DC have launched their new look website, wreaking havoc on my bookmarks and generally making things hard to find.
The reviews get cut down further in the New 52 this month, but what remains is good. Marvel continues strongly, and 2000AD starts off a brilliant new story (well. the second arc to a previous title but we’ll get to that).
Let’s get started then…
DC – New 52 #7 Part 1
Justice League International
Men Of War
Hawk & Dove
Villains For Hire
The Manhattan Project #1
Valens The Outcast #3
Animal Man #7
Written by: Jeff Lemire
Pencilled by: Steve Pugh & Travel Foreman
Inked by: Jeff Huet & Steve Pugh
Cover Color by: Loverne Kindzierski
Lettered by: Jared K Fletcher
Not as filled with horror as previous issues (although depending on your opinion of mullets on children your mileage may vary). There’s a feeling of calm before the storm. Which isn’t to say there’s no nastiness, as the cover gives away. The opening seems a little disjointed from other events, but things go better when we get a glimpse of a possible future, including one of my favourite characters having his say. Back in the present, the Baker family’s inner tensions begin to show, and Buddy proves himself to be quiet awesome as a Dad.
Justice League International #7
Written by: Dan Jurgens
Pencilled by: Aaron Lopresti
Inked by: Matthew Ryan
Cover Color by: Jeromy N. Cox
Lettered by: Travis LanhamThe group reel in the aftermath of the bomb blast at the UN, and it’s treated very well as the few who survived relatively uninjured pull comrades and civilians from the wreckage. The death toll is likely to rise but already stands with one of the team dead at the scene, and other problems surrounding the group. I’m impressed by this as a direction to take the story and it’ll be interesting to see what becomes of things going forward.
Written by: Paul Jenkins
Pencilled by: Ignacio Calero
Inked by: Sean Parsons & Julio Ferreira
Cover Color by: Allen Passalaqua
Lettered by: Rob LeighThe first issue with Paul Jenkins in charge of writing duties picks up nicely from Paul Cornell’s brilliant first arc. Jenny Quantum’s abilities get demonstrated in a more tangible way than previously as something very old and very dangerous appears at Prypiat. John Hawksmoore’s style of communicating with cities gets more page time this month as well, and is a little disturbing, with a nasty undercurrent. A good start to what looks set to be a strong second arc.
Swamp Thing #7
Written by: Scott Snyder
Pencilled by: Yanick Paquette
Inked by: Yanick Paquette
Cover Color by: Nathan Fairbairn
Lettered by: Travis LanhamSwap Thing returns. This issue goes about this in brilliant style, with the Parliament of Trees initially refusing Alec’s requests to finally be transformed. After a discussion that also touches on the Rot’s plans, and the current state of Abigail Arcane we almost get the scene we’ve waited six months for. However we never get to see the new Swamp Thing. The last few panels still left my jaw on the floor though. The next issue of this and swamp thing can’t come fast enough.
Action Comics #7
Detective Comics #7
Green Arrow #7
Hawk & Dove #7
Men Of War #7
Red Lantern #7
Static Shock #7
Written by: Paul Levitz
Pencilled by: Marcus To
Inked by: John Dell
Cover Color by: Guillermo March
Colored by: Guillermo MarchThe final issue of the mini series wraps up on a bit of a duff note. Becoming the most wanted woman in the world appears to be a less impressive feat than you’d expect. I think this could have worked better compressed to 5 issues, or each issue could have been filled out more and pushed the events from last issue into this one. There’s a very good cameo on the final pages brings something very interesting to the table, and it’ll be interesting to see how things develop in the wider DC universe.
The Defenders #4
Written by Matt Faction
Pencils by Michael Lark
Inks by Stefano Gaudiano and Brian ThiesDanny Rand’s love of comics is adorable. Back at Dr Strange’s house after their previous adventure the team have bought back both the odd device and its guardian. This issue then focuses on Dr Strange as a figure from the very recent past returns (issue #1 already seems a while back), as does one from considerably further back. I really like the pacing of the series as a whole as the move away from the traditional 6 issue arc means it’s hard to predict what is going to happen, and allows for a different style of story to be told than in a longer run.
Villains For Hire #6
Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Art by Renato ArlemThe concluding issue of the miniseries sees everyone playing their final cards. There’s plot twist upon twist and also a heavy dose of action as it becomes every villain for themselves. There’s a feeling that things have been stretched out too long in this issue as action overwhelms plot a little. The conclusion is going to leave people divided, depending how they like their characters, but it’s been a very good ride that I’ve really enjoyed as something different within the Marvel Universe.
Winter Soldier #3
Written by Ed Brubaker
Pencils by Butch Guice
Inks by Stefano Gaudino, Butch Guice and Brain ThiesThe plot branches more this month, as there’s a little behind the scenes from the Red Ghost’s side of the lines, and Bucky and Natasha infiltrate the Latvarian embassy through some crazy technology borrowed from Reed Richards. The plot continues to go in unexpected directions, and draws upon one of the big events in Nick Fury’s past, something I can only approve of.
The infiltration of Mega City One continues, and it is feeling a little drawn out, but there are enough twists to keep things interesting. Hopefully we’ll see things change up a gear in the next fortnight as the virus really takes hold.
Age of the Wolf- She is Legend Pt1
This story provides the cover image this month. A bit of background here. Age of The Wolf ran from Prog 1700-1708, and encompassed Rowan Morrigan’s (our bow wielding redhead) flight from a prophesy of her own death, and from werewolves under a permanent full moon. At times bloody and nasty it was a very good series, that ended brilliantly and has been begging for a continuation.
Set ten years after the first arc the story takes up with a group apparently squatting in Buckingham Palace, with a long running grudge against Rowan. Rowan only appears on the final page, having gathered a group of followers, and become even more bad ass than when she started out.
Nikolai Dante- The Wedding of Jena Makarov Pt10
And it all goes sideways, with gutshots, showdowns and impalement. Not to mention a surprising death. From the gentle start this arc just seems to be picking up more and more pace.
Grey Area- Personal Space Pt2
More nudity than I expected this week, as Birdy summons Buillet to her quarters for reasons neither of them are comfortable with. IT feels a bit strange in the midst of the rest of this week’s offerings, but advances the story well, hopefully things willl move away from the sofcore and back to clothed next week.
Strontium Dog- What if…?
A break from the main run, with a What If imagining what would have happened if Johnny’s partner Wulf had survived. A black and white blast from the past.
The Manhattan Project #1
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Nick Pitarra
Colour by Cris Peter
Lettered by Rus WootonA bit of a oddity this one, that re-imagines the American atom bomb program as a front for something much weirder and ultimately darker. While there are some good ideas in the mix there’s a grim take on Oppenheimer that strikes me as off, although the premises that spins out of it is good. Ultimately I’m unsure and suspect next month with decide me one way or another.
Written by Grace Randolph
Art by Russell Dauterman
Published by Boom ComicsWelcome to the Justice League in Wisteria Lane. A unique take on the life of Superheroes that takes a distinctly different angle of attack to pretty much anything out there, focusing on the partners, families and off the job lives of the heroes. A breath of fresh air. The art is good and the characters are introduced well even in the short space of the first issue.
Valens The Outcast #3
Writer: Michael Alan Nelson
Artist: Matteo Scalera
Colorist: Archie Van Buren
Letterer: Ed DukeshireThe twist in the tail of last month’s episode culminates in a chase for much of this issue as Valens tries to outdistance his turned companion. Our two supports get a bit more depth, and the chase works well to push the story forward. There’s a threatening creature that’s written in brilliantly and acts to ground the story well. There’s a feeling of not being trapped by the genre the story is ostensibly set in and it is working well.
Supurbia comes out as the best book of the week, with a premise that could have been very badly done handled brilliantly and a real sense of promise. 2000AD once again delivered well, although I do hope Grey Area uses what it set in motion this week well, and isn’t setting a precedent. JLI deserves a mention for not pulling punches with its story line and given a feeling of depth that was missing. Swamp Thing, Animal Man and Stormwatch are all looking very good, and I’m feeling happy with what I’ve chosen to stay with out of the New 52. The Defenders and Winter Soldier are once again top notch. Valens also seems good, but needs to move the main story along rather than just be a journey from point to point. As endings to their respective series Huntress and Villains for Hire both seem a little weak which is a shame. Had either being going into another arc this probably wouldn’t have been the case, but wrapping off a short series always seems to be a tricky business. The Manhattan Project has left mixed feelings and I want to see what’s next before I make a definitive decision.