite in all of comicdom right now and I hope to see more of his work at Marvel.

Rating: 7 out of 10


HOUSE OF WHISPERS #3
Written by Nalo Hopkinson
Art by Dominike "Domo" Stanton

The artwork feels rushed with plain backgrounds and bland characters. Erzulie's plot in the Dreaming wafts around with no sense of purpose. On Earth, things start to get interesting as Latoya's touch somehow separates souls from their bodies. House of Whispers needs more character of its own by exploring its horror and voodoo roots. Right now it feels like a loose secondary plot to The Dreaming.

Rating: 5 out of 10


MURDER FALCON #2
Written by Daniel Warren Johnson
Art by Daniel Warren Johnson, Mike Spicer

Jake fights his own self-doubts as he continues to battle against Veldars to save humanity. Action sequences explode from each page as the power of metal is summoned to defeat darkness. With the help of Murder Falcon, Jake teams up with a friend to search for his own instrument of power. Daniel Johnson does an impressive job of mixing the absurd with reality in a believable manner. His characters are flawed and relatable. The artwork is some of the best you will find in any action-adventure title.

Rating: 9 out of 10


OUTER DARKNESS #1
Written by John Layman
Art by Afu Chan

Star Trek meets The Twilight Zone in Outer Darkness #1. A headstrong 1st officer takes the position of captain on a new ship and daring mission rather than risk a court-martial for a botched job. These ships are powered not by traditional energy, but by imprisoned gods who are given tribute to power vessels. John Layman writes the hell out of this book. Outer Darkness is an exhilarating journey from start to finish and should be on every sci-fi fan's pull list.

Rating: 10 out of 10


THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Humberto Ramos

Spider-Man accompanies the Black Cat in trying to steal back everyone's stolen gear. In the meantime, MJ joins a support group for friends and family of superheroes. There's personal development in this issue all around, especially with MJ, but the lack of action and web-slinging drags down the pace.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Pick of the Week: Outer Darkness #1

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