After a 2-week delay (might be as much as 3), Geoff Johns’ Justice League #25 finally hit stands this week. As the overlord of all of the Forever Evil titles and controlling the core story of this mega-event, Geoff Johns has been doing great on his most high-profile New 52 book and the new issue is more of the same. If the art on Forever Evil itself could be much better, then that mini-series too could be really good. Thankfully, this is where we get Justice League to plug in all the gaps, where Geoff can let loose with all his crazy ideas and come out with something really good.
Despite what it shows on the cover (another misleading Forever Evil cover by the way), Justice League #25 really is about Geoff exploring the backhistory of Owlman, who is the Earth 3 evil version of Batman. And other than Owlman, we also get to see Dick Grayson through Owlman’s eyes, which was pretty neatly handled. Sadly, Ivan Reis & Co. are not on the art duties on this issue, and we have Doug Mahnke & Co. stepping up to the table, but that ends up benefiting the title rather than taking away from it. And in the end, this proves to be another great issue of Justice League from Geoff and team.
After the success of Matt Forbeck’s 12-issue run on the title, IDW launched a new phase of Magic the Gathering comics in October with Planeswalker Dack Fayden under the pen of new writer Jason Ciaramella and series veteran Martin Coccolo. The first issue was quite a fun read, largely in part because it kept the same tone and momentum as Matt’s own issues, which I loved, and I was quite looking forward to the second installment last month. But, for whatever reason the issue was delayed and it comes out today (still a few hours to go for US readers).
The second issue unfortunately suffers from a sophomore slump. Where the first issue was planes-jumping high adventure and Dack’s typical madcap heist story, the second issue doesn’t really offer anything interesting. There is a distinct lack of story progression here and I found that I didn’t like it as much as I liked the first issue. The artwork is still brilliant but the writing definitely lets it down.
Slightly slow comic-reading week again, but not by all that much since I got to read a graphic novel as well, so that balances things out a little bit. Really interesting week this one, particularly with the launch of a Harley Quinn ongoing from DC Comics and some really good second issues or the start of new arcs for some of the other regular books.
The month is closing out now though, not all that much time left, just a handful of days, and I’d like to end the month on a good high. TO that end, I might well be reading two graphic novels at least this weekend to catch up on things a little since that particular reading pile creeps higher every week or two weeks. Getting almost scary now!
Vertigo took some (further?) forays into the horror genre last month, the month of horror, by bringing out a new series called Coffin Hill, written by Caitlin Kittredge and drawn by Inaki Miranda. With a story revolving around your heiress Eve Coffin, Kittredge created a dramatic world with all the typical horror elements, but none of the cheesiness and very little of the cliches. Her world was full of interesting characters, and interesting events, which made the first issue a great experience, not to mention Miranda’s spectacular artwork.
With the second issue, we see the world developing, and so do the characters, as more mysteries are introduced while some are answered. Where the first issue could be called a bold but hesitant step forward into the genre, the second issue is the opposite. It feels as if an experienced writer is at the helm of the series. Sure, there are a few flaws, but the second issue proves to be a much more satisfying read, which is what I wanted and what I got.
Writing a comic that is aware of its socio-political nature, and working that into the script itself, can be a daunting task. There are a few books that have attempted to do that over the years, but none with as obvious a message or delivery as Gail Simone’s The Movement from DC Comics. It is a modern-day comic that creates a very believable modern aesthetic, and it explores “superheroes” who take over from the social services that are supposed to protect the people.
In the five issues thus far, Gail and artist Freddie Williams have given us a really wonderful look at their setting, and they’ve populated it with some really interesting characters. There are distinct superhero-team vibes in the comic, which is really interesting considering what kind of a comic this really is. And no superhero team book is complete without some internal disagreement, and that’s what Gail explores in this issue.
As the larger cosmic event Infinity begins winding down, so do the various tie-ins and current arcs going on in the related books. Mighty Avengers, a book which launched in synchronicity with the event in September, ended its first arc this week, and it has been doing quite decently from what I’ve heard of the sales for the first two issues. Of course, there’s also the matter of the exact make-up of the team, which has generated no small amount of buzz itself.
This is a book that showcases the minority characters, and characters that are seemingly overlooked by the rest of the Marvel universe considering that most of the books the publisher is putting out right now are X-Men books with largely similar teams, and Avengers books that are all about the high-profile heroes. Al Ewing has done great in bringing together all these characters and telling a really fun story involving them, partnered up with some decent artwork,
Event comics are often maligned because of their meta-perspective, giving us the overlay of events happening across an entire line. Some can be really good, such as how the recently concluded X-Men: Battle of the Atom was in its first month, or how Throne of Atlantis and Trinity War were. But some can be… bad, such as Infinity because the event comics don’t really give you a consistent story to follow. Or characters for that matter. Geoff Johns has had more experience with event comics than most writers today given all the work he did for Green Lantern in its pre-New 52 days, and so he’s often a dependable guy for such comics.
Sadly, he seems to be missing the mark again and again with Forever Evil, the main 7-issue event mini-series specifically. In two issues thus far he’s given a lot of different perspectives to advance the main storyline, setting up the various tie-in comics for the event, or even drawing on them to further the main storyline. Its a “feeding off each other” effect that isn’t really working for me. And the art is mediocre at best.
And finally this mini-series is at an end. Its a been a long road, all five weeks of October to be precise, but the story is done and dusted and there have been some important changes in the status quo of Feudal Japan, changes that have rocked the island nation and its foundations. And there have been heroes here, and villains aplenty as Rob Levin brought this screenplay to life as a comic.
When I first picked up this mini-series, I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it turned out. Not really. I thought it’d be decent fun and that was that at the time. But then I began reading it, tuning in each week for the next installment, and finally we are here as Rob Levin closes out the story of Kichiro and Orochi, of a Vampire invasion of Nippon. This week’s final issue turned out to be fairly good, but it was still plagued by all the deficiencies of the previous issue unfortunately.
Earlier this month, writer Mike Costa began a 3-part crossover story that focused on some of Marvel’s premier heroes, the young X-Men of the past from All-New X-Men, Bruce Banner/Hulk from Indestructible Hulk and Otto Octavius/Spider-Man from Superior Spider-Man. This was a story that brought together a very informal team to deal with a very specific, and quite incidental threat, and thus far, the highlight of the crossover was in the interactions between the characters and the light-hearted charm that Mike brought.
Concluding in this week’s Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Special #1, the crossover continues to highlight the fact that what Mike was trying to do here was all about the characters. These are guest issues by him since he’s not working on any of the three titles, and I think it creates a nice way of getting onboard with these characters since you don’t really need to know much about them, other than the broad general stuff, particularly in the case of Otto Octavius being the Superior Spider-Man.
One of the many animated franchises that I grew up with is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The original gang of four and Splinter and April are some of my favourite characters and I remember enjoying their animated adventures a lot, whether on the television or the VHS tapes that my parents would get for me every now and then. I think at one point I even wanted to be a Turtle, Michaelangelo to be specific since we share a love of pizza and a carefree attitude.
Recently IDW announced that in addition to all the TMNT comics it was putting out it was also going to publish a series of one-shots that would focus on all the different villains of the franchise. I’ve only read three so far, Baxter, Alopex and this one, so I’m a bit behind on my reading, but I’ve certainly had a lot of fun. These are characters that I barely remember, if at all, so its fun to get stuck in once again and see them all in a very… modern context.
This week was a bit heavy on DC reading, mostly because a lot of top titles were released, titles I’d been looking forward to all month and so I went all-out for the most part. Some bit of Marvel and Image mixed in as well, which is always great to break up the monotony of reading just the DC-stuff. Read a bit more this week than I usually do, which was a surprise since this week was also marred by reading a really huge science fiction novel, which proved to be a long, long slog, so that’s something I guess.
Also, I finally managed to read a graphic novel, which was great. It wasn’t one that I was really planning to read, but it was on the list for a long time, so it all balances out in the end, which is what matters most. And now I’m pumped on to read more, and this week should be good on that front. Fingers crossed!
Event tie-in comics are often hobbled by the fact that at some point, no matter how separated their story is from the main narrative, they do have to refer to that, and this can be a challenge in how well it is executed. A lot of things in fiction come down to the execution and comics are no different. Infinity: Heist is a 4-issue mini-series that ties into the ongoing Infinity event, where the galaxy is faced with a really big threat and the great majority of Earth’s heroes have left the planet to deal with that threat, leaving behind the villains and the supervillains. And these guys aren’t sitting quiet.
The first issue of this mini-series was really good. Despite being a tie-in, it felt like its own self-contained story and it focused on characters that I’d never read of or knew of before, so it all felt really fresh, especially since I’ve avoided reading the main event after the second issue, preferring to read it all collectively. The second issue however has a few significant connections with the main story, and since I’m not reading the main story, I felt a bit cut off from what’s going on.