This Week In Comics: 09/19/2012

This week in comics, Sword of Sorcery gets off to a shockingly good start, Brian Azzarello brings us some old school adventure in Wonder Woman, and Revival gets even creepier in an unusually strong week for comics.

Daredevil #18

After well over a year of Matt trying to put the past behind him, Waid’s latest arc on Daredevil finds him using Matt’s legendarily tragic past like a guided missile, dropping revelations and twists on us faster than we can count and then pulling back and making us questions if the twists are even real.  Immensely talented artist Chris Samnee does fantastic work on the interiors, really capturing the emotions and energy of the characters while keeping close to the style the book has maintained since the beginning.  If this issue is any indication, Waid and co. certainly aren’t going to get lazy after winning so many Eisners – Daredevil continues to impress.  (A-. Marvel Comics, $2.99)

Justice League #0

After a long string of incredibly lackluster stories, Johns is back with a strong introduction to Shazam.  I’m still not 100% a fan of the direction Johns has taken Billy (and, consequently, the direction that he takes Shazam himself in this issue) and some of his commentary here suggests that he has an incredibly grim, depressing outlook on humanity (which should surprise no one at all), but I have to admit – this was a pretty enjoyable issue.  The back-up gave us a little more time with Pandora and the Question, both of whom need to be more than ciphers sometime soon, and while nothing much happened, there were hints at an interesting story buried in there.  (B+. DC Comics, $3.99)

Revival #3

Well, that got creepy fast.  After laying relatively low last month, Tim Seeley’s Revival found its X-Files roots again in a hurry with this eerie issue, which introduces us to a few more potentially important characters and gives us a few surprisingly haunting images.  The pacing on the book is a bit slow – this might read better in trade – but, ultimately, this unpredictable, entertaining rural horror story is doing just about everything right.  Plus, I’m pretty sure one of the characters has a Doomtree poster in the background, so, hey, Mike Norton – awesome call. (B+. Image, $2.99)

Sword of Sorcery #0

I can’t be the only person who had low expectations for Sword of Sorcery, can I?  Well, if you were like me, I have news: Sword of Sorcery #0 is a startlingly strong debut issues and one of DC’s best launches of the year.  Successfully combining high fantasy with teen coming-of-age adventure, Christy Marx has crafted a fun, accessible comic.  Gracie might be comics’ most  bad-ass mother, while Amy is just the right combination of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Freaks and Geeks‘ Lindsay Weir.  Even the back-up, a sci-fi retelling of Beowulf on a post-apocalyptic Earth, is pretty enjoyable.  There are a few clunky moments (trigger warning for attempted rape), but if Marx and Bedard can keep things running this strong, DC will have a winner on its hands. (A-. DC Comics, $3.99)

The Unwritten #41

Carey and Gross offer a strong stand-alone issue that takes us back in time to just before “The Wound” to talk about the aftermath of Tom’s battle with Pullman.  It nevertheless introduces some fairly major changes to Tommy’s side of the story, as he continues to lose his supporting cast and make a mess of his life trying to figure out what he’s supposed to be doing.  This isn’t the book’s strongest issue, but it was a necessary placeholder to bring us up to speed on Tom’s life, and it gave us some insight into Richie, who was never one of the book’s most well-defined characters. (B+. Vertigo, $2.99)

Wonder Woman #0

Azzarello’s run on Wonder Woman has been pretty uneven, but I’ll give him credit – this was just a fantastic issue and a solid jumping-on point for people curious about the character… though, in warning, the tone is drastically different than most issues of the book.  Riffing on the character’s 60′s-era stories, Azzarello brings us the adventures of Wonder Woman as she was 12 and 13, just learning her place in society.  It was then that she trained under Ares, learning everything he had to offer her but ultimately rejecting his ethos in favor of a more merciful one of her own.  Chiang’s art is even more gorgeous than usual, making this one of the best entries in the series. (A. DC Comics, $2.99)

- Cal C.

read/RANT

9 Responses to This Week In Comics: 09/19/2012

  1. xxadverbxx says:

    Didn’t pick up Red Hood #0? It has a pretty interesting back up story detailing the Joker’s involvement with Jason that is rather… interesting.

    • Cal C. says:

      I’m on a strict “no 90′s Marvel yes-men” diet right now that’s serving me quite well – no Lobdell, Mackie, DeFalco or Liefeld. What happened?

      • xxadverbxx says:

        One of the main reasons I decided to write Batfamily #0s. Short answer though (spoiler warning here) is it has the Joker as the reason Jason was picked as Robin. I don’t think that is sitting well with me.

  2. Eric says:

    No Blue Beetle? It was the best yet and reveals so much while prepping for the future. Give it a look.

    • Cal C. says:

      I read the first four issues of BB out of loyalty to Jaime before I realized that I just really didn’t have any interest in Bedard’s take on the character. He was one of the few characters changed so much he became unrecognizable, and the writing just didn’t grab me enough to make up for that.

      Maybe I’ll check it out in trade, though. Why did you like the 0 issue so much?

  3. wwayne says:

    I grew up watching Fist of the North Star (Hokuto no Ken), so, each time I read the word “post-apocalyptic”, I instantly get very interested.
    You’re not the first blogger writing an enthusiastic review about Sword of Sorcery, so maybe the Internet will help this C-list title to sell like a B-one, as it happened last year with Animal Man. I strongly believe that the Internet has the power to radically change the fate of the series the bloggers and commenters talk about – basically, this is the main reason why I comment: I want to help the series whose sales are lower than they deserve.
    P.S.: Thank you for writing about Cleveland a week ago. I couldn’t comment it because I didn’t read it, but I was very glad to find that article, because you realized my dream of reading about indie comics here on read/RANT.

    • Cal C. says:

      Thanks! Hopefully, I’ll be writing about a lot more of them in the days to come – Top Shelf Comix is having a HUGE sale right now, selling many of their graphic novels for 3-5$ each, so I bought a ton of stuff off ‘em. Both Cleveland and The Underwater Welder are very much worth a read at some point, though UW is the stronger of the two books.

      Sword of Sorcery… I don’t think it will be super successful, but I hope it will. Perhaps the last-page setting up a tie-in to Justice League Dark will help sales a little? Dunno. But I hope people give it a chance.

      Animal Man was a pretty rare case – reviews for the first issue weren’t just good, they were positively ecstatic, with virtually no negative criticism about the issue. Sword of Sorcery is slightly more flawed, but still deserving of a look, I think.

      I remember Fist of the North Star, though I haven’t seen it in YEARS, but that was some crazy stuff. I wonder if it’s on Netflix…

      Thanks for reading!

  4. wwayne says:

    In the very first days after its release everybody was recommending this series, but afterwards some bloggers heavily focused on the attempted rape scene, writing a lot of harsh criticisms, and this completely reversed the positive hype around this title. Now it’s impossible to predict how much Sword of Sorcery is going to like and sell in the next months.
    What happened with Sword of Sorcery confirms what I wrote in my previous comment to this post: the Internet really has the power to take a comic book sky-high, and then take it from riches to rags. And the Internet can do all this in a matter of days. That’s impressive.

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