By Jawshco 7 Comments
I've been wanting to do write more reviews on this site for awhile, but between more writing, music, and work- I just don't have enough time. So instead I'm going to try and list my top 5 favorite comics of each week with a small snippet about why I like each one.
My Top Five Comics of the Week:
Number Five- Batman Inc. issue 8
I'll start off by saying that I didn't originally want to put this one on the list because I hate what happened to Damian. There were other good comics like FF 4 and Skullkickers 19 (aka Uncanny Skullkickers 1), which I probably enjoyed more. However, I have to be honest- this was well made comic with some very powerful moments. I don't want to parrotand his review too much, but basically I agree with him. This is a good comic, but I do not like the direction of the story. After the brutal events that occurred with Joker in the "Death of the Family" event and the recent death of Peter Parker, this tragic event just felt a too soon for me. I haven't had a chance to process those other stories yet. I also feel it's too soon for the characters. The relationship that Damian has with Dick Grayson in this issue just showcases why he's such a great character. It seems like the writers of the Bat-titles also have a lot of fun writing Damian with all his little, *tt* nuances. I wished that he hadn't died, and especially wish that DC hadn't ruined the moment by revealing the death before we had a chance to read it, but it was worthy of at least 4 to 4.5 stars in my opinion.
The scenes where Damian is showcased are amazing. You really do get the feeling that the bat family isn't as good without him. This kid has some serious skills. His fight scene with his adult clone, the brutal Heretic, is just heart wrenching, but the kid absolutely went out like a champ. There is no question that he would have been top bat had he lived to adult hood. Sure, he could come back, but it's going to be awhile, and it might be in a totally different manner than we're expecting.
I'm now wondering how they'll continue the Batman and Robin title. The way I'm feeling now is that they should just cancel it and make way for a Red Robin title. A "Robin's" title might be even better, but I doubt that would be feasible now that Dick is moving to Chicago. I also thought that it might be good for Tim Drake to become Batman's true Robin and reestablish his character that has his been much much maligned in the DC 52. I love Tim. He was my favorite DC character in comic before the New 52, but post-DC 52, he's not even my favorite Teen Titan, and I'm not a bit fan of any of the Titans right now. It would be good to see him back in the batcave and rise back to his top spot, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen (read Teen Titans 17 to find out why Tim is currently in no position to return to his role at Batman's side). The last thing I want to have happen is for them to try to force another new Robin to aid Batman. I don't care one bit for Harper Row and do not want to see her come any where near the "Robin" title. But I digress...
Final Thought on Batman Inc.: this is an issue you can't help but read. It's just too big of an event to avoid and it's done too well to completely ignore or disregard. Some folks will probably not like the art of Chris Burnham, but personally I do like it. I find it to be very expressive and unique (even if he does draw kids with heads as wide as the "Rugrats" cartoon).
Number Four- Avenging Spider-man issue 17
I haven't been the biggest fan of this series so far. I've found most of the jokes by Chris Yost to be a bit corny and dated, but this issue was a pleasant surprise for me. I don't know if it was the mixture of the new "Doctor Otco-Spider-Man" with the kids of the FF that made for a winning formula or what, but this was a very entertaining comic. Not just in a goofy way either. We got some real character development from both Superior Spider-man and the young villainous Bently of the FF. Add in the time cops and Death's head to the mix as well as a frightening forecast of what's ahead for the Superior Spider-man, and you've got a very solid comic.
With some of the past issues (even those dealing with Spidey and the FF), I would have said that this comic is very skip-able, but I'm hear to report to all Spidey fans that not only is this issue not skip-able, it might be an essential piece to the Superior Spider-man story line. The reveal at the end of this book was HUGE! I don't want to spoil it, but you really should read this one if you're keeping up with Spidey. I'd give this issue 4.5 stars for sure, and possibly even a 5 later on- depending on the impact on the big reveal at the end.
Number Three- Hawkeye issue 8
Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja has been consistently one of the best comics over this last year. The way they're able to draw us in to Clint's life apart from his larger Avengers adventures is astounding. In fact, these stories about "Hawkguy's" home life are probably more entertaining than anything I've read in an Avengers title in a long while. Clint isn't the greatest guy. He's got a lot of flaws from being relationship challenged, to being stubborn, and prideful, and reckless, and irresponsible and well... on and on... However, he isn't written as just another "lovable rouge." Fraction and Aja give his character so many fine tuned details that this story never falls into the category of overt melodramatics or stale arch-types. There's just something about it all that feels fresh and exciting for me as a reader.
Okay, so how good is this issue? I'd probably say between a 4 and a 4.5. We see the return of Clint's latest fling Penny (*knock,knock), who is once again bringing more havoc into his life. So once again we see Clint to the rescue against some track suit bros on his quest to attain the world's record for the most amount of cuts, bruises and bandages that one guy can get in a life time. Unfortunately, Clint doesn't need the extra danger- we get a peek in this issue at the Kingpin's plot to help the new oxygen mask bro put an end to Hawkeye.
The only thing that made this issue feel a little weird to me was that it totally missed Valentine's day. The was a V-day-centric issue that would have been better off being release a couple weeks ago. Other than that- another great one from one of the best comics out there.
Number Two- Punisher War Zone issue 5 (of 5)
This is it. The big conclusion to the mini-series of the Punisher verses the Avengers. This could have easily been disappointing, but I have to give major credit to Greg Rucka and co for delivering a very satisfying conclusion to this story-line. The battle between Iron Man and the Punisher is easily one of the coolest battle sequences this year. If it doesn't get mentioned as one of the coolest battles of the week I'll be very surprised.
I don't want to give much about this comic away, because there are a couple cool surprises, but suffice it to say that this is one conclusion that lives up to expectations in a mini-series that has been solid from the beginning. There is one ending sequence that I'll mention (without spoiling I hope) between Punisher and Captain America that is extremely simple, but carries a big emotional wallop!
This should be must buy on most comic fans' pull list. I highly recommend it.
Number One- Aquaman issue 17
Geoff Johns is just knocking this comic out of the park. It has been fantastic. As good as his take on the Green Lantern was, I'm not sure that his recent run on Aquaman isn't even better. It's crazy to think that two of my favorite comic titles (Hawkeye & Aquaman) this year are characters that in previous I didn't care about. People haven't been keeping up with all the new comics seriously laugh at me when I tell them how good this title is, but it's absolutely true. If you're not reading Aquaman, go back to issue one and read this series today!
Issue 17, the epilogue of Throne of Atlantis does something that few comic books do- it follows up on the impact of the previous events. I REALLY love that did this in this issue. Seeing how the war between Atlantis and Terrans off the coast of Boston caused dangerously powerful weapons to fall into the hands of the corrupt fishermen was amazing. Seriously, this idea is simple, but genius because this the kind of thing you could actually imagine happening in real life and that creates a strong resonance for me to this story. I also liked the reaction of Aquaman's critics like activist Dane Durrance (who looks a lot like a young Scott Bakula in this issue to me) and government power broker Amanda Waller.
I don't think there are many conflicts in comics that can top Aquaman's. He torn at every corner. Between his loyalties to his kingdom, his home, the JL, his wife and his family- there really is no winning choice for Aquaman to choose that won't hurt someone. John's does an amazing job lining up the perfect character to capture each conflicting side- such as this war general who is itching to kill the snide activist Durrance. To top it off, Aquaman genuinely does care about the people of Atlantis and his imprisoned brother Orm. I get the feeling that if Orm is sentenced to execution that Aquaman will rescue him, which will probably have him taking on the JL again, but we will see. I can't wait to find out!
Lastly, the art alone on this issue is deserving of 5 stars! Paul Pelletier's two page underwater ocean splash of Aquaman is superlatively breathtaking. It's not just comic book good, it's artistically amazing. It's so amazing that I want to get a print of this, frame it and put on my wall.