1. “The Mighty Thor” is still really, really good.
Jason Aaron has had a knack for creating his own little corner of the Marvel Universe that doesn’t really concern itself with a lot of the goings on outside of it. He brings back favorite characters, he keeps his cast consistent in their motivations, generally he’s managed to tell one big story over the course of his Marvel books.
“The Mighty Thor” #703, the most recent issue (art by Russell Dauterman, colors by Matthew Wilson, and letters by Joe Sabino), even serves as a great example of maintaining continuity within a larger universe without sacrificing the tone of your book:
The core sequence of the issue comes at the end, however, as Jane Foster has a critical decision to make. She’s dying of cancer and every time she becomes Thor, her chemo drugs reset. Basically, it’s killing her. Inconveniently, the nigh-invulnerable Mangog is tearing his way through Asgard.
Russell Dauterman has drawn all manner of vast cosmic scenarios in his tenure on Thor comics, but this scene requires a completely different skill set, and he excels.
We of course get a few examples of his incredible handmade sound effects work.
But when it comes to the moment of truth, he and Wilson make this moment, one that nearly thirty issues (probably?) have led to, heartbreakingly quiet, simple, and personal.
It would be simpler if Jane simple took the hammer, made one final, heroic gesture and sacrificed herself to save Asgard. But this isn’t a simple story. It’s a great one.
2. Can you believe James Harvey drew a Robin comic once?
It happened! Written by Lee Bermejo, “We Are Robin” #4 was kind of a stand alone story, focusing on Riko, her extreme fandom of Batgirl, and the recent death of her co-Robin (long story), Troy. (Harvey was joined on inks by Diana Egea and assisted with colors by Alex Jaffee. Lettering was by Jared K. Fletcher.)
One of the key aspects of “We Are Robin” was how they were all dialed into social media feeds. Harvey, of course, elevates this to true art, integrating social media feed avatars into the geometry if nearly every page:
Harvey even integrates them into the cityscape around Riko, all while executing a classically choreographed confrontation:
Harvey is also fully aware that he’s drawing a DC comic, taking the opportunity to integrate decades of the publisher’s design into pages whenever he gets the chance.
Riko is also reading “Lord of the Flies”, which Harvey and Bermejo exquisitely link together in her journey across the Gotham rooftops.
They also make a reference that could probably only happen in this issue, under these circumstances, with these creators: the graffiti reading “They Reminisce Over You”.
I don’t know how it happened, but it did. Thank goodness.
3. Marcos Martin. I mean…
“Amazing Spider-Man” #655; written by Dan Slott, drawn by Marcos Martin, colored by Munsta Vicente, and lettered by Joe Carmagna; was the first half of a two part story where Spider-Man vows to let no one die under his watch, after the recent death of Marla Jameson.Continued below
The issue opens with a reflective look at how the now-widowed J. Jonah Jameson and Peter Parker start the day of her funeral:
In an incredible sequence after the funeral, Martin shows us he’s probably the only artist on Earth capable of constructing something like this:
He also captures the stakes of Peter’s decision, and the enormous scope of this vow, with a perfectly rendered Manhattan:
Recently, Slott cited this as one of the best Spider-Man stories he’d been associated with. It’s easy to see why.
4. Chris Brunner and Rico Renzi speak their own language
Not to take anything away from writer Jason Latour, who crafts a quirky and propulsive southern noir caper narrative in “Loose Ends,” but some of the most incredible parts allow artist Chris Brunner and colorist Rico Renzi to tell the story without any dialogue at all.
We’re introduced to Sonny on this opening page, where we learn plenty about his environment and his lifestyle:
They can also capture an indelible moment, and do so here:
And most certain here:
They also describe the unique sensation of getting stoned and drunk at the same time in a thoroughly unique way:
They also balance a brutal fight sequence with the breathtaking verisimilitude of a simple image of Kim idling on the porch just outside:
When Sonny and Cheri arrive at Miami, the entire palette changes:
They can also perfectly recreate what a conversation feels and sounds like in a crowded noisy club, without showing us the actual dialogue:
And then they manage to take the reader through the entire path of motivation that drove a character to the opening of this story in a single page:
Oh, and if all that incredible narrative storytelling wasn’t enough, they also came together and created one of the most single perfect images in the history of, like, anyone ever drawing anything:
5. Perfect “Preacher” Panels #2
I’ve never done cocaine but this is what I’ll always imagine it sounds like. Thanks, Garth. Thanks, Steve.