Traditionally, December used to be the slow month in the industry. At the very least I thought we were able to count on a few low-costing weeks, but no. It seems I, along with the rest of the comic book reading world, am doomed to be poor this December. Marvel Comics are still pushing on with the madness of the All-New All-Different (as well as the remnants of Secret Wars which should have ended months ago). Combine that with DC’s series of blockbusting winter titles (including the likes of the Batman Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover) and add in a stack of indie comics (the local comic store shelves are well stacked) and this week has another fine crop of comics. It’s time to decide which will be my BearSleuth Pick Of The Week.
All images are screenshots taken from the Marvel and DC Comics app [Accessed:.09/12/2015]
The Amazing Spider-Man Issue Four By Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli
This is all very strange. I still remember a time when Peter Parker was a school teacher. I also remember a time when I hated Dan Slott’s work on the book. Things change. For the first time in his entire run on Spider-Man, Slott has managed to create a plot that is throughly engaging. Peter Parker is becoming a hero that can deal with the threats effecting the entire globe, which is fantastic! However, this also means his villains are having to grow to match him. The Green Goblin and the Lizard were problems way back in the day when they were fighting Spidey on rooftops, but they are hardly threatening when he has the power of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Parker Industries. The art also helps to sell Parker as a grown-up. It seems smarter and more formal than the previous stylings of Slott’s run. It’s hardly the best book out there at the moment, but it’s strong and well worth your attention.
Batman Issue Forty Seven By Scott Snyder and Gregg Capullo
No matter what I say about this issue, if you’re a comic book fan I know you will buy this book. Alex Ross’ cover art has immediately created a piece of irresistible comic book history. It’s gorgeous and has drawn every Batman fan to it like moths to a flame. Aside from that, Scott Snyder is chugging on with his astounding narrative as always. I can’t fault him. Snyder’s reinvention of Batman has been incredibly strong and even the newest arc surrounding Gordon is great. Add in Capullo’s interior work and there’s simply no reason to resist picking this one up.
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Issue One By James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams
I wasn’t sold on this one to begin with. I’ve never really engaged with TMNT properly, I think it had its hay day just slightly before my time. That’s not to say it’s bad. Everything I have seen of the classic cartoon and original comic series has always looked brilliant but I always found it a little difficult to get into, which is why this Issue has surprised me so much. I really enjoyed it, in fact I would go so far as to say it’s probably one of the best comics out this week. Not the best (that’s yet to come), but it’s certainly up there. Tynion IV and William have crafted a narrative with a visual style that blends the two distinct comic book universes together very well. My only reservation is that if you’re not into cross-overs in general, you may find this one particularly silly in places. But if you can get past that, then it’s worth your time.
The Darkseid War Lex Luthor Issue One By Francis Manapul and Bong Dazo
I’m really starting to like Lex. I think this may be a calculated move from DC Comics. They’re laying the ground work for Lex Luthor to be one of the best villains in superhero movies when Dawn Of Justice rocks up next year, even if it’s going to actually gonna be Lex Luthor Jr. in the film. The Darkseid War Lex Luthor Issue One looks at the character of Luthor at his very core. Manapul explores what it is that drives Luthor and how his feelings towards the Superman and the rest of the human race developed. It’s insightful and well-combined with Bong Dazo’s brilliant artwork which switches elegantly to flashback sequences with an ease required for the story. If you have ever been interested in what makes Lex tick, this is the one for you.
Gwenpool Holiday Special By Just About Everyone
We all love a good holiday special right? Who can forget the classic Star Wars Holiday Special where we got to see all of Chewbacca’s family? It was magical. Marvel’s Holiday Special this year is fantastic: they have pulled out all the stops to create something heartfelt and hilarious. There are writers on hand from several of the big books of the All-New All-Different line up, and the majority of them manage to pull off plots that fall into the typical Christmas narratives. The art style changes depending on the focal character, and the majority of the styles work well. However, the connecting narrative, involving She-Hulk, is lacking in a lot of places and has almost no depth whatsoever. This is okay. I still recommend it for anyone looking for a holiday kick, but you have been warned.
BearSleuth Pick Of The Week: Scarlet Witch Issue One By James Robinson and Vanesa Del Rey
The competition has been tight this week, but when I sat down to write this piece it was this book that immediately leapt out at me. Scarlet Witch blew me away. With the character’s powers shifting slightly, surprisingly moving away from the film universe, James Robinson had a lot of information to get through in his first book and he has done an admirable job. The book still contains minimal dialogue while also managing to deliver a whole slew of information about Wanda and her life in the current Marvel Universe. The art by Vanesa Del Rey compliments everything perfectly, with special mention going to a scene in which Wanda looks across the New York skyline that almost made my jaw drop. I have to recommend that all fans of comic books give this a read.
Secret Wars Issue Eight By Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic
Secret Wars needed to end about a year ago. Honestly, it’s like a wounded horse that no one wants to put out of its misery. I used to be a big fan of Hickman, but the way he has handled the entirety of Secret Wars has been a complete and total car crash. The series does still have a lot of positive points—Ribic’s artwork is amazing—but the storyline has been mediocre at best and predictable at worst. The piece looks really good, and Ribic captures a few large battles really well. I guess if you’ve been following the series then it’s worth continuing, but there’s no reason to start now. Either wait for the trades or just put Secret Wars behind you completely.
Star Wars Annual One By Kieron Gillen and Angel Unzueta
I like a good one-shot, there’s been a tonne of fantastic ones this year, especially Howard The Human. Star Wars Annual One is a great one-shot—brilliant in fact!—as we follow the life of a rebel spy on Courasaunt. Gillen has created a great piece of storytelling here which I hope may mark the beginning of a new character in the Star Wars universe. Without spoiling, the story revolves around a brilliant brand new character that is pretty strong, the sort that could easily hold up an entire book on his own. The art work is solid as well, with Unzueta recreating the set of Courasaunt perfectly. It’s amazing to read and should easily find itself on the shelves of any Star Wars fans out there.
…and that’s this week’s BearSleuth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle! Check back on Monday for another Grr(aphic) Monday!