Hey everyone! I’m a little late this week. I spent this morning glued to my computer as the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decisions in some historical marriage equality cases. As an ex-lawyer, I’m really excited to delve into the language of the opinions… but first, there are comics to read!
I have a lot of pulls this week. I had to drop two books: Justice League of America and X-Men. The former I’m only conflicted about because I want to see more of the new!52 Atom, and because I want to see if they can recover from the ridiculousness that was Catwoman’s death. The latter, well. I don’t think X-books are for me anymore. An all-female team isn’t really enough to hook me.
I’ve also decided that on weeks like this, when I have a lot of pulls, I’m not going to write about all of them. This week, I’m going to skip Hawkeye and Young Avengers, even though I’m reading them. Those are solid books and they get a lot of “press” (not that I think I’m press) on other sites. I’m going to focus on books you may not read about elsewhere, or newer books.
As always, I’m open to feedback. In fact, I’d love feedback! And with that very long intro out of the way, it’s comic time!
The Green Team #2
Writers: Franco, Art Balazar
Artists: Ig Guara (pencils), J.P. Mayer (inks), Wil Quintana (colors), Carlos M. Manguel (letters), Amanda Conner & Paul Mounts (cover)
Issue two of The Green Team started strong, but got weighed down by a lot of exposition in the middle chunk. It also had a not too surprising reveal. And it seems to be relying on the easy stereotypes about rich people in order to build character. Like they bathe in mineral water and completely rearrange hotel rooms to suit their tastes, all while charging it on a credit card with a hundred million dollar limit.
That said, I still like The Green Team more than I like The Movement. I think the idea of rich people buying their way into superherodom has been done before (right, Tony and Bruce?) but an origin story in a modern generation, which isn’t about revenge, is a little new. Commodore wants to give back, so he uses money. It’s what he knows how to do.
So I don’t know. If I hit another month where I have 9 pulls and The Green Team is one of them, I’m not sure I’ll stick with it at full price. It’s not awful, but it doesn’t stand out for me.
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Kenneth Rocafort, Tyler Kirkham & Arif Prianto (cover), Blond (colors), Rob Leigh (letters)
Well. This issue was a bit of a bridge between the introduction of Hector Hammond as a Superman bad guy and the story that comes next, involving Hammond and H.I.V.E.. It was really introspective at points, and felt very much like the filler issue it is. But it was notable for one panel (below) where Superman talks about how he behaves a certain way to that he isn’t considered an “other”, like Braniac or H’el. It’s a pretty interesting moment where modern Superman discusses his ability to pass, and why he has to pass as human.
There are a lot of shades of modern identity politics in there, and I don’t know how much of that was a purposeful choice by Lobdell, but it’s certainly very interesting. Even if I don’t really agree with the sentiment of behaving well so that the majority isn’t threatened by you. Superman isn’t exactly the same as the rest of us, I guess. But it’d be interesting to see this issue come up with other superheroes, as it tends to do more in the Marvel universe.
Anyway, the art by Rocafort is again superb. I don’t know who’s in charge of page/panel layout on this book, but there’s as much creativity with panel design as there is in the much-more-lauded Batwoman series.
Justice League #21
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank, Brad Anderson (colors), Nick J. Napolitano (letters)
This issue of Justice League wasn’t about the Justice League at all, really. It was the conclusion of the story that’s been happening in the back-up: Shazam’s new origin story. I have to say, it was a pretty satisfying conclusion. I’ve been enjoying the back-up, despite the fact that it’s barely progressed a day in the past two years, but this finale issue packed a lot of punches. Electrified punches. That sound like KRAKOOOOOM. There was a lot of KRAKOOOOMing.
Anyway, as a fan of the Marvel Family, this was an extremely satisfying conclusion to the origin. Black Adam was dealt with, the next bit of the story was teased, and Billy ended up exactly where he belonged. I look forward to seeing him (and hopefully the rest) get involved in the large DC universe now.
The Wake #2 (Vertigo)
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Sean Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth (colors), Jared K. Fletcher (letters), Jordie Bellaire (cover, with Sean Murphy)
I really like this book. Hollingsworth’s colors are something else. The story is interesting, though I wish they’d spend a little less time with exposition about some of the characters. But it’s only issue two, and I guess conventional wisdom is that we need to learn more about them to care about them, which isn’t entirely true. I was middle-of-the-road on it until the last few pages, when it tossed a hook out and caught me. Especially that last page. I can’t wait to see where this story goes.
Journey into Mystery #653
Writer: Kathryn Immonen
Artist: Valerio Schiti, Jordie Bellaire (colors), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letters), Jeff Dekal (cover)
Oh, Journey into Mystery. I love you, and you are not long for this world. I’m really bummed that Marvel’s cancelled this book. Immonen’s Sif has been a lot of fun to read, and is consistently one of my favorite books. I believe August is the last issue. It’s a shame, really.
But we have a story this month, and it’s the continuation of Sif guarding Gaea and Beta Ray Bill coming to throw a wrench into things. Okay, it’s not really his wrench, it’s a secret mystery ship that also killed his girlfriend, but you know. He’s there, and that’s what’s important. This was another bridge issue (that seems to be a theme with my ongoings this week), but involved some really great emotional moments from a character who likes to punch first and think about her feelings… uh, never.
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artists: Michael Lark, Santi Arcas (colors)
An easy way to get me to buy a book is to say that two out of the three creators of Gotham Central are involved (or, you know, all of them). Or even Greg Rucka at all, because I’m a big fan of his. So Lazarus was not a hard sell. The setting is a future where there’s been a bit of an economic reshuffling; all the wealth is controlled by families (or Families, capital F), and they have serfs (literally) and there are other people who are called waste. The Families appear to be at war. They also have some sort of genetically engineered scion-like member called a Lazarus, and the Lazarus of the Carlyle Family is Forever, our protagonist.
I like this idea. I have a feeling, already, that this book will use science fiction to tell a better story about our modern economy and the distribution of wealth than either The Green Team or The Movement will. But comparisons aside, this was a solid first issue. The art is great and really suits the setting, and the story is already interesting enough – because of course Forever is started to wonder if this is really the best way to do things – to keep me coming back for more.
Book of the week: Justice League #21