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.
The Rogues have been chased through Central City, Metropolis, Gotham and they are tired. They have been sundered, their relationships frayed, and now they have their backs to the wall. Everyone is after them, all the supervillains who now obey the Crime Syndicate that is. That’s been the theme of this mini-series from the start. The series has gone from situation to situation in each issue and I’ve wondered if there was any particular plan to all of it, whether it would all come together for something significant.
The latest issue, out this week, continues the story of the Rogues vs the Royal Flush Gang, and a gang they are indeed. The Rogues are now prisoners of the Royal Flush Gang, being taken back to Central City for a date with the Crime Syndicate. And this is when the Rogues really come back together. I loved this issue, quite frankly, because the story moved forward, and it went back to its roots of the Rogues’ rebellion against the Crime Syndicate. And the art was pretty much on point too.
On account of traveling to and from India this past week, my comics reading took a back-seat, as did my novel reading incidentally. Very few comics read, but most of them were good at least, a saving grace.
Not as busy a week as the last but fairly busy nonetheless. The new creative teams on various ongoing titles continue to go strong, particularly Justice League Dark and Witchblade while some of the newer titles like Black Science continue to be exception, so that’s one thing that I really liked about this past week. January in particular has been a really excellent month of comics what with Marvel’s full-on All-New Marvel NOW! launch and some really good issues for DC’s Forever Evil event.
Just one graphic novel again this week, the Lee/Buscema magnificence that is Silver Surfer: Judgement. I was meaning to read at least one more, but time wasn’t on my side and I missed out. Hopefully the new month gets off to a good start.
Less than a year since Detective Comics celebrated its 900th issue with New 52: Detective Comics #19, an anthology issue which brought together several different creators, we have New 52: Detective Comics #27, which celebrates the landmark issue of the original series that first introduced Batman to the world as Bat-Man, the caped crusader and dark knight of Gotham who solved the city’s crime with acts of vigilantism. And again, we have an anthology issue bringing together different creators, and telling some really different stories while also giving some bonus art to fans.
I was really excited for this issue. I kind of missed the whole lead-up to Detective Comics #19 since I wasn’t reading the series at the time, but I am now. And one thing that happened this afternoon was that I was massively disappointed. This issue, in its first half, basically retells classic tales and does a hack-job. The second half, with original stories that will be carried over in future issues, is actually good. But the first half definitely bothered me, and it was the writing far more than the art that bothered me.
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.
Coming straight out of the left field, Trillium has proven to be one of the surprise hits for me this year. I picked up the first issue on a whim in August, and I was amazed by how good it was. Then came the second issue last month, and continued to blow me away. Beyond just good storytelling and good art, the series so far has been notable for for structural experimentation, which makes for a rather nice experience. Or would I suppose if I was getting this in print! In digital, some of that effect is lost (more on this later in the review).
Now here we have the third issue and once again Jeff Lemire continues to impress in every way. Coming on the heels of the excellent Green Arrow #24, this is most definitely Jeff Lemire’s week as the top-man in comics. Lemire’s experimentation with format continues as he moves the story of Nika and William’s time-crossed romance forward.
I’ve said before that my initial excitement for Greg Pak’s Batman/Superman was greatly tempered by the actual issues themselves. There’ve been three issues in the main series so far, and then there’s this Villain’s Month tie-in issue, which gives us an origin story for one of Superman’s greatest villains. Across all four issues, I’ve faced one disappointment after another. And its been a case of disappointment in all respects.
Greg Pak has written three Villain’s Month issues: Darkseid, Zod and now Doomsday. The first of these was extremely disappointing, largely because of the story execution. The way it set things up, things looked promising but then it all fell flat. And I haven’t yet read the second issue. Probably for the best if I don’t go ahead and read it now, at this point.
Note: Spoilers follow.
As someone who is increasingly delving into Vertigo Comics, with titles such as Fables, Fairest, and The Wake, Jeff Lemire’s brand-new series Trillium is another experiment that I’m quite happy to say succeeds. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Vertigo publishes some really far-out stuff, often edgy and completely different from the norm, and they do it really well. Fables and The Wake are two of my favourite series from this year, and I’ve enjoyed the whole ride so far.
With Trillium, Jeff Lemire does some pretty crazy far-out things, whether that be for the script itself or the art. Its comics like these that are often make or break for me, because they go either too far out or they play things too safe, and rarely is there a balance, such as with Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga. So yeah, Trillium #2 is definitely a winner for me, and here’s why.