A weekly column in which Jake gives short blurbs about the comics he’s picked up that week. Reviewed in the order read, which varies but generally by increasing anticipation. Disclaimer: he knows very little about art, at least not enough to considerably honor such tremendous undertakings, so…yeh, there’s that.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Pencilers: Chris Sprouse & Goran Sudzuka
Inkers: Karl Story w/ Dexter Vines
Color Artist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Joe Sabino
The bodies keep piling up as, in the midst of the Jane Foster murders, a Thor is struck down. With one of their own killed in the line of duty, the Thors are out for vengeance. Aaron teases out a little more mystery this week as the cop-drama-with-hammers continues. The arrival of new characters and elements adds new intrigues to this exciting tale. Despite the multitude of names making up the art team, the art is quite consistent. The conflict between Ultimate Thor and the Unworthy feels great, with excellent framing and perspective choices. Thors is an interesting mash-up of two genres and while there’s no real stand-out amazingly clever point, the overall consistent quality and tone make it a fun read.
Writer: Jay Faerber
Artist: Scott Godlewski
Colorist: Ron Riley
Letterer: Thomas Mauer
Sheriff Bronson rounds up a posse to rescue her kidnapped deputy, but it isn’t all teamwork and high-fives. Faerber does an excellent job of showing the tension between all the members of the newly-assembled team as well as giving us a bit more natural world-building. His dialogue is sharp and exchanges where it could come off as hackneyed instead feel nuanced. Godlewski’s lines and shot choice certainly help in this matter. Despite the fact that he and Riley mostly have empty desert to work with, they manage to make every background look unique and stylish. There are some particularly creative implementations of sound effects towards the end of the issue, and, while I am unsure if they are Mauer’s handiwork or drawn into the scene by the art team, I felt they deserved a special mention. In the penultimate issue of its second arc, Copperhead is geared up for another climatic showdown.
Southern Bastards #10
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art & Color: Jason Latour
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Souther Bastards #10 takes us into the mind of Coach Boss’s number 2, Esaw Goings, in…what’s kind of a waste of an issue. It just seems gratuitous as it shows us all the ways (read: every way) Esaw is a repugnant scum of a human being. Which we didn’t really need, as you kinda got that from his appearance and demeanor in the previous issues. It’s not the images alone that are so graphic. Aaron regretfully provides us with Esaw’s inner monologue, which is as repulsive as one would expect. The art remains as quality as always with some great panel work by Latour. But honestly, the issue just comes off as heavy-handed and unnecessary. Aside from some small tidbits about Boss’s operations and moving the timeline forward a bit, there’s no real value to the issue in terms of the larger story. Which, now that its brought up, may be the point of it, but in an industry where the consumer’s are choosy with their wallets, I think something a bit more is needed. I’m still reading the series—it’s still fantastic—but as a solo purchase I can’t really recommend this issue.
BOOK OF THE WEEK
1602 Witch Hunter Angela #2
Writer: Marguerite Bennett w/ Kieron Gillen
Artist: Stephanie Hans w/ Irene Koh
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Lettering: VC’s Clayton Cowles
As their hunt for the Faustians continues, Angela and Serah meet something potentially even stranger: the Guardians of the Galaxy Gardiner’s Men, a wandering minstrel troupe. Despite their exciting introduction, Bennett wisely relegates them to supporting cast, as this is Angela and Serah’s story. With the Enchantress’s warning from last issue hanging over their heads, Bennett puts our heroines through a bit of an emotional wringer, driving the characters as the plot ramps up. Hans continues to blow me away on art, with the opening page being something I lingered on for quite some time. When we meet the Gardiner’s Men, Hans utilizes a double-page spread that feels like more traditional comics, but her style makes it seem completely new. Interestingly, Hans chooses only to show us flashes or silhouettes of the issue’s baddie, which is an interesting choice. While I would have loved to see Hans full-body version of the character, her choices generate the effect of it being something unseeable in the usual sense, as if it were too horrible or alien to be perceived by the reader. That’s my take, anyway, as I’m certain Hans would have done an amazing job if she’d gone a more straightforward route. Meanwhile, Gillen and Koh step in with Bennett to bring us yet another funny tale thanks to Serah’s rather…bombastic storytelling. However, the tale may reveal more than it lets on about our protagonists, as with every legend there is a kernel of truth. At this point, its a shame that this series is regulated to being an event tie-in, because it’s so good. The writing is sharp and poignant and the art is gorgeous, both of which combine into what might be the best title to come out of Secret Wars.
Why Aren’t You reading This? is a new supplemental column to Jake’s weekly Pull List where CharlieDanger82 reviews some hidden gems that either fly under the radar or are overshadowed by “the big 2” publisher’s crossover event of the decade of the year of the week. Think of it like a backup story in an Annual just with less talented writing.
Writer: Scott Snyder
Pencils: Greg Capullo
Inks: Danny Miki
Colors: FCO Plascencia
Letterer: Steve Wands
A few months ago, I reviewed Batman #40 as an annex to the Pull List #5 (you can check it out here). It wasn’t so much a great issue, but an important one. It was the end of another era of the Bruce Wayne Batman. At the end of a bloody and some might say overly gruesome and intimate (?) fight, the Joker & Batmen met their apparent fate, broken and buried by collapsing tons of rock under Gotham. Rest in peace till you come back again, guys. But until that faithful day, who will be the new Batman? The answer sent many a fanboy into the tizziest of tizzies. They saw a huge robotic suit with feature more akin to a robot bunny than a Batman, holding a giant gun with blue and red lights and GCPD emblazoned on it’s side. And who was in that suit? Dick Grayson back for round 2? No. Jason Todd finally taking up the mantle of his former fallen father figure? No. Damian Wayne, Back from the dead and on stilts? No. Did Alfred Pennyworth get his hand sewn back on because as Batman he found “someone to mend” (he didn’t get his hand reattached in the comic because “there’s no one left to mend.” Forget the other 4 kids who just lost the closest person they had to a father who need you, you selfish prick. Who wrote that line, amirite?) and that someone was Justice? No. The person in the suit is none other than 46 year old Jim Gordon, now sans moustache, rocking a high and tight and no longer the commissioner of the GCPD, choosing instead to live a secret life in an apartment in the Powers facility (they made the suit). Sounds ridiculous, right? Absolutely. Is this thing even worth reading? Absolutely.
Jim Gordon’s Batman isn’t a tortured kid who grew up in the shadow of his parent’s deaths till he was old enough to fight his own personal war on crime. He’s a marine who became a cop who became the commissioner who wants to protect his city more than anything else. A city he believes that he let down during the events of End Game. Gotham is broken, crying for help and in need of the one thing that would always answer it’s call: Batman. Gordon knows all of this and reluctantly steps into the suit to become Gotham’s new protector. He’s not driven by tragedy, he’s driven by duty. It’s not the death of his parents that haunt him, but his self-doubt and his fear he’ll never live up to who the world thinks batman should be, but he’s going to try his best because he knows the city needs him. However, since he’s not crippled by personal tragedy, it allows for a bit of a lighter tone to the book. It doesn’t seem grim or as dire as the Bruce Bat Books. This makes the book very refreshing and a great read. And for those who were wondering, while his fights primarily take place in the robotic battle suit, he also has a sleek, capeless Batsuit he wears for up close and personal fights.
It’s only a matter of time before Bruce Wayne comes back (because comic books) or Snyder turns into a sociopath again and beloved characters start losing limbs, so I strongly recommend this book now to enjoy a refreshingly different Batman while it lasts. Batman #41-#42 gets 4 solid hits from the tazer batarang gun out of five.
So what did you pick up this week? Agree or disagree with anything said here? Let us know in the comments.