I’ve really enjoyed watching Young Justice the last few weeks, and the current “Invasion” storyline has been really strong. Everything about the show is bigger than before, from the cast to the scope in which it operates. My only real problem is that the new Status Quo has undercut a number of potential storylines, but at the same time its opened up a million new storytelling avenues that I can’t wait to see explored. Also, it’s just cool to see characters like Blue Beetle, Nightwing, Batgirl and Wonder Girl in action now. YJ is worth watching for the fan-service alone. Anyway, this week’s comics were a mixed bag. Couple of great ones, some decent ones, and a lousy one to round things out. Here we go.
Mystery in Space #1
Written by Duane Swierczynski, Andy Diggle, Ming Doyle, Ann Nocenti, Nnedi Phorafor, Steve Orlando, Robert Rodi, Kevin McCarthy, and Mike Allred. Art by Ramon Bachs, David Gianfelice, Ming Doyle, Fred Harper, Michael Wm. Kaluta, Francesco Trifogli, Sebastian Fiumara, Kyle Baker, and Mike Allred. Colored by Lee Loughridge, Dave McCaig, Jordie Bellaire, Eva De La Cruz, Cris Peter, Giulia Brusco, Kyle Baker and Laura Allred. Lettered by Todd Klein, Pat Brosseau, Sal Cipriano, Carlos. M. Mangual, Jared. K. Fletcher, Clem Robins, Travis Lanham, Steve Wands, and Dezi Sienty. Edited by Gregory Lockhard, Will Dennis, Mark Doyle, Karen Berger, Joe Hughes, and Shelly Bond. Cover by Ryan Sook
The Mystery in Space One-Shot anthology featured nine short stories written and drawn by a variety of creators, all focusing on space and mystery and all that trippy stuff. It was a pretty good collection of Sci-Fi comics that were funny, sentimental, philosophical, and kind of dumb. Many of the stories explored the theme of transformation in one sense or another, whether that meant to change a society or the life of an individual. That helped to ground Mystery in Space despite all of the Sci-Fi trappings of its various settings. Most of the artwork wasn’t really grounded in any realism, but the styles on display were diverse and well done; from meticulous to simplistic, rough to smooth, cartoonish to gritty, and exaggerated to simple, the artists were able to really show off their own design and storytelling sensibilities. Definitely worth the $7.99.
Higher Earth #1
Written by Sam Humphries, Illustrated by Francesco Biagini, Colored by Andrew Crossley, Lettered by Ed Dukeshire.
I bought this book for two reasons. One, I try to be conscious of new series that are coming out, and if they look interesting I like to give them a try. Two, it was only a dollar. I figured even if it was a piece of crap, I wouldn’t feel sore about spending the money. But while Higher Earth #1 wasn’t complete garbage, it was kind of an empty, chaotic mess that didn’t leave me with the urge to buy the next issue. There was a lot of fighting and stabbing and running that was really well realized by the art team of Francesco Biagini and Andrew Crossley with their energetic and colorful artwork, but there was little in the way of characterization or plot. There was no real rhyme or reason to why anyone did anything except to move the story forward. There were some hints of an interesting, expansive world though, and hopefully writer Sam Humphries will reveal more in the near future. I just might not want to read it, especially since subsequent issues probably won’t cost a dollar.
Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #9
Written by Jeff Lemire, Penciled by Alberto Ponticelli, Inked by Wayne Faucher, Colored by Jose Villarrubia, Lettered by Patrick Brosseau, Cover by Alberto Ponticelli, Walden Wong, and Hi-Fi, Edited by Kate Stewart and Joey Cavalieri
If I’m not mistaken, this was Jeff Lemire’s final issue of Frankenstein, and he spent it bringing together the worlds of Frankenstein and Animal Man (one of Lemire’s other books) together in a story that found Frank questioning his future and identity while he fought off disgusting undead creatures with Nina Mazursky. The action with The Rot was skincrawlingly awesome, thanks to the art of Alberto Ponticelli and Wayne Faucher. The fight scenes also packed their usual punch, especially a brief sequence where Frankenstein asserted exactly who he is against his undead enemies. It was just pretty cool to see that the events of Animal Man have an impact outside of its own pages, and this was a perfect book for The Rot storyline to cross over with. It’s just too bad it was only a brief one. Overall, Jeff Lemire went out on a strong note, especially with a nice, final moment that showed how Frankenstein’s future might be okay after all.
Written by Ed Brubaker, Illustrated by Sean Phillips, Colored by Dave Stewart
Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips and Dave Stewart brought the first arc of Fatale to a close with this emotional, tragic finale that left many dead, and others shattered. One of the themes that this book has explored so far is how society, and the people how live in it, often hide their true, evil nature behind masks of humanity. But Chapter Five showed that deep down, some people are decent and selfless, even in the face of total darkness. There’s often a fatal price to being good though. Phillips and Stewart were great once again on the art side, with the former providing subtle character emotions along with flashes of grim violence, and the latter gave the comic a visually somber and foreboding mood throughout. The opening scene between Jo and Walt was especially powerful and heartbreaking, and a perfect example of a creative team working together in perfect harmony.
Written by Scott Lobdell and Tom DeFalco, Penciled by R.B. Silva, Inked by Rob Lean and Iban Coello, Colored by Richard & Tanya Horie and Hi-Fi, Lettered by Travis Lanham, Edited by Chris Conroy Cover by Ian Churchill and Alex Sollazzo
In the second part of “The Culling” Cross-Over, Superboy teamed up with the Teen Titans and The time displaced Legionnaires against Big Bad Harvest and his army of teenaged killers. The titular hero almost got lost in the sea of excessively talky super-powered brats, but the story by Scott Lobdell and Tom Defalco managed to give him decent page time while ruminating on the idea of whether or not a kid like Superboy can rise above his killer programming to be a real boy who doesn’t kill people. The answer is probably. The art by R.B Silva and the inking team of Iban Coello and Rob Lean was kind of muddy at times but the action moved well and didn’t get confusing.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #9
Written by Andrew Chambliss and Scott Allie, Penciled by Cliff Richards, Inked by Andy Owens, Colored by Michelle Madsen, Lettered by RIchard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt, Cover by Phil Noto
I’m starting to lose interest in this storyline, and its only on the second chapter. There was a lot of talking done in “Apart (Of Me) Pat Two, then some more talk, then zompires showed up, then more talk and finally things ended on a predictable cliffhanger. I preferred it when Buffy was a little more down to Earth, like in the beginning of the Season. Now things are crazier than ever, and I’m kinda ready for it to come to an end.
Next week is going to be a good one, with Scalped marching one step closer to its final issue, Daredevil starting a big new arc, and Saga continuing to tell the adventure of rebels/lovers/parents Marko and Alana.