This Week In Comics: 8/8/12

This week in comics, Batman makes a new friend, Frankenstein kills him a leviathan, and Daredevil fights… some people… for a reason.

Batman #12

I don’t know where Scott Snyder pulled this one from, but after months of lackluster Batman issues had me ready to abandon the title completely, he brings awesome artist Becky Cloonan on board for a legitimately excellent little Gotham City story.  Harper Row, a teenage girl supporting her younger brother by working in Gotham’s electrical engineering department, has a hard life.  Her and her brother, Cullen, are dirt poor.  They’re bullied. They’re on the run from an abusive father.  But they have each other, and that’s enough.  After Batman saves them from a group of bullies intent on beating them, Harper dedicates herself to helping him any way she can.  There are so many places where this issue could falter, but a solid creative team helps make Cullen and Harper vibrant, honest characters, and excellent additions to Gotham’s sprawling cast.  I seriously hope to see them again.   (A. DC Comics, $3.99)

Daredevil Annual #1

Well, I suppose this is what I get for assuming that Waid would be writing the Daredevil annual: a terrible issue of comics that costs nearly twice as much as normal.  Headed by Alan Davis, this is a sequel to Fantastic Four Annual #33, which was in itself a sequel to Davis’ own Clan Destine series.  The absurd bait and switch used here to promote his title would be more tolerable if this weren’t a) ridiculously over-priced, and b) aggressively mediocre.  Lesson learned, Marvel: I’ll avoid your Annuals from here on out. (D. Marvel Comics, $4.99)

Demon Knights #12

Though not up to the normal highs the series has been hitting lately, Demon Knights #12 is chock-full of neat ideas, interesting moments, old-fashioned heroism and super-powered fun.  Though the conflict with Morgaine Le Fey was surprisingly anti-climactic, it gave King Arthur a solid send-off, gave Shining Knight some new inspiration, and set in motion yet another betrayal from within the team.  Pacing issues aside, this just further illustrates that Cornell has officially found his voice for the book.  (B+. DC Comics, $2.99)

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #12

I’m… not sure how I feel about this issue.  The events in it are interesting.  The narrator’s voice is solid.  But I couldn’t escape the feeling that Kindt was jamming 2-3 issues worth of content into 20 pages, because otherwise he would run up against the editorially mandated #0 issues next month and have to break his story in half.  There’s a lot of good stuff here, and Kindt continues to show that he has a better handle on what makes a fun Frankenstein story than Lemire ever did, but this seemed like a disappointingly rushed issue.  (B. DC Comics, $2.99)

Glory #28

Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell have done a great job turning what could have been a simple Wonder Woman knock-off into a brutally violent sci-fi epic.  Glory, Gloria, and especially Riley are all strong characters, and that’s a huge help in making what could be a simple ‘shock factor’ book this relentlessly readable.  Also a benefit?  Ross Campbell’s brutal, lovely art and detailed character designs.  He is somehow able to craft both the most vicious monsters you’ll see on a page this year – the designs aren’t as twisted or horrifying as Travel Foreman’s on Animal Man, but they’re more visceral – and, at the same time, portray Riley’s indecision and heartbreak with stunning accuracy.  Keantinge and Campbell are doing fantastic things in this book.  (A. Image, $2.99)

Punk Rock Jesus #2 (of 6)

While Sean Murphy’s Punk Rock Jesus still periodically feels like it was created by throwing everything that interested Murphy on the page and seeing what stuck, and it will still probably be a much stronger read in trade, it also remains a singularly interesting read.   Murphy’s art is always flawless, though I definitely miss seeing it in color, and while there are some narrative issues with the story, I can’t deny that I’m still really damn interested.  This issue jumps forward a bit, as we learn how the world is reacting to JC2, what the producers have done to make Gwen more marketable, how Thomas got to be the man he is today and more.  The tone jumps wildly between a brutal, obvious satire of our appearance-obsessed culture and an interesting set of stories about what this child’s existence means to our major characters, and I think it would probably be a little better with a stronger authorial voice.  Murphy. (A-. Vertigo, $2.99)


Last week in comics

5 thoughts on “This Week In Comics: 8/8/12

  1. “Lesson learned, Marvel: I’ll avoid your Annuals from here on out”: I wouldn’t adopt such a definitive tone. Ok, maybe Marvel didn’t publish its best annual ever, but this doesn’t mean they will make the same mistakes forever. I love stand alone stories, and annuals usually are like this, so I don’t like the idea of relating 2012 annuals in a sort of crossover.
    Thanks for giving some attention to one of the most ignored New 52 series, Frankenstein. Each month I find 10 reviews of titles like Batman and Robin and 0 of others like Blue Beetle and Firestorm, and this makes you understand how precious your contribution is. I thought that the positive hype surrounding Lemire after Animal Man would have determined a similar success for his other DC series, but this didn’t happen, and things didn’t change much after Lemire’s departure. Maybe this series is too weird to sell well, no matter who’s writing it.
    Glad to hear that Snyder is performing well once again! I read only the first 3 issues of his Batman, and I found they were awesome. I don’t know if I’ll buy the following issues, though: I hate crossovers, especially when they involve a huge number of titles, and I read so many spoilers about the Night of the Owls that I have the feeling I have already read it. The same thing happened when I went to watch Alice in Wonderland: I had been bombarded by innumerous previews in the previous months, so, when I finally watched it, I had the sensation I was seeing it for the second time.
    Liefeld tweeted that Grifter will end with issue # 16. I don’t think that Grifter will be the only DC series ending with the 16th issue: I expect that at least 3 other series will share the same fate, as it happened the last time DC decided to make some cuts. I’m very curious to know the names of the other series on DC’s chopping block. Sales data would suggest Blue Beetle, DC Universe Presents and GI Combat, but I have some doubts about each one:
    1) Blue Beetle is going bad from the very first issue but it passed 2 “selections” anyway, so it looks like DC wants to keep this title alive apart from everything.
    2) DC Universe Presents has an anthology-like nature, so (as you wrote some months ago) I think that, instead of closing it, DC will try to raise its sales by putting some A – list characters on it.
    3) GI Combat sales are going down in an incredibly fast way, but the series started only 4 months ago: DC may give this series the time to grow. Anyway, I don’t understand why DC decided to let this series start: they had already given a chance to a war series (Men of War) a few months ago and it was a big flop, so why GI Combat, another war series, was supposed to sell more?
    Anyway, if the 3 series I mentioned don’t close, I can’t see which others are going to. Maybe Firestorm will be thrown out instead of GI Combat. The last time your predictions were perfect: what do you predict now?

    • Grifter is almost guaranteed to be gone, and I’m betting that, with Liefeld leaving, Hawkman is out as well. Deathstroke might even be in trouble, though I’d guess it’ll survive this round. GI Combat is dropping too many readers too quickly – I’m guessing that’s the first of the ‘relaunch’ books to go with this bunch.

      Blue Beetle and DC Universe Presents are iffy. I’m guessing DC sees how DCUP does this month before cancelling, since it’s a decent creative team doing a bigger character spinning out of a semi-popular ongoing – if sales rise, DCUP is probably safe; if sales sink, DCUP is gone.

      Similarly, Blue Beetle has crossover potential with the Green Lantern franchise that could save it… but that’s an iffy proposition. I wouldn’t be shocked if Blue Beetle was cancelled in the next set.

      One thing: we’re starting to get into territory where good trade sales could save an underselling series. So that could mess things up a bit for some higher-selling titles…

      So, if you want my official guess, I’d probably run with
      GI Combat
      and either Blue Beetle or DCU Presents

      It’s harder to say what will be replacing it, given how random many of the replacements have been (GI Combat? Sword of Sorcery?)

      That said, some guesses…
      A Batman-related book
      A cult-title – the Question?

      • I don’t know what’s going to happen with Grifter. Liefeld will leave after the 16th issue, and this could mean a simple change of the creative team or the closure of the series. As you wrote, I think that the second supposition is the most probable one: since the New 52 started, DC closed some series after the 8th issue and the 12th one, so it seems natural that, after 4 other months, they will make some other cuts.
        Liefeld tweeted that both Hawkman and Deathstroke will go on, and this makes Blue Beetle’s departure more and more probable. Which is a shame, in my opinion, because I saw a preview of the 12th issue ( and I found it was very intriguing.
        Thank you for your reply! : )

  2. Pingback: This Week In Comics: 8/15/12 « read/RANT!

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