Pulling this post together is one of the things I’ve grown to look forward to more than anything. I get to cover comics without approaching them with a hypercritical eye. If I don’t like something, I simply don’t have to write about it. If I love something, then I get to gush over it… And that’s what Break from the Bat is – gushing over how great comics are. If that’s not your thing, you might want to go somewhere else.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #2
The relaunch of Buffy the Vampire Slayer returns with its second issue, and just like the debut, this is sure to be a crowd pleaser with longtime fans and new fans alike. The reimagining of these characters and this world continues to feel fresh, yet familiar, as Jordie Bellaire uproots the verse we know and love, and plants it in present day to coincide with today’s culture. While there hasn’t been much of a punch in terms of plot, the reintroduction of characters has been an absolute blast. The introductions of Cordelia Chase, Spike, and Robin Wood will definitely be the talk of this chapter, and it serves as groundwork that will undoubtedly pay off in the near future.
The real win for this series is the same thing that made the television show such a success – its characters and themes. Everyone is very much the same at their core, but we’re seeing slight alterations in each character to account for the time in which this is taking place. The standout for this issue is actually Cordelia, who is still Miss Sunnydale High, just with the twist change of how popular girls are perceived today compared to twenty years ago. Cordelia isn’t the mean girl we met in 1997. She’s the new kind of popular – caring, sympathetic, magnetic force that wants to lift people up and push them to see and be the best that they can be… Whether or not she’s being genuine remains to be seen.
The biggest character change has to come from Robin Wood considering this is our first glimpse of him as a high school kid. One would assume that his backstory will remain intact, but who knows. And while Spike barely gets any dialogue, his mere presence makes a huge impact. But in all of this, Xander is the guide for this issue. While times have changed and Willow has managed to exist in a world where being nerdy and smart is viewed as cool, Xander is still the zeppo. Despite the changes, he’s still an outcast, and we get to see the toll it takes on him here. All in all, it’s another great issue of what’s sure to be an incredible book! I’m still waiting to see if Angel pops up though… I feel like you can’t have Buffy without Angel – especially since we know Drusilla is in the mix!
The Girl in the Bay #1
I have to start this off by saying that The Girl in the Bay is an example of marketing doing their job well. I saw the cover for this book while skimming comics, and thought it looked interesting. That interest led me to read the solicitation for this issue, and I immediately knew I needed to read it. The concept was too gripping. So, we come to the time where I sit down to actually read the issue, and a few pages in, I’m finding it hard to connect with the book or the main character.
I have a rule to at least read an issue in its entirety though (unless it’s complete egregious), so I keep trucking along, and the moment the twist occurs, I’m invested. But the book continues to get better. What appears to be a story we’ve all seen play out continues to hit with surprise after surprise. Just when you think you know what’s going to happen, the book takes a sharp turn!
It’s an interesting and engaging read that will leave you wanting more. I don’t want to give too much away because you need to experience the story, but I will forewarn you that there is language and drug use, so this isn’t one for the kids. If you’re looking for a quick, unique mini (this is a four-issue story) to sink your teeth into though, this might be the book for you!
Action Comics #1008
I know a lot of people had mixed feelings about Bendis coming to DC, and I know some of you were unhappy with your first glimpse of his work in Man of Steel… But if you’re one of those people, you need to give Action Comics a shot! I can’t describe how good the plotting is in this title. I’m hooked.
Bendis is balancing the worlds of Superman and Clark Kent perfectly, along with an ever-expanding roster of supporting characters that fall into either Superman’s world, Clark’s world, or both. The character work is incredible, and each issue seems to be getting better and better. There’s also a background tug-of-war with villains. There’s a local villain creating chaos in Metropolis, but there’s also the rise of Leviathan slowly taking hold as well. Both aspects are interesting in their own way, but Bendis use of Leviathan is the first time I’ve felt a genuine threat with consequences heading into an event in a long time! This is one for the books, so if you’re not reading, catch up before Bendis and DC blow the roof off of things!
The Green Lantern #4
Morrison and Sharp are still firing on all cylinders! Although it’s easy to guess the identities of the two narrators in this issue, the frame is a fun way to shake up the formula. Each issue feels like a distinct adventure even though there is a larger story building throughout. As ever, the layouts are inventive, the creatures are imaginative, and every page is crammed with beautiful details.
Man & Superman #1
If you did not pick up and read Man & Superman, then you really missed out! This is an incredible story that captures Clark’s first days in Metropolis. I wouldn’t classify it as an origin story necessarily, but more like his first steps following his origin.
The best thing about this issue is that it isn’t about Superman stopping an evil threat. Instead, this is about Clark figuring out how to separate the man from Superman, and where he belongs not only in this world, but Metropolis specifically. The story is great, but the characters are even better! This is easily one of the best Superman stories I’ve read in a while. Lois Lane is perfect, and the other supporting characters are just as brilliant, even if their inclusion is brief.
Seriously, go get this if you didn’t pick it up. This story could easily serve as the second act of a new Superman film should DC decide to relaunch that franchise… And considering none of the recent attempts to capture Superman have been nearly as good as this, then maybe they should! Marv Wolfman outdid himself here! This is how you write comics, kids! And Claudio Castellini’s art? Sooooo good!
Naomi continues to be an engaging read, and if I’m being honest, this is one of the lanes I was hoping Bendis would bring to DC. There’s such familiarity and commonality to this character that it’s hard not to connect and relate to her. She’s also in awe of heroes – which is something I think we can all agree with her on as well.
The difference with Naomi, is that she has a secret past, and that past has ties to either heroics or villainy. This mystery – which was set-up in the debut – is delved into further here, and we even receive what appears to be a partial reveal. This could easily be a been there, done that story that reads like paint-by-numbers… but it doesn’t. There’s a lot of promise here, and I plan on sticking this book out until its fruition.
Wonder Twins #1
I’m curious to see what the long-term conversation looks like for Wonder Twins. Mark Russell is known for writing heavy political satires in his books, and there are times when it complete works (Snagglepus or Prez) and times where it doesn’t (check out almost any of his superhero one-shots). Where Wonder Twins will fall in this remains to be seen.
Overall, I found this to be a rather enjoyable book, and I appreciated the comedic approach it took concerning heroes, and even how we through teenagers into society without much preparation. There are some heavy metaphors in this issue that might be deemed inappropriate for younger, and if not that, then adults will most likely roll their eyes. Even then, there are simple slap-stick moments resulted in audible laughter. It’s probably me least favorite of the Wonder Comics umbrella to date, but that’s not a low bar considering how wonderful Naomi and Young Justice are. And even then, Wonder Twins is still entertaining enough that I’ll definitely give it a few more issues before landing on whether or not I should trade-wait.
Ascender #1 (out April 24)
This is doesn’t come out until next month, but I was able to read it at the end of February, and I absolutely love it. I haven’t finished Descender yet, but I didn’t feel lost, and the new status quo is very compelling. Nguyen’s watercolors are as tasty as ever, too. More thoughts at Comics- Now! https://www.comics-now.com/home/2019/2/22/ascender-1-review.
What can I say to praise Daredevil? The book is excellent, and following the success of the Netflix series, Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto are creating a beautiful marriage of script and art that almost feel like a continuation of both the comic book run and the series. There are tones and visual representations that look as though they’re lifted directly from the show, so if you’re sad that Daredevil was canceled (despite rumors that it will return on Hulu or FX), then you should be reading this book!
And to be clear, this book is great on its own. I’m only referencing the television series as a gateway for people who may not be reading this comic or comics in general. Every single element of this title is fantastic. For Matt’s characterization, to King Pin’s chilling – and scary – presence, to Detective North’s no-nonsense approach to policing. I loved every page of this book, and I can’t wait to continue this journey!
I enjoyed #1, but dang it, #2 is EXCELLENT. I love seeing Detective North and Matt each working the case, and the confrontation with Fisk is chilling. Marco Checchetto’s pages are fantastic, as well, playing up Matt’s loneliness and North’s tinyness next to a hulk like the Kingpin. I’ve got more thoughts at Comics-Now! https://www.comics-now.com/home/2019/2/27/daredevil-2-review.
Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman #3
How is Tom Taylor not a household name at this point? Every book I pick up from this man delivers in the best way possible, and that sentiment remains true for Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman as well. I think the key word here is “friendly,” because that’s what makes this book a must-read: Peter Parker’s nature. He’s such a fun, lovable guy with a great sense of humor in general, but under Taylor’s pen… it’s profound!
The plot gets a little weird here, but once you’re settled in with everything, you’ll want to continue the journey. Rumor is turning out to be an intriguing character as well, but I’d be lying if I did not admit to looking forward to Johnny Storm’s scenes over anything else. Ultimately, Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman is a fun book that the entire family will enjoy. If you haven’t added it to your pull list, you should.
This got really weird, but in the best possible way. I don’t know if this Under York is Taylor’s invention or not, but this is my first time encountering it regardless, and what a neat idea! Juan Cabal and Nolan Woodard kill it in the art department on this one, too, and I’m especially fond of the elevator sequence. This is my favorite Spidey book out there at the moment.
Guardians of the Galaxy #2
This is another one that was decent in its first outing, but has really found itself in #2. The Groot stuff felt like a gimmick before, but it’s legitimately funny, and it doesn’t seem as arbitrarily inserted this time. “I am stab” needs to be on a t-shirt. I think the two sets of Guardians is a nice twist on Marvel’s marketing for the series from months ago, too.
This one is definitely not for new readers, as it plops down right in the middle of Donny Cates big story and doesn’t offer much in the way of context. I still thoroughly enjoyed this trip through Eddie Brock’s mind, and the artwork is suitably creepy and slimy.