This was a really good week for comics and especially for DC in my opinion. It is interesting doing a best to worse ever week, because often if a book showed up on a different week it might win, but the luck of the draw can put even a really good book down a few notches.
All Star Superman #9 - Each issue is a well crafted gem. Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly have put out the best Superman series ever done. I know we have almost 70 years to choose from and I have not read every Superman comic, but this book honors the past and makes it modern. This book has love, humanity, compassion, great supporting cast and the best portrayal of Superman ever done. Morrison has written many, many books, but for me this is his big seminal moment eclipsing all of his others. Frank Quietly maybe producing this book slow, but like Planetary I want Morrison and Quietly to complete the 12 issues run and I don’t care when we get an issue. Quietly has a barrel chest Superman, the clumsy awkward farm boy Clark Kent, the stunning and beautiful Lois Lane, the dorky Jimmy Olsen, ex-jock Steve Lombard all done to a “T”. Not 100% sure what digital inking is, but the digital inks and coloring by Jamie Grant should not be ignored as that is what takes Frank’s art to the next level.
Simon Dark #2 - Okay when a character pops his eye out and places it on a wall for surveillance that is pretty wild. Steve Niles and Scott Hampton are telling one heck of a story with Simon Dark. So far we only know he is dead and was killed again this issue and doesn’t stay dead. What he is and who he is and who all the other strange people around him has yet to be revealed, but I’m looking forward to this story.
Black Adam The Dark Age #4 (of 6) – Tomasi (writer) and Mahnke are putting out one of the top mini-series, especially for a super-hero book. Teth-Adam is a compelling character and even though this series will end where Countdown begins, the journey itself is an incredible story of love and obsession and a desire for power.
Fables #67 - Issue after issue this book is always a great read and an enjoyable tale. The Good Prince storyline is no exception. Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham and Steve Leilioha are producing on of the great all time series.
Atomic Robo #2 (of 6) - Really a well done book. The artwork is so clean and so solidly laid out, that it makes it an easy read. From fighting giant ants to flying WWII planes it is all well done. Ultimately though the simple story told is that Atomic Robo is outliving his friends and while he can’t cry, you understand how much it hurts him. Brian Clevinger (story) and Scott Wenger (art) have a winner with this series.
Teen Titans East Special #1 – I really enjoyed this special and thought Winick as the writer (who just make a makes a comic move) and Ian Churchill as artist (who just gets better) put together a really nice re-launch to the original Titans reforming. This book was all set up for that to occur and while some friends of mine disparaged my enjoyment of the book, they are wrong.
Green Arrow Black Canary #2 - Cliff Chang really makes this book move. His fluid style and clean lines are great for this action adventure series. Judd Winick never lets up on the gas pedal and his dialogue and humor is really well done. DC has another winning series on its hands. The best part was Speedy mouthing off and then Diana having to fight an Amazon to settle the matter.
Booster Gold #4 - This series continues to impress. This issue the mission ends up being about saving Barry Allen from being wiped out of existence as the Flash. At the same time they continue to advance Booster’s own storyline. Really great stuff, told with a modern style, but has all the good elements of a silver age book. Dan Jurgens layouts are really well done and with Norm Rapmund finishing the work the book looks terrific. Geoff Johns (writer) is having a stellar year.
Countdown to Final Crisis 24 - This book has really gotten a lot better since #26. First off the artwork has stepped up and Thomas Derenick has never looked better. I was unimpressed by his work in Shadowopact, as he was competent, but not wowing me. This issue he really shines and his Superman Prime was terrific. The story was exciting also as Superman Prime is searching for his world and he destroys Earth 15, Mary Marvel blows off Darkseid and Desaad is split from Firestorm by the Atomic Knights.
Superman/Batman #42 - This was the best arc ever done on the book and I especially enjoyed the Batman/Bekka relationship. Superman/Batman survived their encounter with Darkseid and Desaad and Bekka appears to have been killed or taken as everything ties to Countdown and Death of the New Gods. I liked this arc so much I mat get the trade.
After the Cape II #1 (of 3) - Nice opening. Captain “G” has now become a full fledge super villain as Mass Effect. He goes to meet his wife and is drunk again. Other bad guys are after him and shoot up the place and hit her. The black and white artwork is muted with heavy blacks, but the artwork is solid and suits this story of a hero going further down the drain. Created & Scripted by Howard Wong, Plotted by Jim Valentino and art by Sergio Carrera.
Nightwing #138 - Solid part of the “Ras As Ghul” storyline and especially enjoyed Fabian Nicieza’s dialogue in making Dick a really intelligent super hero. The overall storyline itself is a well planned cross-over. Don Kramer’s artwork was well done and his action scenes were really nice.
Batman and The Outsiders #1 - Solid opening story. It seems to have dropped whatever was going on with the last lead up to this issue, but still a good start. Chuck Dixon is one of the most professional writers in the business. I don’t think he ever writes a bad comic and if you want an action adventure story, he does it very well. We have all the members of the team deployed to check out a company Batman has suspicions about and low and behold they were making or healing an OMAC. Julian Lopez and Bit do a solid job on the artwork with the opening four pages being especially well done.
World War Hulk #5 (of 5) - It was an okay ending. The Hulk and Sentry fight to a draw, wreck havok in New York, Rick Jones dies, we find out Miek sabotaged the shuttle killing Hulk’s wife etc., Hulk allows himself to be hit by some weapon that takes him out. Romita’s art was okay, but the best picture may have been Finch’s cover. So Bruce is locked up, somehow Hulk’s child is born fully grown on the Planet Skarr. I guess at least we got lots of bruised faces.
Salvation Run #1 (of 7) - Nice start to this story. I really enjoyed that as the villains are thinking they are double crossed it appears that some other people purposely set up this danger world. By the silhouettes it appears to be Darkseid and Desaad. Still a bunch of bad guys fighting against the world and forced to be allies could create a lethal combination if they get back home to Earth.
Nova #8 - Another good issue, but a disappointment as Nova is totally out of the picture for the Annihilation Conquest right now. Still he is on the edge of the Universe and trying to find his way home while focusing the bulk of his power on the virus in his system.
Wonder Woman #14 – Gail Simone finally starts on the book and it was just an okay start. What Gail did do was quickly establish that Wonder Woman has a different method of handling a crisis situation then Superman or Batman, violence is not her only response. Otherwise it was a lot of set up and I will not get a good read on this series until the first arc is done. Regardless Gail gets a lot of forgiveness from me as I hope she will be on this book long term and she knows how to write. Easily better then this book has been.
Superman Confidential #9 - This first meeting between Superman and the New Gods has been well done. The timing of this book could not be any better as it plays off well with what is happening in Death of the New Gods. I especially enjoy Orion and Superman’s relationship and the battle between the two of them was really well done.
X-Factor #25 - Well I give Messiah Complex one thing, it is reading like one long story with everyone getting face time. I hope with how they set this up they have not written Layla out of X-Factor. Still X-Factor has a totally different feel to the book then before it become part of the mega event.
Brit # 3 - So far this is just a goofy a** book. Brit’s sister beats up some sort of Brit clone and we find Brit on the streets forgetting who he is. Cliff Rathburn style fits this book and Bruce Brown is doing a fine job of working with Kirkman’s concepts and keeping true to the Kirkman spirit of thing, while making it his own voice. This book is okay so far and growing on me. ___________________________________________________
Thor #4 - I really, really want to like this book, but JMS tells story so slowly that I almost scream waiting for stuff to happen. Plus he once again does a little social preaching to us about problems in Africa. At least he states it has to be resolved internally. The Warriors Three was telegraphed a mile away, but it was never meant to be a big secret. After a year we will have a story and it will probably read well, but not as an episodic comic. He did the same crap on Squadron Supreme stuff and that just ended in the middle of a story.
Captain Marvel #1 (of 5) - Okay start. My love of the character and enjoyment of Lee Weeks artwork will keep me hanging in on this mini-series. Captain Marvel is back and he wanders around for no good reason and then comes back to New York. A religion has grown up about his return from death. Why? He was not that big of a deal in his day in the Marvel Universe and other heroes have returned from the dead without religions spring up. Seems dumb, even in the context of a comic.
Killing Girl #4 (of 5) – The art is really hurting this book and the story degenerated into a lot of excessive sex scenes that were not all demanded by the story. I would really love to see this comic redone with a little editing and a different artist and it could be a really strong book as the underlying story is great.
Gen 13 #14 - Nice start for writer Simon Oliver, gave us a nice set-up with the group heading off the New York and a new menace from the group that created them. Carlo Barberi is such a fantastic artist, that I think DC should have him on a major book. His work is really clean and concise and he varies his viewpoint and panel layouts very well.
JSA Classified #46 - Decent ending to J’onn J’onzz fight with the telepathic remnant of his brother. Not a book for the ages, but Justin Gray and Rick Leonardi gave us a decent read.
House of M Avengers #1 (of 5) - Alright first off the new 48 page comic with 22 pages of story is just ridiculous, so I guess I should just buy the trade. Next the Canadian Price is still 5 cents higher then the US, but their dollar is worth more then ours now – so why the price difference going the wrong way? To the comic itself, nice art by Mike Perkins, who is getting better. The story was way too text heavy and all set-up. If we are getting this book we read House of “M” and know who Luke Cage is. What we got was his origin story modified for the “House of M” world. A plodding story, that was okay with decent enough art. I should probably cut it, but I’ll give the writer Christos Gage a little leeway as I like most of his work.
New Avengers #36 - This comic is so fragmented that it is impossible to get a read on what is going on or what the point of this book is at this time. Bendis has the New Avengers as ancillary to the Venom virus being loosed on New York and you get the feeling that the Mighty Avengers story line is being usurped due to Cho’s lateness on that book. Note to Marvel start publishing the next arc and make Cho’s last chapter an Annual (see DC – Superman). Lenil Yu’s scratchy style does not suit this book and Bendis just scripts everyone with almost the same voice. Although he really tries to give Luke a more distinctive voice by having him curse all the time.
Welcome to Tranquility #12 – The final issue. A little convoluted for the final issue, but still it was a decent little book by Gail Simone and Neil Googe.
Mice Templar #2 - Way too dense and way too mythical. This book lacks the charm and lush art of Mouse Guard and really fails to draw me into the story. Cancelled.
So only one book got cut, although House of M and Captain Marvel barley made it through to the other side. DC had a really strong week and while they seem to be producing an incredible number of comics on a monthly basis, the level of their quality has been high. The independents were light this week and not all the best, but I strongly believe that the small press has more of the new and exciting stuff. I also know that way too many fans refuse to even order a small press book and many stores don’t order enough to put them on their selves. I’m lucky enough to have the disposable income to follow all of them and I just hope everyone will commit to trying one new small press book every month.