Aquaman is one of those few DC books that nicely mixes in humour with otherwise dark events, and even just events with a huge scope at that which deeply and personally change the world-view of the characters irreversibly. But at the same time, Aquaman’s story is one about hope and determination. At several times during his run, Johns emphasised this and ran with it as far as he could take it. It proved to be a really good time. And now it looks like the new writer on the team, Jeff Parker, is cut from the same cloth because that’s pretty much what Aquaman #28 was all about.
In his first two issues on the title, Jeff worked to expand the scope of Aquaman’s world, introducing new characters and new monsters. And he did it in pretty good style too. Now in Aquaman #28 he finally makes two worlds collide as Aquaman finally learns of the newest threat to Atlantis, involving another conspiracy against the underwater empire. I really must say that I enjoyed this issue as much as I did the previous two. On the art side, I didn’t like it so much, because Aquaman and some of his supporting cast looked a bit beefed up and they didn’t look like their previous incarnations either. But it was overall still good.
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.
Spinning out of the Wanted arc and then the Gothtopia tie-in last month, the new issue of Batgirl goes in a surprisingly different place as Gail Simone explores the thematic links between Gotham’s Bat-family and vampires of urban myths. As I keep saying, Gail Simone has made this title one of DC’s relative heavyweights since the New 52 relaunch, and its definitely one of my highest anticipated titles of each month. The Wanted arc was pretty damn excellent, and now it looks like we might be getting some smaller stories again, like the Ventriloquist 2-issue arc that we had before Wanted.
Barbara has been through a ton of things recently, and she is still picking up the pieces of her life. Its not easy, especially not when a madman comes into town, seemingly intent on some kind of righteous vengeance, a complete and total loon as it were. But she does gain an ally, someone who hasn’t been around in the series for a while and her return is quite fun indeed since I love her as a character and Gail injects a lot of humour in her scenes. To top it all off, Fernando Pasarin and Jonathan Glapion’s art is excellent as ever, another plus.
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.
Geoff Johns wrapped up his Death of a King arc on Aquaman in November in as royal a manner as possible. If Aquaman could have had the same scope as Green Lantern, then Aquaman #25 could have been better still, but regardless, I’m pretty damn happy with how that arc turned out. Geoff ended his run on the series on a high note, left a few subplots open for future development and evened the playing field for incoming writer Jeff Parker. Reading Jeff’s interviews prior to Aquaman #26 coming out, I was pretty damn excited about his run, especially since I’ve enjoyed his Batman ’66 comics of late.
With the new issue, Jeff Parker goes full out from the get go. Following on from a run as successful as Geoff’s, which really put Aquaman on the map as a serious superhero and not someone to scoff at as a second-stringer, Jeff has a lot to live up to. But with his first issue he is firing on full cylinders and I loved it, for sure. And its great that series regular Paul Pelletier is staying on as the artist, to create that nice bit of visual continuity.
First off, apologies to everyone who was waiting for this review to up yesterday, as expected. I ended up going to a cousin’s birthday party in the evening and that took up a huge chunk of my reading time. And when I sat down to read the issues again for the review, I was just way too tired and kept dozing off in the middle. So once again, apologies.
Now, for the review. Given the immense proliferation of Batman-related titles in the New 52, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run is the only one I stuck with when I begin reading comics again last year. It was a maze of titles and I was unsure what to pick up. Recently, my fellow The Founding Fields reviewer Bane of Kings was talking quite highly about John Layman’s run on the title so I decided to pick it up from its fourth volume arc, starting on the special #19 issue which commemorates what would have been the 900th issue of Detective Comics had DC not renumbered their titles for the New 52.
And I found that I quite enjoyed these issues. Layman’s writing is fantastic, easily a match for Snyder’s and the same can be said for Fabok’s art, which is just as good as Capullo’s but is stylistically different. Whether its the special, or the conclusion of the Emperor Penguin saga or the League of Assassins one-shot or the three-issue arc with the villain Wrath, I enjoyed both the writing and the artwork. Fabok is already a favourite and now I’m a Layman fan as well.
Note: Some minor spoilers for the backups are mentioned in this review.
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!
Vertigo’s Hinterkind is one of those out-there kind of comics that the publisher loves to put out. They are different from the norm, often bend conventions a certain way, and they all have a very unique flavour. Ian Edginton proved that with last month’s first issue, in which he told a post-apocalyptic story wherein mankind is almost extinct, nature has taken over the world, and there are creatures from mythologies and urban legends running around all over.
He continues in the same vein with the new issue, building on the things he introduced in the previous issue, adding to the world, and giving you more reasons to care about it. But at the same point, things feel a little too slow. But, this was still an interesting issue because we get to see the other side of the conflict, much as with the bookend final scenes of the first issue, and we get to find out what the Hinterkind think of humans and what their goals are.