Comics – 1st August 2012

I’m not sure if this makes a year in the New 52 or not. I think, seeing as we are now moving into the twelfth issues for the comics that launched last September that the books have run for a year, even if the date says different. That being the case there are a lot of titles without Annuals though, although there are a few to come later this month. But I digress.

I’m going to save a final summing up of the first year of the New 52 for a later post, but there are a few things that need to be said here. Many issues are wrapping up their story lines this month, in readiness for #0 in September that will provide another jumping on point for new readers, as well as bring more characters into the New 52.

Onto the reviews.

DC – New 52 #12 Part 1
Animal Man
Dial H
Earth 2
Stormwatch
Swamp Thing

Marvel
Hawkeye

Other
Harvest
Mind The Gap
Thief Of Thieves

Skipped To The End…


DC – New 52 #12 Part 1

Animal Man #12
Written by Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder
Art by Steve Pugh
Colours by Lovern Kindzierski
Lettered by Jared K. Fletcher
Cover by Steve Pugh, Yanick Paquette, and Nathan Fairbairn
Don’t you just love it when a book comes together? After almost a year of build up Swamp Thing and Animal Man finally meet.

This issue serves as a prologue to “Rotworld”, and while it moves the story forward (obviously, see above) it also takes a detour to cover the events of the last eleven issues. I can see this is needed to make this a jumping on point for new readers, but it still feels badly handled and clunky.

For all the supernatural elements the real heart of the book remains the Baker family, and their struggles both internal and external. This gives far more backbone and poignancy to the story than it’d achieve otherwise.

Despite the change in artist recently the look and the feel of the book remains consistent, and the flashing of body horror have provided some truly grim reading, which continues this month.

Dial H #4
Written by China MiƩville
Art by Mateus Santolouco
Coloured by Tanya & Richard Horie
Lettered by Steve Wands
Cover by Brian BollandIt’s a testament to the writing that a villain whose dialogue makes no sense what so ever, (well, a very slim amount) can work in a book.

But it remains Squid who’s the real star, quoting Nietzsche, and being generally fantastic. This is helped when a lot more information is given about the character.

The story line continues to bounce around the very edges of predictability, with events taking every unexpected turn.

Earth 2 #4
Written by James Robinson
Art by Nicola & Eduardo Pansica
Inked by Trevor Scott & Sean Parsons
Coloured by Alex Sinclair & Tony Avina
Lettered by Travis Lanham
Cover by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Rod ReisGrundy gets to throw some more imaginative dialogue around than his usual “Born On A Monday” affair this issue. He also gets a new wardrobe and new tricks up his sleeve. The joys of an alternate universe eh?

It seems weird to be talking about the Rot in a book that isn’t Animal Man or Swamp Thing, but for all that it’s used very effectively, and side steps any baggage, knowledge of those title might bring.

The Green Lantern gets to make a good entrance, but not as good as Captain Atom, who it turns out is a bit of a Pratt (you’ll get it when you read it).

Going back to previous issues ties a few things together a bit more neatly, and gives a very cohesive feel to the world, that is lacking in the larger DCU. The book has won me back this issue, although it’s going to have to work hard to keep my attention.

Stormwatch #12
Written by Peter Millligan
Art by Ignacio Calero & Sean Parsons
Cover by Scott Clark & Dave BeatyIt’s all goes a bit weird this issue. The team, indeed the world, seems to be beseigned by busts of Queen Nefertiti. This while J’onn is systematically attacking the team and wiping all memories of himself from their minds.

Midnighter gets to showcase why he’s bloody awesome once again. Although I remain unconvinced by the chin spike.

We get a tiny snippet more information about the Shadow Lords, the Masters of Stormwatch, and finally get to see the shape of Harry Tanner’s plan, and it’s a doozy.

Swamp Thing #12
Written by Scott Snyder & Jeff Lemire
Pencilled by Marco Rudy
Inked by Marco Rudy, Dan Green & Andy Owens
Colour by Val Staples
Letters by Travis Lanham
Cover by Yankick Paquette and Steve Pugh with Nathan FairbairnSwamp Thing continues where Animal Man left off, as Alex and Buddy enter the Rot. It’s a shame there’s a bit of a disconnect with the change of book though.

Ellen, Abby and Maxine aren’t left out as they battle the forces of the Rot on Earth, with everyone kicking arse. Maxinee seems way too competent for her age though, and her powers seem a world away from what we’ve seen of her before.

The prologue builds to a shattering conclusion that will see dark things in both books as the Rotworld story truly begins.


Marvel

Hawkeye #1
Written by Matt Faction
Art by David Aja
Coloured by Matt Hollingsworth
Lettered by Chris Eliopoulos
Cover by Aja & Hollingsworth“This is what he does when he’s not being an Avenger. That’s all you need to know.”

Probably not all you want from a comic review though is it?

What does Clint do when he’s not an Avenger? Get sworn at a lot. Get called Bro a lot. Not use a bow and arrow, and beat people up for the right reasons. Possibly.

Matt Faction provides us with a very grounded character (possibly too grounded, we shall see), while Aja’s artwork adds grit, handling both fight scenes, and the more mundane side of things well.

There’s a lot to like in this book, and while I have my reservations (mainly about how hermetically sealed away from the larger Marvel universe Clint seems) the first issue is impressive.


Other

Harvest #1
Created and Written by A.J. Lieberman
Created and Drawn by Colin Lorimer
Lettered by Brandon De StefanoBen Dane is a towering dick of a man. His job as a surgeon goes south when a woman dies on his table while he’s off his face on drugs. So far, so another episode of House. All he needs is a limp and for someone to tell him it’s not lupus.

How do you make him likeable without drawing Hugh Laurie?. Well that’s a hard one. Either you surround your lead with characters who are worse (check), make him at least a little funny (sort of check), make the events more important than the character (big olde check).

Ben is about to get dragged into the world of black market organ donning. If he’s coming out the other side it’s going to be with bits missing.

Mind The Gap #3
Written by Jim McCann
Art And Cover by Rodin Esquejo & Sonia Oback
Letters by Davve LanphearThis book really ought to start with an interconnected web of characters. It’s only issue #3 and things are already feeling tangled. Thankfully this is all for the good, and it feels intentional confusing rather than accidental. I just hope that the resolution matches the anticipation from this build up.

The comic has the best use of a double splash page I’ve seen in a long time. Very very effective.

Thief Of Thieves #7
Story by Robert Kirkman
Written by Nick SPencer
Art by Shawn Martinbrough
Colour by Felix Serrano
Lettered by Rus Wooton
Cover by Martinbrough & SerranoThe first story arc comes to an end in brilliant style and swagger. The only thing it’s missing is a soundtrack. I really can’t say much else for fear of spoiling things.


Skipped To The End…

This has been a very good week, with everything reviewed above being worth reading. Animal Man and Swamp Thing are looking, good, and come October it’ll be exciting to see how the join story line goes. Of the others it’s Hawkeye that should probably go to the top of the to read pile, for doing interesting and different things with the character.

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