Before we start on the comics a quick work about DC. They’ve got a new logo.Which isn’t exactly earth shattering, but there are some nice variant, with this being one of the more iconic ones…Onto the comics then. The Justice League jumps into this week’s running order, and a few things slip into my Not Reviewed section. I’ll also be waxing lyrical about 2000AD. It is certainly a breath of fresh air after DC.
All Star Western
Batman: The Dark Knight
The Fury Of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man
Green Lantern: New Guardians
Justice League Dark
The Savage Hawkman
Legion: Secret Origins
All Star Western #5
Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Moritat and Phil Winslade
Cover by LadronnGotham city must be built on ground that looks like an ants nest. Cornered below the city Hex and Arkham end up going much deeper; washed into subterranean caverns. Lost in the dark they must overcoming both their environment and the inhabitants to escape.
It must be a difficult call for an artist when asked to do a scene that is in darkness. How much do you obscure of the characters and circumstances and what remains lit? Lost in the bowls of the earth Hex and Arkham are still drawn in a daylight style, that clashes with their dialogue and actions and pulls the reader out of the story. I could have certainly coped with more obfuscation of detail in order to heighten the link between art and situation.
The second piece continues from last month, fleshing out the origins of “The Barbary Ghost”.
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado
A totally unexpected start to this week, with Aquaman stranded in the last place on Earth he should be. With the circumstances leading to this told in flashbacks we see Aquaman in action once again, defending himself while examining an artefact recovered from the Trench. Meanwhile he suffers berating hallucinations of his father, that serve to highlight his foibles and sense of self regard.
Batman: The Dark Knight #5
Written by David Finch and Paul Jenkins
Art by David Finch and Richard Friend with Jay Fabok
Cover by David Finch and Richard FriendA disappointing start that sees Batman confronting Scarecrow, but being bested by the villain’s fear inducing drugs. Injected with the drug that has been turning his foes into hulking fearless beasts Batman attacks Superman who is coming to his aid. While there is a lovely splash panel that will no doubt be gracing many a fan’s desktop as a wallpaper it all seems far too bent on that match up instead of the overall story that has been building.
Written by Mike Costa
Art and Graham Nolan and Norm Rapmund
Cover by Ken Lashley
The first story arc comes to a close in a style that does a good job of defining the series so far. There is a nice bit of Science! involving an orbital weapons array, and low tech weaponry of a sort. The issue then switches up a gear to an impossible action sequence.
So far the book has exceeded my initial expectations, and I’m keen to watch its evolution going forward.
The Flash #5
Written by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
Art and cover by Francis ManapulAnother arc comes to a close as Flash takes on Mob Rule. This takes a less combative form than you’d usually expect, but is none the less engaging. Certainly the repercussions of the issue will be felt for some time.
The Fury Of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #5
Written by Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone
Art by Yildiray Cinar and Norm Rapmund
Cover by Ethan Van Sciver
Zithertech is working hard to entrap Jason and Ronnie, for purposes as yet unknown, but certainly not wholesome. The boys go on their first mission for Zither and it ends very badly for almost everyone involved.
Green Lantern: New Guardians #5
Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Tyler Kirkham, Harvey Talibao and Batt
Cover by Tyler Kirkham and Batt
The Lanterns set out to investigate the Orrery, and discover all is certainly not what it seem.Finding that the picket of alien ships are all without their crews is just the start. My reviews this week have been fairly short, and this one really exemplifies that. Any more detail would be going into a panel by panel description to avoid giving away the major plot points that are developing.
I, Vampire #5
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Andrea Sorrentino
Cover by Jenny FrisonAndrew arrives in Gotham, and begins his search for Mary at a crime scene, but soon attracts the attention of Batman. Facing off the two come to an uneasy truce, that brings them together fighting the vampire horde taking over Gotham.
Justice League #5
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Jim Lee and Scott WilliamsAfter skipping from last week Justice Leauge returns as the team fails to fight as such and takes on Darkseid individually. Some characters are getting more attention than others, and there are some odd quirks to the book. Batman and Hal certainly seem to be developing a different relationship than the one they had in the pre 52 universe. The art remains gorgeous and Wonder Woman remains oddly detached from her character in her stand alone series.
Justice League Dark #5
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Mikel Janin
Cover by Ryan SookThe first story line wraps up this week in a less than heroic style that will hopefully continue through the series sand mark it as different from the other books. The team remains very much a separate group, despite Madame Xanadu’s manipulation and insistence to the contrary.
Teen Titans #5
Written by Scott Lobdell
Art and cover by Brett Booth and Norm RapmundThe long awaited fight is here, with the Titans going up against Superboy. Taking him on one at a time each member get their time in the spotlight before being taken out. With its focus on the battle there is little else done in the issue, which is a shame given how packed the previous issues have been. There are developments none the less.
The Savage Hawkman #5
Written by Tony S. Daniel and Jim Bonny
Art and cover by Philip Tan
Written by George Perez
Breakdowns and cover by George Perez
Art by Jesus Merino
Written by Ron Marz
Art and cover by Sami Basri
Quiet a few of this week’s 52 continue to impress. Aquaman is taking a deep look at its central character in an interesting way. Blackhawks is going off in a different direction to everything else. The Flash is engaging with characters outside the eponymous hero. I, Vampie and Justice League Dark are forging a much grimmer path than the other books (or are doing so with more intention and will than the others. Certainly most comic books have some unutterable nastiness going on that gets subsumed by the setting and atmosphere). Teen Titans is doing a lot of things all at once and managing admirably.
Other titles are holding their own but not reach the potential they could. Certainly those that are newly moved from the main reviews are disapointing. Savage Hawkman just lacks strong characters and storyline, while Superman has spread its self to thin.
Legion: Secret Origins #4
Written by Paul Levitz
Art and cover by Chris Batista and Marc Deering
The story continues this month with the team growing, and the threat of the alien wornhole growing such that the Legion are called into deal with it. This series is serving as a far better introduction to the group than the main series, and I wonder if it would have been better to run this as the first six issues instead, and then jump forward to the “present”.
Prog 1766Reading 2000AD after DC comics is a fair change in gear. There are certainly huge differences in tine and theme, and where lines are drawn. There’s intimations of underage sex, sex traffickers, xenophilia, the threat of torture and mutilation, oral sex jokes, and more besides, all just tucked into stories.
Judge Dredd- Eve of Destruction Pt 2
There’s an awful lot fitted into 7 pages. Interrogations are carried out, with the Judges trying desperately to gain leverage on their prisoner. Meanwhile the biological attack on the city moves into its final stages, with carriers heading into the city.
Grey Area- Meet & Greet Pt4
The back story of Grey Area gets fleshed out this week, with a Vo overlaying the action as the team leave base in search of the missing alien. “We prefer the term ‘xenorotica’” “That’s because you made it up you E.T.-fiddling bastard.”
Nikolai Dante- The Wedding of Jena Makarov Pt4
The revolutionary army amasses, while the wedding day continues, and Nikolai gets a very special visit from Doctor Skrotumski; one that seems unlikely to end well.
Absalom- Ghost of London Pt2
“Aye Aye. Nothing like a bit of surprise head to start the day off with a bang.” Absalom certainly has a way with words. The plot continues to thicken this issue, as London is caught in more myths from her history.
Strontium Dog- The Project Pt4
As the cover foreshadows it’s time for Johnny Alpha to suit up. On the trail of the group that’s put the hit on him this part is all build up, with next month promising a real dose of action.