On Sunday, I returned from my vacation to England. I’ll likely talk about one particular moment in a later post (hopefully tomorrow), but today it’s time to catch up on comics. Here are my brief thoughts on all the comics I picked up from the last two weeks, in alphabetical order.
The Amazing Spider-Man 18 is alright. I’m not sure what it is but I’m starting to grow bored with Dan Slott’s Spider-Man run. Superior Spider-Man was fantastic, but ASM volume 2 just isn’t’ as enjoyable for me. I intend to read “Renew Your Vows”, but I might give Spider-Man a break after that.
Ant Man 5 is great. The character focus on Scott Lang continues to be strong, even in a mostly action issue. The ending where he decides to stay more distant from his daughter worries me though. His relationship with Cassie is part of what makes this series special so far, but I’ll give this at least a few more issues anyway.
Batman 40 is fantastic; among my favourite comics from the time I was gone. The final confrontation between Batman and the Joker uses elements from Scott Snyder’s entire Batman run so far, yet it’s still a focused comic with a satisfying ending to this rather epic story. It’s certainly not a happy ending, but why would you expect one in a Batman story involving the Joker called “Endgame”?
Bitch Planet 4 is also great. Some of the anti-sexism themes take a back seat in this issue to focus on building the story, but they’re still both present and blatant. The dialogue is often brilliant, which is standard for Kelly Sue DeConnick. The nudity is out of control at first glance but there’s always a story-based purpose behind it. If this comic has a downside, it’s that the feminist message is less subtle than a minigun blowing up cars, which is fine but it will turn off some.
Rocket Raccoon 11 is fun. Most of this issue deals with Rocket learning about his past, but instead of telling us everything, Scottie Young turns it into an amusing joke. The end is also a great reminder of how this series began. It looks like, at least for Secret Wars, Groot’s solo series is replacing this. Speaking of which …
Secret Wars 1 is alright. Compared to Jonathan Hickman’s Infinity event, this one seems to have more heart so far, but it still feels like a bunch of things happening. The rest of the event could very well prove different, but if the whole thing is jam packed with stuff, there will be little room left to care. It also doesn’t explain what’s going on very well. Unless you’ve read at least some of his Avengers run, you’ll probably be confused. With all that said, the art is beautiful.
I’ve avoided reading Marvel’s main event comics as they’ve released in the last few years, but I’m reading Secret Wars anyway because it will have such a profound effect on the Marvel Universe as a whole. Well, I’ll at least the first two issues. We’ll see how I feel after that.
Spider-Gwen 4 is good. Some of the hipster fun elements are still active, especially in the comic’s amusing opening, but most of this comic is slow and dramatic. Gwen Stacey’s conversation with Aunt May really highlights some of the similarities and differences between Spider-Gwen’s universe and Peter Parker’s world in the 616. Even with Peter’s death, his aunt and uncle are quite recognizable in their attitudes.
Spider-Woman 7 is great. The story arc with the blackmailed men in bizarre villain suits continues to be entertaining. This issue in particular brings in a couple surprising twists, a great escape sequence, and a bunch of amusing internal narrations by Jessica Drew. This is such a fun series so far and this particular issue is in the running for my favourite comic from when I was overseas.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 45 is fantastic. Continuing exactly where issue 44 left off, Donatello is dying. This issue switches back and forth between Donatello’s visions while nearing his death and the others trying to save him. It’s a very dramatic comic, and one with an ending that’s somehow both surprising and not. This is also in the running for my favourite comic from my time away from home.
Witchblade 182 is good. A background story in a couple issues before the “Darkness Falls” arc hinted at two powered men searching for Sara Pezzini. In this issue they finally meet, but it doesn’t lead where you might expect. Apart from several quick yet delightfully weird fight scenes this issue is mostly exposition, but interesting exposition. It could very well bring a new direction for this series, depending on where the next few issues lead.
I’m combining Wolverines 16 and 17 for simplicity’s sake. I wouldn’t quite call them good, but they’re fun. The final arc finally begins with Mr. Sinister ambushing the Wolverines team and having his servants attack them … wielding Daken-like claws in their wrists. The first issue is mostly setup, and is overall the better of the two with stronger art, a couple funny jokes and a few great character moments. The second issue is a straight up action issue with several twists (one that’s expected but still good), and a particularly intense ending. Even though this series hasn’t been consistent in quality, I’m excited for the last three issues.
And finally, X-Men 26 is good. The conclusion to G. Willow Wilson’s first X-Men arc works dramatically, but it turns out the whole Kree thing added little to the story. Her characterization of the all-female team works fairly well. It’s a good run overall and I’d like to see her write the X-Men again, but her Ms. Marvel stuff is better.
So out of all the comics that released while I visited England and Scotland, my top 3 picks are between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 45, Batman 40 and Spider-Woman 7. Spider-Woman 7 is my least favourite of the three but it’s the most entertaining. Of the other two, TMNT is in some ways more dramatic, but Batman 40 really is the whole package. It’s my favourite comic of the last two weeks.