A busy week for number ones takes up the comics megapost this week, and we’ve got reviews of books from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image, Boom! Studios, IDW Publishing, Valiant and Dynamite under the jump.
Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #1 and Action Comics Annual #3
Since these are two chapters of the same story, I’m lumping them together for review purposes. Honestly, Doomed hasn’t thrilled me from the start; the idea of Doomsday as a virus is a little too Jason Goes To Hell for my tastes, and it’s an idea that needs one writer, not everybody on top of each other. Still, it’s fun enough Superman comics, but not something that stands out if you’re not already reading these comics on a regular basis.
Mark is a normal guy about to get married. He also has just discovered he’s the next Imperial, the only real superhero, and it might be a choice between one or the other. Steven Seagle’s first issue is great not least because Seagle nails what it’s like to deal with the buildup to getting married, and the book is both funny and action-packed; the Imperial may save humanity, but he’s not the warmest guy. Off-beat, very funny, and highly recommended.
Paolo Leandri and Adam McGovern turn out an exceptionally weird book, thanks to Kickstarter, that feels like a reprint from the ’60s, and that’s meant in the best possible way. Definitely an acquired taste with its purple prose and Kirbyesque art, but also something unique and strange.
Howtoons: Reignition #1
This is a book aimed squarely at kids, and is full of little science projects that kids can put together, anchored by Fred Van Lente’s gleefully snarky storytelling and Tom Fowler’s note-perfect artwork. If there’s a kid you’re buying comics for? Buy ‘em this one.
Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #1
Do Stan Sakai a favor, and yourself, a favor and buy this book this week. This retelling of samurai legend with funny animals is both strong work of Sakai and very strange, even by this book’s standards, and Usagi’s worry for his son cuts close to the bone in light of the health problems Sakai’s family is struggling with. Worth a read, from an artist worth supporting.
Little Nemo: Return To Slumberland #1
One of the progenitors of the comic book returns! Eric Shanower and Gabriel Rodriguez have the intimidating task of reviving the Windsor McCay classic. Honestly, it’s a tall order: McCay’s attention to detail and flights of whimsy are tough to beat even today. But Rodriguez and Shanower capture the spirit of the strip quite well, making a cute and even beautiful book that’s perfect for fans of the strip and kids alike.
Steven Universe #1
Cartoon Network’s amusingly silly superhero series gets an equally amusingly silly comic book. Nothing groundbreaking, but fairly in line with Boom!’s other offerings along these lines, and a good comic for kids.
Harbinger: Omegas #1
Toyo Harada has flipped out and essentially decided he runs the world now. Standing against him are… pretty much nobody, as Peter Stanchek has completely broken down. In some ways this is a reboot of the original book, but with some… interesting twists. Worth a read if you’re a fan of Valiant’s books.
This book, about LA gangs united under one smart teenaged girl to, uh, kill the cops, doesn’t quite live up to its title. First of all, it doesn’t really do a lot to explain the long, ugly, and painful history of racism within the LAPD and the struggles many communities in the city have faced when the police are more often than not the enemy. It’s one of many things the book takes as a given the reader knows without bothering to tell us, including, most gratingly on the part of writers Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman, who all the characters are, why they’re involved, and why we should care.
There’s nothing worse than just assuming we’re going to care about the characters because they’re the good guys, and throwing that idea at a politically and socially complex problem is profoundly obnoxious. That’s especially bad because without that complexity, without the three-dimensionality, this becomes just another story of “cops vs. thugs.”
And they want us to buy an issue a week of this? No thanks.
Terminal Hero #1
What if you had an inoperable brain tumor, and tried an experimental treatment? What if it unlocked your inner mind? And what if your inner mind turned out to be kind of an a-hole? That’s the basic thrust of Peter Milligan’s story, backed up by Piotr Kowalski’s vivid art, and it’s a pretty fascinating start to what seems on paper to be a conventional story. Admittedly, doctors won’t like Milligan’s rampant distaste for them, but, hey, you can’t win them all.
Jennifer Blood: Born Again #1
Journeyman and 2 Guns creator Steven Grant is brought in to restart Garth Ennis’ Punisher knock-off and… actually delivers some solid, fun, R-rated action movie goods. With Ennis’ trademark excess trimmed out, Grant puts a lot of pieces in motion and it’s a lot of fun to see how they click together. A solid, fun, edgy book for those who want a little ultraviolence in their subs.