Published on May 16th, 2014 | by Brad0
My Week in Comics – 14/05/2014
My week in comics this week is a bit topical. Two of this week’s new releases coincide nicely with trailers and teaser images which have set the internet abuzz. This is probably not coincidental. But before that, a couple of comics featuring Jeff Lemire and Animal Man. Which, if you know me, you’ll know that coincides pleasantly with my interests.
Justice League United #1
Written by Jeff Lemire. Drawn by Mike McKone.
You know how last month’s #0 felt like a #1 with the wrong number on the cover? Same thing here, unfortunately. This is, in all but the big #1 on the cover, the second issue of a continuing story. And, like last month, it’s decent, but not quite hitting the spot just yet. What team there is are split up early on, with Martian Manhunter and Stargirl taking on the fleeing monster, whilst Green Arrow and Animal Man chase after Adam Strange following his first flight with his jetpack, which goes a little awry. Meanwhile, in outer space, Hawkman fights the new Lobo. The new Lobo sucks. The original Lobo is a big, OTT satire of over-violent 90s comics; this new one is a generic, gothy, emo outsider bounty hunter. Lemire does his best to impose a little personality onto him, but he seems resistant to all attempts at making him interesting. The sooner DC admits their mistake and brings back classic Lobo, the better.
The other two storylines are pretty entertaining, though. The Green Arrow-Animal Man dynamic seems to be aiming to capture that old Booster Gold-Blue Beetle magic, and you know I’m down for that, much though I’d rather just see Booster and Ted back. Again, though, the big selling point for this comic right now is Mike McKone on art. The main threat of the issue, a monster that changes its composition every time Stargirl blasts it with her staff, allows him to twist and turn through all manner of materials, and the fight scenes are exciting. Animal Man’s powers are somewhat difficult to portray visually, and he does a great job here, plus Buddy’s hair is just hilarious. Marcelo Maiolo’s colours pop, and the stark moments really stand out. Justice League United is a comic that’s still finding its feet, but it’s worth a look.
The New 52: Futures End #2
Written by Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens and Jeff Lemire. Drawn by Jesus Merino.
The future isn’t looking any brighter yet. After last week’s cliff-hanger, the bulk of this issue is spent at the funeral of the hero who fell last week. Animal Man delivers the eulogy, whilst Firestorm deals with the guilt and recrimination as he should have been there sooner. Batman Beyond starts pulling on a thread of the mystery behind Brother Eye’s rise to the power he saw in his own time, whilst Mr Terrific uses the media attention of the funeral to grab a little limelight. It’s a pretty grim affair, thus far, and could do with an injection of some light relief before too long, before the tone gets off-putting.
Jesus Merino’s art is good, though, a couple of slightly odd faces aside, and I’m a sucker for a superhero funeral with a crowd shot of multiple heroes in costume. The brief fight between Arsenal and Firestorm is pretty cool. Like JLU, Futures End is a comic that hasn’t quite found its feet just yet, but the mysteries being established are pretty compelling. It’s so decompressed, though, that I imagine it’s going to read a fair bit better in trade.
Written by Ray Fawkes. Drawn by Edgar Salazar.
So, everyone see that trailer? If not, our very own Bryan has it for you right here. Doesn’t Matt Ryan look great? Whether they’ll get the tone of the comic right remains to be seen, but it looks promising, and the fact that it’s on the same network as Hannibal bodes well for how grim and gruesome they can go with it.
The bulk of this issue would actually work quite well as a standalone TV episode. There’s a shack in the desert which calls out to people who have caused deaths by arson. When they go in, it’s the place they burnt, on the night they burnt it, and this time they burn with it. Naturally, Constantine is drawn to investigate it, as it calls out to a couple of demons from his own past. It’s a very elegant concept, and one that allows us to see a little of our hero’s backstory, whilst pushing his current arc forwards. Edgar Salazar isn’t an artist I’ve seen before, but he does good work here. The source of the shack’s power is very striking, and there’s a very intense, dark mood throughout. Free from the constraints of Forever Evil, and from all the trappings of superheroics of the DCU, the Constantine comic is breathing new life. Recommended.
Batman Eternal #6
Story by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV. Script by Ray Fawkes. Consulting writers John Layman and Tim Seeley. Drawn by Trevor McCarthy.
After spending four issues focussed on the train crash and Jim Gordon’s arrest, Batman Eternal has started to sprawl out a little over the last couple of weeks. This has made for more entertaining comics, as the web starts to widen, and more variety is introduced. This week brings Batwing into the narrative, along with Jim Corrigan, AKA The Spectre. Batwing is a character I have mixed feelings about; when the David Zavimbe Batwing was first introduced by Grant Morrison in Batman Incorporated as the Batman of Africa, it was cool. When Judd Winnick took that character to full series at the dawn of the New 52, it was really cool, giving us the type of story you don’t regularly get in superhero comics, taking an interest in the inequities of the third world alongside the supervillain smackdowns. More recently, though, Zavimbe has been retired, and the Batwing title taken up by Luke Fox, son of long-time Batman supporting character Lucius. This has changed Batwing from a unique comic to just another “teen hero in Gotham” ongoing. His introduction this week is pretty fun, though, fighting Gentleman Ghost.
Something spooky is happening at Arkham Asylum, and The Spectre has come to investigate. It may have something to do with Joker’s Daughter, a character whose reception since her introduction last year has been… mixed? Her appearance here is pretty striking, sat in a chair with a severed arm draped across her neck like a stole. It’s a very effective sequence, and one that crafts a very unsettling atmosphere.
Trevor McCarthy picks up the pencils this week. A Gotham City veteran, he slips back into the city like a pair of comfortable slippers. The aforementioned Joker’s Daughter and Gentleman Ghost moments stand out as particularly cool, and we get a plenty exciting Batmobile chase for good measure. Batman Eternal is gathering steam, and is well worth picking up each week.
Let’s be honest, though, all you want to talk about is this here picture of Ben Affleck, isn’t it? He looks good. A touch too Frank Miller for my tastes, but I’m certainly excited. Some clever bod has coloured it in a bit on Photoshop, and that looks great. I worry that, like Amazing Spider-Man 2, Man of Steel 2 is getting a touch crowded, and we’ve yet to see what on Earth Lex is going to be able to bring to the table that requires the World’s Finest Heroes, but I’m certainly excited.