A Week Headlined by Cosmic Marvel, the Fray arc, Umbrella Academy and Batman RIP
Why I Love Comics rundown for books coming out November 26th, 2008
Welcome to this week's Why I love Comics! Interesting week indeed as Cosmic Marvel out shines the competition, the Fray arc of Buffy comes to an end, the Umbrella Academy returns and Batman RIP ends. So let's get right into things with DC comics.
We start out with Birds of Prey #124 where things are heading towards the end goal for the title. For those who don't know, the title is getting axed in February, which incidentally means it will end on an odd number. This issue packed in a lot, from the official return of everyone's favorite member of the team to Babs' cunning and almost disturbing take down of the Joker.
I'll definitely be sad to see the book go as I think Tony hit the ground running with his work on the series. Sure he was following Sean who had taken over from Gail, but his fill in stories are some of the best. What was really great to read here was Joker's dialogue as he tried his best to intimidate everyone's favorite bird. Babs not only stood her own, but she caught him off guard and destroyed him in a way he's never been messed with before.
Also a plus in the issue is the return of Dinah, which has been long coming since she set up her life with Ollie. I couldn't tell if it was her or Ollie wise cracking when the three of them joined the fray, but it really came off like something he would say. There is a lot to enjoy in the issue including Calculator acting like an idiot ushered in a hopefully fun way to end this story.
Verdict: It's a fun issue but definitely not a jumping on point. A good jumping on point is Gail Simone's earlier work. My personal favorite arc is the one guest starring the Secret Six and hailing the return of Ice.
Wonder Woman #26 sets up a few things I'm still trying to wrap my head around. It looks like some sort of the Society has reformed, possibly in connection to Libra and Final Crisis (due to the Darkseid throwback). But, that wasn't even the main plot! Diana and her team pursue a rogue metahuman. It's revealed he was a god who was experimented on and he even gets the best out of Diana.
Poor Tom, after all he's been through, things just get worse for the guy. There is a conspiracy forming where the team and Diana work and I really wonder if everything in the book isn't actually connected. My only real complaint is in regards to the gods. I have no idea what their side story is or where they're coming from.
Superman #682 continues New Krypton in a really interesting way. The Kryptonians decide to take out Kal-el's rogues gallery in order to keep him safe. Some of the interactions are interesting, such as how excited Toyman was. The most disturbing scene came from the soldiers who were watching Parasite and it showed them exactly how different the Kryptonians were from humans. When they kill them, they don't even care and it feels as if they see themselves as being better than humans.
This leads right into the confrontation at the end of the issue which shows that Alura shouldn't be around humans. As guests on the planet and stronger than the humans, accidentally killing them can't be brushed off like they deserved it.
Verdict: Six issues in, we've reached the half way point and events are taking a very interesting turn. The Kryptonians, especially those who worked for Zod, cannot be trusted. The Superman brain trust is definitely on point and all the books are quality. It reminds me of Messiah Complex in how well the titles interweave with each other. It definitely stays a buy!
Blue Beetle #33 continues the last arc of Jaime's solo title and guest stars his friends from the Teen Titans. Matt Sturges channels John Rogers as he continues to weave his story. It feels as if John never left the title and everyone sounds right in character. During this story, Peacemaker and Robin share a moment or two and the blue/red team up continues to be a highlight.
Doctor Polaris finally enacts his plan to become more powerful and is able to do so because of our distracted heroes. It was like an Ocean's Eleven heist and everyone from the Scarab to Paco had a little time to shine. As for the last few pages, obviously that's not the truth!
Verdict: This is another book I'm going to miss! Three issues left and then it's gone. It's definitely worth hunting down the previous trades.
Teen Titans #65 concludes our arc focusing on Lycus, murderer of one of the Wonder Twins. Bombshell officially teams up with the Titans when she goes along with Red Devil's plan. It's a pretty funny moment as, while everyone else is strategizing, poor Blue Beetle is fighting Wonder Dog himself.
Meanwhile Cassie faces down her nephew and waits till he gets all his father's powers from her. She's finally becoming the Cassie I found myself digging before Connor's death. Her new costume design is pretty awesome, it just needs the bands.
Verdict: The title is really coming into its own again under McKeever and the art matches the story perfectly. Definitely pick up next issue as it kicks off a brand new arc!
Batman #681 is the last part of the RIP storyline and ties in all of Morrison's work. From the club of heroes to Joker going back on his deal with the Black Glove, this issue is packed. Morrison always jams all of his stories with hints at the big reveal and resolution at the end. This is no different as we follow Bruce through some pretty major changes.
Also, Dick and Tim face a few challenges as they both overcome the Black Glove's evil plans. I'd say the Joker stole the book. What happens when you think of the man as a pawn to your plans? He ends up changing the game for all its players. He was chilling and brutal in both his words and actions.
One thing that's bothered me for a while now is Jezebel Jet. She's a huge part of Bruce's life. I could tell something was up by how fast the man revealed his identity to her. I love what happens towards the end as a certain group make their return to the book.
Verdict: This is honestly Grant Morrison at his best. It's a little trippy, but when is that a bad thing? He takes layer after layer away from Bruce Wayne and shows who the character is at the end of the day. This is a definite buy and leads to some big names joining up with the Bat family books for a while.
JSA: The Kingdom is the best of the three specials and sets up a lot for the end of the arc. The first thing we have here is Starman's mission, which happens to be grave digging. I'm thinking this will somehow connect to Darkest Night, but it's just a hunch on my part.
I think what pulled me in the most is the return of Atom Smasher to the JSA, even if only for this special. I've missed the big guy and trying to talk some sense into Damage was the right thing to do. Sorry to say this, but even under Geoff's scripts, Damage is just no longer likable. I really tried to ignore the sudden vain personality and turning into a pawn. Here's hoping next week we see him finally do the right thing because at the moment he's nowhere close!
Also in the book was Sand who has been one of my favorite JSA characters throughout the course of the series. I love the new costume, and it's chilling to hear what was fueling him which Gog has now taken away.
Verdict: This is a great special and worth the time to read! Geoff Johns is the backbone of the entire DCU at the moment, and I don't even think he realizes it. I really can't wait to see everything pay off!
Our Book of the Week happens to be our first Marvel, Wolverine: First Class #9. Logan visits Shang Chi for some help to fight Sabretooth. Fred Van Lente crafts a very intriguing conversation between the two men. It's an interesting lesson disguised behind an apple and it helps Logan win a fight he needed to win, otherwise Kitty would have been seriously hurt.
This fight shows the Sabretooth that I still wish we had in the Marvel Universe. Fred gets these characters and it shows in these jammed packed done-in-one issues. I love the art in this issue as well with the beautiful sparring match between Logan and Shang Chi. The book is always reader friendly and gives nods to those of us who know the characters.
Verdict: Fred Van Lente can tell beautiful, cinematic stories in just twenty-two pages. The series has been highly enjoyable so far and this just adds to my love of it. Definitely a buy!
Guardians of the Galaxy #7 sort of continues where last issue left off. Rocket Raccoon sets up a brand new team as everyone else leaves to pursue other goals. The new team is made up of his old teammate Groot, Mantis, Bug and our mysterious Vance Astro. Surprisingly, they all work well together. RR makes a good field team leader as they work together against a threat Vance clearly recognizes. That said, they soon realize they are possibly quite overwhelmed.
Meanwhile, our russian space-dog friend has a chat with an androgynous being from the future. This being is here to make sure the future is corrected, but it keeps changing. It's a really cool twist to the confusing time travel events. Meanwhile, Gamora and Warlock decide to lead the church that's trying to kill our heroes. This is the same church that turned Warlock evil in a parallel story.
Also, across the universe in the negative zone, Starlord comes face to face with an old acquaintance, aka Blaastar. Also, Drax is still looking for Cammi, but it seems like they may have just found Heather.
Verdict: Seriously, see how packed this book is? Dan and Andy are the go-to writers for Cosmic Marvel and you can tell they enjoy every second of it. Definitely a blast to read monthly and I can't wait to see what happens next!
Nova #19 gives us a Nova Corps team that is working extremely well together. Most of them are from well known races in the galaxy and each has very unique personalities and powers. On the other hand, Rich is trying is his best to keep Worldmind in order as he reveals what he's been up to. The argument they have is interesting and, as a reader, I'm finding it hard to trust Worldmind.
Darkhawk is struggling with the feelings of uselessness. We haven't seen him without armor either, which worries me as his mind isn't always a hundred percent when he uses the armor. The book really manages to juggle a great supporting cast while being a very post-Secret Invasion. Sadly, that means that the status quo isn't much altered.
Verdict: Definitely a buy! Things are about to heat up as Rich has some new Corps to train with, unless of course he continues to rebel against Worldmind. Also, his brother having powers might just lead to tragedy.
Only one Image book this week, but it's one of the strongest. It's Proof #14 where we find John and the rest of the agents fighting two different battles. This is really, really fun! The series' first six issue arc brings a lot to the table. Alex's creative use of history shows he's truly a writer to watch in the years to come. Joe's original story of his people is just flat out awesome and I really couldn't have predicted that if I tried.
I loved the interaction between John and the Dragon, especially when parts started to grow back. And then the stuff about relationships just showed that if the Dragon really is there, the two men could become good friends. Mi Chen Po is coming off as a decent whatever it is that he is. He sends his animals after the alligators who then leave Ginger and the others alone. I thought that was a great touch and he doesn't seem like he's flat out evil. Ginger retrieves her gun, showing she doesn't have that much fear, and it's great to see depth added to her character.
Verdict: Riley's evolving artwork is worth the price of admission alone. But this is flat out one of my favorite monthly books, and it's a pleasure to communicate with Alex as much as I do. It's really not a biased opinion--the book is just that good!
We finish the week with Dark Horse. We start with Buffy the Vampire Slayer #19, which is the end to the Fray crossover. It definitely disappoints me a little. I don't see why the delay was so long. Karl's pencils look really rushed over all in the big action scenes, and the overall story comes off a bit choppy. They should have extended it by an issue as it seemed certain elements weren't working out as well as they could have.
There were some highlights, including Dark Willow's big reveal and Xander's Slayers saving him and Dawn. Xander has the best lines and the mystery of who Twilight is deepens. Riley has apparently gone to the dark side and I'm really curious what happened to the Mrs. at this point.
Verdict: I'd say the arc was a skip, but at the same time there are pieces to the overall season that are here that need to be read. A great jumping on point is next month's issue written by Jeph Loeb.
Finally this week we have Umbrella Academy: Dallas #1, the second volume to Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba's crazy series about a very unique family. A great deal of our first arc is revisited here as we see just how everyone is coping. Ba's artwork on this issue really shines through. It's fantastic to see the big action scene at the end with number 5 and the craziness that seems to follow the 60 year old.
The moment that got to me was what happened to Rumor. She uses a note pad to speak to people, and has to show her sister exactly what she caused. It's a little heartbreaking. Of course, her robotic mother tries to cheer her up but doesn't make things much better.
Spaceboy has shut himself off from everyone else for the most part. The seance deals with his newfound fame and the Kraken seeks out some information the hard way. It really seems like the kids are more fragmented then they were before and things aren't getting much better.
Verdict: This is one of those comics that I think everyone needs to read. The first volume won the guys a well deserved Eisner and things just continue to excel here. It's the charm of the series that really makes it readable. Gerard Way is like a mix between Grant Morrison and Mike Allred with a little Stan Lee added in. Definitely a buy!
Chuck hasn't made this announcement yet, but I think he is waiting on me to make it. Along with Chuck and Russell I shall be attending NYCC 09 in February! We already have some cool interviews lined up, and I know we'll be doing some great coverage. Remember to check in here during that weekend!
Well that's it for this week folks. Next week has the end of Secret Invasion, my first long term Hellboy universe book and the first of marvel's new what if series.
Eric shops at TJ's Collectibles. Visit them on the web at www.tjcollect.com!
Eric Ratcliffe is a young writer/pop culture journalist/interviewer currently working on pitching a project named the Hunter chronicles. When not reading his weekly stack Eric can be found watching dvd's, playing on his 360 (gamertag: Zack Hunter) or just surfing online trying to find a scoop or two. Brand new to the Comic Related family, Eric is a fun new voice.
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