Why is the Hulk peeling Iron Man like a tin can label? Furthermore, why is he right to? A look at the hero fight of the week, plus looks at books from DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, IDW Publishing and Boom! Studios.
Original Sin: Hulk Vs. Iron Man #1
The Hulk is coming to kick Iron Man’s ass, and the twist is that Tony deserves every punch. Some were worried about the retconning that will obviously go into Original Sin, but Mark Waid makes the idea that Tony Stark effectively ruined Bruce Banner’s life one that ties into Marvel continuity and even makes sense. Tony, after all, is an arrogant ass. Definitely a clever twist and worth a read.
Savage Hulk #1
Alan Davis writes and draws a nice throwback to the ’70s Marvel, when Bruce Banner was wandering the Earth and the X-Men hadn’t been contorted into a pretzel shape by the ’90s. And honestly, Davis does a superb job: This could be shameless nostalgia, but instead is a solid, fast-paced book that has the feel of a lost Marvel issue from the era without any of the downsides. It’s action-packed enough to be a fun read for everyone, while being a book you can hand to a kid. Hopefully Marvel keeps this up; it’s a hoot.
Demonic possession is a tricky thing to write into a comic book, and I’m not 100% on Robert Kirkman pulling it off. The book is actually largely defined by Paul Azaceta’s muted, quiet art. If there’s a criticism, it’s that this is more a pitch for a TV show than it is a comic book; it’s very dialogue-heavy, long on telling us things and short on showing them to us. But not a bad start to a horror book.
Dream Thief: Escape #1
Jai Nitz and Greg Smallwood bring their bizarre avenger of the murdered back for a new miniseries, and boy, has he ever been missed. This gritty horror/noir mixture was great the first time around, and as it gets into the backstory of why he’s possessed by ghosts to take their vengeance, it’s becoming even more compelling. Highly recommended.
The Goon: One For The Road
Eric Powell pays tribute to the one, the only, the hilarious Jack Davis, complete with a cover from Davis himself and a story that riffs on Davis’ comedic style. A lighthearted and funny read, and a welcome return from the Goon.
Emily And The Strangers: Breaking The Record #1
Unsurprisingly, a comic book based on a Hot Topic T-shirt feels and sounds exactly like the comic book the kind of person who thinks they’re edgy for shopping there would read. Car Farris’s art is vivid and dynamic, “all ages” without being cute and often more detailed and funny than it needs to be. But the script, by Rob Rener and Mariah Heuhner, is just a little too cliched to really click. This feels like an animated series pitch, not a comic.
Super Secret Crisis War #1
Cartoon Network finally gets the megacrossover it deserves, with Samurai Jack, the Powerpuffs, Dexter, Ben 10, and… uh, Ed, Edd and Eddy going up against their greatest nemesis in a six issue miniseries and a string of one-shots. It’s a cute little satire of crossovers, but nothing special quite yet.
The Amazing World of Gumball #1
The amusingly cynical cartoon gets an equally amusingly cynical comic. Frank Gibson and Tyson Hesse pull off the look and feel of the series really well, making this a fun read for kids and ideal for fans of the show.
Original Sins #2
Once again, this is a good mix of funny stories and serious, anchored by the Young Avengers. But, just like last issue, it’s the two-pager in the back that’s really the best. Worth getting for Marvel fans.
’60s-era Chicago supercops versus low-level street villains seems a compelling pitch on paper, but this is more about the background machinations between the superhero union and the city of Chicago. That doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of action, but pick up this book knowing that it’s at a slightly more deliberate pace. Highly recommended, however, and not just for the terrible groin injury that happens.
Warren Ellis’ sprawling SF story about aliens landing on Earth and showing absolutely no interest in us whatsoever continues, this time mostly focused on a research station in the North. Honestly, the book seems a little slowly paced; the concept is stunning, but Ellis is taking his time exploring the implications. Still a fascinating book, though, and a recommended read.
Korugar is destroyed, but that’s not going to stop Sinestro. Of course, the fact that everybody from his home planet hates and fears him is kind of a small obstacle, but eh, whatevs. The main problem is this book rolls out some spooky menace and it doesn’t really work. The entire point of this book is that Sinestro means well but goes about his goals in an utterly insane way. Trying to introduce someone worse just isn’t going to work here.
Conan The Avenger #3
Can Fred Van Lente write all the Conan books? This mix of palace intrigue and noir is probably the most fun anyone’s had with the character in ages, and it shows on the page. Highly recommended.
Shadowman: End Times #3
Peter Milligan’s story shifts from a story of voodoo to a family tragedy, and it’s a troubling read. But also quite the climax to a miniseries well worth picking up, especially if you like your superheroes dark and troubled.
Ms. Marvel #5
Kamala Khan is just trying to do the right thing, but that’s a little tricky when you’re an inhuman with shape-shifting powers. Honestly, this book keeps being a lighthearted and fun teen superhero book, and that makes it worth reading just for how rare that feels. Highly recommended.
Hey, who spilled Frank Miller all over this book? In its quest to be the most ’80s thing ever, this book tries far too hard, but at least Dan McDaid’s visual imagination is on display. Disco samurai may be cheesy, but McDaid can make them fun.
Elisa goes after a cheesy TV host who thinks he’s Satan. No, really. He introduces himself as such. Chris Sebela’s script is a little rote, but Jan Dursema’s clean art goes a long way. Worth picking up if you like the character.
King Conan The Conqueror #5
Apparently it’s part of the Dark Horse contract that they put out one fairly standard ’70s-style Conan book out amid the far more interesting spins on the character, and that’s this book. Not bad, but easily the least of Dark Horse’s Conan books.
Serenity: Leaves On The Wind #6
The official season two of Serenity wraps up with a jail break. It’s some fairly fun stuff, but like all the Whedon comics, it’s about the fanservice first and the story second, and that means they’re not as good as they could be. Solid, fun for fans, but not the show.
Mind MGMT #23
Matt Kindt’s story of psychics and espionage takes a tragic turn, and a compelling one. Once again, though, it’s Kindt’s stunning sense of design and art that make this one of the best books on the stands. Some of the best experimental comics out there, and highly recommended.
The Massive #24
This hard-edged story of the value of water in a post-ecological-disaster world is still a little hippy-dippy around the edges, but Brian Wood redeems it enough with a lot of intrigue and strategy. A fun read, and hopefully leading into a great climax.
X-O Manowar #26
Who are the Armor Hunters? Kind of an important question considering they’re anchoring Valiant’s summer crossover, and this is more of a straightforward action story than anything else. But it’s a fun read, at least, and ties into the crossover quite well.
Justice League #31
This book picks up a little steam: Luthor figuring out Batman’s identity is a fun plotline to tie to this book, and Shazam’s struggles to be more than a kid are amusing. This book has its off moments but this issue is undeniably a lot of fun, and the ending has a lot of promise.
Using a video in place of actual criticism is a shoddy, cruel way to get a cheap laugh. It’s a low tactic that I’ll happily sink to:
Seriously, Synder, Capullo, you guys do a great job, but is DC paying you by the panel? It’s been twelve issues, you bumped off your major antagonist, the Red Hood, issues ago… wrap it up! We get it!
Let’s just say that the opening of this book will be rather familiar, but it’s not setting up what you’d expect. And we’ll leave it at that. As for John Romita Jr.’s much hyped arrival on the book, well, it looks pretty, I guess? Romita’s no slouch and his art is always nice to see, but there’s not much here to indicate Superman is a particularly big deal for his portfolio. Still, it’s a well put-together book, and the emotional content, lingering on just how lonely Supes is, offers some real meat.
Robert Venditti’s vengeful, murderous Flash is actually a nice addition to this book; the theme of the things you miss when you’re a superhero, or just too busy, takes on an added resonance with Barry trying to save the future in the most desperate way possible. Worth a read.