Whoa, this week was a whopper and I feel absolutely spoiled. With everything from pulp revivals (Five Ghosts) to great superhero action (FF and Young Avengers), from dynamic debuts (Lazarus) to the best comic in recent memory (Hawkeye (read: Hawkguy)) there is something for absolutely everyone this week. So get down to your local comic book store and get to reading!
All-New X-Men #13
Recommendation: Momentum is finally starting to build no this series and it looks like we’re in for a wild ride with apparent return of the Phoenix force. Honestly, the best part of this issue was the conversation about Alex Summer’s speech though. Kitty’s monologue alone was worth the $3.99 price of admission. I’m actually glad Rick Remender stirred up controversy with that issue of “Uncanny Avengers” because the fallout has resulted in a lot of thoughtful dialogue about the labels we apply to ourselves and others.
Avengers Arena #11
Recommendation: I did not realize that this series was wrapping with issue #18, but now that I do, I’ll savor each issue a little more. There are the first hints of an end game here, but the story remains focused on the characters and how the terrible circumstances of this book have changed them. I never read Avengers Academy, but I now really dig Reptil, hopefully he’ll make it to the end.
Recommendation: Pretty, pretty art. Seriously, Jae Lee’s art is gorgeous. Top that with an intriguing little mystery and this is a fun book to read. I’m not sure on the story, but that’s simply because the narrative isn’t defined yet. The style of the book clearly is and that two page intro spread gives me hope that this could become one of the best titles at DC right now.
Recommendation: New arc! This is another book that appears to be taking its first steps to some sort of end game. While the superstructure begins to draw itself closer to Jo, the newest arc moves ever closer to the present. I’m really excited about having another extended arc, especially with an antagonist that’s every bit a monster, but perhaps entirely non-supernatural. As always, great stuff.
Recommendation: I keep trying to draw comparisons between the foursome occupying the pages of this book and that of the original FF, but continue to fail. That’s a good thing though, because there’s really a unique dynamic to this team and it’s much more enjoyable to watch them grow, then to watch a semblance of the more famous foursome. This is another dynamite issue that thrives on the same type of adventure, creativity, and family dynamics that made Kirby’s comic so compelling.
Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray #4
Recommendation: Barbiere flexes his muscles again, telling four small, stylized tales within the superstructure of the ongoing story. Each of the challenges that Fabian confronts, not only reflects the core idea of the “stories” they represent, but are told in a way that makes the comic feel like it belongs in a new genre every few pages. Ranging from a wizard’s challenge to a samurai duel, each page hits the right notes (except for possibly The Detective’s challenge) while compelling the overall story onward. Only one issue left, which means there’s still time to catch up on this pulpy delight.
Jupiter’s Legacy #2
Recommendation: Nobody can make characters say exactly what they are thinking like Mark Millar. And that’s not a compliment. At every turn characters state their motives and opinions as clearly as possible leaving no room for subtext. Beyond that, everything they have to say makes them really unlikable. Of the four main characters in this book, the only one who may garner a glimmer of sympathy is a coked up, brat. Everyone else is just an unlikable a$$hole. The worst part though is that Quitely’s art feels rushed at times and his contribution is, without a doubt, the best part of the book.
Recommendation: Greg Rucka is a master of his craft. From “Gotham Central” to “Stumptown”, the man just writes great comics and this is no exception. It’s a dystopian future that fails to feel cliche and a troubled protagonist that fails to feel two-dimensional. It all feels fresh and that makes it really damn enjoyable. Buy this book.
Morning Glories #28
Recommendation: I’m really enjoying the larger issues as they seem to be more immersive in a world that’s so full of moving parts and mysteries. It’s like bumping a half hour of television to a full hour time slot and it really works. If you’re not already reading Morning Glories, I won’t recommend starting here, you really have to start at the beginning, but it’s worth it.
Recomendation: This was a pretty fun caper book. It also manages to avoid any exposition in a way that’s impressive for any debut issue. The powers idea is intriguing and the story is tight with a non-stop attitude. That does prevent it from offering much in the way of characterization or a story premise though. I’ll call this one fun enough to come back for round two, but it lacks the kind of content to get someone begging for more.
Uncanny X-Men #7
Recommendation: First though, great reveal at the end. It’s subtle and doesn’t feel like Bendis is introducing a twist for its own sake. This issue added a nice component of character momentum for Magick after six being nothing but fluff. She’s scary and sympathetic, leaving you unsure where her arc is going. All I know is that Dr. Strange and Dormammu are involved, so I’ll stay on board for now.
The Wake #2
Recommendation: The mash up of horror tropes (almost cliches) with innovation continues to drive this book forward. I keep finding moments that really ought to fall flat (the empty tank) sending shivers up and down my spine. I think that’s due to the original bits of the story, like the potential origin of the monsters and the more subtle reveal of what is really happening in that last sequence. I’m still 100% sold on this book.
Recommendation: After only two issues this is the best X-book on the market at a time when X-Men books are better than they’ve been in a decade. Brian Wood engages in the opposite of Bendis’ style, keeping a big story very compressed (the first arc is only three issues) while keeping the focus of the book on the characters. Speaking of characters, Kitty, Rogue, and Jubilee all sing in this months issue. Everyone one of the leads has a distinctive personality that prevents the X-ladies from feeling gimmicky. It’s a truly natural team book that just happens to espouse girl power. Girl power rocks.
Young Avengers #6
Recommendation: Tight story telling, brilliant design elements, great art (even with a fill-in artist); month after month Young Avengers knocks it out of the park. If it weren’t for Hawkeye (and maybe Batman, maybe…), this would be the best superhero book on the stands. I feel really spoiled this week. Thanks Kieron!