I liked the first issue of “Breaking into Comics the Marvel Way.” Now the second issue contains six more eight-page stories written by mainstay Marvel writers and drawn by newly-discovered talent by C.B. Cebulski, some novice and some quite experienced in Europe or South America. The preview pages offer a good look at each artist’s work, but this collection is solid and interesting.
A Fantastic Four story by Si Spurrier and Stephen Thompson [**1/2] kicks the issue off as a giant alien blobby creature is destroying a section of Manhattan, has seemingly called for more of its kind, and the FF have no way to stop it. Thompson’s art is heavily detailed and realistic, but somewhat stiff in spots. So much attention is paid to the line and figure work that the placement of characters and the layouts in general suffer. The art is very good looking, but the storytelling is weaker.
Kevin Grevioux and Thomas Labourot deliver a strong Thor story [***1/2] about a time when Odin decreed that Thor must become a better warrior and stop relying on his hammer so much, so he’s forbidden to pick up a weapon for a year. Labourot’s art is cartoony in a bulky fashion that takes a little getting used to, but, once you do, you can really appreciate his skill with facial expressions and movement. The fight scene between Thor and an enemy is visually compelling with fluid movement and solid storytelling. Definitely one of the best stories, for writing and art, in the issue.
Peter David writes Tommaso Bennato a Hulk story [**] that relies exclusively on the art as a woman is chased through a forest while the Hulk dreams about past events. The entire thing rests upon Bennato’s art, which isn’t presented in the best light with the dream sequences washed out and faded, including his pencils, making them a little more difficult to see. His art works for the Hulk in that over-the-top manner where he piles muscles upon muscles on characters, uses excessive cross-hatching, and relies on energy more than skilled composition. His work is rough, but shows potential.
Mike Carey and Shaun Turnbull’s Psylocke story [*1/2] is the issue’s weakest offering with a story that’s simplistic, as Psylocke recounts a story about how she wields psychic blades and a butterfly and art that’s very inconsistent, looks half-formed often, and just isn’t attractive. Turnbull’s style is blocky and quirky, but uses far too many lines and drops the background without reason or makes interesting decisions that don’t work out in execution like having headshots acting as panels by themselves. The art is a mess with garish coloring that doesn’t help matters.
On the other end of the spectrum, Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s art in his New Mutants story with Jonathan Hickman [***] is gorgeous in its intricate detail. The story tells an alternate story of the New Mutants’ return from their Asgardian adventures where things go wrong. It's geared perfectly to Walta’s talents, allowing him to draw desolate landscapes and horrific scenes. He colors directly onto his pencils with a bit of a Kevin O’Neill look to his characters, especially O’Neill’s “Marshal Law” work. His storytelling is strong and the darker colors with a liberal use of brown suit the material. Very good work with a simple non-story.
The issue concludes with a Deadpool story [**1/2] by Frank Tieri and Matteo Scalera where Deadpool recounts a trip to the grocery store to his therapist. It’s a pretty standard Deadpool story and Scalera’s art is expressive and clean, telling the story ably, but with some rough spots around the edges. Some panels look rushed, particularly when characters aren’t right in the foreground.
Like the first issue, this one is hit-or-miss, but with a little more miss. Though, the good stories and artists make it worth looking at because some of these artists look like they’ll have bright futures.