Friday, March 1, 2013

Comic Book Weekly Reflection 3/1/13

Big things happened this week in in the Batman titles, Image puts out one and half new titles (you’ll see), and Marvel continues to be Marvel.  Let’s get this started!
Be warned, there will be spoilers below!
Aquaman #17: This is the epilogue to the crossover event Throne of Atlantis, where we see what just happened to Aquaman’s world after he took over as king of this underwater civilization.  To be honest, tons of things happened in this issue: Scavenger & the Sea Devils make the New 52 debuts; we are introduced to Murk the leader of Men-Of-War who may soon become a threat to Aquaman judging by what happens; Orm is going to be sentence to death unless he pleads guilty; Amanda Waller, the new Justice League liaison, is having Mera arrested; and somewhere in the Antarctica, we see someone mysterious figure rising up.
Like I said, a lot happened and it’s all so good.  All of these new things introduced promises us tons of exciting events and changes happening in the future for this comic, especially with these villains.  The writer, Geoff Johns, seems to have a lot of plans in store and that really is great for me.  You see I was thinking about dropping this comic after this arc because The Others arc was kind of weak and pretty slow for me.  It just figures that Johns would be bringing his A-game right around when I decided to drop it!
What else I do definitely like here is the art.  This title lost its awesome artist, Ivan Reis, to Justice League back in November and was replaced with Paul Pelletier.  His look is a bit different, especially in the facial department, but he stills manages to draw some great looking stuff.  My personal favorite is the scene where Aquaman summons tons of sea creatures.  The amount of detail and skill with drawing each creature is quite impressive.
Aquaman #17 was a great epilogue to this event and promising start to its new status quo.  While it could be said that plot didn’t advance a lot this issue, it more than made up for it in my mind with all of the possibilities presented here.  Highly recommended to all.
Batman Incorporated #8: Oh man, what I can I truly say about this issue?  Let’s just recap the events and move on from there.  Batman is trapped inside of a safe in a pool, that he escapes using a lock pick he kept in his mouth (not as impressive as the one Calvin Rose keeps in his foot, but whatever works).  Damian flies to Wayne Enterprises to see if he can put a stop of everything.  He rescues Tim who is getting overwhelmed by guards, but then he himself starts getting overwhelmed.  However, it’s Dick Grayson to the rescue as he steps in to help the kid.
They talk a bit and fight the guards, with silly 60’s Batman sound effects (totally appropriate for what has been going on mind you).  Suddenly, the Terminator… I mean Heretic shows and just mops the floor with both of them.  Once they are down, he tries to get the world bomb (I don’t remember what it is, but I’m just going to assume it’s bad) from this girl, but Damian shoots him with a crossbow.  The bow goes straight through the guy and has no effect.  Like I said, the Terminator.
Damian fights him again, but the guy just completely mops the floor with him yet again.  This time though, it is bad.  After a savage beating and attempted spine break, Damian is struck with a couple of arrows from bad guys and then impaled with a sword by Heretic.  The comic then ends with Batman, finally escaping, rushing over to Damian, but the kid is dead now.
So… this comic was quite a downer, but honestly, I feel nothing.  I’m not sad because I’m more disappointed with the writer, Grant Morrison.  Seriously?  Killing Damian off?  A character with so much potential left in him just brutally slaughtered?  It seems so wasteful.  But wait fans cry!  Morrison has probably has a plan like he always does!  This will probably mean something in the long run!  That’s wonderful and all, but that doesn’t make this any less disappointing.
If he keeps the character dead, then it was a waste of a character and instantly loses a great dynamic that was building between Bruce and his son.  If he resurrects the character later on, then this whole moment is very cheap and loses all impact since he’ll just be fine in the end.  Hell, regardless, Damian won’t stay dead.  Even if Morrison doesn’t bring him back, some writer in the future will.  There’s no way DC is going to let a popular character like this stay dead.
Also, if this death is supposed to inspire or push a character into doing something or becoming something, then that’s even worse in my mind.  I absolutely hate when a writer does that since it makes the writer seem stupid that he or she can’t even come up with a way to push their characters to where they want them to be.
Okay, but enough about the death, what about the rest of the issue?  Really nothing much to it honestly.  The story is moving at a snail’s pace, not really advancing the plot at all.  The villains are really not too interesting with Talia more of a Bond villain at this point and this Heretic fellow just being the frickin’ Terminator.  Not much happened in the way of character development either.  One could say that scene between Dick and Damian was good, but really?  Now of all times, before he is killed off, Damian decides to open up and share a moment with his old partner?  My god does this seem clich├ęd and cheesy.  Seriously, all he was missing was saying, “I’m only two days away from retirement” or “I got a future/girl at home and she’s waiting for me.”
Well I talked enough about Batman Inc. and made my point.  I did not like this issue.  Morrison is a better writer than this (people keep telling me that so I assume he is), so what the hell is up with the issue?
FF #4: Let’s talk about something more cheery and better written now.  In this latest issue of FF, it takes a break from the plot for a moment and instead focuses on having some fun with the Moloids and Bentley-23 trying to wreck She-Hulk’s date/get together with Wingfoot.  Not much else happened besides that, although one of the members of this new Fantastic Four, Medusa, may not be acting just right.
Seriously, not much happened this issue, but to be honest, I did not mind that like I usually do.  The main reason is how much fun this comic was instead.  It had humor, it had character, and it had these great little moments that put a smile on my smile (I especially love that flashback to the Fantastic Core debut).  Heck, the art added to the fun with its pop and retro style to it or some of its more unique pages, like the dance scene.
I’m not really getting into much about this issue, but I don’t really have much more to say about this other than to keep throwing praises on it.  I really had a great time with this comic and I hope it continues to be just as fun, but with maybe some more plot advancement.
Five Weapons #1: In this new number one from Image Comics, it features Tyler Shainline, the child of two powerful assassins.  They decide to enroll him at this unusual school that teaches kids of other killers to… kill, specializing in one of five different weapon types.  However, Tyler isn’t really like the others at the school, showing no real interest in their weapons and instead deciding to use his brain and smarts to defeat his opponents.  His first one will be the club president of the group who specializes in blades.
To me, this honestly seems very promising.  The premise sounds like a Shonen manga and already seems to have some its elements, with its unique characters and style.  The main character already seems very interesting with his intelligence and reasoning.  The side characters are all unique with their own personalities that really tell you almost all you need to know about them.  The backstory for Tyler and his family about what happened before he arrived is intriguing and really makes me want to know what happens next.  There’s also the art, which is also nice and is good so far at making each character look different from each other.
My only true concern is with the writer himself, Jimmie Robinson.  He wrote Bomb Queen and having looked into it, he tends make his main character… a bit too invincible.  I can see already some elements in Tyler that could quickly make him into that, but I’m hoping that doesn’t happen here.
Overall, Five Weapons’ first issue was pretty darn good and really enjoyable.  It is only a five issue mini-series, but I’m hoping that it keeps up this quality I’m seeing here.  This is a definite recommendation.
Justice League Dark #17: In this issue; we have Constantine, Deadman, Black Orchid, Frankenstein, and Madame Xanadu all captured by this futuristic soldier in a distant world and now under lock and key by anti-magic government.  Frankenstein manages to break them out, like the badass he is, but they all run into trouble as the world starts breaking apart.  You see, to get there, they had to open this portal which is now causing some crazy seismic feedback loop that is tearing apart both worlds.
Meanwhile, Madame Xanadu manages to see into the future one more time before she ages to a horrifically old state.  In her vision, not every single one of them, including the two they came to rescue (Zatanna and Timothy Hunter) may make it back to Earth.  Constantine will, but not everyone.
This issue was… alright.  It’s certainly not bad at all, but not nearly as fun as it has been in the past for me.  This issue is more a middle issue before the big and huge battle that’ll be taking place next issue (which is also the end of the arc).  While there are certainly many things going on and this whole world is really fleshed out in how it works, I don’t think the plot moved a lot this issue.  The art is certainly interesting here.  It’s the same artist as always, but I can’t help but feel it’s a little bit different.  I think it’s the coloring here. It’s hard to explain, but I like the color a bit better in the last story arc.
Still, this issue was perfectly fine but just not as nearly fun as it used to be (Frankenstein not included since he is always awesome).  Though I tend to notice this sort of thing a lot with comics written by Jeff Lemire, where issue before the finale is kind of not as interesting as the rest of the issues.  So I’m not really all that worry by this drop since I’m pretty sure it’ll pick up next issue quite nicely.
Punisher: War Zone #5: And so, this is the finale the War Zone miniseries and also the ending of Greg Rucka’s time on the Punisher.  This is the finale confrontation between him and the Avengers after busting Cole, his former partner, out of prison to avoid the death penalty.  I’m not going to say how it all goes down, but I will say that it was pretty darn good.
The Punisher has never been a character I had any real interest in.  No matter who was writing it or how good it was, I just didn’t really care (don’t tell me Garth Ennis’ run was good.  I have no interest in anything that guy writes).  Then came Rucka, a writer who I really liked from his work over at DC Comics (in particular Batwoman and 52), who made me curious.  When I saw the first issue of the comic, I decided to give it a shot and to my surprise, I was really drawn into it.  I loved how it didn’t really have a lot of dialogue in many scenes, allowing just the imagery to tell you all that you need to know.  I really was drawn into Cole’s journey after how much of her life was destroyed in one terrible event. I was completely impressed and just loving it.
And so it all came down to this issue after Rucka was booted out of Marvel, his final piece.  While I didn’t really care for the artwork at all, the writing and action was just as great as always.  I won’t spoil this at all (unlike another comic I did earlier) since if you have been reading this comic up until now, you owe it to yourself to read it.  It’s better to experience it than to let me say anymore.
Talon #5:  After a tough as nails fight with the Gotham Butcher, Calvin Rose gets a moment to relax with Casey and Sarah as they hide out in Sebastian Clark’s HQ.  Calvin brought everyone back to Gotham to get ready to take on the next big and most important battle against the Court of Owls.  He is going to wipe out the Securitus, a giant security company that Casey’s father built that the Court took.  After some detailed planning, Calvin sneaks into the place through a run-off tunnel to plant a big bomb in it.  However, it turns out the place is being run by the Grandmaster of the Court and Calvin is quickly surrounded by three Talons down below.
Okay now this was a great issue in my mind.  This series has been slowly improving and getting better with each passing issue. I wasn’t so sure what to think about this comic after the second issue, but now?  I am so following this one to the very end.  This issue was really more about developing the characters and their relationships with each other.  Calvin, Casey, Sarah, and even Sebastian were all given a chance for us to spend some time with them.  The whole breakfast scene was just perfect and really showed how human each one was.  I just loved it.
The issue also switched focuses a bit during the issue showing us Batman and his reaction to all of the events and actions Calvin’s been taking against the Court, but also the Gotham Butcher as well and see what he was up to as well.  I really appreciate that small part with Batman, since it was nice to know what he was thinking about with all of this action.  After all, he did fight the Court not that long ago.
This to me was a just a great, just great comic.  I really cannot muster any complaints about it all.  I loved everything about it from the characters to the art (holy crap is it great, especially the underwater two page spread).  If you weren’t sure about checking this comic out, you should definitely be reading it.  It’s my pick of the week for favorite comic I read.
The Uncanny SkullKickers #1:  This comic is a bit difficult for me to talk about.  Despite the number one on the cover, this is actually number 19 in the series, which is normally called SkullKickers.  As such, I don’t really know all of the details of every single thing going on in this comic.  From what I read, Kusia and Rex had been shipwrecked on an island in the middle of who knows where.  They are simply trying to survive and figure out what to do next given the situation.  When going inland, they eventually attacked by these strange horned apes.  Also, at the bottom of each page is a panel where we see a dead dwarf just floating in the sea.  Not much happens there outside of some sea animals being dicks by stealing his stuff.
The comic, happily, does have a few recap pages at the beginning to fill new readers in on everything that has been happening, so that was very much appreciated.  Still, I feel this issue would be much better for a fan that has been following this comic month to month unlike me.  That’s kind of why I put a question mark in front of my Yay, because while it is good, I’m not really into this like others would be.
But on the positive side, this was still very good regardless.  It’s got a good sense of humor, especially with its odd sound effects; the art is easy on the eyes, and the characters make a great and amusing team with how they talk and treat each other.  It’s very enjoyable and I’m pretty sure current fans of this comic will certainly enjoy it much more than I did.
I liked it, but I’m probably not going to be coming back until I read the rest of the series.  I still say you should definitely check it out if you are looking for something currently that is action packed and very funny at the same time.
Young Avengers #2:  *Sigh* Not much too really say about this comic since… I honestly don’t really remember much about it.  No seriously, I don’t really remember much about it.  I’m barely remembering anything in terms of plot, outside of the two guys realizing that bringing that mom into their own dimension really wasn’t a good idea and now they need help sending her back.  Don’t remember much else in terms of plot.
I really don’t think that’s good either for a comic to be this forgettable.  I only read it a day ago, but I’m really drawing a blank here story-wise.  I do remember everything else, but nothing regarding the plot.  I remember the characters being completely useless and unremarkable outside of Kid Loki breaking the two out of their comic panel prisons and getting something very bacony at a restaurant.  The villain is rather boring and I still don’t really get what the hell her plan, if it has been revealed at all.  Three characters that appeared last issue and are on the cover are nowhere to be found in this comic, so what the hell is up with that?  The art is alright but nothing to write home about outside of the comic panel prison I mentioned and maybe a few character expressions.  Then comes an ending that only left me confused because I had no idea what this guy had to do with anything.
I don’t get Young Avengers.  Everyone is so up in joy about it, especially with its diverse characters.  Well I’m sorry, but I don’t see how any of these characters are particularly great outside of Kid Loki.  I don’t like any of the female members (who were completely absent this issue) and the guys did not feel completely real to me with how they talked or acted.  So all we are left with a plot that really has done nothing at all these past few issues.  It only kicked in until the tail end of the first issue and stumbled around aimlessly this issue.
I demand a good comic with Avengers in the title that isn’t Avengers Assemble and Uncanny Avengers (which is just average).  I don’t want to read about douchebags (New Avengers), I don’t want a comic that constantly hammers the same thing over again issue to issue (Avengers), I don’t a comic where the heroes are killing each other for no reason (Avengers Arena), and I want this comic not to be so damn mediocre.  I demand quality!!

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