With Halloween fast approaching, it has fallen to Patsy Walker to show the most efficient and effective way of dealing with the living dead:
By rocking them with a kick to the face.
But let’s be honest: That’s probably something ISB readers already knew, so instead of elaborating on what scholars have referred to as The Billy Jack Method, it looks like it’s time for another round of the Internet’s Most Laughlinesque Comics Reviews!
Here’s what I picked up this week:
…and here’s what I thought about ’em!
Batman: The Brave and the Bold #10: In this issue, by Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade‘s Landry Walker and Eric Jones, Batman is transformed by Hugo Strange into a giant kaiju monster and then fights the Atom, who has also grown giant-sized, which may cause him to explode.
The Diamond order code you want is AUG09 0192.
Dark Avengers: Ares #1: I’v ebeen looking forward to this one since it was solicited, owing largely to the fact that, starting with the Oeming/Foreman series and moving through appearances in Incredible Herc that are pretty much tailor-made for my particular tastes, Ares has steadily become one of those character sthat I really look forward to seeing. But even so, I honestly didn’t expect it to be this good.
Really though, it’s not too much of a surprise. I mean, I already knew that Kieron Gillen was an extremely talented writer, but a story about Marvel’s God of War training a hand-picked squad of Norman Osborn’s soldiers is about as different as you can get from Phonogram while still having a cover and two staples. And yet, he tackles it with the same sense of thrilling excitement that he brought to the table on his recent work on Beta Ray Bill, and much like he did with ol Spacehorse, it’s clear by page two that Gillen’s a guy who just flat-out gets Ares.
And not only that, but he even manages to lay it all out in a scene that’s not only clever and well-structured–complete with a bit of Herc‘s humor–but that never actually feels like a scene where a character has to spell out his motivations. “Subtlety” is the wrong word for it, but Gillen nails the character’s voice so well that a three-page speech in front of a Patton-esque American flag just feels natural. And it doesn’t hurt that Manuel Garcia, Stefano Gaudiano and Mark Pennington’s art has the right mix of grittiness and expressiveness to carry it all off, either.
It’s great fun, and the fact that Gillen’s pulled off cosmic battles and Earth-bound gods so well in such a short span of time gives me even higher hopes for his upcoming run on Thor.
Detective Comics #858: Okay, look: At this point, we’ve all talked about J.H. Williams III and how he’s consistently making ‘Tec the best looking book on the stands, and while it’s starting to feel like Greg Rucka’s getting the short end of the stick on the critical side of things, it pretty much has to be said:
Holy cats, J.H. Williams is awesome.
Not just because he’s a great artist, which I think is pretty self-evident at this point, but because of the way he’s able to switch things up. In the stories up to now, it’s been more a matter of panel layouts and Dave Stewart’s coloring–switching up the style based on whether the story’s following Kate or Batwoman–but in this one, it’s a completely different style. If it wasn’t for the credits, I would’ve sworn it was someone like Michael Lark doing the flashback sequences, but no, it’s Williams, pulling off the same trick he used on The Black Glove–where every character was drawn in the style of a different artist–but expanded for a whole issue.
But again: Rucka’s working on this book too, and with the start of the new arc, he’s finally fleshing out Batwoman’s background, showing her to be more than just a bored socialite who used to date Renee Montoya, for whom things are also picking up in the face-kickingest co-feature we’ve yet seen from DC. It’s a welcome change, as the character’s been around for three years now, but the way that it’s been built up has done a lot to increase its impact.
It’s another issue of incredible creators collaborating to make incredible comics, and while that’s not exactly news, something this good always bears mentioning.
Fantastic Four #572: The old cliche about the Fantastic Four is that they’re not just a team, they’re a family. It’s a tenet about the team that’s been repeated ad infinitum over the past 40-some years, but like most things that stick around to reach cliche status, it’s also at the core of some really great stories, and this is one of them.
I’ve had the feeling since this arc started that there was a reason we were seeing a bunch of Reeds without a single Ben, Johnny or Sue–of the entire Council of Cross-Time Reeds, only “ours” actuallly has the FF’s 4 on his chest—and while it didn’t end up playing out quite the way I thought it would, it took the idea of asking what it would take to solve everything and built something incredibly enjoyable around it. Kicking off a run with what really amounts to a Reed Richards solo story seems like a pretty bold move, but the way Hickman and Eaglesham have executed it is so well done, with the character rooted it in the idea that even with countless versions of himself tooling around the Multiverse, “our” Reed stands apart from the others because for him, there’s no such thing as a Reed Richards solo story.
It’s a simple premise, but like I said, it’s one that’ flawlessly executed, with enough twisting and turning to keep it feeling fresh, and it’s quickly made FF one of the books that I’m looking forward to the most.
Invincible Presents Atom Eve & Rex Splode #1: I’ve been talking quite a bit about Benito Cereno and Nate Bellegarde over the past few weeks, mainly because their latest Hector Plasm collection is the textbook example of how a Halloween special should be done, but the fact is that those guys just make good comics together. With this one, they’re following up their origin for Atom Eve with a look at the Secret Origin of the recently deceased Rex Splode–another one of those wish-I’d-thought-of-that-name supporting cast members that Kirkman has stocked his books with–and the result is predictably entertaining.
Benito’s script keeps things rolling along with a great mix of comedy and action–including scenes I’m incredibly jelaous of that are set up like jokes, with the punchline being political assassination–and under Bill Crabtree’s bright, vivid colors, Nate’s art coming off as good here as it does on Hector. I’ve gotta say that as much as I liked what they ended up with for Atom Eve, this one’s off to an even more promising start.
And that, more or less, is the week. I’ll have a few more reviews–most notably my opinion on the start of the whole FrankenCastle story that’s running through Punisher on next week’s thrilling episode of Ajax, but until then, feel free to pepper me with any questions you have about this week’s titles, like whether “Old Man Logan” was as stupid as I thought it was going to be (yes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing) in the comments section below.