As you may have already seen, we decided to mix things up a bit this week and split the Wrap Up into 2 different articles: This week in comics, and Comic of the Week. One article will of course be dedicated to the Comic of the Week and one will cover the rest. This week’s Comic of the Week is Batgirl #41 from DC Comics. It was a close week with some nice books from different publishers and Daredevil #16 was very close to bringing it home. Be sure to read up and check out more on Batgirl #41 here. The rest of the comics are below.
Daredevil #16 – Buy
Matt Murdock is in a tough spot because everyone knows who he is and what his weaknesses are. In order to protect his friends, Matt is willing to make a deal with the Kingpin. While trying to maneuver the Kingpin into doing what he wants Matt is simultaneously having a face off with The Shroud. This story is good and it has been for the entirety of Mark Waid’s run. This issue however really nailed it on the art. Chris Samnee is masterful and has been doing killer work at Marvel for a while now. This issue stepped it up a notch in the pages where Matt and Fisk were in the art gallery. Fisk lets us know the paintings relax him and of course Matt can only see 3 dimensional shapes (not flat surfaces) giving us a good inside joke with all of the art being various depictions of Daredevil being murdered.
E is For Extinction #1 – Pass
This book is weird. It is an X-Men Secret Wars tie in of course and it is derivative of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run. It features some of the same characters who have gotten little play outside of that run (Beak and not Warren Angel) and other classic X-Men but the pairings are weird. Scott looks old and lumpy. Emma looks to be older as well. The X-Men are led by Magneto. There is a Phoenix Egg. It’s interesting but I can’t say I really cared for it. The art was actually very nice in a Euro-Quitely send up kind of way.
Fight Club 2 #2 – Buy
Fight Club 2 is a sequel the the popular book by Chuck Palahniuk. You read that right, this is the sequel not an adaptation of the sequel. I missed the first issue the week it came out but made sure to read both for this week. Overall the art by Cameron Stewart is very nice. There’s not much to say about the art because the nature of this book is not going to do anything crazy. It’s cartooning but it’s fairly realistic cartooning. The acting is good. The camera placement is good. It is exactly as this book should be. The colors of course are done by Dave Stewart since this is a high profile Dark Horse book and just as predictably they are perfect. I’ve never heard anyone say anything negative about Dave Stewart’s colors and this book is no different. They are suitably moody. Palahniuk does a good job in this book in not falling into the common mistake of novelists writing comics by not being too wordy. He uses his words sparingly. My only gripe would be that in some ways it feels a little too throw backish. I never read the original book but I did see the movie and loved it. I think writers doing sequels, especially of beloved works with long breaks, love to have call back moments to the original book. This happens multiple times in this book and I think they need to knock it off. It’s nice when used sparingly but can get beat into the ground. If you are a fan of the original movie or book, you should definitely be reading this.
Green Lantern: Lost Army #1 – Pass
Green Lantern: Lost Army is DC’s new Green Lantern Corps book from writer Cullen Bunn and artist Jesus Saiz. The story is not bad but it is not great either. I typically don’t connect to Cullen Bunn’s work, my favorite thing of his I’ve read being most of his Magneto run. The story is totally in setup mode and very little happens. The art by Saiz I don’t know what to say about. It’s not dissimilar to his previous work and I can’t place my finger on it but I don’t love it. There is some good acting and facial expressions but something is just off with Saiz’s work. It’s neat and clean and the inking isn’t overbearing. I think my problem is with the coloring. I’m no artist so I could be wrong but I think the colors are all digital and there’s just something about it that is equal parts attractive and off putting for me. Weird right? Anyway, I’m rating this a pass but let’s just say it’s not a hard pass like the last issue of Green Lantern was. I’ll probably check out the next issue.
The Infinity Gauntlet #2 – Buy
This issue picks up right where the last issue left off with Nova-Mom (my wording) arriving back with her family. She proceeds to give her children, husband, and dog (at her youngest daughter’s insistence) the ability to harness the Nova force. This issue continues the setup from the last issue and I would have liked to have gotten a better idea of what was going on. We see Star Lord and Gamora show up and we see Thanos in a battle against a Nova only to be defeated, flee, and meet someone unexpected for help. This issue is a buy because like last issue, Justin Weaver’s art is next level stuff.
Invisible Republic #4 – Buy
It was a lite week for Image but Invisible Republic is not a lite book. I don’t believe I have talked about this book before but it’s a future science fiction by Gabe Hardman and Corrina Bechko with colors by Jordan Boyd. Basically we are following an A plot and a B plot where one plot is in the future and following a journalist who found some manuscripts and is learning the story of a former revolutionary leader from decades before. The second plot is that history that he is learning. The story is set on a moon somewhere and Earth is mentioned so we are talking far future and it’s certainly dystopian to some degree. It is fairly obvious early on that this comic will not lack depth and the team has said they hope this will go at least 30 issues. They know where it’s going and how it will end though they don’t have it completely mapped.
While everything about the story is good, Hardman’s art really steals the show. Of all the art I talk about in this week’s wrap up Gabe’s work is definitely up there. Gabe’s realistic and detailed style is perfect for this type of story and he is simply a fantastic story teller. His art is not the kind of work that is going to blow away the average non-art person but it’s really good. Boyd’s colors are, like I’ve said on other books, suitable to the mood of the story and using a limited pallete. My only gripe with this book is the lettering. I don’t know if it’s intentional. I’m no lettering expert but basically every speech bubble is bigger than the area of the text. It is kind of weird.
Justice League 3001 #1 – Borrow
Justice League 3001 #1 is a bit bananas. I’m not sure what happened at the end of the last series to cause this book to need a new #1 but it certainly has to be very derivative of the previous series. I have no idea what is going on and while they do a decent job of dragging you into the story by explaining things, I’m still a little lost. The gist is, we are in the future and Cadmus has created a new Justice League using DNA from former leaguers. We have a Superman with the DNA but not with the heart and spirit. We have a Batman who seems about right but may be lacking some of Bruce’s confidence. We have a female with Flash that has some of Barry Allen’s DNA, a female Guy Gardner in body with the mind of Guy, and a Wonder Woman who seems to be more aloof. There are other things to add to the madness; there is someone claiming to be inhabited by an evil Lois Lane, we see Fire (who apparently had intercourse with Etrigan the Demon) and Ice, there are mentions of Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, and Maxwell Lord. It’s like writers Keith Giffen and J.M. Dematteis were tripping on acid, came up with a new idea but had to throw in whatever they could from their Justice League International run. Howard Porter is on art on this book and it actually looks pretty awesome. I know some like him and remember his run on Morrison’s JLA but I really didn’t like that stuff. I thought it was messy and kind of gross at times. This work looks much more consistent and crisp and reminds me of Lenil Yu. The colors are nice as well. I put this as a borrow because I can’t make heads or tails of it but the craziness is intriguing enough to get me to read the next issue too!
Korvac Saga #1 – Pass
Some books are forgettable. This is one. I read this book but barely remember it. I know there are 2 territories in a Cold War type state. I know that Michael Korvac leads one and has a Guardians of the Galaxy team and that Wonderman leads another and has a West Coast Avengers team. Maybe this will connect more to people with touchstones like the original Korvac Saga or the teams in the issue. I don’t and it did nothing for me. The art was not ugly but I didn’t like it. Yawn.
Planet Hulk #2 – Borrow
Out of the arena in a land of Hulks. Steve Rogers has hooked up with Doc Green and they are on a mission to thwart the Red King and save Bucky. Pony Tailed Cap’. Devil Dinosaur. Hulks. Yep. The art is still very nice. This issue was less compelling than last but is still fun. It drops to borrow only because of budgets of money and time.
Sons of the Devil #2 – Buy
Sons of the Devil is another new Image book and I missed the first issue the week it came out. It is written by Brian Buccellato and has art by Toni Infante. The story is a mystery right now and appears to be targetting horror or suspense. I am not sure where it is going but I am intrigued by the story of a young man who grew up an orphan and is obviously more than he seems. I won’t give too much away on the story. The art is nice. I’m not familiar with Infante but it reminds me of a low rent cross between Rafael Albuquerque and Sean Murphy. Don’t take that as a slight though. Those are 2 guys at the top of their craft. Being low rent versions of them is not a knock. It’s simply saying this art is not quite on that A level but it is very strong. It’s scratchy, messy, and a little dark. I hope this continues in the right direction because it feels like it could replace another Image title that I have been liking less and less for a few issues now.
Superman #41 – Pass
There are books that are passes because they aren’t good. Then there are books that are passes because they are bad. This book is a bloody mess. Superman #41 keeps penciller John Romita Jr. from the previous run and drops Geoff Johns as the writer and replaces him with Gene Luen Yang. I was actually looking forward to this issue because I liked Romita on the previous issues (others have disagreed) and I like the idea of getting new voices like Gen Luen Yang instead of maintaining the old guard. While I have not read anything by Yang before, I have heard of some of it (non-superhero) and heard good things. Unfortunately, it just is not working here. I was skittish on the new Superman status quo (that we’ve seen in other books but actually starts in this issue) where Clark is outed by Lois as Superman and everyone knows but now I am full blown done with it.
This book is so bad I’m creating a second paragraph… The book looks terrible. It looks like Romita was given a week and the deadline was the greatest concern. The story is extremely boring. I am completely over this new power where Superman can channel all of his energy for a big explosion and lose his powers for a while. I accepted the concept initially but that was before I found out they would use it every time Superman is on a page. I am tempted to keep going but it’s probably best if I stop now. This is worse than the grounded story line by JMS a few years back. Why can’t DC find someone who understands and can write Superman?
Uncanny Avengers #5 – Buy
This issue of Uncanny Avengers continues and finishes the story arc of an alternate Earth hidden in our solar system, always just on the other side of the Sun and out of our vision because of it having the same orbit. This planet is ruled by the High Evolutionary and there are all kinds of mutated bad guys there. The team is unique and there is a lot going on. Since this is the last issue of the arc and series, I won’t go into detail. Let’s just say the story is good but is propelled to the next level by Daniel Acuña’s unique art work. Acuña is not just good but he is one of the most unique artists working in superhero comics today.
The Walking Dead #143 – Pass
I am going to stop including The Walking Dead in this weekly column. I don’t enjoy it like I used to and I’m kind of tired of it. I just keep reading it because I read it. I don’t know if anything I say about it can add or take away from the conversation. It feels like it’s just noise. We all know the formula. Mediocre art. Things get better. Until they aren’t. Things have been good for a few months. It’s time for the shoe to drop. Someone we care about is going to die soon.
We Are Robin #1 – Pass
Too much setup with no meat on the bone. I can’t recommend this but maybe the next issue will get on with it. I like the concept and I like the art.The cover is ballin’.