Friday, March 15, 2013

Comic Book Weekly Reflection 3/15/13

This week went better with the fact that I was actually able to read everything I wanted to.  Nothing from Image this week, just good old DC and Marvel (there’s a Vertigo comic as well, but that’s sort of attached to DC in a way).  Also, this blog is now one month old and there hasn’t been too many difficulties.  Let’s hope it stays that way.
Be warned, there will be spoilers below!
Avengers Assemble #13: This issue is the conclusion to a two part.  We have Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Spider-Woman discovering what happened to that missing girl and also coming across an entire group of lizard people, who used to be normal until they start abusing this drug.  I won’t say much about it is kind of interesting in how it all goes down.  The issue ends the heroes winning obviously and it being revealed that Hawkeye has this mysterious chip from Black Widow that can guarantee her help for something in the future.
To me, this comic feels like it has what I want out of an Avengers comic.  Great characters, enjoyable action, interesting missions, solid dialogue, and that it feels like a team book.  The characters are all working together and showing why they are important to the mission.  Add in some funny lines, an interesting mystery at the end, and great art; and you got yourself probably one of the most underrated Avengers comic currently putting out.
It’s a great example of showing that comics don’t always have to epic and large in scale, they can be small and enjoyable little tales that feature our favorite heroes being the characters that we love.  I really wanted this issue to be my pick of the week, but there was an even better and much more enjoyable comic this week.
Batman #18: This picks up where Batman & Robin left off this week (which we’ll get to as well), with Batman just pushing himself to the limits and putting himself more into his work since Damian died.  He’s been going five days straight without any sleep and his reaching his limit while also becoming more violent.  All of this has caught the attention of teenager Harper Row, who we last saw in issue 12.  Since then and becoming inspired by him, she’s been training to do some crime fighting of her own.  Of course, Batman rejects the idea and pretty much explains easily why the hell she should not be involved at all (while also shouting it at her).  However, Row is able to get through to him enough for him to calm down and start slowing down so he doesn’t get killed.  The issue ends ultimately with two of them meeting again and making peace, but I still get the impression he doesn’t want her to be a vigilante.
Lots of people had been wondering if Harper Row will be the next Robin and honestly, I don’t think she has earned it yet and be the end of issue, I don’t think she’ll be getting the position anytime soon as well.  Could she become Robin in the future?  It’s possible, but not anytime soon at least so I’m going to play the waiting game and see how she develops overtime.  Other things I heard were that people were saying this was very much like A Lonely Place of Dying, which brought about the introduction of Tim Drake as Robin back in the 90’s.  I never read it, so I can’t compare this to that old story.
The comic was perfectly fine as far as I’m concerned.  Harper Row is slowly being developed and we are getting a better understanding of her now.  She’s rather likeable and amusing, so she was just fine.  Batman was a bit of dick in this issue, knocking her through a wooden fence, though I get why considering his situation considering he’s been going for 5 days straight without stopping, he’s a bit unstable, his emotions all over the place after the loss of his son, and he does not want her to get involve and decided to show & list how unprepared she was.  Batman seems to be settling down after this issue, so he’ll probably back to normal somewhat next issue.
Dialogue was fine and there were a couple of good lines (especially between Harper and her brother), though Scott Snyder does tend to overwrite with tons of dialogue and inner thoughts from the characters.  While the story was ultimately fine and about more of an outsider looking at how Batman is on the brink of self-destructing, it’s kind of boring.  Not much happened with Batman sort of returning back to square one with his emotions, so this rage didn’t last long.  Not much action and some scenes kind of drag on or don’t add anything to the story.  There’s also the art with has the duo of Andy Kubert and Alex Maleev, which both do a fine job of drawing.  However, the change between them is extremely jarring and through me out of the story a bit.
So really, I liked the issue just fine but there were problems with it.  I don’t think it was good as Harper’s real debut issue back in number 12 despite developing her more as a character.  I think Snyder blew all of his skill on closing out Swamp Thing last week, so we were left with something that was just alright.  Oh well, maybe next month.
Batman & Robin #18: This issue is just pure silence; with absolutely no dialogue of any kind (whoever letters this comic got a nice break this time around) outside of a letter at the end of the comic.  It basically just shows the aftermath with Bruce, Alfred, and Damian’s dog Titus and how it has affected them.  Though it’s mostly just focusing on Bruce, as we see him constantly see Damian everywhere during his patrol, but not really being there.  It ends with him unleashing all of his rage and anger on the crooks of Gotham, and then leaving them all piled up on the roof of the Gotham P.D.
Batman & Robin has been one of those comics that I read, but kind of forget about later on after I read it.  It’s fine, but never really does anything to make an overall impression on me.  This, however, did for once.  I don’t often see silent issues where the comic just relies on the art to tell its story (I think the only time I ever saw anything like this was when I read Negima), so it was rather interesting.  I found the emotion to be quite strong and the story itself just as strong with how it’s portrayed.  Some of the layouts with the panels were pretty nice looking at well, especially when Batman finally starts attacking criminals.
The only real problems I have with this comic is that it is a very breezy read, going by really quickly with the lack of dialogue, and also my own issues with the art itself.  I’m not that really that big of a fan with how the artist draws faces.  Still, it’s all rather nitpicks in a rather well put together comic.  Definitely worth a look if you don’t normally read it.
Fearless Defenders #2:  The issue begins with us meeting Dani Moonstar, who is captured by Caroline le Fey, villain we saw in the last issue, who wants to make her into a Valkyrie for some reason.  Then from there we focus on Valkyrie, Misty Knight, and Dr. Annabelle Riggs heading to Asgardia to seek some help on their current situation.  It is learned that Valkyrie is supposed to create a new Valkyrior, otherwise the Dommaidens (evil Valkyries) will return to fill the void.  The issue ends with them meeting Warrior Woman, who may be just the woman they need for the Valkyrior.
Now this issue was just plain fun through and through.  All the characters are awesome and so us why they are so great, with Moonstar fighting waves of baddies to Misty Knight jumping in to Valkyrie fight Hela, the Asgardian goddess of death.  There’s tons of great dialogue and these fun little caption boxes that have a funny line that describes a character when they first appear.  There’s some great action and the story progresses (not a lot mind you), allowing us to see why exactly this new team is needed and being formed.  It’s all really just great.
If you noticed my reaction shot, you’ll see that I didn’t really I have much to say on the subject.  It’s certainly not badly drawn and everyone looks good, but it’s also really not noteworthy.  It’s serviceable and gets the job down, but it’s really not what will leave an impression with you after this issue ends.  You’ll be remembering how great the characters are and the amount of fun you had with it.  This was my pick of the week and something you should be checking out as well.
Saucer Country #13: With the series almost over and the mysteries & conspiracies growing, I’m going to refrain from revealing the plot of this and the next issue.  You’ll have to read that for yourselves.  However, I will say that I really dug this issue.
The dialogue is still as strong as ever and I find myself still hanging on every word they say.  The characters are still great, with Harry having a particularly great moment during this issue when someone reveals to him that he knows that Arcadia thinks she was abducted by aliens.  The plot continued nicely and I’m really excited to see the Election Day results turn out.
Not much to say other than that since I’m trying to keep hush hush about it, but it was really good.  Too bad that Vertigo is cancelling the comic next month, but what can you do?  I’m going to miss this political and sci-fi thriller…
Team 7 #6: Speaking of comics heading for the chopping block, here’s one of them now (though it’ll be cancelled in May)!  In this issue, Team 7 heads for the Advanced Prosthetic Research Center to see what the hell is going on there, with Alex Fairchild going there in particular to rescue his daughter.  However, things go to crap as they discover the place has been overrun with robots that have transformed the humans into metal machines like them.  Also, a couple start dying off and by the end of this run, I’m pretty sure more of them will be dead as well.
This issue was not as good as last month’s but still fine regardless.  It had solid action, good character moments, a few good lines, an interesting final page to keep me curious until next month, and a rather sad and depressing scene where my favorite character gets killed.  Also, this issue raises a very interesting question.  Caitlin Fairchild gets robotized and killed in this issue by Slade.  This comic takes place back in the past, but in modern times and in another comic called The Ravagers, she is perfectly alive.  I don’t think it’s a writer screw up at all, but a rather interesting mystery that I hope gets addressed here.
Not much else to say about this comic.  It was fine and read well, but that’s pretty much it.  I’ll continue with this comic to the end to see where it goes, but I’m hoping for something rather epic to wrap everything up here.
Uncanny X-Men #3: Cyclops, his pals, and his students have a run in with the Avengers in this issue.  The Avengers are there to arrest Cyclops for killing Professor Xavier, but he tries to B.S. his way out of it by making a speech and showing off for the cameras in the area.  Before both teams can fight each other, Eva, a mutant with the power to stop time in certain spots, freezes the Avengers in place, allowing for the mutants to escape the scene.  Feeling confident about this encounter; Cyclops takes Magik, Emma Frost, and Magneto to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning to possibly do some recruiting for his side.
This issue is odd for me to say the least.  On the one hand, a lot of these characters in the comic are jerks or egoistical pricks, including our main characters.  It kind of makes you want them to lose in a way just so you can see them fall extremely hard and get a much ass kicking, especially Cyclops and Hawkeye in this issue.  On the other hand, this is issue was really enjoyable to read.  Great dialogue and humor (love those guys reaction to the Hulk and Magik’s evil plan of clogging toilets), solid character bits, improved artwork with a better splash of color to it, and an overall interesting ending that makes me want to know where this will go.
Uncanny X-Men is pretty good and is slowly improving in my mind, despite the silly costumes the heroes are wearing now and how jerkish the characters can be.  I still like All New X-Men more, but this is slowly growing on me.  I’ll be sure to check out the next issue.
Wolverine #1: Our issue begins in a mall where some dad is holding the place hostage with an alien ray guy and Wolverine on the ground, slowly healing from getting hit with the ray gun earlier.  The intensity builds until the dad kills off most of the people in the mall and Wolverine finally healing enough to kill him.  However, the trouble isn’t over when the guy’s kid gets ahold of the ray gun and goes evil himself, causing Wolverine to chase after him and find out what the hell is going on.
Written by Paul Cornell, who also writes Saucer Country, this was a very big surprise for me.  I never really expected to like this all that much since I’m not a huge fan of Wolverine.  He’s cool and all, but I like other characters in the Marvel Universe more than him.  However, the writing here was really solid, presenting him as a very likeable character and setting up a situation that makes you wonder how he’s going to deal with it.  There are also some good character bits and dialogue that really makes this rather enjoyable to read.
The story didn’t really move quickly and the art is just decent, but nothing special.  However, this was a surprisingly good comic and has my attention.  Whenever I see the next issue, I’m definitely going to give it a shot and I do recommend you guys to try it out as well.

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