Being the fifth week of the month, there were only a few titles that came out, but among them were two annuals, Batman and Animal Man, the last of DC’s “Second Wave” titles, and three other killer titles.
- Animal Man Annual #1 takes a step outside of the main series, focusing rather on a story from the past of the “Red” and the “Green” uniting against the “Rot.” Writer, Jeff Lemire, gives context to the current War with the “Rot” by showing the relationship of avatars of the Red and Green in times past. We’ve been told that there were avatars before Swamp Thing and Animal Man, but thus far they have never elaborated on any of their predecessors. Focusing on a rural village in 1890’s Canada, Lemire draws several connections between Jacob Mullin, former Avartar of the Red, and his future successor, Buddy Baker. Featuring artwork by Timothy Green II, it has a very similar feel to the early art of Travel Foreman. Overall, an interesting look at both the Red and the Green with foreshadowing to what Swamp Thing and Animal Manhave in store in the next several months.
- Batman Annual #1 though conceived and written by Scott Snyder, who’s blown the Batman title out of the water with the current “Court of Owls” arc, I am uncertain about this issue. The Annual gives a New 52 introduction to the history of classic Batman villain, Mister Freeze. It begins well, but falls a little flat at the end. In the past the character of Victor Fries found its poignance in his moral complexity. His villainy has always been fueled by his desire to cure his wife, Nora, who lies in a state of cryogenic stasis. It makes him extremely ruthless, but at the same time almost impossible to truly hate. This Annual completely destroys all of that. I hope that Snyder pulls it out, but he’s gonna have to prove it to me. Jason Fabok provides art and his style really fits the issue, having a cool, frosty quality. I’ll give it an iffy shrug.
- Batman Beyond Unlimited #4 just keeps getting bigger. Starting out in the first two issues with Batman Beyond and Justice League Beyond segments, the third introduced an ongoing Superman Beyond segment, and this newest issue now introduces an ongoing Beyond Origins segment featuring a multi-part Warhawk origin. In the Justice League Beyond segment, written and drawn by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs, the Kobra plot finds its way across the cosmos to New Genesis. For those who are fans of the New Gods and the works of Jack Kirby, this storyline takes it beyond the limit . . . In the Justice League Unlimited television series, perhaps one of the biggest bombshells lay in the revelation that Warhawk from the then cancelled Batman Beyond show was actually the child of Green Lantern, John Stewart, and Hawkgirl. This revelation was dropped, but never actualized within the run of the series. Here in this incredible title, writers Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen give us the resolution of Warhawk’s genesis in the new Beyond Origin segment, rendered with the beautiful art of Eric Nguyen. In Batman Beyond the “Mad Stan” storyline concludes in an abbreviated portion. In Superman Beyond,writer JT Krul explores Lex Luthor explaining his crusade against the Man of Steel to his daughter via holo-vid and the newfound Luthor setting her mind to the continuance of that vendetta. I love this series soooo much its insane.
- Rounding out the DC releases this week is the sixth and final “Second Wave” debut issue, The Ravagers #1. Picking right up where the “Culling” event left off, Dr. Caitlin Fairchild has escaped with roughly a dozen young heroes from Harvest’s Colony, with the villain’s Ravagers hot on their tails. This as the backdrop, the issue was very much an inaugural issue. Though Terra, Beastboy, Thunder and Lightning, and Ridge have appeared in other issues throughout the “Culling’s” duration and leadup, they have yet to appear in starring roles, so writer Howard Mackie now has to introduce us to them situationally and familiarize us with these old and new characters alike. However, as stated above, the full force of Harvest’s Ravagers are bearing down on them so this introductory process is a bit awkward. What it lacks in exposition, though, it certainly makes up for in action and adventure. Well worth looking into.
- The New Deadwardians #3 brings Chief Investigator George Suttle to Zone-B, what was the “East End” before the Zombie Wars. From last issue, George found evidence of the dead “Youth”, which we would call a vampire, having been a frequent visitor of a house of ill-repute in Zone-B. That said, George visits an Edwardian brothel that caters to clientele of both Youths and Brights (regular people) in a post-Zombie infestation culture. Though there is very little resolution to the case, what writer Dan Abnett accomplishes here is a very intimate look at George’s humanity, or rather what lingering bit remain of it. Though I am far from a Zombie fan, this series has done for Zombie fiction what American Vampirehas done for vampires.
- And speaking of American Vampire, #27 concludes the ‘Nocturnes” arc following newest American Vampire, Calvin Poole, through his old stomping grounds. The “Dogs” as they are called, elderly war vets who seem to run the town of Midway, Alabama, are revealed to be a strange werewolf-like breed of vampires vulnerable to silver. It also ties in the end of the insane ending of the previous issue, as pertaining to our old friend, Pearl Jones. Series artist, Rafael Albuquerque, is tied up with his work on Scott Snyder’s “Night of Owls” back-up features, so this arc is rendered by Riccardo Burchielli, whose art is very appropriate to the title. I cannot wait until the next month’s “Blacklist” story arc begins.
A very good bonus month of comics. Though, I am looking forward to next week’s full run of issues. See you then.
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images and give credit to those whose work they are.
Animal Man Annual #1: Drawn by Timothy Green II, Colored by Lovern Kindzierski, Inked by Joseph Silver
Batman Annual #1: Art by Jason Fabok, Colored by Peter Steigerwald
Batman Beyond Unlimited #4: Drawn by Dustin Nguyen, Colored by Randy Major, Inked by Derek Fridolfs
The New Deadwardians #3: Art byI.N.J Culbard, Colored by Patricia Mulvihill