Where one leaves off, another picks up. That seems to be Marvel’s motto of late, especially with their All-New Marvel launch/relaunch of certain titles. Marvel doesn’t exactly have all that many teen superheroes, unless you count some of the X-kids from their various team books. With the recent cancellation of Young Avengers, Marvel launched a new teen superhero book, New Warriors, last month and it seems to be stylistically somewhat similar to the other series. But this brings back (apparently) an old team but with some new faces, so things are certainly interesting.
The first issue was a bit all over the place, and was just about good enough for me to recommend it to you, the readers of this blog. With the second issue however, I am starting to have some serious doubts because this too was all over the place but much more than the first issue. The pacing was odd and the story just didn’t quite click with me either. There were some nice moments here, but I confess that I felt lost most of the time. And the art is okay, no major complaints about it, not at the moment at least, I must say.
This past week, John Layman ended his excellent run on Detective Comics with #29, which also marks the end of his 3-part Gothtopia arc, in which the Scarecrow created a serum to make everyone happy and caused a mass delusion that Gotham was the safest and greatest city in America. He even managed to subvert all the heroes and drew in a number of… medically-oriented villains to his cause, such as Harley Quinn, Professor Pyg, Mr. Freeze and the Merry Maker. But now, the Great Detective is on to them, and the fight is for the future of Gotham and the entire American eastern seaboard.
When Gothtopia was teased out with Layman’s contribution to Detective Comics #27, I was pretty excited. In the New 52, it seemed to be a pretty unique story, and when all the tie-ins came, I was even more excited. Well, except for the Catwoman tie-in, which wasn’t all that good really. But, Layman delivered quite handsomely on the entire premise, and he wraps up things in this issue with a bit of the panache that I expected. Its not as good a story as the previous two issues, but I liked. And the art by Aaron Lopresti and Art Thibert continues to be awesome, so that’s something as well.
Since my review of The Movement #9, it has come to my attention that the series is getting cancelled after issue #12, which will be in May. This is something that makes me really sad. Because it has been a series that dared to step out of the norms of superhero comics and do something radically different. It is an experiment that worked for a while, but unfortunately, due to various reasons, the series is now on the chopping block. With the new issue, the current 2-part arc comes to a close and after that we have two more issues to go. All we can hope for is that the series ends on a high-note.
In the previous issue Batgirl came to Coral City, hunting for a super-powered criminal. She ran afoul of The Movement though, and things ended up pretty bad though. And in the meantime, her target ran amok in the streets. This was the kind of the story that I really wanted to see on this title since its conception and Gail Simone delivered on it quite fantastically. It was a personal story, and that felt right at home for both Batgirl and the members of The Movement. And the art, headlined by penciller Freddie Williams II, was pretty decent as well.
I have put up with DC’s Forever Evil event for going on six months now, since last September. It started off fairly well I think, all things considering, but has kind of been wallowing along for a while now. With the penultimate issue in stores this week, I believe things are finally looking up, even though the new issue is still plagued by many missteps, and the story really is all over the place sadly. But I must admit that I get a weird kick out of reading this title, even though I haven’t been enjoying it all that much. On a very basic level, this is quite an interesting series.
In the previous issues, we’ve seen some big reversals for the Crime Syndicate, even though they still hold innumerable advantages over the heroes of the world and are almost unassailable. But, with Luthor’s Injustice League on the prowl now, things are changing a little bit, bit by bit. Because in the absence of the heroes of the world, whether they are dead or unreachable, it is up to the villains to save the world, quite literally, and any heroes alive who are still willing to make a stand are in very, very short supply. And the art hasn’t improved at all, which is still very disappointing.
It is not long before we finally get to see the new incoming creative team for The Flash, after Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul’s excellent run on the title, the recent one-shot by Christos Gage and Neil Googe, and now the second of the three-parter arc that Brian is doing with Patrick Zircher. In the last issue we got to see a more supernatural side of the Gem Cities as a ghostly killer from the past returns to haunt the two cities and we begin to get some insight into the very history of the twin cities. Now, in The Flash #28, we go much more further on every single level.
Unexpectedly, there is a guest star on this issue and it set up some really interesting narrative opportunities. It didn’t quite go as far as I wanted to, but I enjoyed seeing this particular team-up. And still, I loved the entire mystery that Brian has setup, including the mystery of Nora Allen’s death. And over on the art side, Patrick Zircher did a great job once again, putting his own spin on the Scarlet Speedster’s adventures as he deals with a supernatural caper that has deep ties to the Gem Cities.
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.
As with most other big-name comics properties, my first experience ever with the Fantastic Four was an old animated cartoon that used to air in the 90s. It might have been reruns or something, but that’s besides the point. For a young kid, the 90s were an awesome time to be in, what with all the great programming happening on Cartoon Network and other channels. That Fantastic Four cartoon was one of the best. Years later, the movies happened, but they were disappointing. At some point last year or the year before, I tried to get into the FF comics, but never went back after like the first few issues.
And now with the reboot, I think I have a Fantastic Four comic that I can definitely read and enjoy and thus stick with. With his recent runs for DC now over, James Robinson has quickly picked up two new ongoings with Marvel, first All-New Invaders and now Fantastic Four. And I have to say that I enjoyed his Fantastic Four more than I did the other series. Better written, much more emotional, much more punchy. And the work by all the artists is also pretty good, on the high side of what is happening with the Big 2 and especially all the new ongoings that Marvel has launched this year so far.
I keep saying this and it never gets old for me: despite everything “new” that the Big 2 have done of late, Valiant Comics is still not done pulling out all the stops to establish themselves in the big leagues of superhero comics. Their Unity ongoing, which is a team-up comic featuring some of their biggest heroes, is proof of it. I wasn’t sure what all to expect from it when I heard about it and the book has been a very pleasant surprise. It has kept me coming back month after month, and I suppose that is evidence enough of how much I am enjoying reading this series.
In the first three issues, we saw a superhero team go up against one of the most powerful men on the planet. It was quite a brutal three issues and featured some of Matt Kindt’s best writing. He’s been very hit and miss for me, but with this series he has definitely a hit, and that is pleasing on a personal level since the Valiant universe is so very different from what exists at the Big 2. It is fresh, it is unique, and it also a whole lot of fun. It also helps that the art on this series is so damn good.
If anything, February has been a bigger month for Marvel and its All-New Marvel NOW! launch than January was. More titles, a bit more oomph in general, and just as interesting in the final tally. And given that January was a pretty damn good month for the publisher in terms of unit sales and market share, I’m thinking that February is going to be equally good. I mean, when you launch these many new #1s and with many of them getting their sequel issues in the same month, that’s going to add a lot of padding to your wallet. Like a lot.
But that’s fine, as long as the titles being released are decent. And New Warriors #1 is kind of entertaining I suppose. There’s an overload of characters and everything is basically frontloaded at the reader as far as the team’s makeup is concerned, but that’s fine. This is not a group that I’ve really read about before (I hardly remember what I read in Civil War), so there’s that charm about them that I drew me to the title. Beyond that though, I can easily see this as being a good replacement for Young Avengers, following the cancellation of that title recently. Art is good, story is decent. All good.
It is pretty undeniable that Christopher Nolan’s grim and gritty take on Batman, a very apt portrayal given the character’s nature and the setting of Gotham, pretty much revolutionised superhero movies. In that respect, these movies have done as much to create the mass appeal of such movies as Marvel’s own movies have done in the last decade. But, there have been ups and downs as well, because these movies aren’t perfect, despite the illusion otherwise.
The primary issue I had with the movie was that it magnified the failings of The Dark Knight without offering anything to counter that extreme. It basically just failed hard, as far as I am concerned. For me, it is one of the most disappointing superhero movies I’ve seen to date. It is overly long, self-indulgent, and suffers from a villain who is undone by the story rather than the hero himself. It is a movie that has the purpose of shocking the reader, not entertaining. One can only hope that any future portrayals are better. In the meanwhile, here’s my review of the movie.
Note: The review contains some major spoilers for the movie.
As I mention in the review, I’m a pretty big fan of most things Spider-Man. I love the character, having grown up watching the animated series on Fox, and I’ve seen most of the other animated series as well that have come out over the years. I remember each and every one of them fondly, although details are mostly forgotten. I loved playing the various video games that came out in the early 2000s, and I’ve seen the movies many times. Yes, even the flat-out terrible Spider-Man 3.
With The Amazing Spider-Man, I was looking for something a big different, something fresh, and that’s the experience that the movie gave to me. I enjoyed it, even the cheesy parts, and I’m pretty pumped up for the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man 2 which is going to introduce (and reintroduce for the movies) some new villains. Over on the comics side, Peter Parker will be returning to life as Spider-Man too, once Dan Slott’s run on Superior Spider-Man with Doc Ock as the titular hero finishes up and Marvel relaunches The Amazing Spider-Man with a new #1 to coincide with the movie release. Its going to be a fun time!