When I started reading Justice League back in 2012, it was one of my favourite titles from DC. Even through all of Trinity War and then Forever Evil, it was a title that I could rely on to be a damn good read, though there were occasional hiccups. Post-Forever Evil however, my interest in it has largely waned because I don’t like what’s going on in it right now. And this year’s Justice League United hasn’t interested me all that much either and is a title I gave up on after just 2-3 issues. But I still wondered how the Future’s End one-shots for both might pan out, being set five years in the future.
Surprisingly, Justice League: Future’s End #1 and Justice League United: Future’s End #1 are a 2-part story told together that brings in the future Justice League and the remnant of the Justice League United together for an adventure on Mars where they have to fight against an old ally, an ally who has become a mass murderer and a villain over the years. Jeff Lemire pens both issues, with Justice League United being the first half of the story and Justice League being the other. The story is all right I suppose and the art too, but I just wasn’t too taken with either.
Last week saw the beginning of the big Spider-Man oriented crossover event Spider-Verse as we began to get the prequel stories in the form of the Edge of Spider-Verse mini-series. The first issue focused on Spider-Man Noir and it was a pretty good issue all things told. It introduced me to Spider-Man in a way I hadn’t thought possible and I came out of the experience wanting to read more about Spider-Man Noir and all his adventures. In that way alone the issue worked in a big way for me. But then came the great cliffhanger and I was sold big time.
This week’s edition sees a Gwen Stacy from another world take up the mantle of a Spider-hero as Spider-Woman, in a world where it was her who was bitten by a radioactive spider and not Peter Parker! This one-shot issue is a part of the beginning of her tale and I have to say that there were parts of it that I really liked. Jason Latour’s writing feels very engaging here, but there were some parts that I didn’t like, particularly not the twist with a certain superhero that I really love. And as for the art, the art was really good, all things told, though I’m not quite so sold on Gwen’s costume.
DC Comics kicked off its Arrow Season 2.5 digital-first series week before last, which bridges the gap between the second and (upcoming) third seasons of its hit television show Arrow, based on its Green Arrow comics. The first issue was an absolute kicker, combining the best of the show with some really big action scenes that normally you wouldn’t get to see on the scene. It also starred Roy Harper as Speedy, all dressed in red and all, the whole nine yards. That rocked, for me at least. The wait for the second issue has been long, but it is finally here.
This second issue carries straight on from the one before, and it sets up the character relationships in a rather big way, going forward into the show’s third season. The action is very low-key this time, since the focus is much more on the characters, and I liked that personally. Start with a bang and then give the readers substance. That’s the case here and to be honest, I don’t think it could have been better really. After the great opening with the first issue, Marc Guggenheim and Joe Bennett are back for another exciting opening here, intent on giving readers an amazing experience.
With everything going on right now, I had doubts whether I’d be able to get through many comics this week but it seems that this was indeed the week where I surprised myself in a big way. Not only did I catch up on quite a few new titles, but I also managed to read two graphic novels this week, one of them at almost 300 pages no less!
The surprise hits of this week were Doctor Who: Eleventh Doctor #2 from Titan Comics, Judge Dredd: Anderson, Psi-Division #2 from IDW Publishing and Inhuman #5 from Marvel Comics. This week’s surprise flops were Caliban #6 from Avatar Press, Grim Tales of Terror #3 from Zenescope, and Superman Unchained #8 from DC Comics. Of the others, they were mostly great, and I loved that both G.I. Joe Volume 1 and Witchblade Volume 3 are among my absolute favourite graphic novel reads of the year!
From my reading thus far, the second week of Future’s End one-shots hasn’t been as overwhelmingly positive as the first week. Many titles seem to have suffered from the oddest stories being told, partly because few of them have actually tied in to the larger Future’s End story. They are mostly just dealing with their featured characters five years into the future and that’s it. Kind of a shame, but hey, I’m still picking up a lot of titles that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and that’s great, I tell ya, since it allows me to easily sample a wide variety of DC’s ongoing titles, with a rather low risk attached.
Green Lantern Corps: Future’s End #1 and New Suicide Squad: Future’s End #1 are two of the odder titles I’ve read this week, though not by much. They feel very natural extensions of their respective titles, though I haven’t read a single issue of the New 52 version of Green Lantern Corps, though I’ve been keeping up with the newly rebooted Suicide Squad title. The former is an interesting issue in many ways, but flawed to a great degree while the latter is a fully self-contained story that actually does impress, more than I’d thought would be possible.
The new Wonder Woman ongoing, Sensation Comics, has been chugging along as one of DC’s best offerings in the New 52 since the title’s re-introduction to the comics world almost a month ago. The previous issues have dealt with different aspects of what makes Wonder Woman who she is, but there have also been some common strands that tie them together much more cohesively than would have been otherwise possible. As an anthology series released in digital first and then in print, Sensation Comics has quickly become one of my favourite reads any given week..
This week’s offering, Sensation Comics #5 begins a 2-part arc written by Ivan Cohen in which he explores the concept of Wonder Woman’s spirituality and what kind of an effect that can have on the public at large, and whether she is here to proselytize her beliefs or not. Much of this issue deals with the setup for the next week’s offering, much as Gail Simone’s first issue did, but there is also a lot to like here, and the artwork by Marcus To and Andrew Dalhouse is as great as it has been on the previous issues with the other artists who have worked on the series so far.
As I’ve mentioned previously, Gail Simone is leaving Batgirl for other projects, one of which involves her recently-announced reboot of Secret Six for DC, a Suicide Squad-style supervillain team book but with a different focus and outlook on the characters. Gail’s run on Batgirl made me fall in love with the character and with her leaving, I feel as if it is the passing of an era. On the other hand, Scott Snyderhas been running the showboat for Batman since the New 52 relaunch and he has been killing it, except on the recent Zero Year arc which ended up being nowhere near as good as it started.
Both Batgirl: Future’s End #1 and Batman: Future’s End #1 are really dire stories. In the former, we see how Barbara’s brother James Jr. crashes her wedding party and kills her husband, setting her off on the path of darkness once again. But in all of it, we also see how Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain and a young girl named Tiffany take up the fight to maintain the legacy of Batgirl and it is not as bleak as it may sound! In the latter, we see how an aging and troubled Bruce is fighting to maintain his own legacy in his own image, not in the image of young men and women he has inspired over the years, for Gotham must always have a Batman. Ray Fawkes has written this issue instead of Scott, and while I generally don’t like Ray’s writing, this issue was actually quite good in places.
Last month both Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel closed out on their first major arcs, establishing a great story and direction for both titles. Amazingly, both titles have found strong readership with their respective reboots, and of the two Ms. Marvel has been the most successful with the debut of teenager Kamala Khan, daughter of Pakistani immigrants. In spirit, both titles are strongly linked and I think it is great that they were both relaunched at the same time (roughly) and that the quality on both titles, especially Ms. Marvel, has been so high. That is extremely gratifying.
This week, in Captain Marvel #7 we see the beginning of a new arc as writer Kelly Sue DeConnick brings back Rocket of the Guardians of the Galaxy for some madcap adventures with Carol, Tic and the former’s cat Chewie. The cat is quite the star of this new arc it seems, and I had fun reading the new issue, though I thought that it was a bit too gratuitously silly and funny. The art however, with new artist Marcio Takara, was as good as it was with David Lopez in the last issues, so that helped balance things out. With Ms. Marvel #8, we see a new arc once again as the Inhuman Queen Medusa sends her trusted companion Lockjaw to keep an eye out for Kamala, following Wolverine’s tip to Captain Marvel about the young hero. It is a damn good new story arc here and Adrian Alphona is back again, so the art too is awesome.
Last week Charles Soule and Steve McNiven debuted their first issue of Death of Wolverine, and it was a pretty great issue. The word is out in the supervillain-verse that Wolverine is vulnerable like never before, having lost his crucial healing factor, and someone out there has declared open hunting season on him. Charles Soule’s first issue on the series told a really fast-paced tale that also featured some great character moments and Steve McNiven’s art was close to being perfect as well. I didn’t care about the entire mini-event before, but now I most certainly do.
Unlike the last issue, there is a lot that happens in Death of Wolverine #2. Previously, he learned that Viper had put a hit out on him, and so he decided to go to Madripoor to deal with her. Of course, he can’t exactly get a direct audience with her, so he guiles his way into her base, and that’s like one of the best parts of the entire issue! Charles has greatly improved on his writing with this issue and shows that he really gets Wolverine, which was very gratifying, not to mention that all aspects of the artwork were also much better this time, with a really great opening splash page.
This is the “Big” year for Spider-Man. In addition to Peter Parker coming back from the dead and sending Doc Ock to his just rewards, there’s an even going to happen soon in which all Spider-heroes from across time and space are going to unite against a common menace. We’ve already seen some inkling of this in Dan Slott’s The Amazing Spider-Man #1 earlier this year and with the launch of the new ongoing Spider-Man 2099, more is coming down the line. But before Spider-Verse kicks off for good, it seems that Marvel is getting things together with the launch of this week’s Edge of Spider-Verse #1.
This new mini-series seems intended to fill in some of the blanks for some of the alternate versions of Spider-Man that will be featured in Spider-Verse, such as the Gwen Stacy version of Spider-Woman or even this first issue’s hero, Spider-Man Noir. Set in an alternate reality New York of 1939, here we see Spider-Man go up against none other than Wilson Fisk the Kingpin and Mysterio. This is a very fast-paced story about friendship and betrayal, one that David Hine and Fabrice Sapolsky tell really well and that Richard Isanove draws really well, and he handles almost all the artwork himself!
There are a lot of titles in the New 52 that I haven’t gotten around to reading as yet, either because I’m already swamped with others that I’m more invested in, or because I don’t find them interesting enough. Batwing is one such title. It had a rough start, far as I can tell, and then it got soft-rebooted when a new creative came on board in the second year. And my interest has definitely peaked in recent months. With Detective Comics however, I only started reading it last year, and I haven’t really caught up with the first year-and-a-half’s worth of issues, though I’ve wanted to.
This month’s Future’s End event helps me with the former and solidifies my belief in the latter. With Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti as writers and Eduardo Pansica as artist, Future’s End: Batwing #1 is another great offering from DC this month, setting a great tone for the publisher this month, right off the start. And with Detective Comics, writer Brian Buccellato does something rather unique in concept, even as the trio of artists on the issue deliver something truly wonderful. The former is a very self-contained story while the latter ends abruptly, but I liked both issues well enough.