State of Comics


Hey, all. For those of you who’ve been wondering where the weekly comics updates have been, let me just apologize for the lapse. As I’ve mentioned in my last handful of updates, DC switching to a twice-monthly schedule has buried me, and it’s too tricky for me to stay on top of it and to balance everything else going on in my writing life. I’m about a week behind right now, but I thought I’d take some time to do a post on where the big two are, and what I would like to see out of them in the new year.

Rebirth has been exactly that for DC. I don’t think I can name a single title that hasn’t benefited from the company returning to some of the statuses quo we saw before The New 52, and as a huge Superman fan, I couldn’t be happier. Supes had it rough in The New 52. While there were a couple decent arcs, none really stick in my mind as the character never really exceeded mediocrity. Since Rebirth, both Superman and Action Comics have been consistently good reads. While it feels like Action Comics focuses more on Clark’s family, it’s handled well. Lois and their son serve to flesh out Clark, but they aren’t treated as props. Also, the storyline with Lex Luthor is compelling, and it gives the title reason to delve back into the classic rivalry between Superman and Luthor that fans know and love.

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run on Batman is one of the few highlights of The New 52. While I wasn’t happy with Jim Gordon as Batman, or much else about that final arc, overall, it was a terrific run. Even so, there’s something about the stories in Batman and Detective Comics that feels so much more grounded in Gotham City, and so much of what makes the character fun is rooted in that setting. While I miss Capullo’s art in the world of Gotham City, DC has done well to uphold a standard. They were never going to assign a B-team to the world of Batman, so even titles that didn’t necessarily need facelift are thriving under the soft reboot.

If I’ve found any weak point in the Rebirth titles, it would have to be the team books. That means Justice League and Suicide Squad, both of which I’ve dropped. It’s not that they’re bad, and to be fair, it’s been awhile now, so they may even have improved, but I found both of those titles to be flat. You could say those have felt familiar in a bad way, not as in going back to DC’s roots, but familiar as in having not enough to set them apart from other stories we’ve read in the past. Again, they may have gotten better by now, but with so many other solid books coming out of Rebirth, there’s no shortage of things worth your time and spending money.

As far as Marvel goes, I don’t have much good to report. I’ve dropped everything on my pull list there except Amazing Spider-man and Daredevil. I’m behind on both, but at present, Spidey and Daredevil are some of the only Marvel characters who are remotely recognizable. That’s much less a shot at swapping superhero identities than simply at the books not feeling like what we’re used to. Marvel is throwing one event after the next, throwing out every status quo, and giving me no way of finding my bearings in their universe. They’re making one foolish decision after another, and then doubling down on them. Frankly, it seems to me as though Marvel’s comics are being written by people who would rather be writing other things, and so they’re transforming what we know and love whether we like it or not. With all the heroes fighting heroes, what we need is a reason to smile. How bad is it? Well, a few months ago, I was reading Captain America: Sam Wilson and Captain America: Steve Rogers. Today, for the first time since I’ve had a pull file in my life, I’m not reading a Captain America title.

Marvel and DC are dealing with inverse situations. DC/WB is giving us awful, joyless films while publishing comics that capture everything people have loved for generations about their characters. Marvel’s film universe is a juggernaut that has yet to put out a true miss, but their comics are largely unreadable. The good news is if DC can right the ship, so can Marvel. If the MCU keeps raking in the money, maybe they won’t care about a dip in comics sales, but I’m hoping they’re better than that.

Comics Update

I had quite a few books in my pull file this week, but there isn’t a whole lot to talk about in them. In the cases of most of the titles, that’s not to say they were bad, but that that a lot of the issues are somewhere in the middle of their story arcs, and didn’t see a ton of plot progression.

When it comes to Marvel, I’ve made no secret that their books are letting me down, almost across the board. Neither version of Captain America (Sam Wilson or Steve Rogers) is any good right now. The reasons are a mixture of cataclysmic stupidity in character direction, ham-fisted storytelling, and the fact they’re hamstrung by Civil War II, which is a trainwreck on its own. Both versions of Cap were in my pull this week, and I don’t have much energy for discussing either.

Star Wars has been one of the few Marvel titles I still look forward to, and #23 did a good job of maintaining the “baseline good” performance of the book. The story is being paced a little better here than some of the recent issues, though I’m beginning to wonder about the scope of some of the arcs. Remember these books are now part of Star Wars canon, and there’s only so much that can be worked in between the story beats we know. Still, it’s entertaining enough to hold my interest. While the art in these books has been a strong point in the past, it’s slipping here, particularly in the depiction of character faces. In a few panels, it’s bad enough to be distracting, but this is still one of few Marvel titles I have patience for these days.

Continuing the trend of good movies to bad books/bad movies to good books, DC put out some solid issues this week. Wonder Woman #7 saw some significant plot progress, and while it was a little oddly paced, meaning it seemed to wrap up very suddenly, it wasn’t unsatisfying. The big development comes with Cheetah in the end, and it’ll be interesting to see where they’re going with that.

Action Comics #964 continued to explore the new/old Superman’s experience in delving back into the world, and specifically, we saw him dig deeper into the mysterious, non-superpowered version of Clark Kent. They’re clearly doubling down on the mystery as Superman confirmed this version of Clark is genetically human, and beleives his version of his past, but there’s clearly something at work here, and it feels like this issue dragged its feet a bit. There needed to be something more to their trip to the Fortress of Solitude, as we didn’t really learn anything from it.

Detective Comics #941 built on the attack of “The Monster Men,” and the hurricane hitting Gotham. It did a nice job of reminding us that the team is still shaken from Tim’s apparent death, but that the attack is keeping them from grieving properly. Because we as the audience know Tim isn’t actually dead, it’s really for the best that it’s handled this way because I can’t imagine it hitting the emotional mark it would want to. Where there is a nice bit of emotion in this issue is in the depiction of Gotham Girl. She’s become a very sympathetic character, and her breakdown leading toward the big ending works well here. As with Action Comics, and maybe the other Batman and Superman books, the twice monthly schedule may be causing the stories to drag a little. This issue of Detective Comics was pretty much strictly action, and while that can be a lot of fun, it can be numbing if it happens too often. They’re not there yet, but it’s something to consider moving forward.

Comics Update

Now that I’m more-or-less caught up on comics, I’ll try to go into a little more detail about some of the specific books I’m reading. That may get tricky with DC’s more aggressive publishing schedule, but we’ll cross bridges as we trip over them.

I’ve been down on Marvel’s books lately. I’m not sorry for it. I stand by my criticism, but I’d like to point out the good things where I see them. Two bright spots in my Marvel reading have been Daredevil and Amazing Spider-man. Amazing Spider-man #18 saw a little more development on Doc Ock’s efforts to return to human form. It’s been teased from issue to issue, and now it looks like they’re getting ready to make it happen. For an issue that featured so little actual Spider-man, this one really worked for me. It was light on action, but the focus was tight, and it set up the next bend in the story arc well.

Superman #7 was one of the better issues of Superman I’ve read in some time. As with a lot of his stories since Rebirth, the story dealt mostly with the new/old Clark finding his place in this new version of the world. The setting was small, and again, it went light on action, but this issue was heavy with character, and that character was extremely recognizable as the Clark and Lois that fans know and love. Clark is burdened, but he never broods. He’s the optimist he’s always been, and it’s done without making the story cheesy. This is exactly how reading a Superman comic should be.

Batman #7 set up the Monster Men event that’s been teased since Gotham and Gotham Girl first cropped up. The focus on the Bat Family, and reference to Tim Drake’s stand against The Colony made this feel a bit like Detective Comics, so some of that distinct feel that has existed between the two books is blurred, but it’s not a bad story, and there’s no reason there can’t be overlap. Like everyone else reading comics these days, I’m tired of “Event” story arcs, but this one shows a little potential.

Trinity seems to be DC’s effort to cover Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in one book. Normally, I stay away from titles where the artist does the writing as well. I hate to generalize, but I usually find a considerable lack in the art, the writing, or both. I like Francis Manapul, though, and I gave this one a shot. It was entertaining enough, though it didn’t do a lot to set up a future story for the title. Until the book’s last couple pages, it really just catches readers up on the status of each character, so if you’re reading Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman individually, as I am, there isn’t a lot here for you.

Comics Update

Well, as you may have noticed, I fell behind on my comic book posts again. Part of that is because of my personal schedule, and part of that is due to DC’s publishing schedule. DC has been publishing all of their top tier books twice a month instead of monthly. Ordinarily, that would be a terrible sign, especially on a couple of books that have had multiple artists, but I’ve found the results to be shockingly good so far.

For me, the big winner has been Wonder Woman. Since the end of Brian Azzarello’s run, the character has suffered, but Rebirth, and the work of Rucka and Finch has made it one of the better books going right now. The artwork is phenomenal, and Rucka’s writing is exploring Diana’s character and fleshing her out in ways she hasn’t been since much earlier in The New 52.

Both Superman and Action Comics have also revitalized the man of steel, and that’s refreshing after what the movie by that name did to the character. Both books have put a lot of emphasis on Clark’s family, and making young Johnathan the new Superboy. I’m more interested in seeing the new/old Superman find his place in the Justice League, but the family material hasn’t been so oppressive as to drag the story down.

Detective Comics and Batman have done an incredible job of offering distinctive looks at Batman and the Bat family. Detective Comics has put its focus on the wider Bat family, and that’s been great for recapturing the relationships between Bruce, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and other characters The New 52 wasn’t overly kind to. For more of a straightforward dose of Bruce Wayne, Batman has filled the void. It’s a different feel from Scott Snyder’s run with Greg Capullo, and while I miss Capullo’s take on Gotham City, I like the story moving away from the horror-esque vibe of Snyder’s work.

On the Marvel side of things, there isn’t a lot to report. Daredevil has been solid, as has Amazing Spider-man. Those are two of the books least impacted by the events of Civil War II (which I’ve ignored as much as possible), and also two books that haven’t had massive status quo shifts that either replace or betray their characters. Blindspot’s dynamic with Matt in Daredevil has been compelling, and in my opinion, a far less ham-fisted attempt to explore social issues, specifically immigration.

I’ll try to keep more current on comics as they come out, but in the meantime, that’s more or less the state of things. It seems DC and Marvel are in different positions. Marvel is making brilliant movies and poor comics while DC makes terrible movies and solid books.

This Week in Comics 8/3/2016

I’ve been traveling recently, so I’m a little behind on my comics this week. I haven’t read everything from my pull file yet, but I’ve got at least a few titles that are worth mentioning.

Superman #4 gave us a pretty interesting showdown with Eradicator. It was a really action-heavy issue, and the artwork carried it off nicely. Issues like that often lack for story and characterization, and while there’s truth to that here, the inclusion of the “ghosts of Krypton” kept things from being a bland punch-fest. It’s an interesting enough installment that caps off what was started in the last issue, and maybe hints at what’s next. I enjoyed it, but I’m starting to wonder if the twice monthly publishing format is causing some of these books to drag their feet a little.

Batman #4 inched things forward this week too, though it’s a little disorienting at the start. The confusion lies in the fact that this issue doesn’t really pick up where #3 ended. It gets there, but it took me some time before I was sure I hadn’t somehow skipped an issue. When I got settled into it, I was happy with what I read. Gotham and Gotham Girl continue to be interesting characters for me, and Hugo Strange can be a great character when he’s well-written, so I’m excited to see what this creative team will do here. After Scott Snyder’s Robo-Bat-Gordon sendoff, it feels really good to get back to a more recognizable Gotham City. That’s what this arc is achieving so far.

Kill or Be Killed #1 is the latest Image project from Brubaker/Phillips/Breitweiser. This is a creative dreamteam in my estimation, so it was a definite read this week, even if I have been critical of Brubaker’s last couple issues of Velvet. What’s strange for me about this book is that its premise is so much more interesting than its characters. At the beginning it reads like the script to a bad indie film. Guy struggles with depression, his roommate starts sleeping with his best friend/secret crush, and he tries to kill himself. The main character is beacon of angst, and he’s quite dull to read. It isn’t until the plot turns supernatural that I cared about any of it. After his failed suicide attempt, he’s visited by a demon who tells him he must kill one (supposedly bad) person every month in payment for the second chance he was given. That’s how the title of the book becomes literal, and what mostly saves it for me. In the longrun, I’m going to need some significant character development to keep me interested, but for now I’m at least curious enough to give it some time.

Geekly Comics for the week of 7/26/2016


I’ve been worrying a lot lately in these posts about being imbalanced between Marvel and DC. The truth is I see the two as being mirror images of one another at this point. DC’s comics are showing strong in Rebirth, and their movies are failing miserably. Marvel is the reverse of that. Their movies are unquestionably solid, and their comics are floundering. There was only one Marvel book in my pull list this week. It was Steve Rogers: Captain America #3, and I’ve made my feelings on this arc pretty well known. So, rather than bash the book again, I’ll just say this book continues to stick me some place between rage and boredom. There wasn’t much happening in this issue. We got a Vader/Palpatine-like holographic dialogue, and the threat of Jack recovering from the fall and exposing Steve. It’s a little bit of plot progress, but given the fact that I detest the plot, there’s little comfort in that. Let’s move on now.


Nightwing came back to the fold this week with Nightwing #1. It was a little slow getting into it, but I think a lot of that is tied to an expectation of readers to have followed the Grayson series, which I didn’t. There are some okay moments with Barbara and Bruce where Dick says his goodbyes and prepares to leave for his overseas adventure. Those do a little something for fan-service, but they can’t quite carry the issue. When Dick meets with the “Parliament,” we’re spoon-fed a lot of the exposition, and it isn’t great stuff, but it gets us pointed in a direction. It wasn’t a strong debut for the title, but the ending promised enough to make me interested in the next issue.


Action Comics # 960 kept things going with the Doomsday brawl. The pace slows a little to give us some character moments as Wonder Woman shows up to help, and there was some good banter in that. At one point, we’re shown how Superman is counting the blows he’s dealt Doomsday (he’s up to 4-thousand-and-something), so I can’t help but wonder if even Jurgens suspects what he’s writing is more than a little bit tired. There’s still no development on the mysterious, non-Superman version of Clark Kent, and that’s beginning to annoy me. In the end, this issue served to move the threat from Metropolis to Superman’s family, and you could call that a raising of the stakes, but it took a little long to get there. This wasn’t a bad issue, but it is the weakest in this arc.


Detective Comics #937 didn’t tell us much more than we already knew. In this issue, we pretty much see Batman learn everything Batwoman did in the last issue, but we did get to see him fight back a little. I enjoyed that because while it’s clear this title is going back to highlighting the Bat Family, I hate seeing Bruce ride too much of the bench. This issue really just served to put the pieces in place and set up a dramatic confrontation between the Bat Family and the Colony, but the League of Shadows/League of Assassins bit is a pretty exciting hint at what may be around the corner. Tynion is pacing this arc fairly well, and Martinez and Fernandez (pencils/inks) are keeping it looking nice.


Wonder Woman #3 was the highlight of the batch for me, and the book officially made my pull list this week, where I had just been picking it off the shelf since Rebirth. We had a nice character moment with Cheetah and Diana in this issue, and while Trevor and his team’s story didn’t move much, it also didn’t slow down the rest of the issue. Sharp’s work on this book is gorgeous, and I have to say, while the writing has been solid, the art is making Wonder Woman one of, if not the single best looking comic in DC’s lineup right now.

Geekly Comics Update for Week of July 23, 2016

It’s obviously a busy time in the world of comics with San Diego Comic Con in full swing. I’ve fallen a bit behind in reading my books, and I’d love to blame it on that, but I’m not lucky enough to be there this weekend, and it’s really just been life getting in my way. With that said, I have worked my way through most of my pull file over the last two weeks, and I thought I’d share some thoughts on what I’ve found.


For the first time in years, I can say DC’s trinity (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) are being well-represented in at least one title. It’s too early following Rebirth to crown any one book yet, but Wonder Woman under the new creative team has been excellent. I may go as far as to say it’s my top book at the moment. With each member of the trinity showing strongly, I had high hopes for Justice League #1, but they didn’t exactly pan out. It’s not a bad book in any one sense. It’s just a bland one. On individual stages, the big three are doing much better. Action Comics #959 gave us an action-heavy chapter for Superman. Though there may have been a nostalgia appeal for people who are thrilled to have the pre-New 52 Superman back, this is still a massive fight with Doomsday, and that’s a pretty tired area to explore. The art is solid here, and Lex’s involvement does add a fresh element to things, so it isn’t a total rehash, but people like me, who may be a little tired of Doomsday, may have had a little trouble getting past the fatigue. Superman #3 did a little better job of catching my interest. Eradicator isn’t nearly as played out, especially lately, as far as enemies go, and while it was much lighter on the action, it did well to make me interested in Clark’s family.


On the Batman end of things, Detective Comics #936 continues to be more focused on the Bat-family. Specifically, I think they’re trying to catch up to and fill the void left by Batwoman. She’s the focus here, and while it’s reasonably well done, I can’t help but feel her father’s involvement is shoe-horned in to keep her as the focal point. Again, she’s interesting enough, and it works, but I see where the plot is being bent around her, and the writing is showing some rough spots because of it. Batman #3 gave us a little context for Gotham and Gotham Girl as characters. Having them be people Bruce saved some time ago makes their story feel too familiar, especially as Duke comes into the picture, but I’m excited to see what will be done with Hugo Strange. Finch’s artwork is really solid on this title, and while it’s very different from Greg Capullo’s, it works as one of DC’s better-looking titles.


For Marvel, Amazing Spider-man and Daredevil are pretty much the only two titles that aren’t consistently letting me down. It should help then that Daredevil #9 features Spidey riding shotgun alongside Matt. The result wasn’t as good as I hoped for, as I think some of Spidey’s banter with Daredevil got far too campy. It’s a well-drawn book, and it kept my interest, but it had the feel of a one-off, where some larger plot progression would have been nicer. There’s some pretty heavy suggestion of a change of heart coming for Matt, as he comes (mostly) clean with Spidey about how he altered people’s memories to restore is secret identity, but it was a long way to go to make that point.


On the side of things that’s neither DC nor Marvel, Velvet #15 wrapped up a pretty big bit of story. This book hit a massive pothole in the road with its foray into Watergate, and its portrayal of historical people, and I wish it came back from that stronger than it did, but I’m afraid it only managed an “okay” bit of closure to the arc. Velvet faking her death and taking revenge dipped pretty deep into espionage cliche, and I can’t help but feel it was too convoluted a story to end so simply. Epting’s art continues to be a massive strength for this book, and while I’ve always loved Brubaker, he’s missing the mark here, at least a little.

Geekly Comics for the Week of 7/6/201


I hope nobody thinks I forgot about them last week. I didn’t have a lot of books in my pull list last week, so I decided to wait and cover two weeks with one update. Brace yourselves, because things get a little rocky.

There are two Captain America books to talk about this week, but I’d gladly settle for just one decent one. Nick Spencer is writing both, and I’m sorry to say he’s doing an exceptionally poor job of it. Steve Rogers: Captain America #2 came out last week, so I’ll start there. We get a bit of an explanation behind Hydra-Cap AKA the revelation that Steve Rogers has been a Hydra agent all along. I blasted Spencer and Marvel for this when it dropped, and I take absolutely none of it back. Issue #2 is devoted to explaining away the twist, and its exactly what you’d expect, some Cosmic Cube nonsense, but even its execution, this is an objectively bad book. Spencer buries the issue in speech bubble after speech bubble dripping with exposition and clunky dialogue. In fact, let me illustrate my point by sharing a couple panels with you.

Here is Dr. Selvig explaining every single thing about every single thing.


And on the next page we have Red Skull


It’s fitting these panels appear as they do in the book, but Skull’s proclamation of boredom is completely separate, I assure you. It’s not some breaking of the fourth-wall, but he’s complaining about the meal his kitchen staff made. The arm in the panel belongs to a chef whom he murdered because he made a soup with a celery base. That’s not a joke. That’s actually what happened. Therein lies the other problem with Spencer’s writing. It lacks any nuance whatsoever.

Sam Wilson: Captain America #11 suffers from the same lack of approach. It’s another Civil War II tie-in, which I detest, but unlike last issue it doesn’t grind Sam’s story to as much of a halt. We do get some relation to the conflict with Americops, but it’s more of the same from Spencer. He’s overreaching for relevance, and it’s beginning to read like some angst-laden teenager’s anti-government blog. It’s not even that he’s wrong about any particular thing, it’s just that he’s not saying anything new, or in any interesting fashion. Nothing about this book says “Marvel Comics” to me. It’s more like a rejected Buzzfeed article.

Amazing Spider-man #15 was the lone exception for Marvel in my eyes. This has been a consistently solid title, and though I never invested all that much in Regent as a character, it managed to keep my attention. As long as it took this arc to build, Mary Jane coming to save the day in a handful of panels makes the story feel a little rushed. If there’s one thing I can really gig this arc on, it’s the pacing, but I think I value titles like ASM and Daredevil so much because they’re some of the only Marvel books I still recognize these days. The ending to this arc may have come a bit too easily, but I look forward to the next one, and that’s all any of us can expect when we follow a series.

On the DC side of things, it wasn’t all roses, just in case I’m sounding more and more biased. Justice League Rebirth #1 probably fell flattest for me on that side of the big two. It wasn’t a bad book, but it didn’t really offer much. We got a look at Clark and his family, which we’ve gotten from other books, a parallel story about the JL going on without a Superman, and a decision for the new (old?) Superman to throw in with them. Again, nothing wrong with any of that necessarily, but it’s just sort of a long-winded introduction. Aside from the writing, Henriques’ art was a bit inconsistent. I’ll go so far as to say some of his panels with the league fighting to save the infected were downright ugly. I’m not put off from picking up the series, but I’m not pumped for it, either.

Speaking of wonky art, that was my big gripe with Superman #2. Gleason’s art is never ugly, but it’s sometimes uneven. I was particularly thrown by some of his work with faces. In a couple panels, he gives Clark an almost Joker-like smile, and the characters lose their facial features more than once, even in what are meant to be static panels. The story itself was a little more of the same. We get a little character development, particularly with young Jonathan, and while it isn’t bad, I’m not that invested in the “Smith” family (Kent family in hiding). What saves the book is the ending. Here is where the Fortress of Solitude is broken into, and we get our first look at what the big threat is in this book. It sounds interesting enough, and I’m hopeful it will bring Superman back to being the focus of his own book. If nothing else, there was a definite sense of momentum building with this issue.

Lastly, Batman #2 delivered a solid issue. We got a little team-up with Gotham and Gotham Girl working alongside Bruce. The creative team still isn’t tipping their hand with the new heroes yet, but they’ve given us enough to keep the interest up. King’s writing here shows some of the subtlety that Nick Spencer’s (on the Marvel side of things) hopelessly lacks. We know Batman doesn’t trust the newcomers, but he doesn’t need to go on for page after page about it. He lets Alfred tell an anecdote about Bruce that highlights his suspicious nature, and he trusts us to know the character ourselves. That way, he can state the issue, move on, and let the story build instead of bogging us down with trying to sell us on something we already know, like that Red Skull is not a nice guy.

I’ll be at O Comic Con this weekend. If you’re in the area, come on out and support a growing young con. If you see me, say hello and we talk about comics, TV shows, movies, or why Yogi Bear wears a hat and tie, but no pants.

Geekly Comics for the Week of 6/22/2016


This was a pretty light week for me, and I’m sorry to say it’s another one that’s not very balanced. I just had one Marvel book this week, Sam Wilson: Captain America #10, and the results for it aren’t great. I’m a fan of Sam Wilson as a character, as Falcon, but his run as Captain America has fallen flat. That’s been my general feeling for the series, but the problem with this issue is two-fold. First, it’s a Civil War II tie-in issue. If you’re anything like me, you hit a serious case of “event” fatigue way back when DC was doing Forever Evil, and it’s only gotten worse on both sides, DC & Marvel. Because of that, I have paid next to no attention to this iteration of Civil War, and having my solo books derailed to tie into that plot frustrates me as a reader. This issue didn’t offer anything new. Actually, the bulk of it just depicted a eulogy for Rhodie/War Machine given by Sam. There’s not a lot of opportunity in that, but Nick Spencer’s writing didn’t help. Issue #10 used the beginning and end to reinforce (yet again) that Sam Wilson is Marvel’s version of Green Arrow. That’s to say his character is being used to champion social issues (though Green Arrow has moved away from that to some extent). It’s here, maybe more than anywhere else that Spencer’s complete lack of subtlety comes through. He’s heavy handed in plot as well as dialogue, and while he’s not saying anything a sensible person would object to, he’s saying it in such an overt, clumsy, cliched manner that it’s becoming increasingly cringeworthy.

I’m sure it’s begun to sound like I’m playing favorites, but DC gave me two solid reads this week (maybe three, haven’t had a chance to read Justice League yet). Detective Comics #935 brought us back to the bat-family’s new HQ, and delved a little bit into Red Robin’s relationship with Batman. Batwoman had a fairly nice character moment with her father in this issue, and while I wish there had been a little more motion in the plot, there was some decent value here. It’s still too early to say for sure, but it seems DC is planning to use Detective Comics as a more bat-family-centric title, and while I’m hit-and-miss on how much I care about each individual member, I think there’s a lot of appeal in going back to some of what The New 52 gave up. Tynion IV’s dialogue is a bit stilted in parts, and that continues to be a weak-spot in his work, but I really enjoyed Eddy Barrows’ artwork.

Wonder Woman #1 gave me some hope for the character getting back to the sort of solid storytelling we saw back on Brian Azzarello’s run. Greg Rucka’s writing is pretty solid in general, and he does well to not waste any ink in getting this arc going. The focus is split between Diana’s personal quest, and Steve Trevor’s mission, and that slows things down a little, but it never quite drags. We get a nice moment with Trevor in the jungle and Diana’s picture here, but it’s a little on-the-nose, and it highlights a fear that there will be too much focus on love-interests, but it’s only the first issue of the arc, and we’re not there yet. I particularly enjoyed Liam Sharp’s art in this book, and Laura Martin’s colors. There’s a distinctive aesthetic here, and I think it’s working. I’m not sure how Trevor’s fight against the warlord and Diana’s pursuit will intersect, but until they do, each is at least interesting enough to keep me turning pages.

Geekly Comics for the Week of 6/15/2016


DC’s launched its first issues of Batman and Superman under the Rebirth heading this week, and the results were mixed. Batman #1 has some considerable shoes to fill. Regardless of how you feel about how Scott Snyder’s run on the book ended, he was on it for five years. King does well to not make his introduction to the title too jarring, and Finch gives us an aesthetic that’s not trying to ape Greg Capullo’s work, and stands well enough on its own merit. Where #1 disappoints is in the writing. This story basically shows us Batman doing a lot of pseudo math in order to divert a plane which is about to crash land. Again, the tension builds into an attempt to get us to believe Bruce’s life is in danger, and you all know how I feel about that. Watching DC threaten to kill off its cash cows is starting to feel like seeing that one person who keeps pushing the elevator button harder and harder because they assume that makes it work faster. Bruce’s conversation with Alfred, asking “Is this a good death?” feels hollow, and too sentimental for the character. In the end, it’s all a device to bring in the characters who save the day, Gotham and Gotham Girl, the city’s new saviors. It’s an underwhelming finale that left me feeling like it was all just a long-winded introduction to what was advertised on the cover art. Still, a little awkward dialogue aside, I’m hopeful that the new creative team can deliver a good run. I just look for much better pacing in the future.

Superman #1 spent a little more time grieving for The New 52’s Superman, and celebrating the return of the original version of the character. Brevity helped a bit, as the script gave us a nice monologue in the first few pages, an inspiring image, and kindly moved on with the story. My big problem with the story itself is how very light it was on Superman. This issue focused on little Johnathan, Clark and Lois’ son, and the family’s life in hiding as Clark goes back to filling the role of our world’s Superman. We see Superman Jr. wrestling with his powers, resenting the need to hide, and generally being obnoxious and emo. That’s not why I read Superman comics, and I got enough of that nonsense in Man of Steel. Maybe I’m being too hard on the book, but I’m absolutely fed up with DC trying to shoe-horn a “dark and gritty” take on the character, and using his family to do it doesn’t make it any less tired. I’m hoping the next chapter puts Clark into action, and loses the family docu-drama element.

Star Wars #20 brought us back to the journal of Obi Wan. It picked up where our last visit to Kenobi’s adventures left off, and it gave us the confrontation we were promised. We talk a lot about suspension of disbelief when we talk comics and comics-related-shows/movies, and it’s an essential part of being an audience for those things. The Star Wars books haven’t asked all that much from us, comparatively speaking, but I think they need to tread carefully when involving adolescent Luke, Uncle Owen, and Aunt Beru in the early adventures. Owen and Beru weren’t particularly developed characters in the films, but it was established that Luke led a pretty boring life on a moisture farm. He can only save the day from so many Wookie mercenary attacks before there’s another Star Wars franchise continuity discrepancy. With that gripe aside, it was a satisfying entry for the title, and one that leaves plenty of possibilities for the next leg of the story.

Amazing Spider-man #14 kept things going with Regent. If anything, the problem here was that the story moved too far, or maybe it’s better to say it tried to do too much. Regent took down Miss Marvel in a couple panels, Falcon-Cap with a single panel and not but an “ughf” from Sam Wilson, and reminded me Thor is a woman now by taking her out with a flick of the wrist. There were others mentioned, Hyperion, comes to mind, but that was off screen completely. There’s building up a villain, and there’s gutting a bunch of heroes, and this issue slipped all the way to the latter. With that said, I’m glad to see the story moved along. Stark and Parker/Spidey continued their bickering, and while I can’t say it did anything for me, it didn’t grind the issue to halt. This wasn’t a standout issue, but I wouldn’t call it much of a stumble. Regent is still a reasonably compelling antagonist, and there’s good reason to look forward to where the arc goes with him.