TALES OF SUSPENSE #102
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Travel Foreman
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 2/21/18
Bucky and Clint continue to track down the assassin they believe could be Black Widow, but she remains two steps ahead of them.
Plot: After capturing Yelena, another Red Room assassin, Bucky and Clint try to figure out who is behind all of the assassinations with Natasha’s signature. However, it’s hard to learn anything when all your sources end up dead.
Story: The problem with a miniseries? You know the clock is ticking. And that pressure to solve the mystery of Natasha’s death weighs heavily on both the characters and reader in Tales of Suspense #102. You feel Bucky and Clint’s frustrations as they reach dead ends (literally) in their search for the truth.
I understand Matthew Rosenberg’s need to draw out the mystery, but there are only so many Red Room herrings I can take before we get to the bottom of this. Of course, some spy stories are more like The Americans, intentionally slow and building to a larger payoff, than James Bond, fast and explosive. This book is definitely the former. A few characters are added into the mix this issue, but little time is spent on either of their motivations. The main draw of this issue is the reveal at the end.
Matthew Rosenberg continues to capture the essence of both characters, mixing them together for the right combination of hilarity. Odd couple comedies work really well, and it was a smart move to pair them together. In a very subtle way, you do see the characters grow closer. Despite constantly ragging on one another for their flaws, they display a lot of teamwork.
Art: Travel Foreman does not skimp on detail in the settings, drawing panels you can absolutely get lost in. The New York City that Bucky and Clint travel through is a nice simulacrum that will have you pouring over every street sign trying to mentally map their movements.
Although there are some moments I think could benefit from less noise in the panel to focus in on character details, Foreman does add a lot of emotion to Bucky and Clint’s expressions. The emotions generally hover in the area of disdain for one another. In a book so driven by quippy dialogue, the facial reactions are key.
In my review of issue #100 I commented on the cool color palette of blues and violets that remind me of movies like Atomic Blonde, which is still the case although the palette does shift when they’re outside in the daytime Rachelle Rosenberg also makes great use of subtle contrasting accents, like the splashes of red used with Yelena.
Verdict: Although the art isn’t the primary thing I’d recommend this book for, the creative team has developed a slick, distinct feel that will look even better when collected in a trade. As the middle of the arc, it did seem like the issue was stalling a little bit. However, the banter between Bucky and Clint more than makes up for any misgivings with the action and a twist at the end has me hooked to finish out the rest of this miniseries.