Comic Reviews 5/4/16

(Note: Marvel’s website says that Black Panther #2 came out today, but Comixology is telling me it doesn’t come out until next week. That is why, if it did come out today, I did not pick it up)

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Batman/Superman
Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman fight the Magnificent 10 after entering China, following the energy signature of the superclone. The fight takes up half the issue because neither team bothers to try talking to each other like sensible adults, and so the actual plot is stalled until Superman can save the cat.


Then both teams find out what we already pretty much knew, that Dr. Omen was the one behind the superclones, although the one in her lab looks different from the one in previous books.  Her clone runs away again, and the first one appears at Lois Lane’s apartment.

This story continues to plod along, barely moving the plot forward in favor of having big but inconsequential fight scenes. I want to like this story, but before that can happen, the books have to continue actually telling it.

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Vampirella #3

After a quick talk with Juliette regarding her ability to glamour people, Vampirella and team find out more about Slade – namely that she’s friendly with demons and a lot of people owe her blood debts. Then, as the comic closes, Vampi and crew are attacked by a Metalunan and find an uninvited guest at their mansion.

I feel like I’m only staying with this book for the Hollywood, monster-movie setting that it’s not taking full advantage of. There’s nothing particularly bad about this book, but nothing extraordinary to keep me reading either. I figure I’ll give it one more issue to wow me, but otherwise I’ll probably drop it.

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Will Eisner’s The Spirit #10

After asking a source, Strunk and White find where the sniper from last issue is hiding out. Running out of other leads, The Spirit tries to find Sachet Spice through her perfume, or can he find out more about the mysterious Vaas when he corners the sniper?

The Spirit continues to be tons of pulpy fun. With the amount of explosions and action in this issue, I can only assume we’re about to reach a climax in the story. With a dedication to pulp and a lighthearted silliness that runs through the book, The Spirit continues to be a novel read every month.

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Black Widow #3

Widow outmaneuvers the SHEILD agents following her in New York before making her way to Russia, and the abandoned remains of the Red Room to find something for Weeping Lion. And once in the Red Room, Natasha has flashbacks to her childhood.

This run on Widow continues to have a lot of really well done action, but doesn’t provide enough plot to keep me that interested. Each issue works on its own as a kind of minimalist action piece, but they also barely feel connected to one another. Natasha barely interacts with anyone else unless she’s fighting them, and even then they’re mainly goons. The book works as far as it’s clear why Widow does what she does in each issue, but it doesn’t feel like the issues are working towards something bigger yet.

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Invincible Iron Man #9

Following the last issue, Tony Stark has been missing for weeks. Friday seems to be handling thinks at Stark Enterprises, to the amazement of board members. Meanwhile, a 15 year old MIT student just built her own Iron Man armor out of scrap parts in her dorm room. Things get messey when Rhodey tries to find Tony through his usual channels. And Doom pays Dr. Pereda a visit.

It’s unclear how exactly this issue connects to the ending of the last one because of the timeskip, and even though that’s intentional, it doesn’t make the events or the ending of this issue any less confusing. I still find the art in this book a little dark and muddy for my liking, and the layouts still take a second or two longer to parse than they should. But despite all that, Iron Man continues to be a riveting read with great, if Bendis-y, dialogue and a spectacular pace. I’m especially curious to see the fallout of the new 15 year old Iron Girl.

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Howard the Duck #7

Coming out of a crossover with Squirrel Girl; Howard the Duck now has a crossover with almost everyone else, mainly She-Hulk, Daredevil, Steve Rogers, and Spider-Man.

We begin with Howard trying to guide Peter through acting like a jet-setter, so that he could uncover that one of she She-Hulk’s clients went missing in the Savage Land. So they venture there to rescue him, and Daredevil, Steve, and Tara tag along for the adventure. It becomes a Jurassic Park story with the twist that one man is controlling all the dinosaurs, but using them for evil.

The way Chip Zdarsky continues to write Spider-Man in Howard the Duck, continues to tickle me; and his treatment of all the other heroes are no different. Whether it’s Steve leaning into his old-man-iness, or Jessica and Daredevil arguing a client’s guilt or innocence as they’re rescuing him, at least one joke in this issue will bring a ridiculous smile to your face. The art gets some good visual gags in too, from Peter’s face while trying to act riche and cool, to Tara’s various transformations.

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Amazing Spider-Man #12

First, I hope these Alex Ross covers never stop.

Peter is trying to get used to wearing a tux to a fancy charity event when he finds out that MJ is working for Tony Stark. Tony gives Peter some advice on funding a superhero and all the damage that goes with it. When Ghost interrupts the party, and goes after a certain Augustus Roman specifically, both Iron Man and Spider-Man leap into action, and start fighting each-other more than Ghost.

This issue is fantastic, and I’m super excited to see how this story ends up playing out. The bickering and game of one-upmanship that Spider-Man and Iron Man play through this issue is hilarious, resulting in jokes and references that run the gamut from Ghostbusters to Loony Toons. And aside from the superhero stuff, watching Peter deal with trying to measure up next to Tony Stark, who’s been in the same hero/CEO position, and has Mary Jane with him, opens up a lot of emotional stuff to play with.

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Moon Knight #2

Another really cool looking cover.

Khonshu gives Marc more insight into the nature of the hospital, and with some of the other residents, he makes a plan to escape.

I really like the direction this book is going in – taking place in the liminal spaces between the real world, Marc’s perceptions, and Khonshu’s realm: the Othervoid. I about the last issue it’s a bit of a shame that we know what is supposed to be real or not; and the book is moving away from it being a mystery and more of all the different realities being real all at once, but to different effects. The game isn’t in finding what’s real – it’s having to jump between all of it anyway. It’s very They Live, and I’m loving it.

The art also continues to please, in particular the opening pages that show the inside doodles of Marc’s Moon Knight notebook.

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The Punisher #1

I suspected going in that this would be a book I’d need a few issues to figure out, and I was right about that.

If this were any other first issue, it would be an instant recommend; it has everything one could possibly look for in a Punisher book, which I imagine is the single thing anyone would expect from a Punisher book: ruthless, and ruthlessly efficient violence dealt by Punisher to gang/mob goons.

And thus, my reservations. Punisher never struck me as an actual character. He’s deliberately  un-nuanced, and possibly better than even Wolverine at what he does (and what he does isn’t very nice). I’ve always liked the idea of Punisher as a feature of the Marvel universe – the guy you hope you never run into because if you do you’re gonna have a bad time; but I don’t see how he can carry a whole ongoing. It would be different if he were bad at killing, or had a character besides killing; but he’s not and he doesn’t. It’s like a disaster movie where the main character is the earthquake.

But this first issue is an incredibly enjoyable spectacle of violence, and despite my reservations, is good enough to get me to drop some more money on issue #2. I really hope this ends up going somewhere.

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Daredevil/The Punisher #1

After foiling Punisher’s attempt to execute Sergey Antonov before his prison transfer; Daredevil, with help from Blindspot, chases Punisher as he chases the transfer vehicle across New York. And Antonov has plans of his own.

And here’s a story that falls more in line to how I expect Punisher is used well. In this he’s basically the Terminator chasing Antonov’s Sarah Conner. He’s the biggest part of what Daredevil and Blindspot have to deal with in this issue. And this issue itself is frantic, action-movie level chase stuff. The art is fantastic, illustrating DD’s acrobatic finesse just as well as it makes Punisher look like the most imposing man to have ever existed.

This issue is incredibly simple, plot-wise, but already establishes exactly what the stakes are and sinks its hooks right into you.

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The Wicked + The Divine #19

Persephone’s resistance kidnaps Dionysus. And Ananke prepares to lead her part of the pantheon into the underground to wipe out the resistance and take back Minerva. And then the gods fight each-other. Anyone who said WicDiv didn’t have enough action in it owes it to themselves to pick this issue up.

The art in this issue is killer with splash pages of the pantheon pulling out all the stops with their powers, so we’ve got Baal surrounded by lightning and Morrigan with her murder of crows. We also get a little bit more of Ananke’s plan or whatever, but mostly GOD FIGHT!!

 

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