A shorter week still delivers some top-notch comics, including 3 comics from Jonathan Hickman. It's Hickmania!
Credits & Solicit Info:
This instalment is the last of my epic catch-ups, from now on, TWIP will be back on schedule and back to it's best!
Not that this week is bad, there's some damn good comics here, a nice heaping of DC #5s, 3 Hickman books and a truly shocking issue of The Unwritten!
As per, click the links to join the forum discussion, and most of all, enjoy yourselves!
Mighty Thor #10 – The pace of the story picked up a little here, and I have to say that I'm really liking how Fraction is structuring his two parallel stories here, where what Loki and the Silver Surfer are up to in Broxton impacts on Thor wherever the hell he is. The sequence where he gets Mjolnir back was awesome. The stuff with Tanarus was good this issue too, his fight against Heimdall was cool. Also, what's up with Don Blake? Is he going to turn eeeevil without Thor? Pepe Larraz's art was solid, especially in how he kept the look of the book consistent with what Ferry was doing, he's not quite as polished as Ferry but still strong. Now that Thor is back to full strength, I'm expecting next issue to be balls-to-the-wall action as he smashes up the Demo-Gorge. It's gonna be sweet.
Secret Avengers #21.1 – Rick Remender's first issue of Secret Avengers is this week's selection for the New Review Group, so mosey on down to that thread to read what I make of it.
Fantastic Four #602 – The first of 3 Hickman books in a row that I read this week, and it was probably the best. This issue continued this title's strong return with a story full of action and exciting moments. I loved the fight between the FF and the Kree army on the spaceship, and then when Galactus showed up... that was awesome. I was really rather confused about why Hickman kept going back to Galactus and setting him up, but it all paid off here with his destruction of the Kree and then getting ready to fight the Celestials. I'm not sure why they are there, but it doesn't matter, it's going to be great to see such a colossal clash. Barry Kitson's art was a good as usual and he really got the scale of the conflict, this is space opera times ten.
FF #14 – Right, so this takes place before this week's issue of Fantastic Four and shows how the Celestials got to Earth, they came through the Gate, but not after killing the last of the evil Reeds and also, dun dun dun... Doctor Doom. Yep, Doctor Doom is definitely dead, no way he'll be back. I jest, but this was still good comics, and very well structured in how Hickman doled out his flashbacks. We see Evil Reed whip out his Ultimate Nullifier, flash back to him claiming he can use it safely, and then... he doesn't and dies. Oops. Am I right in thinking that the big open room that Val and Nathaniel do their calculations in is the main hall from the base in SHIELD? It looked like it. Bobillo's art will obviously continue to be divisive, but I think he's a great fit for a book about kids, he manages to make each child look distinctive. Where does this book go from here? The last page was pretty grim, but the cover to #15 is the freaking Power Pack grinning their heads off! I'm guessing that Power Pack will be the ones to save the world from the Celestials and that both this book and Fantastic Four will be cancelled to be replaced by 3 new Power Pack ongoings.
Ultimate Comics The Ultimates #6 – I bloody love Jamie Braddock as the new Ultimate Captain Britain, he's only been in a few scenes so far, but he seems to be a very complex character, and not at all like his brother. The scenes with him were the highlight of this issue, which was, much like #5 an instalment more concerned with small character movements than big explosions like the first 4. We see Nick attempting to get Captain America to come back, and of course, Cap says no. I did like that Nick really only wanted him back for the symbolism, Ultimate Cap is, unlike his 616 counterpart, no strategist and it was cool to see that recognised. The Tony Stark stuff was interesting too, I can't believe he's going along with what Kratos is doing, that's going to blow back in his face for sure. And when did Nick Fury and Black Widow II get back together? Is that baby Ultimate Marcus Johnson? Brandon Peterson and Esad Ribic did a good job on art, but these last two issues have moved a little too slowly, maybe they should just drop the Hulk onto The City?
Superman #5 – It's brilliant to have Nicola Scott back on art for this issue, I really like her style, it's classical yet modern. I'll definitely check out Earth 2 for her artwork alone. The story here was decent too, as an imposter Superman goes around killing and destroying things that have threatened Metropolis in the past. I will say that I was annoyed they killed Titano, I love that dumb ape. I wonder if some of the weirdoes online that have been complaining about the new Superman being a 'pussy' preferred the evil version? I imagine they did, their vision of Supes seems to be a big dumb fascist jock. One thing I like that's run through this whole arc is the focus that Perez has put on the media and how it perceives Superman. Today's media climate is vastly different from 1938's and since Clark Kent works for a newspaper it makes a lot of sense for it to be explored here. Perez only has one issue left, let's hope he provides a satisfying conclusion. Here's an out-there prediction, #1 of this book featured a link to Stormwatch right? What if the villain here is the personification of Metropolis as a City? Jack Hawksmoor spoke to Gotham and Paris, this mix of fire and ice could be Metropolis!
Aquaman #5 – Thank God, an issue with barely any Mera. That character really ticks me off. The best thing in this was the opening few pages with Aquaman just landing in the desert and realising just how screwed he was. Really good storytelling from Ivan Reis and Johns knew that it was best to keep the dialogue to a minimum. The flashback structure worked well, but I felt the issue was at it's best in the desert. It was good that while this issue works pretty well as a standalone, it also very much built on what The Trench story set up and kept the mystery about who sunk Atlantis bubbling under the surface very nicely. The ending was very odd though, it seemed like Johns ran out of space so just shoved in a joke about Aquadog in there. It does look like next month will be a Mera focus though... that fills me dread. Why couldn't this marriage have been erased instead of Superman's or Flash's?
I, Vampire #5 – Andrew and the gang head to Gotham for a team-up with Batman that, unusually for a Batman cameo, doesn't feel like a lazy cash-grab. Batman fits in really well with the dark tone of this book and Andrea Sorrentino's art is perfect for the character. I liked how Fialkov had both Batman and Andrew do the 'disappear while someone else is talking' bit, it really connect them well. I was surprised that Tig's desire to kill Andrew became public so early, but I suppose it's good, you don't want things to go on too long because then it gets frustrating. It was good to see Mary again at the end, she's the series' main villain, and she's been missed for the last 2 issues, I feel she should be a very big presence in every issue really.
Justice League #5 – I know I've been one of the few people online praising this book, but even I realise that this issue was pretty bad. The scene where Batman unmasks to Green Lantern was especially, epically stupid. I did like the Flash and Superman attempting to outrun Darkseid's Omega-beams though, that was well-done. Other than that... this was all the bad stuff of this book without the good, Hal Jordan was a douche, Cyborg still doesn't belong as a founder and Wonder Woman and Aquaman didn't so anything at all in the issue. Jim Lee's art looked very rushed as well. Let's hope #6 is good, because really, this one was fucking poor.
Green Lantern: New Guardians #5 – Thankfully this issue featured hardly any Larfleeze, so it was automatically an improvement over the last one. I even quite liked Glomulus, if we could get rid of his master and just have Glommy, that would be fine by me. This issue was good in that it allowed for there to be a bit more of a focus on the non-Kyle members of this 'team', so we got to spend some time with Arkillo, Saint Walker and Fatality, and most intriguingly, a bit of exploration of the Indigo Tribe. The Indigo Lanterns have been the only Corps not to get a storyline really focussed on them so far, so I hope it's coming, I reckon there's a dark secret. I wonder what the deal is with the planets in the Orrery? Okaara and Tamaran have both been destroyed right? Interesting, are we going to see a Krypton? I wonder why a Morgan Freeman movie about Rugby would do such a thing. (That's an Invictus joke, not a very good one I know, barely even a joke).
All-Star Western #5 – Although the entirety of this issue was set underground, it was probably the ASW that was most reliant on being set in Gotham City and the reader having a knowledge of Batman history so far. Hex and Arkham come across (and kill) a bunch of those weird Bat-worshipping Native Americans from Grant Morrison's run. It's a cool use of continuity, but to people unfamiliar with G-Moz's stuff, it could seem to have come out of nowhere. And then at the end Hex faces off against a giant bat. Is this that evil demon? Barbatos? Probably not, it's just a big-ass bat. I wonder if in the course of this series Hex will come across the Court Of Owls? That would be great. Apart from the Bat-tribe, this issue was great in it's depiction of the horror that Arkham felt at being trapped deep below the earth, the scene where Hex threatens to just leave him was so creepy, and Moritat's scratchy, earthy art was perfect. The Barbary Ghost back-up was good too, and I'm very glad that the character was revealed to not actually be supernatural. It was also surprising in it's violence, the way the kid who attempted to avenge his father died was shocking. It's great to have a story in a Western comic focus on the Chinese, I feel their role in the story of the West is sometimes overlooked in fiction. We need more people like Mister Wu from Deadwood. WU! SWEDGIN! COCKSUCKER!
American Vampire #23 – Another rollicking good issue of American Vampire, I actually think this 1950s setting may be my favourite time-period we've seen in the book so far. The bulk of the issue continues the drag race, and it's a brilliant, exhilarating action set piece, wonderfully drawn by Albuquerque, who really does keep getting better and better. The race is interspersed with flashbacks, including some truly creepy scenes from Travis Kidd's childhood where he's admitted to an insane asylum for his continued insistence that Vampires killed his family. I wonder if Travis actually was lobotomised? The narration from him has been focussed on 'the teenage brains', so it would make sense that he himself didn't have a complete brain. The revelation of Skinner Sweet at the end was interesting, he looked pretty damn dead at the end of 'Ghost War' so how did he survive? It is good to have him back though, he's a fantastic character.
The Unwritten #33.5 – Wow, this issue really knocked me for a loop. It's an origin for the creepy Marionette Lady Mmme Rausch who's been in the background working for the Cabal, and I was expecting the usual supernatural, weird kind of story. But the real truth is much more real, and much more scary. As a young girl, Rausch was sexually molested by her father, who got her pregnant, and then during an illness where she lost her child, she seemed to have been contacted by the Leviathan whale and gained her ability to control puppets. The scene where the young soldier sees that happening... it was truly disturbing. This whole issue was disturbing, I was shocked and freaked out. I read this late last night, and it's no exaggeration to say it kept me from sleeping for a while. Proof indeed that true horror always comes from humanity, not from monsters or ghosts. This was a brilliant issue, but not for the faint-hearted. But then readers of The Unwritten have already had to suffer through the death of those two French children who were obsessed with Tommy. This book really can go dark when it wants to and Mike Carey and Peter Gross have probably written the comic that has scared me the most in 15 plus years of comics reading.
That was short and sweet and a whole lot of fun. My favourite book this week was The Unwritten #33.5, yes it was terrifying and creepy, but it was brilliant all the same. American Vampire and Aquaman were also very good this week.
Join me soon for a TWIP that will actually be up to date! There'll be Fatale, Invincible, Venom and Action Comics and more!
Review by: Niam Suggitt