This Week: All-New Ghost Rider #7, Amazing X-Men #11, Armor Hunters #4, Batman Eternal #25, Catwoman – Future’s End #1, Cyclops #5, Edge of Spider-verse #3, Ghostbusters #20, Guardians of the Galaxy #19, Harbinger: Omegas #2, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #17, Loki – Agent of Asgard #6, Lumberjanes #6, Magneto #10, New Warriors #10, Nightbreed #5, Red Sonja #12, Sixth Gun #43, Storm #3, Thunderbolts #31, Tomb Raider #8, X-O Manowar #29[toggle title_open=”That means happy new year.” title_closed=”Shana’Tova.” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]We are Living Myth Magazine, and we are here to read comic books! Every week, we go and feed our addiction (single issues mostly online, trades mostly from conventions or Big Pete’s). And every Wednesday we respect Woden, the God of Comics, and we speak of the stories that he, in his greatness, has brought us. We speak of it on twitter. That’s a preview, though, and there’s times we don’t pick up the things we were looking for or end up picking up things we didn’t talk about.
So, here’s what comics we got this week and what we think about ‘em after the reading. We rate these things on a five symbol scale. The first two symbols are for art, the second two for story, and the last is based on whether we think this is a gateway comic – is this something we would lend to friends to get them into this series? This last one is a tricky thing, but if we think it is, then the comic gets this symbol.
Symbols can be broken down into quarters and look like this from quarter to whole: , , , and . Two symbols is a good comic, three symbols is worth taking the time to hunt down and look at. Anything at four or more symbols is of the highest possible quality.
If you click on a comic’s title it’ll take you to where you can buy that title on Amazon (at least until Big Pete starts selling comics online, after which it’ll take you to Big Pete’s), unless it’s not on Amazon at the time when this article is published. Non-title links will open new tabs and take you to places I think are either informative or funny, depending upon whim.
Take the apple. Take it in your hand and weigh its life, its experience, its purpose. Place the blade against the peel and cut all the way through. Sliced into slices, laid exposed. Next comes the honey, contained and waiting. Dip the apple in the honey. Eat the apple. Eat it. Share it with those you love. Wish them a happy new year. The happiest new year. We could all use a happy year.
Okay. Savvy? Everyone with us so far? Cool. Onwards goes us.[/toggle]
Is the art growing on me or is it just figuring itself out? The art during the non-action sequences is actually pretty great, but whenever the violence starts it becomes difficult to follow – not impossible, just kinda weird. Not so here, which is great. The writing continues to be awesome, an exploration of the consequences of the socio-economic collapse and what good people are forced to do to deal with the utter insanity of modern financial theory. The inner conflict of the main is interesting, and the promise given us at the end of this book makes me want the next issue right the hell now.
Sometimes things change, and they change for the worst. In this case, the Avengers have come up for dealing with the worst infestation to hit Canadian soil since the Harper Government – they’ve discovered that the Wendigo turn back into ordinary people when they are no longer in Canada. That one advantage will not last, because supernatural curses and the beings that power them care nothing for mortal politics. Worse, the resulting imbalance is affecting the very soul of Canada, which means things are going to get very bad, very quickly, which is making this an absolute blast to read. This series moves from one moment of awesome to the next, and I’ve loved every issue of it.
When the Armor Hunters showed up they blew up Mexico City and everyone in it. The fallout was devastating, and Aric of Dacia was willing to sacrifice himself to save the world. Problem was, the Armor Hunters planned to destroy the world anyway. Here, Aric realizes this and decides that this is not a thing that he will allow. He basically decides that he is the king of not only the Visigoths, but humanity as a whole – and so he goes to war with the Armor Hunters and they die, because Aric is pretty much unstoppable when it comes to a fight. This event feels like it went on a little long, but the payoff and what comes after should more than make up for it.
It’s Hush? Hush is behind everything? Okay, I guess that works. At least whoever is writing him this week understands what the character is actually about and how he talks, which instantly puts this title back into awesome territory. The art is pretty okay, but there’s some great writing and fantastic dialogue here that brings the bat-family closer together even as Batman discovers how badly he’s being played by the new political system. Better still, everyone is brought up to date on everything going on, and Alfred’s daughter is as great as Alfred himself. I cannot wait for this title to be collected in trade.
What is it with Catwoman spin-offs and guest appearances and one-shots? It’s like she’s great everywhere that isn’t her own book, and this is no exception. We get good art and a fantastic bit of writing that shows why Selina really is Bruce’s equal, as she manages to conquer and then destroy the Gotham underworld, throwing it into utter disarray with an expert’s touch. The foreshadowing of what she’s up to at the beginning of the book is only recognizable for what it is in retrospect, because thew whole thing is really quite clever.
The concept of honor is a tricky one – how much weight does an oath carry unless one is willing to follow through on it, for good or ill? There’s a lot of musing here about the price of that responsibility, and also a good deal of sword fights and ambushes. It’s a delicate balance walked with the expert precision of Greg Rucka. This series continues to be so much better than it has any business being, thought-provoking and deceptively deep. Excellent stuff.
Quick – describe a state of being. Take your time, think about it. Having trouble? It’s because you can’t; our lingual systems are set up to describe doing, not being. It’s a mistake some writers make and it’s made here, the whole story being a sample of tell-don’t-show. It’s a shame, too, because I’d love to see this exact concept played out over a mini-series and given the attention it deserves, especially given how pretty the art is. Conceptually, this is brilliant and deserves better and more time – a lot of promise and potential, which only makes it more frustrating.
All gods demand sacrifice. It’s how they bargain, even when what you want is for them to leave you alone, and that’s really all you should want from Cthonic deities and especially Tiamat. What we end up with here is a rumination on what it means to sacrifice, and what it costs, and we are shown the depths of Winston’s herosim because of it. He saves the world, and all it costs him is the one thing that means the most to him.
Once, Marvel was dealing with Dark Days. There was Civil War and Secret Invasion and Dark Reign and Fear Itself and Schism and AvX and very little of it was good, but that was alright. During those terrible times, Cosmic Marvel picked up the slack with Annihilation and Annihilation Conquest and the Thanos Imperative, and they were great. At the end of the Thanos Imperative, Starlord and Nova sacrificed themselves to stop Thanos once and for all – but then Starlord and Thanos popped back up for (ugh)nfinity with no explanation. We get that explanation here, and it is chilling. You’re going to want to read the Thanos Imperative to get the most out of this but, trust us, you want to read that anyway.
What is the price of godhood? The offer of it is difficult, because if you accept it you run the risk of becoming a tyrant, but if you run from it you will be hunted by people that think they have a right to tell you how to use your gifts – and should you fail them, they will kill you. Possessing the power of a god would be horrifying, and Harbinger has been a study of that, of power and failure and consequence and ambition and hubris, mostly and always hubris, and this is no different. Harada tries to make a place for himself in the world and Stanchek just wants the world to leave him alone, but neither is going to get what they want. This is the price of godhood once it is known: tragedy or compassion, pure and simple, but the people here are capable only of the former.
Nothing happens in a vacuum. There’s always cost, place, a sense of one thing leading to another. Yes, that last one is an illusion of time that we commonly call causalty, but from the perspective of a largely fourth dimensional species this illusion can be forgiven. One thing led to another and a king was murdered and a whole people were cast out thousands of years ago. A secret was kept and another stolen, but now the time has come to claim what was taken and bring it into the light, both to save a life and save a world. These comics are endlessly better than they have any business being, with a staggering degree of detail, character, and consequence. Utterly fantastic.
One of the larger problems with facing off against one’s self is that the other self is capable of doing terrible things and leaving you to deal with the consequence, especially if very few are aware that there are two of you. This means that the other might win, and it certainly looks that way here. Dr. Doom recognizes Loki as a threat without knowing that there are two of Loki, the Tom Hiddleston version and the Classic Villain. Classic Villain is the threat, while Tom Hiddleston is trying to control the narrative flow. Sadly, Doom is aware of narrative flow and the equivalence of space and time, and is thus able to trap Tom and I want the next issue right now. Genius may not be easily rushed, but that does not make waiting any more bearable. This is easily one of the best comics being published right now.
There’s something hopelessly charming about this comic – a sense of youthful energetic fun that makes this whole series an addiction. Six issues means that we’re going to get a trade soon (I hope!), and I will be picking that up the minute it shows up at Big Pete’s. In the meantime, take my word for it and pick this up, as it’s full of ordinary girls dealing with supernatural threats and taking everything in stride, because kids are generally better at dealing with the impossible than adults or gods, and that’s why the kids beat an ancient mythological being at capture the flag. Is that a spoiler?
Comics like this one are one of the reasons I hate big crossover event things. We’re gearing up for something called Axis now, which sounds like the sort of thing that will involve the Red Skull. Thing is, the Red Skull is in this comic, and has been set up as the primary antagonist, but because of the coming event this story feels rushed. I know this isn’t the writer – the pacing of this series otherwise has been spot on – but this isn’t near as strong a narrative as we’re used to from this title. Given the high rating this comic is getting anyway, that should tell you something about how good this series is.
A kitten is killed. The High Evolutionary killed a kitten. There is no coming back from this, no redemption, no hope. A man told me this once and all that resulted was pain and him being proven wrong, but the ashes of his words never left my heart or mind. The High Evolutionary is trying to save the world, never thinking that perhaps the heroes of the Marvel Universe might be able to band together to save the world… maybe he doesn’t trust those heroes? Maybe he’s been reading the Avengers comics? I wouldn’t trust those guys, either. Thankfully, we have the New Warriors and they’re more than capable of handling things probably.
The original Nightbreed was a fascinating glimpse into a world of monsters who looked like people and people who looked like monsters. The comics are, thus far, giving us a history that leads to that glimpse while furthering the time spent within that single moment, and it is glorious for all of that. The first issue was okayish, but it’s been built and expanded upon perfectly and is growing stronger every month, building with a definite sense of the calamity we know is to come. Can you doubt the calamity, or what is to follow? You should not. Marc Andreyko is doing his best work since Katana here, and it is well worth hunting down and reading in the dark.
Poor Sonja. Despite her self-professed simplicity, she sees a truth that so many miss – most emperors have no clothing, no depth, no soul. The treachery here does not surprise her, no, the thing that catches her off guard is the people she has brought together. She has friends now, a people that would happily have her as their own, but the Devil does not stop and cannot have a home and remain the Devil. She knows this and accepts it, and so when all is said and done she moves on and claims her reward, having faced the horrors of bathing. We should all be so brave. We should all follow her example. We should all bathe.
Building towards entropy. Does that make sense? Does one build the end of the world? It’s where this story has gone and where we have been led to, and there’s a sadness about it all, one that even the antagonist of the story recognizes. The world ends, the world changes, the world moves on. The heroes of our time become the horrors of the world to be, while was is normal becomes strange and fearsome legend. This is the nature of time and the entropic nature of a creation that can be re-written by weaponry. Our heroes, already the demons of the world that is yet to be, are the only ones that can thwart that world. No wonder they are the nightmares of that world, and the heroes of ours. No wonder and such wonder, both in equal measure. This is the way the world ends, right? Bang. Whimper.
I dread this comic. I dread for stupid reasons, because the comic itself is quite good – this week has been the weakest story, and it’s still incredibly well told and full of weight and meat and thought. No, I dread this comic because of how Storm is being written elsewhere, and the way she treats Scott Summers. Yes, wise people often have blindspots, and Scott would be a massive blindspot for most of the X-Men given what the Avengers did to him in AvX, and the consequences of their actions. Schism also wouldn’t have helped, but… look, this comic is awesome, and the character here is the best she has ever been.
Do not pick fights with Frank Castle. Do not pick fights with Frank Castle. Unless, you know, you’re setting people up and letting them take the fall, and you know the idiot in charge won’t admit that he’s been set up. The dialogue in this veers severely into out-of-character territory, but saves itself with a great twist and an awesome fight sequence. I love this comic a lot more than the rating indicates.
This may shock you. It may change things, the way you look at the world. There is a sentence coming that, once read, will alter your perception and understanding, and we must warn you that there is no going back from this sentence and its hallowed words, the simple truth that it contains. You may never be the same, but you will not miss the ignorance you had before hand because you will be filled with new knowledge. The sentence is this: Gail Simone wrote a comic, and thus the comic is great. Gail is one of those people that brings out the best of every world she visits and the people that live within that world, and because she brings out the best in them she also brings out the best in us. Tomb Raider is no exception, being so good that Eidos considers these comics part of the game world that they are creating – and because of this, that game world will only be stronger and we will all be stronger. And now? Now you know.
Aric of Dacia was nice enough to lend the Armor Hunters his book so that we could hear their side of things, and sympathize with them. Having heard their story, Aric then decided he was done with them and destroyed them utterly, and this issue is the first comic dealing with the fallout of that event. It’s pretty great. Aric has some brilliant moments of self-realization and growth, and becomes everything that Harada wants to be. We also get an explanation of the comic’s title and an idea of where it’s going – and this could quickly become an even better comic, which is saying something considering that we already think it’s the best comic being published today. Read this.