By Abdulkareem Baba Aminu
Title: Magneto #2
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Publisher: Marvel Comics
As Cullen Bunn and Gabriel Hernandez's Magneto continues from an excellent debut, the comic book flows smoothly into sophomore territory. The story, and the way it flashes back to explain the present, is deftly told with beautifully atmospheric art. Then there's the brilliant cover by Chris Samnee, setting the tone for the interiors.
So, what's not to like about this book? Nothing, really. I mean, the present day portion of the story shows Magneto as a conflicted character (which we all know he is) with a little sprinkling of light here and large chunks of darkness there. While it's exactly the noir-flavored yarn we were promised, it also gives insight on how our helmeted anti-hero got where he is today. One of the strong points of this comic's first issue is the way it looks and reads like what a super-hero book would if it were made by a European publisher (*cough* Humanoids *cough*).
I've learned more about Magneto and his motivations in this issue than I've gleaned from many, many issues of other comics he's appeared or starred in. While I can't wait for the next installment, I'm certainly hoping the creative team remains for as long as possible, serving us what's shaping up to be a delightfully dark book.
Title: Starlight #2
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Goran Parlov
Publisher: Image Comics
Starlight #1 is my absolute favorite comic book of 2014 so far, and that's because of the slick way it is written and the downright gorgeous art it boasts. I have probably read it a dozen times and recommended it to all my friends and I'm still recommending it to anyone who's not read it yet. (You can see my previous review here)
So you can imagine my disappointment at finding the eagerly-anticipated issue 2 lacking in most of the strengths of the first. Some of the back-story, as it unfolds via the alien character Krish Moor seems forced. So much so that even a crack by protagonist Duke McQueen about fish oils feels flat. Gone are the subtle-but-strong storytelling touches from Millar, replaced with slow, heavy storytelling.
Parlov, too, seems to have rushed his bit, with everything (and I mean everything) looking rushed and without the depth he showed earlier. His figures are sketchier here, as opposed to the more defined-even-when-expressive lines of the first issue. So when our hero comments on the interior of the old spaceship he's in ("Strange to see how little they've changed"), all I could think of is how much the book has changed.
Now, don't get it wrong: Starlight #2 is still pretty solid. It only suffers from following the high standard set by the writer and artist in the beginning. And maybe that's why I'm going to eagerly await #3 because I'm hoping Millar and Parlov will come by in a spaceship and rescue me.
Abdulkareem Baba Aminu is a Bleeding Cool contributor, newspaper editor, award-winning journalist, cartoonist, comic book creator and painter. The Nigeria-based writer has reviewed comics, novels, movies and music for a variety of platforms. He is currently the Editor of the Saturday edition of the Daily Trust, one of the most influential newspapers in his country. You can follow him on Twitter @KareemReal