Dark Horse brought back its mainline Buffyverse titles for their tenth “season” last month with the first issues of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel & Faith. Both issues were excellent, with some fantastic art and some great writing, so going into this month, I was looking for more of the same. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #1 in particular was a really fun ride and it did a great job of reconnecting me with all these characters that I’d lost contact with after going through all seven seasons of the television series back in college, which was quite a while ago! But they are all back now and I have a good feeling about all of this.
Released today, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #2 picks up from right where the first issue left off and it does a lot of things. Writer Christos Gage jampacks this issue with all sorts of things, most notable of which is all the character development in the second half, especially as far as the newly-resurrected Giles is concerned. And the artwork by Rebekah Isaacs and Dan Jackson is just as good here as it was in the first issue, if not better. Great vibe to the whole issue.
Last year Marvel went on a roll with their events, doing no less than four, and giving start to another. And this year it looks like things are following suit and that Marvel is once again doubling down with events. A while back Marvel announced that its next big event would be about the death of the Watcher also known as Uatu. He is a mysterious galactic presence that sees all, hears all, notices all, but never interferes. He is merely a… silent guardian of events as they happen. And its just any old death, it is a murder, the murder of a being of cosmic proportions and power and it all starts today in Original Sin #0.
The issue, written by Mark Waid and drawn by Jim Cheung and Paco Medina, tells the origin of Uatu and how he came to be the Watcher. Through the current human Nova Sam Alexander, we get a great introduction to this silent guardian and see what motivates him and there are some excellent scenes where the two characters bond, although such bonding is fleeting at best. While Mark Waid’s story is suitably cosmic and grandiose, Jim Cheung and Paco Medina’s art is not too far behind either and they turn out some gorgeous artwork along with the other artists involved on the issue (series?).
So the last two episodes of the show have been something else. In the wake of the revelations made in the recent Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier movie, that HYDRA is still alive and kicking and has even infiltrated SHIELD at its highest levels, the nature and direction of the show has shifted significantly. The current team of heroes, already suffering from trust issues with the establishment, has more cause than ever to trust anyone but themselves, and even that isn’t saying much since there have been several betrayals on that front already. Despite some conflict over whether last week’s episode was good or not, I gave it the benefit of doubt and tuned in this week, only to be disappointed, again.
The new episode basically maintains the status quo. All the fun action and weirdness of the previous episode is pretty much gone and this one is, as a friend put it to me when we discussed the episode, just setting the pieces for the finale, which is going to be very soon. The thing that gets me is that the characters still act as if they can do whatever the hell they want (looking at you, Coulson) without any regard for anything else. And the story doesn’t really move forward any, nor do we have even a hint of any appearance from two of SHIELD’s biggest names: Nick Fury and Maria Hill.
Dynamite Entertainment’s Warlord of Wars is one of the very first comics I started reading back in 2012 when I returning to the medium. I’d managed to get a review copy of the first volumes of both Warlord of Mars and Warlords of Mars: Dejah Thoris, both of which proved to be surprisingly great reads and got me started on my John Carter/Dejah Thoris kick. Fast-forward to today, and I’m a huge fan of John Carter (especially the movie). I haven’t really kept up with the comics, but these are characters that I love reading about, and when I heard that Warlord of Mars was going to be hitting its 100th issue this month, I was pretty damn excited.
The momentous 100th issue features three stories, each by a different creative team, and the first two of these tell a rather interesting story about how Barsoom’s past affects its future, whereas the third story is all about John Carter’s calot pet Woola and is rather emotional. Before, whenever I’ve read a Robert Place Napton story in the pages of Warlords of Mars, I’ve never really liked it. But this time things are different. Which was great. And Arvid Nelson, well, I love his work any time of the day so it was great to see him return to these comics as well. And the final story by Mark Rahner was equally excellent, if not more so. And the best part is that the artwork all throughout was fairly good as well.
Despite some interest in Transformers comics last year, mainly in Chris Metzen’s Transformers: Autocracy, I never really took the full dip. I read a few scattered issues here and there but that’s about it. Nothing concrete. And then a few weeks IDW announced that following the intense Dark Cybertron story arc there would be a new mini-series coming up that would focus on some of the characters introduced in this arc, namely Chromia and Windblade, both of whom are female Cybertronians. That alone was enough to peak my interest since, throughout my viewing of numerous Transformers cartoons over the years, only two or three such characters have stood out. Which is a shame.
Transformers: Windblade began last week with its #1 issue and I have to say that it is one of the best #1s I’ve read to date. Writer Mairghread Scott delivers a character-driven story with lots of action that touches upon several aspects of the Transformers universe and does a great job of introducing characters like Chromia and Windblade to a new reader. Plus, the artwork by Sarah Stone is pretty damn amazing too, making it one of the most beautiful comics on shelves right now.
New creative teams on long-running titles can often have an uphill task. This has happened time and time again in the industry and will likely happen countless times again in the future. But for the moment, I must say that the creative team of Ron Marz, Laura Braga, Betsy Gonia and Troy Peteri have been doing wonders with Top Cow’s premier title, Witchblade. I’ve read some comics from the previous creative team and while they were decent enough, they weren’t as good as what the new creative team has turned out in the last six months. The Borne Again arc has been a ton of fun, and no mistake.
Witchblade #174 brings this new arc with the new creative team to a close. Having rid herself of the Witchblade, all Sara Pezzini wanted was to live a normal life as a Sheriff in some out-of-the-way county, but then her past caught up to her and she was right back where she left things off. In the new arc she’s gone up against a madman and a zealot both, and now she ends that threat pretty decisively. Ron Marz’s writing is as good as ever and while there a few more problems this week with the art, Braga and Gonia still deliver a beautiful looking issue nonetheless.
Recently the Ultimate Universe was invaded by the 616-universe Galactus in a cataclysmic event that was first told in the pages of the mini-series Hunger and then in a big crossover event called Cataclysm that ran through several Ultimate Universe books. The end result is that the mainline alternate universe of Marvel’s comics underwent some serious changes and in the wake of that event we have had a relaunch of several books as the Ultimate Universe line-up gets simplified and renumbered in keeping with Marvel’s current All-New Marvel Now! phase.
Ultimate FF is among these new books and it presents a new vision for the Ultimate Universe version of the Future Foundation. I haven’t read any Fantastic Four/Future Foundations books in the Ultimate Universe, so I have zero idea what the teams have been like previously, but in this new book things seem very haphazard. It is nothing more than a “new” version of the Ultimates, which is the UU’s Avengers team. And the art is very disappointing as well. It lacks polish and appears half-finished. Ultimate FF is definitely not off to a good start with this issue.
When the Justice League animated series brought in Lex Luthor’s Society of Supervillains, a ring wielder by the name of Sinestro was one of the many villains introduced on the show, although we never really got to see his background or anything. We just knew that he was one of Hal Jordan’s classic adversaries and, indeed a nemesis. That was my first ever introduction to the character. Since then I’ve seen Sinestro in other animated forms, and even a pre-evil live-action portrayal. And I’ve read a fair few Green Lantern comics to find out who and what Sinestro is and what his place in the Green Lantern mythology really is.
Last year DC launched Larfleeze, a humour series featuring the master of the Orange Lantern Corps and it marked a departure from the usual GL books that the publisher was doing. Now, DC has done the same with Sinestro, which launched last week. This title has been long in coming, but come it has, and it is quite awesome. It is packed with action and drama, done just the way I like it and it has some excellent artwork to boot. Cullen Bunn and Dale Eaglesham seem to have a good handle on the character and his supporting cast, that’s for sure.
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti have been on kind of a roll with their Harley Quinn series. Starting with the #0 anthology issue and then the main series itself, Harley Quinn has quickly become one of DC’s quirkiest characters. Of course, she was quite a loon before, but under Conner-Palmiotti’s pen she has become something else entirely. I never thought that there could be a book from DC that was so off its rocker and packed with so much madcap humour. But Conner-Palmiotti have managed to do just that exactly, and it has been one hell of a read so far.
Harley Quinn #5 is all about Harley’s adventures with the old and retired agent Sy-borg, who has a vendetta against some old Russian gangbosses he thought he took down ages ago. Now he finally has all the intel he needed and he has drafted in Harley because of her history and her present problems. Unlike previous issues, this new one doesn’t advance the meta-story at all, but it tells a fairly decent one-shot story. And we have Chad Hardin back on the series now. The art is decent but that’s it.
Last week DC began its first weekly title of the New 52, Batman: Eternal. This is a story that affects the entire Bat-family and has some deep repercussions for all the heroes involved here. The first issue, penned by the Snyder-Tynion duo, was a fairly good look at a brand-new crossover in Gotham that sees the GCPD go up against Professor Pyg and come out with one of its best and brightest brought down in a shocking way. The two writers started the series on a bang and the art was also quite good, which helped a great deal. Now its time to look at what comes after.
In Batman: Eternal #2 we see a very focused story as Batman seeks to learn the mystery behind what happened in the last issue, and the other Bat-family members begin to get drawn in. What happened has some major consequences for them all, including Catwoman, because one of Gotham’s greatest criminal masterminds is returning to the city. Snyder-Tynion are still the ones to pen this issue as well, with the other contributing writers to the series serving as consultants. The same team from the previous issue is back basically, and they are all just as good as they were in the last issue, if not better. It is all about the big reveal at the end.
With their first arc of Zero Year, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo delivered something wonderful. With their second arc, it felt as if they had kind of lost their way a little bit since it felt less focused and less… immediate. While their entire run on Batman thus far has been nothing short of spectacular, with Zero Year they went big and delivered some amazing stories and dealt with some classic Batman villains. I loved the first arc, second arc not so much. But I remain a fan because Scott is usually a damn good writer and because Greg Capullo and Co. are all similarly amazing, usually.
With Batman #30 the creative team begins its third and final arc of Zero Year: Savage City. The Riddler is now in control of Gotham and things have changed big time. No more heroes. Gotham is an island, cut off from the rest of country and struggling to survive. This is the Gotham that Batman aka Bruce Wayne wakes up to after the disastrous events of the previous arc, and things are gonna get a whole lot worse before there is even a slimmer of hope that they will get better. And as always, the art is good, but it felt a bit too colourful and overdone in some places.