A change of format this week on two matters. Firstly I’m moving the conclusion section to the end, to hopefully provide a wider overview on the week’s output. Secondly with a number of series having finished their first story arc I’m going to be harsher on what comics I pick to review. There’s a link to the DC Sneak Peaks here for those of you who want to try before you buy, or second guess this winnowing.
Justice League International
Hawk & Dove
Men Of War
Villains For Hire
Animal Man #6
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by John Paul Leon, Travel Foreman and Jeff Huet
Cover by Travel ForemanA change of pace this month, with the readers getting an idea of Buddy’s acting career. Integrated perfectly into the story and told in fantastic style, it’s very well done. Quiet what portents the piece holds for the ongoing story it remains to be seen, but the most obvious one is very dark indeed. The link between Animal Man and Swamp Thing is lessened this week, which gives a little bit of breathing room for Swamp Thing’s storyline.
Justice League International #6
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art by Marco Castiello
Cover by David Finch and Richard FriendAn interesting issue, as the team gets time away from the action, mostly, and characters get built up. Some are still sorely lacking though. The UN are threatening to disband the team already, and it’s up to Booster to convince them otherwise. The double headed ending feels stuttering, but does deliver a cliffhanger, the get out to which may have already been foreshadowed. There’s isn’t any of the humour that was showing in the previous issues which is a shame.
Red Lantern #6
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Ed Benes and Rob Hunter
Cover by Ed BenesThe Earth story arc takes precedence this month, with John Moore becoming a Red Lantern. Disorientated by his rage, he eventually finds a worthy target. Meanwhile Atrocitus faces rebellion in his ranks. The series is probably getting dropped once the first arc is finished, it’s hanging on at the moment because of a fondness on my part for the Green Lantern part of the DC Universe, and because I want to know what happened.
Written by Paul Cornell
Art and cover by Miguel SepulvedaA moment of silence for Paul Cornell’s last issue writing Stormwatch. Some of the crossover threads start to come together this issue. Jack’s bargain is not going to end well I fear, but should provide some laughs. And the near destruction of the ship has flashed Stormwatch’s arse at the powers that be on Earth. There’s still tension within the team,and the story finishes with a ridiculous caption box with next month’s title.
Swamp Thing #6
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Marco Rudy
Cover by Yanick PaquetteIt’s all gone tits up this month. The Parliament of Trees is aflame, and the Rot is winning. Abi has been taken prisioner by the Rot, and Alec has been forced to flee.There’s a lot of head games, and it looks bleak for the Green and the Red.
Action Comics #6
Detective Comics #6
Green Arrow #6
Hawk & Dove #6
Men Of War #6
Static Shock #6
The Defenders #3
Written by Matt Fraction
Art and Cover by Terry Dodson
The Defenders is one of the best comic series I’ve read. Looking back over the start of the New 52, nothing felt as assured as this. The first story arc wraps up this issue. Issue 3! The confidence in ideas that speaks off going forward that speaks of is impressive. Each issue has been packed with action, humour, weirdness, brilliance, and odd sentences at the end of each page. I really can’t wait for more of it. Stephen Strange kicks arse.
Villains For Hire #3 of 4
Writen by Andy Lanning & Dan Abnett
Art by Renato Arlem & Rodolfo Migliari
Ploy and counter ploy falls away as the two gangs take each other on. There’s back stabbing and double crossing and it’s all going wrong for Misty Knight. Quiet how her character arc will turn out is going to be interesting to be seen, as she no longer playing for the good guys.
Winter Soldier #1
Writen by Ed Brubaker
Art by Butch Guice
Cover by Lee Bermejo
Bucky has had a hard time of it since World War 2. He’s believed dead once again, which isn’t standing in the way of his new series. Teaming up (and in a relationship with) with Black Widow the pair are going after Russian Cold War sleeper agents being sold in cryostasis on the black market. I’m always going look favourably on espionage books, and Ed Brubaker’s writing is up to his usually high standard, so we’re onto a good thing.
The attack on Mega City One finally begins, and the Judges rush to keep a lid on things and get the city locked down in time.
Grey Area- Feel the Noise Pt1
Grey Area begins its second story arc with the ETC trying to police the alien equivalent of a rock festival.
Nikolai Dante- The Wedding of Jena Makarov Pt5
The battle is joined as the rebels begin their assault on the Imperial Palace. There’s also the oldest doctor’s joke of all time.
Absalom- Ghost of London Pt3
It’s Gene Hunt filtered through Supernatural, without any of the good looks staying intact along the way. A trip through a slightly warmed London leads to a few loose threads being tied off, and some direction give to the story.
Strontium Dog- The Project Pt5
Skipped To The End…
So, of everything, what’s worth getting then? Working backwards, the 2000AD stories are good. The three Marvel books (which isn’t the whole of their output) cater to a good range, but Defenders still comes out best. Of the New 52 Animal Man and Swamp Thing push there stories onward, but it’s Stormwatch that is the most engaging.