I don’t know if I was just in a mood primed to enjoy comics or what, but this felt like a really strong week. I’m going to briefly talk about everything I picked on Wednesday, January 23 beginning with:
Young Avengers #1
I don’t know if this is the best book on the stands this week, but Young Avengers is without question the book most worthy of your attention. Those of you who read my “Best of 2012” and saw Journey Into Mystery at the #1 position will understand that I’ve been anticipating this book a great deal. Those of you that enjoyed Phonogram will surely be geared up for Gillen and McKelvie collaborating again, and of course those cult Young Avengers fans will be salivating as well. The book had a lot to live up to, is my point, and Young Avengers exceeds all expectations by doing something almost unheard of these days…defying said expectations.
How to encapsulate what’s going on here? The team will mostly sound familiar to Young Avengers veterans: Kate Bishop, Hulkling, Wiccan, Noh-Varr, Miss America Chavez, (whom I only know from Joe Casey’s “Vengeance”) and Kid Loki. This is not that Alan Heinberg and Jimmy Cheung book, though. And it certainly isn’t pumping out a vibe like JIM.
If that’s what it isn’t, what is it, then? The problem is that I don’t know, exactly, and that’s what has me delighted. This is Kieron Gillen feeling his oats a bit, getting comfortable with his artist and editorial…and then flexing. Big time, all out, “Hey, check out these guns!” FLEXING.
The title of this issue is “Young Avengers: Style > Substance”, and it could not be more aptly named. I don’t know quite what he’s doing yet, but this shit is bananas, and that is so very welcome in this graying mainstream landscape. My complaints about DCs New 52 are well documented – where is the new, folks? It’s here.
And maybe it doesn’t work for you. Young Avengers is so far on the edge of comic book quantum physics that if it wobbles at all, it stands a good chance of failing magnificently. Again….I LOVE THAT!
DC: take notes, please. This is what you should have done with at least 25% of your rebooted line – you should have found good creators and turned them loose like maniacs into the night. Comic readers: take notes, please. No, this comic doesn’t have Batman or Spider-Man in it. Get over it. Buy this book. Do it now.
Bedlam #3 – Image Comics
If you’re a fan of the mysteries of Nick Spencer, obviously welcome aboard. If you find yourself settling into TruTV or the ID network when you’re channel surfing, this is for you. If you’re a big fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic….ahh….I wouldn’t come over here. Shit gets real hairy in Bedlam.
I was at the comic shop today, and a dude came into the store with his daughter, and she stormed in with great excitement looking for that My Little Pony comic. There’s no way this girl was even old enough to go to kindergarten. The shop had ordered a stack of the 4th print for issue # 1 and was able to help the little girl out, and she promptly informed dad that he would be reading it to her that evening.
That was nice.
Minutemen #6 – DC Comics
While I was in Halifax, one Mr. Darwyn Cooke informed me that this issue would be a face-melter. Well…mission accomplished, I would say.
Oh, and it also deepened and re-defined a couple of really important elements of the Watchmen mythos in the process. I don’t know. Whatever horror people were feeling about all this, I don’t know who could object the Minutemen series if they actually read it.
Harbinger #8 – Valiant Comics
The intro in this issue is Torque, and Dysart simultaneously made the character more vulnerable and more dangerous. It’s got a healthy dose of Malibu’s Prime or Captain Marvel to it, but like everybody else in the Valiant universe, he’s a little bit damaged goods, so there’s added tension and complexity.
All the Valiant titles are wicked smart. If that’s your thing and you’re not reading these….I feel sorry for you that you’re missing out.
X-O Manowar #9 – Valiant Comics
Things are getting potentially more interesting, but I’m starting to sweat this just a bit. There’s a really nice rivalry brewing between Aric and Admiral Xylem, and I’m now on board with the “B” plot between the military and religious factions of The Vine.
Fascinating stuff about how the relationship between Aric and Shanhara is growing, and things are moving along. It’s the “Planet Death” stuff that has me concerned, though. I know that this is about the time that VH1 Valiant popped off “Unity”, and its tradition and all that. I know that the Valiant books are suffering attrition like everyone else and they’re looking for that juicy sales boost.
I’m just not sure that a “Planet Death” is what we need. Maybe this is just a case of putting a banner on the “what happens next” brand of storytelling that I favor. Everything else from Valiant has been executed with such sophistication I should probably just relax.
But this is where I go to avoid all those Imperial continuity entanglements and corporate hijinx. Now we got events and crossovers and a zero issue month coming in May. Please, Valiant, don’t mess with what has been a very, very good thing.
Huh. This is running long, so the last reviews will be short and sweet.
Revival #6 – Image Comics
This is the fines work I’ve seen from Tim Seeley, Mike Norton, or cover artist Jenny Frisson. There’s a panel in this issue, not a word on it, just a look from a virtually catatonic geriatric. The thing is, you never know what’s actually behind that when you’re dealing with a Reviver. He still shouldn’t be able to evince a sense of menace like that. It’s a show-stopper, and that’s a credit to Norton’s art and the atmosphere that Seeley has deftly crafted.
You want a nitpick? I don’t really like Dana. If she’s going to be the star, I want her to show me something, and soon. But that’s not a deal-breaker. The happenings are intense, the character bits are tasty, and this should be a television series. Oh wait, ABC already stole it.
Nightwing #16 – DC Comics
And you know what? Us jaded comic book folks like to pretend we’ve seen it all and none of this is fresh or exciting, but face it…do you know what’s under that dinner dome? No, you don’t. Nah- zip it. You don’t know. I’m dying to find out next month. So there. It aint gonna be duck a l’orange, I know that.
Death of the Family. It’s going to be THE Joker story for a new generation, mark my words. Nasty, nasty stuff. PS: Eddie Barrows is really good.
Yeah, you knew John wasn’t going down quite that easy, didn’t you? Piffy got some ‘splaining to do, huh? Love it. Thank you, Mr. Peter Milligan for allowing Hellblazer to go out in a suitably Constantine fashion. I look forward to coming to near-robot-tears in the finale.
Like I said, it was a good strong week. What did you find enjoyable?