Lightning strikes in the same place for a third time. I mentioned last week that I read 38 singles and 2 graphic novels for that release week, and that holds true for this week as well. I had a chance to read a bit more, but I chose to use that time to get done with some of my novel reading and also catch up with some of my reviews. 15 titles out of 40 read were reviewed by me this week. I feel good!
The surprise hits of this week were Aliens: Fire and Stone #1 and Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1, both from Dark Horse Comics, Pathfinder: City of Secrets #5 from Dynamite Entertainment, Catwoman: Future’s End #1 from DC Comics, Hack-Slash: Son of Samhain #2 and Chew Volume 1 both from Image Comics. Comics which disappointed me this week were Edge of Spider-Verse #3 from Marvel Comics, Sensation Comics #7 from DC Comics, and… that’s it thankfully! The graphic novels of this week were Chew Volume 1 and Thor: God of Thunder Volume 3.
Last week Fox debuted Gotham, a gritty noir-ish procedural set in the years before Bruce Wayne became the vigilante known as Batman, back when Carmine Falcone still ran the city’s mobs and when both Harvey Bullock and James Gordon were still young. The series premiere was a very entertaining and exciting experience, better than I’d expected it to be and it certainly made me want to come back for more, if only because I wanted to see more of certain characters and because the setup came off as fairly well-executed for a show like this.
This week’s episode, titled “Selina Kyle” was meant to focus on the future Catwoman. In the premiere, we saw that she was a witness to the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, thus creating an ephemeral bond between her and Bruce and at the end we saw that she came to Wayne Manor for… something. I was kind of excited for this week’s episode because I wanted to see how executive producer and series writer Bruno Heller would deal with the future master thief. And I’m disappointed on that front. The episode is more caught up with the ensemble cast than focusing on Selina, but at least it presents some really fun and quirky villains while also developing the overall story of the show.
This past week DC’s month-long Future’s End came to a close and it was certainly an eclectic mix of titles, from all that I’ve read so far. But there were indeed some titles that I enjoyed this week, and as I continue my readings this week, for I still have quite a few titles to get through overall, I’m expecting more to pop up. In the Green Lantern and Super-family titles I’ve had to face quite a bit of disappointment in particular, with little that has been good, and going into the final week, with the pending release of the Sinestro and Superman one-shots, I was holding up to some expectations.
Thankfully I wasn’t disappointed too much as it turns out. Sinestro: Future’s End #1 by Cullen Bunn is easily one of the best titles that I’ve seen this month, while Superman: Future’s End #1 by Dan Jurgens is mostly good though there were some problematic things in it. In a strange bit of contrast, Sinestro isn’t a series that I’ve kept up with lately, though I really liked the first couple issues, whereas with Superman‘s reboot under Geoff Johns I’ve been having a ton of fun on the title. Sadly, Geoff didn’t write this month’s one-shot but Dan does a decent enough job and since it ties in directly to Future’s End, it is a much stronger story than it appears to be.
The recent round of Future’s End issues have done much to deepen various mysteries, as well as tying together several stand-alone plot-strands that didn’t seem all that important until recently. One of the biggest mysteries however was how Green Arrow died back in Future’s End #1/Future’s End #2, or even what killed him. In this month’s Green Arrow: Future’s End #1, we learned that Oliver faked his own death, in quite a devious and masterful manner, to throw his enemies off his scent and here we are now, knowing full well that the hero-for-the-masses has several tricks up his sleeves, and one of them involves going up against Cadmus itself.
All the Future’s End issues till now, except for the FCBD issue, contained multiple storylines. With four writers working on the series, lots of characters were introduced to this vision of the future and lots of different events happened at the same time. It has all culminated to this issue, Future’s End #21, where we learn some details (finally!) about the war with Earth 2 that several characters have referenced before, and the part that some heroes played in it and what it ultimately means for Earth 1, or Earth Prime rather, and even why Green Arrow had to fake his own death. This was a stellar issue, one of the best in the series, and the art by Cully Hamner was simply astounding.
This is the last and final week of Future’s End one-shots and it seems that this is kind of like the first week where the one-shots were all generally damn good. Most of the ones I’ve read so far have been excellent, such as Harley Quinn or Justice League Dark, thankfully enough. There’ve been a few titles that haven’t made it to my “good” list, but they are kind of insignificant when compared to the good ones. One thing has been for sure though, that much as with last year’s Villain’s Month, a lot of the stories haven’t been planned out properly so that the overall general effect of this event month is one of cohesiveness.
Catwoman: Future’s End #1 and Star Spangled War Stories: Future’s End #1 (alternative, G.I. Zombie: Future’s End #1) are among two of my favourite reads of the week. The former I was hesitant about picking up since I was dreading Ann Nocenti’s vision of Catwoman’s future, but thankfully it turned out that Sholly Fisch was the writer and she wrote a really cool story here. The latter I expected to be great since Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray have been doing some wonderful stuff on the new series and this one is more of the same. Story-wise, they are both two of the strongest titles this month and even art-wise I’d say, with all the artists being quite spectacular.
When DC Comics launched Harley Quinn last year with a spectacular extra-paged #0 issue, no one had any inkling that the new series would go on to become such an important component of DC’s monthly line-up. Almost a year later now, the series has been DC’s big breakout hit, ending up several times on the monthly Top 25 sales lists, often in the coveted Top 10 as well. I haven’t read some of the recent issues, but everything I’ve has shown me that Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner are endlessly creative and energetic in their approach to the character.
For me, the biggest problem on Harley Quinn was the art. It often fluctuated, and where some issues were great, some weren’t. And recently I kind of dropped out on the title because the ongoing arc was a bit too silly for me. But I suppose that now is a great time to get back on the title, especially with the new arc starting next month. In the meantime, today’s release, Harley Quinn: Future’s End #1 does something I’ve been wanting to see for a while here: a pair-up of Harley and the Joker. It is everything I’d imagined it could be and the Joker is an absolute riot. And you know what else, I thought the art was perfect!
Following the success of Arrow, and then the news about the spinoff The Flash, DC announced several new projects for 2014, Gotham, Hourman and Constantine among them. Of the three, the only show that really attracted any interest from me was Constantine, largely because I love the character in the pages of Justice League Dark, and he’s quickly become one of my favourite anti-heroes and jerks in the DC universe. I was mildly interested in Gotham, but the way that the initial press releases were worded put me off. But then the positive buzz started building and here we are. The first episode premiered last night and it seems to be gaining steam, if nothing else!
Gotham is set in a time before Bruce Wayne became Batman. It is a time when the Gotham City Police Department is stretched thin and corruption is rife, as is a certain cynicism which comes from being a Gothamite. In the first episode, we see the setup of all the major characters, even villains like Penguin, Carmine Falcone, Catwoman, Riddler, Joker and others. We see the murder of Bruce’s parents and the investigation by James Gordon and Harvey Bullock. Tonally for me, the show seems to have hit its stride, and the sweeping story was certainly quite an interesting one as well.
In about two and a half weeks, something special is about to happen. As far as I can tell, that’s when two separate superhero shows based on DC properties will air side-by-side, with one being a spinoff of the other. Arrow has raked in lots of cash and popularity for Warner Bros, DC Entertainment and The CW in its two-year run so far and on October 7th The Flash will debut, featuring Arrow’s hot cameo last year, Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, the Scarlet Speedster. And as DC is wont to do, there will be companion comics, same as there were with Arrow, and a week back DC got it all started.
Based on what I’ve heard about the debut, based on the leaked episode one from a few weeks back, The Flash Season Zero takes place concurrent to the comics, even though it is being called Season Zero. Kind of like the Year Zero comics about other heroes that DC has done over the years, but paired with the first season of a live-action show about the titular character. The first two issues here give the reader a brief intro into who Barry is and his role as The Flash, and then launch straight into a big arc that also sees the introduction of the C-lister villain Strong Man. Script is good, art is good, what more could I want?
The first four months of Future’s End proved to be one hell of a ride. Though the title occasional faltered here and there, it was still a great, epic story that unfolded in a time five years in the future from the present timeline. Some of the things that I liked about this series was that it gave a lot of underdeveloped and underutilized heroes like Grifter, Deathstroke, Firestorm and many others a chance to shine. With all the different writers working on this, sometimes the stories could be a mess of different plotlines, but they were nevertheless quite entertaining and the artwork was almost always similarly impressive.
The fifth month (going by four issues equaling a month) sees a lot of revelations happening. For one, we finally learn what the deal with Superman in Future’s End is. Second, we revisit the ending of a previous issue in which Bruce Wayne of the future was captured by Brother Eye and Joker was brought in to experiment on him. These four issues contain some of my favourite moments in the series, though some of the things happening on Cadmus Island are beginning to give me a headache, and I’m still waiting for a lot more of the plot threads to be given their time to shine again.
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman has given me something I’ve wanted to in the New 52 since I gave up on Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman: a Wonder Woman title that I can actually have fun reading and not want to head-desk after. All the stories in this digital-first title have been short affairs, alternating between one-shots and two-parters, with each set of three then being collected in the print format. The stories have also been continuity-free and quite classic at times, which is just another big thing in the title’s favour.
The new issue this week sees the end of Ivan Cohen, Marcus To and Andrew Dalhouse’s two-parter Taketh Away. In the last issue we saw that after Diana spoke on national television about her gods, the Greek gods, not requiring the worship of the American people, she began to lose her powers, whether her strength or her beauty or something else. In this issue, Ivan Cohen solves the mystery for the reader and shows Wonder Woman at her best, as the title has done consistently in the past five issues. There’s a bit of hand-waiving involved here which didn’t work so well for me, but I loved the story and the art nonetheless.
In a few short weeks, comics fans will be treated to Gotham, a gritty noir-styled live-action show that deals in the early days and the origins of some of the greatest heroes and villains in Gotham City, the home of one of the world’s most well-known superhero vigilantes, Batman. After the success of Arrow, Warner Bros. is launching several new shows this Fall season and Gotham is one of them, with a main cast that includes Gotham stalwarts Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock, as well as villains such as Selina Kyle, Oswald Cobblepot and others.
To mark the upcoming debut of the show, DC this week released a reprint of Gotham Central Special Edition #1, which is the prequel to Gotham Central: In The Line of Duty by Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark, three of the biggest names in comics these days. This one-shot issue deals with a regular investigation gone wrong as Mr. Freeze steps in on the scene, and shows how Gotham’s finest deal with the danger of the supervillain running loose once more in the city. Rucka and Brubaker have crafted a really engaging tale here, which is brought to life by Lark and the other artists.