I have been traveling a lot this week. It’s my last bit of free time before university starts again so I’m sorry that this is coming a couple of days late. My closest comic book store from home is around an hour away in Manchester and their shipment was delayed due to a variety of reason that include Marvel’s horrendous scheduling abilities. It’s worth mentioning that Marvel have made a lot of mistakes recently when it comes to their scheduling. It all goes back to Secret Wars, but some series have experienced massive delays and none of their series appear to be following any form of regular pattern. DC Comics, now is the time to strike back. God I feel grumpy today, but luckily I have some comics to take my frustrations out on…
All images are screen shots taken from the Marvel and DC Comics apps [Accessed 09/01/2016]
The Amazing Spider-Man Issue Six By Dan Slott and Matteo Buffagni
Ah a perfect target for my anger at Marvel! I hate the ‘inversion’ as a plot device. It’s lazy and crude to just flip a hero or villain from being good or evil to the opposite from mystical reasons. The entire Axis arc a while back, which was probably the most underwhelming Marvel event of the last decade, used this plot device and now Dan Slott has dusted it off the shelves because he is running out of ideas. I really don’t understand why Slott is still writing Spider-Man when he doesn’t seem to understand the core conceits of the character. Spider-Man, Peter Parker in particular, is meant to be a relatable underdog, using humour and wit as a defence against the world while escaping into alter ego as Spiderman. Spider-Man is not meant to be Tony Stark. Tony Stark is meant to be Tony Stark. This issue marks the start of a new story arc but I have to say that if this is a preview of things to come it is unlikely that I will continue to follow this series. Matteo Buffagni’s art is a saving grace for the book but it could be put to better use. If there is one reason to get this book it’s the Alex Ross cover art, but save that there is no reason to pick this one up.
Doctor Strange Issue Four By Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo
At least there are still a few people at Marvel with their heads screwed on. I know the only reason this series exists is due to the upcoming movie but, thank the Vishanti, this book actually has a lot of heart. Aaron get that Doctor Strange should be just vague enough that it’s mysterious while giving the reader enough bits of information to understand what is going on. It’s a hard thing to put my finger on but a lot of the series so far has felt fairly expository while leaving the reader with enough questions to keep guessing. Pair this style with Chris Bahalo’s art style, which feels like the perfect choice for this book, and you just a winning combination that is pretty hard to resist. Ideally, I would like to see this series play with the form of comics a little more. Certainty worth getting into if you haven’t already.
Guardians of Infinity Issue Two By Dan Abnett and Carlo Barberi
I really don’t get what this series is trying to achieve. See, way back before James Gunn made the Guardians cool they were weird. Not funny weird or experimentally weird. Just weird. There was a lot of time jumping and attempts to tie together the insane space mythology of the Marvel Universe. But now it’s all changed, the Guardians are so cool their books are selling like hot cakes. They are becoming mainstream and instead of making them more accessible Marvel are attempting to bring back all the weird stuff that used to put people off the series. Dan Abnett’s writing is okay but, with characters that I only having a passing familiarity with, I find it hard to care. The B stories in both issues to date have been incredibly strong and I think that is probably the books most redeeming feature. Barberi’s art is easy on the eye and very crisp, I wouldn’t be surprised if he moves on to the main Guardians series over the next few years. If you are a huge fan of the classic Guardian’s stories, or you absolutely need an extra fix of Guardians in your life, then this is the one for you.
Invincible Iron Man Issue Five By Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez.
Bendis is killing it right here! There is little to say on this book without gushing but I really love the direction the Bendis is taking the characters in here, as we see Tony Stark dealing with a series of threats that are out of his wheelhouse. I’m not a huge fan of Mary Jane’s inclusion in the series (not a spoiler as it’s all over issue four’s cover art) as she just feels like an alternative version of Pepper Potts with a slightly more interesting backstory. I’m not sure how long MJ will stick around but if she does I hope Bendis has some interesting plans for her. Marquez brings the thunder in the art department, crafting the world of Iron Man with such stunning detail that I can almost taste it. If you are a fan of Tony Stark, and why wouldn’t you be, then snap this book up.
BearSleuth Pick Of The Week: Obi-wan and Anakin Issue One By Charles Soule and Marco Checchetto
Go. Buy. This. Book. Charles Soule is currently on a crash course for comic book stardom and I’m pretty sure this is going to be remembered as one of his classic pieces of work. Obi-wan and Anakin is that beautiful blend of epic-scale action and close-knit character drama as we see the relationship of a master and pupil turning into a friendship. This book actually fills in an important part of Anakin’s journey as a character because we finally get to see the bonds forming between him and Obi-wan that are strained in the prequel films. But Soule’s writing isn’t even the main reason. Marco Checchetto may be one of the strongest artists I’ve seen in a mainstream comic for a while. I was simply stunned by several of the panels in this book as Checchetto creates stunning fantasy vistas that simply couldn’t be recreated by any other artist. It’s easy to see why this book has taken my pick of the week and I have to recommend this to everyone. Get it!
The Totally Awesome Hulk Issue One By Greg Pak and Frank Cho
This series is an enigma to me. I should hate it. It embodies a lot of the problems I have with the current wave of comic books, but I have a soft spot for it. I think it’s probably because it’s the first Hulk book in a while that I can say I thoroughly enjoyed. Greg Pak has found a few ways to change the series completely whilst still keeping the major themes that make a Hulk book a Hulk book. The Banner sub-arc has me interested the most as it seems to eluding to a major change for the Hulk we know and love but the entire series has me hooked. Frank Cho is nice on the book, although he does little to really break the mould in terms of design or style. I recommend this book to any Hulk fans, but if the general concept puts you off maybe steer clear.
Swamp Thing Issue One By Len Wein and Kelley Jones
DC Comics must be truly desperate if they are trying to bring Swamp Thing back with such a weak story. As a fan of Alan Moore’s work on the series, I hate this new iteration of Swamp Thing. I quite enjoyed the Snyder run but this attempt at a reinvention feels more like it’s just trying to be a Hulk clone and that really doesn’t impress me. I have never come across Len Wein before but he does like to make a lasting impact on me. Kelley Jones makes some attempts to recapture the classic Swamp Thing aesthetic which I do enjoy, but there is a reason why comic book art has changed over the last few decades. You can give this book a miss.
Uncanny X-Men Issue One by Cullen Bunn and Greg Land
You have no idea how much I want to love this book. I went into this piece hoping for something I could shout and scream about to others as the best X-Men book ever. The line-up is the thing dreams are made of. Unfortunately, all I can say about this book is that it is alright. It’s not particularly good or bad, it’s just there. All the characters act quite predictably and Bunn’s writing does little to win me over. The art work never feels visceral enough and instead leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I want to tell you to pick this one up to support the X-Men but it’s probably best if you just support the other books, if we’re lucky maybe we’ll get another Magneto solo book to replace this in the future.
…That’s this week’s BearSleuth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle!!! Check back on Monday for another Grr(aphic) Mondays!!!