This Week In Comics: 8/15/12

This week in comics, Saga #5 finally exists just in time for Saga #6 to come out, I completely forget to pick up Avengers Vs. X-Men, and Rorschach gets the impossibly bland mini-series you always hoped he’d have.

This cover, though lovely, has absolutely nothing to do with what’s in the issue? And what, you ask, is in it? Azzarello’s best 20 pages on the title to date.

Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1 (of 4)

While Lee Bermejo’s art is solid, and a decent fit for Rorschach, it can’t help but pale at least a little when compared to the rest of the Before Watchmen artist gallery – Cooke, Connor, Jones and Lee – a fact that wouldn’t matter if Azzarello’s script was anything more than serviceable.  Alas, this is pretty much exactly what you probably imagined you’d get when you thought of a Rorschach mini-series, complete with dead, mutilated women and super gritty violence.  Like the other low-points for Before Watchmen (Comedian and Nite Owl), it is content with giving you exactly what you’d expect and nothing more.  (D+. DC Comics, $3.99)

Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker #8

Returning after a waaaay-too-long hiatus is Joe Casey and Mike Huddleston for the bizarre, vulgar conclusion to Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker.  The book finally brings the last four major players together and resolves all the major conflicts and Baker faces down Cobb, Jihad Jones and, finally, the immensely powerful questing force known as the Absolutely.  Though the conclusion feels just a little bit too rushed to satisfy, it nevertheless sends Baker out on a high note, his vulgar final lines the best possible ending the character could receive.  This is everything The Boys should have been. (B+. Image, $2.99)

Captain Marvel #2

Now here’s a story that fits artist Dexter Soy’s talents a bit more. After a lackluster opening issue that never quite came together the way it needed to, writer Kelly Sue Deconnick and artist Dexter Soy finally started really working together as Captain Marvel finds herself seemingly sent back in time… to World War II.  Deconnick is definitely getting a handle of the book fast – this issue was a solid improvement on the last – and I’m definitely excited to see where she wants to take Carol Danvers.  The book isn’t there yet, but there’s a lot more potential here than there was a month ago. (B. Marvel Comics, $2.99)

Daredevil #17

Mike Allred joins Daredevil for a flashback issue.  After being kicked out of his own law practice by Foggy, Matt is feeling a little lost and a whole lot angry.  This issue is meant to give us a little insight into the relationship between Foggy and Matt – a relationship that’s as touching as it is fractious – and set up Daredevil’s driving motivation as he hunts down whoever did this to him.  Mike and Laura Allred are a fantastic artistic team, and they help make what could easily have been a fairly mediocre issue of Daredevil into a pleasant detour into the character’s past. (B+. Marvel Comics, $2.99)

DC Universe Presents #12 – “Kid Flash”

I’m a huge, longtime Bart Allen fan, even as the character was kicked around like a goddamn football by editorial forces that clearly never liked the kid.  Unfortunately, that trend has continued into the New 52, as the “Kid Flash” issue of DC Universe Presents is clearly more of a bridge between “The Culling” and the newest Teen Titans issue.  There are a few charming moments here and there, but overall, if you aren’t reading Teen Titans and didn’t keep up with “The Culling”, this is completely avoidable.  (C-. DC Comics, $2.99)

Revival #2

I was a big fan of Tim Seeley’s Revival #1, and I’m happy to report that #2 continues to excel.  This issue introduces us to Mr. Abel, an ‘exorcist’ who may not be all that he first appears to be, while getting us further inside the heads of Martha and Dana.  It dials back on the creepiness of the first issue to do a solid little bit of world-building, which is a smart decision that should pay off down the road.  Meanwhile, Mike Norton is doing a solid job, and while Seeley gives him fewer chances to show off here, he takes what he gets and runs with it – Martha after her fight is a wonderfully creepy pair of images.  Revival is worth checking out. (B+. Image, $2.99)

Saga #6

Saga continues its run as the best ongoing on the shelves today with the conclusion to its opening arc, which mostly focuses on fallout from the previous issues and set-up for the upcoming arc, but it does so with such skill that I devoured every page and wanted more the second I was done.  With Fiona Staples turning in what is handily one of the best artistic performances in comics this year, Brian K. Vaughan definitely has another winner here.  (A-. Image, $2.99)

The Shade #11 (of 12)

After a whole lot of build-up, Robinson tries to bring everything together for the penultimate issue of The Shade and only partly succeeds.  The issue is too monologue-heavy by half and features a preposterously anti-climactic battle with the Celestial Pharoahs – without Frazer Irving’s moody art and Robinson’s general ability at writing the Shade, this issue would be almost a complete loss.  There are some interesting ideas, but this particular arc needed a little more breathing room to succeed. (B. DC Comics, $2.99)

Wonder Woman #12

I’ve been critical of the series before, and with good reason: the dialogue is beyond clumsy and the pacing is sometimes slack.  But you have to admit: that was a KILLER last page.  In fact, though the issue still has its problems, there was actually a lot to be satisfied with here in general.  Cliff Chiang sold the hell out of some images that a lot of artists might struggle with, while Azzarello moved things forward in a big way for the first time in awhile.  Though my misgivings about the series as a whole remain, this was a damn enjoyable issue with some great twists, some excellent action, fantastic art and an ending sure to have DC fans past and present excited for more.  (A. DC Comics, $2.99)

- Cal C.

read/RANT

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