Boy, is it ever Thursday night!
Yep! That’s what it is, all right! And that means it’s time for another round of the Internet’s Most Timely Comics Reviews!
Here’s what I picked up yesterday…
And here are a few brief reviews that you can enjoy tomorrow! On Friday!
Agents of Atlas #1: With this issue, the Agents of Atlas are back in an all-new ongoing series, and it’s got all the gorilla spaceman sea queen secret agent love goddess killer robot action that you’d expect.
Long-time ISB readers might recall that the original Agents of Atlas–which was not only one of the best miniseries since Nextwave, but one of the best collections of the year, with a ton of bonus features and some rarely-reprinted Golden Age stuff–was one of the first things that brought writer Jeff Parker to my attention. Nowadays, of course, Parker’s one of my favorite writers, and this issue’s a great example of why: Slick twists, sharp characterization, big action, and a clear love of the occasionally forgotten corners of the Marvel Universe that are all built on a foundation of really solid writing.
Plus, even though it’s a Dark Reign tie-in that launched at $3.99, Agents of Atlas is one of the few titles that actually earns the extra dollar with a twelve-page backup story where Wolverine and Che Guevara fight the Brood in 1958, rather than just a bunch of panels photoshopped into a “saga” recap. It’s solid stuff all around, and since I’ve been wanting more Agents of Atlas since the first series ended, I’m stoked about seeing where it goes from here.
Also there’s a dragon that totally eats a guy.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #22: You know, for a comic about hot lesbians kicking monsters to death, this thing sure could be a lot more fun.
Cable #11: Finally, after almost nineteen years of avoidance, I have bought a comic book starring Nathan Charles Christopher Dayspring Askani’son Summers Soldier X Cable, thus ending a blissful streak of being only vaguely aware of stuff like Stryfe, “Slym and Redd,” and the fact that Rob Liefeld often forgets to draw handles for guns and instead just rests them on the characters’ fists.
So why the sudden change? Basically, it all comes down to the art of Jamie McKelvie, of Phonogram and Suburban Glamour fame. I’m a pretty big fan of his stuff, and surprising no one, he’s still a pretty top notch artist, even when he’s drawing things that aren’t foxy emo1 girls or Jarvis Cocker, so he acquits himself pretty well, although I’m not crazy about the coloring. It might just be that I’m used to seeing McKelvie’s work under colorists like Guy Major, who use a style that brings out his clean, strong linework, but seeing his figures against muddy backgrounds that appear to be actual photographs of the sky–and in one panel, the ground–just looks weird. It doesn’t ruin the art, but there are panels that stick out, and some are noticeably worse than others.
Still, McKelvie’s art is always a treat, and as for the story, it’s not bad. I’ll admit that when I heard Swierczynski was taking over Immortal Iron Fist, my first skeptical thought was “What, the guy who does Cable?!” Still, after seeing the way he handled himself on ‘Fist–including the last issue, where a far-future Iron Fist throws one punch for twenty-three years and then becomes a giant chi-powered Voltron–I’m not surprised that he’s doing an enjoyable, if bare-bones, story here.
Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead #1: For an upstart company, Radical Comics has done a pretty good job making decisions about how they market their stuff: Keeping the price point low on introductory issues, overshipping their hardcover collections to retailers, shelling out the money to get covers from guys like Steranko, and generally pretty high production values on the comics themselves. Now, though, they’ve actually taken the most important step, and put out a comic that I’m actually halfway interested in reading, thanks to Steve Pugh and Warren Ellis.
According to the credits page, Pugh’s actually handling both the script and the art (and doing a pretty good job on both fronts), which are based on a story by Ellis, which explains why the protagonist is a perky-but-sarcastic platinum blonde with a high concept built right into her name: ALICE HOTWIRE: DETECTIVE EXORCIST.
And really, that’s all you need to know about this book: It’s a fun read that stars a character named ALICE HOTWIRE: DETECTIVE EXORCIST, and if you’re the kind of person (i.e., me) who can’t resist that kind of high concept, then you’ll probably get a pretty nice kick out of it.
Jersey Gods #1: I haven’t mentioned him too much here on the ISB, since his major exposure in the world of comics has been through the strips he’s written and drawn for Doctor Who Magazine, but I’m a huge fan of Dan McDaid and I’ve been excited about Jersey Gods since it was announced. And with good reason: Even beyond McDaid’s art–which is perfect for the book with its deceptively simple style that’s highly reminiscent of Simonson in places–Glen Brunswick’s essentially doing the New Gods as a love story. There’s equal parts cosmic battles and personal heartbreak–which makes it the love child of Jack Kirby and Nora Ephron, which is a phrase I honestly never thought I’d use–and it all adds up to something that’s pure joy to read.
So help me out here, Zabu:
Secret Warriors #1: I mentioned this back when it was solicited, but much like my situation with Cable above, it’s been a good three years since I last read a comic with the word “Bendis” on the cover, but after stuff like The Nightly News and Pax Romana, I’ve become a pretty big fan of SC’s own Jonathan Hickman, and I decided to take a chance here. And it worked out pretty well: I was just having a conversation last week with Dr. K where we talked about how it’s not necessarily Bendis’s ideas that turn us off, but the execution, and if someone else was running with the same premise, it could be a lot of fun.
And it looks like that’s exactly what happened here: Bendis is listed as a co-plotter and creator (along with Alex Maleev) of the Secret Warriors, but scriptwise, it’s all Hickman doing the story of a Nick Fury and his–wait for it–secret war against HYDRA. And as such, it’s a great read, with plenty of action and–like Agents of Atlas–bonus material that actually justifies the higher price point. The look of it and its function as a striking, engaging infodump is something that’ll be familiar to fans of his other work, and it’s obvious that Hickman put a lot of effort into it to make something that’ll catch up even someone who, you know, managed to dodge Marvel’s top tier for the past couple of years. Good stuff.
Scott Pilgrim v.5: vs. the Universe: Hey, wait a second… didn’t I already review this? Ah, whatever, it’s rad, but you’ve already got it by now, right? Right.
And that’s the week! As always, any questions or concerns, or if you just want to talk about how Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade really hit its stride with the past couple of issues, feel free to leave a comment below. As for me, I’ll be getting ready to watch The Soup!
Tomorrow, I mean.
Because it’s totally Thursday.
1: “Emo” is a current look between goth and rock. It means “emotional!”