Published on June 6th, 2014 | by Brad2
My Week in Comics – 04/06/2014
My week in comics last week was really late. Very sorry about that. Socio-economic commitments. Back this week with a double-helping, though, as I’m going to run through last week and this at the same time. So, without further ado, let’s begin.
Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet #1 (of 6)
Written by Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman. Drawn by Ty Templeton.
If you don’t already, I have a recommendation for you – head over to Smodcast.com, and start listening to some SmodCo Podcasts. The brainchild of Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier, Smodcast provides hours of free funny every week, and some of the finest aural pleasure on the internet. My personal favourites are Smith’s own Fatman on Batman show, and Hollywood Babble-On, a weekly comedy show hosted by Smith and Ralph Garman. Always brings a smile to my face, and is the only place I know of where you can hear classic songs from family musicals in the voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
A shared passion of the Babble-On co-hosts, Batman ’66 has smashed back into prominence over the last year or so. Massive amounts of merchandise, a weekly digital comic, and the series itself will be hitting home media later in the year, for the first time ever. And now, super-fans Garman and Smith have launched a miniseries based on the classic two-parter A Piece of the Action/Batman’s Satisfaction, in which the Dynamic Duo met the Green Hornet and Kato. Clearly a labour of love, this comic drips with joy, care and an enormous amount of fun. Where Jeff Parker’s Batman ’66 series errs more towards humour, this has more of that childlike sense of derring-do that the show gave to younger viewers, before you were in on the gag. Ty Templeton’s art is magnificent, capturing the tone perfectly. Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet is a thoroughly enjoyable comic. Check it out, immediately.
Written by Scott Snyder. Drawn by Greg Capullo.
Zero Year rumbles inexorably to its conclusion, as Batman faces off against Riddler. After his first victory in Secret City, and his first defeat in Dark City, the stage is set for an epic finale. This one was delayed a week here in the UK, due to a problem with the printers, but it’s on the shelves now. Batman, Jim Gordon and Lucius Fox prepare to bring the fight to Edward Nygma, whilst the flashbacks within this flashback storyline continue to examine the traumatic effect of his parents’ murder on the young Bruce Wayne. Snyder weaves the elements together elegantly, and the whole thing is tightly and intricately plotted as ever. Capullo never hits a bum note on this comic, and this is no exception, whether it’s the young Bruce’s hallucinations of Batman wrestling lions. FCO Plascencia’s colours pop, making this rare sight of a day-lit Batman story a real joy. Snyder’s latest Bat-epic is in its endgame, and superhero comics don’t come much better.
Green Arrow #32
Written by Jeff Lemire. Drawn by Andrea Sorrentino.
With the Outsider War concluded, Green Arrow returns to Seattle to find the city in the grip of Richard Dragon and his Longbow Hunters. Dragon has also captured Oliver’s former ally, John Diggle (the first character of the Arrow TV series to be adapted into the comics). This month’s comic flits back and forth between an attack by some of the lesser lights of the Longbow Hunters, Red Dart, Killer Moth and Brick, whilst Dragon monologues his origin to the captive Diggle and the largely disinterested Count Vertigo. Lemire handles the story effortlessly, making the lesser villains who attack Green Arrow seem a credible enough threat, whilst also establishing Olly’s superiority. Dragon’s origin is a little archetypal, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The star of the show once again, though, is Andrea Sorrentino, supported by the ever-brilliant colours of Marcelo Maiolo. The usual stark insets and creative sound-effects are in full force as ever, but it’s the flashbacks, all silhouettes and shading and dot-matrix colouring, is a triumph. The team of Lemire, Sorrentino and Maiolo are arguably, alongside Snyder/Capullo/Plascencia, putting out the best superhero comics you can buy right now. Highly recommended as ever.
Aquaman #31/Swamp Thing #32
Written by Jeff Parker. Drawn by Paul Pelletier and Alvaro Martinez/Written by Charles Soule. Drawn by Jesus Saiz.
Two-week crossover between the King of the Sea and the Avatar of the Green this fortnight, so I’m going to throw the two reviews together. I’ve not been reading Aquaman, so this one was new to me, but I do like Jeff Parker’s work on Batman ’66 a lot, and it’s always a joy to look at a comic drawn by Paul Pelletier. Pelletier covers the crossover element of the comic, whilst Alvaro Martinez draws a subplot featuring Mera that would probably mean more to me if I read the comic regularly. The main show, though, is the conflict between Aquaman and Swamp Thing, and it’s a damn good one. Parker captures Swamp Thing’s voice brilliantly, which is the biggest challenge of this kind of crossover. Pelletier has a lot of fun with the abilities of the two protagonists, and it all zips by pretty enjoyably. Worth a look, if you’re into either of these characters.
The conflict spilt over into Swamp Thing, letting the phenomenally busy Charles Soule and artist Jesus Saiz get their superhero on. Soule can pretty much write anything – and basically does, don’t be surprised if this feature morphs into “My Week in Charles Soule Comics” in the future – and he does a good job with Aquaman. Saiz’ art is a joy, as ever, he’s growing as an artist with every passing issue and it’s just fantastic to look at. This was a plenty enjoyable crossover, and praise should go to all involved.
Batman Eternal #8 & #9
Story by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV. Scripts by John Layman. Contributing writers Ray Fawkes and Tim Seeley. Drawn by Guillem March.
Fortunately for the length of the credit, these two issues pretty much flowed straight into each other, rather than jumping around as the series has. The focus was entirely on the conflict caused by the return of Carmine Falcone, and sees Batman assessing the state of his relationship with the police, and Falcone’s puppet commissioner, before heading out to Hong Kong to investigate what he’s been doing over the last few years in exile. John Layman’s (Chew, Detective Comics) scripts are very tight, and keeping the focus on Batman himself for a couple of weeks doesn’t hurt. Guillem March takes on art duties for these two issues, and next week’s #10, and he nails the tone of the book pretty well, albeit with a couple of interesting facial expressions. Eternal’s definitely the stronger of DC’s two weeklies, and is well on its way to being a damn good Batman story.
The New 52: Futures End #4 & #5
Written by Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen. Issue 4 drawn by Aaron Lopresti. Issue 5 drawn by Jesus Merino.
This comic is right on the brink of being good. Individual vignettes are working well, and the overall quality is gradually increasing, but it’s just frustratingly short of what it could be. #4 opens extremely strongly, bringing Frankenstein back into S.H.A.D.E. HQ, and picking right back up where the big man’s solo series left off. Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. was one of my favourite launch titles from the New 52, so seeing those characters back together was a delight. There’re good scenes like d-list villains Plastique and The Key recruiting Coil for one last job, or John Constantine being brought to investigate a crop circle in Kansas, and Grifter’s storyline is consistently pretty enjoyable. Could do with taking a week or two off from Firestorm, though, and it’s really crying out for a bit of levity here and there, just to break up the near-unremitting gloom. The artwork’s pretty consistent throughout, and you can pretty much always rely on Lopresti and Merino to deliver on that front. It’s a solid comic, but slightly, frustratingly short of being good enough to recommend if you’re not a fan of the talent behind it.
The Wake #9 (of 10)
Written by Scott Snyder. Drawn by Sean Murphy.
It never fails to amaze me how far this comic has come. In its early issues, it was stunningly claustrophobic, with the ink-dark depths of the ocean feeling crushingly oppressive around the depths of the research base. Now, our second heroine, in search for a message left generations earlier by her predecessor in the first five issues, is riding a dolphin down the side of a mountain to escape a bomber raid into her ship built into a hollowed-out Kaiju. And frankly, if that sentence doesn’t convince you that The Wake is awesome and you should buy it immediately, you’re a lost cause. Sean Murphy’s art is top notch here again, and he’s clearly having great fun populating this world with Scott Snyder’s surfeit of wild, glorious characters and ideas. The Wake is everything that Vertigo Comics is about, and will be sorely missed when its conclusion hits next month.
Dead Boy Detectives #6
Written by Toby Litt and Mark Buckingham. Drawn by Buckingham and Russ Braun.
Speaking of a surfeit of wild, glorious characters and ideas in a comic that fully sums up Vertigo’s reason for being, it’s time to re-join Edwin, Charles and Crystal. The events of the previous issue have left Edwin’s personal gravity operating in the opposite direction to everyone else’s, whilst Crystal is in full cosplay as the heroine of a J-RPG, and they have to rescue the ghost of a 19th century maid who is trapped halfway through a magic mirror. Our adventure takes in a talking walrus named Tragic Mick, a trip into a world between worlds, and a state-changing cat possessed by the soul of a noted philosopher and physicist. Litt, Buckingham and Braun deliver another delight. I can’t recommend Dead Boy Detectives enough.