by Aaron Einhorn
Every week Aaron goes to The Laughing Ogre in Columbus, Ohio and spends far more money than his wife would prefer. He then comes back here and writes about the comics he reads that he thought were noteworthy. This isn’t everything he picks up, just the things that he feels merit discussion – either for being really good, or for having something really wrong with them.
DC left a bad taste in the mouth of many fans looking for a strong female lead with Catwoman #1 and Voodoo #1, not to mention the treatment of Starfire in Red Hood and the Outlaws #1. Fortunately, this month Paul Levitz shows us how to do it right.
Helena Bertinelli is back with a vengeance. Levitz and illustrator Marcus To don’t shy away from showing that Helena is a beautiful woman, and her sexuality is a part of that, but they don’t make it all about that. Instead, we get a focus on a woman who is a very capable fighter, a good investigator, and a killer shot with her crossbow. Also, as a bonus, we get rid of the costume design with the ridiculous peek-a-boo midrif.
Helena has tracked an arms dealer back to Italy, and finds herself in the middle of a criminal enterprise involving both weapons shipments and female slavery. It’s a fairly brutal story, and gritty in it’s own way, making it characteristically a Huntress title and not a Batman one, but it gives us a really solid story and a great female lead. I like this comic, quite a lot, and perhaps the kindest thing I can say about it is that it easily could have been a pre-Flashpoint miniseries.
Will it change your life? Nope. Will it shed light over the entire new DCU? Absolutely not. Is it appropriate for younger readers? Eh, not really. But it is a great read, and so long as you pay attention to the “T for Teen” rating, I think you’ll like it. Easily my pick of the week.
Ok, so I said that Huntress was easily my pick of the week, and perhaps that’s unfair, because Mystic #3 is every bit as good. To heck with Hogwarts, I want to attend this school of magic.
Of all the Crossgen reimaginings, Mystic had one of the hardest tasks ahead of it for me. Although I loved the old Sigil-verse, I never had any particular love for Sigil, so the reimagining of Sam as a teenage girl never bothered me. Ruse, on the other hand, never needed to be a part of the Sigil-verse, and honestly it’s hard to tell that the miniseries was unconnected from the old title. But Ron Marz’s Mystic was a lush, vibrant world, more deeply developed than many of the other Sigil-brand-titles, and one that really relied on the Sigilverse storyline. The only thing that would have been harder than trying to keep that world intact would be to abandon it, and yet hope readers came onboard to a new title that shared a name but nothing else.
Well, three issues in, I can say that G. Willow Wilson’s Mystic is every bit as intriguing as the original, and as we watch Genevieve and Giselle go their separate ways, with one being a member of the apprentices and the other falling in to the Resistance, I am 100% on board. The semi-magic/semi-steampunk setting of Hyperion is awesome, the characters are lush, and my only regret is that this is only slated to be a miniseries.
Buy this book, and hopefully convince Marvel to make Mystic (and the other Crossgen titles) ongoing.
It’s the comic being called “Big meets Superman,” and it has mostly faithfully followed that trope.
With the exception of the Devil-masquerading-as-an-astronaut-monkey, of course.
I’ve never been the biggest fan of Mark Millar’s writing. His stories all seem fairly derivative, and honestly, Superior isn’t much of an exception to that. But despite it, it has been awfully entertaining. And the advantage to Millar’s self-contained world is that you can entertain yourself with fantasies like watching Superman end the war in the Middle East.
The stinger ending is a bit of a cliff-hanger, and sets up the choice that was going to be the focus of this book from the moment we found out that the monkey was the devil. Is being Superman worth giving up your soul? And just when will we see Superior’s nemesis come to life?
Truthfully, as entertaining as Superior has been, I think the story would be better in graphic novel format – reading the entire thing at once, rather than waiting for the monthly title, and I am more interested in the upcoming film adaptation than I am eager for the next issue of the comic.
Swamp Thing #2
Most of this week’s batch from the New 52 have been disappointing. It wasn’t that the #2 issues were bad, they just weren’t nearly as good as the first issues. No great surprise there – once the new shine has worn off, things are rarely as great as we first thought.
Swamp Thing is the exception, and actually gives us a better second issue than the first. While questions of continuity can still bug the reader (because this is not a “new” start, it implicitly says that at least some of the old Swamp Thing stories happened), we get a much stronger story that really paves the way for who Swamp Thing and Alec Holland are and will be.
Finding out more about the previous Guardians of the Green was kind of cool, and the new enemy is creepy and disturbing. This may not be a Vertigo title any longer, but man it feels like one. And the reappearance of Abigail Arcane “Stay away from her… I warn you…”
Yeah. Swamp Thing hasn’t been this solidly written since the late nineties when Grant Morrison and Mark Millar had the character. Definitely give this one a look.
Meanwhile, in Action Comics #2 Superman is interrogated ineffectively, we meet the future Metallo and get a teaser about Brainiac, Avengers 1959 #1 manages to be both dull and completely inaccessible to anyone who didn’t see the storyline begin in New Avengers, Detective Comics #2 fails to live up to the first issue but still gives a solid Batman story with a new foe, a deepening mystery about the Joker and a cliffhanger ending, Hulk #42 kicks off “Hulk of Arabia” with an issue that is fun and a bit goofy, I, Zombie #18 gives us a flashback into the life of Hunter Diogenes, Justice League International #2 has the team suffer their first defeat and gives us a better sense as to how the team dynamic will develop around budding leader Booster Gold, Moon Knight #6 keeps up the weirdness between Echo and Moon Knight as Spector and his internal Avengers are confronted by the real Avengers about the West Coast Kingpin and his Ultron bot, Red Lanterns #2 asks the question about which Rage is worthy in a slow-moving introspective issue that will end with Atrocitus allowing another Lantern to retain some willpower, Spider-Island: Heroes for Hire #1 is a great one-shot that continues to explore the unstated feelings between Misty Knight and Paladin with Spider-Island serving as a backdrop, and Thunderbolts #164 keeps the focus entirely on the 1940′s-displaced team as they team up with the Invaders, establish new identities and prepare to battle Baron Zemo.
Thoughts? Disagreements? Want to offer up ideas on what books you’re reading this week? Let us know in the comments!