I’ve decided to start writing short capsule reviews of each comic I buy on a weekly basis; as an attempt to make my buying them feel a bit more worthwhile, to inspire me to buy a wider range of new things, and to give this site a bit more in the way of regular content besides the podcasts.
Who knows how long it’ll last – I don’t have a perfect track record in the area of regularly reviewing comics, although James and I did manage to keep our old blog Comics Daily going for a couple of years – but the aim is for them to be as low-maintenance as possible so hopefully I won’t get tired of it any time soon. Hopefully you won’t, either.
Oh, and the date above relates to the Wednesday these comics went on sale: in general, I’ll aim to have reviews published on or around the Thursday or Friday of the same week.
(DC / Tom King, Mikel Janin, June Chung, Clayton Cowles)
King’s take on Batman is starting to take shape with this second arc, “I Am Suicide”, and is assisted hugely by Mikel Janin being a far better fit than David Finch was. A wilfully disconcerting issue, this shows a supremely driven, overconfident Batman reminiscent of that moment in Grant Morrison’s run where he dug himself out of his own grave, taking on Bane with the seemingly deliberate intent of playing out the exact set of circumstances that everyone expects to happen when he takes on Bane. Meanwhile, we’re filled in on exactly why we found Catwoman in the circumstances we found her in at the end of #9. The stage is increasingly being set for a challenging, unsettling and morally ambiguous Batman story – you’d expect no less from the writer of The Vision – and while I’m not completely certain if it’s going to land, it’s a potentially fascinating approach.
Giant Days #20
(Boom!Box / John Allison, Max Sarin, Liz Fleming, Whitney Cogar, Jim Campbell)
Having recently devoured the entirety of Giant Days up to this point, it’s nice to finally be able to buy and read a new issue the week it comes out. The girls start their second year at University, moving into their own house for the first time and encountering the strange and mythical land of Ikea. It’s a typically entertaining issue (and contains an intriguing hint about Daisy’s future storylines, picking up on a thread from a few issues ago) but while it should in theory work as a good jumping-on point (being the start of a new year), if you want a jumping-on point for Giant Days my recommendation would be to actually go back to the start and read the whole damned thing, because it’s wonderful.
Green Arrow #10
(DC / Benjamin Percy, Juan Ferreyra, Nate Piekos)
So far, Ben Percy’s Green Arrow has been better at starting arcs than finishing them, and nothing since has quite lived up to how fantastic the Rebirth issue was. So I’m not certain whether the rest of this arc will live up to the promise of its first issue: but said first issue is terrific fun. It’s set on a sub-continental train straight out of Thunderbirds, and guest artist Ferreyra imbues the entire issue with an effortless sense of motion. Plus, it introduces Eddie Fyers into current continuity, and as a big fan of Mike Grell’s 1980s run, that’s no bad thing from my point of view.
Shade, the Changing Girl #2
(DC Young Animal / Cecil Castellucci, Marley Zarcone, Kelly Fitzpatrick)
Oh, this is increasingly turning into something pretty great. The early 90s Vertigo vibes are strong (and indeed very deliberate), and not just because it’s a direct sequel to Peter Milligan’s Shade. This is an unusual and sometimes oblique comic, but not to the extent that you can’t follow what the heck is going on (sorry, Way’s Doom Patrol). Shade herself is written with a compelling voice, and Castellucci is gradually peeling away the layers of mystery that surround Megan’s life prior to the accident. It’s got a style and a verve that DC haven’t often seemed capable of in recent years, and notwithstanding how much I enjoyed the first issue of Cave Carson, this is comfortably the highlight of Young Animal so far. More like this, please.
(DC / Peter J. tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray, John Kalisz, Rob Leigh)
That splendidly fun cover hints that what we’re going to get is Damian Wayne and Jon Kent butting heads, personalities and ideologies for twenty-odd pages: and that’s exactly what we get. It’s a delight to see Tomasi back writing Damian in particular, but the characterisation of all four leads is absolutely spot on; and Gleason’s art is as fantastically expressive as it’s ever been. Pound for pound, this has been the most consistently enjoyable book of Rebirth so far, and that shows no sign of stopping here.
The Wicked + The Divine #23
(Image / Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Kevin Wada, Matt Wilson et al)
WicDiv begins an arc titled “Imperial Phase” by doing an issue that takes the form of a fictional in-universe magazine, “edited” by Gillen, who carries out interviews in-character as various members of the Pantheon with a range of notable journalists; while Kevin Wada draws the “photographs” and McKelvie/Wilson do spoof adverts. How do you even review something like that? My criticisms, such as I have any, would probably be twofold: one, while the joke is tremendous, it’s largely a one-note one, and (like the time DC did their Newstime special) I’m not certain it sustains over the length of an entire issue (although I did laugh heartily at the credits page). Secondly, the cover design isn’t in on the gag, which rather undermines the illusion of the rest of it. On the more positive side, given that I’m not really a fan of her work generally, I particularly enjoyed Laurie Penny doing what is essentially a version of her Milo Yiannopoulous interview, only with Woden.
Next week’s pull list: Detective Comics #944, New Super-Man #5, Supergirl #3, Mother Panic #1, The Clone Conspiracy #2 (definites); Action Comics #967, Invincible Iron Man #1, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1 (possibles). Want to suggest something I should be reading? Shout up in the comments or on Twitter!