Skitch’s Mini Reviews – Week of October 26, 2011

I only read four comics that actually came out this week, but I still have a lot of great comics I want to talk about!

Superman 2

Superman has to be one of the hardest characters to come up with good villains for.  His powers are unmatched, which is why so many of Superman’s villains are more into brains and trickery than brute force (Luthor, Brainiac, Toyman).  Despite that, George Perez has had two issues in a row with really cool and unique villains for Superman to fight.  In this issue, we get a powerful alien creature that is invisible to Superman, while everyone else can see him.  I have loved seeing Superman pushed to his limits this way.

It’s also been great that these two stories both have basically been stand alone stories.  Yes, the two villains seem tied together (and the end of this issue hints at a third), but you can enjoy each issue on its own.  It’s a shame that Perez’s run on Superman is going to be so brief.  He really seems to have a lot to say about the character, and I’ve been enjoying hearing it.

Teen Titans 2

I have to admit, I kind of miss Wonder Girl from Peter David’s Young Justice.  Lobdell’s version is actually a fun character, but such a departure that she is almost unrecognizable.  They really should have just created a fresh Wonder Girl from scratch instead of using Cassie Sandsmark’s name.

But that really is just a personal gripe.  This new Teen Titans team (and it is confirmed by Tim Drake in this issue that there have been other Teen Titans teams before) is shaping up nicely.  I still have a lot of questions about Bart and Superboy, but the new characters seem to have a lot of potential.  Teen Titans has been one of the books I was most excited about since they announced it, and it continues to be one of my favorites.

Aquaman 2

The second issue stepped back a little on the humor from the first issue, but this was still a really good comic.  There might have been a few too many pages spent setting up the Trench, but I still really enjoyed this one.  I was glad to see Mera (not Aquawoman) get a lot to do in this issue.  Arthur and Mera both seem to be having a lot of fun, and I am glad to see that DC has moved past the angsty portrayals of Aquaman that had been all the rage the last few years.

Arkham Unhinged 2

It’s a good strategy to make this book a buck.  It is nowhere near as good as the Arkham City mini-series, but for a buck, I don’t mind springing for this digital exclusive to get a little more of the story behind the games.  It was kind of cool to see the origins behind the Two Face/Catwoman feud that is a major part of the opening to the Arkham City game, but to be honest, if I hadn’t already invested this much time and attention to the tie in comics, I likely could have skipped this with no regrets.

Batman 2

All right, I have to admit, as much as I have liked the first two issues of Detective Comics, Batman has been much better.  Scott Snyder has some very big and clear visions for Bruce Wayne and Gotham City, and he definitely has me on board for the ride.  Definitely will be buying this one day of release for now on.  I am very curious about this Owl clan.  I can’t help but think of Owlman from Earth-2, but I suspect there is no connection here at all.

Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men 1

This wasn’t a terrible comic, but I did think the dialogue was just painful in places.  Likely will check out a second issue, but there are a lot of better “young hero” books out there, including many that are part of the new 52.  I do think the Jason and Ronnie dynamic could be interesting, but this book was nothing that really grabbed me.

All Star Western 1

I love western comics, and this is a very good one.  Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham make a unusual little team as they look to track down someone who has been killing Gotham’s prostitutes.  This leads them into a wicked little conspiracy that shows Gotham City was a messed up place long before Joker and Two-Face.

At San Diego Comic Con, one of the Batman artists mentioned that there are some artistic connections between the architecture of Gotham City in All Star Western and the other Bat titles, but I would be lying if I said I noticed them.   I did like that we saw one of Penguin’s ancestors.

Flash 1

Barry Allen was dead before I started reading comics.  I am sure I am not the only comic fan who can say that.  I’ve never had a real issue with Barry Allen as Flash, but at the same time, I’ve always never had a real connection with him.  Wally West is my Flash.  He’s been Flash as long as I’ve read comics, and is the Flash in the Justice League Unlimited and Young Justice animated series.  So I went into this book with a lot of concern.

Thankfully, the first issue had a real compelling story and some gorgeous art.  I still might not really care about Barry, but for the first time, I genuinely am willing to give him a try.  That said, I still am curious if Wally exists as a speedster in the new 52 universe.

Voodoo  1

I have said this before, but when I first read the description of Voodoo, I never put it together  that this was a version of Voodoo from Wild C.A.T.s.  This might have been the best comic ever completely set in and around a strip club.  I kept expecting Voodoo to be a good alien here to protect us from Daemonites, so in the end when we realize she is a ugly, evil shapeshifting alien, it was a nice surprise.  Really curious where the plan on going with this series.

Justice League Dark 1

Thankfully, this comic is much better than Peter Milligan’s Secret Seven from Flashpoint. The setup was really well done, and I felt a much better connection to these characters.  I also am pretty sure this is the first glimpse we’ve seen of the modern Justice League.  This book has potential to be a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.  So far, I have loved every “The Dark” book I have read, and Justice League Dark was no exception.

THUNDER Agents 7-10

I don’t know why it took DC so long to get the last four issues of THUNDER Agents up digitally, but here they are!  As much as I loved the first five issues, I thought 6 felt a little off for some reason.  I actually had suspected that part of the reason was that I needed to read the next issue to put it all together, and I was right about that.   Taken as a whole, 6-10 are even better than the first five issues.

Granted, I could especially feel that way since 6-10 have healthy doses of Mike Grell’s art, and it’s very much in the same style he used for Jon Sable, so that definitely helps.   The story was also very compelling, with us learning Iron Maiden and the original Dynamo’s story, and the cascade effects those issues have on the current incarnation of the team.   I am really looking forward to the next 6 issue mini-series that starts in November.

I do hope that DC hurries up with THUNDER Agents Chronicles.  I am very curious about the original series now, but I can’t bring myself to pay the absurd prices of the Archives. Amazon has used copies of THUNDER Agents Archives Vol. 1 for 60 bucks.  Really??? 60 bucks for four comics??

Classic GI Joe 1-5

I was surprised to see IDW post up the first five issues of Marvel’s G.I. Joe series.  I am a huge fan of G.I. Joe comics (though not the toys or cartoon, oddly enough).  At a buck a piece, I had to pick these up.  I ended up reading them all in one sitting.  I had actually forgotten how deep some of Larry Hama’s stories go.  The entire first issue is about the Joe team being assigned to rescue a woman that many in the team consider a traitor to her country.

In just one comic, Larry Hama was able to introduce the team, tell a deep compelling story, and give the reader a lot to think about.  This is a talent we don’t see in comics all that much anymore.  If you were as disappointed by Blackhawks and Men of War as I was, I would really suggest trying these issues out.  For a buck a book, what do you have to lose?

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