Catching up on my bid to check out the many, many comic book titles out there…
This series hits the ground running and maintains its quick pace through the opening three issues, following con man Cole Cash as he attempts to evade pursuing aliens and, oh yeah, the military. It’s never explained why the aliens have designs on him and, while I’m sure we’ll eventually get there, I was hoping for at least some insight amidst all the action. Another thing that isn’t really explained is why Cole dons a mask to hide his face given that the aliens seem to track him by scent. I like the dynamic between Cole and his handler, less so the coincidence that one of the soldiers leading the hunt for him just happens to be his brother. The revenge motif established in the closing pages of the third issue feels like its gilding the lily.
Verdict: A fun read but, ultimately, too many questions left unanswered. Alas, won’t be continuing with this one.
THIS is the one I’ve been looking for – a series that has it all: action, humor, engaging characters, and smart writing. I was initially disappointed when I found out it was a War Machine book (and not an Iron Man title as I’d originally assumed), but those early misgivings were immediately dispelled by a terrific story with plenty of twists, turns and SF elements.
Verdict: One of my favorite titles to date. I’m along for the ride!
Writer Brian Azzarello is an interesting match for this title given his work on books like 100 Bullets and Batman. I like his darker take, his exploration of the uneasy relationship between Diana and her fellow Amazons and the revelation concerning Wonder Woman’s origins. Still, at the end of the day, Wonder Woman has always been a character I’ve had a hard time mustering much interest in for the same reason Thor has never appealed: the trials and tribulations of gods seem so lofty, their capabilities and backstories so disconnected from the life of us mere mortals that their stories fail to engage me on that basic human level.
Verdict: An interesting take on the character but even that isn’t enough to win me over. My anti-deity bias keeps me from jumping aboard.
Hmmmm. A clever alternate history tale pits the immortal Sir Isaac Newton, ruler of The High Council of Shield, against his rival, Leonardo Da Vinci. Philosophies and followers clash as the likes of Michelangelo Buonarotti, Nostradamus, and Nikola Tesla figure into a narrative involving non-linear time, parallel universes, and something called Quiet Math. Heady and ambitious but, ultimately, I’m not quit sure what the hell is going on.
Verdict: Sharp and unique storytelling but a little too esoteric for me.
Writer/artist Tony S. Daniel offers up a Batman book reminiscent of the tales I grew up with – creepy, at times deeply unsettling, yet altogether fascinating. The Joker is at his scary-best here (we’re a long, loooong way from Jack Nicholson’s silly-ass dancing clown prince of crime), challenging our hero in his bid to unravel a grisly mystery.
Not for the faint of heart!
Verdict: Subarashii! as the Japanese would say. Love it! Really looking forward to checking out more.
The follow-up to a big crossover event involving Asgard deities (see above) and eight mythical war hammers. This series sees Earth’s heroes picking up the pieces, gathering up these powerful weapons left behind in a quest reminiscent of a video game. It all feels a little after-the-fact.
Verdict: I’m sure it’ll all get worked out. Again, not for me.
Aquaman has always been the laughing stock of comicdom, the butt of many a joke with his orange scale armor and oceanic powers. Past attempts to darken the character met with middling success. Here, writer Geoff Johns embraces the original version of Arthur Curry in a story that tackles Aquaman’s perceived superheroic inadequacies while spotlighting his undervalued strengths. The narrative is fairly straightforward but a lot of fun, a perfect reintroduction of a character who gets so little respect.
Verdict: Like I said – a lot of fun. I’m on board.
And here is the X-title I’ve been looking for! Writer Rick Remender weaves a tale calculated and complex without being confusing – a tall order given the number of characters and backstory elements at work here. He offers up plenty of action and character development, building one of the most intriguing and effective of narratives in a series of well-orchestrated set-ups and pay-offs.
Verdict: Unarguably one of the coolest books out there. Keep ’em coming.
In crafting Mister Terrific’s origin, it feels like the creators’ reached into the bag of pre-established identities for not one, not two, but three chestnuts. Not only is Michael Holt a super athlete, but he’s a brilliant scientist AND a billionaire. It all feels a little young-skewing, from our hero’s motto (“Fair Play”) to the on-the-nose disillusionment that caps the third issue.
Verdict: Not my cup of tea.
Norman Osborn puts together a team of alternate Avengers, enlisting villains to fill the roster. Yep, just like he did in Dark Avengers. Bendis is a terrific writer and I love his stuff, but this storyline feels a little been-there, done-that. I think part of the problem I have with these versions of the Avengers is the fact that they crossover with other teams (ie. Wolverine and the Thing). I mean, seriously, who has time to be a member of two, much less one super team? It stretches credulity which comes at a premium when dealing with the world of superheroes.
Verdict: I may revisit at a later date but for now it stays on the shelf.
Environmentalist and animal activist Buddy Baker (aka Animal Man) returns following a self-imposed exile from superhero life. We’re given an interesting character in Buddy, a guy struggling to balance family life with the demands of his “job”, but the opening three issues felt very dream sequence heavy. The dreams themselves, while teeming with all sorts of cool visuals, didn’t really offer significant insight into our hero.
Verdict: Close but doesn’t make the cut.
I loved Mark Waid’s run on The Flash, am very much enjoying Irredeemable and, as such, was really looking forward to his take on Daredevil. As always, I got a kick out of Matt’s relationship with Foggy and Waid does a terrific job offering backstory to Daredevil’s abilities and present-day status (the fact that he’s been outed and everyone seems to know his secret identity) without bogging down the narrative. As much as I liked these elements, I wasn’t enamored of the main story – a courtroom case that ultimately ends up involving the villainous Klaw (or, more to the point, echoes of the original Klaw). Fortunately, the next story that kicks off in issue #3 is much more promising, focusing on the criminal (underworld) elements I’ve come to know and enjoy in past incarnations of Daredevil’s world.
Verdict: I was on the fence after the first three issues but firmly on board after issue #5
The Authority was always a title I respected, liked enough, but never really got into. It was ultra-cool but there was always that emotional detachment to the stories and the characters. It obviously all comes down to personal taste because the title has plenty of ardent fans, most of whom will no doubt be thrilled to have the wonderful Paul Cornell onboard as the series writer.
Verdict: Love Cornell’s work but may have to wait for another title.