PIPE THE F@%k DOWN COMIC BOOK INDUSTRY! I know I have this rant every other week but the amount comic releases are getting insane. Especially due to the high-profile nature of many of them. I bought twenty-two issues this week as research for this review and that cost mounts up, especially with Marvel jacking up the price on some of their hottest releases. It’s insane. Luckily for you, I have gone out and fought off the crowds to give you my bundle for the week—and it’s one for the history books!
All images, unless otherwise sourced, are taken from the Marvel and DC Comics app [Accessed: 17/12/2015]
Batman Europa Issue Two By Brian Azzarello and Giuseppe Camuncoli
Honestly, I was a little bored with this concept by the end of Issue One and I thought going into Issue Two I would hate it. I threw on some Foo Fighters and dove in with all the enthusiasm of Tony Stark at Alcoholics Anonymous. Then I looked at the first page. Giuseppe Camuncoli’s art immediately blew me away. It’s the sort of beautiful artwork that keeps me in love with the mainstream industry. An elegant concoction of fresh ideas and simplicity. Azzarello’s story is tight. I wouldn’t say it’s anything particularly new, but it feels interesting enough that it hooked me by the end and will probably interest a lot of newcomers to the world of Batman. If you are looking for a good Batman and Joker story with little outside continuity, this is the one for you.
Darth Vader Annual Issue One By Kieron Gillen and Leinil Yu
Last week’s Star Wars Annual was a great one-issue, self-contained story and it fell to Kieron Gillen to pull out something to rival it with the Darth Vader Annual. He has outdone himself. The piece looks at how Darth Vader inspires fear in others and it’s a very typical adventure showcasing the Sith Lord as a bad-ass anti-hero. This alone would make the piece worth a mention, but Gillen goes on to create a climactic ending to the piece that leaves on an extremely strong emotional high. The reveal of the ‘gift’ Vader brings is one of the most harrowing and awesome things I have seen in the entirety of the Star Wars cannon. Yu does well in the art department to keep Vader looking dynamic but little is groundbreaking about the style. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a little more Star Wars action this week.
BearSleuth Pick Of The Week: Huck Issue Two By Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque
Picture Source: http://www.flickeringmyth.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Huck-2-1-600×900.jpg [Accessed: 17/12/2015]
I think it’s Millar himself who has described this book as ‘Forrest Gump meets Superman’ and this issue demonstrates that concept beautifully. The structure of this issue is solid as we see that nothing will stand between Huck and doing good. He stands apart from every other character in the piece as a truly good man and there is something fundamentally compelling about that. Millar has struck gold again, here. There are a lot of nice plants in this issue for a greater plot to grow and I look forward to seeing where Millar is heading. Rafael Albuquerque backs up Millar’s story perfectly with an art style that feels folksy while also maintaining the ability to capture some of the more esoteric scenes at the beginning of the issue.
Squadron Supreme Issue One By James Robinson and Leonard Kirk
I don’t really want to talk about this book. I really hate what it’s trying to achieve. I get the joke okay? They are basically the Justice League in the Marvel Universe right? Or that’s what the joke used to be, but now Marvel is trying to create a new fan base so that the films have more characters to use. I am going to make a prediction now that by 2030 we will get a film starring Hyperion. There is a major character death in this issue, by the way. Although I doubt the character will be dead for very long, I am really surprised that Marvel choose to sacrifice that particular character. I understand that they can’t make a movie about the character due to copyright laws, but all the same, it’s pretty childish if that was their reason. Robinson has done a pretty standard job on the story and Kirk backs it up with some mediocre art. If this sounds like it appeals to you, go buy it, but I don’t think I will be mentioning this series in the bundle reviews for a while.
Starbrand and Nightmask Issue One By Greg Weisman and Domo Stanton
I felt about the same way about this one as I did with Squadron Supreme going into it, but I have to admit Starbrand and Nightmask managed to change my mind on a lot of things. I do not like the new wave of ‘quirky’ superhero books finding their way onto the Marvel roster at the moment. A lot of them feel gimmicky, but this series is off to a good start. I think part of it is down to Weisman’s story arc, which feels like a the sort of problem superheroes should be dealing with instead of being something created just to be different. Stanton’s art is a little blocky in places, but it suits the story really well and put me in the right mood for a lot of the narrative. I would recommend this to anyone looking for something a little atypical.
Superman American Alien Issue Two By Max Landis and Tommy Lee Edwards
Every other comic book reader I talk to seems to have a shared belief that Superman is boring. The problem is that he needs to be properly explored like writers have been doing for years with Batman. We have needed a good odyssey into the Man of Steel’s psyche for a while and Max Landis has finally delivered it. In this issue, we get to examine the life of a teenage boy grappling with the powers and responsibilities of a god. There is a superhero at the heart of the book and the character of Clark, but Landis gives us a depth to the concept that I have rarely seen before. Tommy Lee Edward’s art suits the narrative, however I did find it a little hard to follow due to the thickness of his line work towards the end of the issue. I would recommend this to any and all Superman fans.
Ultimate End Issue Five By Brian Michael Bendis
There has never been a comic book that has made me tear up, until now. Comic books struggle to create negative emotions due to the psychological associations the readers make with the medium. To most people, comics are something to be taken lightly and with little drama. Ultimate End Issue Five hits hard as the reader is witness to the eradication of an entire universe. Not just heroes but innocents are killed in this breathtaking finale and Bendis knows just how to play the moment for every last drop of emotional impact possible. Bagley’s slightly cartoonish style works well here to juxtapose the writing, but some readers might find it a little odd. I recommend this to anyone with a fondness for the Ultimate series.
Weirdworld Issue One By Sam Humphries and Mike Del Mundo
Marvel are kind of copying Lost here, right? I don’t mind it, I quite liked Lost back in the day as long as Sam Humphries finds a better way to end it. In all seriousness, this book is extremely strong. I really didn’t like the Weirdworld series in Secret Wars, but this series is off to a great start with a believable heroine that I think most readers will enjoy. Mike Del Mundo steals the show, however, with art that separates the work from anything else from Marvel has on the shelves at the moment. If you are a fan of fantasy and want something written to the high quality of Marvel, then you cannot go wrong with this book!
…that’s this week’s BearSleuth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle! There will be a Grr(aphic) Monday next week but after that I am taking a week off for the holidays. Sorry BearSleuth fans. Check back on Monday for another Grr(aphic) Mondays!