It is certainly great news to hear that both DC and Marvel are looking to make more of their standard series $2.99 and DC is doing away with all the backup series. I’m even okay with a page count of 20 as that just means maybe a few less splash pages. Heck the wide screen double page spreads maybe disappearing anyway as the digital age is finally coming to comic books and they don’t work as a digital. One thing this does not mean is that I will buy crap comics. What it does mean is I will be more willing to give unlimited series a chance and maybe allow marginal mini-series to ride out till their conclusion at $3.
Onto the reviews and it has been a decent week this week.
Hawkeye & Mockingbird #5 – So I read this book and have been enjoying this action/adventure/romance book and then I read where next issue is the end of the series, what the heck! Apparently it will morph into Hawkeye & Black Widow team up book or something like that that I’m sure it involves Mockingbird. Lately Marvel has made a habit out of forcing fans to try and follow character’s continuing adventures into different books. Hercules takes over the Hulk’s book that morphs into a two part Funeral for Hercules, which becomes a four part Amadeus Cho book that I believe has become the overblown Chaos War. Never have I cared less about a supposed event. I dropped this halfway through the Amadeus book as it was not worth $4 and now I feel I have missed some key elements setting this thing up so I’m skipping it. I followed Atlas and that was tiring, Daredevil apparently will become a Black Panther series as DD goes off to be reborn in a new series. Now this series which just got started and is getting bang up reviews instead of being given a chance Marvel wants us to follow then off into different series. Not sure what I’m doing, I just know that right now I was having fun with a little series that had its own continuity and now it is being turned into a different animal.
Madame Xanadu #27 – I’m sorry to see this series get cancelled, but with this last arc I have lost interest in the book. The last few issues have relegated Madame Xanadu to a bit player in her own book. The rotating artists have been interesting and can tell a good story, but it is not a style of artwork that I care for in this book. Amy Reeder’s work was so fluid and beautiful that the indy vibe art we are getting now does not work for this title. The actual story and art were well done and I liked it, but it was not about Madame Xanadu and that is why I buy the book.
28 Days Later #15 – This book deserves to get recognition. While Walking Dead is deservedly getting tons of attention, 28 Days Later is another post apocalypse book that just continues to get better and better.
Wolverine #2 – The only reason I’m giving this book so much rope is Jason Aaron. Due to Scalped Jason has earned a lot of credit with me, but truthfully the series is falling flat. I’m not immersed in Logan’s history so all the bad guys being in hell is not that exciting. Plus it is becoming apparent that this is a gimmick and a story arc to launch this book and not redefining Wolverine. Plus do you really want to redefine what has arguably been the most successful character created by Marvel after the silver age.
Brightest Day #11 – Oh goody more mysteries! I’m really tired of the “Lost” style of telling a story, which is minor reveals, but layering mystery upon mystery. Johns and Tomasi are better than this, let’s get into the story and start explaining stuff and let the adventure begin, hints and teases only take you so far.
Izombie #6 – This issue we get “The Origin of Spot, the Were-Terrier”. Chris Roberson’s has wonderful light hearted scripts that still convey plenty of emotion. At the same time Mike Allred’s quirky, yet more realistic art style gives this book an incredible fun vibe to it. It is building a foundation, giving us back stories on the characters and at the same time giving us a good story. I was never a Buffy fan, but I have to think this book is a sort of heir to Buffy, but I think it has a lot more to it as Buffy was building up its mythology as it went along and it appears Roberson has had most of this mapped out from the beginning. Each issue is better than the last.
Doom Patrol #15 – The DP with the help of an AI named Millicent shut down Super Chief. This book has taken off and become one of the best takes on the Doom Patrol ever done. Even the addition of Ambush Bug to this group seems to work. A book you really have no clue where it is going to go from issue to issue. This has become one of my favorite series, especially one that is officially part of the DCU.
Uncanny X-Force #1 – Just when I thought all the super hero books set in the MU were boring me, then along came this new series. Remender with his frequent partner in crime Opena give us an X-Force that is left of center and all half crazed. I hate Deadpool and avoid him like the plague, but in this book he was the star of the show. We have Archangel apparently running ops with Deadpool and he disappears. There is a new Apocalypse and Angel is not going to rest until he kills him. Wolverine, Psylocke, Fantomex and Deadpool are along to help him. It is all out action, with plenty of great characterization moments and interpersonal bits mixed in. I’m not sure how Wolverine goes to Hell fits in, but enjoyed this book so much I don’t care.
Echo #25 – This series continues to be one of the best books on the stands. Julie is now growing larger and Ivy is shrinking and getting younger. The bad guy is acting as though he is Cain from the Bible and the super collider back at Henri could create a black hole. With the alloy that is now Julie’s second skin, it and the collider combined looks like an end of the world scenario as scientist are pushed by the military to experiment with forces beyond their ability to control. This is a wonderful illustrated novel and it appears we are building to the climatic point of the story. I look forward to each installment.
Superman: The Last Family of Krypton #3 (of 3) – Cary Bates and Renato Arlem turned in one heck of a good story. This is easily the best Superman book on the stands. This book proves two things; one the Elseworlds format is still a viable idea and allows for some great stories to be told, second that Cary Bates still has it as a writer. Some writers from days gone by have lost it for me or their style was good for the time when they were popular, but other writers are just that, solid writers who can adjust and change for the times. Cary is very good and could school a lot of comic writers in structure and how to tell a story. The story of Superman coming to Earth as part of the entire family was very enjoyable and well told and does what I think the best Elseworld stories do and that is to show us the heroes are heroes no matter what the circumstances of their lives.
Scalped #41 – It is a middle chapter of the latest arc called “Unwanted”. I’m no longer sure what to say about this book, except that it is one of the best comic book series ever done. It is a seminal work in progress and the book that made Jason Aaron and yet has still not won enough accolades for the artist R.M. Guera. People say Sandman, Watchmen, Planetary and others as the best series of all time; well this book belongs in that grouping. If you love comics, love noir type stories and you are not reading this book, then you are making a mistake.
Batman Odyssey #4 (of 13) – I have no clue what the heck is going on in this series. The plot is crazy and I’m not sure if it isn’t some hallucinogenic dream or what. Neal’s art though is outstanding and Scott Williams’s inks were a great compliment to his work. This book is like a thrill ride with characters being out of character, but it still works in an almost carnival like type of atmosphere.
Rebels #21 – I love this series and it has been a consistently well done book since issue #1. This issue though the focus is more on two rookie Green Lanterns instead of Vril Dox and his LEGION. While it was a fun story with a cool battle between Lobo and the new GLs, the GL stuff has three series all to itself and Rebels only has one book. I want more about the LEGION, then GL in this book.
Batman Hidden Treasures – So this was a 22 page story told in splash pages with the accompany text next to each panel. I’m guessing that they commissioned Kevin Nowlan to ink it long after the book had been penciled, but this is insane that this project with Bernie Wrightson’s pencils has been sitting in desk drawers for 13 years. It was a well written story, the art is gorgeous and the addition of the original Swamp Thing meeting with Batman being republished and re-colored by Alex Sinclair was icing on the cake.
American Vampire #7 – I heard someone say they have passed on this book because they are sick of Vampires. Heck with Twilight and now Marvel going nuts with it and True Blood, the genre is overworked. I felt the same way and also felt the same way about Zombies, but excellent stories are excellent stories and like Walking Dead is the one Zombie book you should read (I would make it two with 28 Days Later), you need to be reading American Vampire. The second arc is probably better then the first arc as we jump ahead a decade and catch up with Skinner and this issue even catch a glimpse of Pearl. Scott Snyder is writing what maybe a seminal work for him already. Rafael Albuquerque is certainly growing as an artist and each issue surpasses his last.
Well that is a wrap for this week, but I do want to mention both Sweet Tooth #14 and Secret Six #26. Both are strong series in the middle of current story arcs and have to be considered some of 2010’s best series. This week was the best week of books in a long time.