X-Men

X-Men: Blue #6

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This finishes the first TPB, titled “Strangest.” I’ve raved and raved about how great X-Men: Blue is, so I won’t bother continuing other than to just reiterate that it’s one of my favorite current series right now. And easily the best X-book I’ve read in a long time.

That said, this last issue – it was my least favorite of the first six. The story felt like a bit of a one-shot involving another group of mutants, The Raksha. It wasn’t bad or anything but felt slightly tacked on to the story in the first five. But my real problem is this artwork. Oh my! This is bad. This series has had some great art but not in this issue. There’s a new artist here (well two… Ray-Anthony Height and Ramon Bachs) and I’m not digging it at all. I feel like it looks sloppy. And at times plain ugly.

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Batman · TPB

Batman: Lovers & Madmen

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My wife has been urging me to read this one for MONTHS and so I finally decided it was time to do so. This collects a run of early issues of the Batman Confidential series from 2008 or so and (re)tells the story of Batman first encountering The Joker.

There’s some good stuff here, even as Michael Green (“the writer of TV’s Heroes”) rewrites history. In this version The Joker is a very good criminal with a bored death wish named Jack; Harley Quinn is a sympathetic bar waitress who’s in med school studying psychology; and so on. This isn’t cannon, but it’s still a very intriguing take on a familiar story.

The script is handled with a care for the characters – or rather their psyches. Batman may well be just as screwed up and broken on the inside as The Joker is. And as such this book examines closely their symbiotic relationship – something I’ve always appreciated (as in The Killing Joke or Long Halloween, or hell… The Lego Batman Movie).

The story is truly dark. There’s some rather haunting scenes: Bruce’s new girlfriend Lorna being stabbed by The Joker; Batman actually hiring a gang to kill The Joker; or maybe the cringiest – The Joker dressed as a clown, asking a young girl at the circus who to spray in the face (with what is unbeknownst to her, his toxin) – her, or her father.

I was on the fence with the art. It is fittingly dark and works well. Though there’s a bit over overdone line detail for my taste. And things are bit too… angular (?) for me. But the coloring was well done. I will say that some of the layouts confused me. One two-page spread had me baffled as I reread it numerous times before figuring out it was drawn clockwise.

Those few nitpicks aside, I thought this was basically pretty great.

X-Men

X-Men: Blue #5

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I really can’t get over how good this series continues to be. I mean, I know I sound like a broken record here, but it’s the closest a series has gotten me to feeling like I’m back reading the X-Men in the early 90’s. Which is great.

So now young Jimmy-Wolverine is part of the Blue team. Awesome!

And there was a big blowout with these other time-displaced mutants. And Jean Grey has encountered Miss Sinister, who is apparently collecting various time-displaced mutants from other worlds and turning them into her own little personal army.

This is good stuff.

The Avengers

The Avengers #9

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I have no idea how this ties into Secret Empire. And I don’t really care. I’ve not read any of SE, and really have no interest. But The Avengers have been on thin ice with me for a few issues now. I loved this series early on, but the change in tone has been jarring for me. And just being honest – I don’t care for the art style.

This issue was basically about Thor being displaced to another dimension and fighting to get home. It really just felt like a one-shot and didn’t do much to interest me. I may have to abandon this series if things don’t start picking up again soon.

Hawkeye

Hawkeye #8

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Another great issue! I can’t praise this series enough. It’s just so consistent.

Kate’s confronting her dad who is apparently tied to a lot of the bad stuff that happened in the first six issues. The plot thickens.

I have to give special love to Leonardo Romero’s art this issue. There’s so many great action sequences that are brilliantly drawn. Really, this series is excellent. Everyone should check it out.

Batman

Batman #26

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This was pretty damn great. I’m definitely really enjoying this “War Of Jokes And Riddles” story. In this one The Joker puts out a hit on The Riddler which doesn’t go well thanks to Poison Ivy. And then all hell breaks loose. The war is really turning into a war.

The art here was spectacular. The two page spread with Ivy was fantastic. And I love some of the throwbacks here – namely, The Riddler acting out the “mirror” scene from Tim Burton’s Batman.

There was also the way that throughout the issue you can a bit of background on each victim. Y’know when like faceless thugs get killed in most comics? Here, you learn their names and some factoid. And later it turns out that Batman was keeping a record of all the casualties. It’s a neat touch.

Tom King really knows what he’s doing right now.

#1 · Deadpool

Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe Again #1

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I’m a big Deadpool fan, but I almost didn’t buy this issue. See, I read the first Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe series and honestly thought it was kind of meh. It just felt pretty pointless to me. But there was something I couldn’t resist. Maybe I just have a weakness for #1’s. Maybe it’s that great cover art. Maybe it’s the fact that Bunn’s been on a roll with X-Men: Blue lately. So I grabbed this.

And I’m actually glad I did. It was lots of fun, and at least the story of WHY he’s killing (again) is a lot more interesting than in the first series.

I loved the artwork here. Specifically that when Deadpool would go on a killing spree you’d see things through his eyes and the art style would change drastically. When he was killing the Uncanny Avengers it got all kids-comic looking. When he took out Thor, Loki, Hercules and their crew it looked like an older comic and referenced those old Marvel swimsuit issues. It’s actually quite fun.

So yeah, maybe I’ll stick with this mini-series after all. I’m always glad to read some good Deadpool comics.

Supergirl

Supergirl: Being Super #4

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I am so so sad that this over because it was fantastic. From beginning to end, each of the four issues of this mini-series was stellar. This last one wraps up a lot of the loose ends and finds Kara really deciding that it’s time to admit who she is and be a superhero. She heads off to find Superman at the end, but has also made a powerful enemy. And even Lex Luthor shows up for a split second. So maybe there’s hope for another mini-series continuing this one?

I can wish, can’t I? Everything was just so great here. Mariko Tamaki’s writing was so perfect. I’ve enjoyed her work on Hulk, but she just really knows how to write for Kara and her friends. And maybe my favorite thing about this book was Joelle Jones’ art. I mean seriously, Jones was born to draw Supergirl.

#1 · Secret Weapons

Secret Weapons #1

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Being the eternal optimist that I am, I buy a lot of #1’s. I’m always eager to find something new and different. Something special. When I saw Secret Weapons #1 listed on the release schedule this past week, I knew nothing about it. And honestly, probably would have glossed right over it had it not been for one thing: it was written by Eric Heisserer who wrote the movie Arrival which absolutely floored me.

I am pleased to announce that with Secret Weapons #1 I’ve found something new and different. I have found something special.

While the setup at first glance may not sound so unique – a secret agency doing secret experiments in a secret lab on subjects with rather inhuman powers – I promise you that it is done in such a unique way. I know it sounds a little Weapon X-ish. Or maybe even a lot Weapon X-ish, but really it’s got its own voice right out the gate of this first issue.

Most importantly this book is following the lives of several rejects from this project. Yes these outcasts have special powers. But they’re not especially good ones. They’re hardly useful. There’s the girl who talks with pigeons, or the guy who can make stuff glow. My favorite is the kid who can summon things from thin air – he just can’t control what he summons. So he accidentally summons a gun when he’s working his shift at the local hardware store, but summons an umbrella when he needs a gun.

Oh right – and yeah, he needs a gun at one point because these secret project defects are being hunted by this really scary alien thing. To say that there’s a lot going on in this first issue would be an understatement. But it’s all handled so well. And the artwork is excellent. I really must applaud this new book and look forward to subsequent issues.