This Week: All-New Hawkeye #2, Angela – Asgard’s Assassin #5, Ant-Man #4, Birthright #6, Captain Marvel #14, Coffin Hill #17, Convergence – Batgirl #1, Convergence – Batman and Robin #1, Convergence – Harley Quinn #1, Convergence – Superman #1, Convergence – The Question #1, Darth Vader #4, Imperium #3, Max Ride – First Flight #1, Rai #8, Rat Queens #10, Rebels #1, Spider-Woman #6, X #24
The contrasting art styles for past and present are interesting. The build for the children that Kate and Clint are rescuing is cool and well done and very much Akira-like, which is a good thing. This feels like an echo of the Hawkeye book we’ve been reading until now, though – it lacks the depth of the other, except in the flashback sequences. Still, pretty darn good.
Art + Story + Gateway = Total
Angela – Asgard’s Assassin #5 – Top 5 Comics
Lacking in the culture building that helps make this comic so interesting, but makes up for it with some good solid relationship building between the title character and those around her – especially Odinson and Gamora. We also get to see what Heven is up to now that they’re floating through the galaxy. Angela’s costume bothers me; there’s something about the design that just looks uncomfortable, and lacks the grace of the angels or the casual majesty of the Asgardians. I suppose that might be the point, though. Odinson and Angela are now on the same page (finally), and I can’t wait to see where this is going – especially with the revelation of what’s behind their sister’s possession. Another awesome comic in a series of them, which is what we’ve come to expect from Mythic Marvel.
Ant-Man might be doing more to battle petty super-crime than anyone else, simply by hiring c-list villains to work for him and his new security agency. There’s some real drama mixed in with the comedy this week, as one of Marvel’s worst heroes fails to save his daughter before a CEO who literally steals other people’s hearts is resurrected. Clever.
Holy Gods, this book. Okay, this kid goes missing from a park one day and re-appears fully grown a year and a half later. He’s the chosen hero of a fantasy world, and they kidnapped him and took him there to save them, but his family fell apart back home. This comic deals with the consequences of that, and there’s more than enough to go around. If you like fantasy at all, read this comic.
I love this book. It’s everything great about comics – a main character who loves her life and owns her adventures engaged in the best kind of exploration. It’s fantastic. It’s beautiful. And you won’t understand this one issue without picking up everything else in this stupid event. I’m beginning to hate event comics that branch into multiple books.
Oddly linear, this month. This is the most straight-froward issue of this comic yet, but that’s not a bad thing – we get a bit of history on the Coffin family and Eve’s mother, and the two of them bond over everything the family curse has cost them. The depth in the writing and art hold true, which is a big chunk of what makes this comic so amazing. If you’re not reading Coffin Hill and you like horror, fix that now.
Put your explanation at the front, guys. Please. Okay, so the crux of Convergence is another one of those idiot “let’s you and him fight!” things without any sort of subtlety. The good news? The main character criticizes the very concept at play, and then turns around and makes the whole thing relevant anyway. I don’t buy her hanging up the cape. The whole point of the character is that she doesn’t quit. Gods, I missed Steph.
It’s hard to care about a comic event that’s so transparently “let’s you and him fight!” This feels like less of a let down than Marvel’s take on Crisis, but it’s going to be the individual issues that make or break this. This? Kinda disappointing. It touches on a lot of concepts and develops nothing. Read Batgirl, Nightwing / Oracle, or Question instead.
There’s some interesting stuff going on here, including a brief exploration of what the loss of power would be like and how ordinary people might respond to the super-powered becoming ordinary. There’s some decent Harley stuff here, too, but it’s kind of an echo of what’s going on with Jimmy Palimoti’s comic. Fun, but ultimately just kind of there.
It’s Gail Simone writing Oracle, guest starring Nightwing. Gail does that thing she does where she explains everything that’s happening while providing context for every named character, because she’s Gail Freaking Simone and she will make you care about whatever idiotic event editorial gives her. Some really interesting developments with everyone and a nice throwback to the days before the nu52. Also, a study of what being caught in an event like this would mean to those actually trapped in the event – a chilling take on the dissolution of Freeze’s mind and the echo of that entropy that’s resting in Oracle, right up until the twist at the end. This is great. More, please.
Suck it, For Want of a Nail. Superman loses his powers along with everyone else, but doesn’t stop being Superman because of it. The thing that most people miss about Clark is that it’s not the power that makes him Superman, but rather his essential decency. This comic made me want to watch Superman vs the Elite again, and that’s a good thing.
Convergence – The Question #1 – Top 5 Comics
Greg Rucka is writing a DC Comic. Greg Rucka is writing a DC Comic. I didn’t think this would be a thing to happen again, not after what happened with the nu52, but I’m so glad to see him back and writing these characters. Thank you, Greg. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed the complexity of Renee and Harvey until I read this comic. Helena is spot on perfect and the final reveal actually got me cheering and brought people from other places in the office to find out what was going on. The frustration of everyone in this comic is palpable, the sense of ennui setting in from being locked away with no explanation, and both the writing and the art go to great lengths to drive that sense home. Everything is measured, everything is perfect, and this is the best of the Convergence comics thus far. Awesome.
We know there had to be consequences to losing a whole Death Star in Episode IV, and this is the comic that details those consequences and Vader’s rise to power following that loss. He’s put together a terrifying crew of psychopathic droids and an archaeologist who is a perfect antithesis to the likes of Indiana Jones. It’s a beautiful sort of mess, and the stuff that Vader is discovering and dealing with issue by issue prove exactly how ruthless he is. Add to that some truly stunning artwork highlighting Vader’s power, and, well, this is getting a Top 5 write up without making the Top 5. Just saying.
Imperium #3 – Top 5 Comics
The single most complex narrative in comics today. This shares themes with a lot of other comics – the morality of artificial intellect from Magnus, for example – and then one-ups them by making them sub-plots that only serve to add depth to the main story. Harada has created a country based upon the concept of post-scarcity economics out of the ashes of a warzone. The rest of the world, heavily invested in the misery caused by that paradigm, are desperate to destroy him by any means necessary, but Harada is done playing nice in the sandbox and is going to save the world no matter what it costs. He will make the world an objectively better place no matter who gets in the way, and we know he wins and succeeds; the real drama is tied to how far he’ll go to do it, and how far those who want to stop him will travel in their attempts? Horrifying and intelligent writing mixed with pretty great art equals outstanding comics.
Yeah, this was a novel. You can tell from the amount of exposition, although it’s handled with a decent amount of grace and there’s some genuinely beautiful artwork in this book. Bio-cybernetic kids experimented on escape from the facility that created them, bio-cybernetic werewolves hunt them down and grab one, rescue ensues. Worth looking for.
Pretty, pretty art that surrounds a story that feels only half told about a revolution that fails. The delayed release schedule doesn’t help, but the complexity of mythology is reminiscent of the Dresden Codak, while playing with the idea of what the Valiant Universe would look like a thousand years in the future. I want to like this more than I do.
Rat Queens #10 – Top 5 Comics
Well, Stjepan Sejic is clearly comfortable with these characters and their world now. He’s easily one of the best artists in comics right now, with a style that perfectly captures emotion in body language, which works amazingly well with the Kurtis Wiebe writering, and how awesome is this comic? We get romance on several fronts, we get some incredible and defining character moments, we get a religious epiphany and background detail and core motivations and people changing, always changing. We get to see what the Rat Queens bring to the table as a group and individuals, the forces that drive them and what has made them what they are. Also, this is LGBT friendly with a casualness that more forms of fiction need. Absolutely fantastic, all the way through.
This is a look at the American revolutionary war and what led up to it from the perspective of some of the early settlers and revolutionaries – not anyone with a higher goal in mind than protecting their homes from a halfwit from across the ocean. A lot of character development, basic history, and good art means I’ll keep reading, and you should, too.
Spider-Woman #6 – Top 5 Comics
616 Jessica Drew has had a tough rap. She’s been a villain, a hero, a spy, an Avenger, and now she’s attempting to be a private citizen and a private investigator and, really, she just wants simplicity. What she gets is some mysterious person blackmailing c-list villains into committing seemingly random crimes by kidnapping their families, and it’s not like these c-listers have anyone willing to go to bat for them (except maybe Ant-Man). The art and writing are both reminiscent of what DC has been doing with Batgirl, and that’s pretty much the best thing. We get longer stories with tight characterization, expressive art, and the mystery plays up the character’s cleverness as much as her powers. It works. Spider-Gwen and Silk are getting a lot of attention, but this title also deserves some love.
Well, that was a whimper of an ending. The concept of X was so much better than the execution; this comic sometimes flirted with being something special, but seemed unable to escape a lack of subtlety and the terrible art that haunted it in its later days. It’s a shame, because there’s some incredible stories that could be told with this character.