Or “Let’s roll out some hardcore continuity porn!” I feel bad for anybody who didn’t grow up reading DC because, boy, will you ever be lost as it filters through dozens of continuities and alternate realities. Hence the handy multi-page chart in the back. Personally, I read it fondly, but this really is for hardcore DC fans only.
Gotham Academy: Endgame #1
This book actually ties into “Endgame” smartly with an anthology format that riffs on the Joker by telling campfire stories about the Clown Prince of Crime. And it really works; in fact, you can pick it up with ease even if you haven’t read the book. If you’re a Batman fan, it’s worth picking up.
Arkham Manor: Endgame #1
This “Endgame” tie-in is actually a pretty engaging read, not least because it’s a simple concept; a handful of people immune to the Joker plague are trapped in Arkham… where most of the residents aren’t. It’s not the greatest Batman story of all time, but it’s a fun read and a brisk take on what could be a tired idea.
Avengers: Rage of Ultron
This original graphic novel from Marvel is about, well, rage. Specifically, Hank Pym and his mirror, Ultron. It’s an interesting idea, not least because Rick Remender is in full space-opera, chest-thumping mode, but it’s tough to get into this book unless you like Hank Pym… which has been pretty hard to do these last several, er, decades. Still, it’s an interesting lingering on what makes Ultron tick, even if it is a shameless attempt to sell books on the back of the upcoming movie.
Uncanny Inhumans #0
Well, Steve McNiven makes it look pretty, but it’s hard to get worked up over this particular start, even if Charles Soule does give us a Black Blot/Kang faceoff. Interesting enough, if you’ve been following Inhumans, but a bit heavy on the mythology and light on the plot.
Kanan, The Last Padawan #1
Yes, it’s a Star Wars: Rebels tie-in comic. Truthfully, this issue sets up everything according to, well, what you’d expect. It’s not a bad read, but it’s a bit generic, especially in light of Marvel’s other Star Wars books.
No Mercy #1
A bunch of rich, privileged Princeton applicants go to a Central American country to build a school to look good on their resumes. Then, of course, things go horribly wrong and they get stranded in the jungle. That’s it, that’s the setup, and it’s great. Alex de Campi’s script shines because she nails all the type; the smug world-traveler, the privileged douchebag, the quiet kid. It helps that she’s basing this on her own experience, which she admits in the back having a lot of ambivalence towards. Carla Speed McNeil’s art fits the story well, although her best work is largely in the layouts; the opening evokes the claustrophobia and isolation of large crowds on cellphones, for example.
Overall, a superb start to this thriller, and highly recommended.
The Witcher: Fox Children #1
Joe Querio and Paul Tobin’s miniseries featuring the Witcher was actually one of my favorite comics of 2014, and this book illustrates why, as it opens up with Geralt busting his dwarf companion’s balls for sleeping in a loincloth. What follows is Geralt getting sucked into a disastrous expedition where a bunch of morons antagonize a vulpess… and manage to make things worse. It’s a great setup, and surprising light in tone compared to the original series. That doesn’t make it any less of a great read, though, and highly recommended.
Becky is a pretty normal teenage girl; decent if contentious relationship with her parents, scared of college, and living her life in rural Wisconsin. Well, until she runs into an alien. James Tynion IV wisely focuses this first issue on characterization; we get to know the cast and what they want, and it’s actually a comfortable read right up until things get entertainingly weird. Interesting, and worth a look.
Rick and Morty #1
Even if you’re not familiar with Rick and Morty, Dan Harmon’s rather dark Adult Swim series about a degenerate superscientist and his slightly more logical fourteen-year-old grandson, Zac Gorman and CJ Cannon do such a good job translating it, you kind of wish it was an episode of the show. It may not be for everyone; it’s a bit wordier and less visual than a comic book really should be. But it’s still funny, and that’s all that counts.