The covers: There are fifteen covers to this issue…Oh my God. Don’t tell me Perez and BOOM! Studios don’t know how to promote this book! Here we go! Cover A is a wraparound cover, used in the review image, drawn by George Perez and colored by Blond. It features the Sirens in attack mode, and with all works by Perez the details are insane. This was the cover I picked up. The B cover is by Cameron Stewart with colors by Matthew Wilson. This has ten of the leads in bust shots, with a few exceptions. It’s a nice way to give every character some face time and it’s a smooth composition. The colors on the characters stand out well as they are on a white backdrop. The C cover is again by Perez and Blond, with this wraparound connecting to the back of the A cover to create a four page poster. The image contains the rest of the Sirens in combat and it’s wonderful. The D and E covers are pencils-only versions of the A and C covers. These covers are really neat to see the process that Perez went through before arriving at the final work. I’m a huge fan of these variants and I like these. The next four covers are difficult to establish using the Internet. I wish that BOOM! had included pictures on the inside back cover to make this easier. The BOOM! Studios exclusive is a head shot of Highness on red. It’s gorgeous, as all characters created by Perez. The Baltimore Comic-Con exclusive cover features eight Sirens in a layout that Perez is the master of: each character is clearly shown, balanced perfectly against the other, framed in some manner (often smoke, spell, or electricity) in a poster-like fashion. This instantly made me think of the New Teen Titans. Love this! The Cincinnati Comic Expo exclusive I couldn’t find anywhere online. The seven Retailer exclusives all focus on a full body shot of one character on a black background. All look great and they are as follows: Cards, Comics & Collectibles has Agony (100 B.C.), Coliseum of Comics has Fanisha, Collector’s Paradise has Niada, Keith’s Comics has Bombshell, Larry’s Comics has Highness, Tate’s Comics has Agony, and Third Eye Comics has Interface. Woof. You can’t go wrong with any of these. Overall grades: A A+, B A, C A+, D A, E A, BOOM! A, Baltimore A+, and all Retailer A
The story: 1104 A.D., Iceland. A cloaked woman is taking two Vikings to a treasure. Once deep within a sinister cave they come upon a treasure, but it’s not the one the men were suspecting. A wonderful transition occurs between the eighth and ninth panel on Page 3 to the far flung future where a ship loaded with familiar looking aliens is following orders from a woman far away. Next to this woman is a familiar looking individual, and then the scene jumps back in time to a different era on Page 5. There is a lot of jumping through time in this series and it is an absolute joy. Writer George Perez seems to have taken every era in history, past and future, that he enjoys and crafted a story revolving around several characters. Saying what other times the story goes to would spoil this fun tale, but I really enjoyed Page 7. It’s not until Page 18 that the commonality in all the stories and characters is explicitly stated, and it’s a good one. I love how this team is gathered and I cannot wait to see their battles. Think of a genre or time and it’s here. Overall grade: A+
The art: Part of my high school upbringing was eagerly awaiting each new issue of Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s New Teen Titans. The stories were amazing and the artwork so different from anything else on the stands. George Perez deserves every bit of acclaim he’s been given, and he’s going to be getting a lot more for the work on this series. The first three pages set in Iceland are enough to make fanboys fervent. I was sent over the top on Page 4 by the futuristic setting and creatures. The next two timelines were equally beautiful. The transitions between timelines are cinematic. If you thought the transition from thrown bone to spaceship in 2001: A Space Odyssey was good, take a look at Pages 3, 6, and 12. Wow. The best illustrations come on the double page spread aspects of 18 and 19. This is classic Perez layout reminding readers he can make the most complex plot ideas easily understood in a few panels. There’s so much being conveyed to readers in this illustration it’s stunning. This is flawless work. Overall grade: A+
The colors: The illustrations in this book are very shiny. I’m used to Perez’s work of the 80s and 90s. I’m not used to seeing his visuals so reflective, so it took a few pages for me to not notice it. Leonardo Paciarotti’s first three pages were jarring for me. The rosy cheeks and glossy horns on the Viking of the third panel on Page 1 just didn’t look right to me. The close-up of the cloaked woman in the fifth panel also was distracting. However, as I continued to read, and the opening characters went underground, the colors appeared more normal. On Page 5 the colors seemed to have lost a little of the extra gloss and with the story moving through other timelines the colors looked fine. One particular highlight of the colors was the gorgeous detail put on a cup on Page 17. Overall grade: A
The letters: Ed Dukeshire provides scene setting, dialogue, editorial notes, a unique font for an important language, screams and yells, sounds, and computer speak. There is a tremendous amount of text placed on pages, and Perez is notorious for filling in every single space with art, so I was very impressed with Dukeshire’s ability to place all of it on a page without covering a lot of Perez’s illustrations. The sign of a master of his craft. Overall grade: A+
The final line: A masterful book by a master creator. This is a book to revel in. Pick an era. It’s here. Pick a genre. It’s here. It all works, and it’s waiting for you. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.