I thought for the start of this round of reviews I'd start with first issues. One's from an ongoing, the other from a mini-series. One has quite a bit of dialogue, the other not so much.
Black Widow #1, by Chris Samnee (writer/artist), Mark Waid (writer), Matthew Wilson (color artist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - I notice Samnee gave her shoulder holsters rather than at her waist, which is the approach favored by the recent films. I wonder if there was a particular reason. Also, I hope SHIELD gets a group discount from the person who paints their logo on stuff, cause it's always getting trashed.
Natasha stole something from the Helicarrier. Maria Hill wants it and her back. Many SHIELD agents try, they fail, that's the first issue plot summary. Well, that was easy. I've seen a few mentions online about how the book takes roughly three minutes to read, which I can't dispute. Not that I have a problem with giving Samnee and Wilson an issue to show off. I thought, especially in the scenes with a lot of fire that the art looked a bit like Francisco Francavilla's. The last page, or the panel where she leaps out of the Helicarrier. Maybe that particular color and Samnee's inks remind me of those Afterlife with Archie covers. The 14-panel page fight in the mud was pretty good, the two times that the panel doubles in width, as we pull back for just an instant during the fight. Also the markedly different font to the "CLIK" of the gun compared to all the impacts of people hitting each other.
That said, they could have put a bit more into the story. Not even a lot; tell us what she stole. You don't necessarily have to explain why she took it, but something to give it a little more. it's definitely a different approach from Daredevil, where they spent a lot of time inside Murdock's head. Here, everything is based on actions, and we don't even really get the thoughts of the people chasing Natasha, let alone hers. I'll admit if it was almost any creative team other than this bunch, I'd be less trusting. I'm guessing there's a point to this approach, and I'll stick around to see what it is.
Agent Preston better not have been hurt by that explosive, though. She's finally getting established as a SHIELD agent enough to appear outside Deadpool books, and they go and have the Black Widow through a damn bomb at her. She's got two kids to look after, Natasha! Plus Deadpool, which is like five kids.
Wynonna Earp #1, by Beau Smith (writer), Lora Innes (artist), Jay Fotos (colorist), Robbie Robbins (letterer) - She's got the slow badass walk while backlit down. That's half the battle to being a cool action hero.
I have no prior experience with the character's earlier mini-series, but I know enough people online who like Beau Smith's work I'm willing to take a chance. Wynonna works for a branch of the U.S. Marshals that deals with paranormal crime, and at the moment, they're focused on a demon named Mars del Ray, who has a human organ trafficking operation they'd like to shut down. Having some trouble finding it, though, even with intel of some guy named "John Henry". Wynonna doesn't seem to entirely have the trust of her partner, who's concerned she doesn't worry about civilian casualties enough, and there's someone shadowing her footsteps, I don't know why.
This is not the polar opposite of Black Widow, but it's a different approach to be sure. A lot of that is Smith trying to make sure the reader is up to speed on the key points, as well as getting the main threat going, hinting at some, possibly unconnected problems, and allowing for a lot of snappy back-and-forth. Which is fine by me. It a different kind of fast-paced, but fast-paced all the same.
I'm not familiar with Innes' art, either, but it works well here. She really seems to have a good handle on Wynonna's expressions and body language. Earp comes off as very relaxed and in control during the fights, even during the moments when things aren't necessarily going well. And the conversation with Downs in the diner was well done. Earp starting off refusing to make eye contact, crossing her arms when Downs starts in with his spiel about being careless. Leaning forward and looking directly at him when she's trying to convince him he can count on her. And I really like the scowl she's wearing as Downs and "John" are talking and seemingly ignoring her. Also, when the two DEA guys get shot by the mystery person, one of the "BLAM" sounds effects has a blur through part of it, like the motion of the bullet. Not sure if that was Innes or Robbins, but a nice touch either way.
I don't know if Smith, Innes, and company will maintain this kind of pace through the remainder of the mini-series, but I'm willing to stick around to see.