Velvet #7 picks up the chase for Velvet from the points-of-view of Colt and Roberts. Actually, but for a few panels, this issue offers very little of Velvet herself. It’s not the greatest way to pick up the story arc, and it doesn’t do very much to advance the narrative or tell us anything we didn’t already know, but it does offer glimpses into the minds of Colt and Roberts. Those characters are a little more fleshed out here, and so the world of Velvet feels slightly more populated. The big payoff for this issue is in the cliffhanger, so rest assured, the story-telling pace here won’t slow for long. Steve Brubaker’s command of the hard-boiled/noir voice is as engaging as ever, and thanks to Steve Epting’s art, and Elizabeth Breitweiser’s ink work, Velvet’s aesthetic appeal continues to excel and immerse us in the environment of Cold War Europe.
If you’ve been reading this title, it’s safe to say you know what’s going on, and this issue won’t really do much to move the story forward, but it’s a solid installment. If you haven’t read the initial arc (issues #1-5), you’ll have a tough time fully investing, or seeing this book as much more than a run-of-the-mill, “Spy on the Run” story, but if you’re a fan of Ed Brubaker’s work, or of hardboiled/noir storytelling, this series is still young enough to be worth your time to catch up on.
Verdict: Worth a look.
Death of Wolverine #2
Death of Wolverine #2 delivers pretty much what #1 promised, and that’s a bit of a showdown in Madripoor. If you didn’t follow Wolverine’s 3, 2, 1 Month(s) to Die storyline, this is where Death of Wolverine throws a lot of information at you that probably won’t all register, and so this series may not seem to stand quite so well on its own as was advertised. In short, #2 is much heavier on action than explanation. That’s not really a negative, but the action does feel somewhat truncated here, especially where Sabretooth is involved.
The quality of the artwork has held up from issue #1, and Madripoor as a setting is taken full advantage of when it comes to the vibrant look of the panels. The layouts make the action sequences easy enough to follow, and that’s important in this issue as more players are mixed into the fold. Since this is only a four issue series, you really can’t take an issue off here, but #2 does more than enough to earn its place in the pacing of the arc.
Verdict: Worth a look.
Amazing Spider-man #6
The story arc seemed to take a step forward with Amazing Spider-man #6. We were given, at least seemingly, a bit of closure with Electro. and we see some direct confrontation between Black Cat and Spidey. Some of the banter between Spidey and Silk feels forced here, and stretched out to take up more page space than is really warranted. That makes for some very busy looking panels, but putting Spidey into action alongside Silk is a nice change of pace from some of the more recent issues that have focused heavily on Peter and his troubles with managing his young company.
For the most part, the art work holds up. The layouts are easily digestible, but I felt during the action sequences with Electro, much of the art was washed out in blue, and the inclusion of heavy dialogue, the exchanges between Spidey and Silk forced a higher number of panels per page, and that broke up the action just a bit too much for my liking. Even so, issue #6 delivers the step forward that Amazing Spider-man has needed, and while there’s nothing particularly surprising here, it’s quite satisfying.
Verdict: Solid read
New Suicide Squad: Future’s End #1
I should preface this by saying I haven’t been following the main Future’s End title, so the tie-ins may be lost on me from the start. For those who don’t know, the Future’s End tie-ins are taking the various D.C. titles and projecting them five years into the future. These are all aside from the current story lines of their respective titles, and I think that’s an enormous part of the problem. None of them feel grounded in anything that is of current interest to the readers of those titles. With the New Suicide Squad installment of Future’s End, all I can really say is that it’s a mess. With each of the squad’s members being the victim of various experiments to enhance their abilities, none of the characters involved resemble the characters we know and are already invested in. Black Manta has been nearly mind-wiped, Harley Quinn is on Venom, a young clone of Deathstroke is on the loose, and the end result is probably best described as unintentional comedy.
Verdict: Skip it
Batman: Future’s End #1
Keeping in mind everything I’ve said about Future’s End; I haven’t followed the main title, these storylines are apart from current ones, etc… Batman’s installment is really only a little bit better than that of the New Suicide Squad. The story is certainly more coherent and cohesive. I have a better grasp on what Batman is trying to accomplish, but we aren’t told nearly enough in terms of how Batman arrived at the point where we find him. Of course, this is part of the idea. Future’s End doesn’t want to show all of its hand, but the execution of it feels coy. This may be because Batman feels out of character. He’s desperate and slightly irrational here, and without knowing what got him there, it’s harder as a reader to accept it. In the end, all I can say is this issue feels like another stalling tactic on our way back to current day Gotham City after the events of Zero Year. There’s really no satisfaction in the outcome, and for that reason, it doesn’t even work as a one-and-done.
Verdict: Skip it.