Well I have been away for a week (yes, I had a very nice holiday thanks for asking) and now I guess it’s time for me to bring the pain on a whole new stack of comics. We are in the middle of a huge event summer as Marvel and DC wage war for our attentions with increasingly large gambits to attract our eye. This week alone we have a new slew of Civil War II tie-ins and DC Rebirth series. While all that’s playing out there are also offerings from DC’s new Hannah Barbera collection and the Marvel Star War’s imprint. Suffice to say, even if I got a little break on holiday, I’m back in the deep end this week.
All images are screenshots taken from the Marvel and DC Comics apps [Accessed 09/07/2016]
Batman Issue Two By Tom King And David Finch
Tom King really gets comic books as a medium and even more so he gets what comic book fans want out of their books. We are glutton’s for self-reference, I think that comes from being spoilt by a shared universe. In Batman Issue Two we get a fantastic combination of old and new as the series’ brand new characters start to learn what it is to be a hero in Gotham. Like with Issue One, there are some fantastic character moments here and the depiction of key characters such as Gordon and Alfred is spot on. If I had one complaint, it would probably be the pacing which feels a little slow burn at the moment but I think that can be put down to King building his Gotham up and showing his spin. The artwork by David Finch is right on the money and the complete package is one you need in your collection.
Civil War II Kingpin Issue One By Matthew Rosenberg And Richardo Lopez Ortiz
If there was nothing else to say about this issue I would have to at least mention the outstanding variant cover art by Esad Ribic which serves to capture the character of the Kingpin perfectly (I’ve made it the cover in this article for reference). I was a little suspicious going into this book as I wondered whether it would be an attempt to bring the Kingpin more in line with Vincent D’onofrio’s iteration of the character. However, this book seems to be more about the Kingpin working his way back to his position at the top of the Marvel Universe after his brief stint on the west coast. There is a degree of tie-in to the main Civil War II event but this book is more of a character study and an argument in defence of Kingpin. The art by Ortiz is very hit and miss throughout as it plays a little stylistic at points and can come off as goofy, especially in an exchange between Kingpin and Sam Wilson. I would recommend this to readers who have always been curious about Kingpin but if you don’t fall into that category it may be wise to give it a miss.
BearSleuth Pick Of The Week: The Flintstones Issue One By Mark Russell And Steve Pugh
Comedy is tough in comic books. In fact, it can be pretty hard in any form of the written word as it’s much more difficult to control things such as inflection and timing. That all being said, The Flintstones Issue One might just be one of the funniest comic books I have read for years. With a blend of modern culture observations, silly Stone Age puns and genuinely heart-felt moments from Mark Russell this book will not fail to blow your mind. If you are a fan of the original TV series this is continuation of that humour with some more updated references and a little more of an adult perspective. This is not to say that the book isn’t child-friendly but it’s more aimed at adult readers while also acknowledging child readers. The artwork is dripping with fun references and strong design. If you want to explore comedy in comics this is a masterclass. Pick it up.
Han Solo Issue Two By Marjorie Liu And Mark Brooks
This one was just a bit of self-indulgence. If I’m being honest, this is probable one of the more mediocre series on the shelves at the moment, the plotting is fairly generic and the artwork is slightly above average. But no matter how average the plot and art might be, Marjorie Liu has manage to get inside the head of Han Solo perfectly and nothing fills me with more joy than her constant onslaught of character moments that make the lovable rogue more lovable than ever before. Throw in a few great scenes with Chewie and you have a piece that will brighten a Star War fan’s day. I have never met someone who doesn’t at least enjoy the occasional Han Solo moment from the Star Wars films and this is just more of that goodness. Pick this one up if you’re a Star Wars fan, I promise you will finish it smiling.
Justice League Rebirth One-Shot By Bryan Hitch, Daniel Hendriques and Scott Hanna
I feel like the scheduling screwed this issue a little bit, the front of the book even claims that this issue was meant to be printed in September, but the main issue the book is dealing with has already been touched upon and semi-dealt with, in both the Superman series and the Justice League series. I think this just feels kind of unnecessary. I understand exactly why a new line-up needs a Justice League book, I would have just used the space to look into the Watchmen cross-over a little more or even just looked at the Justice League’s relationship with the Titans as that is going to be a key aspect of upcoming storylines. The story we are given is serviceable and fun enough with some cool scenes from Handriques and Hanna but this this definitely one you can skip over if you’re on a budget.
Sam Wilson Captain America Issue Eleven By Nick Spencer And Daniel Acuna
Nick Spencer needs to get himself a John Oliver-style talk show, complete with long segments talking about the ‘hot-button’ issues of today. I adore this series and I like politics to find its way into all forms of artistic expression so this really gets me going. Sam Wilson is such a measured and considerate character who understands the weight of his mantle that even small issues become big moral choices in his hands. Nick Spencer toys with this perfectly, using up to date modern examples to explore his political views and the stance of Wilson. I can understand how this would be off putting for less politically minded readers and it is very wordy, giving the book a snail’s pace, but if this is your sort of thing it will tick all your boxes. The Civil War II aspect of the story is particularly interesting and presents a new angle on the big book that could have only come from Spencer’s interpretation of Wilson. The art is spot on throughout with a very distinctive style. Chances are you can work out if you would like this book but if you are unsure I would pick up a copy and give it a read, this sort of piece deserves a place in the industry.
Superman Issue Two By Peter J. Tomasi And Patrick Gleason
I have never seen a Superman comic get things so right as this issue and its predecessor from Peter J. Tomasi. The classic Superman is a train wreck as a character, he is just too perfect in a lot of situations, but Tomasi has countered that by placing him next to his son and exploring the father-son relationship. It does play a lot like Tomasi’s Batman and Robin series but I don’t think it’s so close to call it a carbon copy, it’s more of a spiritual successor if anything. The artwork from Patrick Gleason is a wonder to behold, with many moments of just pure Superman goodness. If you want a good Superman book, this is the one for you.
Tokyo Ghost Issue Eight By Rick Remender And Sean Murphy
I cannot believe how intense this series is, we are only up to the eighth issue and there has already been some major emotional gut punches which have really pulled at my heart strings. This emotional aspect, along with the brilliant design work from both halves of the team, has created a world I can only compare to that of 2,000AD and their work with Judge Dredd. It feels rich and deep with ideas and concepts that just keep making me want to dive back in for more. The artwork is particularly strong in this issue, as Sean Murphy manages to compliment the emotional weight of the situation well. I would strongly recommend this series to all comic book readers but particularly those looking for something away from the super hero genre.
…That was this week’s BearSleuth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle!!! Check back at 6pm tonight for a new OpinionatedDavid article!!!