Harley Quinn wins a date with Batman for Valentine’s Day. We’ve got a review, plus a look at the rest of this week’s notable comics.
The Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day Special
This comic features Harley having a dream where she eats Batman and poops him out while he talks about having children. Really.
That said, while I have a long record of being completely unable to stand this book, I will say Connor’s and Palmiotti’s writing of Batman is pretty funny in places. To be honest, they do a better job of writing him than they do Harley Quinn, and there’s a nice little scene where Bruce Wayne subtly figures out what his captor wants, and whether or not he’s dangerous, and then solves the situation with a few well-placed words and a little kindness. Maybe apply this level of thought to the damn jokes and we might have something here!
Darth Vader #1
Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca have a problem they don’t quite overcome here, which is that they’re hemmed in by movies on one side and the main Star Wars ongoing on the other. Still, it’s hard to go wrong when your protagonist is one of the scariest villains in modern fiction, and if nothing else, it’s a quick, engaging read. Good for Star Wars fans.
The Empty #1
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a pretty big fan of Jimmie Robinson, as he often takes tired ideas (like a school for assassins) and turns them into something fresh and fascinating. The Empty is, admittedly, an incredibly odd book about a post-apocalyptic landscape and the two women trying to save it. But despite the dialogue feeling stiff and formal, Robinson manages to create an almost folktale atmosphere while keeping a sense of wit to the proceedings. It may not be for every taste, but it’s definitely worth reading the first issue to see if it’s in your wheelhouse.
Dark Horse’s massive crossover ends on a rather melancholy note, actually. Suffice to say it’s an interesting setup we’re left with, but after a huge crossover and so much build-up, a sequel hook is a lame way to end it. Still, worth a read for Aliens and Predator fans.
Abram Adams was the top Russian cosmonaut, and he was sent to the edge of space to prove the superiority of Russia. It’s 2015, he just came back, and he has godlike powers. This will end well! What’s most fascinating about Jeff Lemire’s origin story for an odd new character is that it’s more of a poem made of little moments from what Adams was before than anything else. Trevor Hairsine is more than up to the art chores, and he has some great images here. It’s an oddly beautiful book in both words and pictures and thus, one worth reading. Highly recommended.
Help Us! Great Warrior #1
Madeleine Flores brings her web comic to print and… well, the transition is bumpy at best. The comic has some great art, but the writing has absolutely no flow or sense of plot, content to coast on its Adventure Time-esque concept and its own quirkiness. A good book for kids, but Flores should tighten up the writing a bit and make it more than a web comic on the page.
Secret Six #2
Gail Simone’s team book is off to something of a slow start overall, but what the plot lacks in focus, it makes up for in action and characterization. I still feel Ken Lashley and Drew Geraci are a bit murky in their inking, which is a shame because the book has some wonderful fight scenes, but these are minor concerns; if you like your comic books gritty, this is one to get.
Fred Van Lente’s clever heist/karmic revenge story continues, and actually fills in a few character blanks along the way. If you’re not reading this, it’s a clever take on the heist movie, and well worth picking up.
Q2: The Return Of Quantum And Woody #5
Priest and Bright wrap up their return to their cult heroes and… well… it’s really only in the final issue that this book makes anything resembling sense. That doesn’t feel like enough to salvage this series, but at least Valiant is bringing the original creators back to wrap up their own book before the new guys take over completely.
Wild’s End #6
A seemingly ridiculous premise has a superb finale in this issue. If you haven’t read this crossover between The War of The Worlds and The Wind In The Willows, you’re missing out on a surprisingly clever and well-done comic from Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard.
Southern Bastards #7
The story of Euless Boss continues, and while one could argue Jason Aaron is laying it on just a little thick… Well, this is a comic book about a high school football coach who’s also a bitter, cruel mob boss. Either way, it explains a lot, and Jason Latour’s sweaty, painful art really captures the feeling of lost dreams and just how they can turn into something much uglier.
Jeff Lemire and Clayton Crain’s cyberpunk take on Valiant takes something of a swerve as the whole string of plots comes to a head. There are cheesy moments, like a positron relating how she used to be a he until her fat, creepy owner… well, take a guess at what’s implied. But overall, it’s a fun SF story with some clever twists and great action, and recommended for SF fans.
Astro City #20
What happens when you’re no longer at your peak? When your work defines you, and as you begin to age… you’re no longer the best? That’s been the theme of this arc of Astro City, except instead of a melancholy drama, it’s about superheroes, and it’s wonderful, as always. Highly recommended.
The Full Retail List
Rachel Rising #31, $3.99
Crypt Of Horror Volume 24 TP, $29.95
ACTION LAB ENTERTAINMENT
Princeless The Pirate Princess #1 (Of 4)(Rosy Higgins Regular Cover), $3.99
Princeless The Pirate Princess #1 (Of 4)(Soojin Paek Variant Cover), $4.99
Shinobi Ninja Princess #6 (Of 6), $3.99
Rogues The Burning Heart #2 (Of 5), $3.99
Roman Ritual #2 (Of 4), $3.99
Cavewoman The Return #1 (Cover A Rob Durham), $3.99
Cavewoman The Return #1 (Cover B Rob Durham), AR
Cavewoman The Return #1 (Cover D Budd Root), AR
Cavewoman The Zombie Situation #1 (Cover A Devon Massey), $3.99
Cavewoman The Zombie Situation #1 (Cover B Devon Massey), AR
Cavewoman The Zombie Situation #1 (Cover D Budd Root), AR
AND ACTION ENTERTAINMENT
Legend Of The Mantamaji Volume 3 GN, $14.99
Gold Digger Holidays Special #4, $3.99
Zombie Killustrated #1 (One Shot), $3.99
ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
Archie #664 (Dan Parent Regular Cover), $3.99
Archie #664 (Fernando Ruiz Winter Is Coming Variant Cover), $3.99
Archie Comics Digest #258, $4.99
Archie Comics Spectacular Food Fight TP, $5.99
Best Of Sonic The Hedgehog Comics Ultimate Collection TP, $9.99
Jughead And Archie Jumbo Comics Digest #10, $6.99
Sonic The Hedgehog #269 (Jamal Peppers Regular Cover), $3.99
Sonic The Hedgehog #269 (T.Rex SWE Variant Cover), $3.99
Sonic The Hedgehog Archives Volume 24 TP, $7.99