David's Month in Review

May 2018

 

Five Weeks. Two Weekly series. Free Comic Book Day. Avengers Infinity War. Plus a whole lot of rain. I hope everyone made it out of May in one piece.

As for the books, Marvel is preparing for a new Fresh Start of #1’s after they get all of these anniversary issues out of the way. DC is gearing up for the biggest summer they have had in quite a while too. But the first book I’ll be talking about is Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s Barrier.

You should have got a free copy of issue #1 in your FCBD bags and hopefully you read it too. Yes it is sideways. It is too tall. And yes half of it was in Spanish. It sure was a good thing that it was an excellent read. The two main characters; one American, one Mexican, are abducted by aliens. The concept is that their barrier of differing language does not stop them from coming together to escape the perilous position they are thrust into. But that’s not their biggest problem. No their struggle comes from trying to understand the aliens that abducted them and convincing them to release them when no one can speak alien.

Somehow very relatable when I, as the reader, can only speak English. You see the frustration when half of the dialogue is in Spanish but you also begin to pick up on single words and phrases just as the main characters do as well. Of course by the end I’m not speaking fluent Spanish but neither is the American character. You will, however, begin to pick up on the other characters thought process through facial features and surrounding circumstances. It’s a huge accomplishment for Vaughan and Martin to pull it off in a comic format and if you gave up on it once you saw all the barriers I mentioned before I urge you to try it again.

As for the other weekly series, No Justice, Scott Snyder is back at it, creating something different and fun with a wide range of characters. After the fallout of the Metal event, the Justice League is forced to confront beings that are emerging from the source wall. Truthfully, though, the book served as a bridge from Metal to Snyder’s new Justice League #1 in June. Putting Lex Luthor’s character back to normal and re-inserting Martian Manhunter into the league were much more important than any gigantic celestial being.  Just you wait to see what he has planned for the Justice League…

I hope you enjoy! As always I encourage you to come by and let me know all the books I forgot to include and remember there are...

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Week 1: Wednesday, May 2

Book of the Week

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Death or glory #1

W: Rick Remender
A: Bengal

Deadly Class. Black Science. Low. Tokyo Ghost. Four of my favorite books to recommend and all written by Rick Remender. However his newest title, Death or Glory, is based much closer to reality. Set in a small town where money breeds corruption and sometimes the only way to save the ones you love are drastic measures. For many writers a dying father and fast cars could make an entire series but for Remender and Death or Glory it is only the back drop. The real interest comes from the mysterious stranger with a freeze gun who takes out two fast food employees because they won’t make him one hundred and twenty three cheeseburgers.

Now I can’t say the main character, Glory, is making the same decisions I would. Running the local Sheriff off the road to take the money her ex-husband is having transported to a Korean “cleaner” isn’t what I would call a perfect plan. Although it certainly does keep me in suspense enough that I’m already counting down for issue two. Add in Captain Cold and it looks like this book may just end in Death for Glory and that doesn’t even take into account the twist at the end. Don’t forget about those cheeseburgers.

Now for a couple of other titles you should keep an eye on.

The big one is Avengers #1, the beginning of Jason Aaron’s run on Earth’s mightiest heroes. Cap, Iron Man, and Thor back together again, along with a cast of usual suspects that include Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider? Not only that but an entire story from Avengers that lived one million years ago. To be honest I was hoping that the Odin, Agamatto, Phoenix Force team would get its own title but I guess I’ll just have to live with what I get. As for the plot, both teams will be fighting gigantic cosmic entities in what is sure to be a colorful but somewhat generic story. At least these are some Avengers teams I can get behind.

Most importantly though go pick up a DC Nation #0. Three small stories for only 25 cents that features previews of both Bendis’ Man of Steel and Synder’s No Justice that’ll set the stage for the entire summer from DC. However the best story comes from Tom King in anticipation for his bat-wedding. Nothing but Joker and it was fantastic. Terrible jokes and Clay Mann dialed the creepy level up to eleven. Seriously, Joker fans are going to need this one because it’s not showing up anywhere else.

Week 2: Wednesday, May 9

Book of the Week

Venom #1

W: Donny Cates
A: Ryan Stegman

A new age of Venom is here. I’m not talking about whichever new person is going to wear the symbiote or another Venomized or Poison X event to show off existing heroes in said symbiote. This is all about fleshing out the symbiote itself. To finally give a voice to the character that has often been nothing more than a suit. Now we are going to see where Venom comes from. A history that has never been explored, through the lens of something that feels dark and serious. Of course there is still a man inside the suit, Eddie Brock, but now both Eddie and Venom will be on the receiving end of the fear that a crazed alien host brings.

“God is Coming.” That’s what Venom says right before issue one comes to a close. This, of course, comes after Venom tore itself off of Eddie’s body and hid among the fire instead of facing this new evil. With him comes a new breed of symbiote as well. Like a disease, both Venom and a few other symbiotes were corrupted by this new foe as red snake-like veins and a bright red bullseye on their bodies appeared. Only time will tell how much of this new backstory sticks but it is promising for the longevity of the series. Only 166 solo venom issues have been published, compare that to Deadpool’s 300+, and Cates’ has provided a slew of questions that will take some time to be answered. This could very well be the most important series Venom has ever had and it’s only on issue #1!

Now for a couple of other titles you should keep an eye on.

Medieval Spawn and Witchblade #1. Spawn fans, Witchblade fans, fans of magic, fans of war, fans of general epicness; this one is for you. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Spawn ride a horse into a horde of Zombies while slicing them down with a glowing green sword. In much the same way Beowulf, Hercules, and He-Man are all classic warriors, Spawn now enters the same realm. Now in fairness, I’m not a huge Spawn fan (and I know nothing about Witchblade) but this is right up my alley and I’d imagine many of you would like it as well.

The final issue of Batman: White Knight was released as well. Make sure to keep your eyes out for the trade when it releases because it’ll go down as one of the best Joker stories ever told. I won’t spoil the ending for those who aren’t reading it already but I can tell you I hope a Murphyverse spins out of this awesome title.

Week #3: Wednesday, May 16

Book of the Week

Dead Hand #2

W: Kyle Higgins
A: Stephen Mooney

A tough decision for book of the week. Nothing stood head and shoulders above the rest quite like Death or Glory or Venom but with a slew of good books I thought I’d use the space to highlight Dead Hand #2. There are enough twists and turns that reading issue to issue is going to be enjoyable and Stephen Mooney’s art really makes it pop even though it is heavily dialogue driven.

As for the plot… “Carter Carlson was a highly decorated operative during the Cold War. But in the fall of 1991, as the Soviet Union collapsed, Carter discovered a secret that not only changed his life... but also altered the course of history.” We have yet to find out the secret that changed his life but after issue one it was revealed that Carlson along with other operatives are now living in Russia still, but hidden in the woods in a faux American town. Now in issue two we are introduced to Renae, think Black Widow, and you start to get the idea that whatever they are protecting is more about the general wellbeing of the world instead of any one nation.

As of now I’m assuming that they are protecting a defense system that has gained a sort of consciousness that resembles a touchy child. You can see where the problem to the world comes into play assuming that same defense system has any serious capabilities. We’ll see where the story goes from here (we still have yet to see any real enemy) but the characters and the stage has been set. It’ll definitely be interesting to see where it goes from here. If anything it would make a great television show.

Now for a couple of other titles you should keep an eye on.

Tough decision for book of the week but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a ton of good titles this week.

Frank Castle still has the War Machine armor in Punisher #224 but he’s now back in America where Captain Marvel and many other Marvel heroes are waiting for him. Don’t worry he managed to kill probably ten guys before Danvers can pick her fight. I’ve already preached why you should be reading Punisher in previous months but now is your chance to pick it up from a new arc.

X-Men Red #4 released and featured both Storm and Black Panther, along with another crazy display of power from Jean Grey. Namor, Wolverine, and the Honey Badger make up a great team and we just were witness to the next generation of Sentinels. X-Men Red is the BEST X-title currently being released.

Hopefully you were listening while I was saying Avengers No Surrender was worth reading weekly. Now that it’s over there is a Quicksilver title to bring him back into the Universe. Frozen in time, Pietro must battle shadow images on himself in order to save the ones he loves. Think Tron. Keep your eyes on the writer Saladin Ahmed too, he’s going to be a big deal soon.

Week #4: Wednesday, May 23

Book of the Week

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Flash #47

W: Joshua Williamson
A: Howard Porter

Part one of the Flash War begins. Promising that “After this there will only be One!”, Williamson has been hyping up 2018 as the year of the Flash and now we get to see why. Wally vs Barry can wait though because the first part of our Flash War begins with the Rogues of the 25th Century. Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, and the rest of the usual suspects with one minor upgrade… The Golden Guardian with

a Sinestro Corps ring! She was easily the highlight of this particular issue and one, two page spread of the Flashes fighting their yellow counterparts shows what makes the art that comes out of the Flash titles so cool. I am hoping they can just stick to one artist for the arc though. Not that there is any one artist I prefer but it seems like the Flash book in particular switches between two or even three artists the most.

Though to be fair I wanted to highlight this one because the other books I seem to be picking this month are a little lite on the action. Not the Flash War though. This book is going to be jammed packed with lightning bolts, villains, and poorly thought out plans. Comic book fun is what the Flash offers and hopefully this is finally when DC begins to address impact of Wally West’s return from that Rebirth Special over a year ago. (Although I doubt it…)

Now for a couple of other titles you should keep an eye on.

One Wakanda wasn’t enough for Ta-Nehisi Coates. Black Panther #1 introduced the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda and I’m already left with a TON of questions. Not to worry though, Coates promises to have those questions answered in later issues. This one was all about the action. Ta’Challa woke up with no memory of his past and proceeds to immediately break out of whatever space slave camp he woke up in. It’ll be very interesting to see what direction the book takes but for now I’m all aboard for the Wakandan Rebel Alliance.

Brian Michael Bendis’ long and storied history with the Marvel Universe is over. Invincible Iron Man #600 put Tony Stark back where he belongs, brought Rhodey back from the dead, and returned Victor Von Doom to Latveria. The issue served as Bendis’ farewell and was full of long dialogues and snarky responses that you’re used to. We’ll see how much of Bendis’ Iron Man material is used going forward but you can’t deny the lasting impact he had on the Marvel Universe.

Week #5: Wednesday, May 30

Book of the Week

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Man of Steel #1

W: Brian Michael Bendis
A: Ivan Reis

An awesome fifth week of comics that was highlighted by Brian Michael Bendis’ first DC title. Right off the bat Bendis is changing a few things too. First introducing a new character, Rogol Zaar, who wants nothing more than to wipe Krypton off the map (mission accomplished by the way). I know introducing a character for Superman to punch isn’t really changing much but the second thing Bendis’ decided to do was get rid of either Lois Lane and Jon Kent or at least just Lois. It’s an odd choice but Bendis’ is looking to write a wide range of Superman titles and what better way to get content for issues than by breaking the character down before building him back up.

The issue itself though was great. The most important character in comics can be hit or miss and part of that is the fact that he is just so powerful. It seems like you have to introduce a Doomsday type character (Rogol Zaar) to give him any sort of challenge but you also have to keep him grounded to what made him the greatest superhero ever. I big part of the issue played on his super hearing and why Metropolis is the safest city in the DCU. Superman zeroing in on key words like kill and money to find low level criminals before they begin to cause trouble. Then flying off to take care of fire after accidently eavesdropping on a singing a few miles away. Fire, of course, should be no problem for the Man of Steel and it wasn’t. Say what you will about Bendis or Superman but when a writer understands and can write the Man of Steel at his full power it sure does make a great read.

Now for a couple of other titles you should keep an eye on.

Spider-Man #800 was easily the best anniversary issue that Marvel released. Heck it had SIX well thought out and action filled chapters. Full of just about every character that Dan Slott shaped over the last decade in his Spider-Man stories, #800 served as a fantastic send-off. The Red Goblin vs Black suited Spider-Man turned into a classic Green Goblin vs Spider-Man story. One long time Spider-Man character died and a new villain was born. 80 pages! One Story! No Holds Barred! They meant it too.

As for my favorite book of the week, Doomsday Clock #5, the plot begins to thicken. The story of how the original DC Universe ends and the New 52 begins has taken some interesting turns but Rorschach finding a Green Lantern lantern is the icing on the cake. Batman is now at the mercy of both the Joker and the new Mime characters, plus it looks like Superman is finally about to get involved. The only issue with Doomsday Clock is that it just doesn’t come out often enough.


Well there you have it. May summed up in 3000 words or less. As always feel free to come by and visit me in the store if you want to critique my picks! 

 
Andy BridgesComment