Published on May 8th, 2014 | by Brad0
My Week in Comics – 07/05/2014
My week in comics this week is a month old. We made it! A new month brings new weeks and new comics. Forever Evil comes to an end two weeks from now, and Justice League of America with it, with The New 52: Futures End and Justice League United getting full #1 issues. But first, we’ll dive into the endings of storylines for our two green guardians.
Swamp Thing #31
Written by Charles Soule. Drawn by Jesus Saiz and Javi Pina.
The three-part Gift of the Sureen storyline comes to a pretty excellent conclusion. Charles Soule has been on Swamp Thing for about a year now, and it’s been an absolute joy to read. My hope is that this comic runs for a long time to come, as Soule’s run could conceivably challenge the legendary Alan Moore run as the strongest era of Swamp Thing.
Gift of the Sureen has added a lot to the mythology. The Sureen themselves are a cult in service to the various elemental avatars, mostly the Green. The gift in question is the ritual that allows the avatar to temporarily leave their body and possess a human host. Unfortunately, this has allowed a nefarious corporation (is there any other kind?) to steal Swamp Thing’s body. Alec’s quest to find his body has led him to the real temple of the Sureen, where he meets Miki, the avatar of the Grey, the representative of the Earth’s fungi. The Green (plants), the Red (animals) and the Rot (decay), we knew about already, but the reveal that there are other elemental forces with avatars out there is a big deal, and one that I expect to play out in a big way over forthcoming issues.
As ever, Soule’s writing is complemented by the fantastic artists at work. Jesus Saiz is on layouts this month, with finishes by Javi Pina again, and they work very well together. There’s never a lack of striking imagery in this book, and the introduction of the Grey avatar body, made of fungus, is a creepy creation, and one that sticks in the mind. The splash page as Alec travels through the Grey looks fantastic, and the look on the face of the test subject using the Green body is haunting.
We’ll be making a slightly earlier return to the Green than usual, as there’s a two-part crossover with the Aquaman comic up next, starting in this month’s Aquaman #31 in three weeks’ time. Very much looking forward to it. You should all be reading Swamp Thing, it’s a bloody ace comic.
Green Arrow #31
Written by Jeff Lemire. Drawn by Andrea Sorrentino.
The Outsiders War comes to its dramatic conclusion, and with it storyline elements which have been in play since the very beginning of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s magnificent run on Green Arrow. Battles are fought, people die on both sides, and a new threat steps forward.
I’ve talked about Jeff Lemire a fair bit on this series already, and rightly so. He is a fantastic writer, and the rebuilding job he’s done on Green Arrow has been nothing short of sensational. Andrea Sorrentino and colourist Marcelo Maiolo deliver another master class on the artistic side, with the pouring rain creating a real sense of mood in the battle sequences, and the two-page spread when Oliver touches the totem arrow just looks stunning. Green Arrow continues to be the best-looking superhero comic on the market, and with great writing to match it, you’d be a fool to miss this comic.
The Wake #8 (of 10)
Written by Scott Snyder. Drawn by Sean Murphy.
The Wake’s been a difficult comic to pin down. Beginning life as a survival horror on a deep-ocean research base, the ending of issue 5 triggered a massive tonal switch, and the book is now a post-apocalyptic thriller, set on the seas of a drowned Earth. Like Waterworld, only good. After following Dr Lee Archer in the first half, we now follow Leeward, an adventurer and merman hunter who is attempting to discover a message left by Archer that may just save the world.
Scott Snyder’s run of great comics has continued in some style with The Wake. Switching effortlessly from claustrophobic horror to terror on a massive scale, this book has the confident hand of a master at work. He is more than matched by Sean Murphy, creator of the excellent Punk Rock Jesus, whose rough, scratchy art style creates an immediately unsettling atmosphere. Whether in closed confines, panoramic vistas or hallucinations brought on by merman bites, Murphy’s art is outstanding here. The Wake’s been a cracking series, and I highly recommend catching up on it as soon as possible.
Batman Eternal #5
Story by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV. Script by Tynion. Ray Fawkes, Tim Seeley and John Layman consulting writers. Drawn by Andy Clarke.
Batman page count this week: 3. The focus of the weekly comic this issue shifts to Tim Drake, Harper Row and Vicki Vale, as each investigates mysterious goings on in the Philip Kane Memorial Projects in infamous Gotham neighbourhood The Narrows. Moving away from the Jim Gordon train crash story from last month and moving into a new area of the story freshens things up a lot, after last week’s stumble, and seeing more of Red Robin and Vicki Vale brought back into fold, as well as the increased prominence of Harper, is very welcome. Andy Clarke takes on art duties this week, and his style feels a lot closer to Jason Fabok than Dustin Nguyen does. This creates a more consistent tone, which the comic does need. The decision to bring the Gotham Gazette into things in the way that the Superman universe has the Daily Planet seems a sensible decision, and I’m looking forward to see what happens there. The change in focus provides Batman Eternal a necessary shot of impetus, and it’s definitely well worth a look.
The New 52: Futures End #1
Written by Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen. Drawn by Patrick Zircher.
The second of DC’s weeklies gets its full launch, picking up on Batman Beyond’s arrival five years into our future, and the beginnings of Brother Eye’s machinations. The bulk of the comic focusses on three areas, that of classic DC hero Firestorm and recent integrated characters from Jim Lee’s Wildstorm company, Grifter and Stormwatch. If I have a criticism of the Stormwatch section, I wish they’d thrown some captions in to let you know who the characters are. I recognised Hawkman, and classic Wildstorm characters and Authority members Apollo and Midnighter, and Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. supporting character Nina Mazursky, but I can only imagine new readers will have been utterly lost. Grifter and Firestorm are pretty effective introductions to those characters, and the cliffhanger’s a cracker.
The art this week is by Patrick Zircher. Five different art teams – Aaron Lopresti & Art Thibert, Dan Jurgens & Mark Irwin, Jesus Merino & Dan Green and solo efforts from Ethan Van Sciver and Patrick Zircher – were solicited in the FCBD #0 issue, and what I imagine is going to happen is those five teams are going to rotate over the course of the series, so you’ll get five-week cycles. Zircher’s art looks good, the attack on Stormwatch in outer space particularly standing out. Futures End is off to somewhat of a slow start, but there’s plenty of potential here.