I read the fourth Hickman Fantastic Four trade a few weeks ago, and I can’t get this scene out of my head. Instead of describing it, just take a look:
Here are some reviews from the comics I read from the fourth week of January.
Fantastic Four #602, “Forever”, part 3
By Jonathan Hickman (writer), Barry Kitson (artist), Paul Mounts (colorist), Clayton Cowles (letterer)
There are a few reasons why I liked this issue as much as I did. First, is Barry Kitson’s art, specifically of Sue. Second, I might be stretching Fair Use a bit with these images, but I dare you to defy the notion that Sue is one of the bad-ass superheroes in the Marvel U:
I want to be married to Sue. :D
Justice League #5, “Justice League”, part 5
By Geoff Johns (writer), Jim Lee (penciller), Williams, Hope, Irwin & Weeks (inkers), Alex Sinclair with Gabe Eltaeb & Tony Avina (colorists), Patrick Brosseau (letterer)
It’s no secret that I have been loving this series, and this issue not only builds on what was good before, but also makes me go “what the hell”? First, however, there’s the battle between Green Lantern and Darkseid. I was hoping for more of a toe-to-toe between Superman and the Lord of Apokolips, but it was still an impressive, if one-sided battle; though that panel showing Darkseid punching Hal in the midsection seems as if it should have crippled or killed Hal, ring protection or no. What comes next, however, is what made this issue for me. After Darkseid breaks Hal’s ring arm and walks away, Hal still taunts the alien invader but is interrupted by Batman. They argue, with Batman the voice of reason (“You’re going to die.”) and Hal the take-no-prisoners bravado (“Then I die!”). Batman then proceeds to use his superpower of psychoanalysis (according to sarcastic Hal anyway) by comparing he and Hal, and that’s where things get really weird: Batman removes his mask! In the middle of a catastrophic fight, in the daytime, to a complete stranger. “My name is Bruce Wayne,” he proclaims (a bit too loudly, in my opinion), and then gives Hal his 10-second origin story as he starts to shed other portions of his batsuit. What kind of a Batman do we have now in the DCnU (at first five years ago)? I get that Bruce was trying to talk Hal down by humanizing himself, but to reveal his identity like that to someone he doesn’t even like (as evidenced in the previous issues) is either a Batman I have never seen before, or the beginnings of the shrewd and calculating Batman we’ve known for many years. It’s quite possible that Bruce figured the only way to reach this blowhard, but noble guy with a powerful, magic ring, was to stand revealed to him, to get him to listen to the man and not reject the Batman, to get Hal to do what Bruce wants–sounds familiar now, right? But for Bruce to expose himself like that is a new angle to me. What I still don’t get is why Bruce undressed as much as he did, especially before he goes to get Superman. Sure, take off the cowl to startle Hal, but keep it off, and take off the cape and his chest symbol? What does that get him, besides a little less protected as he fights parademons? Maybe I’m just reading too much into it.
The other comics I read from that week were:
- All-Star Western #5
- Alpha Flight #8
- Angel & Faith #6
- Aquaman #5
- FF #14
- Fury of Firestorm, the Nuclear Men #5
- Green Lantern: New Guardians #5
- I, Vampire #5
- Incorruptible #26
- Justice League Dark #5
- Sixth Gun #18
- Superman #5
- Teen Titans #5
- Unwritten #33.5
- Voodoo #5
Let me know what you think about the issues I reviewed here. Now go read some comics!
Here are my final 2011 comic book reviews. What a great year for reading comics, mostly for DC’s relaunch. Say what you want about the titles, at least they were interesting or infamous. Also, given that I finally received all of my January 2012 comics, I will be trying something different for my Pull List Reviews very soon. Now on with the old before I can begin with the new!
Alpha Flight #7: While a part of me chuckles at the funnies in this, another part shakes his head because they’re the easy shots, and ones that don’t really make sense. For example, when Hulk-mentality Sasquatch yells, “Squatch smash puny Canadians”, that’s funny sure, but come on. Then both Mac and Logan point at each other and say (in unison), “He started it.” Easy joke, bad characterization. So Heather is some sort of clone created by the Master, but why does she only have four toes? How does that make sense? I actually did enjoy Wolverine’s appearance in this issue, especially his conversation with Heather at the beginning. I am looking forward to seeing how this limited series turned ongoing turned canceled at issue eight series will end.
Aquaman #4: The Trench storyline comes to an unsatisfying end, mostly because there was no connection between hero and adversary, no communication, no attempt at resolution other than death. Having said that, I do like how Arthur is shown making regal decisions about life and death. I wish Geoff Johns would play up the kingly aspect of Arthur’s history. Speaking of Johns, I really hope he stops making jokes at Aquaman’s expense. At first it made some sense to me (it undercut the “lame” reputation that Aquaman supposedly has), but repeating the jokes just calls attention to something Johns purportedly wants to dispel. It’s almost like Johns has a love/hate attitude towards Aquaman himself. I am looking forward to the upcoming “Who Sank Atlantis” storyline that was teased at the end of the book.
Green Lantern: New Guardians #4: So, some extradimensional force caused the various Lantern Corps members’ rings to abandon them and go to Kyle? Huh? And this force arrives in our universe in the form of a solar system-sized spacecraft, complete with planet-shaped modules. Huh? This seems overly complicated. I thought this book had some potential to be some sort of Brightest Day sequel, but it’s somewhat of a mess narratively, and messy in terms of art.
I, Vampire #4: This is how I like John Constantine appearances: understated but with a bit of the usual Hellblazer sass. What a surprise this book has been for me. I initially wrote it off as a book trying to capitalize on the Twilight crowd, but it’s been quite enjoyable so far, especially the art.
Incorruptible #25: Part 2 of the Irredeemable/Incorruptible crossover, but I enjoyed this story much more than Part 1. The relationship between the Plutonian and Max reminds me to some degree of the old Superboy/Lex Luthor dynamic. Maybe I should give Incorruptible another chance to entertain me?
Justice League Dark #4: I’m still not sure about this book. I know I want to really like it, but the story comes across as a bit muddled, and the art, while good at a certain level, doesn’t help narratively. What do we know? Xanadu did something to separate June from the Enchantress and all hell’s broke loose. I just wish after four issues we’d have moved on from that, even just a bit. I do like how Zatanna is shown as talking in reverse, as if it’s second nature and not just an application of her power.
Star Trek #4: After four issues, this series will stop retelling old stories in the new continuity and tell something new altogether, so I’m looking forward to that. As to the resolution of this issue, I have to admit I preferred the choice Spock makes in the television show as opposed to the save by Uhura here. It’s a duh moment, but not nearly as fun, and it makes Kirk look dumb. I also have to wonder why the creative team picked the “Galileo Seven” as the second story to be told as opposed to a different early episode.
Superman #4: Most intriguing thing about this issue is the Commissioner Corporon’s (have you noticed the odd names in this title?) comment that the Mayor didn’t want Superman to go through what he did five years earlier, but DC fails to cross-promote here by saying we should be reading Action Comics for the details (which I am looking forward to reading)! Ok, that and the reveal that Superman supposedly had something to do with the creation of his superpowered tormentors (though, why fire, ice, and lizard dude? How does that make sense?). And does anyone else think that too much is being made about Clark not being with Heather when she was attacked?
Unwritten #32.5: I am really loving these .5 issues giving us past stories in the Unwritten universe. This time we learn of Gilgamesh’s brush with the ancient (?) Mr. Pullman and the fight with the Leviathan. Nicely done story and art.
I also read All-Star Western #4 (What does it say when I find the backup story more interesting than the main one?), Angel & Faith #5 (I never cared for Harmony in the show, and her appearance in last season’s Buffy was much better than this offering.), FF #13 (This used to be one of my favorite books to read every month; now, it’s ok. I do love the relationship between Valeria and Dr. Doom.), Firestorm #4 (The cover art is the best thing about this book.), Savage Hawkman #4 (My last issue. I read it.), Teen Titans #4 (More team building. And Superboy shows up to beat up Wonder Girl. Feh.), and Voodoo #4 (Despite the nice art and lovely John Tyler Christopher cover, I’ve decided to drop this comic come issue 6–it’s just not interesting enough, like Animal Man.).
First things first: the new Avengers trailer:
Boo-yah! Am I right? :D
Now for week 3 of my quickie December 2011 comic reviews.
Batman #4: Usually I don’t care for adding new stuff to an established character’s origin as if it’s been there all along, but I did enjoy the addition of Bruce Wayne, Lil’ Detective. The Greg Capulo art is getting better (or better with me at least, save for how all of his dark-haired characters look the same sans masks) and that last page incorporating the credits into the maze was neat.
Batman, Inc.: Leviathan Strikes! #1: Does anyone know why DC delayed the release of these two Batman, Inc. issues (what would have been #9 & 10)? Was it just the New 52 launch? Regardless, I got to see Stephanie Brown as Batgirl one last time and was by far the better story of the two in this $7 collection, though, speaking of the second story, was it really a surprise just who Leviathan was revealed to be? I was actually a little disappointed. Despite that, I will be getting this series when it returns later this year.
Daredevil #7: Love love love that cover–it’s so elegant in it’s simplicity. This issue is a nice change of pace from the story that’s been developing, but it was the Nelson & Murdock office party that was the best part of this. 1) Matt comes into the party wearing a “I am not Daredevil” shirt along with devil horns on his head. 2) When Kirsten McDuffie says hello, Matt offers to get her wine but “accidentally” knocks the bottle over so that when they both catch it, they end up touching hands (I bet Matt does this bit all of the time–he’s such a player!). The A story is fine, but really is just a respite before the next big plot.
Fantastic Four #601: Ok, bone picking time. This is how Marvel keeps down cost? A flimsy cover stock? As for the issue, there are some nice moments in it: Spidey’s reaction to seeing Johnny back, Sue’s tears of joy at the same, Ben shedding a tear as well, and Reed (of course) being able to tell Johnny exactly how long he had been presumed dead (2757 hours). By the way, just how much more can Earth-616 take? After the events of Fear Itself, and now this (and who knows what other apocalyptic events that have happened in other Marvel books), the poor populace has taken quite a beating.
Justice League #4: More lovely bits! Cyborg makes a full-on appearance, as does Aquaman, who quips to the assembled almost Leaguers, “I don’t see a leader.” To which Batman replies, “Then you’re not looking at me.” Later, when dick Hal accidentally (or is he copping a feel?) touches Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth and reveals he’s really just trying to impress people, Batman laughs (though not on panel). Oh, yeah, and Darkseid arrives. The art this issue seemed less clean, or maybe it’s just because there are a lot of explosions.
Nightwing #4: Just when I was enjoying the thought of Raya sticking around long-term, the first few pages spell it out: she tells Dick that their fling is just that, nothing more (and that sentiment is reinforced at the end as well). But to complicate matters for the former Boy Wonder, Batgirl shows up, but she does apologize for the way she treated Dick in Batgirl #3, so I liked that bit of continuity. And can we have a moratorium on using the body double trope? That is so hackneyed.
Wonder Woman #4: Cliff Chiang’s Diana is gorgeous! I love his rendition of the Amazon Princess more and more each issue. And Brian Azzarello’s take on the Olympians has grown on me to the point that I love them all so far. How refreshing to see War portrayed not as a megalomaniac bent on utter destruction? At the end though–did Hera do that to the Amazons? Based on how she was treating Hippolyta earlier, it doesn’t make sense, but then, Hera is known for her mood swings.
I also read Birds of Prey #4 (still liking this book, and the ending to this issue has me intrigued), Blue Beetle #4 (yawn), Catwoman #4 (why does Selina like wearing the red wig so much? And holy cow that last page!), DC Universe Presents #4 (we really have one more issue of this thing?), Lady Mechanika #3 (I love the look of this book, but the jokes are really lame), LSH #4 (yawn), Supergirl #4 (yawn), Thunder Agents #2 (I liked the Frazer Irving cover. The story is so-so.).
Angel & Faith #4: I really liked that Angel knew that Faith was going to stop him if he crossed a line–Angel has been portrayed a little too oblivious? for my taste so far in this title. But then, he is apparently going insane or possessed by Giles, which is a plot point that the creative team should be very careful with. Also, the creative team should steer away from super-powered vampires–I had my fill when Angel was Twilight.
Daredevil #6: Mark Waid certainly knows how to up the stakes. How will ol’ Hornhead get out of having A.I.M., Hydra, Agencé Byzantine, Black Spectre, and the Secret Empire after him all at the same time (and I have never heard of those last three agencies)? Although, considering that the world at large thinks that Matt Murdoch is Daredevil, why would Matt put that data disk on his desk? Shouldn’t it be put somewhere perhaps more secure? Still a wonderfully fun superhero comic, and it’s no surprise that it’s landing on some folks’ Top lists. It’s certainly one of my favorite comics of 2011.
FF #12: I heard some buzz online that FF is becoming the Power Pack of the Fantastic Four “universe” and this issue seems to herald this since the focus of the (so far) year-long storyline shifts to the kids. But is this a sea-change for the title, or just a brief interlude? If it’s the former, then I’m dropping the title because, as much as I like the kids thus far, I want to read about the adults and their relationships (and yes, see more of Sue). Also, if the current art team stay, then that will only make my decision easier–that style is just not to my liking.
Star Trek #3: I don’t normally comment on this title because it’s essentially “reprint” material, but I do want to say that that whole “Spock never had a command of his own” comment from McCoy in the Original Series episode “The Galileo Seven” makes perfect sense in this retelling where it never did in the television series. McCoy’s crack always bugged me since how could anyone achieve the rank of Commander in any quasi-military branch (even a fictional one) without having commanded a certain group of subordinates? I just thought that was lazy storytelling on the part of the writer and producers of that episode serving only to create a false sense of tension. In this comic, and given the events of the last Star Trek movie, McCoy points out that Spock has his chance at command again, since that opportunity was taken from him by Kirk.
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1: My exposure to the THUNDER Agents (the periods are hereby banished!) came from the 1984 comic Wally Wood’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1 by Deluxe Comics, so when I heard that DC was putting out another version of the THUNDER Agents by Nick Spencer, I was intrigued until I read the premise, specifically, the bit about their powers killing them. I’m not sure why that take turned me off, but it did. Then my friend Oddfellow kept talking about how good the series was, so when DC stopped the series and announced it would return after the New 52 launched, I decided to try it out. After all, it would only be six issues. Plus, it would give me a chance to assess Nick Spencer’s writing. Like Scott Snyder’s work, I haven’t been overly wowed by Spencer’s comic writing, but I have recently come around to Snyder’s work on Batman, so maybe this title will cement how I feel about Spencer. With that, how was this return issue? Mmm, ok. I got enough back story to fill me in on the previous 10 issues of the title and make me curious to perhaps buy the trade if I can find it cheap (or maybe ask Oddfellow if I can borrow his copies :) ). The two agents in suits, Henston and Franklin, are the most intriguing of any character in this issue, with NoMan coming in second so far. And while the whole powers killing the agents bit turned me off before, I can see where this could lead to some interesting storytelling, sort of like how new actors come in to play James Bond or more appropriately Doctor Who. I like the Wes Craig art, though it reminds me of someone else’s work that I’ve seen recently, but I can’t quite put my finger on who yet. This title I think will be an interesting distraction for six issues.