It’s New Comic Book Day, now with 100% more Daredevil! Here’s a look at books from DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, IDW Publishing, Boom! Studios, and Valiant.
Secret Origins #1
DC launches an anthology book tied to, well, superhero origins, with three stories about Superman, Robin, and Supergirl. These aren’t really “origins” so much as a loose theme to tie each story to, and honestly, it’s mostly solid but it’s nothing compelling, especially at five bucks. Worth a read if you’re a fan of the characters involved.
Mike Del Mundo, the best cover artist in the business, working on a book’s interiors? SOLD. That said, while this book is undeniably pretty as only Del Mundo can deliver, W. Haden Blackman writes a pretty good, blackly funny story to go along with the stabbing Greek. Highly recommended.
The Eltingville Club #1
Evan Dorkin calculates the angles, lines up carefully, takes a running start, and kicks comics fandom square in the crotch. To be honest, the book is so cramped and dense that it can be almost exhausting to read: This is Dorkin in full-on Milk and Cheese mode, unloading a truly staggering amount of frustration and rage to the worst of the absolute worst of comics fandom. It teeters on the edge of being too angry to be funny sometimes, and it feels like a knock-off of Our Valued Customers at others, but you can’t fault it for being dishonest, that’s for sure.
Conan The Avenger #1
Conan has just lost Belit, and his purpose in life. Which means, of course, drinking and eventually stabbing. Fred Van Lente is becoming an entertainingly bad-ass Conan writer as he mixes a story of depression with the fantasy version of a detective noir. Brian Ching’s art is dynamic and suits the book well, and generally, it’s a lot of fun and a good place to start if you’re interested in Conan. Highly recommended.
Danger Girl: Mayday #1
The Danger Girl organization finds its-oh, why am I wasting my time? You know exactly why people buy these books, and it isn’t their rich, complex world-building or plot. Andy Hartnell essentially continues the trend of these books being knocked together with spare parts from Bond movies, and John Royle’s artwork… well, let’s just say it will be mocked and taken apart for its focus on the male gaze over anatomy, and for excellent reason.
24: Underground #1
Jack Bauer returns in a comic that fills in what he was doing between his show going off the air and Fox reviving it for a miniseries out of desperation. Ed Brisson rather capably writes the Clancy-esque fantasy that is 24, but Michael Gaydos’s art isn’t quite up to speed; he’s clearly working from publicity stills for Bauer, and it shows in a few awkward places. Not helping matters is Josh Burcham’s colors often overwhelming the art. A comic for fans of the show and no one else.
The 7th Sword #1
Robots, samurai, alien planets, we’ve been here before. John Raffo’s script is a solid enough Mad Max knock-off, and Nelson Blake II delivers solid, clean art, if a bit lacking in detail. But this isn’t original or compelling enough to rate a “buy” recommendation just yet.
Herobear And The Kid: Saving Time #1
Mike Kunkel’s adorably funny all-ages book kicks off a new miniseries, its first in a decade, and it’s everything we’ve come to expect from the series: It’s sweet, funny, and clever in equal measure. Great all-ages reading, and a great continuation of a great little series.
Justice League United #0
The former Justice League Canada arrives with a zero issue. It mostly establishes the team, which is largely the New 52 JLA plus Adam Strange, but it has a few surprises beyond that, especially the promised fight between Hawkman and Fancy Rockabilly Lobo, which will hopefully end with Hawkman following through on his threat. A pretty solid team book, but we’ll want to see issue #1 before we make a call either way.
Original Sin #0
Right before he gets a cap busted in his massive dome, we learn a little bit more about the Watcher and why he does what he does. Mark Waid’s story is as much about Nova and what drives him as it is about the Watcher, and it ends on a happy moment, contrasted with a little melancholy. Even if you’re not reading the crossover, check this one-shot out: It’s a good example of well-written comics.
Mark Waid and Chris Samnee bring back that beloved superhero… The Shroud? Waid actually has a lot of fun with this minor character, contrasting his grimdark style with Matt Murdock’s rather more lighthearted approach. A great followup to the first issue, and highly recommended.
The Witcher #2
This adaptation of the video game continues to be a surprisingly atmospheric and clever book. Paul Tobin and Joe Querio deliver a moody, folktale-esque story that stands on its own two feet and brings a lot of style and character to what could have been a dull, standard story. Highly recommended.
Buffy Season 10 #2
Really, they need to stop writing this book like a TV show and let it be a comic book. Or just wrap up the concept altogether, really. Fun for fans, but not much else.
Evil Empire #2
I was worried, on reading the first issue, that this book would get dumb and preachy fast. Sure enough, the second issue immediately stumbles down that road. The basic premise is that a right-wing Presidential candidate, upon losing his marbles and murdering his wife, isn’t immediately pegged as a psycho but instead becomes the figurehead of a nihilistic movement in the United States. The characterization is flat: Everybody is either a noble progressive hero or Snidely Whiplash meets Hannibal Lecter. It’s Frank Miller-grade stupid, and somebody at Boom! should have sent Bemis back to the drawing board.
Ransom Getty and Ryan Winn deliver solid art, but this book is frankly too clumsy and obvious in its script to recommend. If Bemis can be more thoughtful, it might be salvageable, but it’s hard to see that happening.
Batman Eternal #3
Honestly, this book lost me at the “shocking twist” at the finale. Basically, the character making the announcement just told every cop in the GCPD, “I am corrupt, terrible at the job I have just been appointed to, or both! Please ignore me!” It’s a lot to swallow and the book doesn’t do a good job of selling it. Hopefully next week it can turn this around.
Tomb Raider #3
Nicolas Daniel Selma still doesn’t feel like the right artistic choice for this book, but Gail Simone’s script is so good, it’s easy to ignore. Highly recommended, even if you’re not a fan of Tomb Raider.
The Saviors #4
After the stunning twist in the third issue, where this book has already wiped out half its cast, Tomas has to try and escape Mexico with aliens on his ass. The result is a suspenseful, beautiful book, well-suited to J. Bone’s style. Highly recommended.
Halo: Escalation #5
The bad guy’s ultimate motivation here is a bit spotty… but, eh, the book’s fun enough, even if you’re not a Halo fan. Don’t put it at the top of your subs, but if you’re looking for a bit of solid SF action, this will scratch that itch.
Eternal Warrior #8
Greg Pak, Robert Gill, and Mark Pennington wrap up their trip to the year 4001 AD with what should be a happy ending… and is instead a musing on how everything about humanity, including its own self-destructiveness, is a cycle. It’s a well-told story, and a curiously sad one. Highly recommended.