4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because when Damian died around Issue #18, D.C. had two choices; cancel the book.. or leave it in the hands of the very talented creative team that started it. Tomasi and Gleason turned Batman & Robin into the Brave and the Bold of the New 52 and it’s a beautiful thing. Post Damian, it co-starred members of the Bat-Family helping Bruce deal with the psychological and emotional ramifications of Damian’s death, followed by a multipart story featuring Two-Face. And now, as Batman searches the world for Ra’s al Ghul, hunting the madman who stole the body of his son and his mother, Batman is going to be teaming up with a host of heroes in his quest. First up, Aquaman.
Much like Snyder and Capullo on Batman, these two creators work so well together, it’s hard to imagine the book without them. Both their loves of Batman shine through their work. Damian might have been Morrison’s baby, but Pete and Pat were his two best uncles. Tomasi plays Batman’s persona off the characters that star in the book perfectly, giving deeper insights into Bruce’s psyche, while never putting the co-star in his shadow. Meanwhile, Gleason uses shadow like a pro, always using them to his ( and Batman’s ) advantage, but never descends into murkiness.
This issue is an ideal one to sample their wares. Batman heads to the island where Damian was born, artificially aged (so stop complaining about the 5 year thing!) educated and trained, in search of Ra’s al Ghul; who stole the bodies of his daughter Talia, and his grandson Damian, from their graves in Wayne Manor’s cemetery. Along the way he runs into Aquaman, himself heading to the same island in response to horrific cries of help from a pod of whales. What ensues is an all out action-fest, with the two most ruthless members of the Justice League. Batman and Aquaman cut a path through Ra’s army of Ninja’s and Man-Bats, using everything in their arsenal, from Batarangs and Tridents to good ol’ fists and….crabs??? Ra’s al Ghul is foolish enough to piss off Batman, but when you see what he did to cause those whales to scream, you’ll be just as furious as Aquaman (hint: it involves all those infant Damian clones, Ra’s had in jars lying around his place). Get this book, I mean if you feel like reading good Batman yarns that is.
2 out of 5 Space Monkeys (slowly sliding down guys!)
Why?: Because as much as I love the idea of Supergirl as a Red lantern, the pacing of this book just seems a bit off. The concept of a Kryptonian with anger issues gaining possession of a Red Lantern ring is a big one, but Bedard, who recently took over the book has a lot of pans on the fire writing this book, and it’s starting to ruin the meal.
There are subplots within sub-plots; Blaze appearing in Dr. Veritas’ science base, the ongoing New Lobo hunting for Old Lobo drama (or vice versa depending on how you look at it), the reason Veritas’ assistants all look like her, the return of Silver Banshee and the new mysteries that come with her, and a new race of alien conquerors, coupled with flashbacks to Silver Banshee and Supergirl’s friendship’s early days, muddle the book a bit. But hopefully, after Silver Banshee convinces Supergirl to head to space to vent her revenge fueled rage, Bedard and Co. will center on Kara for bit and explore her rage a bit deeper than brawling and talking like the Hulk. Cinar’s art is the saving grace of this book, and could push it to epic proportions, given the chance.
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys (would’ve been 5, not enough old Galactus )
Why?: Guess who’s back?? Ribic’s Back. Back Again. Yes I ranted and raved about Garney the whole time he was on the book, but Aaron and Ribic started this book, telling the tale of Thor in different times (chilling with Vikings in the past, kicking ass in the present, and being a one-eyed, one-armed king of Asgard in the future). They return to that theme, focusing on the present and the future Thors.
In the present, Roxxon finds out the hard way what happens when you piss off the new romantic interest of god of thunder. Roz Solomon, SHIELD Environmental Action agent has it in for the earth wrecking corporation of Roxxon, and its new CEO, Dario Agger (known as the Minotaur,…for more than one reason apparently!), but any action she takes gets caught up in red tape. Thor has a simple solution.
Let’s just say Roxxon is getting a lot of insurance claims denied for destroyed labs and bases… due to “acts of god” clauses.
In the future, King Thor roams a lifeless earth, reminiscing about his earlier exploits with his granddaughters, Atli, Frigg, & Ellisiv when a figure from his past arrives. Galactus has arrived on an empty earth. In the millenia that has passed, Galactus is still a force known throughout the universe, feared even by Thor’s granddaughters. King Thor makes a faithful decision after banishing the girls back to Asgard and confronting Galactus. The Devourer of Worlds, wants the lifeless earth solely for revenge, the only planet to ever successfully keep Galactus from consuming it, on more than one occasion. King Thor ‘s response:
‘Aye, the Earth maybe naught but ruins and ghosts. But it still has a God. And he still says thee NAY!’
This is it folks, an Old Thor, with a replacement Destroyer arm and Moljnir vs an evolved Galactus on a wastelend Earth at the end of time. Thor may be the God of Thunder, but Jason Aaron is the God of Really Cool Concepts in the Realm of Comics. Never read an Aaron book I didn’t like, and never felt like he was filling time on pages. Teamed with Ribic, they are almost unstoppable. When you see this future Galactus, your jaw will drop! If your think the movies are good, pick up the trades of this run, and you’ll see the God of Thunder in his natural environment
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Hickman. Bianchi. Need I say more.
oh I do? Okay then.
If you like Science shows like the new Cosmos, hosted by Neil DeGrasse-Tyson, and you also happen to like the Marvel Universe, while at the same time have an insatiable appetite for fantastically rendered art presented in comic book form, then boy o boy pal, you hit the jackpot!
As the world destroying dimension incursions increase, the eradication of universe after universe has caused a Doppler shift across the multiverse timeline. Using a dimensional bridge, the Illuminati (Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, Beast, Black Panther and the Inhuman Maximus) are able to glimpse into the pasts of various post-incursion dead universes, much the way modern scientist can see the past the further they look into space. they gather more information on the Magic-Based Black Priests and the Techno-centric Mapmakers, extremely powerful beings who take advantage of world’s in the midst of an Incursion, to gather followers or strip it of resources.
They get more than they bargain for when Black Swan, their sometimes-ally, sometimes-prisoner has her origin revealed to them. Can they truly trust her, and the information she provides? What’s going on between her and cell-mate Terrax? How many vipers do the Illuminati have in their nest?
This book has been non-stop brain candy since it start, and Hickman is doing what Hickman does best, and that’s building to something that will blow your mind!
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because I love all things Valiant, and one of the VU’s biggest mysteries is the Bleeding Monk, a former advisor to Toyo Harada and a psiot with prophetic abilities and vast mental skills.( check out my review here for more info and preview art ). Here is his origin, beginning with Alexander the Great’s expansion into the middle east in 326 B.C.E and stretches through time to 1951, when the Monk first met a teenage Harada, just coming into his vast powers (a perfect prequel to last years Harbinger #0, which told Harada’s origin in detail). Harbinger’s regular writer Dysart delves in the past of one of the first characters introduced into the Valiant Universe, accompanied by a quartet of great artists. If you’re a Harbinger fan you will not be disappointed, if you want to get a taste for the Valiant Universe , this is the place to start.
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Because I enjoyed the cerebral and detailed world building I saw in the first issue that I really couldn’t wait to crack this one open. Atlantis has become a bloated, opulent society, stagnant in its own richness and largess. Aboard the Deliverer, a stolen Atlantean submarine or boat to them I guess??or car?), a group of rebel Atlanteans have forsworn their ties to Atlantis and set out to explore and find a better world. Consider Pirates by the military, Captain Anshargal has bigger plans for his crew and the people aboard his ship. Some, have other plans. Some parties want to settle and start a new society somewhere far from Atlantis, others feel they should keep roaming, fearing the mistakes of old Atlantis will repeat themselves. Discontent spreads throughout the ship while the Captain and a small away team are hunting for the Amphibian, a genetic aberration of Atlantean creation thank can breathe both air and water. Anshargal believes DNA from the amphibian can save his people by giving the next generation of Atlanteans the ability to breathe on land.
Flashbacks and conversations between crew members give us insight to both the pasts of the main characters, as well as details of the current society aboard the Sea-Ark Deliverer as it roams the ocean floor. Orlando has cool take on Atlantis, it’s culture and role in earth’s ancient past and considering how many stories about Atlantis have been written over the years, this is not an easy feat. Trakhanov’s art is darkly gritty, with a subdued color palette that captures the primordial undersea world in shadowy sci-fi coolness. This is one of those Image mini-series whose subject matter and concepts that, twenty years ago, you would only find in Heavy Metal or Epic Illustrated. A smart, adult comic that’s deeper than you’d expect.
Last Week’s Surprise Pick
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: To be honest, I didn’t even buy this last Wednesday. Even though it was an Avengers book, and Hawkeye was in it, I had given up on the previous run of Secret Avengers, and wasn’t familiar with the creative team. Plus, the cover didn’t do much for me, just a little too goofy. Then I got a text from my friend Hagan: “Secret Avengers #1 has the look and feel of early issues of Hawkeye.”
Now, if Hagan overcame his technophobia long enough to thumb out that long of a message, I knew the importance of the statement was of the highest regard. I arranged with my comic book connection to have an issue brought to me post-haste! (this means making a phone call and begging my girlfriend to bring one home). And lo and behold, the old bearded maniac was right. Walsh’s art is frenetic and crisp, his panels and poses are very Aja-esque without being swipes, and all his characters have great expressions and body language that are totally in character. Klot’s story is fast paced and fun, just the right mix of super-hero sci-fi stuff and spy action intrigue to satisfy fans of both. It’s filled with familiar faces (Fury, Coulson, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Spider-Woman), some in new roles (M.O.D.O.K, the big evil head in a floating chair, is now a member, …sort of ) and some in old (A.I.M is on the move, getting revenge on the Secret Avengers for past injustices). This has all the hallmarks of a damn good comic and I look forward to future issues.