Week 25 (Feb. 22, 2012)

This could be the best week for comics this month.  Next week has, if I am counting right, only five comics I am reading coming out, so it’ll be nigh impossible to match this weeks panoply of excellence.  I won’t keep you guys in suspense:
  • Aquaman #6 provides a bookend to last month’s #5 issue, with an in depth look at a day in the life of Arthur’s wife and queen, Mera.

    Mera Shopping For Dog Food

    Just like being stranded in the desert last month facilitated a moment for Aquaman to reexamine his life and the place  he holds in our world, Mera finds herself stranded in her own desert.  The simple task of picking up dog food in a small town market turns into a culture clash of epic proportions resulting in significant property damage.  [I’m gonna go off on a tangent here and prove my dorkdom: This reminded me of the scene in the film Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence where Batou goes to get his basset hound some wet dog food only to get in a shoot out . . . with himself, causing the bodega to get blasted to hell. Awesome scene, awesome movie, awesome reference.  And end of dork-out.]  We see a glimpse of her past, just as we did with Aquaman last month, we see what her mission was that lead her to be in this moment, and we see how alienated she is in this world that isn’t her own.  This is a Mera issue on a couple of levels, and it really sets the tone for what we can expect of her and what ghosts of her past might revisit her and her beloved in future issues.  It was a really revealing and beautiful issue from a very outstanding series.  I’m an Aquaman fan, but I am also becoming a Mera fan too.

  • Batman: The Dark Knight #6 continues it’s decent down the rabbit hole.  Each issue gets Batman and us closer to understanding the nature of the new toxin the White Rabbit has been spreading and what the endgame is.  Yet again, the issue brings another villain into the conspiracy.  As the cover of the issue reveals its Bane, the man who “broke the Bat.”  What does his appearance portend in a plot that centers around bring out Batman’s greatest fears?
  • The Flash #6 was actually a really touching issue. Barry and Patty’s relationship is blossoming and the Flash’s most iconic villain (except for maybe Gorilla Grodd, and perhaps Reverse Flash), Captain Cold, makes his first appearance outside of Iron Heights Prison.  It is mostly his part in the issue that drives the plot along.  One thing that can be said about the Rogues is that there is an unspoken code of honor in their forays with the Flash.  This issue sees Cold throw all of those inhibitions out the window.  The reason for his flagrant attitude is what truly innovates and defines the characters for this new iteration of the series.  Sure the elements have existed before, but the way writer/artists Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato frame them is really compelling.  The Flash hits a homerun yet again.
  •  Teen Titans #6 was a really well executed issue.  I’m starting to expect nothing less from writer Scott Lobdell.  The premise is that one of the team gets seriously hurt (easily believable after Teen Titans #5) and the rest of the Titans taking him to get help.  A simple premise, yet somehow amidst all of that Lobdell packs in so much characterization and revelations about the young heroes and in such a casual manner that it’s truly astounding.  Dynamics are built.  Secrets are revealed.  If you like the series you have to read this book.  This is the keystone to what Teen Titans will be for years to come.  Also, with art from Brett Booth, how can you go wrong?
  • Fury of Firestorm #6 was good. REALLY good.  I’ve said before that this book focuses on the power that these individuals with the Firestorm Matrices possess.  I don’t have extensive exposure to the original series.  I did read several sporadic issues that I was able to get my hands on, but I feel from what I have read that this series takes the concept in a very apocalyptic direction.  It truly is an arms race with people, and this issue from the very first page delves into the most basic sensory aspects of the awesome power these teenaged boys have been saddled with.  I have to say that this series is getting to be a ‘can’t miss’ title.  I really feel a connection with Ronnie and Jason, and feel like I am right there with them, feeling the weight of the whole world bearing down on their shoulders.  I’d suggest this series without reservation.
  • Voodoo #6 takes the series up a notch.  The Daemonite invasion that has been hinted at is becoming more real and the stakes are pretty high.  On the human front, there is dissent as to how best to reign in the threat posed by Voodoo.  The solution revealed by two rogue Black Razors in the last issue left me with my jaw hanging to my collar bone and screaming for more.  This issue followed up on that plot point and revealed some very pivotal information that again leaves me wondering what’s in store for the series.  On the alien front, Voodoo is also in a very pivotal place.  Depending on how the Daemonites respond after her discovery last issue, her allegiance to them may be in jeopardy, and as we have seen, hell hath no fury like her scorn.  Josh Williamson is on his second issue as series writer and still hitting it out of the park, and as ever, Sami Basri’s art is exquisite and sensuous.
  • Green Lantern: New Guardians #6 drives it home again as it did last month.  The series was floundering for awhile in my opinion and I was dangerously close to dropping it.  Only my sheer love of Green Lantern mythos kept it on my pull list, and I am soooo glad that I weathered it, because this series fell into its groove in a major way.  The Lanterns are all behaving how they should and living up to their potential.  The conflict that they are up against is

    Invictus!

    “astronomical” in nature– I said this before and I will reiterate this point as it is not exaggerated in the slightest– and as a result, it creates the improbable cement that binds these disparate corpsmen together against a greater evil.  The mystery of the facsimile worlds they are visiting has me enthralled in the plot, as does the nature of “Invictus.”  However, the characters themselves are what draw me in.  They are all superbly written by Tony Bedard and artist Tyler Kirkham has fallen into his groove with depicting them.  I have come to love Fatality the Star Sapphire.  Munk of the Indigo Tribe continues to intrigue me with his enigmatic silence and powerful presence. I have always respected Sinestro corpsman Arkillo, and have loved Saint Walker the head of the Blue Lantern Corps.  Seeing them work closely together has been a very interesting twist that also spices up the plot.  Though she wasn’t really in this issue (or last months for that matter) Bleez is an incredibly intricate character and a very strong woman, whom I have read with the keenest interest. Kyle is Kyle.  He’s awesome and there is not much else that needs be said.  If you are familiar with him you know what I mean, if not then there is little I can do to remedy that except say read the books he’s in.  Finally, Glomulus.  Glomulus is perhaps my favorite part of this book.  He is amazing in so many ways, and up until now HORRIBLY underutilized.  I really don’t want to sound like a greedy asshole like Larfleeze (love him too, but he is a prick), but I want a Glomulus.  I want him to float around and cheer me up when I am depressed and do my bidding with a cheerful grin on his little spherical face.   This series is a must for any Green Lantern fan.  It is well plotted and a lingua franca between the different series: Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corp, Red Lanterns . . .

  • Justice League Dark #6  defined the series thus far.  The last issue saw the end of the first arc, and this sixth issue takes everything that the series is and distills it down to its pure essence.  What truly has made this series phenomenal is the dark and gritty take on the characters it follows.  Several are just like that, being Vertigo characters that exist in such a world.  However, there are also a few that are DC characters who have always been portrayed a little brighter.  Zatanna, Madame Xanadu, and Deadman are the ones that come to mind.  What this series has done is show the darker side of these characters, making them petty, shortsighted, and very aloof.  They for the most part are anti-heroes archetypes.  In a line of comics that perpetuate the contemporary heroic genre, this ironically is a breath of fresh air making the series that much more tantalizing.  What this issue does is build off that dynamic and center in on the fatalism of their destinies that will not let them part from the long, twisted path into darkness that they all are struggling so hard to escape.  At the end there is a the lure of a crossover with I, Vampire that I have to admit, I am looking forward to.  The final page of this issue makes excited to read this week’s I, Vampire.
  • Aaaaaand . . . I am over it.  I, Vampire#6 was terrible yet again.  For soooo many reasons it is the opposite of good.  Firstly, the diction does not match the tone of the book.  It features a centuries old vampire fighting against the forces of another centuries old vampire, and one of these, our hero Andrew, refers to his nemesis as “way evil.”  That is ridiculous.  Secondly, Batman is still in the story and while reading it I absolutely wanted to KILL him.  There are a few unwritten rules I have about comic stories, and number one is that you DO NOT make me hate Batman.  Joshua Fialkov, you are on thin f**king ice with me.  Watch it!!!  And apart from that, the story was good in theory, but squandered in the mire of shitty writing.  Its a travesty how bad this was.  I’ll read the next issue only because it integrally ties to the awesome Justice League Dark, but after that its used up its last life.  Its getting thrown out of my monthly line up.
  • Superman #6 is still in the neutral zone, but I will say that it is clawing its way towards being a substantial book.  The progress the title has made truly speaks in its favor.  I think what’s made the difference is the myth building that it has accomplished.  Its hard to say which is the central Superman title, because Action Comics starts off the continuity, but Superman seems to be the watershed book that all plot points flow into.  In this issue Supergirl brings in Superboy and Supergirl continuity through her intervention, and Clark brings in his own past experiences from Action Comics into this plot.  In fact the link between the otherwordly goings on in the past five issues finds a connection with the first arc of Action that wraps up in two month in Action Comics #8.  This issue is a concluding issue not only on the plot, but also on George Perez’s run as series writer.  He leaves it in a good place that brings us almost to the attitude of the series before the reboot.  This I take great heart in.  I want a Superman like the one we see at the end of this issue and a Metropolis like this one, as well.  Its getting there.
  • All-Star Westerns #6wraps up its Gotham arc (for now) in great style.  Most of the loose ends in Gotham find resolution but for one

    Nighthawk and Cinnamon In Nola

    which leads Jonah Hex and Jeremiah Arkham to another locale that isn’t your usual setting for a Western tale either.  In the mean time, we see the culmination of the adventure in what will one day be the Batcave, as well as the nobility of the ancestor of the future occupant of that cave.  There is a great deal of humanity in this issue set against a great deal of inhumanity. It make you feel the hopelessness of the downtrodden, but also the hope of good still thriving in even the most dreary places.  In the case of a father and son, we see good springing from the loins of evil.  I just love this series. Plain and simple. I look forward to next issue along with the duo that will join Jonah and Jeremiah on their journey’s continuation in New Orleans . . .  And in the supplementary feature we see also the culmination of the “Barbary Ghost” story.  It reads like a true Western tale and sets the scene for a long future for this burgeoning character in the Old West on the New DCU.

  • Last, but not least, American Vampire #24 is the penultimate chapter in the “Death Race” story.  I hope y’all have read the last issue, cause if not, I am going to SPOIL the ending of the last issue rotten . . . Be warned . . . Skinner Sweet is BACK!!!  Damn, I never thought I be so glad to see that sonuvabitch again, but he’s too good of a villain to put down.  How he survived I don’t know and Scott Snyder hasn’t said, but I know that a truly awesome baddy like him against a truly crafty, devil-may-care teen slayer like Travis Kidd has me soiling my drawers.  The story is so unique, fast paced, thought provoking, and just plain ol’ enjoyable.  I know I have said this before, but this series is  legendary.  Its as immortal as the supernatural denizens it chronicles.  Its so true it bears repetition.  I want to know how this ends so bad.  I can’t stand it.  One of the best comics out this month.

And that does it for the Quartering week of my reviews.  Next week comes the historic FIFTH Wednesday of February.  Can’t wait.

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

Illustration Credits:

Aquaman  #6: Plotted by Ivan Reis, Drawned by Joe Prado, Colored by Rod Reis

Teen Titans #6: Drawned by Brett Booth, Colored by Andrew Dalhouse, Inked by Norm Rapmund

Green Lantern: New Guardians #6: Drawned by Tyler Kirkham, Colored by Nei Ruffino, Inked by Batt

All-Star Western #6: Drawn by Moritat, Colored by Gabriel Bautista

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One thought on “Week 25 (Feb. 22, 2012)

  1. Marshall says:

    I actually really enjoyed almost all of the books from this past week. All Star Western is just classic. It’s hilarious and just good. I’m not sure how better to say that. It’s unassuming and does a good job of sticking to what works for it. For some reason, it seems like a western Sherlock Holmes this issue. It was really entertaining the way they hunt down clues and Hex tortures people without abandon.

    I liked Superman a lot. It was the very first one where I felt like I wasn’t left with an unreasonable cliff hanger and not told a single thing. I liked how it wrapped up, and I’m feeling that superman is slowly becoming the superman we’re expecting. Or it’s slowly being revealed, at least. I’m excited about it for the first time since the reboot.

    Aquaman was ok. Clearly a tweener. Meh. I didn’t mind it and it was good, well written, as usual for Johns. But not a lot happened.

    New Guardians was good. I just read this whole arc in the last two weeks. I like it. It’s definitely not my favorite story right now, but the dynamics are kinda crazy and I’m super interested in the story of this solar system thingy and Invictus.

    I think the Flash was my favorite this week. I really liked it a lot. Like you said, the relationship portion was really well done, and the emotional tension for Captain Cold was really believable. I’m also really really really interested in seeing what happens with the whole speed force thing. I like the ideas and possibilities where that could be taken.

    Anyway, thanks for writing your thoughts. I enjoy reading them, once I finally can finish and read what came out for the week.

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