There’s a scene in Darwyn Cooke’s excellent miniseries The New Frontier where five mystical beings get together on the moon to debate about whether or not they should help the nascent generation of heroes in their battle against The Centre, an alien collective hellbent on eradicating humanity. It was an important moment that showed how the old guard sometimes needs to give way to the new for the growth and betterment of everyone. DC Comics needed to grow and change in the 50′s, so they replaced much of their roster of heroes with new, younger versions with no relation to the previous generation other than a name. It was a bold move that reinvigorated and redefined the company for years. The problem is that DC now is still beholden to those old concepts, even after a line wide reboot of their publishing slate. That scene in The New Frontier made me think about how The New 52 might not be in the bests interests of the company in the long term. Sure, sales are up and a lot of the books are pretty good, as you’ll see in my reviews below. But do you think that if DC had just dressed up Alan Scott and Jay Garrick in new clothing, that the Silver Age would have even existed? There was a reason why those characters faded away, and there was a reason why sales have been down in the industry before The Reboot: Then and now, people want something new. The New 52 just dressed up the same characters and concepts in new, ugly clothing, and I wonder if it’ll mean anything good for the long term health of the company.
Adventure Time #4
Written by Ryan North and Chris Eliopoulos, Art by Shelli Paroline & Braden Lamb and Chris Eliopoulos, Lettered by Steve Wands, Edited by Shannon Watters and Adam Staffaroni, Designed by Stephanie Gonzaga, Covers by Chris Houghton, Kassandra Heller, Scott C. and Bettie Ward
In the Fourth Issue of Adventure Time, Finn and the gang set out to clean up the world and set things back to normal in the wake of The Lich’s attack in the first three issues. The comic had plenty of its usual weirdness, as well as one brief scene that poignantly underlined the tragedy that lies beneath the Adventure Time world. The backup story featuring Party Pat was an educational tale of how to create the ultimate party dip, as well as how just because something doesn’t go to plan it doesn’t mean you still can’t have a super awesome party. Adventure Time #4 wasn’t as funny or action packed as the previous issues, but it was a solid epilogue to a pretty outstanding opening arc.
Written by J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman, Illustrated by Trevor McCarthy, Colored by Guy Major, Lettered by Todd Klein, Edited by Ricky Purdin, Harvey Richards and Mike Marts. Cover by Ben Oliver
Artist Trevor McCarthy joined the Batwoman creative team with this issue, the fourth part of “To Drown The World”,and I thought he quickly proved himself to be a better match for the book than departed artist Amy Reeder. McCarthy has a sharper, detailed lineart Style, as well as a more elaborate eye for panel design and layouts that matches better with J.H. Williams’ art. I liked Reeder’s work, but for me McCarthy is a step up. He helped to bring some flair to a moderately entertaining chapter that continued to chronicle Batwoman’s war against Medusa and their legion of monsters. The action was well realized by McCarthy and colorist Guy Major, but I wish they would just get to the end already because I can’t stand most of these characters. And I hope Kate Kane isn’t under the thumb of the DEO for much longer because I don’t think I could take her antagonistic, repetitive relationship with Cameron Chase for much longer. She used to be a compelling, likeable character, and now she’s just a giant asshole. I wish they would fix that.
Written by Mark Waid, Penciled by Khoi Pham, Inked by Tom Palmer, Colored by Javier Rodriguez, Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramahna, Edited by Ellie Pyle and Stephen Wacker, Cover by Pham and Rodriguez
After months of teasing out the Megacrime arc, as well as Matt’s mental well being, “Hell Night” addressed both plotlines, bringing the former forward pretty dramatically, while still tantalizingly teasing out the latter. Most of the issue dealt with DD’s big fight against the various Megacrime families for possession of the omega drive, with a clever fakeout that was only outdone by the final, last page twist. Khoi Pham’s art was fine in the sense that I didn’t think it subtracted too much from the story and I was able to tell what was going on at any given moment. But the panel to panel continuity was somewhat lacking at times, while the action was awkwardly staged, so that kind of took away from what should have been a momentous battle months in the making.
Glory # 26
Written by Joe Keatinge, Illustrated by Ross Campbell, Colored by Joseph Bergin III, Lettered by Douglas E. Sherwood, Edited by Eric Stephenson, Cover by Ulises Farinas
Now that Glory’s past, present and future have been illuminated, Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell are ready to blow everything up. ”Destroyer, Part One” mostly focused on Riley’s reluctant training with Glory ahead of the impending war with the alien warrior’s people, but after the end of this story, she’ll need to start fighting quickly. But is there anyway she can prevent the dark future she saw last issue? Probably not. Issue 26 was Dark and violent, but it still had its moments of levity and humanity, while Campbell’s thick muddy art and diverse character designs continued to add some personality to the proceedings. Keatinge and Campbell are moving the story pretty fast and I love it.
Written by Brian K. Vaughan, Art by Fiona Staples, Lettered and Designed by Fonografiks, Edited by Eric Stephenson
During times of war, the truth can become malleable as the different sides in conflict manipulate facts for their own ends. Civilized people become savages, and the victims of war become horrors to be feared in order to keep people in line, as well as to possibly cover up the murders in the first place. In this issue, Alana found herself face to face with one of the so called horrors that haunt the forests of Cleave, and learned an uncomfortable truth about Marko that is going to cause trouble in the near future. She also learned from the horror named Izabel what it’ll really take to survive. The truth sucks sometimes, especially when it’s right in your face.
Brian k Vaughn and Fiona staples continued to color in the world of Saga by revealing little interesting details about the various relationships in the books universe. They also continued to do a great job of balancing the heavier material with lighter fare such as the scene between rival mercs The Stalk and The Will that managed to humanize both a little more. Saga has quickly become one of the best comics of 2012 with its diverse cast, emotional depth, and fantastic art that has shown a strong ability to render landscapes and characters with depth, subtlety and wonder.
Saucer Country #3
Written by Paul Cornell, Illustrated by Ryan Kelly, Colored by Giulia Brusco, Lettered by Sal Cipriano, Edited by Mark Doyle and Will Dennis, Cover by Kelly
When Joshua Kidd arrived in New Mexico in the beginning of “Run, Part Three”, his nose started to bleed because of the states’ high altitude. Governor Alvarado’s chief of staff then listed a number of symptoms he might experience as someone who isn’t acclimated to the climate, leading Kidd remark on how those are also the classic symptoms of alien abduction. It was kind of a funny exchange, but also one that foreshadowed the state’s larger role in alien mythology. Saucer Country may have started out with Alvarado’s own possible abduction, but now the scope of the book has begun to expand with this Chapter, and it feels like its about to explode with crazy conspiracies, alien and otherwise. But first, Paul Cornell, Ryan Kelly and Giulia Brusco created an interesting issue that continued to tease out the alien storyline while introducing some new characters and concepts that should bring the crazy pretty soon. Kelly’s somewhat odd looking characters and detailed linework continued to add to the off kilter tone of the series, while Brusco’s vivid coloring added depth and mood to the proceedings.
Written by Jason Aaron, Illustrated by R.M. Guera, Colored by Giulia Brusco, Lettered by Sal Cipriano, Edited by Mark Doyle and Will Dennis, Cover by Jock
Only Two more to go now. With only a matter of time before law enforcement caught up with him, Dash set out to do the one thing he has sworn to do before he left The Rez for good: Kill the man who murdered his mother. That is, if his former boss, newly released from prison, doesn’t kill him first.
“Trail’s End, Part Three” was packed with tension and an inescapable sense of dread, all brought to deadly light by the typically excellent art by R.M Guera and Giulia Brusco. At this point the series is irreversibly falling to its tragic conclusion; the facade of peace and tranquility that this arc opened with is all but gone, replaced with tragedy and death. My only complaint about “Trail’s End” was that the emotionally charged shootout between Dash and Red Crow in the center of the story was all too brief, but I’m sure that won’t be the last time they meet before the series ends. Dash, Red Crow and Catcher are forever linked, and probably will be until they’re all dead.
Written by Michael Green & Mike Johnson, Illustrated by Mahmud Asrar, Colored by Dave McCaig, Lettered by Rob Leigh, Edited by Will Moss and Matt Idelson, Cover by Asrar and McCaig
There’s one thing that really bothered me about this issue, and it had to do with the cover. Mahmud Asrar’s art on it was great, don’t get me wrong. The image of Black Banshee attacking Supergirl and Silver Banshee was dramatic and eye popping, with a strong design element that I really enjoyed. However, the type placement was garbage and it nearly ruined everything about the cover. It looked like the tagline was just plopped on it with little regard how it flowed with everything. They should have just let the image speak for itself instead of forcing things. Fortunately, I didn’t have much of a problem with the interiors. ”Like Daughter” found Supergirl and her new friend Sioban/ Silver Banshee fighting off the latter’s father in a magic fueled battle in the streets of Queens. With Asrar back on art after George Perez filled in last month, the action ramped up again and Asrar gave the fight a real sense of impact and excitement, while Mike Johnson and Michael Green’s script gave the two protagonists plenty of trouble physically and emotionally. While Kara spent the first arc of this series coming to grips with her past, it was Sioban who had to fight a presence from her past to save her future in this issue. I also liked how both Kara and Sioban had to struggle to keep their respective abilities in check. They make a good team, and they have a lot in common, so I hope the good Banshee sticks around once this arc is done. Kara could use a friend.
Wonder Woman #9
Written by Brian Azzarello, Penciled by Tony Atkins, Inked by Dan Green, Colored by Matthew Wilson, Lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, Edited by Chris Conroy and Matt Idelson, Cover by Cliff Chiang
Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang and the Wonder Woman team have spent the first eight months of this series recreating Diana’s world, giving her new enemies , as well as new friends. Now that she is in hell and set to marry Hades, those new friends are ready to come to her rescue. “The Dearly Beloved” was rich in characters, both old and new, all revolving around and reacting to the titular characters impending nuptials. There wasn’t much action but plenty of character drama and the occasional moment of levity ( Aphrodite’s well covered appearance comes to mind)and black humor to keep things from sinking into the darkness. The large cast also gave Azzarello’s story a real sense of importance, a sense that multiple worlds hang in the balance with this union. Tony Atkins was on art duty here, and maybe it was just me, but I thought his work was much improved over his last stint. His figure work was much more expressive and dynamic, and it really added some energy to Azzarello’s story. Wouldn’t mind seeing him do more on this book in the near future.