December is always a wonky month for comic releases, and it’s made worse since both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are on Wednesdays, not to mention we have 5 Wednesdays this month which already throws stuff out of proportion. What does that mean for next year, when both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are on Wednesday? One could call that a Christmas gift in disguise. But that also means there will be at least one week for those who read a significant amount of comics where you’ll be overloaded with titles. For me, this is that week.
I’m breaking a bit of a blog rule with the mere title of one comic I picked up this week; I normally don’t swear on here, but I picked up Bitch Planet 1. Among my other anticipated titles are the Uncanny X-men Annual, which finally explores Eva Bell’s mysterious trip through time, Amazing Spider-Man 11, which pits Peter Parker and Spider-Ock against each other in a fight, and, well … Bitch Planet. There are a number of comics I would like to do a full review of but I’m still sticking with my normal limit of 3.
The other comics I picked up this week include the Guardians of the Galaxy Annual, Thor 3, Logan Legacy 6 (Mystique issue), Rocket Raccoon 6, X-Force 13, Amazing X-Men 14, Justice League United 7, Batgirl 37 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 41. Here are my first impressions, and links to full reviews will be added as they’re posted.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Annual is good. The only real downside is that Brian Michael Bendis seems to forget that Carol Danvers lost her memory and left Earth partly to rediscover what was important to her. Otherwise, it’s a fun comic starring Captain Marvel and the Guardians of the Galaxy, with a lot of action and an interesting story that slowly reveals itself. It’s full of jokes much like most of Bendis’s Guardians series yet remains much more focused on characters than usual. If the rest of his Guardians work was like this, it would be a better series overall. Whether you like the Guardians or Captain Marvel, this is worth checking out.
Thor 3 is great. After losing her hammer at the end of the last issue, All-New Thor has to fight the frost giants in a desperate race for her life since it’s only a matter of time before she transforms back to her usual self. Meanwhile Malekith and the Minotaur CEO of Roxxon fight each other in an impenetrable vault with Thor’s hammer trapped inside. There’s a lot of satisfying action in this issue, and the story behind the action is interesting. The ending promises a fight between the real Thor and female Thor in the next issue. Simply put, Thor fans should buy this.
Rocket Raccoon 6 is entertaining. Rocket takes on several small jobs to financially recover from the insanity that happened between him and his league of exes in issue 4. What follows is a brief story where he helps Ego the Living Planet with an … issue, followed by travelling around with a robot who speaks in binary the same way Groot speaks in … should we call it Grootinese? Is there an official word for Groot’s language? Anyway, this comic is delightful and anyone interested in a pure comedy series featuring a space-travelling raccoon should pick it up.
Amazing X-Men 7 is interesting. Whether you like this issue or not very much depends on how much you like either Mystique or Nightcrawler. This Axis tie-in has the mother and son confronting each other with their inverted personalities. It’s a fascinating twist on their normal interactions, with Mystique actually caring about him while he shows hate toward her instead of forgiveness. It also demonstrates how frightening an evil Nightcrawler can be and for that, this is a great comic, but again how much you enjoy it will depend on how much you like these characters.
Amazing Spider-Man 11 is great. The fight between Spider-Man and Spider-Ock was a bit short, but satisfying in how Peter Parker used his brain to defeat the more arrogant Spider-Ock. After that, there’s further story development, a brief yet very entertaining glimpse into an alternate-reality, and then a huge threat shows up to throw the main story into chaos. It ends with things going from bad to extremely bad. Any Spider-Man fan would be wise to pick this up – Spider-Verse has been fantastic so far.
X-Force 11 is good. After an intense last issue with Fantomex going mad, this one takes a little break from the action to examine both characters’ mindsets and work out a lot of the story that’s been building up. With a major climax most likely coming up fast, the conflicts and drama is intensifying. This is probably the best X-Force book since at least Second Coming.
Justice League United 7 is alright. After the last two issues which were actually pretty good, this one sinks right back down to mediocrity. Some of the Martian Manhunter stuff is alright and some of the dialogue is funny, but otherwise there isn’t all that much going on other than setting up what’s already kind of been set up. I’ll give this series one more issue, and if that doesn’t impress me I’m dropping this.
Batgirl 37 is fun. The comic is basically Barbara Gordon taking on a Batgirl impersonator. The story takes several amusing twists by the end, while also forcing Barbara to fight without her bat suit at one point. The side-characters aren’t used as much as the last two issues, but that’s perfectly fine in this issue’s case since much of the space was used toward the main story. The new direction for Batgirl has been delightful so far, and if you’d be interested in a more light-hearted Batman franchise book, look no further.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 41 is great. It’s mostly a plot issue, with plenty of build-up for the next large storyline. Even so, it manages to remain a fun issue with good character moments for everyone involved. There are no real surprises but with a plotting issue that’s not unusual. Ninja Turtles fans should be reading this if they aren’t already.