Once again it has been an insane week in the world of comic with each publishing giant spewing out reams of brilliant work onto your local comic book store shelves. Put together this week’s bundle has been nothing short of a Herculean task. Marvel Comics have come out swinging with great titles including the All-New All-Different Avengers and Black Panther. Not to be outdone, DC Comics have Batman’s last pre-Rebirth issue. All in all it’s been a big week but only one issue can take the BearSleuth Pick Of The Week.
All images are screenshots taken from the Marvel and DC Comics Apps [Accessed: 14/05/2016]
All-New All-Different Avengers Issue Nine By Mark Waid and Mahmud Asrar
I don’t think it counts as a spoiler to tell you that we have a brand-new Wasp appear for the first time in this issue. I won’t go into too much depth on who the new Wasp is and her connection to the Avengers but I personally think Waid has come up with a perfect backstory for the character with ties to several key moments in Avengers history. The issue is a well-balanced one, setting up both the Wasp and the next major Avengers arc. Waid’s character focus pays off well here as the personal aspects of the piece shine through. I’m a little unsure on Asrar’s unique art style as it feels a little cartoonish and simplistic in some scenes but he always seems to bring it home when it counts in the huge splash panels. If you’re looking for a good jumping on point with the All-New All-Different Avengers this is a great place to start.
Batman Issue Fifty Two By James Tynion IV and Riley Rossmo
Firstly, I have seen a few reviews and websites credit Scott Snyder as having a connection to this book and while he is not credited I find it easy to believe that he was consulted on this book. That being said, James Tynion IV has been doing some amazing work on the Batman-TMNT crossover series so it’s great to see him get onto the main Batman series. As with the previous two Batman issues, Batman Issue Fifty Two is a final loving tribute to the Dark Knight and his New 52 era. It ties off Batman’s internal arc in a way few other comics have ever done, with Bruce drawing from his past and discussing how he motivates himself. Riley Rossmo does a great job, producing a new artistic style for the Dark Knight which is both a subtle change yet perfectly in tune with the tone of the piece. If you want a good standalone Batman story look no further.
Black Panther Issue Two By Ta-Neshisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze
I was really sceptical when I read the first issue of Black Panther and I can gladly say that I am slightly less sceptical. Coates approach on to Black Panther is one that showcases the fast paced chaos of being a presiding monarch in a time of anarchy and descent. There are so many scenes that are setting up plot points and side plots that it is hard for even a seasoned reader to follow in one read through. Personally, I like the depth this affords Coates writing as it allows for multiple read-throughs, but I can equally understand why it might be an issue for most readers. The art by Brian Stelfreeze is strong but I would personally like an artist which a more esoteric style to cover the book, the designs for both past and new characters blow me away and I feel this is where the design team shine. I have a feeling that this series is one that will build into something epic if given enough time, support this book if you can squeeze it into your weekly picks.
Darth Vader Issue Twenty By Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca
It’s difficult to describe what an achievement this series is. Once you know a characters backstory and how a character dies, as well as most of his life in between, it becomes pretty difficult to create a piece using that character. Even harder if that character is wearing a mask so they are completely expressionless and we’ve only ever seen that character depicted as a villain. It’s a task that would stump even the greatest writers but Kieron Gillen has risen to that challenge and created, what I am sure will be remembered as, some of the best Star Wars fiction of all time. This issue sets up a new story arc, making it a great jump on point for fans and within these pages we the plot gets dialled up to eleven. It’s a great issue with a brilliant B-story included just for added value. Combine all that with Larroca’s art which is nothing short of inspired and you have a piece that deserves to be in any Star Wars fan’s weekly picks.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Issue Eight By Brian Michael Bendis and Valerio Schiti
I think we can all agree that Brian Michael Bendis is a great writer, one of the best, but I get the feeling he is not gelling with this series anymore. I don’t know quite how to put it into words, the piece seems fine, this issue is a fun romp into an intergalactic version of Prison Break, but it just doesn’t feel right. The last two issues have shown great character work but due to Bendis’ pacing I feel like the issues are ending before they really have a chance to get anywhere. I’m sure this won’t be a persistent problem but it’s something I’m going to be keeping an eye out for across the coming weeks. I still strongly recommend this series and there are a few nice head nods back to previous Marvel events that long-time fans will enjoy. However, if there is a book you can give a miss this week it’s Guardians.
The Uncanny Inhumans Issue Eight By Charles Soule and Kev Walker
If you are at all interesting in comic book writing and you want to learn how to do a whole issue bases around just two characters, Charles Soule has provided a master class right here. This entire piece is a tight focused ‘bottle-episode’ with a few flash backs as Soule begins to explore the relationship between two of the biggest characters on the Inhuman’s roster. The dialogue is well thought out and very true to each of the characters involved. Any long-time fan will get a kick out of this, with or without reading any of the rest of the Inhuman’s series. The art by Kev Walker is a little generic but it allows the writing to come to the forefront and flourish. This is another book that needs to find its way’s into your picks.
BearSleuth Pick Of The Week: The Vision Issue Seven By Tom King and Michael Walsh
On the cover of this book is a quote from Black Panther writer Ta-Neshisi Coates “The Vision is the best comic going right now.” Frankly, there is little more to be said on the matter than that. Tom King is the current dictionary definition of a rising talent and this book showcases his immense talent perfectly. In this issue King brings in moments from over fifty years of Avengers history, tying seemingly disparate threads together to form a narrative that has been staring every reader in the face for years. This book is the height of mainstream comic book writing, mastering continuity and character perfectly. I also want to mention Michael Walsh’s artwork, gorgeously rendering ancient scenes from Avenger’s history with subtle changes that change them from epic comic book battles into romantic backdrops. Through the use of brilliant line work and colourings the entire design time give King’s work a life and personality rarely afforded to such high quality writing. This one-two combination makes a book that doesn’t just deserve to be in any collector’s collection, it’s required.
All-New X-Men Issue Nine By Dennis Hopeless and Mark Bagley
As a long time X-Men fan I am loving this series. Seeing the early X-Men as kids alongside more modern child-characters is a brilliant set up for both external and internal plotting. It has allowed Iceman to come out as homosexual and it has caused Beast to wrestle with the tunnel-vision of his older self. In this issue we see what happens when one of the modern child-characters is faced with another version of himself and once again it is a wonder to behold. Hopeless has a brilliant handle on the characters and creates some brilliant scenes that every reader can relate to. The art by Mark Bagley fits the piece well and manages to capture each character well. If you’re a big X-Men fan this is worth a read, I do recommend having Google open if you haven’t been following the comics for a while as you’re going to have a lot of questions.
…That was this week’s BearSleuth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle!!! Check back on Monday for a new BearSleuth Opinion Piece!!!