The Predator is back… and he wants a piece of the most dangerous game in the universe. A review of his comeback, plus a look at this week’s notable books from DC Comics, Marvel, Image Comics, Dark Horse, IDW Publishing, and Boom! Studios.
Arkham Manor #1
Gerry Duggan and Shawn Crystal deliver a fairly straightforward Batman yarn. The main question here is why they made this a separate series; this feels more like a Batman story arc they could fit into one of the Batbooks instead of a standalone idea. Still, the setup is fun and the idea is interesting, so if you’re a Batfan, pick it up.
DC brings Deathstroke back for another try at an ongoing, written and drawn by Tony Daniel. Honestly, the results are such a generic “tough guy” book that you wonder why DC and Daniel are bothering. The art’s good, of course, but the closing plot hook is so uninteresting, and the issue itself so cheesy, that it’s hard to recommend.
The Multiversity: The Just #1
Grant Morrison’s what-ifs continue with the question of what might actually happen as superheroes age, die, and leave their kids in charge of a world where they have bottomless power… and nothing to do. It’s a fascinating, self-mocking riff on an overdone idea, where Morrison zings old jokes about Batman and makes fun of his own meta-plot. The result is a fun take on an old idea, and highly recommended.
Axis: Hobgoblin #1
The Hobgoblin has returned in the villainous guise of… a self-help guru? Kevin Shinick and Javier Rodriguez deliver a wickedly funny riff on supervillains, heroism, and motivational speaking that really shouldn’t be missed, even if you’re not following Axis. It’s a clever take on the Hobgoblin’s history, and Rodriguez’s clean, vivid art is a perfect compliment. Highly recommended.
Essentially, this is Buffy but at high speed; Jacob Semahn sets a rather breathless pace and stuffs a lot of plot and backstory into a small space. That said, Jorge Corona’s style doesn’t feel quite suited to the material; the book’s rather grim and even a little noirish in places, and Corona’s just a little too lighthearted. Still, if you like action books, this one starts off running.
Father’s Day #1
A former assassin discovers his bratty daughter on his doorstep, and, needless to say, the mob is now after him. Mike Richardson and Gabriel Guzman undeniably deliver a slick book, but it’s so insubstantial, and the plot in coming issues is so obvious, that it’ll slide right out of your mind. Pretty fun, but not a must-read.
Colder: The Bad Seed #1
Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra noticed it’s Halloween, so here’s a followup to the superb Colder miniseries to creep the ever-loving hell out of you. Seriously, Ferreyra has outdone himself in the freaky-ass monsters and disturbing gore department, and if you’ve seen his art, you know that’s saying something. Tobin’s script is solid as well, using Declan, a man who can absorb madness, in some curious and effective ways. The whole thing feels like a terrifying dream, which is why it’s highly recommended.
Predator: Fire And Stone #1
The ambitious, interlocking Fire and Stone crossover continues, this time with a Predator in the mix. And it’s after some ambitious game, to say the least; we don’t want to ruin it, but if you’re a fan, it’s well worth picking up, especially with Chris Mooneyham’s atmospheric, slightly scratchy art.
Edward Scissorhands #1
Adapting Tim Burton’s fairy tale about the kid who doesn’t quite fit in to comics is ambitious enough, but Kate Leth and Drew Rausch are actually up to something more ambitious: This is a sequel to the movie, featuring the granddaughter of Winona Ryder’s character. To be honest, it doesn’t quite gel for me; Rausch’s art is a little too cartoony to make the fairly serious script work, and the first issue is a bit too slowly paced to be compelling, not to mention broadcasting what’ll happen in the next issue or two well in advance. It just doesn’t feel quite like a fairy tale, and that’s a bit of a letdown.
Dungeons and Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate #1
Most of IDW’s Dungeons and Dragons output has been… dour. It’s pleased fans but it hasn’t been a lot of fun to read if you aren’t one. Which is likely why IDW tapped Jim Zub to create a rather more lighthearted take on the franchise, starring the utterly insane ranger Minsc. It’s true that Zub can write wacky fantasy comics in his sleep, but it’s a fun, fast-paced read with solid anime-esque art from Max Dunbar, and if you’re looking for a smile and a cute hamster in a comic book, this will fit the bill.
James Tynion IV and Eryk Donovan tackle the idea of information spreading virally. Which is interesting, but unfortunately it just turns out to be yet another zombie book crossed over with “You damn kids and your Facebooks.” There are interesting and important ideas here, about the Internet and how information spreads on it, but Tynion doesn’t really do anything with them, and with only three issues, it seems unlikely he will. Donovan’s art doesn’t quite suit the story, as well; it’s a little too light-hearted for a fairly violent and dark book. Still, I’ll take an effort that doesn’t quite work over a book being phoned in, so kudos to Tynion and Donovan for swinging for the fences.