Geekly Comics for the Week of 6/8/16


I only got two books this week, so this should be pretty short. I probably should have gotten Action Comics and Detective Comics but they weren’t in my pull file for some reason. I assume there was a mix-up with the decision to go back to the pre-New 52 numbering for those titles. I’ll hope to pick them up as back issues and get caught up soon. So, in the absence of those two, I only had Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1 and Daredevil this week.

Wonder Woman‘s rebirth issue followed the trend I’ve seen in DC by using Rebirth as a way to voice a lot of the grievances fans have had with The New 52. In fact, that’s pretty much what this issue does. It talks about the contrasting continuities, makes Diana frustrated with the “changing story” of her own past, and it appears as though that’s going to be made a storyline. The bad news is that’s a pretty thin premise to build a good comic issue on, and it shows here. This issue doesn’t have much actually happening in it at all, and that’s been another common thing with the Rebirth titles. They’re almost meant to be “optional” reads for fans, and in general, I like that for any event, but I wish there were more of a payoff for “opting” in. This is a decently written book, even if it leans on a lot of cliches, and the artwork is solid. I’ve been really hoping for a return to quality for Wonder Woman as it feels like the book has floundered since Brian Azzarello’s run (which was excellent). This wasn’t a groundbreaking start, but it was enough to give me some hope for what’s ahead.

Daredevil put out what I would call its first throw-away issue in recent memory. It’s been one of Marvel’s most consistently solid books, and issue #8 had potential to be interesting. The problem is that it took a premise that could have made a good scene, and it tried to make a book of it. Daredevil is trying to bluff his way through a poker game. He can’t read his cards (because he’s blind), but he can sense his opponent’s reaction to their hand. It’s an interesting idea, sort of a re-imagined take on James Bond at Casino Royale, but it wears thin only a few pages into the story. What real action there is comes a bit late in the story, and the payoff doesn’t feel quite worthwhile when measured against the buildup. I’m not so much worried about the book going forward as this really just comes off as an experiment that didn’t pan out, a forgettable chapter in what can still be a good story.

Geekly Comics: Week of 6/1/2016


It might sound a little bit like I’m picking on Marvel this week, but for what it’s worth, I assure you I don’t mean to. Last month, Punisher got a new #1. In short, it was pretty awful. The plot followed a couple of cops who didn’t really matter, but served to dump exposition by the page-load. The art was stiff, and even in the few action sequences seemed static. I try not to be too hard on any #1. As much like nails on a chalkboard as exposition can be, when it comes to comics, some writers just like to pour it out in the first issue, then get to the meat of the story. If the story picks up, I can overlook the wasted first issue. Well, the second issue of Punisher came out this week, and I’m sorry to say it hasn’t improved at all. The story revolves around a new drug that turns users into a sort of super-soldier, but the only people we’ve seen use it are a guy who gets his head caved in with a cinderblock courtesy of Frank Castle, and a guy who ends up failing to get the drop on Castle and running away. I’m not saying The Punisher needs to get his head handed to him right from the start of his own book, but so far the effect of this wonder drug doesn’t seem all that great beyond turning people’s eyes red. The dialogue is also pretty cringeworthy. It’s loaded with exposition, and ranges from generic goon-speak, to that of a goon using a word-of-the-day calendar. I’m sorry to say I’ve picked up the first two issues of Punisher now, and it won’t be making my pull list.

Amazing Spider-man was a much better entry for Marvel. It’s been one of the stronger titles, and while this issue didn’t do much beyond setting the stage for the arc, it was mostly effective. Peter Parker’s feud with Tony Stark escalated a bit quickly, and I found it hard to watch it come to blows without feeling like Parker is coming off a bit childish, but the story is well aware of that sentiment, and Miles Morales voices that very viewpoint. If I have one big gripe about the book as a whole it’s that it’s feeling a little crowded. I like my Spider-man stories smaller, but the Zodiac arc defied that and managed to keep me entertained, so I’m still happy to be on board here.

Rebirth gave us a couple of #1’s for Batman and Superman this week. Batman: Rebirth #1 was a decent read, though I question how essential it, or any of the “Rebirth” branded solo books will be moving forward. The artwork was compelling enough, and that’s actually saying something considering it’s following Greg Capullo’s work on the title. Scott Snyder is credited as a writer on the issue, and I can see his influence especially where Calendar Man’s new status quo comes in. I’ll admit I’m probably a purist to a fault when it comes to introducing new status quos, but I’m usually only that way with core characters. I don’t think Calendar Man is on the level that other members of Gotham City’s rogues gallery have reached, so I don’t feel too averse to making changes to him. With that said, I don’t care for the new status quo. Having him molt and rejuvenate with the seasons is very paranormal/horror, and that screams Scott Snyder all over, but it doesn’t sit well with, or interest me. I got the impression I was meant to be more excited to learn Duke Thomas’ new role than I am. Part of that is that I don’t know or care much about Duke Thomas. I never got into We are Robin, and Batman: Rebirth doesn’t do much for an introduction. The creators here might have expected us to have done a little more homework than they should have, and that hurts the book. Ultimately, it’s not a bad read, but I’m not convinced I couldn’t have skipped it.

Superman: Rebirth #1 feels like a tighter book, and I’ve been waiting for several years to say that about  Superman book. Mostly, it’s a long narrative path toward telling us The New 52 Superman is dead, and the pre-New 52 Superman is going to fill the void. The effect here is a little weird. It tries to eulogize Clark Kent and convince us he’s dead, even while the previous reality’s Clark Kent is standing over his grave. I see how they wanted this to have en emotional appeal. They remind us that although we still have Clark Kent, who will be Superman again, the version we’ve known the last five years is dead. It’s hard to make that feel real, and though they try to with Lana, and showing the different relationships each Clark had with her, it’s a little too much focus on a gray area in comics. This issue was light on action, and tried to make up for it in sentiment with some mixed results. I do, however, feel like the things that happened in Superman’s rebirth issue have a better chance of mattering down the road, and that’s where the pay-off for having picked up this book came in.

For those worried about such things, I do read a few indie books, and from time to time, I’ll cover them. If I’m being honest, though, I read comics for superheroes, and that usually brings me to the big two (Marvel and DC). I don’t mean to neglect smaller publishers, and there’s a ton of high quality work floating around out there, so when something gets on my radar and I’m really into it, I’ll write about it, but more often than not, my comics involve capes and masks.

The Return of Geekly Comics


I haven’t covered comics in quite some time. It isn’t that I haven’t stopped reading them, though I did fall a bit behind. The reason is that lately I feel like I’ve been just hanging in there while Marvel and DC struggle to get their respective acts together. Batman was a robo-bunny. Superman was depowered, but somehow looked more like a gym-rat than ever. Captain America was de-powered and replaced by Sam Wilson—who Marvel thinks they’re bolstering by putting him in a different suit. In short, there just wasn’t a lot to enjoy about my old standards. Daredevil and Amazing Spider-man have been good, and DC’s Rebirth started off far stronger than I expected, so I’m hopeful again and dipping my toe back into the waters of comics coverage.

It’s not all good. Not by a long shot. By now, you’ve probably heard about what Marvel is trying to pass off as Captain America, or at least as Steve Rogers. If you haven’t, I’ll catch you up quickly. In Steve Rogers’ version of Cap (a mantle he’s now sharing with Sam Wilson), we learn he’s been a Hydra deep-cover agent from day one. This is comics, and no part of me thinks that’s going to stick, but I don’t care. It never should have been allowed. It’s a pathetic bait-and-switch on a fanbase that has been waiting to see Steve come back, and it’s a perfect example of what I call the worst form of hack writing.

When you write fiction, the hardest part of it is creating a character readers will care about, that they’ll invest in. When you write an iconic character, like Captain America, that job is done for you, but there’s a tradeoff. The tradeoff is knowing you have to give the audience what they came for. They picked up the book because they want to read about the character they know and love, and you can’t betray that. Marvel has. I’m sure by the end of the arc, we’ll learn things aren’t quite as they appear, but that doesn’t help either way. If it turns out Cap isn’t a traitor, then this issue is a cheap bit of misdirection, lazy at its best, and if it turns out he is a traitor, they’ve desecrated a character that means a lot to a great number of people. Maybe I’m piling on at this point, but it seems particularly egregious that they’d put this issue out the week of Memorial Day. Let’s celebrate 75 years of Captain America by crapping all over it.

On DC’s side of things, Rebirth is starting stronger than I’d have dared to hope. Normally, when they get into multiverse-shaping events, or pretty much any time The Anti-Monitor is brought into the story, I lose interest. The story gets too convoluted, but between Justice League #50 and Rebirth I’m on board. Superman isn’t dead. Nobody really thinks that, and they’re wise to not push that story so hard. Of course, the real treat for fans is the return of a character not really seen (at least as we know them) in The New 52. I’ll try not to spoil it for anyone who doesn’t know yet, but suffice it to say DC is bringing back some of what was lost before the reboot. For fans, the emotional appeal will hit hard, and it will be satisfying. I think what I find most promising about DC’s latest move is that between “Gotham” and the new members of The Green Lanterns, they’ve adopted a policy of adding without replacing.

I’ve been hard on Marvel, and I’m not sorry. In the interest of fairness, this type of deviation from tradition is exactly the type of thing I’ve flamed DC for in the past. I’ll also add that it’s not all bad for Marvel. Daredevil and Spidey are still solid titles, with Spidey giving us a reasonably satisfying conclusion to the Zodiac arc and getting ready for the next leg of the story. There are things to like about titles on both sides, and reasons to be optimistic for the future. No time like the present to pick up comics coverage at JKGeekly.

Comics for the Week of 3/4/2015

It was another light week for the pull file, at least in terms of the number of books, but there were some pretty high-profile releases to talk about.

If you haven’t been following the Star Wars books, I can tell you you’re missing out. Even if you’re not a huge devotee of the franchise, these are quality books. The main title has been surprisingly good, and the Vader spinoff has been a nice addition to the narrative. That’s why I had some pretty high hopes for Leia’s solo title. With Waid writing it, and Dodson handling the art, it seemed promising. The end result, at least for the debut issue, disappointed me. It wasn’t a bad book, not exactly, but it wasn’t nearly as good as I expected, let alone hoped. Between Star Wars, Vader, and now Leia, I didn’t expect, or even want a uniformity to the art, but the differences in Leia’s approach weren’t just limited to style. Dodson’s work, specifically with regard to character faces is so flat, there is seriously nothing but hair-color to set one character apart from another. The expressions are flat, the features are washed out, and even the page layouts sometimes confuse the action. The problems are not limited to the book’s aesthetics, either. Waid’s writing is shockingly awkward and expositional. It wants the gravitas of Alderaan’s destruction without earning it. It has Leia talking out of both sides of her mouth in an effort to make her both a woman of the people, and a princess. Seriously, I was actually expecting her to utter the words, “I command you to treat me like a normal person” at some point. The resolution to this issue’s big conflict was lazily handled off screen, and it did nothing to serve the larger story. Here’s hoping the second issue finds its footing.

Ever since the “Icarus” storyline, I’ve been pretty happy with Detective Comics. The Anarky story made use some of the lesser-known villains, and it was more effective than not, but the finale to the arc seemed to fall flat. Manapul’s art continued to impress, but there were some real cringeworthy moments of dialogue. As is usually the case with shoddy dialogue, there was some exposition shoe-horned in, but it went further than that. Some of the things Batman says as he leaps into action have the ring of something a Batman doll would say if you pulled a string in its back. Once again, the resolution to the story felt too simple and unsatisfying, but I will say that a smaller story, centered around a more grounded Batman universe provides a nice alternative to what is being done in Snyder’s Batman title.

All-New Hawkeye #1 also came up this week. I appreciate that although there is a lot of reference to what has been happening in recent Hawkeye books, this is enough of a jumping-on point to justify being called a #1. The wildly different art-styles add a layer of contrast between the present-day and flashback sequences, and the dynamic between Kate and Clint makes for a nice read. This may be the strongest title I’ve read this week.

Comics for the Week of 2/25/2015

Hey, ladies, gentlemen, and children of all ages. Due to a mix of bad weather, bad luck, and what I suspect is a communist conspiracy, I’ve been backed up on comics, but I’m getting caught up, and I have some thoughts to share with you now. As is often the case, it’s tough to talk about these books without revealing some plot details, so beware of spoilers. To be fair, it’s Friday, so I suspect many of you have been spoiled on these books already. Shall we proceed?

Darth Vader #2 followed the model of #1 for the most part. Where #1 gave us a look at the events of Star Wars #1 from a different perspective, #2 takes a similar approach in being separate from the main story and otherwise self-contained. Vader’s voice comes through a little better in this issue, I think. It feels less expository in the dialogue, and a little less bloated. We get a look at some of the Empire’s command apparatus, and we also see Vader dealing with an obstacle that feels pretty fresh. The art continues to impress in these books, and while I doubt this is a must-read in order to follow the main Star Wars title, I actually find that refreshing.

For those of you who don’t know, I am a big Lee Bermejo fan. For that reason, I was excited to pick up his new book, Suiciders which launched this week. Let me be clear in that Bermejo’s art is what I’m particularly fond of, and this book is stunning to look at. Suiciders is also written by Bermejo, and I will concede that his writing is the weak link. The dialogue is a little awkward in spots, and I don’t feel I came away from this issue knowing as much as I should about the world he’s building, but I feel the aesthetic of this book alone is worth the price-tag.

Lastly, let’s talk about Batman. If you haven’t heard the big spoiler, you should probably stop here. That’s why I saved it for last. Still reading? Okay, here goes… I hated this issue. It’s not, as some suggested, that The Joker went too far. The Joker can never go too far. What bothered me was the laziness of the writing here. Joker cutting off Alfred’s hand felt like pure shock value, but for the fact that it was related to the reader in a glorified flashback. This is not to mention the narrative problem of it. If this timeline is to be taken seriously, didn’t Joker just have the entire Bat-family tied up and at his mercy in Death of the Family? Why would he choose to maim Alfred now? The answer is, I believe, as I already suggested. Shock value. I’m already disturbed by the possibility of Snyder being allowed to turn Joker into an evil Wolverine rip-off, and this issue just makes me think all the more that Snyder really just wants to write horror. I’ll cut this tirade short before I start calling for anyone to be burned in effigy, but suffice it to say I’m ready for a new voice on the title. Capullo, on the other hand, should be kept indefinitely as his art has never disappointed.

I think I’ll leave it at that for this week. Happy geekings.

Comics 2/11/2015

This has been a pretty light week for my pull file. I won’t lie. I picked up four books, and none of them exactly blew me away. I’m exhausted with, and now thoroughly disinterested in Edge of the Spiderverse. At this point, I’m sticking with it mostly because I’m too lazy to adjust my pull file, and I’m holding out some hope that they’ll start condensing that unwieldy behemoth back into a manageable story arc before Marvel hits the reset button. I don’t know that I think any single aspect of the book is bad, it’s just–as I said–unwieldy. The story has become far too convoluted, even by comic book standards, and there are far too many characters for the pages to contain at this point.

Harley Quinn had a special Valentine’s Day issue, and while it had its usual Harley-esque charm, there wasn’t a lot to the book. You generally don’t expect anything really ground-breaking in a special edition, but this was still mostly forgettable for me.

The New Suicide Squad has been on a downslope the last few issues. The writing has been uneven, and the art has been downright poor. This issue seemed to stabilize the story arc somewhat, and that was nice, and necessary, but if you’re paying attention to DC news, you know they’re planning to shift the Suicide Squad roster once again. That seems to pull the rug out from whatever momentum this current group could possibly be gaining, and I guess it really does do exactly that. If I’m going to make the choice to be an optimist, however, I will say that the new cast could offer some potential. If you haven’t heard, it’s going to be Parasite, Black Hand, Poison Ivy, Reverse Flash, Cheetah, and an apparently unnamed Talon from The Court of the Owls. While many of those characters are problematic under the traditional Suicide Squad M.O., I think this cast offers a little bit of name recognition, but with perhaps more of a chance for character development, and that could be interesting.

If you haven’t been reading Star Wars, you really should, at least if you’re a fan of the franchise. It’s been done in a way that feels fresh, and still true to the good trilogy. For that reason, I picked up the Darth Vader #1 spinoff. It didn’t add a lot to the ongoing plot, but it did give you a different perspective on what’s happened so far. I don’t think the writing was as good as what we’ve seen in Star Wars’ first two issues. Some of the dialogue is heavy handed, even for a Sith lord, but it’s entertaining, and I think it makes for a fuller picture of the story to this point.

That’s all for this week. Here’s holding out hope for next week.



Jim’s Week in Comics: February 4, 2015

Well, there’s a bit to talk about in the world of comics these days. This week, the new Velvet came out, and I continue to enjoy the vintage feel of the book, the solid–if somewhat familiar–characters, and the never-disappointing art. One thing Brubaker continues to do so well is tell a complex story while managing to keep his word-count in check. That’s something that’s irked me about Scott Snyder’s writing on Batman. He is so wordy, so exposition-heavy that Capullo’s art is covered in word bubbles.

Speaking of Batman, the new issue dropped last week, and the revelation about Joker had me pretty upset. I won’t mince words. There’s the possibility that this will prove to be another of the character’s ploys, but if DC lets this stand as canon, I think it will be an unforgiveable mistake that changes the character and surrenders the interesting dynamic he’s shared with Batman over the last three-quarters of a century.

I will say that issue #2 of Star Wars was another very solid entry, and I’m now convinced to add the title to my pull file at the comic shop. The characters are rendered near to perfectly, their voices come through in the writing of the dialogue, and I even think they’ve managed to us C3PO effectively, as his speech patterns are actually conducive to delivering exposition.

You may have heard about the changes in Superman. If you haven’t seen the costume changes yet, I can tell you they’re somewhat overblown in the press. The changes are actually pretty minimal, which is probably for the best, as a radical change to the look of the character would probably not sit well. As for the new power, “Super Flare,” it’s explained in typical, ambiguous comic-book-science terms, but the whole close to the Ulysses arc felt rushed. There wasn’t nearly enough build-up or pay-off to the debut of the new power, but I can at least say I’m not whole-heartedly against it.

Comics for the Week of 1/7/2015

New year, new comics, folks. I’m sorry to say, although the holiday comics lull has passed, this was still something of a light week, but not necessarily a bad one.

Maybe it’s a case of “event fatigue,” the result of being beaten over the head–by DC and Marvel–with several intertwining narratives, but I tuned out during Superman’s “Doomed” run. That’s bad news for Pak’s current work on Action Comics, because the current story arc is relying somewhat on that event. With that said, there’s enough context here to fill in the gaps, and seeing Superman placed inside the realm of the horror genre is interesting and well done. I feel #38 gets a little dialogue-heavy, and that slows down the read, but it’s not bad dialogue, and the art works wonders here. I wish the overall narrative moved forward a little bit more in the end, but it does give us a fair idea of what’s ahead. Superman has improved since Johns took over, but if you’re looking for the best read for the character, I think it’s Pak’s work on Action Comics right now.

Detective Comics has also been a title on the rise ever since Manapul and Buccellato have taken it over. Their Icarus storyline gave a nice, self-contained story within Batman’s familiar stomping grounds, and that scratched an itch that Snyder and Capullo’s Zero Year was just not in a position for. Here again, Detective Comics has Manapul and Buccellato back after a brief pause, and their new storyline is hitting a lot of the familiar notes. #38 manages to make the Anarky character interesting. That’s not really been done for me before, and they’re giving us just enough of the Mad Hatter’s story to let us know he figures into the bigger picture somehow. It’s well paced, and Manapul’s artwork is exceptional. I don’t know if I’m enjoying Detective Comics as much as I am the Batman title these days, but it’s a lot closer decision than it has been since the New 52 came around.

If you know me, or if you at least read my thoughts on comics, you probably know I’m a Brubaker fan. Velvet has been one of my top books lately, but this week The Fade Out #4 dropped, and it’s proving to be another hit for me. As he does with Velvet, Brubaker captures the feel of the era he’s working with, and the art from Phillips is terrific in that capacity as well. If there’s a knock on the title, it’s that the golden age of Hollywood tropes are definitely there. In many ways, this is your typical story about the seedy underbelly of glamorous Hollywood, but the characters are engaging, and the obligatory murder mystery is well-presented. If you’re the type who likes to watch classic black and white movies to feel nostalgia for a time you never even lived through, I think The Fade Out can give you that.

Jim’s Week in Comics: December 17, 2014

Hey, folks. This week has been all about Batman for me. Batman/Superman has been introducing a new enemy for Superman. The interesting thing is that it’s a Joker-style villain, someone who is psychologically imbalanced beyond diagnosis, and going after Superman through his connections. This really allows Batman to come through and shine a light on a type of evil that Supes hasn’t traditionally needed to confront. It’s entertaining to read, and a creative way to explore the relationship between Batman and Superman.

Also building on the relationship between Bats and Supes was this month’s Justice League. With the rest of the league out of commission, Clark and Bruce are left to track down patient zero for the Amazo virus. This is another issue that doesn’t do very much to move the plot forward, but the characterization keeps it as an interesting read, and as has been the case with Justice League, we get some interesting looks at Lex Luthor. Pacing has always been a stumbling point for me in Geoff Johns’ writing, and that may become a problem for an otherwise solid story arc, but I think he’s done well to narrow his focus down to a few members of the League.

Finally, on the Batman front, Snyder and Capullo’s Batman built on the Endgame arc in some really satisfying ways. Snyder’s background in horror is really coming through in the way he writes The Joker, and Capullo’s art manages to say as much as the text on the page. Snyder takes some risk by getting as deep into Batman’s head as he does, and opinions may vary on how successful he is with it, but there can be no doubt that the Batman team is executing their vision, and if nothing else, it’s rewarding to read.

Breaking away from DC, I did pick up this month’s All New Captain America. I’ve always really liked Sam Wilson/Falcon as a character, and I think he’s being made to fit the role of Cap in a nice and believable way, but this issue is a little heavy on unneeded exposition and origin. I’d go so far as to say the depiction of Sam’s father’s murder was uncomfortably close to DC’s depiction of the Wayne murders. In fact, Sam’s dad’s dying words, “It’s not what you do in life that matters. It’s the evil we don’t confront that defines us,” was a borderline steal of the Bruce/Rachel exchange from Batman Begins: “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” Maybe it’s all just a question of wording and syntax, but I think Marvel needs to be much more careful than this, especially when they’re inserting an established character into a different, established role. They’re already in the red there where originality is concerned. With all that said, Sam is a great character, and this is an entertaining book so far.

Comic Book Reviews: October 22, 2014

Jim our comic book guy is unable to post comic book reviews this week (the week of October 22, 2014), but we trust he’ll be back soon and better than ever.