REVIEW: Hawkeye, Lazarus, Sex Criminals, The Manhattan Projects and Rocket Girl

I’ve been catching up on my comic books (the majority of which featured awesome female characters) so here are another batch of reviews.

FullSizeRender (18)Hawkeye Vol. 3: L.A. Woman
– Matt Fraction, Annie Wu and Javier Pulido

Hawkeye Volume 3 combines alternate issues of the comics run – Hawkeye Annual 1, Hawkeye 14, 16, 18-19, 21. I thought it was a bit strange to have odd issues instead of consecutive issues like your average trade paper back but it turns out it makes a lot of sense. The volume follows Kate Bishop who after getting fed up with Clint Barton has decided to go to LA with Lucky the dog. Instead of having a nice, relaxing time in the sunshine she stumbles into supervillain Madame Masque’s plans. Kate’s not quite on her own; she does have Lucky, the cat she’s supposed to be looking after and the newly-weds next door to help her out.

It was great seeing what Kate gets up to when she’s not dealing with Clint’s ridiculousness – Kate’s such a great character so it was nice to see her strike out on her own. The art was different to the rest of the series but I liked that as it showed how Kate and Clint are different on another level. I especially liked the pictures that were Kate’s inner thoughts. Hawkeye Volume 3 continues to have great writing that’s funny but also touching and the art compliments the writing perfectly. 5/5.

Lazarus Vol. 1: Family – Greg Rucka, Michael Lark and Santi ArcasbFullSizeRender (21)
Lazarus is set in a dystopian war-torn future where there are a few great families who have the power. In each of these families there is a Lazarus – the Lazarus has the best training and assets and is the family’s sword and shield. In the Family Carlyle, the Lazarus is called Forever and she is deadly.

Forever is near-indestructible and will do anything to protect her family. Her family isn’t exactly honest though as everyone seems to have their own agenda and Forever is being kept in the dark. Forever is an interesting character, she’s strong but there’s a vulnerability about her and I like that a lot.

The plot is slow moving but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. It takes the time to build the dystopian setting, add layers to the characters and it slowly builds the tension between the characters which I can see paying off in the future. I’m definitely going to be picking up volume two soon. 4/5.

FullSizeRender (17)Sex Criminals Vol. 1: One Weird Trick
– Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

Suzie has a surprising skill – when she has sex she can stop time. It’s a lonely life and a big secret to keep but then she meets Jon, who has the same secret skill. They love having someone to share the experience of time-stopping sex and decide to do something with their time-stopping powers – they’re going to rob a bank.

Sex Criminals is like no comic I’ve read before. It’s incredibly sex positive and is not afraid to show different body types and sexualities. It’s rude and funny and clever and just pretty great really. Suzie is an interesting character and is very realistic and relatable – she was the first thing I fell in love with this comic as she felt like someone I would get on with. Jon, on the other hand, took a bit of getting used to but his story was also interesting and funny. If you haven’t picked up Sex Criminals yet I’d definitely recommend it. 5/5.

The Manhattan Projects Vol. 1 Science Bad – Jonathan Hickman and Nick PitarraFullSizeRender (19)
The research and development department that created the first atomic bomb (aka The Manhattan Project) is a front for more unusual, supernatural and even alien programs. This is the story of Presidents, scientists – both American and Nazi – Generals, humans and aliens.

I liked the historical context of The Manhattan Projects as I enjoyed learning about WWII at college though as a Brit we never really learnt much about the American side of the war. So the alternate history stuff was cool but when it came to the actual characters and story, I wasn’t so over keen on that. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters (though some of General Leslie Groves’ comments did make me smile) as it wasn’t clear what their motivations were. I do like a bit of mystery in a story but this was a case of too much mystery so I didn’t really understand what the characters were doing or why they were doing it.

Also the art wasn’t to my taste which is no disrespect to the artist, it just wasn’t my sort of thing. I’ve learnt recently that what I think of the art can affect what I think of the story as a whole.

The Manhattan Projects is interesting to start with but it goes off on too many tangents for me and I ended it a bit lost. I don’t think I’ll be continuing with this series. 2/5.

FullSizeRender (20)Rocket Girl Vol. 1: Times Squared
– Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder

DaYoung Johnson (a fifteen year old cop) is sent back in time from 2013 to 1986 to stop scientists creating a machine that will destroy the future. She leaves her partner LeShawn O’Patrick and Commissioner Gomez and finds herself with a bunch of scientists in the past, some of which may want to help her and some who may want to use her and her technology.

All the characters feel very different and I liked them all really. DaYoung is a great character – she’s feisty and headstrong but at the same time it’s still very believable that she is just fifteen years old and is feeling a bit lost in the past. Annie, who is a scientist, wants to believe DaYoung but if she does believe here it means that all her years of work has been for nothing – a very realistic dilemma for anyone. I also loved Commissioner Gomez – it’s great because he’s in his early twenties but he looks and acts like the disgruntled detective who has seen it all.

I was blown away by the art in this book. It’s so bright and dynamic – it feels like Rocket Girl is actually flying through the pages and that’s a wonderful feeling to get from a comic book. I think that Rocket Girl is one of the first comics I’ve read where I’ve fallen in love with the art before the actual story.

I enjoyed the story but was bit unsure sometimes as to what exactly was going on (that’s time travel for you) but I loved the art a ridiculous amount and want to check out some of the other books Amy Reeder has illustrated. 5/5.


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