It's a big week! There's new #1s for Action Comics, JLI, Swamp Thing, Stormwatch and Casanova! Add to that old favourites in Wolverine, Hulk, Thunderbolts, iZombie and The Boys, it's a lovely comic-book stew! Mmmm, tastes like TWiP!
Credits & Solicit Info:
Screams from the haters, got a nice ring to it, I guess every superhero needs his theme music!
Sorry, just having a little Kanye-moment, but when the week of comics is this good, it's hard not to feel as awesome as Kanyeezy. Last week was just the calm before the storm, as this week the new DCU kicks off earnest, so I've got your lowdown on several of the better #1s. As well as stuff from other companies like Marvel, Image and Dynamite.
As usual, you can click the links to read the individual threads, it's all good in the hood my homies.
Hulk #40 – It's all coming together now. We've got Red Hulk, Omegex, Black Fog, Zero/One and General Fortean all in one place. All we need now is MODOK and we've got ourselves a proper party. This issue was the usual solid stuff from Parker and Hardman, there was plenty of action, some wacky comic-book science and some character-development for General Ross. I think my favourite bit in this issue was the trip back into Rulk's past. Parker is explaining stuff that Loeb kind of left unexplained, and it's good to see him continue to make Loeb's insane run actually make sense and work. I do feel that at times there is too much going on in the book, but it does make things pretty unique and unpredictable.
Moon Knight #5 – I'm used to the rhythm of this book now, and I'm loving it. You can tell Bendis is having the time of his life writing Moon Knight's psychotic hallucinatory versions of Cap, Spider-Man and Wolverine, and Maleev is equalling him in the different ways he chooses to display the personalities. Whilst this issue was light on stuff actually happening, that's just Bendis, there was still a lot of cool business, like Moon Knight kissing Echo and then her kicking the crap out of him. The scene with Tick Tock and the Policeman who hates superheroes was also fantastic, and it looks like there's a deeper conspiracy at work here. Oh, and I continue to love how ridiculous Buck Lime's name is. Buck. Lime.
The Punisher #3 – He finally speaks! This was a strange issue, being that it was pretty much one in-air fight scene that I personally found quite difficult to follow. I don't know if the fault lies with me or with Marco Checchetto or with Greg Rucka. It was interesting to see how a non-powered person deals in a fight with someone who can fly, but as I said, I had trouble following the flow of the fight. I think this issue could have used more of Norah Winters and the two cops, plus what's the deal with Rachel Alves/Cole? What was she doing at the end there?
Wolverine #15 – Fantastic. After the shocking event's of last months' issue, Jason Aaron explores the impact on Logan, and it's very emotional stuff. The idea of Wolverine repeatedly jumping off a mountain just to kill himself and escape for 5 seconds is just a brilliant and haunting idea. I was initially disappointed that Daken and Dog were hallucinations or dreams, but it doesn't make what they said to Logan any less effective, in fact, it may make it more so, as it's his own conscience. This really is the best Wolverine ever, and I can't wait to see where Aaron is taking this and how Logan will get out of this funk. Great art from Goran Sudzuka too.
New Avengers Annual #1 – This issue was worth it just to see Gabriele Dell'Otto draw those splash pages of the terrible threats the Avengers have created. Just phenomenal stuff. Dell'Otto's stuff here wasn't fully painted like his usual work, but it looked fantastic nonetheless. The story was decent, I initially thought Wonder Man's heel turn was a bit silly, but you have to admit he does have a point about the bad stuff the Avengers have caused. The team he created was a lot of fun too, some pretty lame characters, but Bendis made them into a threat. I particularly liked seeing Atlas again, I miss that guy in the Thunderbolts. Plus D-Man was hilariously pathetic. It'll be interesting to see where Bendis is taking this 'Revengers' concept, and how far he will take it. I suppose we have to wait for the Avengers Annual.
Thunderbolts #163 – The cover of this is pretty shameless, '1st issue! ... of a new era'. You can't fool me Marvel! This is #163 and you know it! I'm a sucker for time-travel stories, and this looks like it's going to be a good one. We'll get to compare and contrast some of the most noble superheroes in Marvel history in The Invaders with some of the least in the Tbolts. Plus there's also weird stuff going on with Swamp Thing and Satana, and of course Luke Cage is back in the present. I'm not sure how exactly this is a new era, but it was a lot of fun, and a nice break from the heaviness of the last few Fear Itself tie-in issues. And we got an Imperious Rex! Any comic where Namor says his catchphrase is automatically awesome.
Heroes For Hire #11 – Heh, Elektra is just a bad-ass isn't she? She avoids being mind-controlled by Purple Man by holding her breath, and when questioned about it, just shrugs and says 'I'm a Ninja', awesome. This was another strong issue of H4H, I particularly liked the scene with 'Monster' scaring all the various people, and then how Misty defeated him. I was wavering on getting Villains For Hire, but after this issue I think I will, I want to see how it all comes together and how Purple Man and Monster are involved.
X-Factor #224.1 – This is probably the best issue of X-Factor in a while, which is good stuff for an issue designed to hook new readers, I imagine any newbies reading this will want to continue. It was just a really enjoyable single-issue story which showcased every member of the team and recapped all the various soap-opera shenanigans that have been going on. Plus, that was a doozy of a last page. The only thing going against this issue is that it's a jumping-on-point for a status-quo that's going to go away post-Schism when Havok and other people join the team. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Casanova: Avaritia #1 – It's back! Hallelujah! Rejoice! This issue was just what you'd expect from Casanova: lunatic experimental madness. I just love how strange this book is and how Fraction and Ba aren't afraid to try new things, like the weird red and black panels, or the caption boxes which show what the characters are really thinking. Too many comics these days aren't willing to play with the form, but Casanova is incredibly playful. The sexy thing. The main plot in this issue (if you care about the plot, which you probably shouldn't) is that Cass has been tasked with destroying the various alternate universes that he inadvertently created. We see loads of weird and crazy universes, and are introduced to the immortal phrase that is 'Spaciotemporal Holocaust'. Awesome, and then Fraction starts to bring in back-story and the back-up from the last issue. I'll need to re-read that one because I did not get that that guy was actually Newman Xeno. In general, it's fucking awesome to have Casanova back, because there's nothing else quite like it. Just buy it.
Action Comics #1 – It feels weird to type that. Action Comics #1, I own a copy of Action Comics #1. Freaky. I'm not sure about this one at the moment, I like it, but I think I like the idea of it more than the way Morrison and Morales executed it. The whole, working class hero, Bruce Springsteen, Depression-Era Superman thing sounds amazing, but we didn't get enough of that in this issue, instead what we got was an extended action scene. Now of course the book is called Action Comics, and so there should be plenty of action, and this issue had some truly exciting scenes, Morales' art looked better here than ever, but I think I actually want more exposition here. I feel like Morrison just kind of dropped me in at the deep end, and while that was probably his intent, it didn't fully work for me. This issue is supposed to be defining the new Superman, but it barely scratched the surface. I get the feeling that Morrison is waiting for later issues to fully explore and explain what's going on, so I'll withhold judgement until then, and I'll need to read it again, but for now, this issue had too much Action and not enough Superman.
Batwing #1 – I was part of the Outhouse's 52apalooza initiative for this book, click the link to read my thoughts on Africa's very own Batman.
Animal Man #1 – I also 52apaloozaed this one. Click the link to read my review.
Swamp Thing #1 – Now this was good comics. I've never really read much Swamp Thing, only the very early Alan Moore stuff, so I was kind of nervous coming into this, would I be lost? Sucked down into a continuity swamp? Thankfully now, Scott Snyder continues to show why he's one of the comics industry's rising stars with probably my favourite DC #1 so far. The narration from Alec Holland is interesting, with some truly interesting insights into plant-life, the guest-appearance from Superman was strong, and the scene where those guys had their heads twisted round was creepy as fuck. Snyder is becoming a master of comic-book horror. Add to that career-best work from Yanick Paquette, and you can't get much better. I guess I'll need to track down some more classic Swamp Thing now, because this one has it's roots in me.
Static Shock #1 – This one is the Outhouse Review Group pick for this week! I watched the Static Shock cartoon as a kid, but I've never read any of his comics, so this was a new experience for me. Check the Group to see my thoughts, and those of everyone else who matters!
Justice League International #1 – This was the first issue of the Justice League that last week's Johns/Lee effort should have been. It may not have the star quality and big names, but JLI is already looking like one of my favourites. I'm a huge fan of Booster Gold, and I'm glad to see he's still the same loveable schmuck in the new DCU. Plus the rest of the team actually show up! Sure, Vixen and Godiva and August General don't get much to do, but they form an interesting team. Jurgens has taken the best of the classic JLI, thrown in some stuff from Generation Lost, and also looked to the future. I particularly liked Jurgens' take on Batman here, he has a sort of wry, subtle humour. The artwork from Aaron Lopresti is very strong, although I'm not too sure about Booster Gold's new costume. I know some fans are up in arms about Blue Beetle and Max Lord supposedly being erased from history, but this is still the JLI, there's still bickering and joking between team mates, and there's still a shady government operative in the form of Andre Briggs. Good stuff.
Stormwatch #1 – This was an odd one. I'm still getting used to the idea of the Wildstorm heroes being a part of the DCU, and this issue felt disjointed as a result. It still feels strange to see Martian Manhunter alongside Jack Hawskmoor, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. It was great to see my old friends from the Authority back, I've missed them, and Cornell seems to have a good handle on them, he's a British writer, so he can strike the same tone as Warren Ellis. I really liked the slightly off-kilter weird tone of this book, it looks like Stormwatch won't be facing your typical super-villains, instead they'll be fighting the Moon. I'm also intrigued by 'Projectionist', is she a new character? Her powers seem pretty unique. Miguel Sepulveda's art is very well=suited to this book, he strives for realism, and even manages to make Martian Manhunter look real. The thing I'm most unsure of in this book is Apollo and Midnighter, are they going to be fighting against Stormwatch? What is the nature of their relationship? But I'm more than willing to see how this develops.
House Of Mystery #41 – A very nice wrap-up to a wild ride of a series. It was great seeing how each of the character's lives ended up, how they resolved in various sad, happy or comedic ways. Plus, it's always a good issue when we get a Jordan story, and while his movie wasn't as insane as his previous efforts, it was still very funny. I will say that I remain a bit conflicted on the series as a whole, whilst every issue was enjoyable, I felt like Sturges never really explained the big picture stuff very well. But it's been fun, and I look forward to next week's standalone finale.
iZombie #17 – Excellent issue, most of the characters have come together now, and it's all kicking off with the 'Munchers' wandering across Eugene. There were so many great moments in this issue, like Dixie shooting a Zombie, and the return of the Communist Coffee-Pot Brain. I really liked the double-page spread map of Eugene, it really got across how much work Roberson has put into his little world. And the revelation at the end was just a real mind-fuck moment, so Amon caused Gwen to kill herself? WTF? I can't wait to see that get explained.
Sweet Tooth #25 – For a moment there I though Gus was actually going to die, but he didn't, so that's a relief. The scenes in Gus' mindscape of dream or whatever were freaking me out a little, when that guy took his glasses off to reveal... nothing... ugh, shudder. The stuff in the 'real world' was good too, I'm genuinely confused about whether Walter is benign or not, it could be that Jepperd is just crazy, but I'm leaning towards him being right. I really hope some of the people who picked up Animal Man this week also pick up Sweet Tooth, because this is fantastic stuff from Lemire as well.
Morning Glories #12 – This issue is probably the most LOSTian chapter so far. The opening scene where Lara goes into the mysterious bunker was very reminiscent of the teasers that began each season. Spencer continues to warp my mind with this series, there are new revelations, like that Daramount is the head-teacher's daughter, that she has a sister and also what the fuck is up with the blank files, is it Doctor Who's psychic paper? It's good that not all the staff-members are evil, it adds a bit more nuance to things, and Lara Hodge is certainly an interesting new addition. Of course Spencer will probably kill her next issue. Joe Eisma's art looked the best it's been so far, he improves with every issue, it's great to see.
The Boys #58 – Oh shit! It's all going to kick-off now! That last page was just so fucking cool, The Boys Vs. The Seven, is it finally going to happen? I'm intrigued by the mystery of who is setting this up, who revealed Jack From Jupiter's tranny-love? I'm guessing it's the Man-From-Vought, but it could be anyone. Jack's rant at The Seven was compelling stuff, it almost humanised them, but then you think back to the transcripts Hughie was reading, and while they were funny, they were evil. Can't wait to see how it all goes down. Oh yeah, and naked Annie was pretty hot.
That was a big one wasn't it? But there's was a lot of quality in there too. I think my picks of the week are probably Casanova, Swamp Thing and Animal Man. I liked Action Comics, but I think I'll like the book more once it's had a few more issues out, I love the idea, but this first chapter was a little disorentating. But yeah, it's all about Casanova really.
Join me next week for another Wednesday full of new DC #1s, including Green Lantern, Grifter, Demon Knights and Frankenstein. Add to that new Criminal, new Daredevil, new PunisherMAX and Fear Itself, and next week could be even better than this one! Who says comics are in a rut? Certainly not me, there's way too many good books out there, and not enough time.
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Review by: Niam Suggitt