The Weekly Round-Up #533 With Wonder Woman: Dead Earth #2, Bang! #1, Vampirella #8, Wolverine #1 & More!

Best Comic of the Week:

Wonder Woman: Dead Earth #2 – Daniel Warren Johnson’s Black Label offering is fantastic.  Johnson has Diana trying to save one of the last groups of humans left on a ruined world, and her hope is that getting across North America and to Themyscira will give them all a second chance.  Johnson captures Diana’s optimism and warmth well here, and then does his best to dash it against the rocks, as things go terribly wrong. Johnson’s art is wonderful – it’s detailed and emotional, and carries a lot of excitement – but it’s his writing that really makes this such a great read.  I’d really like to see more from him in this vein.

Quick Takes:

Bang! #1 – Matt Kindt returns with a new miniseries, drawn by Wilfredo Torres that, at first look, appears to be exploring the James Bond style of spy thriller, but as Thomas Cord, the Bond figure, is sent off on his mission, to find the mysterious author Philip Verve, he starts to question how he can have memories from the 1950s, when he’s not even thirty yet.  Kindt says in the textpiece that he’s exploring all manner of pulp style characters from the 1980s (a category that includes characters like Knight Rider) with this series, and what I like about it is that it seems more interested in the mechanics of those kinds of stories than in the nostalgia factor. Kindt is great at mixing cerebral ideas with adventure in comics, so I’m all-in for this series.

Captain America #19 – Cap gets filled in on the history of the Daughters of Liberty, finally learns that Peggy Carter is still alive, and learns how Alexa Lukin has been pulling his strings almost his whole life.  I’m not sure how I feel about that particular retcon, but the rest of this issue is decent. It’s about time for Ta-Nehisi Coates to move this towards the end game though, as the title is getting a little slow.

Daredevil #18 – Things keep getting crazier in Hell’s Kitchen, as Murdock and the police (who, after a rousing speech from Cole, are disobeying orders) search for the missing Libris child, and as the Owl works to consolidate his control.  Chip Zdarsky has a few storylines converging here, as the rich people the Kingpin’s made enemies of decide to wreck Hell’s Kitchen if it can’t be theirs. This has been a great run, and it’s been made all the better by the inclusion of artist Jorge Fornés, who gives this a bit of a David Mazzuchelli vibe.  I don’t even mind that “Daredevil”, as a costumed identity, hasn’t been around for ages. That actually makes this comic better.

Deadly Class #43 – Well, when a Satanic cult shows up and starts slaughtering people, you have to wonder if a series has taken an irreparable turn for the worse, or if Rick Remender has always intended to make this kind of crazy series absolutely nuts around this point.  Deadly Class is at its best when it is focused on the incredible characters that Remender and Wes Craig have made me love over the years. It’s at its worst when stuff just seems to be happening. Earlier periods where the series has veered into chaos have been emotionally powerful, but this issue didn’t carry the punch of some earlier ones.  I love this title, and want to believe in it, but this issue has me a bit worried.

Family Tree #4 – Things get a little clearer this issue, as Judd starts to explain to Loretta what happened to her husband, and why they are being chased by some fanatics.  At the same time, he starts to build a relationship with his grandson, although that is challenged when the fanatics turn up in number and they have to fight their way out. Jeff Lemire and Phil Hester have made this series pretty interesting and unique, although I wish it wasn’t such a quick read.

Guardians of the Galaxy #2 – Al Ewing is making some bold moves with this latest iteration of Marvel’s outer space team.  The resurrected Greek pantheon are making trouble for the Kree Empire, and the Guardians are not doing well fighting against them, even with Hercules’s strength added to the team.  A main character makes a sacrifice in this issue (although the seeds of it being reversed are already present), and the lineup of this book seems to be in pretty constant flux. It is a good issue, with very nice Juann Cabal art.

Legion of Super-Heroes #4 – We finally get Superboy to watch the orientation presentation that the Legion put together for him, which means we finally start to see the origin of the team, and get a sense of what the status quo is for the Legion in this latest iteration.  We get to know a little more about Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy, and Lightning Lad, although really, Garth’s sister seems like the most interesting character in the book, and I’m not sure she’s even on the team. Ryan Sook shares art credits with Mikel Janín, and the comic looks terrific.  I was expecting to find a number of reasons to hate Brian Michael Bendis’s redesign of these characters, but so far, I remain interested and not unhappy. I miss “my” Legion, but I’m curious to learn more about this one, and where it’s headed.

Marauders #8 – This is a pretty emotional issue, as Bishop discovers that Kate Pryde is dead, and we see various members of the Marauders cast react to that news.  What we don’t see is Charles Xavier, which is a little odd, as is the general structure of this series. I can’t put my finger on what it is that’s not exactly working for me with Marauders, but I will say that as a strictly monthly book (instead of being mostly bi-weekly), this title would be a disaster.  The pacing and plotting are buoyed by the more frequent schedule, which is actually a criticism that could be applied to most of these Dawn of X books. Anyway, I still want to see where things are headed in this book, but I’m hoping for some kind of resolution to many of the myriad plotlines that have been developing.

New Mutants #7 – Okay, I think I’ve reached my fill of bimbo Bobby.  This issue jumps through an issue’s worth of space opera adventure, and finally wraps up Jonathan Hickman’s rather confounding story about the New Mutants getting wrapped up in Shi’ar royal intrigue once again.  I think this series needs some serious work, as Hickman’s stories are silly and odd, and the issues written by Ed Brisson, featuring a bunch of c-list characters, is much more compelling. At times, I wonder if there really is a cohesive vision for the X-Books…

Oblivion Song #24 – This is a huge issue, as the rescue mission goes sideways, and it looks like a major character is perhaps stranded on the Oblivion planet.  The biggest revelation of this issue is that it’s going to be a few months before we get another issue – I think that this book has to hold Robert Kirkman’s record for consecutive issues coming out monthly, so I’m not mad about that, but I am definitely looking forward to that next issue. 

The Old Guard: Force Multiplied #3 – We learn the identity of the woman that’s been tracking the group, and what her connection to Andy and some of the others is.  Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernández are crafting a very enjoyable book here, but it’s a quick read, whereas I’d rather a little more exploration of these characters’ very long lives.

Skulldigger + Skeleton Boy #3 – Jeff Lemire and Tonci Zonjic have a great chemistry together, and this issue showcases that well.  Grimjim (the Black Hammer Joker character) crashes a political event, and Skulldigger (the Black Hammer Punisher, more or less) responds.  His new partner, Skeleton Boy (imagine if the Punisher had a Robin) decides to make his debut at the same time, and things don’t go so well.  I wondered why Lemire was still expanding the Black Hammer universe with the main series all wrapped up, but I’m very glad he is. This is good stuff.

Undiscovered Country #4 – I enjoy this deeply oddball book by co-writers Scott Snyder and Charles Soule, and the way in which they are slowly helping us get to know the main characters.  This month, the focus is on the journalist in the group, as we learn that she probably knows the most about what’s going on, as she’s dug into everyones’ secrets. There’s a fair amount of betrayal happening in this series, which has an international group journeying into an America that has separated itself from the rest of the world for thirty years, only to find that it’s changed beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.  For some reason, one of the characters appears to be in two places at once for a large sequence of this story, as she leaves with her brother and is shown still in custody with the others. I’m not sure if this is intentional (although I’m not sure how that would work) or a slip, but it really threw me out of enjoying the story for a stretch there.

Valkyrie: Jane Foster #8 – With this new arc, a new co-writer joins Jason Aaron, Torunn Grønbekk, about whom I know nothing at all.  Also with this arc, Jane is facing an ancient evil in the form of Anti-Life (I keep waiting for Darkseid to show up), and teams up with Thor.  Captain America, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man all also turn up for a bit, and it leaves me wondering when we are going to get an issue of this series that doesn’t involve a guest star or two.  I think that Jane is a strong enough character to carry this book on her own, but it’s been ages since we’ve seen that happen. This is a good issue, but after this arc is over, I’m hoping to go a few months without any guests.

Vampirella #8 – Vampirella’s vacation to the Virgin Islands ends with her dealing with an alien lifeform, while Benny almost gets eaten by some locals.  Priest has me loving this series and character, to the point where I’m starting to wonder what parts of her back catalogue I should check out.

Wolverine #1 – I’m not sure how I feel about this issue.  I’m not sure that Wolverine needs an ongoing series just yet, and I believe that with all the changes brought about by the move to Krakoa, any new X-Book needs to have a clear reason to exist.  The first story in this very large first issue is basically a new issue of X-Force, with a focus on Wolverine, more than it is a Wolverine story. Logan is pulled into an investigation of the ways in which Krakoan flowers are being used as an illicit drug, and it opens with him believing he’s killed his teammates.  Despite the lovely Adam Kubert artwork, I found this story a bit jarring (especially since Domino appears cured of the physical problems she’s currently experiencing in X-Force) and maybe not all that interesting. I liked the second story better, which has Logan looking into Omega Red’s recent activities when he comes to Krakoa looking for amnesty.  It ignores the fact that Red was recently a part of the Weapon X book, working alongside Old Man Logan, but that’s fine. That ends up being a vampire story, which is a little strange, but as a solo Logan story, it worked a lot better. What I really don’t know is which of these two stories is getting continued in the next issue. Is this title going to run like the New Mutants title, alternating between two storylines, but featuring the same main character?  Where do these stories fit in the continuity? Anyway, I’m going to give Ben Percy a few issues, because I’ve been preordering it, but I am not hooked yet. At the same time, Percy’s X-Force took me a few issues to get drawn into as well…

Comics I Would Have Bought if Comics Weren’t So Expensive:

Atlantis Attacks #2

Batman #89

Fantastic Four #19

Firefly #14

Manor Black TP

Teen Titans #39

Bargain Comics:

Marvel Team-Up #1-3 – I quite enjoyed this fun and light story by Eve Ewing that has Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel pulling a Freaky Friday kinda thing, and body-swapping.  Ewing has a good handle on both characters, and I come away from this a little more interested in the young hero event that Ewing has coming up (but, I guess, not so interested that I know its name).