No “Magic 40” in the first week of the new year, but the second week definitely sees me hit that landmark number, and with graphic novels mixed in to boot!
This week’s surprise hits were Angry Birds/Transformers #2 from IDW Publishing, Ares & Aphrodite #1 from Oni Press, Operation: S.I.N. #1 and Wolverines #1 from Marvel. The disappointments of the week were Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #2 and Ant-Man #1 from Marvel and Future’s End #36 from DC. Ongoing greats like Swamp Thing #38 and Detective Comics #38 from DC, Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #3 from Marvel, and John Carter: Warlord of Mars #3 from Dynamite to name a few were just as I expected them to be: superb.
As mentioned above, the graphic novels for the week were Legends of Red Sonja Volume 1 from Dynamite and Quest: Age of Darkness Volume 1 from Zenescope. The former was a fun book where Gail Simone brought together several different female prose writers, paired them with different artists, and wrote a grand, sweeping Red Sonja story. The latter was part of the publisher’s Age of Darkness event and was more a prequel story.
I skipped outon the previous week since there was a very small number of comics released, and I wasn’t really interested in reviewing more of them than I already did. So, welcome to the first good and proper edition of this new feature, and have a blast!
The picks for this week are: Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel #3, Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #2, Operation: SIN #1, Detective Comics #37-38, Justice League 3000 #12-13 and Vampirella #7-8.
Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis’ Justice League 3000 started off well-enough but somewhere along the way it has stopped being fun. Or had rather. The lack of story progression and the constant build-up of the different villains and the cascade of revelations meant that there was too much story packed into too little space and that it was all too much to take in. You couldn’t just enjoy the story per se, you had to slog through the 20 pages each time. With last month’s issue, I was pretty much prepared to throw-down with the series and stop reading it. I came so, so very close to doing just that this month.
But, I decided to soldier on with this past week’s Justice League 3000 #6 and I’m kind of glad that I did because I think this new issue corrects a lot of the failings of the previous issues, although it is still somewhat problematic in a few ways. Unlike last time, Howard Porter is back in the saddle with these characters as the artist, and that was also another big factor since Porter has been the artist here since the beginning. The story is still a bit iffy in that we are spending too much time on the revelations and not enough on moving the story forward, but this issue definitely goes a long way in fixing that.
After Justice League 3000 #4, I found myself in an odd place. This was a title that I kind of wanted to continue reading, but the story and the art just weren’t clicking together for me. I kind of love all the twists and turns of the book but the story just isn’t all that interesting. There are some good bits of course, like the alien vistas and what not, but mostly none of it is really working for me. And yet I keep coming back, month after month, for something I know not what. A guilty pleasure? Probably that’s the reason.
Justice League 3000 #5, released this week, exemplifies and typifies my problems with this series. It introduces (and reintroduces) two new characters and builds up on all the revelations from the previous issue, revelations which were hinted at earlier but never really formalised. And now the Justice League of the 31st century has more troubles on its hands than it can handle, and none of it is pretty in any way. Compounding the problems is that Howard Porter is not on this issue, instead we have two guest artists with writer Keith Giffen doing art breakdowns. Big, big jump in the art styles and again, none of it worked for me.
Justice League 3000 is a bit of a weird title. I mean, it is a Justice League title but it takes place a thousand years in the future and the current Justice League is a team of clones of five of the original members. Or so they think, and so we are led to believe. But matters are more complex than that. In the previous issues we have seen the team introduced and then broken apart when under assault by the reality-altering villain Locus. Now the team is divided and spread out, with one of its members already dead and the team’s creators are at emotional odds with each other. The setup has been somewhat interested but hasn’t captured my imagination firmly as yet.
In this new issue, we see the true origins of the team revealed in all their gory details and the story is quickly becoming one with the tagline: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I won’t deny that I’ve enjoyed the series thus far on some level at least, because I have. The only thing is that I can’t bring myself to invest in it like I’ve been able to with other DC premier titles like Batman, Batgirl, Justice League, Aquaman, The Movement and others. But, depending on how the next issue pans, that might change. And the art is still… not quite where I want it to be.
A stable week for a change and this meant that I was able to read some more comics this time. Didn’t get through quite as many as I wanted to, and I certainly didn’t get around to reviewing as many as I wanted to, but that’s fine really. Gotta take a bit of an occasional lighter load I think. Most of the Marvel books I read this week weren’t all that impressive (as the top picks at the end will show), but DC was better. And Vertigo’s newest series looks to be damn good too, can’t wait to check out the second issue of that next month.
And I did manage to begin my Flash New 52 read-through finally with volume 1 last night, so that’s something there. Planning to read a lot of graphic novels this year, mostly in terms of catching up with series I’ve missed out on, so we shall see how it all pans out.
DC launched its latest Justice League to some fanfare last month, debuting a look at the future a thousand years from now, when Mankind has stepped out into space, made contact with innumerable alien races, and formed a giant galaxy-spanning Commonwealth government. But, there are always dangers, and hence the organisation known as Cadmus has brought back the original Justice League (sans Cyborg) via cloning to deal with the threat of the Five. The first issue was was a bit poor in some respects, notably the art, but was decent overall, so I was quite cautious about picking up the second issue.
You know what though, I think this is a series that I can stick with, despite the flaws. Its really interesting to read about a Justice League team that is out of whack in a lot of different ways and is different while still being somewhat same. In the second issue, the writers pit the League of the future against their first actual threat and show how things don’t go exactly to plan. And the characters’ interactions with each other remain at the heart of the story. The art is a little better than the last time, but not by much however.