Thwip! (Bittersweetly) Reviews – Millarworld Annual 2016

Mark Millar and his Millarworld brand did something great last year, they made their talent contest way more big and way more pronounced (let me put forth a small caveat, I actually submitted to this contest, my cohort as well…so there might be some bitterness as we talk about what’s in this issue.)  The main thing is that Mark Millar allowed writers to try and get some recognition, who get little chance on most days and for us internationals that opportunity happens even fewer and far in-between.

With that said, how did the winners do?

The first story – A Chrononauts story by Shaun Brill and art by Conor Hughes titled “Prom Night”

A nice simple story, Brill really makes good use of a very tired old time travel schtick to give us a quick story that would make me hopeful for his future.  The art by Conor Hughes is perfectly serviceable and feels like a veteran’s, but I hope he finds his own voice because right now this feels too much like a “house style” rather than a “DUUUUDE! I LOVE IT WHEN CONOR HUGHES DRAWS $#!@!!!”

Begrudgingly this is a 4/5

The next story – A Kick-Ass story by Richard Mo and art by Ifesinachi Orijekwe titled “Blindsided”

I would say good effort, but overall, I am unimpressed, very light and badly paced.  The art was alright, but not to my liking at all.  It had a lot of action, but the art didn’t sell me on it and felt more like someone was trying to copy something rather than art for themself.

I don’t want to seem too mean, but this is a 2/5 for me.

The third story – An American Jesus story by Cliff Bumgardner and art by Steve Beach titled “Undeath”

Right off the bat, the art is really eye-catching and made me hopeful for the story.  Thankfully Bumgardner’s writing is suitably appropriate for the art and he throws down an interesting take on the art of resurrection.  It was creepy, it was sad, it was shocking, and it was definitely the highlight of the annual.

An optimistic 5/5.

The fourth story – A Kingsman: The Secret Service story by Philip Huxley and art by Myron Macklin titled “Mum’s The Word”

An average story, something that would be churned out as a fill-in issue in any regular series, very competently written.  The art was a disservice though with an uneven style and off-scale figures all over the place, very disappointing.

The writing saved the issue and I would say a 3/5.

The penultimate story – A Starlight story by Deniz Camp and art by Pracheta Banerjee titled “Duke McQueen’s Greatest Adventure”

Again another story where the art hits you like a freight train.  Unfortunately, this time for all the wrong reasons.  While some may call it “stylistic” it is still too rough and amateur to be considered for a proper, professional comic.  The writing was nice, wish there was a bit of meat (so fewer stories and maybe elaborate on just the one, especially that whale song one, that could have been a nice emotional story), but the ending was a bit too “TV-ish” with its hokey family values finish.

While I was okay with the writing, the art was a big letdown in the end, giving this one a 2/5 as well.

The final story – A Hit-Girl story by Mark Abnett and art by Ozgur Yildirim titled “Mindy’s ABCs

A cute story (essentially an R-rated Sesame Street vignette).  I liked it, good way to finish off the annual and these two are quite good at what they do.  I will admit I think a couple of the letters/rhymes/captions could have been better worded (some were quite torturously put together) but, not the worst effort in this uneven annual.

Going to give this a 3.5/5 (it could be bumped up to a 4 on a good day though, just what I am feeling at the moment)

So there you have it, some decent entries, some pretty art, and the Millarworld 2016 showcase is done.  I think with some more work some of these guys (and gal, Deniz did put some good meat to her story) can be people to look out for.

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