This week in review will not be as massive as last week and I will lay off the general commentary for the most part. I do want to comment on the last election cycle and state how happy I am with the result. I wonder if the elected persons will get the message if they don’t listen we will throw them out. When the Democrats were sweep into office it was a repudiation of the George Bush era, not a mandate for the change. This election is a repudiation of Obama and the agenda the Democrats were pushing, not a mandate for the Republicans. Also it is the best of all worlds with the Congress being under split control. To me the best the government can be is gridlock, since they have proven they can’t make the tough choices. Let me step off my soapbox now and move onto some capsule reviews of the books that tickled my fancy or raised my ire this week.
I have to say that Batman and Robin #16 was a kick and a mad ride as we wrapped up a lot of dangling plot threads and jumped headlong into the next phase of Grant Morrison’s Batman. A full blown review can be seen here . The one thing I can’t get over was how fast this all wrapped up. It almost felt like it was wrapped up too fast. I will need to re-read Morrison run again someday to see if my feeling is true or if it made sense to finally being those plots to an end for now.
Robert Kirkman’s other main book came out this week with Invincible #75, he apologized in the back matter for the delay. On that note I love Kirkmn’s letter pages as he always talks to the fans of the book and speaks to us about the book and what is going on. So many companies and creators either assume people are following the news on the internet or don’t care what the fans think as long as they are buying the book. Kirkman tells us in each book what is going on with the title. This makes sense because I don’t always have the time to follow all the stuff being reported or read all the press releases, but when I’m reading his books I get information on the series I’m reading. Thanks Robert! The actual issue itself was well worth the wait. The War kicks into high gear with the battle being taken to unreal levels. The shattering of the Viltrumite’s home world was a beautiful piece of comic book work. Lots of death, including, well I won’t spoil it for anyone who may not have read this issue yet. Invincible rewards long term readers with payoffs on stuff that has been set up over the series, but yet feels very accessible to me. I believe even a new reader could read an issue or two and be caught up in what is going on without many problems.
The last issue of The Red Hood #6 (of 6) hit the stands. It wrapped things up nicely, but Jason not killing the Joker felt a little weak. All in all this is a much better origin then the lame idea of a cosmic TV being hit by Superboy and changing things in the DCU. Not sure who came up with that idea, but Winick has added some great depth to Jason Todd and made his becoming the Red Hood more plausible than ever before. I like that he is truly conflicted in current continuity as to whether he is a bad guy or a good guy who goes too far to be a true hero. I wish Judd had acknowledged Grant’s little retro-con about Jason having red hair and was dying to look like the first Robin. I thought that was a cool idea that everyone else just ignores.
Jonah Hex #61 was a good issue. This book has no firm continuity, but it is nice to see that they are keeping Jonah’s continuity from his series of years ago. I loved seeing Jonah and his new bride Mei Ling. Since these stories never follow a straight line I don’t know if we will see Mei Ling again but I wouldn’t mind seeing her. Jordi Bernet has settled in as the main artist on this series with tons of other people coming in to do an issue or two, but I have come to admire Benet’s work. In fact it was his artwork that caused me to get the reprint and translations of The Torpedo from IDW. The Torpedo being done in black and white seems to serve Jordi’s work even better then what we see in Jonah Hex. Of course that is his earlier work and I have noticed that artists tend to have more line work in their art when they are younger and tend to get a little looser as they get older. One day I would love to see the early run of Jonah get reprinted in color, but I doubt that will ever happen.
Another release this week was Doom Patrol #16. I know very few people maybe be getting this series, but this is one of the best books being published right now. Giffen has been hitting it out of the park for the last four or more issues making this book have all the quirkiness of the original run and he is challenging Morrison for making this book a true successor of the first series. When you read the first Doom Patrol series by Arnold Drake he was never trying to create a true typical super hero group. It was half tongue in cheek, half character stuff and a twist of super heroics, but with the strangest rogues gallery every created. Subsequent series of the book tried at times to make them more of a straight super hero book. Morrison and Giffen got the first series and made their versions something unique and unusual. Giffen has even managed to incorporate Ambush Bug into this book and make it work. The deeper we get into the series the more incredible this book has gotten. This issue Giffen is a co-writer and the artist which gives the book a different flavor then what has come before but is still works beautifully. I hope this series last because this series is fast becoming a top ten book with humor, great writing, good stories and out and out weirdness.
It was Jeff Lemire week with my list containing Sweet Tooth #15 and Superboy #1. Both are stories about young people trying to find their way in a world, of course that is about the only parallel you can draw between the two. Incredibly different books that show a good writer can easily cross genres in this business.
Sweet Tooth continues the march of the army Jeppard has pulled together to go after the encampment that forced him to find Gus. Gus continues his escape from the encampment with some of his fellow animal children. We are also with the bad guys from the encampment as they find the house that Gus used to call home. We are fast discovering that the man who raised Gus was way more than he ever revealed to his son. The final story element that was revealed is some sort of connection between Gus and Jeppard, for better or worse their destinies appear to be tied together. Jeff provides the pencils as well as the script for this book and it slowly becoming one of the strongest titles that I read month in and month out.
On Superboy Jeff is paired with artist Pier Gallo, who I never heard of before, but wow was I blown always by his work. I have to think DC is hopeful that this series can become a hit because Jamie Grant is the colorist and he is a top notch talent that always makes whatever he works on look better. The actual story itself was well done and it draws on what has gone before with Superboy yet was a perfect first issue. The story was accessible; the supporting characters were introduced, some foreshadowing of great problems ahead, a good fight scene with a clever resolution and a cliff hanger with a surprise appearance by a character you would not expect. Jeff and Pier have me looking forward to issue #2 and have crafted the best book of any under the Superman family umbrella.
I picked up Batman Confidential #50 as I often a sucker for anniversary issues and I’m glad I did. I recently dropped this title, but #50 was an interesting story and the faux “silver age classic” story serving as the backup as well as giving us the back story for the main story was well done. Unfortunately this was part one of what I believe is a five issue story, so it looks like this book is back on my list for the time being. It also featured the artwork of Jerry Bingham of “Son of the Demon” fame. That story is the one by Mike Barr that was ignored by DC until Grant Morrison came along. Grant never really made it the exact same story, but still it was Barr’s idea from years ago that lead to Damian. It looks like the book was shot directly from Bingham’s pencils, which can often make the work look weak when published, but not here as the work looks good.
Wolverine #3 was the best of the series so far. I like the character Wolverine and no matter how much Marvel tries to screw him up I keep looking for a book to read about him and this restart of Weapon X series might be the one I can follow for a while. I would not mind if they dropped the price to $3 though, at least it does have some extra pages in the comic. I also have to give credit to Marvel by making Renato Guedes work look better then DC did in Superman. I think his light line work translates better in a darker color toned book.
Hawkeye and Mockingbird #6 was a decent book that confuses me when it comes to the publisher. We had a mini-series with these two that reunited them and then launch a series that is only going six issues? Black Widow also stops after a short run and the books merged into a new mini-series. This is either some sort of organic style story telling at its best or Marvel desperately trying to jack up sales on low selling titles.
Izombie #7 is just a great book. This book has so much going for it and this issue has a twist ending that just blows me away. Being a Zombie was never so much fun until now. I keeping hearing the song the “Monster Mash” in my head when I read this title.
It appears that I have found a format that works for me right now and hope it meets with reader approval. Of course be aware as soon as it seems I’m locked into a format some whim will make me want to change it up again.