This week, Chris and Matt are oddly surprised by the (possible?) commentary found in New Suicide Squad #1 by Sean Ryan and Jeremy Roberts. Then they like how Armor Hunters #1 by Robert Venditti and Doug Braithwaite hits the big event-comic notes without being contrived. And finally, they discuss a couple of DC's digital-comic offerings: Scooby Doo Team-Up #5 by Sholly Fisch and Dario Brizuela, and Bat-Manga #1 by Jiro Kuwata.
Wonder Woman has been quite the topic of conversation of late, thanks to the news that the popular and critically-acclaimed Brian Azzarello/Cliff Chiang creative team would soon be leaving her title after a three-year run to be replaced by the already controversial team of Meredith Finch/David Finch -- who have already made some troubling statements in simply trying to promote their run -- and the news that Gilbert Hernandez will bring his talents to the character for Sensation Comics.
While we were all talking about the Finch family, feminism, and the premier female superhero in comics history last week, we may have missed the fact that DC Comics just published an excellent Wonder Woman comic, one that cherry-picked elements from her most popular iterations (her weird-but-awesome Golden Age persona under the guidance of her creators, the Lynda Carter TV show, Super Friends) and presented them in dismemberment-free, all-ages comic that could be enjoyed by anyone from the littlest girl to the oldest old man. A comic book that was both fun and funny, and had just a touch of good old comic book insanity.
I was excited for Ms. Marvel from the moment it was announced. I reblogged it, retweeted it, called my mother about it, chatted it up at my local comic shop. But secretly, I was more than a little certain that it would suck in all the usual ways. Sure, the cover was splashy, and sure, I was hearing good things about G. Willow Wilson. But I was girded for — and expected — twenty or so lackluster issues before cancellation.
The first issue came out, and it was good. Really good. It was bright and fun and electric with personality in every way a comic can be, from its color palette to its ending splash. Still, though, I was unconvinced — fantastic first issues have given way to mediocrity before.
But the second issue was great. And the third. And the fourth. And with the fifth issue and the first arc completed, I feel that I can finally let out the breath I've been holding and say that Ms. Marvel is truly wonderful work.
On sale now, the first issue of the new Spider-Man 2099 series by writer Peter David, artist Will Sliney and colorist Antonio Fabela is the very definition of a light comic. It's loaded with jokes and goofy asides -- most of them pretty funny. There's a throwaway villain. The colors are bright and appealing. It's mostly a really enjoyable read.
Until the one moment that bothered the hell out of me. Expect some spoilers below.
Dick Grayson is one of those characters that's been rumored to be on DC Comics' chopping block for well over a decade now, so like a lot of readers, I expected his unmasking in Forever Evil to be followed by a quick and ignominious death at the hands of, I don't know, Deathstroke or Harley Quinn or somebody. When it was announced that it would instead be leading into a new series where he'd be ditching the Nightwing identity and joining up with Spyral as an international super-spy, I was actually pretty excited. There's a lot of possibility there, and if it was done right, it could take advantage of what the New 52 reboot had to offer by doing something that we hadn't seen before with that character, something that would be fresh and exciting even for a major DC character who's been around since 1940.
With the first issue of Grayson, Tim Seeley, Tom King & Mikel Janin and cover artist Andrew Robinson have done their level best at doing just that, and they've pulled it off. This is a book that jumps straight into the action, that's not afraid to drop some really, really weird stuff on you right in the first issue, and the end result is one of the strongest new titles since the New 52 got its start in 2011.
While I was playing the final episode of Telltale Games' first season of its Fables prequel game, The Wolf Among Us, I was struck by just how many genres it cycles through before its conclusion. It's a locked-parlor mystery. Then it's an action movie. There's melodrama in there. One scene is straight-up horror. Then it's a legal drama.
Previous episodes covered even more genre territory, from noir to surreal fiction to police procedural, but it wasn't until this episode that it dawned on me that Telltale was honoring the storytelling style of Fables, which started as a whodunnit and quickly became beyond categorization in its genre-hopping. Fables isn't just a series about storybook characters, it's a story about stories, and Telltale gets that. This final episode, "Cry Wolf," absolutely proved it.
I'm not even close to kidding when I say that one of the most exciting things about life in 2014 is that we're experiencing an amazing renaissance of Sailor Moon. Not only has the manga been reissued in its entirety from Kodansha, and not only is the classic series being released uncut with two episodes every Monday on Hulu, but Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal, a new series based on Naoko Takeuchi's original series, made its worldwide premiere last weekend.
This is, for someone who loves Sailor Moon as much as I do, a pretty big deal, and Crystal's first episode lived up to the hype by being an absolutely gorgeous new version of Usagi's first outing as Sailor Moon. The thing is, Crystal was designed to be a far more strict adaptation of the source material, and while it definitely succeeds on that front, that's also its biggest problem.
Internet privacy is easily one of the most confusing realities of life in the 21st century. It's the best ongoing story in collective awareness, complete with heroes, villains, victims and martyrs, turning points, and insane plot twists that regularly put The Good Wife to shame. PRISM, Wikileaks, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, XBox One, social engineering, News International, Anonymous, and even our stupid Facebook updates are all involved. Every player and plot-line are all tangled up in a worried knot that gets bigger and more complex every year. It's all one story, and we're all living it; spectators, beneficiaries, victims, and contributors. It's one of the defining issues of our age, a still-forming zeitgeist that could be explored for years to come.
Just not in comics. Because nobody's going to top Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, and Muntsa Vicente's The Private Eye.
This week, Chris and Matt dig deep into Superman Unchained #7 by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee, and how it compares to last week's Superman #32. After that, they discuss the first issue of the new Legendary Star-Lord series by Sam Humphries and Paco Medina, and then they talk about the very weird new Robocop series by Joshua Williamson and Carlos Magno.
As part of the marketing blitz for the movie, the comic version of Batman naturally sold batloads [Editor's note: we apologize for nothing] and is a fixture of many a 30-something's comics collection. In an effort to extort as much as they could from the fanbase, DC Comics made the book available in two formats: a newsstand-friendly comic that set readers back a mere $2.50 and a prestige format version) with a painted cover and spine) that retailed for $4.95. Personally, the cheaper version’s cover has always appealed to me more, but I’ll admit that Batman kicking a clown has a visceral appeal to me than Batman standing on a gargoyle, even if it's nicely rendered. No matter what version you bought though, the interiors were the same, and they were among the best drawings of Jerry Ordway's already distinguished career.
Unfortunately, even with scripter Denny O'Neil's bonafides as one of the people behind the 1980s version of the caped crusader that inspired the film and Ordway's extraordinary ability to render likenesses, the comic is inert and suffers from a complete inability to be compelling on its own. That's something that can't be said about Burton's movie, as scattershot and disorderly as the final product is. Even if you're not a fan of the movie (and I'm not), if it's on a screen, you're going to watch its weirdness unfold — you can't say that about the comic version, no matter how pretty it is.