Gotham Academy is exactly the comic book I want to read.
That probably doesn't come as a surprise to anyone who's been reading ComicsAlliance for any significant amount of time. I mean, if you made a list of the things I like seeing in my comics, then Batman, teenage mystery solvers, and high school drama set in a superhero universe are all things that are going to land pretty close to the top of the list, and those three elements form the exact core of Gotham Academy's premise. It's so perfectly designed to fit my very specific tastes that you'd actually have to work hard to combine them into something that I wouldn't like.
Because of that, it might be tempting to write off anything nice I have to say about the book, but trust me: this first issue of Gotham Academy is great, not just because it's got a bunch of stuff I want to see, but because Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl, Geyser, and Dave McCaig, have produced one of the most solid starts of the year.
If you're picking up Thor #1 this week, by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman, to see the much-hyped new Thor in action, you're going to be a little disappointed. While it's a very good comic that promises great stories to come, the new Thor only appears in two pages that you might already have seen floating around online.
Rather than launch straight in to the new Thor's adventures, this first issue teases her arrival, leaving the action for next month -- presumably in an effort to hold as much of the first issue readership as possible. As a result this issue feels more like the end of the last Thor title than the start of a new one.
When you consider the entire history of Magneto, it's pretty ridiculous. He's been assumed dead at least half-a-dozen times; he's probably flip-flopped from villain to hero more times than that; and he's been resurrected as both a Nelson-haired clone (millennials: Google "Nelson band" to get how funny that is) and a star-headed Taoist. Mistakes have been made with the character; mistakes so big that the character's retcons and course-corrections have diminished his stature, leaving readers to wonder; Just who the hell is Magneto?
In Marvel's Magneto, by Cullen Bunn, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Javier Fernandez, and Jordie Bellaire, that question is finally getting a good answer.
Listen: Michel Fiffe's Copra is great. If you've been reading ComicsAlliance for any significant amount of time -- or even if you've just been listening to the Every Story Ever segments on the War Rocket Ajax podcast where we've ranked it above stuff like "Robin Dies At Dawn," JLA: Year One and Grant Morrison's first arc on New X-Men -- then you already know that.
But at the same time, you could be forgiven for thinking that maybe, after that first run of twelve amazing DIY comics, Fiffe might've slipped a bit. After all, it's pretty rare for something to stay that good forever, and now that Fiffe's picking up mainstream work from Marvel in the pages of All New Ultimates and Dynamite with Captain Victory, you'd have a good reason to think that Copra would be on the back burner. But if you did, you would be wrong.
If, for whatever reason, you haven't been reading the second act of Copra, where Fiffe turns his attention to spotlighting individual members of the team, then you're missing out on some of the most amazing comics of the year -- and the latest issue, where Fiffe drops a treatise on and rejection of Randian objectivisim in the form of a story about a superhero sent to an interdimensional prison, is the best of the bunch by far.
That fan response to Marvel's Spider-Gwen one-shot Edge of Spider-Verse #2 was so profound can be chalked to a number of important factors that we've covered before, but perhaps none as crucial as the exhilarating visuals created by artist Robbi Rodriguez and colorist Rico Renzi. The duo earned praise from us and others for introducing a kind of crackling, almost reckless sense of energy and fun into an already aesthetically diverse Marvel Universe (or alternate universe, as the case may be).
But this came as no surprise to readers of FBP: Federal Bureau Of Physics, the Vertigo series Rodriguez and Renzi launched last year with writer Simon Oliver. FBP's mantra is "the impossible is always possible" thanks to its universe's occasional and frequently catastrophic breakdown of all known laws of physics. It's a premise that allows artists to be artists, and Rodriguez and Renzi dive wildly into their talents for hugely expressive, hypercolored images that -- along with routinely gorgeous covers by Nathan Fox -- have made FBP one of the most visually compelling American comics around at the moment.
The way I've always understood anthology series is that you never want every story to end at the same time, because the idea is that by chaining everything together, the reader never has a chance to jump off. That might sound mercenary, but really, it's just simple economics: If everything you're into ends all at once, then you've got a lot less incentive to come back for the next issue. Right? Right.
Well, it seems that last week's issue of 2000 AD went against that little bit of conventional wisdom by capping off every story that they had going so that they could set up this week's offering: Their 1900th issue, which celebrates the milestone by launching three new stories, and provides a perfect jumping-on point. If you haven't been reading 2000 AD and want to see what all the fuss is about, this is the issue to get -- and you should definitely get it, because all three stories are pretty awesome.
On its own, the police procedural doesn't have that much traction within modern comics. In the early days of the medium -- especially in newspaper strips -- it was a different story, and straight-up police tales were among some of the most popular of the day. A little over a decade ago, though, everybody seemed to realize the potential to mix police procedurals with other genres, frequently to fantastic and award-winning results: Alan Moore and Gene Ha's Top Ten; Gotham Central, by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Michael Lark and others; and Powers by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. Those books realized the natural fit that cop stories had within superhero stories, and thus a sub-genre was born.
But there's still plenty of room left for cop shows in comics, and over the last few years, the sci-fi procedural has definitely been in its ascendance. With Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood's The Fuse, we have a new standard by which to judge all others.
Meka took me by surprise. Admittedly, this state of affairs was, in significant part, was derived from the previous JD Morvan/Bengal collaboration I'd read: Naja, and a blurb that pitched it as "giant robot vehicle crashes in war-zone leaving human pilots stranded and fighting for survival," causing my expectations of this title to veer from "very excited" to "considerably neutral." And to a point, that's an accurate summation, but a superficial one, a starting point, because what Meka essentially is, is a thoughtful treatise on the "in-between" of war, lifted into exceptional territory by the sheer, stunning power of Bengal's art.
We'll be focusing here on the second issue of the maxiseries, the unwieldily titled The Multiversity: The Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors of the Counter-World, written by Grant Morrison with pencils by Tom Strong's Chris Sprouse, inks by Karl Story and Walden Wong, and gorgeous colors by Dave McCaig.
I'll admit here from the beginning that while I can talk about this series' relationship to the DC Universe and Morrison's oeuvre, I'm close to clueless about the vagaries of early 20th century pulp fiction and would be incredibly interested in hearing from more learned readers whatever I've missed from that angle. That said, there's still a great deal of meat to dig into in this issue, which serves as a sort of conceptual counterpoint to Final Crisis's opening scene, showing us the end of Anthro and Vandal Savage's 40,000-year feud.
This is something of a golden age for pop culture-themed art books. It seems like every week, a new volume comes on the market that illuminates some aspect of the history of popular art. In fact, there's so many great titles out there right now that it can be tough to figure out which are worth your time -- so we figured it would be a good idea to shine the ComicsAlliance spotlight on a few of the best things we've recently read.
The Noble Approach: Maurice Noble And The Zen Of Animation Design is a sweeping retrospective of Maurice Noble's art and legacy. It also offers a thought-provoking treatise on principles of animation design, compiled by author Tod Polson from Noble's notes.
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