X-Men, Daredevil, and Street Fighter
Best of This Week's New Releases
Hello, and welcome to this week's edition of the best new comics. This article provides a brief review of some of the most exciting new titles to be released for the current week (February 19, 2014), including issues of Amazing X-Men, Daredevil, and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. If you are looking for a place to pick up your own copies of these issues or other comics, check out all the new releases for the week here.
Amazing X-Men Issue No. 4
Wolverine and Nightcrawler in Purgatory
This issue continues the adventure that has been building in this volume of Amazing X-Men (there was a previous volumes published in 1995 that ran four issues), mostly centering on the formerly deceased X-Man Nightcrawler. That's right, we said deceased, but as anyone who has read superhero comics for more than 16 months can tell you, dead simply does not mean dead in comics. This series began with the X-Men of the Jean Grey School, led by Wolverine, teleporting to (actual, for real) Hell to rescue the soul of their departed comrade Nightcrawler. This led, in prior issues, to some interesting juxtapositions, such as Iceman melting under the heat of the eternal inferno of Hades.
Issue No. 4 opens with Wolverine and Northstar defeated and stranded in (again, actual, for real) Purgatory, depicted here as a snowy expanse. Clearly somewhere Iceman would feel a bit more comfortable.
Meanwhile, Nightcrawler spends this issue trying to gather all the X-Men who have come to rescue him in order to defeat his father, Azazel, who wants to steal all the souls floating around in the afterlife.
One of the most appealing aspects of Amazing X-Men continues to be the art, with pencils by Ed McGuinness and inks by Dexter Vines. McGuinness always illustrates characters that are very fluid and in the middle of interesting actions. Comic book art cannot show actual movement, it can only suggest movements that characters make between panels, and McGuinness is a master at this. He is further helped by the thick black lines Vines uses to distinguish characters from the background, which again implies a lot of life, vitality, and movement in the art.
As for the writing, this is a title that relies a lot on previous familiarity with the characters as a reason to care about the plot. If you do not know who Nightcrawler is already, it is difficult to care about him coming back to life. But if you do know who he is, and you already know how comic characters tend to not stay dead for long, it was difficult to care about his death in the first place. It would seem that the perfect audience for this book is one that likes the X-Men and knows a little bit about the characters, but didn't know that resurrecting a dead character is a foregone conclusion.
With that said, this book is definitely recommended for fans of McGuinness' and Vines' art, including those who just prefer great-looking illustrations of X-Men characters.
Daredevil Issue No. 36
The Final Issue Until The Next Issue
This volume of Daredevil comes to a close with this issue, written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Chris Samnee. Drawing on a plotline that has been a part of the title since 2002, Daredevil is again accurately exposed as attorney Matt Murdock, who will presumably again find some way to convince everyone that he is not, in fact, Daredevil (even though he really is Daredevil). Superman did not have this much trouble keeping his identity as Clark Kent a secret from Lois Lane, and she spent approximately 10,000 issues trying to expose him during the 1950s and 1960s.
Anyway, this issue opens with several pages of Murdock's law partner telling Murdock how awesome Murdock is, followed by a courtroom scene where Murdock reveals his alter ego. Despite this plotline being so old it has whiskers on it, Waid handles the telling of it deftly, making the story interesting both for long-time readers and anyone who may be picking up an issue of Daredevil for the first time.
The art in this issue is also quite good, as Samnee focuses on panel transitions to tell the story clearly, without excessive detail. Daredevil often has a rotating roster of artists, but everyone who has worked on this volume has shared similar story-telling predilections that make the entire 36 issue series seem much more of a piece. Let's hope that trend continues when the new volume of Daredevil and a new issue no. 1 arrive next month.
Street Fighter Legends: Chun Li Issue No. 2
This issue of Street Fighter (based on the video game, natch) is actually a new digital presentation of the same physical comic book from 2009. Still, this is a really vibrant and entertaining read, even if it is close to 5 years old now. The book centers on the young police adventures of the titular Chun Li, who, with her partner Po-lin, is trying to bring an end to the evil Shadaloo organization. There is also a pivotal subplot featuring perennial loser Dan Hibiki, as Dan's father fights Muay Thai legend Sagat.
Like we said, this book is really vibrant, and that is helped tremendously by the art of Omar Dogan. Udon, the producing team behind this book (not the noodles), has always had a fantastic coloring department, but it is not clear who worked on this art besides Dogan, who is the only one listed. If Dogan did the linework and colors all by himself, all the more impressive!
Even More Comics
Other Titles To Consider
Amazing X-Men, Daredevil, and Street Fighter were not the only comic books of note to be released this week. It is also worth checking out the latest issues of Dark Horse Presents, Uncanny X-Men, and Wonder Woman, plus many other exciting titles from Dark Horse, Image, DC, and Marvel. Feel free to make mention of the new comics this week that you enjoyed the most in the comments section below.