My recommendation of the week – Echo. Terry Moore’s newest story is so well crafted that each issue is a joy to read. This is a writer/artist at the top of his game. It is apparent to me that he has the entire story written and is now just letting us read it a chapter at a time. Filled with the most realistic people I have read in any comic or prose book in many years, trapped in a fantastic situation.
Echo is one of the best books on the racks!
I Kill Giants #6 (of 7) – Writer Joe Kelly, Art JM Ken Niimura. From all appearances it seems a giant (actually a Titan) has shown up and Barbara is engaged in a great battle with the Titan this issue. She fights valiantly to save her friends and her mother (who has cancer). At the end it appears that she sacrifices herself to take down the Titan. I’m pretty sure this has been a fantasy of Barbara’s and that in fact her mother may have died due to cancer and this is the way one child is trying to cope. I’m really looking forward to the last issue of this series and if it ends as well as the series has been written I’ll be looking for the trade. This is a truly heart felt story and is also not just maudlin, it is entertaining and has some nice humor touches mixed in, just like real life.
Action Comics #872 – Writer Geoff Johns, Art Pete Woods, Colors Brad Anderson. New Krypton has really changed the entire world around Superman. This issue was a middle chapter, but still had a lot of impact on where this title is going. We see that Lex Luthor is starting to unlock some of the secrets of Brianiac and is working on the body of Doomsday, none of this can be a good thing. The biggest confrontation is between Superman and Alura (Supergirl’s mother) as she was the one who authorized deadly force to get the enemies of Superman. This issue also has the Creature Commandoes, GI Robot and Ultra-Alien brought back into the DCU. Johns loves the silver age DCU stuff and is always bringing those elements back into current continuity. The issue ends with the apparent death of Zor-el at the hands of human enemies which is really setting the stage for a confrontation between Earth and New Krypton.
Final Crisis #5 (of 7) –Writer Grant Morrison, Art JG Jones, Carlos Pacheo, Marco Rudy & Jesus Merino, Colors Alex Sinclair. I swear so much happens in each and every issue that I need a primer or at least about five footnotes per page to understand what is going on. We have scene with the Green Lanterns which are well done, we have battles in Bludhaven (with some beautiful scenes with Mary Marvel). It is just at this point that the series almost needs to be re-read each and every time a new issue hits to understand the full story. Plus I believe that Grant’s other chapters (Superman Beyond and FC Submit) are probably very important to the story itself, but what fits where is confusing at this time. The ending lost its shock value as I have no clue that the character is that shows up (I have read that it is the new Monitor). What I do get from this book is a sense of menace and foreboding like no other event in the DCU. It feels like Grant is making changes to the DCU that can’t be ignored. I wish I got all of the references that Grant has in this book, but I know I will be buying a reprint with annotated notes down the road.
Batman Confidential #24 – Writer Andrew Kreisberg, Pencils Scott McDaniel, Inks Andy Owens, Colors I.L.L. This has been a great series giving us a different angle on the Joker, by taking us back to the beginning and we see that Batman and the police just cannot figure out what the heck he is. It has become apparent that while crazed, he is also brilliant in and of his own right. It is funny as this is the second time this series has done a first Joker story and both have been very different and yet both are enjoyable.
Superman Batman #54 - Plot Michael Green & Mike Johnson, Script Mike Johnson, Pencils Rags Morales, Inks John Dell, Colors Nei Ruffino. Last issue Batman got Superman’s powers and this issue he starts to learn how to use them. Batman is also going through some growing pains as he remains focused on his mission but is further removing himself from his friends. Superman is adjusting to being human and makes the mistake of trying to save someone and getting shot in the gut. One note I did not like was Batman accidentally killing Bane. I’m sure he rushed him to a hospital and all and he was saved, but he was dead.
Epilogue #3 – Writer Steve Niles, Art Kyle Hotz, Colors Tom Smith. I believe this is only a four issue mini-series, but the premise of a vampire playing vigilante has been well done. This issue we see that Epilogue is starting to like and trust the female detective who is part of a team chasing him down. We also see some old world vampires flying into town, pissed off about a good guy vampire. The ending looks like it should be fun. It is funny how two vampire books have similar themes about the older vampires being ticked off with the younger generation.
Booster Gold #15 – Writer/Pencils Dan Jurgens, Finishes Norm Rapmund, Colors Hi-Fi. Dan Jurgens returns to his creation as both writer and artist and is trying to show up you can go home again. He actually picks up on some threads left by Chuck Dixon and then works in the Elongated Man from the past. This book is very difficult as dealing with time travel is always a convoluted situation, but then adding in various continuity bits from other stories and this book will be tough to keep going as a monthly series. Still Dan’s first issue was well done and I enjoyed the reference to stuff that happened in 52 between Ralph and Booster.
Titans #8 – Writer Judd Winick, Pencils Howard Porter, Inks Wayne Faucher & Prentis Rollins, Colors Edgar Delgado & Hi-Fi. This series is floundering badly. We are eight issues into the story and we are still just trying to establish the group. Right now they are trying to figure out who Joey is inside of. We see a terrific battle that takes out their new headquarters, but was all in Nightwing’s mind as Joey has taken him over. I hate this, by the way, since Dick is not super at least he should be given the wherewithal to have enough brain power to beat Joey inside his own mind.
Trinity #28 – Front Story Writer Kurt Busiek, Pencils Mark Bagley, Inks Art Thibert, Colors Pete Pantazis, Back-Up Writers Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza, Art Tom Derenick & Wayne Faucher, Colors Allen Passalaqua. – As a straight up DCU adventure, this is a good story, but it is just not worth the amount of page count a 52 weekly series makes it have (1144 pages). On one hand the story about Dick, Lois, Donna and Alfred finding each other in a world without the “Trinity” and trying to figure out what’s wrong is interesting. Seeing the bad guys escape from this slightly fascist version of the DCU is also a good story, it is just not about Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman and that is what sold me on wanting to read the book. I’m actually getting tempted to drop the book because while well done, it is not what I wanted to read.
Ambush Big Year None #5 (of 6) – Plot & Pencils Keith Giffen, Dialogue Robert Loren Fleming, Inks Al Milgrom, Colors Tom Smith. This series has been a bad idea. The first issue was funny and since then it has been meandering around and giving us maybe a laugh or two each issue. I love Keith Giffen, but not everything can be a good book and this book has been a clean miss.
Secret Invasion Dark Reign – Writer Brian Bendis, Art Alex Maleev, Colors Dean White. Okay who the hell decided to make Namor look like this! He appears to be a big nosed, balding scruffy guy who looks like he is eighty at times and then too young other times. As horrible as the end of Secret Invasion was this book held hope that at least the end game of the bad guys being in charge could work, but this dark “Illuminati” did not work. Emma felt forced as being the “leader” of the X-Men. Dr. Doom was inconsequential, Namor’s horrible look took me out of the book, the “Hood” is still a force feed as being a player in the MU and Loki would never have attended this. Finally when Norman goes crazy at the end of kills the Swordsman it made me realize that Thunderbolts is a book that will now be forced to play to the new “Dark Reign”. I will try a few of the Dark Reign titles because the different writers may make the concept work for that title, but overall it appears to be a big mistake for the MU. I just hope Captain America, Daredevil and other titles I like are left alone from this crap.
The last few weeks have been rough as we have not seen as many strong books as normal. This always seems to be cyclical where I have some weeks that I can’t decide out of three or four books what should be best and then weeks like this where there are some good books, but nothing absolutely spectacular.