This week in comics, we… oh, it’s a fifth Wednesday, so basically nothing happened at all. Superman and Wonder Woman made out. That was big news for some reason.
Captain Marvel #3
Captain Marvel still hasn’t made the leap I’d hope it would, but it has found a consistent voice, and I think writer Kelly Sue Deconnick is doing good work building a supporting cast for Carol. I’m still not really feeling Dexter Soy’s art – it fits the World War II setting well, and I think he’d be great on a war or crime comic, but a lot of the panels of Carol fighting are static and lifeless, when they should be fluid and energetic. Still, there’s enough to like here that I’m more than willing to stick around and see where Deconnick wants to take us – if nothing else, the brief back-up feature in this issue featuring Helen Cobb was more than enjoyable enough to warrant another issue. Deconnick gets more and more right every issue. (B. Marvel Comics, $2.99)
Justice League #12
“The Villain’s Journey” was in no way a compelling story, though it did have a few interesting scenes. The best thing I can say about it is that it’s finally over. Lackluster design work for new villain Graves hurts, while the nature of his powers made the team’s ultimate fight against him look disjointed and visually dull. That said, the issue does have some bright spots – Johns handles a lot of the character work surprisingly well, particularly the moment that leads up to Wonder Woman and Superman’s kiss. I think their relationship is a terrible idea for a lot of reasons, but there were glimmers of potential visible in the issue, and with a little restraint, this could turn out surprisingly successful. Still, there’s not a lot to recommend this issue. (C-. DC Comics, $3.99)
National Comics: Looker #1 (of 1)
Looker is the second issue of DC’s “National Comics” line after last month’s Kid Eternity, and it has a lot of problems in common with that issue. A done-in-one adventure/origin for vampiric heroine Looker, the page constraints mean that the characters feel undercooked while the story feels slight but rushed. This almost certainly could have been avoided with a stricter editorial hand – Did we really need a three page origin that’s the same as every other vampire origin ever? Don’t we as a culture already know how vampires work? – but the book is at least partially saved by Mike S. Miller’s art. While he falls into the Guillem March school of cheeseca… I mean, art, he also maintains a lot of March’s particular strengths – namely, the motion is fluid and the character designs are distinctive. Rex Lokus and Antonio Fabela both do fantastic work on colors, so the art team means the book at least looks nice. Like Kid Eternity, this is far from essential reading, but solid art helps take a little of the sting off. (C+. DC Comics, $3.99)
Phantom Lady and Doll Man #1 (of 4)
Palmiotti and Grey have been on a roll in the New 52, with the fantastic All-Star Western and their fantastic mini-series debut of The Ray, so I was excited to see that they’d be bringing Phantom Lady and Doll Man to the new DC. Sadly, this is easily the weakest of their projects of late – not bad, just not as enjoyable as the rest of their work. Cat Staggs is solid on art and there are some decent ideas that show the series could easily improve as it went on, but the issue has some basic structural flaws that worry me. We begin on a flash-back to Phantom Lady’s youth, where she saw her parents murdered, before jumping ahead to her new career as a superhero… before flashing back to her origin as a superhero, which explains why her parents were murdered and gives us Doll Man’s origins, but stops before we reach Phantom Lady’s. There are a lot of narrative choices being made here that don’t quite work, though that could simply be an issue of the team writing for the collection. Whatever the reason, though, this isn’t a particularly strong debut. (C. DC Comics, $2.99)
– Cal C.