Last week Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver wrapped up their 2-part arc “Gothamazon” on Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman where they showed how Wonder Woman would tackle Gotham’s various villains and anti-heroes in place of Batman. It was a really fun arc with some of Gail’s best writing that showed off a Wonder Woman who was less about smash-smash-smash and more about turning villains around. Ethan also got in some great artwork, making me wish that he had an ongoing right now with Wonder Woman. But, now it is time for a new team to take to the title and do their own spin on it.
After the opening 2-part arc on the title we are now into single-shot territory as writer Amanda Deibert and artist Cat Staggs come along and tell a self-contained story of Wonder Woman fighting off Circe and her magical villainy. And villainy is right because this issue had a great classic feel to it, very different from the current Wonder Woman print ongoing and I loved it as much as I loved Gail and Ethan’s issues. Amanda seems to get what makes Wonder Woman so special and important on her own, and Cat Staggs art, with John Rauch’s colours is equally amazing.
Marvel’s Original Sin event is coming to a close imminently, with the final issue of the main event series landing tomorrow I believe. Or next week at the latest. This has been a most fun event, especially once you delve into many of the tie-ins and the crossovers that have resulted, such as the story arcs in Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil, among others. Part of this event was the launch of the Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm mini-series which saw Thor learn about his long-lost and believed-dead sister and then set out on a quest to bring her back. The first issue back in early July was a promising read, and I expected that to continue, for the title to get better.
Being on a holiday, I wasn’t able to review the previous two issues of the mini-series, but with the 4th issue landing this past week, I thought it was a good time to get down to it. What Jason Aaron and Al Ewing started in the first issue continued on in the second through fourth issues, with each providing a new and unexpected turn of events the likes of which I just couldn’t imagine. Whether it is Thor and Loki breaking down Odin’s realm-locks to the Tenth Realm, or Loki turning on Thor to side with the Angels of Heven, or Thor’s sister Angela beating him down or even more, this story has been one of the best “short” stories from Marvel I’ve read in a while. The artists also turned in a great effort, though I got confused between all the different pencillers put on the project.
For me, one of the best things about Aquaman is his nature and his heritage. In his initial run on the title in the New 52, that is one of the things that Geoff Johns focused on to great success, and it is what his successor Jeff Parker has done as well. Both of them have done much to expand on Arthur’s Atlantean heritage and make him into a fully-fledged hero with a great supporting cast and some really mythology. The fact that Geoff and Jeff’s runs have synched up so well is a testament to their writing skills I’d say, and the experience has certainly been great..
Late last month we got Jeff’s Aquaman Annual #2 which was an interlude between Aquaman #33 and #34. It was a great story as you can read in my review, but the story arc of shark-bitten underwater diver Jeffrey Coombs becoming Chimera was what I really wanted to read about. This was a story that Jeff was building up to since he started this run and we finally get to see Chimera meet up with Aquaman and have some of the best fights in comics in recent history, as far as I am concerned. Jeff excels yet again with this arc, which isn’t over yet, and so do pencillers Paul Pelletier and Carlos Rodriguez.
I recently started reading Tim Seeley’s works with his now-ended run on Top Cow’s Witchblade, his new series Grayson for DC Comics and his work on the multi-author Batman: Eternal weekly series. He is certainly among one of my favourite writers, though I haven’t always liked his work but regardless, he is one of those writer-artists that I want to experience more of. His Revival series for Image is a title I’ve long had my eye on, and will hopefully be getting a start on soon enough. In the meantime however, I have his brand-new series for Dark Horse, Sundowners, to tide me over.
This new book has to be the trippiest book I’ve read since Max Bemis’ Polarity from Boom Studios (last year, I think). It presents a world where superheroes are real, but not in the sense that they actually have powers, they just are regular people acting as vigilantes in most cases. And they dress up of course. There are five main characters here in this issue, and each offers something different to the reader. In many ways, the trippy nature of this comic makes it one of my favourite Tim Seeley reads to date, and the art by Jim Terry and Sean Dove is also impressive, really getting across the dirty and gritty nature of the world.
When Grimm Fairy Tales #100 ended on a big damn cliffhanger in which all the magical realms of Wonderland, Oz, Myst and Neverland merged with Earth to create an altogether new realm, my jaw pretty much dropped. It was a monster ending to a landmark issue of one of the most fun titles I’ve read in the last two years. Zenescope’s Age of Darkness event was all building up to this in the last 9-10 months, and it was gratifying to see a big ending like this. But of course, this was just the start of something new, for while the villains had been ascendant up until this point, now it was the heroes’ turn to put their best foot forward.
Realm War: Age of Darkness #1 and #2 deal with the fallout of Grimm Fairy Tales #100. The heroes were beaten back at great cost to themselves and both Lucinda the Dark Queen and Malec the Dark One proved the power of their Dark Horse decisively and without any real contest. Now, they consolidate their rule on the merged realms and much of these two issues deal with what has happened since the cliffhanger, bringing us up to date with all major surviving characters and creating new story tangles in a way that is intrinsic to Grimm Fairy Tales. Read the rest of this entry
Thankfully, I’m finally settling back into the groove with comics reading and, most importantly, comics reviewing, as I managed to review a fair bit of titles this week and even caught up with reviewing some previous titles that I’ve unfortunately had to neglect for one reason or another.
The surprise hits of this week were Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War: Billy and Mandy #1 from IDW Publishing, Wolverine Annual #1 from Marvel Comics and Vampirella #3 from Marvel Comics. The surprise flop of the week would be Batman: Eternal #20 from DC where the title seems headed downwards just when it was getting once again, and The Wicked + The Divine #3 from Image where the title took a nosedive this week after a second issue that was really good. No graphic novels again sadly, though I hope to correct that that this week. I hope..
Due to going on a vacation towards the end of July, I fell behind on Future’s End, and that kind of sucked in part because this is a highly rated series for me. It is a complex story being weaved together by no less than four writers and covering dozens of characters, so it is kind of easy to get lost but the weekly schedule helps quite a bit with that. At this point in the series, I’m looking for a sense of interconnectedness and the feeling that things are moving forwards towards some kind of a resolution. That resolution might not arrive for another month, or even two months, but that’s what I want, and fortunately, Future’s End #13-16 provide exactly that.
These four issues deal with the many secrets being kept from the many characters in this series. Such as what is really happening in the subbasement levels of Cadmus Island, or who sent Lois Lane a bunch of artifacts that have led her to uncovering some big secrets and even come face-to-face with a stark reality of her alternate life on Earth 2, or what is going on with the masked Superman and why he acts like a jock these days, or the reality of who killed Stormwatch back in the opening issues. The writers turn out some fairly good material here, and with artists like Patrick Zircher, Art Thibert, Scot Eaton and Jesus Merino, the artwork is in good hands here.
There’s no beating around the bush on the fact that in the last year or thereabouts Jeff Parker has emerged as a really talented writer for me, especially with his work on Aquaman. After Geoff Johns left the title he took over and started his run with a bang that can be heard every time a new issue comes out. He has done much to connect Aquaman with other superheroes in the DC universe and has also expanded on the nature of Atlantis and its many secrets, which have been peeling back one by one of late. In one of his recent mini-arcs, he focused on the Giant-Born of Greek mythology and promised a pairing of Aquaman with Wonder Woman no less!
In the recent Aquaman Annual #2, we get to see Diana and Arthur take on a group of Giant-Born in Carcasonne, France and then later a team-up of Diana and Mera as they take on a second group. The first pairing is the main focus of the story here, and while it is quite an aside and thus a perfect fit for an annual-style issue, I still loved it because this is a team-up that is executed really well. Some of the pending story threads from the main arc are addressed here as well, which was a plus. The Diana-Mera team-up was rather cool too and allowed Jeff to focus on the particular nature of both heroes. And as for the art, it was fairly good, with only a few minor flaws.
Being on holiday the last week of July and the first week of August meant that I missed out on quite a few comics and that even the next week after that was mostly trying to stay ahead of all the great comics coming out, which didn’t work out as well as I wanted it to since I missed some pretty big comics, such as last week’s Captain Marvel #6. With Captain Marvel being one of my favourite new books from Marvel, that had to be corrected soon as I realized my oversight and since Ms. Marvel #7 came out this week, I thought it would be fun to do a joint review for these two titles, which are linked together in far too many ways to count.
Captain Marvel #6 brings to a successful close the first arc of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s rebooted Captain Marvel. Last we were with Carol Danvers, she had decided to take on Json’s invasion fleet single-handed. She proved her heroism in that moment, and Kelly Sue set the stage for a really emotional and heroic ending. This time, we see how all of that plays out and how Carol does end up beating J’son at his own game. And the artwork is pretty good too, in keeping with the rest of the series.
Ms. Marvel #7 on the other hand is all about continuing the team-up of Kamala Khan and Wolverine as the two of them taken on The Inventor and his crazy meta-alligators. Wolverine was the first special guest-star on the series in the previous issue, in the flesh that is, and the pairing was a great idea because as Wilson said in an interview, Wolverine struggles without his healing factor while Kamala has it. In this issue, we see their pairing come to an end for the moment, though there are more avenues open now, with a great ending and the artwork by Jacob Wyatt and Ian Herring is even more gorgeous than before, though the final three pages are not so good.
Wonder Woman, as one of DC’s top three characters in terms of everything that really matters, got a second wind last week when DC launched Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman. Comics history buffs will recognize that the Amazon Princess made her debut so many damn years ago in the pages of Sensation Comics and now she’s back as DC puts out both an in-print ongoing and a digital-first comic featuring their most popular and recognizable female hero. The first issue by Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver was really good and I really couldn’t have asked for a better team-up for “Gothamazon“.
Sensation Comics #2 brings to a close the two-part “Gothamazon” arc, which also marks Gail and Ethan’s exit from the title for the present. The format for this series in print is going to be anthology-style, and I’m going to be a bit sad that these two fantastic creators are leaving, but all the same, at least their exit is great! The new issue is much more action-packed and it really gives you a look into Diana’s though processes and the comparisons with Batman are handled well. Plus the art is really good once again, though there were a few negatives scattered here and there, quite atypically Ethan Van Sciver.
Grant Morrison is one of the biggest names in comics at the moment and he has been around for quite a while. He’s worked on lots of different properties over the years, most prominently Batman and he is also the creator of Batman’s son Damian Wayne, IIRC. His run on the relaunched Batman: ended last year, soon after he killed off Damian in a rather spectacular fight, and he is reported to be working on a Wonder Woman graphic novel as well, though details on that are still sketchy. However, his long-rumoured and long in-development project above all others is The Multiversity and today, I found out exactly what it is.
The Multiversity #1 is basically Crisis of Infinite Earths told from the point of view of completely new characters as far as I can tell, and the antagonists are different as well. Morrison brings together heroes from a bunch of different worlds, many of them being rather remarkable, such as a black Superman, Aquawoman, Dino Cop and others. The writing throughout the opening issue was really confusing and haphazard, though the art was often good, largely because I always love Ivan Reis and Joe Prado’s work. The issue started off really confusingly, and the confusion continued throughout, so I’m not sure where I stand with this. Read the rest of this entry