It’s April Fools Day, but we promise, no pranks in here. Just a look at this week’s notable comics in shops and online!
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.
Project Superpowers: Blackcross #2
Warren Ellis and Colton Worley follow up a superb first issue with an equally creepy and enigmatic second. Somebody is attacking the residents of Blackcross, and said residents are experiencing hallucinations… either of who they were, or who they might be. It’s a pretty trippy book, helped considerably by Worley’s vivid, dreamlike art, and honestly engaging even though it’s not entirely clear what’s going on yet. Highly recommended.
As readers of this book have no doubt guessed, the gigantic mega-corporation buying convicts to turn them into disposable soldiers for the purpose of invading an alien planet and terra-forming it are even more awful than we thought! And it comes complete with a sneering villain, which is a bit disappointing considering the setup we’ve had so far. But despite this misstep, it’s still a fun read and Damian Couceiro’s action scenes are great, so if you want SF action, give it a read.
Southern Bastards #8
The story of Euless Boss, the high school football coach/mobster who rules Craw County, Ala., finishes with a few moments that are practically Shakespearean in how they’re designed and how Euless became the monster he is. It’s a troubling tale about how bad times, petty slights, and bullying can create a person far worse than anyone expected. Highly recommended.
Earth 2: World’s End #26
This book ends in a surprising down note, to say the least. That said, it doesn’t really “end” so much as wrap up with a “to be continued” for Convergence which is a disappointment after 26 issues. Still, kudos for at least wrapping up on an unexpected moment.
X-O Manowar #35
Ever wonder what would happen if Iron Man fought the Borg? Wonder no longer. Joking aside, Robert Venditti’s take on that old comics chestnut of the force wiping out entire planets has a lot of weight to it, and it actually treats the situation with some gravity. Overall, it’s an interesting arc, and worth picking up if you’re a fan.
Batman Eternal #52
The weekly book wraps up with… well, to be honest, what feels like a fairly conventional finale; 52 issues of build-up for, well, this? It’s fun enough, but with this much plotting, it needed more.
The Full Retail List
Monsters Of Jimmy Crumb GN (not verified by Diamond), $9.99
Age Of Selfishness Ayn Rand Morality And The Financial Crisis HC, $17.95
Rock And Roll Biographies #1 (Wayne Eaman Regular Cover), $3.50
ACTION LAB ENTERTAINMENT
Shinobi Ninja Princess TP, $19.99
AMAZE INK (SLAVE LABOR GRAPHICS)
Sanctuary Volume 1 Fresh Meat TP, $14.95
Zombie Fairy Tales Snow White And The Seven Zombies #1 (One Shot), $3.99
Shahrazad #1 (Of 5)(Cover A Mike Krome), $2.99
Shahrazad #1 (Of 5)(Cover B Siya Oum), $2.99
Shahrazad #1 (Of 5)(Cover C J. Scott Campbell), AR
Hi-Fructose Magazine Quarterly #35, $7.95
War Stories #7 (Matt Martin Battle Damage Incentive Cover), AR
War Stories #7 (Matt Martin Good Girl Nose Art Cover), $3.99
War Stories #7 (Tomas Aria Regular Cover), $3.99
War Stories #7 (Tomas Aria Wraparound Cover), $3.99