It’s the variety of comics that I look forward to every week. Super heroes, adventurers, and others are representations of literature figures that entertain me or make me look at the world in different ways. I mean, how many times have you considered a moral dilemma from the perspective of “what would Peter Parker do”? Of course, I’m talking to the comic readers, right? That’s why I really enjoy books like Astro City – one of the books in this week’s pulls. But there’s always something new and I really enjoy that aspect of comics. Let’s take a look:
Justice League #42
The second episode of the Darkseid War, and I have to say I’m very entertained by the rate of progression for this story. Jason Fabok’s art is spectacular and Geoff Johns has really got something in mind for us with this story arc. It’s engaging and definitely gives readers something pretty novel with the variety of action that’s going on in this book. There are about four distinctive scene changes and that’s a lot of action. Especially Batman … hate to leave a teaser but there’s a really awesome development with Batman that really makes sense if you think about it. Check it out.
Secret Six #4
An awesome cover by Dale Eaglesham. If you haven’t caught my praise of Dale’s work in the past, then you’ll always read my glowing regard for his sterling work. It’s just great work and we really need to see more of it.
Unfortunately, we don’t see his work inside. Ken Lashley and Tom Derenick tag-team for the art on this one. It’s pretty good – I can’t complain, but seeing an artist you really love work the cover and not the interior is a really big tease.
Gail Simone delivered some pretty funny moments for us in this issue, but it lacked the same intensity that last month’s had. Otherwise, this was a pretty humdrum issue other than a few dark chuckles here and there.
Astro City #25
Another great self-contained issue about a hero’s origin from Kurt Busiek and Jesus Merino. It’s refreshing to see a hero who wants to be one for the right reasons, raised in a good home and deals with her gifts – good and bad – in a very constructive way. This was a feel-good issue and it’s a reason why it’s always fun to visit Astro City.
Kel Symons and Nate Stockman never fail to deliver with this science and sorcery adventure story. The art seemed a little rushed in is this issue, but so was the action. In this issue, Reyn and his companions discover the true history of the World of Fate and it’s a doozy. Definitely a lot of fun and I love how they manage to blend swords and spaceships together in a rip-roaring adventure.
Years of Future Past #3
I didn’t like the last issue, if faithful readers might remember: too cliché and too much external reflective exposition. This one was marginally better, but still possessed a note of melodramatic sentiment that seemed too cartoon-ish rather than serious storytelling. I especially didn’t like the obvious “Star Wars reference”.
Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders #1
The decent thing about the Secret Wars is that at least they give characters like Captain Britain a chance to step out of the shadows of obscurity. Remember the awesome series, Captain Britain and MI-13? Yeah, probably not, because it was cancelled after 13 issues or so and it remains one of my favourite recent Marvel books of all time. Leonard Kirk was the artist on that one and it was awesome. Captain Britain is too rich of a character, so I’m glad to see him returned to the Marvel forefront, even if it is only temporarily for the duration of the Secret Wars.
Alan Davis, the original Captain Britain artist from way back delivers the art for us. I’ve been a big fan of his work from then, but I wasn’t too keen on Mark Farmer’s inking. Al Ewing provides the story for us and let’s look at that.
First impression: weird … but strangely, I liked it. I’ve never been a fan of Dr. Hussein (fans of MI-13) might remember her, and I especially didn’t like the idea of her taking the mantle of Captain Britain. Sorry, I might be a bluff old traditionalist, but I like Brian Braddock. I also was surprised to see the “Judge Dredd” parody with Luke Cage in the Dredd role. It was odd, also seeing the Stark-Yinsen roles reversed, but like I said, I kinda liked it.
Guardians of Knowhere #1
Sigh … Angela. Can they actually find a use for this character somewhere? It’s like Marvel spent all this effort resurrecting this character from the backwaters of time and they haven’t been able to place her anywhere useful. Secret Wars might help her a little, as everything is new again, but I get a pang of pity every time I see this character rear her Viking-helmed head.
Bendis and Deodato … nice partnership. Of course, I liked this. What’s really cool in reading a few of these Secret Wars issues together is that I’m starting to see the gradual unwrapping of Doom’s massive con job. Like in Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders, people are starting to question if there was a world before Battleworld and Doom’s will. In this issue, it’s Gamora who brings up the question and it’s because she can remember Thanos. Thankfully, Angela’s role in this is fairly minimal, serving as a Thorsguard for Doom. So her role is limited to busting heads and being outsmarted – a choice role for her. I hope she doesn’t figure prominently later on.
Overall, not bad and I’m glad it was recommended to me at the last minute.
Planet Hulk #3
I’ve been enjoying this series. It’s odd but, of course, what isn’t odd in Secret Wars, right? Sam Humphries and Mark Laming deliver an amazingly unique tale of the version of Captain America in this savage land of the Hulks: appropriately named Greenland. I wish they had changed the name to reflect it as a region of Battleworld rather than capitalize on the name of the incredibly successful mini-series, but I guess that name recognition sells titles, right. Still, it’s definitely one of the better Secret Wars titles and has a unique “Conan” twist this on Captain America and his warbound brother, Devil Dinosaur. It’s really worthwhile picking up.
I really don’t like Agent Brand. In fact, I hated the art in this book. Keiron Gillen delivers an amazing story but the art by Filipe Andrade is too fuzzy and undefined. I like art that’s solid and doesn’t get in the way of appreciating a good story. Two strikes against a really good tale.
Moon Knight #17
We return to the “Marvel that was” with this book. I don’t know how Cullen Bunn managed to stave off the Secret Wars from interfering with this book, but I’m really grateful that he has. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Secret Wars has managed to produce some pretty cool books, but it’s nice to return to a semblance of stability in Moon Knight … of course, given Marc Spector’s mental state, that’s a bit of an ironic statement.
I love this book. Apparently though, according to my comic guy, I’m the only one who orders it. Weird, because this is a revisiting of Moon Knight that doesn’t dwell on Spector’s schizophrenia, but rather than on his relationship with his patron god, Khonshu. There’s a real contradictory sense of worship and doubt in the way Spector sees the god that gave him his abilities and it’s very entertaining to see it gradually reveal itself in these recent issues. Always a good read … this is a book that more people should be ordering.
In terms of the best comic for this week’s pulls, I’m going to have to give the nod to:
Planet Hulk #3
I was talking about variety earlier, and this comic has a very strange and eclectic collection of elements that are so different that it’s a real surprise to see it all come together. It’s a lot of fun and I especially liked the insert of Laming’s conceptual art for the various creatures that all Greenland their home. The Sea-Hulk was inspired by Ray Harryhausen’s work all “Hulked up”, was very entertaining and a reader can tell that there was a lot fun in its creation. This is a great title and one of the successes of the Secret Wars event.
So, variety is the spice of life, as they say; but it’s also the apparent recipe for success for a decent comic. Well, at least in my eyes it is. But do yourself a favour: get out there and grab a few of these titles so that you can enjoy a bit of fictional spice in your life as well.