Tag Archives: Rod Reis

A Hadrian’s Wall #1 Review – Where’s the Love?

Hadrian's Way #1, 2016, Rod ReisTITLE: Hadrian’s Wall #1
AUTHORS: Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel
PENCILLER: Rod Reis
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: September 14, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Kyle Higgins and Rod Reis had a hell of a showing in last month’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Annual #1. In Hadrian’s Wall, they’re still firmly planted in the space age. We don’t have any swords or witches, but there’s enough drama for everybody!

It’s 2085, and Simon Moore is a divorced detective who’s addicted to painkillers. When his ex-wife’s husband suddenly dies in space, Simon is brought aboard the vessel Hadrian’s Wall for the investigation. But neither the crew nor his ex-wife Annabelle are particularly welcoming. Simon is about to face potentially insurmountable obstacles, both from within the ship and within himself.

What we have here is, in Higgins’ words, an “’80s sci-fi murder mystery,” which also happens to be a break-up story.  It’s not entirely clear, but it seems like Annabelle cheated on Simon for her now-dead husband Marshall. We even learn that at some point Marshall shot Simon four times. What’s more, Annabelle is openly hostile to Simon. Naturally, this should cast him as our sympathetic hero.

Hadrian's Wall #1, opening page, Rod ReisExcept he isn’t. Annabelle is no prize, but Simon isn’t much better. He comes off very bitter, and almost as mean as his ex-wife. We’ve seen few redeeming qualities from him, outside  of him being a detective. Even in that case, it’s established he’s largely taken this case for a big payday. The case can obviously be made that this is only the first in an eight issue story. But we don’t have the entire story in our hands yet. A more likable lead would have given us that much more incentive to come back and buy that next chapter.

In many ways, the real star of this book is Rod Reis. His color palette sets a dreary and bleak tone, which very much fits with how Simon sees the world. The only exception is a one-page flashback where we see Simon and Annabelle together. Both of them are smiling, they’re bathed in the pinkish orange glow of a sunset. It almost looks like a different book. But in the grim aura of present day, you can very much believe in outer space homicide.  There’s also a gorgeous two-page spread of Hadrian’s Wall.

We have a hell of an opening page (shown above). It’s got a nice Gravity vibe to it, with the camera pulling away from Marshall, revealing him floating in the emptiness of space. And dear God, his helmet is cracking. That lower left panel makes my stomach tighten. Look at Marshall’s face, and then look at all the darkness around him in the very next panel. This isn’t even a horror comic, per se. But THAT is comic book horror.

Hadrian's Wall #1, Annabelle, Rod ReisQuestion: Is the design for Annabelle based on WWE’s Eva Marie? Because this girl is basically Eva Marie, with the red stuff swapped out for green. I’m not complaining. As a wrestling fan, it’s cool. It’s certainly a distinct look.

Hadrian’s Wall is a toss-up for me at this point. The concept is a lot of fun, and it’s very well executed. But I need more to latch on to from a human perspective. You wouldn’t think that would be the case in a break-up story. But for many, the art alone will be worth the price of admission.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition.

Advertisements

A Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Annual #1 Review – One Generation’s Garbage…

Mighty Mophin Power Rangers #1 2016TITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Annual #1
AUTHORS: Kyle Higgins, Ross Thibodeaux, Marguerite Bennett, Trey Moore, James Kochalka, Jorge Corona
PENCILLERS: Rod Reis, Rob Guillory, Moore, Kochalka, Corona. Cover by Goni Montes.
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
PRICE: $7.99
RELEASED: August 24, 2016

***Click here for our review of the most recent issue of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

It’s funny what time reveals. Yesterday, August 28, marked the 23rd anniversary of the premiere of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I remember being a kid in the early ‘90s and watching an episode of 20/20. They happened to be covering the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers phenomenon. The only con crete detail I recall about the report is that the news personality referred to it as “garbage.”

And yet, we’re still talking about it all these years later. One generation’s garbage is another’s inspiration, as illustrated by the collection of writers and artists brought together for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Annual #1. This issue gives us six short stories featuring the characters that first graced the small screen more than 20 years ago.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Annual #1, 2016, Goni Montes coverFirst up is series writer Kyle Higgins and artist Rod Reis with “A Week in the Life of…” spotlighting Jason, the Red Ranger. Per the title, we get some snapshots of Jason’s day-to-day life over the course of a week. The balance between the life of a teenager and the life of a hero is what I often find most interesting about these kinds of books. Higgins and Reis put Jason over like a million bucks, showing us just how dedicated he is. Reis nails it from the very first page (shown right) with a shot of the Red Ranger slicing through putties amidst a storm of some kind. Interspersed are inset panels of him at home, at school, and teaching karate class. The next few pages follow suit, and we end on a nice profile shot of Jason. The colors pop, each setting feels distinct, and Reis even gets Austin St. John’s likeness down pretty well. The issue almost peaks early with this one.

Riss Thibodeaux and Rob Guillory then give us a cartoony tale about Bulk & Skull becoming Rangers. In reading the Bulk & Skull portions of this series, I’ve found myself slightly annoyed wishing we could get back to the Rangers. Fittingly enough, that’s how I felt watching the show as a child. In a way that’s a great compliment to what Higgins and the creative team have done with this book. Still, no harm done here. It’s well done for what it is.

DC Bombshells scribe Margeurite Bennett tags in for a story about Trini facing a monster that tries to defend animals from humans. I was consistently impressed by how well some of these writers knew and respected the characters from this low budget kids show. A perfectly in-character Trini makes peace with the monster, convincing it they’re on the same side. Huang Danlan brings a nice Asian influence to things, and colors the story with mostly gentle yellows, pinks, greens, and blues.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Annual #1, 2016, its putty timeTrey Moore of Rachel Rising fame just barely wins the issue, pulling double duty for a take on Goldar’s origin story. His dialogue leaves something to be desired, and he gives Goldar’s brother the rather bland name of Silverback (though in all fairness, the show might have given him a similar name). But the ambition of Moore’s story is so great it almost doesn’t matter, even tying in story elements and characters from Power Rangers Zeo and Power Rangers in Space. We can’t deny Moore knows his Power Rangers.

Conceptually, this origin makes perfect sense for Goldar. We learn he comes from a pack of creatures that value power and strength above all, and he idolizes his older brother Silverback. In the end, Lord Zedd tests his loyalty by pitting his power and strength upbringing against his love for his brother. The end result is what you might expect, and it answers some questions as to how Goldar became so loyal to Zedd, but ended up in Rita’s service. It’s not perfect, but it’s a story to remember.

Next, we go to James Kochalka pulling double duty on a story about a putty patroller  falling in love with Kimberly (first page shown above). Again, not really the type of thing I look for in my superhero books. But there’s something to be said for diversity in a collection like this. It’s utterly skippable compared to its peers. But sure, why not?

Finally, Jorge Corona gives us a story about what the six heroes under the helmets have in common. The story has a nice heart, and Corona gives us some nice art here. At some points, however, his Rangers come out a bit…squiggly. Particularly in a group shot just after the halfway point. On the plus side, he draws a great Megaword.

Rob Guillory, MMPR Annual #1, Bulk & SkullOn cover duty is Goni Montes, whose work on MMPR has been positively iconic. This issue is no different. As far as I’m concerned, the more we see of him, the better.

At $7.99, this issue is a little steep from a price standpoint. But if you’re a Power Rangers geek, it’s worth it. Rarely have the Rangers been treated with such respect and admiration. By no means is it flawless. But its pros far outweigh its cons.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition.