So this week sees the very beginning of the great war of our time. Avengers vs X-Men. (Well issue #0 at least) Thankfully I’m maintaining my stance on only really picking Marvel comics up in trade paperback, so it’ll be a year or so before I start going on about this.
I’ve cut back this week’s reviewing so let’s get to it.
Green Lantern: New Guardians
Justice League Dark
All Star Western
Batman: The Dark Knight
The Fury Of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man
The Savage Hawkman
Legion: Secret Origin
The New Deadwardians
Written by Geoff Johns
Pencilled by Ivan Reis
Inked by Joe Prado
Cover Color by Rod Reis
Lettered by DC LetteringA very dark start this week, as the ridiculous looking, but none the less threatening, Black Manta stalks Kahina the Seer through the jungle. Aquaman doesn’t appear until ten pages in, working with Mera to bring ships to land from the depth of a vicious storm, which is a heroic task that doesn’t fall into the punching people in the face which is good.. Abandoning this with a previously unseen harsh practicality Arthur returns to the home of Dr. Shin in search of answers about Atlantis. This meeting is interrupted by unexpected visitors however.
Another good issue that continues the sterling work on the series so far. Art and writing complement each other well, and the plot feels like it’s really moving along. There’s a feeling of actions having consequences beyond grand plot lines as both Arthur and Mera’s action over the last few issues get a slight nod apiece.
Written by Michael Costa
Pencilled by CAFU & Carlos Alberto Rodriguez Vazquez
Inked by BIT
Cover Color by Ken Lashley
Lettered by Rob LeighIn the aftermath of the attack on their headquarters the Blackhawks are on the attack.
Tracking the attack back to a Finnish businessman (an unusual nationality for a super villain) the group launch an all out attack without waiting for official sanction.
The science fiction elements are once again delivered with though, including going into the nuances of electro shock projectiles and talking around force fields.
There’s also flashback and loss, so it’s not all good fun and shooting people.
I remain mostly impressed by Blackhawks. There are elements that don’t sit well with me, but they are overshadowed by the good.
The Flash #7
Written by Brian Buccellato & Francis Manapul
Pencilled by Francis Manapul
Inked by Francis Manapul
Cover Color by Brian Buccellato
Lettered by DC LetteringThere are echoes of the past this month as the events leading up to Flashpoint and the establishing of the New 52 universe are brushed worryingly close against. Flashpoint was tied to the Speed Force, which Barry is once again toying with. It’s all going a bit timey whimey.
Captain Cold has left Barry without a choice but to push himself beyond the limits of the Speed Force to rescue the girl he is falling in love with. This leads to results both expected and unpredictable.
The series is still full of some stunning artwork and the writing really flows. The plot feels solid going into a new arc, with foundations laid in the first issues still running through it.
Green Lantern: New Guardians #7
Written by Tony Bedard
Pencilled by Tyler Kirkham
Inked by Batt
Cover Color by Nei Ruffino
Lettered by David L. SharpeA very talkie issue that sees the Lanterns try to negotiate with Invictus rather than tackle him in combat. This leads to reveals about his past and the predations of Larfleeze.
Combat is resumed on the return of Bleez to the fold. This brings some interesting interactions from the group that are functioning more and more as a team.
For the moment the New Guardians seems to be standing apart from the two core Green Lantern titles and their overtones of a replacement Lantern core, but with much of the events of the first few issues yet to be explained I’m looking forward to things beginning to come back towards centre shortly.
Justice League Dark #7
Written by Peter Milligan
Pencilled by Daniel G Sampere
Lettered by Rob Leigh
Painted cover by Ryan Sook
Colored by Ulises Arreola PalomeraI’m taking liberties with alphabetical order for good reason, so bear with me.
JLD #7 marks the first real cross over in the New 52, integrating with I, Vampire, and in this instance is the issue of the pair to read first.
In the wake of Andrew Bennett’s slaying a far greater threat has been summoned. Cain. With abilities granting him power over other vampires and that sucks the power from the JLD’s magic things look bleak for the team.
The unlikeliest pairing of the lot are sent off on a rescue mission as the others try to hold off the vamparic horde. Poor Gotham city has it rough.
The writing remains strong, and displays the fractured teamwork of the group well. There’s a leaning in favour of Constantine, which I can’t really criticise.
The story neatly ties into I, Vampire, which is a nice change compared to the bad handling these things sometimes fall victim of.
I, Vampire #7
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Pencilled by Andrea Sorrentino
Inked by Andrea Sorrentino
Lettered by DC Lettering
Colored by Marcelo Maiolo & Andrea SorrentinoSo to continue from the above pretty much then. The story changes its focus a little, as fitting the title and spotlights the new boy Cain, and Mary as one extends his powers and the other feels the tables abruptly turned.
The writing takes the inclusion of new characters in its stride and the artwork rises to the challenge of the larger set pieces admirably.
I look forward to seeing the pairing carry on, as it’s providing canvas for a larger story than could otherwise be told. Certainly things are looking good for next month.
Teen Titans #7
Written by Scott Lobdell
Pencilled by Brett Booth
Inked by Norm Rapmund
Cover Color by Andrew Dalhouse
Lettered by DC LetteringAnother brilliant issue that sees the Titans attempt to rescue Superboy from N.O.W.H.E.R.E. It also means me looking up one of DC’s odder character on Wikipedia, Danny the Street. Danny is a living, sentient, transvestite street. I’ll let that sink in. Sentient street. Yes really.
There a huge amount packed in once again, managed without overwhelming the reader. The team comes together around Red Robin with reluctance this issue, which is done without the tension of other titles, and works better with the characters.
The Team give as good as they get, and there are some interesting reveals throughout the issue, leading up to a very nice cliff hanger.
All Star Western
Batman: The Dark Knight
The Fury Of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man
The Savage Hawkman
Legion : Secret Orgins #6
Written by Paul Levitz
Pencilled by Chris Batista
Inked by Marc Deering
Cover Color by Tom Feister
Colored by Chris Batista & Marc DeeringThe conclusion to the origin story of the Legion feels a little rushed. There are a few interesting plot twists, but things feel both limited by trying to cram too much in, and the need to join with the established continuity.
The characters feel very thin at the moment, with the exception of Brainiac and Phantom Girl they feel more like archetypes than fully realised creations.
Overall the series hasn’t won me over to the Legion Of Superheroes, and in and of itself it hasn’t really grabbed me.
Judge Dredd- Eve of Destruction Pt 11
The Judge’s problems escalate this week with the destruction of their Public Survaliance Unit, and the murder of Borisenko. The city begins to run riot, as gang warfare and looting boils up onto the streets. ON top of all this the virus unleashed on the city continus to spread. There are rays of hope but they are dim indeed.
The Zaucer of Zilk- The Zaucer of Zilk Pt 1
More of a prologue, dream sequence than anything else I’m unsure what to make of this. The art style, if not the colour palette, matches the cover and doesn’t immediately draw me in. We shall see what the next Prog brings…
Flesh- Midnight Cowboys Pt2
There’s a dark bit of religious fevour to start this week’s episode, and the return of… well, that’d be saying wouldn’t it?
Age of the Wolf Pt4
An issue of scene setting this week starts the wheels spinning on the slave deal at Buckingham Palace and sees Rowan negotiating for passage through the territory of the K9 Crew, a disturbing bunch of Were worshipers.
Nikolai Dante- The Dante Gambit Pt 2
A nicely paced episode that sees Dante taking a breath after his victory and putting the dead to rest. There’s questions of the future posed, but the final cementing of Nikolai’s victory is still needed.
The New Deadwardians #1
Written by Dan Abnett
Art by Ian Culbard
Coloured by Patricia Mulvihill
Cover by Ian CulbardVampires and zombies meet Downton Abey then. Somewhere near the intersection between Anno Dracula and Pride Prejudice and Zombies stands The New Deadwardians.
Despite the currently fecund landscape of the two horror beastie genres and their increasing cross-pollination Deadwardians feels refreshingly different.
The setting and premise is introduced very nicely without feeling forced or jarring against the time period. While the zombies are introduced with violence and gore the existence of vampires is much more delicately broached, working by implication.
The story balances intro with the opening of its story arc well.
Chief Inspector Suttle is the last Homicide Detective in the Met, murder not being as frequent as it once was. There are still incidents though, like the body washed up on the shores of the Thames, dead of no obvious natural cause…
It’s hard to pick my top recommendation this week. By a cold undead nose it’s The New Deadwardians that wins out. Hopefully future issues will build on what is a very promising first issue. Close behind is Aquaman, delivering yet another brilliant issue. Teen Titans is also looking very good and the Justice League Dark and I, Vampire cross over has started brilliantly. The Flash, Blackhawks and New Guardians continue their trajectories, so take that as a recommendation if you’re already following/interested in them. 2000AD’s strongest story this week is Judge Dredd,which puts the rest of the issue in the shade. Whatever your preference, go out and buy something.