In the world of Swamp Thing, the new Machine Kingdom has made some incredible advances in a very short amount of time, going so far as to create its own Avatar, thereby picking one of the titular hero’s greatest enemies as its champion. And the battle that has followed from that has not been kind to the hero or his closest allies either. In fact, Swamp Thing and the others are losing the fight, and that’s where the fun really comes in I think, to see the hero tested beyond what you’d expect, and to see the incredibly rich lore of Swamp Thing really come alive.
In Swamp Thing #39 from last week, we pick up from where we left off in the last issue, namely with the cliffhanger of Swamp Thing being confronted by his own formally mortal body, now reincarnated by the Machine Queen to serve as her ace in the hole. The new issue is absolutely brutal in its execution, and writer Charles Soule sets a brutal pace for the reader. Losing to the combined power of his doppelganger, the Machine Queen and Arcane, Swamp Thing is now in for the battle of his life, to eke out the smallest measure of victory from these dark events.
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.
Swamp Thing is one of those New 52 launch titles that I’ve wanted to read for a long time but didn’t get around to until very recently. And then it all just kind of happened last month and I blitzed through the three recent issues so I could be all caught up on the current arc. And it turned out to be a pretty good arc too, one that seeks to delve into the mythology of the character and also take it a few steps further. With all that the newly-formed Machine Kingdom is up to, it looks like the times ahead for the hero are quite grim indeed and that he is going to have to go through some pretty brutal challenges before he can succeed.
In past week’s Swamp Thing #38, we finally see the beginnings of the Machine Kingdom’s assault on the Avatar of the Green. When they failed in a previous attempt, the Machine Kingdom decided to create itself an Avatar of its own and said Avatar has completely changed around their mode of thinking and has taken battle directly to Swamp Thing, gathering allies and supporters of its own. And this pretty fight is pretty brutal indeed for the hero as Charles Soule explores how the combined powers of three supervillains launch a simultaneous attack on him.
A third straight week this time without me hitting my magic 40 number, which I really regret since a ton of comics have been coming out these last two weeks, but no matter.
Anyway, My top picks for the surprise hits of the week would be Battlestar Galactica: The Death of Apollo #1 from Dynamite Entertainment, Dredd Uprise #1 from 200AD, and Swamp Thing #35-37 from DC Comics. The most disappointing comics of this week were Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1 and Hulk #9 from Marvel Comics. Comics which continued on with a good run yet again were Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #3 , Aliens: Fire and Stone #3, Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm War #5 , Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #3, Inhuman #9, Gotham Academy #3 and Vampirella v2 #7 among others.
No graphic novels this past week unfortunately.
I ended up skipping last week’s Fast-Shot article since I was rather busy with real-life stuff and just did not have the time for doing it. But I stand by what I said in the previous two articles, that these reviews are a great way to work through the back-log and they let me do lots of different types of comics together in a single place. The last two reviews I’ve done for this new feature have both been pretty good ones in terms of that, and they’ve also been fairly popular, which is quite heartening to see. So, on to the reviews!
The picks for this week are: Dredd Uprise #1, Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1, Batman: Eternal #35, Future’s End #31, Swamp Thing #35-37, and Rai #5. Another diverse line-up of titles, as always Of these, Dredd Uprise #1 is from more than a month ago I believe, one of the many comics I didn’t get around to in October, unfortunately, while Angela: Asgard’s Assassin is a new title, and Rai is returning after a significant layover, and proves to be even better with the new issue than the previous four, by a considerable margin. And with the DC titles, well, they all proved to be a very interesting lot.
Hit the almost-magic number of 35 once again and though I have yet to repeat my personal best of 40, I think this was my best week regardless since I managed to read 31 singles and 4 graphic novels. That definitely counts as an achievement, yes?
My surprise hits for this week would be Tales of Honor #1 from Top Cow, Swamp Thing Annual #3 from DC, Inhuman #7, Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America #1 and Deathlok #1 all from Marvel. Those that count among this week’s top disappointments would be Conan the Avenger #7 from Dark Horse. Justice League United Annual #1 from DC. Others like Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm War #4 and Grimm Fairy Tales: Robyn Hood #3 from Zenescope, Wayward #3 from Image, The Flash Volume 2 from DC, and a bunch of others were as good as I expected them to be, probably better even.
The graphic novels for this week were Supergirl Volume 4 by Michael Alan Nelson and Diogenes Neves, The Flash Volume 2 by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul, Krypton Returns by Various and Thanos: The Infinity Revelation by Jim Starlin.
For this new seasonal list of the best SFF characters I’ve read this year, my fourth pick consists of some more DC leading ladies, the Birds of Prey from Gail Simone’s first run on the title, with art by Ed Benes. At the time the team consisted of Barbara Gordon aka Oracle and Dinah Lance aka Black Canary. Helena Bertinelli aka the Huntress joined them with Gail Simone coming on to the title.
Hit the break to see why I picked this character.