Wednesday. Comic Books. You know the drill. 3-2-1 Comics!
3 – Marvel Comics
Final Grade: ★★★★4/5
I’m not exactly a Fantastic Four expert. I read the initial couple of issues of Jonathan Hickman’s FF, so I am familiar with the concept of the Future Foundation – Reed Richards’ assembly of child prodigies. Matt Fraction’s first issue of the new FF series does an excellent job of bringing in new readers though. Part of the issue is presented in a documentary-style like The Office or Parks and Recreation, introducing us to members of the Future Foundation. The rest of the issue is a recruiting process of the new leaders of the FF, deftly scripted by Fraction in a way that introduces characters without being overly expository. Michael Allred’s pulpy artwork blends well with a series that is inherently quirky with its premise and its characters. I wasn’t crazy about the issue overall, but as a new reader it didn’t completely scare me away either.
Final Grade: ★★★★ 4/5
Mutants are on the rise once again, the world is in a panicked state and The Red Skull is back…with Professor X’s brain. The second issue of Rick Remender’s new series deals with a bit of unveiling of Red Skull’s plans as well as Captain America trying to put the new team together. A big chunk of this book is dedicated to a superhero team talking about why they need to be a superhero team. While this technique can get exhaustive, Remender gives Cap some logically self-serving reasons for the team’s public image, grounding the scene more than the typical fluff. Wolverine’s internal monologue does come off as a little heavy-handed however, using one hyperbole too many. John Cassaday provides expressive pencils, but sometimes the eyes of his characters (men in particular) are little creepy-looking and it weirds me out. Other than that this was a pretty good issue, hopefully leading to the Uncanny Avengers actually being the Uncanny Avengers sometime soon.
Final Grade: ★★★½ 3.5/5
2– DC Comics
Aquaman #14 is labeled as a “Throne of Atlantis Prelude,” and as most comic fans know, not a whole lot happens in preludes to big events. That is not to say that the issue isn’t a good prelude however. Johns spends the right amount of time with each set of characters and story threads, laying groundwork for his Atlantean epic to come. Aquaman is more reserved than he has been recently, as he talks to his estranged brother Orm AKA the soon-to-be Ocean Master. Johns also takes some time to remind us that Black Manta is kind of a badass, and I’m ok with that. This marks the first Ivan Reis-less issue of Aquaman, with new series artist Pete Woods stepping in, with some assistance from Pere Perez. Woods’ style is more simplistic and cartoon-like similar to Patrick Gleason’s, which will take some getting used to. I do give Mr. Woods props for a particular visual reference to Aquaman’s pre-New 52 past, though. One complaint I have is that Orm stays in the shadows for the entirety of the issue. I have no problem with a buildup to a dramatic reveal, but that reveal never actually happens in this issue. Hey. DC. The dude’s on the freaking cover, we already know what he looks like. What’s with the secrecy, huh?
Final Grade: ★★★½ 3.5/5
There’s usually a point in an issue of Batman Incorporated where I get unnecessarily giddy about a callback from Grant Morrison’s Batman epic; this issue was no exception. Last issue ended with Batman telling Damian that he had to stop being Robin and #5 explains why. Flash forward to when Damian is Batman, a future we see for the third and possibly final time. Gotham has been overrun by chaos and Damian must rush to cure it’s citizens of a disease before the White House decides to wipe the city off of the map entirely. Chris Burnham’s style is growing on me, but sadly there were no examples of his blend of dynamic slow-motion action and onomatopoeia this month. It’s always a delight to get another glimpse of Damian as Batman, and the way that it ties into the overall structure of Batman Incorporated is so obvious its amazing no one saw it coming. Or at least I didn’t.
Final Grade: ★★★★½ 4.5/5
1 – Dark Horse Comics
Out of the two Dark Horse series running under the label “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9,” Angel & Faith has always been the stronger one. It had a more compelling story with its lead characters, and had the consistently sharper pencils of Rebekah Issacs. Sadly much like Buffy the Vampire Season 8, this book is growing a little tedious, relying on thin personal motivations and the tired trope of last page character reveals. “Oh man its that person from season 2 of Buffy!” etc. Angel & Faith #16 continues Angel’s silly quest to resurrect Giles, one man of hundreds that he has killed in his un-lifetime. Faith also comes head-to-head with her slayer friend Nadira, who confronts her about helping the fugitive Angel. This scene draws out for far too long and feels hum drum and pointless. The last page of course has the aforementioned character reveal. Sigh. Isaacs is still at the top of her game for the most part, with strikingly detailed figures. I could use a little more forehead on Angel (AKA Captain Forehead) however. Oh Buffy books, you shall never be a good as your television parents.
Final Grade: ★★½ 2.5/5