Alright, let’s kick it off right away with Invincible Iron Man #2. Writer Matt Fraction’s grasp of the character of Tony Stark is astounding. Fraction gives nods to all of Tony’s qualities, whether they be the futurist thinking, the playboy aspect of him or the superhero in him. This book is written so well, it kind of makes the other Iron Man book, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., redundant. I don’t really think Iron Man can support two monthly books. He’s a great character, but you need to be more than great to support more than one monthly – presently, the only Marvel character who I feel can support more than one monthly is Spider-Man. But I digress. This book has some great moments, in particular an appearance by a certain Thunder God which brings out a great character beat for Tony. It’s easy to forget these two were once close friends, and Thor does not seem to like this person Tony has become during his absence.
Amazing Spider-Man #561 is the conclusion of the Peter Parker: Paparazzi story. I’ve said before that I think Paper Doll is one of the neatest villains to come out of Brand New Day, and the only one to come close to Spidey’s more classic villains. Now all they have to do is develop her and give her an actual personality, as right now she’s pretty, mind my pun, flat. The overall paparazzi line was kind of far-fetched, I don’t buy Peter, who’s spent the majority of his life trying to keep his privacy in regard to his secret identity, selling out and stalking someone just for cash. The resolution of the storyline was kinds of lame, lame in an after school special sort of way. Peter learns his lesson via a monologue from the very person he was stalking, lame. I was intrigued by Mary Jane’s lines throughout the issue, she seems to know a whole lot more than we’re letting on, hopefully we won’t have to wait 3 years before we find out the truth behind MJ.
Ultimate Origins #1 also hit this week, and I must say – the revelations here are quite big. I’m not going to spoil anything, but let’s just say that this books distances the Ultimate Universe from the regular Marvel Universe quite a bit. Bendis’ script, as expected, is excellent. He created these characters after all, so it stands to reason he’d know how best to handle them. Butch Guice’s art is amazing, I haven’t read much of what this guy did (with the exception of his stint on Iron Man and Captain America) but I love his work, great stuff.
Pretty much the biggest book to hit from Marvel this week was Secret Invasion #3. I’ll go more in depth about the issue in my regular “Skrull Watch” feature (look for it later today), but I must admit this issue is a great improvement over the last one. Whereas last issue meandered in the Savage Land, this one jumps around various corners of the Marvel Universe and shows how many characters are reacting to the invasion. It’s got some great character moments (particularly from Mariah Hill and Spider-Woman) and Leinil Yu’s art is absolutely stunning.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #15 saw the conclusion of the “Wolves at the Door” storyline. This has been one of the best arcs on this book so far, with a ton of laugh-out-loud moments. This is not hyperbole, I actually did laugh while reading this comic, something that hasn’t happened to me in god knows how long. There is not a sequence in this book I did not like. Each and every panel earns its keep, whether they be great Zander-Dracula moments, a Godzilla like Dawn and many more. Georges Jeanty’s art is spectacular. I love how he manages to have a comic-book style and yet all the characters still manage to look like themselves. Too often comic adaptation resort to a super-photorealistic style just to make sure the characters look like their respective actors. Fortunately, this is not the case with Buffy. On another note, Buffy may not be the best book out every month, but one thing you can depend on that it will be consistently good.
Over on the DC side of things we’ve got Justice Society of America #16. Now, I haven’t been an avid supporter of the recent “Kingdom Come” sequel Geoff Johns and Alex Ross have been doing on the book. It wasn’t going anywhere and it was just boring. Plus, there were so many members on the team, fight scenes were getting ridiculous. This issue, while still part of the “Kingdom Come” storyline, is a marked improvement. Three things help the book. The first is the focus on one character throughout the entire issue, it gives you a proper viewpoint, and doesn’t force you to adjust your perception every other page. Secondly, there’s no fight scene. The pile-up of last issue was just a mess, it was painful to look at. The lack of a billion characters on a single page also helps Dale Eaglesham’s art, as he can focus more on detail. Lastly, there’s a return of a character which should get most people excited, I know I am.
The last book of this week’s stack is Trinity #1. DC’s third weekly started this week and it’s much different than the previous two efforts. From a statistic point of view, DC has a 50% success rate when it comes to their weeklies. 52 was a big hit and Countdown… was not. This weekly is much in different in that it has a much smaller creative team. One writer and one artist for the main story, and two writers (one of which is the aforementioned one) and a small cadre of rotating artists on the backup. Kurt Busiek is responsible for the lion’s share of the writing (along with Fabien Nicieza for the back-ups). If the first issue is any indication, then Busiek has a great handle on DC’s big-three. He manages to throw in little nuances that show so much about each character, even the way they order lunch tells us something about each of them. Mark Bagely supplies the art for the main feature, and, as always, he brings it. Bagley has made a name for himself as being a fast artist, but one who’s quality never suffers due to his speed. His take on the big three is great, the only problem is when they suit-up, Superman kind of looks like Superboy, but it’s a minor complaint. The back-up is not as good as the main feature, as it features characters I don’t know, and not enough is given me so that I actually care about it.