Last week was a pretty light load compared to the goodies that Marvel and DC Comics decided to give us this first week of June. So instead of me holding you back from the goodies, let’s dive right in with…
Superior Spider-Man #11:
This has to be the most incredible breakthrough mainstream title coming strong for 2013. Although I’ve trusted him for the longest, critics will tell you that Marvel granted writer Dan Slott their flagship title of The Amazing Spider-Man and he went and killed the franchise’s best known character. In reality the drama and stir-up emotionally touched so many people worldwide that it’s drawn in new readers that haven’t owned a comic book in decades. I can go on and on, but anyways…
The best thing about this title is we now have Dr. Octopus assuming the life of Peter Parker and Spider-Man, and how he’s applying his previous knowledge and expertise to bring about improvements in Peter’s life. To gain higher respect for himself and his host body, Doc Ock has resumed college education to receive his doctorate’s for Peter. While the former Peter Parker had nearly no time to juggle between his tech job at Horizon Labs and being Spider-Man, Doc Ock has been able to organize himself to where he has eyes watching all over the city while he makes those self-improvements. In one hilarious scene, Peter’s boss Max Modell confronts him as to his recent behavior and we see the result:
…“you gelatinous, bohemian poseur” haha! This may be a foreshadowed warning that Dr. Octopus risks being fired from Horizon Labs but with his doctorate degree well on the way, it’ll open more opportunities of employment positions for Peter Octopus. In this issue, Spider-Man is personally asked to be on hand for the execution of Spider-Slayer Alistaire Smythe for the murder of Mayor J. Jonah Jameson’s wife, Marla. As you can expect things go wrong. The story is on point from Dan Slott, but the artist rotation took Ryan Stegman’s animated art away and brought us back Giuseppe Camuncoli who has a more clean, bold and professional look as you can see in the above two photos. If you’re enjoying this title as much as I am, be sure to get the Avenging Spider-Man series as well which serves as a great companion book detailing the Superior Spider-Man’s tag team-ups with other characters from the Marvel Universe!
Swamp Thing #21:
I really hope there’s more people out there enjoying Swamp Thing because let me tell you, you’re in for a treat! Starting on a new story arc, we see Alec Holland (Swamp Thing) being requested of his help from a mysterious female whom had a pact of protection from one of the previous Swamp Things / Green avatars many centuries prior to. Alec knows she still has not revealed what the pending danger is, but he’s also concerned with chasing the villain Seeder, whom is creating artificial forests in deserts and sucking out the lifestream energy from the Green. New writer Charles Soule gives us a great seat as we read about Alec’s rediscovery of himself and his role limitation of accepting to be the Green avatar. With this issue we also received a great, tasteful cover by the unparalleled talent of Jock. The interior’s art transitions are also incredible by Jesus Saiz, and made to imitate that of, and most certainly aren’t nearly close to, what Yanick Paquette was giving us before, which blew our minds and induced tears of emotional joy like a fat kid getting limitless pizza and ice cream.
All-New X-Men #12:
Once again Brian Michael Bendis is one of my favorite writers. I’ll never stop praising him for Dark Reign / Siege. But as a minority I don’t like the idea of the X-Men struggle, constant species segregation of Mutants and Humans, which is why the writing has to be that much more stronger for me to enjoy it. This issue primarily focuses on the Original X-Men (the X-Men from the past brought to the future) being confronted by the Uncanny Avengers. Stuart Immonen keeps up his pace and does a fantastic effort in the facial expressions showcasing the fear in these young adults as they discover the future they were promised became far from what the expectation was. At one point during the confrontation, the young Jean Grey stumbles across Scarlet Witch’s memories and discovers her role in decimating mutantkind and being responsible for the ‘death’ of millions of mutants. You’ll have to read to discover what happened…
Action Comics #21:
When Grant Morrison was writing Action Comics, I thought it was very awkward, confusing, and random, like he was on drugs and DC Comics was letting him do whatever the hell he wants like they did with Alan Moore. The story arcs had wild characters whom I wasn’t familiar with since I hadn’t read much of DC prior to the New 52, and so as a new fan it was intimidating. Thankfully Rags Morales’ artwork had me hanging in there. This new team of artist Tony Daniel and writer Andy Diggle was a great reintroduction on why I enjoy classic Superman tales; sharp cut and straight to the point. We’ve already seen the creation of a new Kryptonian virus made from Superman’s DNA infecting humans. We also got much of the cocky Lex Luthor exerting his financial power. This title had potential. Had. Unfortunately Andy Diggle walked off the book and his writing duties before his first issue came to shelves, leaving Tony Daniel with BOTH the writing and the art detail… but Tony is a great guy, and proved he could do it as he has before during his awesome run on Batman prior to New 52. This is the only Superman title I read every month and now it’s because of you Tony Daniel. Can’t wait to see what you have next month!
Age of Ultron #9:
Here’s another book by Bendis out this week. The first few pages are pretty cool with Wolverine missing all of his leg except his adamantium skeleton bone showing. We now know that takes five days or less to heal… Wolverine goes back in time to stop past-Wolverine from killing Hank Pym, whom creates Ultron. In the panel shot I give you above, the future Iron Man tells Wolverine that time-jumping many times hurts time itself, and that there are ‘other universes’. This is clearly a foreshadow to the next and final issue of the Age of Ultron series, where Angela from Spawn (yes, Image Comics) will now legally be a part of the Marvel Universe. To avoid any premature story leaking and spoilers that has plagued Marvel in many times in the past, Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada will be personally drawing this issue himself. To add to the security, this final issue of the series will arrive in stores on June 19th pre-bagged to ensure curious customers don’t thumb through the comic book to discover what’s inside.
Daredevil: End of Days #8:
ANOTHER book with Bendis writing? Good golly, Miss Molly! This guy has three comics out this week while most writers barely release one on time every month! Don’t worry, this was the weaker entry of the three. With the success of the current Daredevil series by Mark Waid, I was a little curious with the first issue in October of this book, mainly drawn in by Alex Maleev’s painting of the cover of a dead Daredevil. I falsely assumed he was the artist as Maleev and Bendis have teamed up many times before such as Moon Knight and Daredevil, stories which I had enjoyed. I trusted you again Bendis but this one time you’ve fed me to the wolves!
Bendis does a great transitional story-telling maneuver as Ben Urich was the main character, but died last issue by The Hand’s assassins. His demise came as he was trying hard on learning what the word “Mapone” meant to Daredevil and why he said it before Bullseye killed him. In this final issue, Bendis holds out as hard as he can to avoid revealing what ‘Mapone’ was until the very last few pages. When you do find out what it is, it makes you feel sorry for yourself and picking up all these eight issues of what was supposed to be a six-issue mini. What we ended up with is a psuedo-noir style comic which was highly anticipated but didn’t deliver with it’s incomplete story and unrealistic probability of outcome from Daredevil’s life. If anything, do it for the art since it’s not traditional comic style. To add insult to injury, Marvel has released another Daredevil mini-series you can see below…
Daredevil: Dark Nights #1:
I was hesitant picking up Daredevil: Dark Knights after how the ending of Daredevil: End of Days disappointed me. When you think of comics, each book is equivalent to the cost of a gallon of gasoline for your car. Or a fraction of the hour of pay you get at work. With that said you sometimes have to choose wisely where you spend your money and Marvel is expecting people to read these books thanks to the success of Mark Waid’s current Daredevil series run. This is a smart marketing move to make money though; Deadpool once had 5 different comics coming every month as Batman has 4 currently. However, Marvel is not going to put gasoline back into your car. Marvel is not going to tell your employer to pay you more to cover your comic book habit. Each book we get is a risk of entertainment, sometimes the movies we go to see aren’t all that they were rated to be.
Daredevil: Dark Knights will be five-issue mini-series telling us three Daredevil tales of the King of Hell’s Kitchen. This first story starts off with Daredevil in a hospital with complete loss of his memory, and also in the same hospital is a young patient who badly needs the fleshy gifts of an organ donor, who’s helicopter has crashed. Lee Weeks is no stranger to Daredevil, so giving him art and writing detail was a good move. The story wasn’t as convincing, but the art is strong and crisp with my favorite being the full page splash above showcasing Daredevil enduring the harsh, cold snow storm, while holding up his ‘never give up’ attitude. The best part was the Biblical verses spread throughout the book, and I’m a sucker for that. I’ll keep an eye on this one and let you know on the next issue.
The Phantom Stranger #9:
Looks like DC Comics‘ co-publisher Dan Didio was a little too busy to fill in for his portion of writing duties this month but that’s okay. The art work didn’t provide any great full blown spreads until the end which I obviously don’t want to spoil so the opening image had to settle… Phantom Stranger in Hell, chilling with Etrigan the Demon. What happened to his family and will God step in to save the Stranger? We do get a cameo from the Spectre, Nightmare Nurse, and Justice League Dark in a flashback from when they saved him from Hell, but he has to go back in for a reason I can’t state since that will spoil. I’m kind of digging this book because of how Phantom Stranger is forced to live in order to redeem himself in God’s eyes, and now he’s at a time where he expects some help but just won’t quite say it out loud. Stubborn fellow.
Thanos Rising #3:
I can’t say enough about this book by Jason Aaron. This is a must-buy book for anyone who likes Thanos, which should be ALL OF YOU!! Thanos has now ran away from his home planet after killing his mother, in search of a better identity to where he can learn what he truly is and where he fits in. What will he discover and can he stop being a murderer? We already know the answer to that is ‘NO’. The writing is top notch of course being Jason Aaron, and Simone Bianchi brings us art far from traditional comic style. Only two more issues of this book left, so pick it up. You can thank me later!
Red She-Hulk #66:
I’ve been with this book since the beginning when it was titled Hulk in 2008, from Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness, and Dexter Vines. For the first 30 issues or so, from a third-person perspective, everyone was trying to figure out who exactly this new ‘Red Hulk’ was, until finally General Ross Thunderbolt revealed himself as the Red Hulk. From there the book wasn’t a dragging mystery but rather the Red Hulk finding a sense of identity with his new power. For the Marvel NOW initiative, they kept the book number going but introduced a new title change to Red She-Hulk and it lacks heavily compared to the other previous Hulk before the status quo or whatever else is floating out there in the Marvel market.
So we should all know that Bruce Banner is the incredible Hulk. Betty Ross is his usual love interest, and she is the Red She-Hulk. The new thing this series introduced is that Red She-Hulk can now transform twice; once from her human form into the beautiful Red She-Hulk, and now once more ontop of that into a Hulkier form which takes away her female characteristics other than the long hair… This leaves us to ponder, can Jennifer Walters the original She-Hulk (green) do the same? Turn into a manly Hulky beast thing, like Hulk stage 2? We do get a brief cameo from Man Thing who always brightens my day, so that’s the photo you get above! Just like Jeff Parker’s abomination of the Thunderbolts book (which got name changed to Dark Avengers and defecated that legacy…) this book gets boring fast, thankfully it’s cancelled and we’ll probably never see Red She-Hulk for a long time because Marvel never really addressed her with a good writer to be of any concern as a serious character.
Detective Comics #21:
Coming off the Emperor Penguin’s arc, we get to see a familiar face that you may have to look back into your older issues to recall. And then there’s Harper Row. A few references are made by Bruce and Alfred comparing her to Damian which I did not like, because I don’t want to see Harper Row as the new Robin… I want Damian back. The new villain you see in the photo above comes equipped with a shadow based sorcery. Can Batman ‘see through the light’ (hah) and defeat her? Also at the end of the issue is a familiar super-villain that we’ve been waiting to see re-emerge in the New 52. The back up story continues Kirk Langstrom’s side of the Man-Bat story, and we learn that he has an addiction and takes the serum nightly and goes out on flights and kills, unknowingly to his supportive wife. Bad, Kirk! Bad!
And that’s a wrap! For the week of June 12th, we’ll have Thor: God of Thunder, Deadpool, Batman, The Walking Dead, and more… but the biggest anticipated book of course is going to be Superman Unchained with the movie arriving a day after. You can guarantee I’ll tear it apart like gift wrapping paper!