Avengers #9 – I know this came out last week, but this is the first I got it. Jonathan Hickman takes his plot further by having Nightmask and Starbrand confront the folks on Mars, before coming back to Earth and getting into a big punch-up with the whole Avengers team. This story arc doesn’t balance character as well as Hickman’s Fantastic Four run did, but he is playing with some big, interesting ideas. The switch in art from Dustin Weaver to Mike Deodato was pretty jarring.
Batwoman #19 – Trevor McCarthy is doing a fine job drawing this book, but in the wake of JH Williams’s departure from art chores, this comic feels a lot more traditional, and subsequently, a little more dull, as Batwoman’s complicated family relationships are once again the vehicles for driving the plot. It would be nice to see Kate doing something else.
BPRD Hell on Earth #106 – The two-part ‘A Cold Day in Hell’ arc wraps up with Agent Giarocco going looking for Yosif despite her orders. I like that the minor characters are getting so much play in this title these days, and I’m always happy to see Peter Snejbjerg drawing a comic.
Comeback #5 – I know this came out a little while ago, but I somehow didn’t get a copy of it until now. Ed Brisson finishes his time-travelling crime comic off very nicely, as various threads and confusing elements come together, and the fate of Reconnect is decided. This book will read very well in trade.
Conan the Barbarian #15 – It’s a shame that Mirko Colak didn’t finish off ‘The Woman on the Wall’, but the art duties are given to Andrea Mutti, who does a fine job. In fact, this is the best work I’ve seen from Mutti, as we learn the connection between Bêlit and the fortress in the desert that has been under siege. It’s a very well balanced issue, as Brian Wood continues to make Conan a fascinating character, seen in terms of his relationship with the Pirate Queen.
Daredevil #25 – Reading this issue, it’s not hard to see why artist Chris Samnee got an Eisner Award nomination this week – this book is just about perfect. Mark Waid has Daredevil confront Ikari, a ninja with a radar sense who wears a very cool costume based on DD’s first outfit. Waid has given a lot of thought to how a hero with radar sense would fight and use his environment, and really puts Matt through his paces in this fight. This was a pretty thrilling comic, with one twist I didn’t see coming. Great stuff.
Daredevil: End of Days #7 – I continue to love this series, as Ben Urich gets interrogated by the Hand before being rescued by the new Daredevil and the Punisher. This series has been very well-written by Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack, and has terrific art by Klaus Janson and Bill Sienkiewicz. The revelation of the new DD’s identity did not come as a surprise, having been pretty heavily telegraphed a few issues ago, but everything else about this book was bang-on.
Mara #4 – Mara Prince, once athletic hero and now super-powered pariah, takes a brief sojourn with the military in this issue, before striking out on her own. Brian Wood is using this series to ask just how many self-absorbed, celebrity teenagers would, if they were to suddenly develop super-powers, suddenly begin to use them as heroes. This is a contemplative and minimalist series, as Wood allows his themes to play out quickly, without much drama. I’m really enjoying Ming Doyle’s artwork.
Nightwing #19 – When this series started, under Kyle Higgins’s pen, I was surprised that I liked it so much, having never really cared for Nightwing before. Higgins and artist Eddy Barrows developed an interesting approach to Dick as an acrobat and as someone who was trying to create an identity for himself separate from his role as Bruce Wayne’s ward, while remaining an integral member of the Bat-Family. Now, Dick has moved to Chicago (where, for some reason, police shoot at him when they see him) trying to track down the man who killed his parents, and is angry at Batman for the reasons that were never made convincing in the Death of the Family storyline. This issue, which sets Dick up in Chicago, is a little hard to swallow in places, but the biggest problem with this book is the art by Brett Booth. I remember being aware of him back in the days of bad Image comics, and I’m sorry to see that he has barely grown as an artist since the 90s. All of his characters look to be about 20 years old, including Tony Zucco, who has an adult daughter. Many of his pages are stiff and awkward, and the combined effect of his art and the magnitude of event-driven changes to the simple and interesting approach Higgins started this series with have led me to decide that it’s time to jump ship on this book. Soon, I wonder how many DC books I’ll be buying…
Revival #9 – I really wonder what the long-range plan for Revival must look like. With each new issue, Tim Seley is introducing a few more characters and story elements, but very little is getting resolved (although I’m guessing that the story with the three brothers won’t last much longer, after this issue). I’m quite enjoying watching this story play out, and am always happy for regular doses of Mike Norton’s art.
The Sixth Gun #30 – A new arc, ‘Ghost Dance’ begins here, as Drake, Becky, and their crew are being held by some Native tribes who have been sent to find them after receiving visions about them. Also on hand is the old guy from the New Orleans swamps. The Natives are trying to cure Becky of some rather existential issues, while Missy Hume’s crew, bolstered by her mother-in-law’s lizard people, are closing in. I don’t think that description is adequate in explaining how awesome this book is. Just take my word for it.
The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun #3 – As much as I like these books, I wish that they could be scheduled so they don’t come out in the same week – it’s too much of a good thing, followed by too long a spell in between. Anyway, this month the spotlight is on Will Arcene, who owns the gun that shoots fire. As it turns out, he’s a much worse character than his brothers in arms, as we learn a little about his upbringing in this straight-up horror comic. It’s good, but not as good as the parent title.
Thief of Thieves #13 – It’s been a while since the last issue came out, but the reader is instantly tossed back into the action as Redmond and his son have to escape a building crawling with cops and FBI, and also make their escape from the cartel, which they are less successful at. This is always a pretty taut series, and as the issues between father and son come further into the spotlight, it gets better and better.
Wonder Woman #19 – I really like how the Wonder Woman team embraced the potential silliness of the WTF cover gimmick to deliver a bit of a surprise. This issue serves as an epilogue to the long story about Zeus’s lastborn, while also setting up the coming conflict with Zeus’s firstborn child, who is making an alliance with Neptune and Hell. I love Brian Azzarello’s take on the Greek gods, and love this book. I’m sad to see a few members of Diana’s entourage (family? army?) go, but completely trust in what Azzarello has planned. This is my favourite New 52 title.
X-Factor #254 – Whenever Peter David gets into his longer arcs, I find my enjoyment of the book drops precipitously. That’s where we are right now, with the team still figuring out how to deal with the war between the various lords of various Hells, and me wondering why I still buy the book. The thing is, I know that the aftermath issue of this arc, where the team stands around being rude to each other, is going to be gold. I just have to wait it out.
X-Men Legacy #9 – Regardless of your feelings about this book, you have to admire Marvel for publishing such a different and unique take on the mutant corner of their universe. In this issue, Legion and Blindfold go on a date on the moon, where Legion tries to convince her that they have to put a stop to a superhero before he tries to kill all mutants. I like the way Simon Spurrier spins out this story, and that this book is so hard to predict.
X-O Manowar #12 – Aric continues to bring devastation to the Vine’s homeworld, and meets a number of descendants of his people who have been kept there as slaves. This is another good comic in a very solid series.
Comics I Would Have Bought if They Weren’t $4:
Age of Ultron #6
Black Beetle #3
Cable and X-Force #7
Captain America #6
Iron Man #8
Savage Wolverine #4
Superior Spider-Man #8
Wolverine and the X-Men #27AU
Bloodshot #7 – This is a flashback issue, showing how Project Rising Spirit had been using Bloodshot to track down Psiots over the years (always, somehow, in Manila). I’ve been avoiding this title, as the first five or six issues didn’t do much to impress me, but this issue does help inform what’s going on in Harbinger Wars, and features some nice art by Matthew Clark and Stefano Gaudiano.
Detective Comics #18 – Aside from the clearly editorially-mandated images of Bruce standing by Damian’s grave, this is one of the better issues of Detective I’ve read since John Layman starting writing it. The Penguin figures out that Ogilvy, his former aide-de-camp, has taken his money, property, and identity, and he begins to fight back, rather badly, while Mr. Zsasz enjoys his time away from Arkham. This is decent stuff – were the book not $4 a month, I’d probably be buying it.
Legends of the Dark Knight #3 – This issue of DC’s digital-first Bat-book is pretty decent, at least until you think about it. I’m not the biggest fan of writer Steve Niles, but I do like Trevor Hairsine’s art, so I gave this a shot. The Joker escapes mere hours after being locked up (after conveniently being placed in a cell that has a model revolving door and wrapping paper in it), and this causes Batman to question his effectiveness. Conveniently, and for reasons I don’t understand, Gotham PD updating their computer files means that Commissioner Gordon calls Batman to come pick up bags of mail that they had been storing for him for years, and this in turn inspires him to continue with his mission. I’m surprised that Batman only gets thank-you letters, and not requests for help. Also, I kind of question when Niles wrote this story. Hand-written letters and a corded red phone made me feel like I was reading a comic from the 80s.