Reviews

Review – Beta Ray Bill #1 (Marvel Comics)

Beta Ray Bill #1 (Marvel Comics) main cover (detail) by Daniel Warren Johnson
  • Writing - 8.8/10
    8.8/10
  • Art - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Overall - 9.2/10
    9.2/10

Beta Ray Bill #1

Writer: Daniel Warren Johnson
Artist: Daniel Warren Johnson
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: Joe Sabino with Daniel Warren Johnson
Maturity Rating: Teen +
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release: March 31, 2021

Beta Ray Bill continues to defend Asgard, but without Stormbreaker, Bill does not feel the same.

Overall
9.2/10
9.2/10
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“Destroy the Metal” Beta Ray Bill #1

Everyone’s favorite alien, cybernetic, horse-headed, magical hammer-wielding hero is back for some action in Beta Ray Bill #1. The one and only Daniel Warren Johnson bring us on a high octane adventure as Beta Ray Bill deals with what he has become with the loss of Stormbreaker. Though still Asgards “Master of War”; the Mighty warrior lets doubt and fear seep in. Now he must find himself once again.

Beta Ray Bill #1 (Marvel Comics) variant cover by Ryan Stegman
Beta Ray Bill #1 (Marvel Comics) variant cover by Ryan Stegman

The five-issue mini-series starts with a bang. As Daniel Warren Johnson pits Beta Ray Bill against a “Knullified” Fing Fang Foom. Bill also rekindles a relationship with Lady Sif. But with Stormbreaker shattered to pieces, Beta Ray Bill’s psyche begins to crumble in Beta Ray Bill #1.

Writing

I feel like I say this every time I review Daniel Warren Johnson‘s work, but no one does some of the most hardcore “metal” stories coupled with dramatic and superbly heart-wrenching character work like him. We are talking about a guy who did a series about an anthropomorphic falcon with a giant cybernetic arm named Murder Falcon that fought giant kaiju, fueled by the power of a person playing heavy metal music and it is a series that the story will bring you to tears. He brings that same high-flying fun and yet compelling emotional story here in Beta Ray Bill #1.

Johson never skimps out of the action and this issue starts off full force. I mean you get the premise of Fing Fang Foom invading Asgard and Johnson starts with a bang. But Johnson makes Beta Ray Bill #1 quite a character study. The softer moments with Bill and his feelings coupled with some flashbacks is fantastic storytelling ad what will keep you coming back for the next four issues.

Beta Ray Bill, just by looks alone is one of the coolest characters in Marvel Comics. Daniel Warren Johnson does an excellent job in digging into his psyche in the issue and I will be very interested to see where he takes us. We get a little more intimate look into our horse-faced warrior. The end of Beta Ray Bill #1 has a wonderful Melancholy feel to it. 

Art

Look, if you follow me you know I love me some Daniel Warren Johnson; he’s one of my favorite artists of all time. He does not slack one bit on Beta Ray Bill #1. I love his creator-owned work but I am super happy to see Johnson get to work with Marvel and DC (go read Wonder Woman: Dead Earth). If you were going to pick one Marvel character for Daniel Warren Johnson to draw Beta Ray Bill would probably be toward the top. The wild, warrior character is right up Johnson’s alley. 

Once again Daniel Warren Johnson does action scenes like none other. Such an exquisite sense of motion and impact throughout the pages. There is just energy you can feel coming off of his artwork. Great sense of impact and scope and size as well. Johnson brings it all together and he will get your heart pumping.

Johnson certainly excels in these high octane, big battle scenarios; but his art splendidly portrays the more heartfelt, dramatic tones of the story as well. Johnson captures the sadness, fear, and uncertainty of Bill’s story portrayed perfectly through his artwork. Body posture, facial expressions, and character acting tell a whole visual story of Bill’s emotions.

Mike Spicer‘s coloring is the jelly to Daniel Warren Johnson’s peanut butter art. They just go together perfectly. They are constant collaborators and it shows throughout the issue. 

Conclusion

As a Daniel Warren Johnson fanboy, I was extremely excited that he was doing a five-issue mini-series at Marvel. He knocks it out of the park with Beta Ray Bill #1. From art to story Johnson delivers once again. He hits on some wonderful emotional beats in this first issue, while also delivering some delightful action scenes. He also details the story well, so if you have not been following along with King in Black don’t worry you can hop onto Beta Ray Bill #1 and enjoy without fear of being lost or confused. This is a ride everyone can hop on and enjoy.


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