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.
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)
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.