This Week In Comics: 5/2/2012

This week in comics, Action Comics #9 explores the multiverse, the Avengers and the X-Men do SOMETHING with each other, I can’t remember what, and DC’s New 52 New 6 officially begins with Dial H, G.I. Combat, Earth 2 and Worlds’ Finest.

I don’t have anything clever to say about the cover. This was just my favorite issue this week.

Action Comics #9

One of the things I most enjoy about Morrison’s Action Comics is how relaxed it has felt, and this issue (“The Curse of Superman”) is a great example of that. Taking a break from the running plot of Action Comics, we find ourselves on Earth 23, a world where Superman is both black and the President of the United States of America.  The adventure Morrison spins here is a solid one, with a little bit of his standard high-concept sci-fi that I love and you all hate and a lot of punching, but it’s still a neat story that introduces the Multiverse to the DCnU (well-timed to the release of Earth 2 and Worlds’ Finest) and, in its back-up, asks some compelling questions.  The somewhat muddled action sequences lack excitement, but don’t let that stop you from checking out this fun, standalone Superman story. (A-. DC Comics, $3.99)

Animal Man #9

An okay issue of what might well be DC’s best series is still a pretty damn good issue of comics, and so “The Bone Orchard” kicks off the next arc of the series in relative style.  The road trip to find Swamp Thing continues, but without Buddy Baker.  Animal Man finds himself navigating the Red after his death, a more treacherous place than he remembers thanks to the Rot’s incursion.  Steve Pugh has now fully taken over art duties from Travel Foreman, and though Foreman’s unique style is definitely missed, Pugh does a great job filling in some big shoes, maintaining the book’s impossibly creepy tone.  With Buddy beginning his journey in the Red, the Bakers continuing their road trip, and the Hunters Three continuing their pursuit, this issue feels mostly like set-up, but it’s necessary set-up with some great, creepy content and decent characterization. (B+. DC Comics, @2.99)

Avengers Vs. X-Men #3 (of 12)

From the infighting to the surprise betrayals, this is the typical event – but without the wit and character moments that livened up the earliest issues.  I fully admit that I’m not the intended audience for this book, but everything I’ve read so far suggests an average issue in an average series. (C. Marvel Comics, $3.99)

Daredevil #12

Is a retelling of Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson’s law school years really necessary?  No.  But when the retelling is as fun as this one, who cares?  Waid’s winning take on the man without fear has had a few stumbles in recent issues, but this is not one of them.  He continues to build Murdock’s world and enemies this week with the surprise return of Black Spectre, and crafts what could have been an unpardonably dull story into a series highlight. But, let’s be honest, the real question on everyone’s mind: Where did Kirsten McDuffie get a bra that says “You are Daredevil”?  This is damn near Marvel at its most fun, and its most human.  (A-. Marvel Comics, $2.99)

Dial H #1

Fantastic novelist China Mieville debuts Dial H with a too-busy origin story redeemed largely through the fantastic art team of Mateus Santolouco, Tanya Horie and Richard Horie.  That’s not to suggest that it’s bad at all, though – Mieville’s script is a little confusing, but part of that is intended to mimic the confusion of our protagonist, Nelson, as he first transforms into Boy Chimney, the creepiest-looking ‘superhero’ of all time.  There’s a lot of potential here, and its potential I very much hope the series survives and grows to meet.  (B. DC Comics, $2.99)

Earth 2 #1

What would you do if all the world’s greatest heroes died in a single day?  James Robinson’s Earth 2 begins with that premise, as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are forced to sacrifice themselves to fight off Darkseid’s invasion (presumably, this is the same invasion the League thwarted in Johns’ opening arc).  Robinson does a great job of upping the stakes early and often, and while I’d imagine his reimagining of old DC stalwarts like Jay Garrick and Alan Scott will leave some longtime fans cold, I’m glad to see them getting another shot at the spotlight.  What’s more, Nicola Scott, one of DC’s best (and most underused) artists gives the book the kick it needs to be the second wave of New 52 titles’ strongest launches.  It’s like Geoff Johns’ Justice League, but, at least as of its first issue, more interesting.  (B+. DC Comics, $3.99)

Fury: My War Gone By #1

You know, I’m not Garth Ennis’ biggest fan. I often get the impression that he thinks he is incredibly clever, and his use of violence, profanity and sex is blunt at best and aggressively, vehemently infantile at worst.  That said, Preacher remains one of the medium’s standout successes, his Punisher MAX is often cited as a high point for the character, and the man’s War Stories are damn near unimpeachable.  And, you know what, Fury: My War Gone By suggests something partway between the latter two of his classics.  Though Nick Fury’s backstory has been mined with relative frequency over the years, there’s a lot of potential still there, and I think Ennis does a fantastic job setting things up.  Aside from an odd note to end on, this was just an enjoyable read from start to finish.  (A. Marvel Comics, $3.99)

G.I. Combat #1

Now, I know this is unfair, but I also think it’s unavoidable: compared to Men of War, the canceled New 52 titled G.I. Combat replaces, this was not a terribly good issue.  I don’t feel bad saying it though, because, even NOT compared to Men of War, this still would not really qualify as a solid debut. Split evenly between “The War That Time Forgot” and “The Unknown Soldier”, G.I. Combat #1 manages to take two separate (but interesting) stories and do very little with them beyond establish a basic premise.  Of the two, “The War That Time Forgot” seems to have the most promise – tanks, jets and marines clashing with a massive, pissed-off group of dinosaurs in a lost land is silly, sure, but it’s silly in a way that comics have always excelled at and few other mediums can do well.  But Krul just doesn’t give us enough to go off of, here, in part because of the even split with the even less engaging “Unknown Soldier” story. (C-. DC Comics, $3.99)

Insufferable #1

It’s a strong week for Mark Waid. In addition to another excellent issue of Daredevil, today marked the launch of Thrillbent, a digital comics initiative spearheaded by Mark Waid and John Rogers.  Insufferable #1, released today, marks the launch of Waid’s foray into digital publishing, and it’s a heck of a story.  Galahad used to be the sidekick of Nocturnus… but then he grew up.  Into a raging jackass.  More concerned with celebrity than saving lives, Galahad is a conceited fame-whore eager for any opportunity to throw his old partner under the bus, and Waid manages to milk the idea for a great deal of pathos.  Even more impressive is how well Waid and artist Peter Kraus have managed to make the digital format work for them. (A-. Thrillbent, Free)

Swamp Thing #9

The book’s design continues to be top-notch, but the story isn’t working nearly as well.  Swamp Thing finally confronts Abby Arcane and her twisted little brother, but anti-climax is the name of the game here.  What’s more, it pulls out one of my least favorite villainous tropes: IT WAS ALL PART OF MY MASTER PLAN ALL ALONG!  Ugh.  If Paquette and Rudy weren’t as good on art and layouts as they are and Snyder’s creepy set-up wasn’t as enjoyable as it has been, this would have been a much more disappointing issue.  As it is, this is far from the best the series has to offer. (B. DC Comics, $2.99)

Worlds’ Finest #1

Spinning out of Earth 2, we have Worlds’ Finest, a Power Girl/Huntress title has an incredible amount of potential, albeit largely unrealized potential in this first issue.  Paul Levitz and George Perez have a great concept here – the daughter of Batman and the cousin of Superman from another world find themselves stranded on our own, and desperately seek a way home – but it lacks the narrative or artistic strength of the similarly-surprisingly-good Earth 2.  I don’t think this is a great first issue, but Levitz and Perez have a solid cast and a good idea.  Hopefully, the rest will come soon.  (B-. DC Comics, $2.99)

– Cal C.


Last Week In Comics

One thought on “This Week In Comics: 5/2/2012

  1. AvX 3 – I loved the deception! When it started I was rather confused to hear Scott just suddenly giving up. I wasn’t much for the later fight that happened though. Maybe I don’t read enough of Steve, but I was shocked by him doing that. Shocked as in it just didn’t seem like a thing he’d do to me, that it felt too out of character.

    GI Combat 1 – Some reason my comic shop tossed this in my pull list. Not sure why, but they’ll randomly toss in new number 1s for me… Anyways, I personally really disliked Krul’s War That Time Forgot. Shows he knows freaking nothing about military helicopters at all. People would not simply be falling out of a helicopter like they were, as everyone would be strapped in! Either into a seat, or else they would be hooked up to the helicopter by a strap to literally keep them from falling to their deaths! And the fact that he made EVERYONE seem like idiots by not even having one person seem to have a guess those were pterodactyls (until it was added later after the crash) really rubbed me the wrong way. Add in that apparently our two lone survivors weren’t hearing any shrieks I’d at least assume all those various dinosaurs would be letting off along with the gunfire seems a bit odd as well. Don’t get me wrong, I did actually enjoy the start of it, even if that felt rather typical, and the idea isn’t bad, but I’m just hating how Krul went about it. The second story came off as far more interesting to me, even if it again isn’t that odd (and in a slight way felt reminisant of Men of War) of a story, and seemed a bit of a cliche action movie. Both stories though in my book didn’t come close to Brandon’s Men of War. Rather funny as it seems DC is dead set on running some form of war angle at this moment…

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