Every comic fan that still buys periodicals knows all about the weekly haul of new titles. Here’s a look at what I picked up last Wednesday at Alter Ego, a week strangely heavy on DC books.
Batman 706: I have been a fan of Tony Daniel since his days working on The Tenth, and his new work on Batman has not disappointed. The art is gorgeous, while his plots are fun and complex. He still has a tendency to shoe in every character he can, but it often works as much to the book’s fun factor as it does hinder it. I still miss Nightwing, but Dick Grayson is in good hands.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 40: For a book that started out as strong as this title did, it ended on a weak note. Buffy’s army is gone, she’s been alienated from her brood, and this issue pretty much serves to set up her new life. It was bad enough that Joss couldn’t finish the “Twilight” arc himself; now he gives us what is basically a reset to end the book. His afterword seems to admit that he didn’t really know where he was going with “Season 8” and the reset here pretty much shows it. A disappointing end that hopefully can be redeemed by Season 9.
Dungeons & Dragons 3: John Rogers continues to turn it some of the most fun comics around with his run on IDW’s D&D. Despite a rather simple plot (we finish last issue’s fight before moving in to next issue’s peril), clever writing by Rogers and the gorgeous art of Andrea DiVito keep the book as entertaining as possible. This is easily my favorite licensed title being published by anyone right now.
Gore 1: I took a chance with this book by Italian publisher GG Studio. Behind a gorgeous cover, the book is basically a nineteenth century period piece that channels the better issues of Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales. Scary fairy creatures are popping up and our lead is a monster hunter trying to stop them. GG seem to like a healthy bit of cheesecake in their art and this one has its share, though strangely the sketches in the back are far more explicit than the actual story.
Justice League of America 53: James Robinson received a lot of (well-deserved) crap for Justice League: Cry For Justice, but his work so far on JLA has been much stronger. With this issue, he finally cements his new line-up (though an eight member is on the way). For the first time we really get to see the new JLA really work as a team behind Dick Grayson’s leadership. Sadly this is Mark Bagley’s last issue as well, despite the fact that he seemed to finally be getting comfortable with the characters. Even with Brett Booth coming aboard to replace him, JLA seems ready to solidify its quality if Robinson can avoid anymore editorial entanglements.
Memoir 1: For my full review, go here.
Morning Glories 6: If you thought previous issues of this book were mind-boggling, this one’s ending definitely fills the same category. This concludes the first “volume” of stories that will be collected in the next trade, which should set up a good jumping on point with next issue.
Stan Lee’s Soldier Zero 4: For a title developed by Stan Lee and Paul Cornell, this book has been a disappointment. Four issues in and the overly decompressed storytelling has left us with very little knowledge about our lead. He doesn’t seem overly interesting to begin with, which leaves me to ponder exactly how much artists like Ditko and Kirby were involved in the plotting of classic Lee stories. His new characters all just seem far too bland to survive long. Perhaps incoming writers Abnett & Lanning will improve Soldier Zero but after blowing $16 on the first four issues, I won’t be sticking around to find out.
Supergirl 60: This title came dangerously close to being this week’s Book to Buy, but the loss of one half of the writing team after this issue brings up questions of its continued quality. This issue spends most of its time introducing a new villain, a Mark Zuckenberg-style genius with a desire to monitor and destroy all superheroes. It’s a concept very much down co-writer Nick Spencer’s alley, but alas it will be his only issue of the title. It remains to be seen if James Peaty will be able to continue the story with Spencer’s level of ability.
Superior 4: I love Leinil Yu art and Superman pastiches so this book was an easy sell to me. Clearly so does Mark Millar, as he’s put some of his best scripting work in years in to this series. He’s created an odd piece here: it’s basically a book about boyhood superheroic dreams, but presented in a wholly adult manner. Still, it’s quite fun, as this issue serves to set up the final two issues.
Sadly, I didn’t pick up an issue of Antarctic Press’s Steampunk Palin, so you will just have to read Chris Sims’s review.