I only had to spend $29 this week on comics, woohoo! Each and every week, regardless of what comes out, I find myself more hopeful and more excited about the future of the medium. I think maybe by the time a week has passed I just need my new comic book fix and I’m a little loopy from all the waiting. Then the unmitigated influx of new book goodness overwhelms my senses creating a feeling of euphoria… What? On to the comics!
Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #21
Story: Art Baltazar and Franco
Art: Mike Norton
There’s a lot to like about Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! whether you’re a DC kid or an adult fan of the Marvel Family. This issue we’ve got a super-powered Black Adam, even more so than normal, facing off against the three Marvels. Mike Norton does great work in every one of these issues and his uber cartoony style fits the tone of this book perfectly.
Unfortunately this is going to be the last Shazam! book for a while. That being said, it was a great run. From Mike Kunkel’s awesome start to Baltazar, Franco, and Norton’s stellar finish, I was always excited for this book. In this issue there were a couple of things in the writing that felt rushed, Shazam nearly relinquishing his position to Billy for a hot second and Mary getting transformed to her smaller self, but I think they were just trying to tidy everything up for the end. Sigh… I’m gonna miss this series.
Alan Moore’s Neonomicon #2
Story: Alan Moore
Art: Jacen Burrows
I don’t think there’s any question that Alan Moore is incredibly brilliant, so it shouldn’t be surprising that he’s roped me into an uncomfortably dark tale of sex and H.P. Lovecraft madness, but it is. It is because this book pushes so many boundaries and I feel incredibly uncomfortable reading it, but I need to know what happens!
I don’t think I would have anyone else combine the Lovecraft mythos with highly sexual elements unless it was Alan Moore, but I never thought I’d say that either. His obvious respect for both elements, makes this book all the more fun to read.
Jacen Burrows has done an impeccable job with the art and it perfectly compliments Alan Moore’s dark story. Each page is built off of a four panel horizontal grid that gives a wonderful sense of space. Each shot is basically its own establishing shot, drawing you deeper into the tale because you’re intimately aware of the character’s surroundings. The colors are dark and muted and even during day shots, when the colors should be brightest, an irrevocable pallor seems to hang in the air. Something wicked this way comes and I can’t wait for more.
Story: Harrison Wilcox
Art: Ryan Stegman
They’re big, mean, and green and they’re hunting down the remaining members of the Intelligentsia. Wilcox gets Jen Walters just right, nailing the superheroine and the not-so-mature lawyerly side of her like he’s been writing the jade giantess much longer than he actually has. As of now Lyra has always come off as a generally uninteresting blank slate, ready to be written well. Hopefully with the introduction of her new high school career Wilcox’ll be able to make her a little more human and a lot more fun. I have faith.
Stegman’s art, and his composition, is wonderful. Here clarity is king. Every panel is its own and for most pages he works off of a grid type structure. Your never at a loss of where to go you can easily follow the flow of action across the page. Also, thank you for getting rid of her stupid tiara/headband thingy.
This series is going to be fun. Stegman knows how to draw women and Wilcox knows how to write them.
Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #4
Story: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Fernando Pasarin
Nearly everything coming out of the GL books has been gold recently and this issue is no exception. Things on Daxam only seem to be getting worse after the loss of their yellow sun. Sodam Yat is back and it looks like he’s building an army, something that I’m sure will spill over into the other GL books later.
Fenando Passarin keeps things uncluttered and incredibly clear which I can’t commend strongly enough. When you keep your panels and pages free of clutter you help us read that much easier. Props. Tomasi has been writing these characters for along time now and it’s obvious he’s comfortable throwing them into any situation. Out of the four Kilowog seems to be the group’s conscience. While Guy’s always had a short temper, Arisa is still distraught over the loss of Sodam and Bleeze… well she’s rage incarnate. Guy may be the leader but Kilowog is the rock and this new team is going to be fun to read.
Incredible Hulks #615
Story: Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente
Art: Barry Kitson
Regardless of what’s happening here, I don’t much care what’s going on in the Incredible Hulks. I think I sorta screwed myself by not reading any of the back ups or build up material to this story so the entire things just seems shallow and kind of sudden. Ok, Hulk has two sons from his alien bride. One is evil and is trying to fly a planet into Earth, Team Hulk to the rescue! At least the art is clear and their are some really fun pages here. Unfortunately I think this core Hulk book is suffering from an overabundance of less popular tie-ins. Regardless, I’m going to follow this to the end.
Story: John Layman
Art: Rob Guillroy
The Harvey and Eisner awards got it right when they named Chew the Best New Series. It’s quirky, grotesque, hilarious, increasingly oddball, and highly addictive. Each issue ups the ante on the madness and it works so dang well. There are very few books out right now that make me laugh, but this is one of them.
John Layman has done a superb job of laying this book some solid foundations, rooted mostly in crime drama. Then, with each subsequent issue he increases the size and scope of the Chew universe to include elements of sci-fi and the occult in ways that are both totally ridiculous yet absolutely sensible.
Rob Gillory gets a lot of credit here for keeping up with a story that’s threatening to explode in every direction. The guy draws cyborgs, killer roosters, alien foliage, vampires, wooly mammoths, and stacked babes and sometimes all of those in the same issue! But really he deserves the most credit for drawing things that are so incredibly heinous and disgusting, the eating of human flesh, dead dogs, etc. etc., and doing it in a way that keeps my lunch down. Great issue and it’s only getting better.
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3
Story: Allan Heinberg
Art: Jimmy Cheung
I love Jimmy Cheung’s art. Everything is so clear and concise, and I really enjoyed his original run on Young Avengers. The one gripe I have is that frankly, everyone looks almost exactly the same in his work.
I do have to hand it to Allan Heinberg though. He’s writing a good story, the characters are snarky and have that sort of rebel with a cause feel, but the fact that he’s using Dr. Doom, the most overworked villain in the Marvel U, is slightly annoying. What’s more annoying is that he’s really the only villain that makes sense here.
Then a world away, cause the little Avengers are hanging out in Wungadore, you’ve got the big Avengers trying to figure out what to do with the Scarlet Witch. I’m excited for more. Not only that but we’ve got probably the cutest gay couple in comics doing their thing… I like it lots!
New Avengers #6
Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Stuart Immonen
Now I don’t want to say anything bad about Bendis, he’s a very skilled writer, but I haven’t been thoroughly enjoying the stuff he’s been putting out lately. Nothing quite seems to stick. I don’t know.
Stuart Immonen, as per usual, does a great job here. Everything is easy to read and when panels and pages do start to get a bit chaotic (the Universe is at stake here), it only serves to enhance the story around it. This book is fun but I’m left, just as in the other Bendis Avengers series, wondering what really happened and do I even care?