If you missed it last week, this is a new thing I'm trying here, registering my very brief thoughts on the comics I buy each week.
NEW COMICS FOR FEBRUARY 3, 2016
Big week this week, with 13 books (10 Marvel, 3 DC). I'll be brief with the last few.
FAVORITE: A-Force #2. I tend to be drawn to clever books these days, and while these tend to be the more humor-oriented books like The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Howard the Duck, they also include more traditional super-books, and A-Force is a perfect example. Full of wondrous action and punches galore, this comic is also replete with sharp writing from G. Willow Wilson and Kelly Thompson and attention-grabbing art from Jorge Molina and Laura Martin. The story of Singularity trying to connect with unfamiliar versions of her Battleworld teammates is both heartbreaking in her disappointment and uplifting when she sees the same heroism in these people that she remembers from that world long gone. And when the heroes assemble near the end to confront the danger facing the world, you might get chills as Molina and Martin nail their strength and resolve.
CLOSE RUNNER-UP: Howard the Duck #4. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a unique Galactus story, and no one does unique like Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones, and the rest of the Howard team. The promise of Howard the Silver-Surfing-Duck from last month is fulfilled; we see guest stars galore; and we get one of the best meta-comments on the resolution of Secret Wars we might ever see (at least until next issue).
Spider-Man #1. Finally, Miles Morales is back in his own book and firmly ensconced in the 616 Prime universe. (They couldn't just pick a prime number? You know, like 617?) Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli, and Justin Ponsor do a fantastic job of welcoming readers new to this Spider-Man while making oldtime fans feel at home with Miles' new dimensional address (and the return of his mother, thanks to a generous gift of a burger to a hungry Molecule Man). As well as elevating a deserving new character to the big leagues, this book also retains the essential high school setting of the classic Spider-Man comics (also seen currently in Spidey and Ms. Marvel) but from a new and fresh viewpoint. The Avengers storyline may have felt a little forced, and it sets up a guest appearance that might have come too soon, but I have faith that both will pay off next issue.
Batman: Europa #4. I didn't know what to expect from this loooong-delayed series when it finally came out, but I was very pleasantly surprised. It's been a fantastic, old-fashioned Batman-and-Joker story by Matteo Casali and Brian Azzarello with an interesting twist, and terrifically lush art by a different team each issue, reflecting the shifting locales, unified by Giuseppe Camuncoli's layouts. And Batman hasn't looked this good in years–classic and timeless.
Invincible Iron Man #6. One of my favorite artists, Mike Deodato Jr., joins this title's second arc and brings a significant shift in visual tone that matches Frank Martin's subdued color palette, both contrasting interestingly with Bendis' characteristically chatty and hilarious scripts. Dr. Doom returns in a big way in this issue, stealing every scene he's in, and Rhodey also gets some much-appreciated screen time. Bendis is definitely showing a different side to Doom here; I never thought I'd like seeing him out of armor for this long, but I do. (Doom, that is, not Bendis.)
Doctor Strange #5. This book continues to impress with stunning work from Jason Aaron, Chris Bachalo, and an Avengers team of inkers (Bachalo's colors in particular standing out from his always amazing line work). While Stephen continues his epic and draining fight against mysterious forces, we see more of Wong's character come to the fore, including a surprising (and somewhat disturbing) view of just how far he'll go to help his caped friend. (Definitely got a Kazuo Ishiguro vibe from this.)
Batman & Robin Eternal #18. In this issue we get the payoff we've been waiting for and in a way that makes sense and that I did not see coming, thanks to very clever plotting by James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder, with script by Ed Brisson, and fine art from last issue's team: pencils by Scot Eaton, inked by Wayne Faucher, and colored by Allen Passalaqua (with Gabe Eltaeb filling in on the last four pages). (There was a jarring decline in the quality of the art in the last four pages, but I can't blame it on the colors.)
Captain America: Sam Wilson #6. The Serpent Solutions storyline wraps up with a partial return to the status quo with a new addition (which will not be a surprise if you read the solicits but I'll keep mum all the same). I felt Nick Spencer's editorializing went a little overboard in this issue; it's been an important aspect of previous issues but seems to dominate this one, and the characters involved come off as caricatures more than they did before. Joe Bennett's clean pencils, inked here by Belardino Brabo and colored by Romulo Fajardo, are always a joy; appropriately, Bennett also illustrated a fair bit of Priest's short-lived Captain America and the Falcon run, which had a similar narrative tone to the current book.
Scarlet Witch #3. Steve Dillon acquits himself quite nicely here in a different context than I'm used to seeing him in, and James Robinson mines more of Wanda's past than in previous issues, which is appreciated. With colorist Frank Martin and an art assist from Chris Visions, this book shows the formidable (and in control) Scarlet Witch we always knew was there.
Captain Marvel #2. Had I been doing these reviews when the first issue came out, Captain Marvel #1 likely would have been my favorite, and this issue continues the high quality, making great use of Carol's new supporting cast, including Agent Brand of S.W.O.R.D. and members of Alpha Flight.
Rocket Raccoon and Groot #2. Like Captain Marvel, another #2 that maintains the quality of the first issue; the focus shifts almost entirely to Groot, with some nice Memento-like touches and commentary on Groot's rather limited word use.
Uncanny Avengers #5. The best issue of the run so far, even though it featured only half of the cast (and very little of Steve Rogers). I liked the art much better (pencils by Carlos Pacheco, inks by Mariano Taibo and Dave Meikis, and colors by Richard Isanove), I appreciated seeing more of Johnny Storm, and the reveal at the end was very well executed.
Detective Comics #49. A nice Gordon-and-Bullock story within the current status quo by Peter Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin, Matt Ryan, and Chris Sotomayor. Even though it's not fair to the work done by this fine team, one can't help feel the higher-ups are playing out the clock until Bruce comes back in Batman #50. Or do have I simply been led to expect every story these days to be huge and have impact, so I don't appreciate the delights of a simple superhero/detective yarn any more? That would be sad indeed.
So... what are your thoughts on these books or any I missed?