The new releases this week were not on the impressive side. In all actuality, I was pretty much not excited to do many reviews this week because of the lackluster titles. Here’s the first batch with two issues from last week’s stuff that I figured I would check out.
Justice Society of America #43 – Written by James Robinson, Penciled by Jesus Merino, Inked by Jesse Delperdang. This is the epilogue of the “Dark Things” storyline that was unfolding in JSA and JLA. To be honest, I didn’t read any of it because Bagley was drawing JLA and I refused to read it because of that. Things seem to be calm in this issue though as Alan Scott has a heart-to-heart with his son Obsidian. They mainly discuss what’s going on with the Starheart and how Obsidian can never come in contact with Jade again. There is some deep thinking and portrays a more human side to these characters. This issue revolves really around these two, so don’t expect much of anything else. I think it’s good for writers to sometimes let their own characters take a step back and react to what has happened. That being said, the build in this issue is a bit different than you would normally see in a comic. There’s only internal conflict going on here and that can throw you off. The artwork in here is fantastic and this is about my favorite rendition of Obsidian I’ve seen yet. I can almost feel Alan Scott’s age in this one, he’s drawn so well. A great job there! A pretty good issue, but be prepared for a lot of backstory and no action, so this issue is not for everybody.
The Incredible Hulks: Enigma Force #1 – Written by Scott Reed and Penciled by Miguel Munera. This title features the Micronauts… or as they’re now known, Enigma Force. So recently Hulk’s estranged son Kiro-Kala ferreted away a planet from the Microverse that Enigma Verse protects. The Enigma Force itself is the “living” essence of the Microverse, whatever that means. Arcturus Rann and his companions are fighting off a Psyklops as we join them. Bug returns to the crew to help out as they attempt to find Kiro-Kala. But upon finding the kidnapped planet, Arcturus is cut off from the very source of his powers. Wow, I expected nothing out of this issue and was blown away. I never liked the Micronauts stuff back in the days, but this way absolutely great stuff. You get some good background in here and an explanation for a lot of the things going on in the Hulkverse right now. It just works! Plus having Bug join up with them was a really great moment. The artwork is very consistent and quite good. I like Marvel utilizing some characters I haven’t seen in awhile and they do a fantastic job of doing the right thing with them here. This issue is definitely worth checking out folks!
Superman/Batman #76 – Written by Judd Winick and Penciled by Marco Rudy. We have a flashback issue that deals with Superman losing Batman during Final Crisis. Once Dick Grayson decides that he wants to become Batman to honor him, Supes has some major disagreements and must come to terms with what has happened. That’s the basic premise, but boy, I did not like it. The way he reacts to Grayson wearing the cowl just seems very un-Superman-like. I didn’t enjoy it one bit when he’s ready to blast Dick for wearing it. I thought it felt pretty contrived. Don’t even get me started on the inconsistent artwork. Superman looks different on almost every page. Not only that, he looks like Joe Average, which isn’t who Superman is. Just a rotten issue that I couldn’t wait to put down, I hoped for more but got less.
Valkyrie #1 – Written by Bryan J.L. Glass and Art by Phil Winslade. We take a journey back to see how Valkyrie returned to the Marvel Universe after sacrificing herself to help out during the Ragnarok event. We see a Hotel employee fall to her death because of a patron who wanted a little too much from room service. As they start to try to revive her, lightning strike the defibrillator and Valkyrie is reborn. She starts to remember who she is and now she must try to bring vengeance to the mortal who’s life was taken and who’s body she now inhabits. I like that Marvel recognized that didn’t explain how she suddenly reappeared and a little something like this goes a long way to fix continuity gaps (which Marvel has plenty of). I like her conversation with Janet Van Dyne before her unfortunate demise in Secret Invasion. The whole issue is really just a pretty decent story that tells a good self-contained story. This is just a one-shot, so it didn’t need to be more than what it was. But we’re talking continuity and this fixes the breach. I think that it’s a pretty darned good issue with solid artwork that’s worth checking out since it’s a one-shot and you don’t have to keep buying the title.
Captain America #610 – Written by Ed Brubaker and Penciled by Butch Guice. Bucky Cap finds himself on Zemo’s father’s island where Bucky was presumably killed years back. Rogers figures out where he’s going on races to the aid of Barnes. In the meantime, Bucky Cap gets tossed from a plane and then has to forge his way towards the inevitable trap Zemo has placed for him. A pretty good battle ensues and we have some moments that seem stolen right from a James Bond movie. When Zemo gets the upperhand, he tries to take Bucky out the “old fashioned” way. This was a strictly by the numbers type of issue. I never felt that Bucky was ever in any real jeopardy or that any of this would ultimately affect… anything really. Nothing really special that makes it stand out, nothing that makes it really awful. It just IS. The artwork by Guice is a bit off in this issue, some scenes have overshadowing going on from the inker, some have over coloring going on, it just made for an uneven experience and I don’t think Guice is necessarily to blame for that. But I can’t be sure on that either. Next, we have the Nomad back-up story. Written by Sean McKeever and Art by Filipe Andrade. Rikki has to make a final decision on whether to go back under Steve Rogers’ wing or not. We have some pretty good “moments” in here that were really fun and good stuff. Andrade’s work seems a bit rushed in spots but isn’t bad or anything. Just a decent little addition to the book. Unfortunately, the rest of this issue is high on the “meh” scale and wouldn’t be worth buying if I wasn’t a Nomad fan.
Wonder Woman #603 – Written by J. Michael Straczynski and Penciled by Don Kramer, Eduardo Pansica and Allan Goldman. We follow the Amazons’ travel through the desert to relative safety. However, the Turkish guides they hired are found slaughtered with no sign as to how they die. Only Diana can see the Keres, which are apparently some demonic women ghasts from Hell. Diana loses her battle, but then the battle is only just beginning. So we have an interesting premise that just seems a little randomly thrown in here. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why they did it, but I’m guessing they’re just doing a mythology type tone to this. However, the mix of mythology and modern warfare makes an odd combo. I want to like this latest reinvention of Wonder Woman, but it doesn’t feel all that compelling now. In fact, after this issue, I’m considering skipping these completely in the future. With three sets of pencils, this issue’s art is even a mess. I think the JMS experiment has collapsed. There’s nothing here that makes me want to come back for more. This issue’s journey into the absurd would take your typical reader right out of their seat. It isn’t a smart move to put something in that holds no value to the series overall. We waste several pages on it. It seems like a filler plot device that JMS might use in a TV show. However, that format doesn’t work here. If you’re looking for something interesting, you’ve come to the wrong place, go elsewhere this week.
Action Comics #893- Written by Paul Cornell and Penciled by Sean Chen. This week Lex Luthor travels to the Uganda in search of another Black Ring energy field. However, his good buddy Gorilla Grodd has his own intentions for it. The two former allies become enemies trying to outsmart each other. Ok, well, I don’t buy it. I would have figured Grodd would have tried to work out a deal or something with Luthor. It doesn’t seem to fit in the best interest of Grodd to attempt to kill Lex. So this just doesn’t work and it makes a leap that we won’t think so. I really like Sean Chen’s artwork and he isn’t desperately trying to make Luthor look like his Smallville TV Series version. So there’s a mixed bag in this one, art is great, the story still isn’t catching. At least in this issue I can figure out what’s going on because Chen is a fabulous storyteller with his art. Then we have our back-up story for Jimmy Olsen. Written by Nick Spencer and Penciled by RB Silva. Olsen tells a tale of of him outsmarting a genie using morse code to call Superman. However, his love life takes a turn for the worse when Chloe Sullivan dumps him. To make matters worse, he then sees her wife Sebastien Mallory, an up-and-comer for Lex Corp and pompous jerk in general. So this pretty much exists just to introduce Chloe of Smallville fame into the DC Continuity. It isn’t a far stretch really and doesn’t take much work to add her into the story. What are they going to use for her background is a good question, but I’m thinking they’re just saying she’s a reporter and leaving it at that. At least, I hope they are. This isn’t a bad little tale, just not terribly interesting. The artwork by RB isn’t fantastic, but it does ok, but I think it might be better with a different colorist who isn’t so big into over shading things. That made everything way too dark around the edges and I don’t care for that. In fact, I don’t care for this whole issue, so strike this one from the records Judge!
The Amazing Spider-Man #644 – Written by Mark Waid and “Art” by Paul Azaceta. Spidey continues to try and get Menace’s baby to safety while fighting off hoards of villians. Carlie Cooper also draws the attention of Tombstone and that’s never a good thing. That’s a quick synopsis and there is a good surprise at the end that I liked. The story still seems a little off and far fetched. Now onto my favorite part, the artwork. An Azaceta tried posting a comment on my blog about how I didn’t know art, blah blah blah. Well, this may be art, but that doesn’t make it good. I’m sure that outside of a super-hero setting, Paul’s artwork makes sense. But here, it’s very out of place and I guarantee has turned away some readers. The artwork he does has improved in this issue as we have no Fat Spider-man scenes. He’s good at storytelling and everything he does makes sense. His just his style comes across poorly in this title. For a supposed flagship title, Marvel sure makes some poor choices with this one! The issue is just ok, but loses some points for the artistic stylings of Azaceta, and I’m just glad the madness ends soon. Skip it for the art style alone!