The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1
You should buy this book just for Ted Kord’s hilarious comeback to the Question. Beyond that, this is easily the most complex, brain-bending series of panels Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely have put together in their many collaborations, and you’re going to need to read it a few times to fully get it. Also, leave it to Morrison to tweak Alan Moore’s nose by playing with his Watchmen toys, and yet doing a clever, respectful job of it nonetheless. Highly recommended.
Or Spider-Woman Is Sick Of Everyone’s B.S.. Hoping to get out from under that stupid variant cover, Dennis Hopeless writes this book a bit like a goofy buddy comedy, with Spider-Woman paired off with the exceptionally sheltered Silk. And it’s a good choice; Jessica Drew is honest, practical and hard-bitten, and she’s a fun character to be around as a result. As for Greg Land, he actually does a solid job, nothing to write home about but definitely readable and with a good flow. And no, you don’t need to be reading Spider-Verse to stay on top of this book. Highly recommended.
Ray Fawkes hits Image with a book he’s written and painted about… well, good question. It appears that the basic plot of this book is that two universes are intersecting, and it’s unleashing a whole lot of Cronenberg-esque body-horror. But it’s not terribly specific, so far, and the wispy, rainbow-colored art can sometimes be more of a distraction than an asset. It’s a stunning book, no question, and if you only know Fawkes from his work at the Big Two, it’s a surprise. But I’d look at the preview before picking it up.
Michael Avon Oeming and Taki Soma take on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, essentially. That said, the book’s at least amusing in how it approaches some old saws, not least because Soma manages to pull Oeming off the grim Illuminati kick he’s been on over in The Victories and incorporate some actual jokes into the proceedings. It also has a credible teenager as a character, which is always good to see. Worth reading if you like comedy about punching monsters.
Punk Mambo #0
This is a one-shot origin story for Peter Milligan’s Shadowman voodoo priestess… an old-school, ageless punk. It’s… well, it’s a bit like reading a forum argument over what’s punk, to be honest, but it’s not a bad little slice of EC Comics style horror, despite Robert Gill’s art being a little too clean and bright, overall, to really suit the tone. Worth a read.
Axis Revolutions #2
Thor goes on a drunken bender. Look, that’s as close to review-proof as a comic book gets. It helps that it’s as funny as it sounds, and the first story is all about Nightcrawler deciding to get vicious with Sabretooth. If you’re a Marvel fan, this is a hoot.
Predator: Fire And Stone #2
This mini takes a sudden and amusingly unexpected left turn and becomes The Defiant Ones with more alien murder. This should in no way be construed as a complaint; it’s a clever idea that gives the story both stakes and a lot of narrative drive, not to mention gore. A great read, and a well-done issue in this crossover.
Sleepy Hollow #2
Marguerite Bennett and Jorge Coelho deliver a story that’s actually better than the show’s been, of late. I don’t want to ruin it, but it’s a tight, creepy little story that’s worth picking up whether you like Sleepy Hollow or just like horror stories. Highly recommended.
Legends Of Baldur’s Gate #2
Jim Zub’s attempt to bring back Minsc carries over here, and yes, the hamster-loving ranger is highly entertaining with Zub at the wheel. Honestly, Zub brings a bit of desperately needed levity to the overly dour D&D comics, and it’s kind of nice to have the big earnest goofball back in play. Worth a read for fans of the game and of the franchise in general.
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches #3
This experimental series continues with Matthew Dow Smith’s take on a classic legend. It’s really about the nature of telling stories and living life, but it’s got a definite twinkle that makes a few dark turns a bit easier to swallow. Definitely worth a look for fable fans.
Dark Horse Presents #4
Honestly, I can take or leave a fair chunk of this book, but Alex DeCampi’s Semiautomagic, a story about a morally grey Superman-ish superhero in the ’50s, and Evan Dorkin cranking out page after page of comic strips is worth the cash. Highly recommended.
Bob’s Burgers #4
Dynamite’s miniseries continues with the usual anthology format and the usual praise for being the show on the page. Dear God, this book is hilarious. If you love the show, buy this; it’s perfect.
Mark Waid takes Matt Murdock to some dark, dark places in this issue… but that just makes his victories over the Purple Man and his flock of vicious children all the sweeter. Chris Samnee does a superb job with the art as usual, with a tense, moody cat-and-mouse game in an abandoned arcade anchoring the issue. Highly, highly recommended.
Superman/Wonder Woman #13
Peter Tomasi picks up on the romantic superheroics of Supes and Wondy and… mostly it’s OK. Tomasi can really let it rip when he wants to, but here it’s mostly light comedy about dating and a lengthy fight with two b-listers. It’s fun, but this is stuff Tomasi and the art team of Doug Mahnke and Jamie Mendoza could do in their sleep. Push some boundaries, guys!
Astro City #17
Superheroes get manipulated all the time. For reasons good and bad, galactic and petty, they’re thrown into alternate universes, misled about reasons, lied to, it’s a common trope. But what about the manipulators? What happens when their plans go wrong? What burden of guilt do they have to carry? That’s what Kurt Busiek gets into here, with a little help from a set of artists who do such a good job that you can’t tell quite a few people worked on the art. As always, it’s a thoughtful, humane take on superheroes, and a must-read.
X-O Manowar #30
Aric’s new foe isn’t an alien, a superhero, or a wizard… he’s a greedy monster from Wall Street making money off human suffering. Robert Venditti also adds a layer of politics to the proceedings, but what really stands out is the leader of the Armorines, who’s such an amusingly rendered amoral jackass you can’t help but root for him to get his ass kicked. This is the start of a new arc, and it’s a good jumping-on point for new readers.
Or “Supergirl Goes To Hogwarts.” J. Perkins and Mike Johnson, with Emanuela Lupacchino on art, continue to deliver an angry young woman who’s not on Earth by choice… and not entirely happy with Earth in general. So going to a gladiator school in space might be just want the doctor ordered, provided said doctor was clinically insane. But it’s a fun read, and it’s a nice touch that Kara hasn’t had her edges softened. Worth a read for fans or those looking to get on this particular book, or just people who want to see Superman called on his self-righteous crap.
Wonder Woman #36
I don’t relish writing bad reviews. A comic book is often the result of genuine effort and passion from people who love the form. But sometimes, a comic just does not work, and unfortunately, this is one of those times.
David Finch in particular has to be singled out here; he gives Wonder Woman’s face this cutie-pie look that makes her seem like she’s 13 and about to burst into tears. It looks like somebody grafted a child’s face onto an adult’s body, and I’m not sure why he chose that direction. Regardless, it simply doesn’t work.
Meanwhile, Meredith Finch’s script is poorly paced. There’s an enormous splash panel that’s simply the Justice League… looking at a screen! Similarly, dialogue like this: “What vegetative injustice was worth so many lives?” …doesn’t exactly leap from the page.
In short, the book just does not work. It’s a complete misfire, and I can’t in good conscience recommend it.