This week was a heavy comic week, with some big titles and all around good fun. Pretty much the biggest title out this week was Final Crisis #1. DC’s event for the summer, Final Crisis was much hyped as the Crisis to end all Crisises (Crisisi?). So how does it stand up? Final Crisis suffers from the same thing many, many DC books suffer from – not being new-reader friendly. Like many books before it, Final Crisis assumes you have a working knowledge of who the New Gods are, and familiarity with obscure characters such as Anthro and Turpin. Furthermore, I think the book lacked the oomph of a first issue event book. It was very low-key, and even the major death taking place felt rushed and out of place. Don’t get me wrong, the book is wonderfully written, and beautifully drawn, it just has some problems.
Grant Morrison’s other offering this week was Batman #677, the second of part of the R.I.P. story-line. This issue just proves Morrinson’s genius. Without actually telling us anything, Morrison makes a suggestion as to the true identity of the Black Glove, and if that suggestion is true, then by god, I’m already saying this is the best Batman story I’ve ever read (taking the place of Arkham Asylum, another Morrison gem). The third DC offering I’ve got this week is Geoff Johns’ wonderful epic – Green Lantern. This is the one book DC does which caters to new readers. Like many others I jumped aboard the Green Lantern train with the Sinestro Corps, so having an arc focusing on the origin of Hal makes perfect sense. Johns also does a great job of integrating the new elements he’s incorporated into the Green Lantern mythos into the origin, so it actually feels like they’ve been there all along.
Moving on to the competition, Marvel saw a bevy of books hit today, with the X-books really hitting hard. First up, Uncanny X-Men #498. It really feels like this book is stalling, waiting for #500. This issue really isn’t all that different from the previous one – we’ve got Wolverine, Colossus and Nightcrawler in a long fight scene, and Cyclops and Emma wandering around hippie San-Francisco. X-Men: Legacy #212 came out this week, and this series continually gets better and better. This issue sees Gambit join up Xavier, and frankly I hope he becomes a permanent cast-member of the book, I love the little Cajun bastard. The flashback scenes are illustrated this time around by Mike Deodato, and they’re freakin’ gorgeous. We also got the fourth issue of X-Force, which continued the violence and mining concepts from the 90’s. Seriously, this title has brought back more 90’s concepts that I’ve ever seen in a single book not produced in the 90’s – we’ve got Bastion, Magus, Donald Pierce and now Archangel. The title has a great old-school feel, without being campy. And those drawings/paintings are amazing.
The real crown jewel of the X-Books this week was Giant Size X-Men #1, the issue that caps off the Whedon/Cassaday run. Their run was a glorious one, giving us some of the best X-moments in history. The final issue was great, but like Final Crisis, I felt it lacked a certain “oomph” to make it stand up to the rest of the series. There was also the matter of bringing all the Marvel heroes, just to make them stand around and do nothing, I didn’t see the point of that, really. Lastly, I’m kind of sad to see Kitty go, as I really like the character, hopefully she’ll be back sooner rather than later.
Daredevil #107 saw Ed Brubaker team up with none other than his old Gotham Central buddy – Greg Rucka. The result is a great issue, which may see Matt Murdock coming out of his long depression, and begin to do something a little other than just punch people. Luke Cage made a guest appearance, but only as a plot-introduction device, saw I thought that was kind of pointless. Moving from the streets of New York to the mightiest city of all – Thor #9 focuses on the Odinson’s Asgardian friends, mainly Balder and Loki. I really like JMS’s new take on the Asgardians, and his Loki is so deliciously evil, it’s astounding. Watching her manipulate all those around her is great, and as I said before, I want to be much deeper into this run, just to see how things develop from here.
Immortal Iron Fist #15 gives us a look at another of the Iron Fists. This time around it’s Bei Bang-Wen, also known as “The Perfect Strategy Mind”. I really liked how each of the different Iron Fists used Shao-Lao’s power in a different way, and Bei Bang-Wen may be the coolest use so far. While Danny, Orson and Wu-Ao Shi all used their power in an offensive manner, Bei uses it to boost his cerebral capacity, planning battles and making himself the ultimate strategist. The story itself is nice, following Bei’s arc of redemption, with some nice art, but nothing overly spectacular. There’s only one more issue before Brubaker and Fraction step off the title, which kind of sucks. Hopefully the new writer (the guy who does Cable whose name I don’t remember) will be just as good.
Ultimate Spider-Man #122 came out this week, and it’s another done-in-one issue, like last month’s. This time we focus on the Shocker and his life. I really gotta say that Bendis makes me feel kinda sorry for ol’ Herman. He’s really not had it easy, and Spider-Man continually beating on him isn’t helping. A great story, with spectacular art by Stuart Imonnen, but I’m ready for the next long arc, the Symbiote Wars! Another Spider-Man-centric book out was New Avengers #41, which showcases the Savage Land and its members. The story fills in the blanks happening since New Avengers #6 and now, with Ka-Zar, Sheena and the rest of the Savage Landers fighting back the Skrulls who have taken up in the Savage Land. Overall, I felt this issue was kind of pointless, as it didn’t really tell us anything new. I could’ve figured out on my own that the rogue SHIELD agents seen in the New Avenger’s first arc were Skrulls, so I didn’t really feel the need to have an entire issue devoted to it.
In Young Avengers Presents #5, Stature takes center stage, for the second time (she was a key part of the Vision’s issue last month). This really is an expertly crafted tale, that comes closest to the original take on the characters.
Lastly, Marvel 1985 (for which I wrote a long review over at Comic Addiction, check it out Here), is a beautiful book. Both from an art and story perspective. It really talks to comic fan at heart, and Millar clearly has a lot of love for the medium.
That’s all for this week, see you in seven.