Every Wednesday to geeks like me across the country is the best day of the week. Being able to go through a long day of school or work and then coming home to read adventures of your favorite heroes and villains is a reward in and of itself. But occasionally, some stupid holiday happens on a Monday, and comics get pushed back an extra day! It’s unfortunate, but it happens. So this week, I’ll be updating as much as I can when I can, and most of the reviews will pop up on Friday this week. I will still do my best to get all the reviews I can up as fast as I can.
For the record, I usually spend about $30-$60 on comics a week, so forgive me if I am a little slow. I promise I will always deliver, though. I’ll just have to do it in small bits and pieces and write as I read. So without further ado,
IMPORTANT NOTE: Next week I will not be able to do a comics review as I will be in Los Angeles, California attending E3 (cool brag, I know). You can follow my adventures in LA on Twitter at mattisnotarobot. Hopefully one of the other writers will take up the torch for the week, but if not, just remember to pick up the new Batman And Robin title by Frank Morrison and Frank Quietly.
Green Lantern #41 (MATT RECOMMENDED BOOK OF THE WEEK)
I don’t know what it is exactly, but this week’s issue had me incredibly riveted. Maybe it’s the combination of anticipation for the storyline coupled with listening to the soundtrack to Battlestar Galactica, but this issue is definitely the best comic I’ve read this week. The art is positively top notch. One of my issues with the art in Green Lantern is that sometimes there is so much going on that the action can become a little bit muddy, but this week was clear and absolutely staggering, especially the last page. Geoff Johns is on top of his game 100% with the story as well. As we gear up for what is definitely going to be the comic book event of the year, Geoff is throwing in all sorts of little bits and hints and satisfying clues about where characters are going to be before the big moment arrives. On top of that, any doubts about interest in the Orange Lantern(s) I previously had are squashed by this issue as we learn positively everything there is about avarice and Larfleeze. He has gone from a curious character to a very central and key figure and I really hope to see him play a big part in the Blackest Night/War of Light. If you are not currently a Green Lantern fan, then I don’t know what to tell you other than you are missing out on one of the biggest books in comics right now, and by far the best thing you could be reading this week.
Amazing Spider-Man #595
Finally, American Son has begun. I’ll admit that it is not exactly what I thought it would be, and now I’m wondering exactly what “American Son” is in reference to. It appears it could be more than one thing, and even though I knew what was coming due to sneak peeks at future covers, I neglected to remember what was in store for our characters. All in all it’s a pretty good issue, though. With a new writer comes a new style, and once again we’re brought back to the world created with Brand New Day, which I’m not a fan of. I don’t care for the character of Menace, but here she is again, once again throwing a wrench into things. What I’m really looking forward to in this arc is Spider-Man and Norman Osborn having another climactic show down, preferably on top of a bridge. While we’re off to somewhat of a slow start, I can tell that this particular arc is going to have a big build up before the conclusion, and I like that idea a lot. I’m hoping it can be executed well as well. On the one hand, I was really hoping Dark Reign would finally rest on the shoulders of Spider-Man considering Norman Osborn is his villain, but after this first issue, based on a conversation Spider-Man has with Wolverine, I’m pretty sure that will not be the case, and however Dark Reign is finally brought to it’s conclusion (if it ever does end), I would like to see most of the responsibility of taking down Norman be put upon our beloved Peter Parker. It seems only fair. However, I am very excited for this Dark Reign tie-in story, and here’s hoping towards the build up.
Dark Reign: The Hood #1
I love the Hood. I’m not sure why this is as his character is absolutely despicable and always has been. He such a non-redeeming character and so far we’ve found no evidence that he feels any remorse for any of his actions, despite the fact that he has a wife and child. I think this is what makes the Hood so great though – we finally have a normal guy who ascends into the world of super villainy not through some great accident or tragedy. The Hood becomes a super villain because he wants to be a super villain. He wants the power, the freedom, and he embraces the lack of morals. Giving him another mini finally is a great move for fans like me, and Dark Reign: The Hood does not disappoint. This acts as a legitimate follow up the original mini that Brian K Vaughn wrote when he created the character, and we now have the Hood at the height of his criminal empire. He’s large and in charge, and we see how he runs his world from the darkest corners to the… well, even the family aspects are pretty dark. There is just no redemption for the Hood, and that’s why we love him. That’s why I love him. Jeff Parker does a great job at writing the character and the story, and getting Kyle Hotz back as the artist is a brilliant move. All in all, this is by far the most satisfying Dark Reign tie-in in my book, and in all honesty it didn’t’ even need to wave the Dark Reign flag. This could have just been a Hood mini and I still would have grabbed it and recommended it with full force. If you’re not into the Hood’s criminal empire yet, what’s stopping you?
New Avengers #53
I think it’s fair to say that, while I love the real Avengers, this whole “new Sorcerer Supreme” arc is pretty disappointing. First off, I don’t think that we should have a new Sorcerer Supreme, and based on the ending of this issue, I’m left kind of thinking, “huh?” As in, out of all the possible choices, is that really the most logical one, or is it just the most shocking one? And by shocking, I mean the idea of M. Night Shymalan hiding behind a curtain before popping out at the end of his movie to shout, “Ooo! What a twist!” I trust Brian Michael Bendis when it comes to story telling, and he’s done very well with New Avengers for the past 50 issues, but this arc just doesn’t cut it for me. I really just don’t like anything about it. There are certain things that come with the new status quo of the Marvel universe, but this is the first time I really feel like with his writing, Bendis is just doing it for the sake of “doing it”, so to say. When things that have been staples in the Marvel universe for so long change, you need to have a good reason for it. For the life of me, I just don’t think the current change is good. I’m going to miss Doctor Strange a lot, but I guess despite my reservations and current bad mouthing, I am curious to see how the next issue pans out. This issue leaves me with a lot of things: questions, doubts, and despite my nay saying, excitement to see the conclusion, if for nothing more than to give me fuel for a “someone needs to take the car keys from Bendis because he’s drunk at the wheel” rant. I mean, the guy writes a lot of books. Perhaps he needs to turn over the reigns of certain staples to someone who has the time to devote to better stories?
We’re finally at the penultimate issue of Old Man Logan, despite numerous delays on the story. I feel like Old Man Logan is a great adventure tale in an alternate post-apocalyptic world, but the delays are definitely taking their toll. It’s really is a cool concept, and so far Mark Millar has once again managed to tell a great story that I find myself drawn to. In fact, I like the idea behind this story so much that I wish it wasn’t bogged down to 8 issues and a special. However, since this is essentially a mini-series, and due to constant set backs, I feel like the story is ending up a bit rushed and we skip over a lot of parts that could be really cool. We have seen a huge map of the US and how it ended up after the villains united, and we only get to see a little bit of the world. What about where Magneto used to reside? Doom’s Lair? Osborn City? These are all areas that would be great to see as Hawkeye and Wolverine cross the country. The story, which is so epic in scope, is so limited in presentation. Don’t get me wrong, I think Old Man Logan is awesome, and I highly recommend it. I just can’t help but feel a little cheated due to the possibility of what I could be seeing versus what I am seeing. I do like how this book ties in with 1985 and Fantastic 4, though, and I must say, Millar can tell a great tale regardless.
Messiah War is a story that has started strong and is maintaining to stay strong, which is very good news. While I am not a huge fan of the last issue, this episode picked up the pace again. We have a very Stryfe-centric issue, told through his point of view, and I love that. Stryfe is a villain that does not get used enough in my opinion, and having Cable and Stryfe building up for a stand off is wonderful. We get some more reveals this issue, and my previous complaints about Deadpool’s word bubbles are fixed. While I can’t tell if Messiah War will stand up to Messiah Complex in it’s scale of epicness in the end, I must say that this is a very pleasing storyline. It makes me wonder greatly about Hope, especially with Stryfe’s comments on her. This issue also continues to remind me of how much I hate Bishop lately. It’s really too bad, considering I used to consider him such a hero, but now I find his character annoying and wish someone would just do something about him. The ending of this issue leaves me excited as well, as someone who had not played a big part in the story steps up to the plate now. All in all, by the time this story concludes, it should be quite a dynamite ending based on all the build up. Either that or it’ll be a terrific let down.
Dark Reign: Elektra #3
We all know that I’m fairly sick of tie-ins, but I really enjoy this one. I have always liked the character of Elektra (and yes, I saw that movie) and was happy to see her be brought to a focal point with Secret Invasion. As far as tie-ins go, this one intrigues me because I really want to see a new clash between Elektra and Bullseye. My only issue with this issue is that it was highly teased that we would see just that, and I hate to break it to you but it doesn’t happen. Bullseye does make his appearance, but for the most part this issue centers around Elektra fighting someone else for her survival. There is a brief reference to why the Skrulls found her so fascinating, though, and I though that added an interesting aspect to what the Skrulls wanted from the Secret Invasion. While I can’t see why anyone other than me would really like this, I must say this mini is going really strong for something that theoretically should be really bad. After the Hood, this is easily my second favorite Dark Reign mini tie-in, even beating the Hawkeye/Bullseye one, which I find amusing because I like Bullseye more (but that last issue was just weird).
Ender’s Shadow: Battle School #5
And so we come to the conclusion of the first part of the Ender’s Shadow adaptation, just in time to coincide with the end of Ender’s Game. I must say, Marvel is doing an absolute brilliant thing publishing the two books at the same time. Since the stories have always been so heavily intertwined, it makes it incredibly rewarding for fans of the series like myself to see the events happen simultaneously rather than one at a time. I do believe that this is one of the best Marvel literary adaptations to date, and I strongly recommend that people who had never checked out the Ender series before to do so now in graphic novel form. While I am not a huge fan of the art, the story is true and the writing is great. It brings back memories of going to the library to borrow the Ender books when I was a kid, but it’s like I’m reading a whole new story this time due to the presentation. I previously was not a huge fan of Mike Carey due to his run on Ultimate Fantastic Four, but I think that if he stays away from the Ultimates in the future but continues his work with the Ender books, I could grow to really enjoy him as a writer because this book is really great.
Gotham Gazette: Batman Alive?
While this is simply acting as an epilogue to the Battle for the Cowl, I feel that it does a good job of that. It leaves us understand where certain players are going to leave off, and it does some nice job of confirming previous suspicions I made the other day (that we were all thinking anyway). While much better than the previous Gotham Gazette, it definitely is a case of “did we really need this” tie-in syndrome. I do like the wrap-ups it provides, but unfortunately it provides a view of Gotham that isn’t so. What we see now is that Gotham is going to be ok, but it isn’t. Not without Bruce. Sure, we are meant to have faith in our new Batman and Robin, and perhaps their new series will create that in us, but nothing will ever be the same again, and at the end of the Battle there were still many villains left running loose, including the new Black Mask. While some may want us to believe that Gotham is going to be ok, we know it’s not, and it’s in that that the optimistic view of this issue falls flat. There’s also a great deal of material that we never needed to see because it doesn’t add anything new to the story. Did we really also need a reference to Facebook? I understand that certain characters are teens, but when not used in a tongue-in-cheek way like with Kick-Ass it just seems stupid and tacky. The recognition of the Azrael tie-in is ok, but that new book won’t be coming out for quite some time so does it matter? The only really good part of the issue was confirmation on who Red Robin will be. Other than that, I’ll simply be waiting for the epilogue provided in the next issue of Batman.
Ignition City #3
How does Warren Ellis do it? The man writes so much, and yet it’s all so good! Well, I guess I can’t attest for everything he’s currently writing since I’m not caught up with Gravel, but Ignition City, Freak Angels, No Hero… the man is on track with his work, I can definitely tell you that much. Ignition City is a book I picked up on a lark because Warren’s name was on it and the cover of the first issue looked promising. What we have is a compelling science fiction/steampunk story, and it’s pretty much A1. I can’t sing the praises of the art by Gianluca Pagliarani enough. I’ve never seen anything he’s previously done, but the detail he puts into some of the backgrounds of panels is just amazing. There are some particularly great shots of our heroine walking through Ignition City in this issue in which I couldn’t believe how much detail was in the background. The story is really going strong as well. What I like about this series is that while we know there is an over-arcing tale, each issue as a single entity manages to convey a lot of information that is useful to help fill in different blanks of this alternate reality story. I really can’t wait to see this story flourish into something big as it’s sure to be an overall masterpiece (that is, assuming that there really is going to be more to this story than just the five issues currently slated). Basically, this story ended up being a surprise hit in my book, despite it’s obvious appeal to me with the genres. It has a lot of possibility and there is set up to do a lot with it. Here’s hoping that it keeps it’s head up for the next two issues.
Incredible Hercules #129
Herc’s incredibly short tie-in with Dark Reign is over and we now go back to our regularly scheduled programming, free of Marvel’s latest cash cow. I think most people can agree with me when I say that Incredible Hercules is the best thing to come out of World War Hulk, and Pak’s doing an amazing job with the writing. It’s a mix of good understanding of Greek mythology as well as great humor. This issue in particular is my favorite issue since I started buying Hercules as I absolutely adore the concept of Hades that they created what with Pluto being away. It was both really funny and really sad to see some of the cameos in the “underworld.” I really am beginning to fall in love with Marvel’s ability to take all of the mythology of our world and seamlessly intertwine it with their own. Marvel boasts that it’s universe is the “real” universe, and it’s nice to see how it all connects, especially the explanation of how the afterlife works. Repeatedly a great read, I don’t know how anyone who reads comics on a regular basis can pass this book up and look at themselves in the mirror.
Despite my previous complaints about the Crossover, the Literals brings it all back on track and returns to the whole point of the story again. Despite not wanting very much to have another book to read in relation to this story, I really enjoy the Literals, much more than the other Fables spin-off Jack Of Fables. It seems that somewhere in the plan to make a giant Fables story, Willingham and Sturges got a little lost in their storytelling. The Literals reminds us what the point of this story is – Kevin Thorn wants to destroy the universe. This issue does a really great job of bring all of the new players into scope, specifically the Genres who went from a goofy introduction to something of actual use. They also serve to make a great tongue-in-cheek dialogue which criticizes the audience for having poor taste. While arguably it’s annoying to read a book that calls you an idiot, I found it to be rather hilarious, especially with the Western character. So far the Literals has been the most satisfying aspect of the story, and while midway through I began to believe I could guess the ending of the cross over through a simple deus ex machina, by the end of the issue my previous ideas were gone and I am once again left wondering. I’m glad that this book brought focus back to the point of the story, and even though I’m fairly certain that the next two issues might be a little scattered in plot, I look forward to the Literals #3 for an exciting finale to this crossover.
Moon Knight #30
I really like Moon Knight, and when they launched a new series of it I was a huge fan. Even as Marc Benson, a guy whose previous work was the TV show Entourage, took over, I still really enjoyed it. This last arc, though, now that it’s completed? It’s just kind of a let down. First off, I still ascertain that Marc Benson does not “get” the Punisher. This was first evidenced in his writing in Deadpool: Suicide Kings, but is further established in this issue of Moon Knight. Secondly, this whole arc we’ve been haunted by a monster in the shadows, and when he arrives in this issue, what happens? Nothing. We finally get to really see him, but that’s it. We don’t know his purpose, we don’t know his name, we’re left with nothing. Thirdly, I understand the humor in the characters, but the two brothers in Luchador masks who say “bro” every other word really detract from the story in my opinion. There are times when their dialogue makes me laugh a little, but overall I just wish they weren’t a part of it. Benson really beats us over the head with the bro gag here and it ultimately detracts from my enjoyment of it. At the end of the story, we’re left with a pretty good tie-in to Dark Reign, but I had no idea Moon Knight was going to become a part of it al. It makes sense based on the Death of Marc Spector arc, though. I think I’m ready for Benson to move on though. I really prefer what David Finch did with the character, it felt much more unique and did a much better job of bringing the character to the appropriate spotlight. While I have no plans to stop reading this series as I do enjoy it, I’m hoping the quality of Benson’s work gets better, and he stops trying to be so quirky and Entourage-y and focuses more on writing good superhero stories.
The Spirit #28
Every time I sit down to read an issue of the new Spirit comics, it makes me sad. It has nothing to do with that God awful movie that Frank Millar did, though. When the Spirit re-launched, it was helmed by Darwyn Cooke, and it was downright amazing. All the issues that Cooke did are what made me love the new Spirit, and ever since he left I’ve been wishing beyond wishing for him to come back. These issues just don’t cut it. I get that they’re close in theme to the original Spirit in that we have one adventure and it’s filled with goofiness and mystery, but these issues are poorly written and clumsily put together. This last arc about the Femme Fatales of the Spirit were ok, but still ultimately disappointing. Why can’t Cooke come back? Or at least have someone with an interesting story to tell? I think my issue with the current writers for the Spirit is that Cooke managed to tell an over-arcing story while keeping true to the Spirit set-up whereas the new writers so strictly adhere to the old rules that they spend no time actually bringing the character to life. Since Cookes departure, we’ve had no interesting portrayals of the Spirit and certainly no character growth. It’s really unfortunate since they’re taking a timeless character and making him more boring with every issue. If I could give one advice to the men who just barely write the issues of the Spirit, I would say that they need to take chances and be more creative with their stories. It would be nice to once again see an over-arcing story and lose the happy Scooby Doo-esque comedy endings. I want the Spirit to be found in the trunk of a car again, please. This is a series that, although I hate to say it for how much I loved Cooke’s work, I’m ready to give up on.
The Stand: American Nightmares #3
Unlike the Ender’s Game adaptation or even the Trojan War stuff, I’ve always been weary of the Stand. Having never read the source material or even seen the limited series (since I can’t find it!), I’m not familiar with what’s going on, and my opinion of the presentation in the comic is that it’s messy. There are a lot of characters and they’re all trying to survive the apocalypse, but I just don’t see any reason to care why. Nothing about the characters has really drawn me to them, or even left me remembering who they are without double checking a reference such as Wikipedia or a previous issue. While the artwork is really phenomenal, the story just doesn’t match, yet I keep reading because I really want to know what happens. This issue, however, is the first issue that I really enjoyed. We focus on two characters in one setting and how they are surviving reality versus their horrific imaginations. I thought it was really great to see such a focused issue entirely based on fear of the unknown. This issue alone gives me a bit of faith in the rest of the series in the hopes that future issues will take a slower look at it’s surroundings instead of hopping from one place to the other without a buffer time to help unfamiliar readers get to know the characters better. While the ending once again bounced away to a scene that I’m not sure why I should care about at all, everything before it actually had me very interested, and I have a bit more faith in this adaptation. It’s possible that when all is said and done I’ll just need to go back and read the whole thing, or perhaps go find a copy of the book and read that, but for now my thumb is still neither going up nor down on this one.
Ultimate Wolverine Vs Hulk #6
How long ago was it that we first received issue 1 and have been waiting for this moment? I can’t remember anymore. It’s been a long road, and now that we finally have the final issue, as I turned the last page I let out a… “Oh? That’s it?” To say I was disappointed is to put it lightly I suppose. When this series first started, I assumed it would be involved directly with the Ultimates due to the fact that it picks up where Ultimates 2 #3 leaves off and was supposedly going to bring it all back around for the Hulks return at the end of Ultimates 2. While there is a way for this to supposedly connect, it’s left ambiguous and ultimately, in my eyes, a let down. I think that Damon Lindelof did a great job over all writing the series, and the art by Leinil Francis Yu was great as well, but for a final issue that I had been waiting years for… well, I wanted more. I think if this story had been released in it’s original timeline without all of the delays, I would have been happier with the ending as I didn’t know about the ending to Ultimates 2 yet since even that took forever to come out (although that was without a doubt 100% worth the wait). Ultimately though we are left with somewhat of a stagnant ending that will no longer hold relevance in the Ultimate universe, or so I assume due to the direction the universe seems to be taking for after Ultimatum ends. It just goes to show you that no matter how great the team working on a book is, the longer you delay something, the more your fans end up expecting of you.
War Machine #6
War Machine is a book that I didn’t see myself overly enjoying based on the character’s turn of events in previous years, but this issue was really nice. Acting as kind of a segue between what happened and what is to come, this takes a look back at Rhodes childhood and how he was to grow up into the man he will be. I haven’t read a lot of War Machine comics or anything, but I am familiar with Rhodes because of Iron Man. Even so, I felt like this issue was illuminating in bring the character out. While I would still argue that this book is unnecessary as a new Dark Reign title, I can’t say that it isn’t written well. I’m even beginning to take a shine to the art, which while at first seemed abrasive now appears gritty and contextual. I think that it’s a possibility for War Machine to become more interesting based on who we have seen the character be, but depending on the next arc or not I may have to agree that this book should go. While obviously not every book can bring something new to the table, you would think that a book that got it’s launch from a new “event” would carry more weight to it, or at least have a story that matters more. War Machine ends up just being a pretty ok read, but if you’re not reading it already I can’t think of a convincing argument to bring you in now. I like Greg Pak, but compared to Incredible Hercules, why bother with this?
Wolverine Origins #36
This is probably the most fast paced book of this week. I think it took me all of five minutes to read it, to be honest. However, this book makes me, for once, a little bit shaky in my belief in Daniel Way. Way came out of nowhere and not only revitalized my interest in Wolverine but also reinvented the way we look at Deadpool. However, lately Way has been sinking into the same lull that has destroyed Jeph Loeb, and that is repeatedly writing books that focus less on characters but on mystery/twists and action. Way is currently beating over our heads the mysteriousness of Romulus and the dangerousness of Daken lately and it’s getting annoying. It’s to the point where I don’t feel any really need to read Dark Wolverine (even though I will) and I’m beginning to lose interest in who Romulus even is. In fact, I’m kind of pining for the days when Sabretooth was still alive. Now, Way has done a good job of bringing back some good villains like Cyber as well as using people like Omega Red, but this whole Romulus conspiracy is just getting out of hand. I understand that since Wolverine has his past back we need something new to keep alive, but how big can the Romulus pay-off really be at this point? Way started Wolverine: Origins off on a really high point, we just need to bring it back to that.
Avengers: The Initiative #24
I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of the Initiative. I thought it was a bad idea from the start. The more I read of the Initiative, the more I agree. Part of me was slightly hoping that after Disassembled, this series would go away, but unfortunately after this issue I know that’s not the case. On the one hand, I do like characters like Taskmaster and Typhoid Mary having a steady job, but on the other hand, this series is just bad. I’m not sure if there are any Initiative fanboys out there, but I think every issue I read just gets worse. I don’t find anything to care about with any of the characters, I don’t care for the writing, and I don’t really like the art. The last issue of the Initiative I thought was worthwhile was the one right after Secret Invasion dealing with Hank Pym’s loss, but in reality that didn’t have much to do with anything that is going on now. The Initiative has been shut down and is going to be reformatted under Norman Osborn’s Dark Reign, and it is possible that it could become a bit more interesting to me considering that most of the changes brought on by Normie and the writers behind this insane idea have been alright. But for the most part, I wish Initiative would just get the boot and that certain characters could go get a job elsewhere. I can only hope that when Dark Reign ends, the Initiative will be ended 100% as well.
Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink #1
You would think that a title like Final Crisis Aftermath would provide something to help shine more light on Final Crisis, wouldn’t you? I’m afraid this is not the case though. I was actually excited to read Ink because, just like Escape, the concept intrigued me. The Tattooed Man being a good guy? Ok. I can get behind this. And it ends up being a pretty good read. We have the Tattooed Man stopping a bank robbery, something we’ve never seen him do before, and it’s pretty fun to watch him take down simple robbers in his darker fashion. My complaint, though, is that as nice as it may be, having a title like Final Crisis Aftermath leaves one with certain expectations. I’m not entirely sure why I have these expectations because more often than not, these big tie-ins are disappointing. I’m hard pressed to find a tie-in that I really love which wasn’t written by Geoff Johns. Aftermath seems to be serving only one purpose, though, and that is bringing in a little extra revenue from people who will pretty much read anything, such as myself. You’re not going to get anything interesting or important out of this story unless you are a fan of the Tattooed Man, and I don’t really know how many people can honestly say that.
Guardians Of The Galaxy #14
I’m not sure I really should say a lot in regards to this issue. The reason for this is because, honestly, I don’t know a lot about the Guardians. I’ve casually been reading War of Kings and it’s tie-ins, and in the last issue of War of Kings I met the Guardians for the first time and absolutely fell in love with them. I thought their entrance was so well written and so funny that I went and scraped for everything I could read. I instantly picked this issue up without reading what came before it, which I almost never do, and I must say that while I thought the art and writing was great, I felt I missed a lot by not previously reading anything with the Guardians. That and I really liked Rocket Raccoon and he was pretty absent from this story. So I’m going to refrain from writing a lot about this issue and wait until I catch up with the previous 13 issues so it might hopefully be better to me. I will continue reading the story beyond this point, even if I don’t catch up, because I like this issue, as much as there was stuff left out for me. The Guardians are definitely something I will be reading on a regular basis post-War, though.
Immortal Iron Fist #26
With this issue we finally see the end to the Eighth City story that was inherited from the Brubaker run. I’d say that Iron Fist dropped a little during this arc just because it wasn’t Brubaker telling the story he started, but Swierczynski does a formidable enough job making up for the difference, and is definitely better on this title than he has on Cable. While I think the ending is a bit anti-climatic, I believe it’s entirely appropriate given the circumstances of Iron Fist and who the character of Danny Rand is. There is still a decent amount of action in this one as there has been in the past, and it’s not that much of a let down. While I think Iron Fist was a lot better under the guidance of Brubaker and Fraction, it’s still a great read and it still comes recommended from me. I really like the art because while it’s not Aja, it closely mirrors the style in which he originally did Iron Fist, and it seems rather appropriate. What I really like about this issue, though, is that now Swierczynski can go on to tell his own original stories, and do with the character what he wishes to do rather than follow in the previous shadow cast by the aforementioned giants. Iron Fist will still stand tall in the future, although not quite as tall as it once did. Still, now is a great time to get into the book because a new era is dawning, and I’m really looking forward to see where it takes us.
Ms. Marvel #39
Hmm… where to begin exactly? I should be honest and say that the reason I started reading Ms. Marvel at the beginning of the Dark Reign stuff was partially to be a completionist and read (almost) everything that happened with Dark Reign, and partially because I knew Deadpool would be come to Ms. Marvel in the future and I wanted to be prepared for that. As much as I am confused about how this book connects to the rest of the Marvel univse (considering Carol Danvers is running around saving lives in New Avengers yet dead here), I enjoy the general direction this book is taking. I’ll be honest: it’s not a strong book. If you are skipping over this book, you’re not missing much of anything at all. The writing is not overly compelling and at the end of the first issue of this arc I don’t feel any closer or more pulled into the book than I previously was. It still ends up being an enjoyable read, though. While I’m not overly drawn in, I’m still curious as to where the story is going to go, what this new element AIM has brought in to the equation will lead to, as well as who the mystery alien woman in this issue is (although I definitely have a guess). Ms. Marvel, while not really anything special, is still a fun read and something I can casually endorse, although not too steadily or overly. This book pretty much just “is,” as it were, and for comic fans like myself, it adds a nice extra point to the Dark Reign saga, but for everyone else it just provides another pretty comic face.
Once again we are left with a very simple Superman issue. Since his departure from the title, not much has happened in regards to building the story. The story picks up where the previous issue left off, but as so many comics do it quickly glazes over what was happening with a simple explanation, a pat on the back, and a lolipop at the reception desk. I understand that someone needs to take over the reigns of the Superman book now that Superman is gone, and I agree that Mon-El is just the person to do it. I’m glad to see him free of Phantom Zone and out doing some good, but this book is just too slow to build up any pace or momentum that makes me want to stick along for the ride. We lack any sort of cohesive plot, really, and there is no outright danger or suspense. I would go so far as to say that my complaints for the Spirit carry on to my complaints for Superman – instead of having a nice cohesive storyline, what we get are fragment adventure tales that don’t appear to be adding up to much of anything. Mon-El just isn’t holding his own as a central character, and this is the world we unfortunately have to live in for the next year or so until the end of New Krypton and Supermans return to Earth. I know that there will be a crossover with New Krypton at some point, and it’s nice to think about, but I just wish there wasn’t so much filler in between stories that matter.
Spider-Man: The Short Halloween
This was the first big special this week, and the reason is it was because it was written by two of the cast members of Saturday Night Live, Bill Hader and Seth Meyers. While on the one hand this may say something to other people, it doesn’t do much for me (although I do find Bill Hader pretty funny). The issue ends up being a slightly amusing one, although it’s nothing really noteworthy. Due to Halloween and a case of mistaken identity, Spider-Man and some kid in a Spider-Man outfit switch places and are hunted by each others villains. While really nothing special, it is nice to see entertainers who want to become part of the comic world. I’m not sure that every single famous person who happens to have an interest in comics should be writing them, but Meyer and Hader don’t do too bad. They do capture the humor elements of Spider-Man very well, and even the action sequences aren’t that bad. What you end up with is a book that is pleasing if you got it but nothing to cry about if you didn’t manage to find it. I’m not sure what kind of relationship the two comedians plan to have in the future with comics, but I don’t think I would trust them to work on a comic of Spider-Man’s size on they’re own. They can feel free to write these little one-shots, though. If nothing else it provides a nice little yet ultimately forgettable read.
The Sword #17
My God, do I love the Sword! As you all previously saw, this book came highly recommended from me, and this issue of the continuing story does not let down. The Sword is a high octane thrill ride and I eat each issue up like candy. My only real complaint is that, of course, each issue has to end. I almost wish I had waited until this was a graphic novel so I could read it at my own pace because doing at within the constrictions of what is allowed in a serialized comic book is annoying. Don’t misunderstand me though, this issue is once again fantastic. The Sword is definitely one of those books that could reignite people’s love for comic books. In this particular issue, we continue to see the fight that began with the last, but this one becomes more epic in scope as Dara faces off against a giant mountain man version of the Earth God. What I really like about this issue is that we see the scope the effect has on the rest of the world and it helps to show that this is not some kind of isolated incident out in the middle of Nowhere, Mexico. The battle for the Sword is something that will concern all of humanity, and the cost of this one blade could bring more destruction than anyone ever originally planned for. This is arguably my second favorite book this week, right behind Green Lantern.
Teen Titans #71
I’m a big fan of Deathstroke and his family, so I was excited about the Jericho arc and the Deathstroke one-shot, both of which brought back Ravager. In this issue that acts as a Teen Titans epilogue to the events of Death Trap, we focus on Ravager, and it ends up being a really poignant issue for her character. Ravager spends the issue debating her own morals and wether or not she should join the Teen Titans. She walks a morally gray line, but she still wonders if there is more to life than that which she had previously allotted in somewhat following in her father’s footsteps. This issue really captures what I believe to be the essential dilemma of an anti-hero. I’m not really a Teen Titans fan by any measure, but I really loved this issue, and it may not be my last. I hadn’t been reading either Titans books before Death Trap, but this one promises to feature Ravager and her future, and that really intrigues me. While I still can’t say that I honestly really care for any of the other characters, her and her alone would keep me coming back to this book as it comes out.
Batman In Barcelona: Dragon’s Knight #1
When I saw Mark Waid’s name on this one-shot, I got really excited. When I finished reading it, I wasn’t as excited. This story puts Bruce back in the cowl, and I appreciate that aspect of it, but by the time I finished it, I wasn’t really moved. I guess I’m just so ready to embrace the new world of Batman that I prefer it when writers don’t harken back to the “good ol’ days.” I really want to give this new world a chance to flourish. The story Waid tells is interesting enough, though, and Waid does an excellent job with the dialogue in it. One thing I thought when reading through it is, “This could really work to make Killer Croc a character for a movie.” While I’m not sure what Croc’s villainous origin would be like, him having a tie to Scarecrow helps, as well as bringing some mythology into it as inspiration. I also found myself really enjoying the artwork to it. It felt very smooth and crisp. All in all, it was OK for a one-shot, with a good writer/artist pairing, but it’s nothing to write home about. All it does is somewhat hold us back from moving on and embracing the new Batman, and in that I feel it’s in poor taste, however entertaining that story may be.