Leia goes to save a friend, Dick Grayson becomes a secret agent, and plenty more in this week’s roundup of comics fresh to the stands.
Hey, Helena Bertinelli is a Black woman in the New 52. That’s pretty much the biggest news out of this debut issue, which is a solid and fun little spy story which has some verve to it. There’s a bit more promise here than you might expect from the concept of Dick Grayson as a secret agent, courtesy of Tim Seeley and a lot will depend on where they take Spyral as an organization. So that’s good to know.
The New Suicide Squad #1
It’s really, really hard not to read this book as a subtle criticism of recent DC marketing decisions. Sean Ryan actually spends a surprising amount of the book needling the team selection: Harley calls out Joker’s Daughter for the knock-off that she is and Deadshot points out there’s two assassins on the team, so what’s his job? Even the “selection process” is a parody of marketing, with new team members chosen for shallow reasons. It’s a fun book, but one hopes it settles into an actual team fairly quickly. And that Harley pastes Joker’s Daughter once and for all.
Original Sin: Thor And Loki #1
The current Thor and the noble, young version of Loki team up to find Thor’s sister in, as the book tells you on the cover, in the Tenth Realm. Most of the fun is in Al Ewing’s characterization of Loki and in Simone Bianchi going, as usual, full metal album cover on Asgard, but it’s a pleasantly brisk book for those who love Thor.
Spider-Man 2099 #1
Miguel O’Hara is trapped in 2014, and is trying to make the best of it. Unfortunately for him, he’s violating the laws of time and TOTEM has sent probably the most hilariously apathetic time assassin you’ll ever meet. Peter David’s plot is nothing special, but it’s really how he characterizes the villain, who is essentially a jerk punching the clock, that makes this issue so darkly funny. Definitely worth a look, even if you have no fond memories of the original book.
Mad Max, tentacle monsters, a baby is humanity’s only hope, gruff violent dude gets baby, next. Kyle Strahm can sure draw a creepy tentacle monster, and Felipe Sobreiro’s choice to mute the palette to whites and reds where he can gives the book more impact, but the script from Justin Jordan just doesn’t hit any unique notes. It’s not bad, but you’re not missing anything, either.
Adventure Time: Banana Guard Academy #1
One of Adventure Time‘s key writers, Kent Osborne, makes a comic book debut here, and the results are pretty adorable, not to mention keeping in theme with the show’s oddball nature. Fun for fans and kids.
The Empty Man #2
This book certainly has mood and style to spare, but it’s also a little unfocused. Our adversary appears to be either a virus, or a faith healer, or people a virus makes you see, or… something. Despite this, it’s got a lot of momentum, and it’s a fun horror read for those looking for a gory time.
Armor Hunters #2
It turns out Aric’s armor is less an armor and more of a virus. Being human, Aric has basically kept the armor in line… but tell that to the insane religious zealots wiping out planets. An interesting, and surprisingly gory, followup to the strong first issue, and worth a read.
Justice League United #3
Rann is saved…but at what price? Jeff Lemire delivers a fairly tight book, but if there’s a problem, it’s that it’s a little too crowded; we don’t get to know any of the characters well enough, so events in this book have a little less weight. Still, worth a read, especially if you like team books.
Original Sins #3
An off issue of this anthology series; the Young Avengers are dumb enough to be tricked by the Hood, J. Jonah Jameson is a douche, and we meet an Inhuman that has creepy faces pop up on his skin to frame a story about Black Bolt killing Kree. Nothing essential to the crossover, sadly enough.
Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain continue their cyberpunk story, and it’s holding up. That said, it’s more about Crain’s art at this point than the plot; there’s not exactly anything in the way of a shocking swerve here. Still, it’s a fun read, and if you enjoy cyberpunk samurai, it’s a book worth reading.
Terminator: The Enemy Of My Enemy #4
Dan Jolley and Jamal Igle continue to show everyone how it’s done with this gritty, violent take on a Terminator and a CIA agent teaming up. Action-packed and highly, highly recommended.
Why is Foggy Nelson faking his own death? Mark Waid and Chris Samnee take a breather to explore why Foggy is supposedly in the ground and hiding out with Matt in San Francisco, and it’s actually a fun issue that makes a loser villain like Leapfrog interesting as well. Definitely worth a read, especially if you haven’t been following this book.
The psychedelic tale of prehistoric mushrooms that opens this book is probably the strongest entrant, but as usual, Dark Horse delivers some of the best anthology books around. Subtle it isn’t, but fun it assuredly is.
Abe Sapien #14
This book gets surreal as Abe Sapien struggles with who he is and whether he’s tied to the world essentially ending completely. It’s worth getting just for Max Fiumara uncorking the trippy visuals, but this remains a very cerebral book about loss and acceptance. Highly recommended.
And just when you think the book about the muscle-bound guy in the gimp mask shooting mobsters in the face can’t get less subtle, here come the Nazis! Well, OK, they don’t appear to be Nazis per se, but they’re blond, European, racist… so, really, do the math. It appears they know something about X, though, so that has promise. Worth it for those looking for a dark, violent action book.
Star Wars #19
Brian Wood starts the two-issue arc that wraps up this superb series with a fairly interesting look, once again, at what makes Leia tick. These nineteen issues have really been all about her and the choices she has to make, and one hopes Disney is paying attention. Highly recommended.