by Mike Carey and Peter Gross, with Dean Ormston
This issue continues the two-part storyline featuring Australian Detective Didge and vampire Richie Savoy, who are investigating a pair of zombie attacks that they believed were caused by the writing of a young boy. Savoy suspects that Leviathan, the wounded creature that has the ability to make stories real, is involved in what’s happening, and he seeks out Madame Rausch, the ‘puppet lady’ for some answers.
Since the Cabal was taken apart by Tom Taylor a while back, this title has been casting about for a proper villain. We got a cult leader for a little while, and have never been too sure where Rausch stands, although this issue suggests that she clearly has her own plans. This issue introduces the idea that Leviathan is not the only creature of his kind, and that other such beasts, fed by more modern stories, are in competition to fill its place in the story-ecosystem.
This book has always been interesting, and I like the way that Carey and Gross give the spotlight to a pair of characters who don’t often get much play. The dialogue between the two works very well, and I always think it’s nice when Dean Ormston provides inks over Gross’s pencils; it changes the feel of the book a great deal.
All Star Western #17 – I’m not sure why Jonah Hex is still hanging out in Gotham if he hates the place so much, but now he’s helping Alan Wayne recover his wife from a walled-off, plague-ridden section of town at the same time that Vandal Savage appears in town (you know that’s not all a coincidence). This is a good-enough story with some overly-descriptive narration (it’s a theme this week – check out Uncanny Avengers below), and some always-nice artwork by Moritat. In the back-up, Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray channel their inner Warren Ellis, giving us a story about the steampunk Jenny Freedom, a century baby. It looks like we’ll see the rest of the 19th century Stormwatch next issue, only I’m not sure I really care.
Avengers Arena #5 – As much as I don’t want to like this book, Dennis Hopeless’s strong character work keeps bringing me back for more. The spotlight is on Kid Briton this issue, and as we suspected, he’s an arrogant jerk. Arcade makes his first reappearance since the first issue, trying to ramp up the competition in Murder World, and some alliances are formed while others disintegrate. Kev Walker is back on art, and things just keep moving along nicely. I think I’m going to start preordering this book now.
Batman Incorporated #8 – I want to talk about this book without giving away any spoilers, despite the fact that the end of this comic was released in the news, has been all over the internet prior to the book’s release, and is talked about openly in that stupid new ‘Channel 52′ thing at the end of all the New 52 books, let alone given away by one of the two covers to the comic. When Grant Morrison first came on to Batman a few years ago, he introduced a new character who has been one of the best things to happen to the Bat-books for years, breathing new life into an old dynamic. I’m not sure why DC would want to change that, unless, of course, the events of this issue are going to be reversed soon. I would suggest to DC that they reverse it in the very next issue, because as of right now, I’m going to be dropping one of the Bat-titles I read, only for the role that one particular character plays in it. If he’s not there, neither am I. On a less cryptic note, I love Chris Burnham’s art this issue – the scene where Dick and Damian lunge forward, with a big cloudy ‘Boom’ behind them is brilliant – pop art-y and cool all at the same time.
Comeback #4 – As Ed Brisson’s time travelling story continues, new elements to time travel keep getting introduced, although the agents that work for Reconnect are clearly not given a lot of details about their own business. Brisson’s written a smart thriller, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it ends next month.
FF #4 – FF under Matt Fraction and Michael Allred continues to be a very fun read. In this issue, She-Hulk goes out on a date (of sorts) with Wyatt Wingfoot, and the Moloid kids do their best to ruin the evening, because they are “pitching their woo at The Jen”. I have next to no interest in Fraction writing the main Fantastic Four title, but this is a very good read. On a side note, I never really noticed how much Bentley reminds me of Damian Wayne…
Hawkeye #8 – It’s becoming redundant to talk about how wonderful Hawkeye is, but when an issue opens with a scene that involves the Black Widow, Mockingbird, and Spider-Woman all dressed in 60s go-go dresses with playing cards in their beehive hairdos, and never feels the need to explain it, there cannot be enough praise. Matt Fraction brings back the character Penny, who needs Clint’s help to rob her ex-husband’s gangster friends, and manages to manipulate him into doing just that. David Aja’s wonderful art is augmented by some vintage romance comics covers drawn by Annie Wu. Fantastic stuff.
Star Wars: Agent of the Empire – Hard Targets #5 – John Ostrander’s wonderful James Bond/Star Wars mash-up series finishes off its second volume with this exciting issue, which features a fight with Boba Fett and a couple of very cool plot twists. Ostrander does great work with Jahan Cross, his Bond figure, and Davidé Fabbri’s art is very nice. Recommended.
Talon #5 – I think I have finally made up my mind about this title, and am going to be sticking with it for the foreseeable future. Having taken the time to heal from his wounds, Calvin Rose is ready to make his next move against the Court of Owls, which involves his penetrating an impenetrable (ridiculously so – we’ve far exceeded Bond villain base here) corporate headquarters on an island in Gotham Harbour. Batman and Nightwing have a cameo, setting up the inevitable guest appearance. A big draw to this book has been Guillem March’s art, and James Tynion IV has been steadily building on these characters in such a way that I’m starting to like them.
Uncanny Avengers #4 – I am still having a hard time getting into this series. Rick Remender relies on a lot of third-person omniscient narration in this issue, which is a pretty rare thing in comics these days, with the effect that the this book had a bit of a Stan Lee vibe to it, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. It meant that Remender and John Cassaday didn’t really need to show what was happening, explaining uncharacteristic behaviour, and relying on some brutal prose (“Oblivious, Havok beats Rogue merciless, seeing in her the face of his foe,” is one prime example). The whole mutants as metaphor for racial or sexual difference has never felt more strained as it does here, and I’m still having a hard time buying the need for an Avengers ‘unity squad’, when there are a few mutants on Jonathan Hickman’s team.
Uncanny X-Force #2 – I continue to have high hopes for this book, but there were a couple of things in this issue that gave me a bit of a pause. Why, if we’re going to go to the trouble of bringing Bishop back to the current timeline, would he automatically have to start hunting another little mutant girl? The guy is going to turn into more of a one-note character than he was before. Also, why are Storm and Psylocke driving around in a steam-punk flying car? This makes no sense to me. Other than that, I’ve been enjoying the way that Sam Humphries writes Storm, Psylocke, and Puck, who is probably the main reason why I’m buying this book. I’ve never been a big fan of Ron Garney’s art (and his Spiral is terrible), but I’m going to stick with this title for a while.
Witch Doctor #4 – Another very enjoyable issue, as Dr. Morrow needs rescuing by his paramedic assistant, and needs even more help to reattach his aura, and then use it to try to cure himself of his strigoism. Brandon Seifert’s story is a great read, and I love Lukas Ketner’s art. This is a creator-owned series that everyone should be reading.
X-Men Legacy #6 – And here we have yet another Marvel NOW! title that I can’t quite make up my mind about. Legion rescues Blindfold from her eyeballs-only brother (I know), and comes to a few decisions about himself and his role in the wider mutant community, and six issues in, I’m still not entirely sure of the premise of this title. Legion has cut ties with the X-Men, but wants to do good in the world. I’ll probably give it another issue to impress me, because I like to support some of Marvel’s more esoteric books.
Young Avengers #2 – Things just feel right when Kieron Gillen is writing Loki again. In this issue, Billy and Teddy realize that things aren’t right with Teddy’s mom, they get trapped in comic book panels and rescued by Loki, and bacon gets discussed. This is a very stylish, fun comic, which is a little hard to pin down just yet, as Gillen keeps tossing new story elements at us in rapid-fire succession. It’s all very enjoyably written, and gorgeous thanks to Jamie McKelvie and Mike Norton. This is probably the best book to come out of the Marvel NOW! line.