Despite the fact that I liked Green Arrow in Justice League Unlimited and the portrayal of Oliver Queen in CW’s Arrow last year, I never really got on the character bandwagon to start reading the comics. Part of that was how he was handled in his guest appearances in Geoff Johns’ Justice League last year, and part general disinterest. But after fellow TFF reviewer Bane of Kings started talking very highly of the series from when Jeff Lemire took over, that interest started to grow and now Green Arrow is one of my favourite books in the New 52.
With this week’s issue, Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino begin a new arc, The Outsiders War, and are set to explore much more of the character’s mythology than we’ve seen before. I still haven’t caught up to Lemire’s issues (its in the cards!!) but I have to say that across the last four issues, he has done some impressive work, and the artwork by Sorrentino and colourist Maiolo has been quite amazing. The new arc gets off to a really strong start and I am quite liking where things are going with respect to the various characters involved. If the future issues are anything like the previous issues, then this is definitely going to be a great arc.
After twenty-six months on the relaunched title, Geoff Johns’ run finally comes to an end with this issue. Responsible for reintroducing the character to comics fans everywhere and making him as big a character as he could, Geoff revamped Aquaman and made him into one of DC’s definite heavy-weights. The title has recorded some high sales and the collected editions have even made it to the New York Times Bestseller’s List. Now that is impressive for a character who was largely relegated to suffering fish-jokes, despite always being a mainstream DC hero.
As is appropriate, Geoff closes out his run on the title by closing out his current arc as well, Death of A King. He created some wonderful mythology for the character, giving his backstory an epic scope that I definitely did not expect. Even with this final issue, he goes some places that I didn’t expect and he wowed me. He goes out with a definitive bang and leaves a teaser for his next crossover arc that is coming next year, Rise of The Seven Seas, which will unfold in the pages of Aquaman (under Jeff Parker) and Geoff’s own Justice League. Exciting times!
In the final week of the month, with the crossover tie-ins for Scott Snyder’s Zero Year wrapping up, we get a one-shot from Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul, who’ve served as one of the most consistent teams in the New 52, with other artists coming and going throughout the entire run so far. I only started reading the title quite recently and I’ve been very impressed with the two of them. Their recent issues have been quite excellent and this one is the same, albeit taking a slight hit due to the whole crossover concept for Zero Year.
This is Brian and Francis’ last issue on the title as a team, with Francis moving on to Detective Comics while Brian sticks around for a few issues still. This is not the amazing story I expected them to end their run with, but its still pretty good. Like most of the other Zero Year titles, this issue shows a slice of events happening in Gotham just before the storm of the century hits the city, already suffering from lawlessness and loss of power. Its a fairly good look at Barry before he became Flash, and I quite enjoyed his portrayal, which is kind of how I imagine him being introduced in CW’s Arrow next week for his 2-parter cameo on the show.
Last month J. M. DeMatteis kicked off the Forever Evil: Blight arc, the fourth tie-in story to DC’s current mega-event, Forever Evil. Blight is an 18-part arc that will run through most of DC’s supernatural books all through March. Forever Evil was already DC’s biggest crossover in the New 52 relaunch, but with the addition of Blight, it has grown significantly, and for me, it definitely conveys a sense of scale that the event requires with all its involved internal complications.
Justice League Dark #24 was an excellent issue, the best in the entire series so far I have to say. Topping it would have been a tough job but I trusted DeMatteis to prove equal to the task. And he almost does. While Justice League Dark #25 isn’t as excellent as its predecessor, it is still a damn fine comic. J. M. DeMatteis continues to impress with each issue and this one is no exception at all. I enjoyed his Phantom Stranger #13 earlier this month as well and DeMatteis is definitely on a good streak right now (as long as the new Larfleeze holds up, which I’m sure it will!).
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!
Last year Marvel made controversial history when it killed off Peter Parker and brought in the notorious supervillain Doctor Octopus as the Spider-Man. Doc Ock is the one who killed Peter and took over his body and his memories, essentially becoming Peter Parker, and reinvented the persona of the hero as Superior Spider-Man. As I hadn’t really read any Spidey comics before, I wasn’t really interested in the status quo, not until I began to read Al Ewing’s Mighty Avengers and read Mike Costa’s 3-part crossover Arms of the Octopus.
This is my first comic reading fully about Spider-Ock in his own title. And I have to say that I really liked it. I’ve read Christos’ Angel & Faith comics before and I really liked them, so Christos is definitely a writer I’m willing to try on any title. He brings a simplicity to this issue that really works. This is a fairly good stand-alone story that ties into the larger story being told by Dan Slott, the series writer, and I think it served as a good intro to the reinvented character. It definitely did for me.
Arrow has been building up a lot of steam for a while now. Till now we’ve been exposed to a lot of character drama in the show and season 2 has given us some new characters and situations to wrap our heads around. Season 2 has proven to be far superior to season 1 in pretty much every single way that matters and its been a hell of a ride. New characters like Brother Blood, Dr. Ivo, Black Canary and others have done really good work, while older characters like Detective Lance and Roy Harper have exceeded themselves. But nothing compares to what this week’s episode did with Moira Queen.
In the previous episodes there’s been an undercurrent of a mystery about the Queen family, something so bad that it could destroy the Queen family. Well guess what, State vs Queen reveals that episode in all its glory, and it pretty much throws Moira Queen’s court case for her complicity in the destruction of the Glades into turmoil. It was a rather unexpected twist, but not all that unexpected either since I had kind of been thinking along the same lines, I just got the scale of the whole thing wrong. And that’s not all that happens in this episode. We get to see kick-ass action on the Island too. And an old character from season 1 makes a return as well. Now that was a cliffhanger.
Managed to read a handful of more comics this week, since there were a lot of titles released that I was really interested in, and a couple from previous weeks that I hadn’t been able to get around to at the time. As usual, it was all a mixed reading experience, with some really good comics mixed in with some bad ones and a few that straddle the fence between the two extremes. More positive ones than negative ones.
No graphic novels this week sadly, since this week was a real slog in reading, again, and I was struggling for time in general with everything else too. Perhaps this coming week can be different!
One of the best things about Arrow throughout its entire run so far is that the show makes a clear and successful effort at identifying with the larger setting that it is a part of, the DC Universe that has developed over decades of comics and and movies and television shows and what not. This has been a strength of the show since the start and it has presented some really interesting reimaginings of several characters like the titular hero and his posse of allies and his rogues gallery, some of which have transitioned over from the Batman-side of things.
This week’s episode was another such installment, and it brought back one of the fairly important villains of the first season, the assassin called Deadshot who, in the show’s continuity, is a personal nemesis of Ollie’s friend Diggle since he killed Diggle’s brother. The entire subplot involving Diggle and his revenge was one of the most intriguing elements of the first season and in this episode, its all back in full as Diggle gets to make a really, really tough call. And we get to see the Arrow version of ARGUS’ director, Amanda Waller.
Note: Contains some minor spoilers about the show.
Batman: Zero Year has been one of the best mini-events in comics that I’ve read to date. In the space of the first four issues, #21-24, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo gave us a fantastic look at the early years of Gotham as it would come to be under Batman’s vigilantism and we saw the fantastic origin of the titular character. With superb art comes a superb story and till now, nothing has been the least bit disappointing, apart from some really minor stuff.
Which is why, reading this brand-new issue, I was confused as to what was happening. With the last issue, Snyder/Capullo ended their first arc and concluded the Red Hood Gang story, rather dramatically I might add, and they set up the Riddler to be the new big villain. With the new issue however, it is as if we are in an interlude, which doesn’t quite jive with the way that everything is two minutes to midnight in the story, with the worst storm in Gotham’s history approaching and the city entirely without power.
Zero Year has finally kicked off for the non-Batman titles for DC and its been pretty good so far. Lots of interesting stories to say the least and this coming week promises to be even better with Batman #25 and Batgirl #25 hitting the stands as well, so good times to be had. Didn’t read too much outside of DC this time around, which is fine with me since I like my superheroes a particular way and other comics don’t interest me all that much really.
Read another graphic novel this week, mostly to catch up with a series I’m following right now, so that’s a bonus for the most part. I’d say I have a good thing going here if I can scrape in a graphic novel a week. Could be more, depending on certain things, but I’m fine I suppose.
This Fall, Marvel/Disney marked their first major step together outside of movies with Agents of SHIELD, the first live-action TV Show based on various Marvel properties. The show has seen six episodes so far, with varying rating reactions, and it will be going on for a full season at least. You can read my reviews of the show here. Set in the aftermath of last year’s Avengers movie, the show could be said to have been a success thus far, although for me, it has been struggling to define itself and maintain a consistency in tone and mood.
However, it appears that Marvel and its parent company Disney are not about to let that stop them. Recently, the rights to making live-action adaptations of a number of properties were reverted back to Marvel. Most people, including myself, thought that Marvel/Disney would leverage these returned properties by adding some of these characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and make brand-new movies out of them.
Turns out, Marvel has had bigger plans.