It’s a five week month in comics, so one week has to be relatively quiet. And so it is with today, although we have a whole pile of number ones to sort through. Full reviews of all of them, with looks at books from DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, IDW Publishing, BOOM! Studios, Valiant, and Dynamite.
Batman Eternal #1
The weekly maxiseries starts with a bang, skipping forward to the end of the 52-issue arc before going back to the beginning, with Commissioner Gordon and a collar gone terribly wrong. It’s pretty solid, but we expect as much. The real test comes with the next weeks of books. Still, worth picking up.
Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #1
Danny Rand is dead inside. That’s the basic thrust of his new book, as we see him use his origin to sleazy ends and struggle with his emotional numbness. Which he helps resolve by beating up ninjas. Kaare Andrews does a good job of both introducing the character and giving him some weight, and the art is deservedly flashy as well. Worth reading, especially if you want to get on board with the character before he gets his own Netflix series.
Chris Claremont returning to his character should be a good thing, but unfortunately, Claremont’s name carries enough weight that he’s immune to editing. Far too much of this book is dedicated to telling us things Todd Nauck is more than capable of showing us. But it’s still fun to see Nightcrawler back in action, and fans won’t want to miss this one.
All-New Doop #1
Doop is back, and Peter Milligan is having far too much fun slipping and sliding him around the margins of X-Men continuity, making a lot of fun of Marvel’s modern storylines into the bargain. David Lafuente’s art helps; it can be goofy when it needs to and stock superhero when it’s important. More for hardcore Marvel fans who love in-jokes than anyone else, but if that’s you, you’ll love this.
All-New Ultimates #1
The Ultimates relaunch as a street-level team of teen heroes, and to be honest, it’s the first time I’ve been able to stand this book throughout its entire run. Michel Fiffe does a good job making the book accessible for those not into the Ultimates line while giving it a lot of action and character, and David Nakayama has some high-quality superhero art. If you’re looking to get into a team book, this is highly accessible and definitely worth a read.
Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca essentially deliver a more serious version of The Venture Bros. Not that this is a bad thing, necessarily, but it does set a high bar and this book doesn’t quite clear it, as inventive and creative as del Duca’s art is.
This series is undeniably pretty cute, with a bunch of preteen girls at camp fighting monsters. That said, it does sometimes feel like Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis’ script is trying a wee bit too hard to be quirky, although Brooke Allen’s joyful art does feel apt for the story. In all, a pretty good book for a preteen, if you’ve got one looking for comics.
Flash Gordon #1
Dynamite’s attempts to revive the King Features heroes have been… mixed, to say the least. But choosing Jeff Parker and Evan Shaner as the creative team was absolutely inspired. Shaner’s clean, grounded art sells the weirdier, pulpier aspects of Flash Gordon, and Parker is an old-hand at trimming away the parts that don’t work and bolstering the ones that do. The end result is a good old-fashioned high adventure book with the spirit of the strips but none of the corn.