We’ve got a good batch of comics coming out this week, and most of them involve Batman, so I’m going to consider this week a rousing success. Here’s what I’m looking at this week.
- AVENGERS & INFINITY GAUNTLET #4 (OF 4) – All told, this is a pretty different Infinity Gauntlet than the one I know and love. The stakes don’t seem as high and no one seems to be taking it seriously. Still, it’s funny and contains more than it’s share of action and adventure for it to qualify as a good read.
- BATMAN AND ROBIN #17 – With Grant Morrison moving off this book to greener bat-pastures I was all set to drop this title…Until I saw that Paul Cornell is handling the new story arc. After an incredible run on Captain Britain and MI-13 and with a stellar Knight and Squire title on the stands now, I’m very excited to see what he’ll bring to a main bat-title.
- BATMAN BEYOND #6 (OF 6) – Our first venture to the in-continuity Batman Beyond universe has been pretty successful…And paved the way for a new on-going. Like the TV show, it’s got all of the trappings of a science fiction story but is well-versed in current continuity. Ordinarily I would have thought writer Adam Beechen was trying to cram too much into six issues but he makes it work.
- BATWOMAN #0 – I’m curious, and I don’t care who knows it. (I also resisted the urge to use the pun bat-curious, so I’m having an especially restrained day.)
- FANTASTIC FOUR #585 – I really can’t say this enough: each issue of Jonathan Hickman’s FF run is better than the last. He is quickly becoming a Jeff Parker for me: a writer I’ll follow anywhere sight unseen.
Speaking of following writers, since I’ve enjoyed Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet so much, I’ve been looking forward to trying out Brian Clevenger’s book Atomic Robo. Last week the first issue of volume 5,
Deadly Art of Science, came out and I’m happy to say it was incredible. Based solely on this one issue I get a strong feel of Mike Allred’s Madman, in that our protagonist is put together to help Do Science but wants to experience more of the world. On top of that Scott Wegener turns in incredibly strong artwork, highly stylized but consistent and easy to read. Highly recommended for anyone who likes their comics with a dose of fun and high adventure.
I really tried to talk myself into picking up Batman: The Return and Batman, Incorporated last week, but couldn’t get past the price point. Inc was just another standard-sized $4 book, and BTR was just
too expensive at $5, and half-full of sketches and back matter. Knight and Squire, on the other hand, was a great example of How To Write Comics. Sure, they’re a play off of Batman and Robin, but Paul Cornell is doing an incredible job of making them characters independent of that mythos, and highlights the differences by playing off the innate Britishness of those characters rather than making them Batman and Robin clones with funny voices. Sure, some of the references are fairly obscure, but Cornell does my ignorance a favor by including a text page of explanations rather than forcing me to spend 10 minutes on Wikipedia.
Despite my doubts (and the poor showing by last week’s overpriced bat-books), Thunderbolts #150 was a great example of getting more for your money. For $5 we got a 96-page issue with a new (extended?) done-in-one story, a recap of all the major Thunderbolts events to this point, and a reprint of Thunderbolts #1. That’s a lot of bang for the buck. Meanwhile, Jeff Parker just makes this book so INTERESTING. Every character is different and has their own motivations, yet seems incredibly authentic. I enjoyed the original Busiek run and Warren Ellis’ take with Norman Osborn, but I think this is the best the book has ever been.
That’s it for me. What are YOU looking at?