Well, if nicking an existing comic’s numbering for a newly-titled enterprise is good enough for The Incredible Hercules… anyway, this will be rather short-lived, simply a one-off at the end of this strange Week Of No Comics, as I go over in capsule form some more of the comics picked up in what was actually a quite busy pre-Christmas week. Hopefully tomorrow, weather permitting, we’ll actually have something new to talk about.
Beasts of Burden #4
A slightly odd one this, as this “trial run” miniseries comes to an end – but feels rather more like the lead-in to further issues of an ongoing, setting up the beginning of an apparent new storyarc rather than keeping the four issues as relatively self-contained. But despite the lack of a fully satisfying resolution, it’s still superbly-crafted stuff – I’m not quite sure how a comic manages to be so delightful while also being somewhat dark and occasionally downright bleak, but this does – perhaps down to the sheer beauty of Jill Thompson’s art, although Dorkin’s deftness of touch can’t be understated. I thoroughly hope we’ll see more of it later this year.
Blackest Night #6
I still don’t think this is sparking in the way that an event of its size should – too much needless padding between the big moments and neat ideas, and too much fragmentation across other books and away from the core mini in the way the story’s being told – but it’s hard to deny that some of those occasional big moments and neat ideas are definitely… well, neat. I mean, it’s daft, but the idea of a bunch of well-known DCU characters suddenly becoming members of the Assorted Pick ‘n’ Mix Corps is inherently amusing, particularly when you’ve got Lex Luthor as an Orange Lantern and the Scarecrow joining the Sinestro Corps (a couple of the others are… reaching a bit, though. Ray Palmer “showing great compassion”?) It’s only a shame the idea isn’t extended further, I’d quite like to see how a wider assortment of characters get divvied up among the various Corps. Anyway, without being either particularly special or any worse than “decent”, this is still marching on towards the inevitable conclusion where Hal Jordan absorbs the power of all the Corps and White Lanternzzzzzzzzzz.
Dark Avengers: Ares #3
I’d probably call this series Gillen’s strongest Marvel work to date, although this closing issue is rather less explosively fun and light-hearted than the first two parts, which saw the gleeful videogames journalist side of the writer’s character emerge. Here, things round off in a rather unexpected direction – although of course, as the closing dialogue makes clear, it was sort of telegraphed the moment Osborn gave Ares his task. Very strong stuff, and as also demonstrated over in Thor, there’s probably nobody better at writing Gods on Marvel’s books at the moment.
Detective Comics #860
In which the closing part of Kate’s origin – the training, the suiting up, the involvement of her father – plays out almost exactly as you’d expect it to based on everything that’s happened up to this point, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work well. In direct contrast to the way she suddenly showed up in 52, it feels like the Batwoman character has earned her status with this arc, and if anything, it’s almost going to be a disappointment when Bruce Wayne makes his comeback and (one would assume) boots her back out of his title. A self-titled ongoing, preferably with the same creative team, certainly wouldn’t go amiss after all of this. And while I’ve been less than enthralled with the story in the Question backups, it’s easy to ignore – with the shadow of JH Williams’ brilliance cast over it – the fact that Cully Hamner’s turning in some great art there, too.
Fall of the Hulks : Gamma
Well, you know, it’s kind of worth checking in with all this stuff every once in a while, just to see if Loeb’s finally gotten round to telling us who Red Hulk is yet (answer: no, he hasn’t. Sigh.). And actually, by the standards set by his comics in recent years, this isn’t dreadful. John Romita Jr art can redeem almost anything (particularly when it contains an absolutely gorgeous and very Kirby-looking two-page splash of the Hulk – the proper one – fighting the Fantastic Four), and the fact that it opens with the fact that General Ross has been killed is a neat and surprising twist. But the funeral falls subject to the awkward overwroughtness that has become Loeb’s trademark, and I can’t help but wonder how Carol Danvers and Bucky Barnes – wanted fugitives, lest we forget – get away with hanging out with the military in Washington, unless some serious spoilers for Siege are being given away here...