We’re starting to get into the January slump of the comic book industry. It’s around this time of year that all the big cross over events seem to die down and we get to just read the standard stories of our favourite heroes. The Eisner bait of the December is slowly petering out and so the quality of books is a little more variable, which means there is some ropey stuff out there. Although, the ability to just read a comic in it’s with less of a concern for continuity and no events looming over us lets character shine and some of the best stuff I have read this week has been focused around strong characters doing what they do best. Oh, and Secret Wars has finally ended. Thank God.
All images are screen shots taken from the Marvel and DC Comics Apps [Accessed: 15/01/2016]
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. By Marc Guggenheim and German Peralta
Most Marvel fans seem to like Agents of Shield (I’m not doing the whole acronym thing or else we will be here all day) but imagine if Agents actually had the budget to get Robert Downey Jr. to appear every so often. That is essentially what Agents of Shield Issue One is on the face of it but I have to give credit to Marc Guggenheim, he’s managed to wrap it all up in one hell of a story. The plot feels fun and fast paced making it a lot more engaging than a lot of the episodes of the TV show. It’s also nice to see Coulson and team as part of the Marvel Universe, even though I know they have been around for a while I haven’t really been following them. Peralta’s art captures the grandeur of the super heroes involved very well but some of the smaller scenes are a little weak. I recommend this to anyone who ever thought the idea of an Agents of Shield TV was cool, even if the show didn’t live up to your expectations this will.
All-New All-Different Avengers Issue Three By Mark Waid and Adam Kubert.
I love this Avengers series. It feels just like the Avengers should feel, a group of the very best heroes in the Marvel Universe coming together to kick some ass. Waid has assembled the perfect cocktail of personalities and powers that every time I see them all in combat together I cannot help but squeal with glee. So why do we have to have a plot that is basically a rehash of the first Avengers film? I mean I won’t go into too much detail but it has almost every beat from the original film and it simply isn’t needed. Waid doesn’t need to sell anyone on this team being as good as the Avengers everyone know and love, the teams great set them off doing something new and different. It’s still a good book and Adam Kubert’s art work takes it to the next level as a solid Avengers book. If you like the Avengers, in any medium, I’d consider picking this series up.
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Issue Two By James Tynion IV and Freddie E Williams II
I have never been a Turtles fan but this book may just change my mind. I am absolutely loving this series. The concept is ridiculous but the way that all the characters involved take it so seriously makes it so much fun to read that I can forgive it for a lot. James Tynion IV’s script really serves both properties well and makes a lot of sense for a crossover epic. There isn’t a lot I can criticise here as the story is very streamline and well written but I also have to say that in points it all feels a little two basic. There is no moral grey areas or experimental storytelling to elevate the story beyond a basic crossover. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to get into Batman or TMNT but is unsure where to start.
Captain America Issue Five By Nick Spencer and Paul Renaud
This book, for me at least, is exactly what a Captain America book. If you have a hero wearing the American flag on his back it is an immediate political statement and it needs to be treated as such. Captain America Issue Five follows Sam Wilson as he stands up to corporate big business for the rights of every American citizen. Meanwhile, there is a personal drama unfolding and the introduction of a brand new character into the Marvel universe and this all happens in less than twenty-five pages. Nick Spencer I salute you. Paul Renaud’s art work is pretty spot on and has a lot of good character designs throughout, Serpent Solutions actually feel intimidating instead of silly which is a hard thing to pull off. I would recommend this book to anyone concerned with American politics at the moment.
Extraordinary X-Men Issue Five By Jeff Lemire and Humberto Ramos
The first arc of the All-New All-Different X-Men series is winding down and I have to say I’m happy with what we’ve had so far. I was concerned that, with the shifts going on in the Marvel Universe, we wouldn’t get an X-Men book that felt right but this book is probably one of the strongest of the entire line up. The plot has been a little all over the place as Lemire has painstakingly assembled an X-Men team from around the globe while setting up enough stories to keep us going for the next decade. Each member of the team feels like they have grown up a lot from their earlier days and they are all dealing with the current mutant situation in their own ways. I’m not crazy about Ramos’ art work as it can feel a little too blocky at times but he also manages to capture the cool of the X-Men well so I can’t fault him too much. Grab this book if you want to support the X-Men.
Huck Issue Three By Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque
If American Alien hadn’t come out this week, Huck would be my pick of the week. This book is fantastically put together. It’s easy to see that Millar is enjoying the concept and Albuquerque is pushing hard on the Norman Rockwell Americana. This book feels like a love letter to the golden age of super heroics as we see a vigilante with a clear sense of right and wrong challenged by the morally grey world of the modern age. It’s not a new concept but Millar’s presentation and re-contextualisation of the scenario to a slightly simple man in overalls dedicated to doing good is very interesting and hard to put down. I’m a big fan of Huck and if you can stretch it into your weekly comic budget I would suggest you do so.
Secret Wars Issue Nine By Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic
It’s over. Thank god it is finally over and we don’t have to live in this complex world of horrendous scheduling and unknowing. That being said, why the hell did Marvel need to delay Miles Morales? There is nothing new that this book talk us about him that we couldn’t have learned from Ultimate End. I have a sneaky suspicion that Marvel might have been lying to increase sales on this book and if that is the case I really hope the Miles book is better than this one. Sure, Secret Wars is a decent book but the plotting has been pretty weak. I absolutely hate how the universe has been restored. Hickman has done a bucket load of hand waving and it’s clear that he didn’t have much of a plan going into this. There’s enough awesome moments and climactic battles to enjoy this book but as soon as you begin to analyse it the whole thing falls to pieces. Ribic’s artwork still captures the majesty of the universe well, if you have been reading Secret Wars you might as well finish your collection but anyone else might as well wait for the graphic novel.
BearSleuth Pick of the Week: Superman American Alien Issue Three By Max Landis and Joelle Jones
This series may be some of the greatest work on Superman in the entire history of the character. I’m going to keep saying that I don’t like Max Landis as a person but I have to admit he knows his way around a story and he is a brilliant writer. In issue three we get to see a new side of Clark Kent as he becomes a different person for the evening. We get to see a stark contrast between him and the other super heroes here that plays out in such a natural way that I cannot believe it’s never been done before, at least not to my knowledge. The artwork by Jones’ is exceptional in the way it interacts with the nature of the story, fitting in perfectly with the narrative. You need to pick up this series, it’s going to be a classic.
…That is this week’s BearSleuth Spoiler free comic book bundle!!! Check back on Monday for a new Grr(aphic) Monday!