The Week in Comics! April 2nd 2014
So, annoyingly it seems like my life keeps getting in the way of being able to properly sit down and review the weekly releases. Which sucks! So I’m hoping that if I make my thoughts slightly more bite-size then I’ll be able to stay more consistent with my updates. So without further ado…
Welcome to The Week in Comics!
This is my weekly column where I go through the new comics releases that I read every week, what I liked and what I didn’t. Safe to say there’ll be some spoilers but I’ll try to keep them light.
So if you’re looking for what to read or just some random guy’s opinion on the comics he read this week (that’s me. Hi there!) then join me as I separate the BEST from the REST in The Week in Comics!
Black Science #5
Image. Remender, Scalera, White.
While the hard sci-fi provides the backdrop and the classic pulp plot provides the atmosphere, it’s the gorgeous artwork that truly keeps me coming back Mateo Scalera gets better and better every week, and if you’ve not kept up with this series (or even if you have) invest in the trade when it comes out. Brilliant stuff.
Black Widow #5
Marvel. Edmonson, Noto.
Possibly my favourite issue yet, this book can do no wrong. I had to look up who the revealed bad guy was, but Natasha uses his name as well as his alias and that could be enough for most readers. The art and writing are so simply amazing as to look effortless. Fans of All-New Marvel Now have to be reading this, and old fans are rewarded with the best Black Widow series in perhaps ever.
Avatar. Ennis, Percio
This wasn’t a series that was on my radar at all, but with Garth Ennis writing a Sci-Fi/Horror book I couldn’t resist, and I’m glad I couldn’t. Caliban follows a mining team in deep space, travellling through warp space, a seemingly unknowable science, when something goes suddenly, hideously, unexplainably wrong. Reminiscent of all of the best that sci-fi horror as a genre has to offer – isolation, fear of the unknown, terrifying confrontation with alien beings and situations – and definitely worth picking up.
Captain America #19
Marvel. Remender, Klein, White.
The last few issues of Rick Remender’s Cap haven’t had the greatest impact on me, but I have to say this issue has brought me around. I’m glad I stuck with it; the only reason I did was because I love Remender, as well as the new Captain America film being amazing and leaving me wanting more! There’s a lot to enjoy in this issue if you’re a fan of the film – similar themes, sequences and character motivations. Needs more Jet Black though, one of my favourite new characters of recent comics.
Dead Letters #1
BOOM! Sebela, Visions.
About 2/3rds of the way through this issue I didn’t know whether to be frustrated or intrigued with the way the plot was progressing. The premise – man wakes up in a sleazy motel room with no idea who he is but somehow has badass skills has been done a few times before, but leave it until the last page to get the real kicker. The final scene gives you the answers I assumed would be a long time coming and the noir style mixed with a unique set-up is going to ensure I come back for more. I love it when a new book takes me by surprise. That makes two this week so far.
Marvel. Soule, Madureira, Gracia.
This was almost a given before I even picked up the book. Charles Soule and Joe Mads? It’s a guaranteed buy for those names alone. Add to that the epic wait for this “next big thing”, along with the creative upheavals behind the scenes and my curiosity would have made sure I picked it up. Those last two could very well have been its downfall however, but I’m happy to say my instincts were right, and Inhuman is a great first issue that sets up the new status quo using stellar writing and killer art. Definitely one of the best of the week for me.
Marvel. Bunn, Walter, Bellaire.
First off: that cover by Chris Samnee is my favourite of the week; I’d love to see it on my wall. Onto the book and this is fast becoming a Buy on Sight book for me. Magneto’s journey is a very personal one that drags his thoughts back to those dark days in Warsaw, and the lessons he learned back then are affecting his every decision today. Uncomfortable comparisons are made between him and the unlikeliest of evil men as he faces the monsters within on his quest to explore what it truly takes to be ‘Protector of Mutantkind’. Magneto has always been a villain, killing untold thousands in his time and wiping whole cities off the face of the Earth, but never before has he been portrayed as so intimately barbaric. Truly gripping stuff.
Moon Knight #2
Marvel. Ellis, Shalvey, Bellaire.
God this book is amazing. Seriously. The page count flew by; I was utterly engrossed for like the 10 minutes it took to fly through it and now I want the next issue right now. The writing is gloriously simple, direct, lean. Not a second is wasted. Like Marc Spektor himself, the plot is to the point, flies into your life and gets the job done. In a very VERY competitive marketplace, Declan Shalvey’s art and layouts ensure this stands head and shoulders above all of the rest. Forget your preconceptions of Moon Knight, forget what you think you know about the character or the title, forget that you have read bad versions before or never picked up an issue; buy this book.
Marvel. Soule, Pulido, Vicente.
Was there any doubt this would be in my Best of the week?! Charles Soule is once again on top form, and for the second time this week mind you. The man is everywhere, not that I’m complaining. Smashing robots seems to be Jen’s M.O these days, this issue its Doombots, and lots of them. In the quest to grant Dr Doom’s son political asylum, She-Hulk must navigate a legal minefield and a crowded battlefield. Patsy Walker is again awesome, as is Javier Pulido’s gorgeous art (6 double page spreads. 6!), and with a blink-and-you’ll-miss it moment of foreshadowing involving Jen’s newest paralegal Angie Huang this is a series that keeps knocking it out of the park.
Image. Millar, Parlov.
I’ve not really kept up with Mark Millar’s work over the last few years. In fact I think the last thing I read was issue 1 of Kick Ass 2, when it was printed in Millar’s own Clint magazine. I think it’s safe to say though that this is the best series I’ve read by him, and it will probably be remembered among his best work if it keeps up this quality. The premise of ageing superhero returning for one last hurrah isn’t that original, in fact not many of Millar’s works are, but it’s always about what he does with that premise. The Flash Gordon style is definitely refreshing and I care about what happens to Duke. Definitely worth keeping an eye on, even if you only end up buying the trade.
The Punisher #4
Marvel. Edmonson, Gerads.
Marvel has knocked it out of the park this week. The next part of Frank Castle’s LA Adventure (they really should call it that) is taking us further down the rabbit hole. There are more parties involved in this than initially revealed, each with their own agenda, and the wheels-within-wheels narrative is compelling. There’s a flashback to the worst day in Frank’s life as his synapses are literally being fried by Electro, and more of that great inner monologue that lets us peek behind the curtain of Castle’s mind. Nathan Edmonson has a great set of books with this and Black Widow that, while entirely seperate, complement each other nicely. Another great read.
Angel and Faith Season 10 #1
Dark Horse. Gischler, Conrad, Whedon.
Having just returned to this franchise with Buffy Season 10 #1 (find out what I thought of that here!) I thought I’d really jump on board with this issue too. In no way a bad issue, it shows the other side of Buffy’s #1 and sets up the titular duo for interesting things. It just fell shy of being in The Best section because it relies a little more on prior knowledge of the previous season, and not the greatest jumping on point. not bad, just not the best.
Loki: Agent of Asgard #3
Marvel. Ewing, Garbett, Woodard.
Narrowly missing out on my Best list, this issue took the focus away from the young Loki and led the reader through the mists of Asgardian lore and told the tale of Sigurd, the ever glorious and his manipulation by the newly returned old Loki, whose motivations are still shrouded in lies. Suffice to say Gram, the sword young Loki obtained in the All-New Marvel Now Point One issue (ridiculous name) takes centre stage. The greatest moment that steals the whole book however is the brilliant way Loki dispatches of a giant fish. I’ll say no more but it was surprising and hilarious. A solid issue, but I miss young Loki, so not as great as issues 1 and 2.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude #1
Marvel. Abnett, Lanning, Alves, Clark, Ramos.
I always enjoy reading these prelude comics to movies, even if they are of varying quality. The four part prelude to the first of the new Star Trek movies was particularly good, and actually added to the movie experience. Time and context will tell if this will do the same for the upcoming Marvel feature, but the final team-up of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning was too good to resist. Was it a great comic? Not really. I still think it was a good read though for those eager to watch the film, and definitely a cut above some purely cash-grab affairs.
And that’s it for another week! Marvel was the clear winner in my eyes, with a score of their newest books showing off what they’re currently doing best; namely fantastic titles with a creator-owned feel that elevate the characters involved to heights they’ve previously never achieved. Throw in some brilliant indie books (including two surprisingly good debut issues) and you’ve got yourself an expensive (!) but unmissable week.
Until next time,