I was really excited for this book. After Zero Year, and Forever Evil, I feel like it’s been too long since Batman has been able to return to telling good, self-contained stories within the confines of present-day Gotham City. As the cover implies, we get a visit from The Justice League in this issue, and that made me nervous that we’d be going right back into another crossover event that would take Batman back out of Gotham, but that’s not really what happens here.
Without getting too deep into spoiler territory, we begin with something of a calm to open the story, but it’s interrupted by an attack on Bruce by the Justice League itself. My fear then became that we were getting into the already traveled grounds of a Justice League: War type of story, but Snyder is careful to show us that the members of the League are not themselves. The action sequences are well-executed, the visuals are impressive, and the twist revelation at the end makes this book well worth the increased price.
Verdict: Solid read
Amazing Spider-man #7
This issue continues the pairing of Peter and Silk. We get a little more of their primal attraction, which I feel is getting to the point where it’s been farmed enough, and continuing on with it without developing it, or explaining it is becoming detrimental to the narrative. Anna Maria serves to explore the Peter Parker side of Spidey’s problems, that’s to say his fledgling business venture, but the real draw for this issue is the Ms. Marvel team-up. There are some genuinely fun moments here, and the exchange between the two characters is well-done.
The Edge of the Spider-verse segment of the book didn’t draw me in so much, but then that whole story-line isn’t much of a draw for me. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, but I feel it does little for the arc beyond providing a bit of a focus on Spider-UK.
Verdict: Worth a look
I’ll keep this one short. This is not a book for anyone who hasn’t been reading Uncanny Avengers and X-Men for the last year or so. As usual, Marvel’s editorial tries to bring the uninitiated up to speed with a couple pages of background, but it’s nowhere near enough to fill readers in on such an enormous cast of characters.
Even within the pages themselves, once the story gets going, Remender is trying to do too much too soon. The number of panels per page, and the dialogue-heavy sequences drag down the pace and make it difficult for anyone trying to jump on board at this point. The long and the short of it is if you’ve been following the individual titles, AXIS will probably have a huge payoff for you, but this book has no business calling itself a #1.
Verdict: Skip it (unless you’re a faithful reader of the individual titles)
Scott Snyder’s other big release this week is the debut of Wytches. There’s not a whole lot of setup needed for this one, and what’s there is done well. The narrative takes a bit of a wide focus, meaning we don’t get to know quite as much about any one character as we’d like to, but there’s enough here to give us an idea of what we can expect. I’d also have liked a bit more setting. The flashback sequence in the opening pages makes full use of its historical setting, but I’d like to have had a bit more of that concept in the present-day narrative. But for a single line of dialogue, I’m not sure we’d know at all where this is taking place, but I have confidence Snyder will get us there.
As for the rest of the book, it gives us enough to have some idea of what’s at stake. There is a genuinely horrifying moment toward the end where we’re shown a confrontation with a bully. The triumph of Snyder’s work here is that he goes so very far beyond the expectations of such a scene, and he makes it sequence that sticks and disturbs. The artwork is as good as you’d expect, and works brilliantly to underscore the darker tones of the book while still seeming to fit the characters. The writing is clearly Snyder in his horror element.
Verdict: Excellent read.