Week 12 (Nov. 23, 2011)

November being a five week month, the last week of comics is split over two weeks.  This week had a slew of great books coming out.  I do have a spoiler warning for those who care about my reviews of the incredible series The Unwritten.  This book chronicles historic events and I describe those events in my review.  I feel that the description of historic precedents don’t necessarily capture the wonder and genius of the issue so you would still have to read it.  If you do intend to read that issue in single form or gathered in a graphic novel, please skip over that last review.  So warned, enjoy Week 11:

  • Aquaman #3 was another home run this week.  Johns kept the story interesting, but cryptic, dropping some very interesting bread crumbs of plot as the issue progressed.  I am not totally familiar with Aquaman’s past so I don’t know which parts are canon and which are new, however there are several elements that I feel are being left to cultivate storylines past the arc we are in currently.  Aquaman hasn’t been this good or this well written in a very long time.

    Whose Chasing Who?

  • Dark Knight #3 in my opinion is still really good. I recognize that that is a divisive topic.  This issue, like the others, has what I feel to be the right amount of mystery, action, darkness, and DC mythos allusions.  This issue had a guest star from another title that I thought was kind of cool, although a strange choice. The mystery of the White Rabbit, I am very interested in and I want to know what the deal is behind the new strain of fear toxin she peddles. The artwork is great and the story, in my humble opinion, is top notch.
  • Green Lantern: New Guardians #3 continued to be really great. The overarching story is starting to take shape.  It is really interesting to see the shaping of the Green Lantern Corp post War of the Green Lanterns. In all three series they have dropped hints that “something’s rotten in the state of Oa.”  There has been talk of a ‘Third Corps’ and in this Ganthet is acting peculiarly . . . The interactions of the different lanterns last issue was strange, but is starting to regulate.  A good issue, but my one detraction with it and the series so far is how Tyler Kirkham draws Munk, the Indigo-tribesman.  He doesn’t have the same poise as he has in all his other appearances.  Its interesting, but not good in my opinion.  Other than that, I look forward to what happens next.
  • The Flash #3 also held to its regular standards and delivered beautifully rendered art that drove a story that was both compelling and grounded firmly in cutting edge science.  That is what a good Flash comic should deliver and this one does it in spades. It revealed a lot of plot and acclimates the series into the Flash universe, introducing the Rogues and some familiar Flash characters. They also make reference to the Central City/Keystone City duality, which to me was the most interesting part. I am curious whether they will keep to the Crisis on Infinite Earths explanation or branch off and do something different. The Editors Note said that all would be explain in issue #6 so that mystery will have to wait February, but until then I’m along for the ride.

    Francis Manapul's artwork from "Flash #3"

  • Superman #3 was whelming again.  I liked it better than the previous two issues so perhaps progress is being made.  The elemental angle is continuing to be utilized and it seems like they might be trying to introduce a new love interest for Clark.  I hope so, because while Lois is a great character her seeming detachment from Superman and Clark is kind of tedious.  Also Clark’s “rebel without a cause” attitude is kind of annoying too.  Either way, there was something in this that seemed to progress the story so I’ll stick with it a bit longer.
  • Fury of Firestorm #3 was surprisingly good this month, going in depth to develop and humanize the enigmatic woman behind the scenes pulling all the strings.  It also does a really good job of characterizing Jason and Ronnie, showing their outermost limits and what they are and are not capable of, and also what Fury is and how he relates to the boys and their new powers.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this issue.
  • Justice League Dark #3 was a tour de force.  Peter Milligan has set up a maelstrom of conflict in the magical realm of the modern day and each issue so far has been an intricate piece of that puzzle, unwinding the thread toward a dark end that Milligan is great at hinting toward. Many of the characters are not what they seem, and watching as they slowly become aware of one another and even more so as they become aware of each others’ motivations, hidden or otherwise, is nothing short of stunning. This issue packs a lot of surprises and drama.
  • Voodoo #3 gets us closer to the revelation of who Priscilla is in the new universe.  Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner, stops in in this issue and breaks open a ring of her fellow aliens who are purported to be an advanced wave of an invasion force.  Ron Marz does a good job slowly revealing this new character, bit by bit and teasing at what kind of alien she is and what her underlying motives are.  From the end of the issue it is seeming that she isn’t a Daemonite, but that she is somehow mixed up with the Daemonites.

    Its Von Hammer Time!!!

  • The Shade is on its second of twelve issues and it fantastic.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this character or his writer, James Robinson, I would suggest looking into reading the 90’s series Starman where he introduces the character and the world of which the Shade occupies. The Shade exists outside of Robinson’s Starman mythos, but has none of the class or interest that Robinson’s Shade has.  This series is great. Plain and simple.
  • Teen Titans #3 was excellent and is almost complete. The solicitation at the end hints that Superboy will make his appearance in next issue crossing over into this title.  On both fronts I can’t wait.  In the mean time the last two Titans have been introduced, one  new and one almost new. Bunker, the Mexican teen with psionic abilities to my knowledge is brand new to the DCU, and Solstice, the Indian (Subcontinental) girl with light abilities was introduced in the seven issues just prior to the reboot, so she snuck in by the skin of her teeth and I am thrilled.  She was one of the best additions to the Teen Titans title.  These two additions I think cement this title as a must read in the New 52.
  • All-Star Western #3 was good as ever.  The course of the issue’s plot was strange and I don’t quite know where they are going with it.  At the end it almost seems like Hex is leaving Gotham before anything gets resolved.  I’m sure that’s not the case, but still it has me wondering. The art and writing are still top notch, despite the strange ending, I am still invested in what Palmiotti, Gray, and Moritat are doing.  They also ended the El Diablo back up feature and it was interesting. Short, but interesting.

    A Familiar Face in an Unfamiliar Time

  • This month starts Unwrittens bimonthly release and this issue was INCREDIBLE giving three thought provoking historic tales that take place across time and the globe to chronicle the path of the literary cabal that has censored and controlled the written word for millenia.  The first takes us to China with the “Burning of the Books and Burying of Scholars” where in 221 B.C. the first Emperor of China moderated thought by burning all books and murdering monks and scribes whose words and thoughts ‘imperiled” the state.  Next we see Johann Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press nearly killed by the Bishop of Mainz for printing a book that taught people to read, an arch heresy against the Church who sought to control the written word.  But in the end he is allowed to live because his apprentices have spread his printing presses and the book to the corners of Europe.  The written word is now outside their control for the time being.  The last shows the career of newspaper political cartoonist Homer Davenport whose work was controlled by William Randolph Hurst and shaped the course of events including starting the Spanish American War.  All sections were beautifully rendered as ever, this one including the Chinese segment done by the illustrious Michael William Kaluta.  This series is stellar and this issue has been in the making for almost three years.  Stunning.

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.

Illustration Credits:

Batman: The Dark Knight #3: Drawned by David Finch, Colored by Jeremy Cox, Inked by Richard Friend

The Flash #3: Art by Francis Manapul, Colored by Brian Buccellato

The Shade #2: Art by Cully Hammer, Colored by Dave McCaig

The Unwritten #31.5: Cover by Yuko Shimizu

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