Batman Incorporated #5
(Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn)
I do not know what it is about Chris Burnham’s style that I find so appealing. Maybe that half the time it looks like a saturday morning cartoon shown through a twisted prism. He also seems to be a master of displaying motion with the mob on the cover charging at Damian Wayne really feeling like a marauding horde. The image is also coated in detail (along with Damian himself! HAHAHA!) and really sets the tone for this future Batman #666 set issue.
Thor: God of Thunder #2
Two weeks on and we get another spectacular Thor: God of Thunder cover from Esad Ribic! It is a picture that truly tells a thousand words and it fits together to the left of the cover for issue one. Slowly building to a larger image that I am sure Marvel will package as a widescreen poster at some point that will be a must buy for many a comic book reader. We see the arrogant Young Thor looking for a fight, ready to kick your arse and sleep with your women! This is Thor in pillaging Viking mode and it works really well.
So I have relented and have decided to turn Panel of the Week into Panels of the Week. There is just to much awesome week in week out to narrow my picks down to one choice! So let us get the ball rolling!
Constantine taking over from Rip Hunter for leaving walls and boards full of clues?
– Justice League Dark #14
The God Butcher strikes!
-Thor: God of Thunder #2
Avengers Forever Part 1 (Kurt Busiek & Carlos Pacheco)
This is the first instalment of the Ultimate Graphic Novel collection that I was not aware existed in the past. Everything up to this point has been things I have either already read or had a passing knowledge of by reading about them online or just by simply reading other comics. (Marvel is good at tying any and everything into past events) So the idea of reading something fresh to me was exciting.
Avengers Forever Part 1 collects the first half of Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco’s twelve issue tale of the Destiny War. A conflict with everyones favourite center of the universe character, Rick Jones, being the linchpin because apparently he is super important for humanity’s future. He is our destiny.
I will let that sink in for a second….
Rick Jones is humanity’s destiny…..
God help us all!
The story is exclusively focused on wibbly wobbly timey wimey…stuff even down to the team assembled to tackle the forces of Kang the Conqueror and Immortus. (They are the same guy at different points in time. It is a whole thing) Despite the confusing ground it treads (because, TIME TRAVEL IS CONFUSING!) the book actually ends up being an entertaining read.
We are going back to the standard size for this week’s Picks of the Week and it has been yet another great week for my personal pull list. It may have been lighter than most weeks but it sure did pack a punch.
Over in Marvel’s camp we get a couple more relaunched books and everything else winding down or making those last big story steps (Amazing Spider-Man #698 OH MY GOD!). Oddly it also seems to be a week for letters from the writers and editors to take up space in multiple comics released this week which is a nice touch. On the DC side of life we got the continuation of some very strong stories that have spun out of the recent zero issues or where kicked off just before zero month hit. We also finally get some explanation as to what is going on with this whole H’El on Earth storyline in Supergirl #14. (Which despite this is still not one of picks of the week)
So make a cup of tea (the English kind none of that flimsy American herbal stuff!), get comfy and read up on my picks for the past week’s comics.
A WARNING though, there will be SPOILERS!
This week me and a couple of friends decided to start a YouTube Channel to mostly cover our gaming shenanigans but as part of the deal I managed to push some comic book related content onto the agenda for the channel.
So here is a testrun for both comic book related video content and a couple of other things we have in the works,
Please feel free to tell me what you think below!
Wonder Woman #14
Another month and another brilliant Wonder Woman cover by Cliff Chiang. As ever it fits the darker and more serious subject matter of the book while providing us with an image of a strong and adventurous Wonder Woman. In short: I love this book and this cover!
Captain America #1
(John Romita Jr.)
The all new and all different Captain America kicked off this week. Instead of treading in Brubaker’s shadow Rick Remender has decided to give us his take on the Captain America of his childhood. Big, loud, crazy and full of action! The best part of it all though, for me, is that John Romita Jr. is on art duties for this book! I love Romita’s art and his in my list of top comic book artists so pretty much any book with his name on it is an instant purchase. This cover sets the tone of the book well giving us a darker take of Romita’s usually fun and full of colour art (although in the issue itself that sense of fun comes into play a lot). It is one of those covers that teases you enough to want to see what is going on in the issue itself.
Another great week for comics it seems and once again we two panels of the week!
– Avengers #34
– Justice League #14
Where it all started, the birth of the Trinity: Action Comics #1, Detective Comics #27 & All Star Comics #8
I thought I would kick off the DC Comics Classics Reviews with a much needed look at the first appearances of each of DC’s Big Three characters. Which surprisingly I have not read up to this point! The closest I have ever gotten is drooling over an actual copy of Action Comics #1 at Comic Con (do not worry it was behind protective glass!) a few years ago when I was lucky enough to go. I looked upon it like some sort of holy grail and did not think anything of actually reading it at some point. The same goes for Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics #27 and Wonder Woman’s in All Star Comics #8.
Hell I had even picked up digital copies of these issues in the various 101 sales for each character that DC throw up on the Comics App from time to time. I felt like I had to have them, reading them or not was not the point, just owning them in some form was good enough. (I am a weird guy give me a break!) I have read the first appearance of many a comic book character, most notably Marvel ones but for some reason I put of reading the starting points for DC’s Trinity. Maybe it is because I am a lifelong Marvel reader and I only really got into DC in my late teens, so I have had less time and chances for these first appearances to drop into my lap. They are three characters I dearly love where my affection for them has grown initially through their use in other media which either defined them or used a well defined version of the character. (Most notably the DC Animated Universe versions of the characters) Maybe part of me did not want to see these early versions out of fear that it would somehow break them for me. Make the curtains fall down and shatter what thoughts and feelings I held for Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman close to my heart. The more I think about it the weirder it seems that I had not read these three comics.
So they sat there for the longest time on my iPad unread and unloved…..
I am insanely glad I took the time to read this all important three single issues because not only it is interesting to see how different they are to their modern iterations but to see how everything started and what was there from the get go. Also these three comics have played a huge, sweeping and important part in both global pop culture history and Americana. It makes me ashamed that I put it off for this long.
Incidentally Action Comics #1 is $0.99 and Detective Comics/All Star Comics #27 & #8 are both free on the DC Digital front. So you really do not have a reason not to read them yourself if like me you have not already.
Poor DC Comics! With my steady stream of Marvel Ultimate Graphic Novel Collection Reviews I feel like I have neglected you somewhat. I am having a lot of fun delving into Marvel’s history with the GN Collection line and they also happen to be among the most popular posts for this fledgling comic book blog. I wish that DC would initiate something similar to the Ultimate Graphic Novel Collection but let’s face it though, the chances of that happening at this point are very slim! So I have decided to do it myself.
This does not mean I will be making my own uniformed printing of classic and modern-classic DC stories with matching formatting and covers! (Although a man can dream….) What it does mean however is that I will be re-reading and buying a multitude of DC classic stories and trades to make up my own personal Classics Collection. The thing is though I am going to need some help with this one. My DC Comics reading started with the Superman/Batman and Hush trades then slowly developed from there to me becoming a monthly comics reader with 52. I have read some of the older stuff and must read stories but there are huge gaps in my DC knowledge and collection. So what I am asking from you is suggestions. They can be anything from the length and breadth of DC’s long history. If you have a favourite trade or story arc no matter what tell me and I will see if it fits with my tastes after a little bit of research. Plus I want to get chatting to you guys about comics more in the comments section for this blog. So please talk to me! I crave having a dialogue about comics!
There are a few caveats to this whole suggestions thing however to make life easy for me:
- The comic trade/story should be fairly easy to obtain either in print or digital through the DC Comics App. I sadly do not have the luxury of a local comic book store to delve into the depths of their back issues or rummage through bargin bins. The closest thing to a comic book store in Bishop’s Stortford is the local Waterstone’s and even then their selection of trades is lacking.
- Epics are fine provided I can easily break them up into chunks if needed. I’m saying a maximum story length of 3-4 trades worth of reading (make of that what you will).
- The cheaper I can get them the better. If I get a lot of suggestions I won’t be going out tomorrow and buying everything but at the same time I do not want to be spending a fortune just on one book. I will be keeping an eye on all future DC Digital sales to grab classic stories on the cheap too.
- To help me further with any suggestions can you please give me as much information as possible. i.e. the full trade title and volume number if applicable and the original issue to and from numbers for the comic (this will help me a lot with buying them digitally). Also a brief spoiler free synopsis to sell me on the story would be awesome too 🙂
- Finally I want suggestions from everywhere. I have mainly got the modern stuff covered but if you really want me to write about something in particular let me know! Otherwise if you have a favourite story from the 70s that you think I should check out give me the details and I will look into it.
Until the suggestions roll in I have a few planned posts from my Digital Catalogue and Personal Library (because calling it a Personal Library sounds so much classier than longbox or bookshelf!). But please, please, please give a few suggestions to start mixing stuff up ASAP!
Captain Britain: A Crooked World (Alan Moore & Alan Davis)
What the what? A Marvel Comic written by bearded wizard Alan Moore? Is this an artefact from an alternate Earth? A mistake? NO dear reader your eyes do not deceive you! Alan Moore did indeed at one point dip his mercurial and presumably, also bearded toe into the House of Ideas’ playground of bright characters and forced British patriots. A Crooked World collects Alan Moore and Alan Davis’ character defining run from across several Marvel UK anthology series. It makes for very interesting reading because within its pages you can see hints of ideas that would play out in the latter half of V for Vendetta and Watchmen. You also see Moore develop as a writer and find the confidence to play around with established worlds and characters that served him well during his time at DC. Finally we see a slightly restrained Moore holding back on the crazy a lot with some interesting results.
Before we go any further a few things need explaining, particularly if you are an American comic book reader:
- The format of the book is very different from standard American comics. The issues/chapters of the story were originally printed in Marvel Superheroes, The Daredevils and The Mighty World of Marvel. Which collected several stories at one and coupled them with interviews, articles, etc. If you have ever picked up a prog of 2000AD you will be familiar with the format.
- As a result each chapter is very short, usually only 5-8 pages in length. The plus size of this format is that these comics traditionally come out weekly. You get less pages but more regularity. End result this is a BIIIG book!
- The page ratio is different than the norm too. Following the more square style 2000AD page layout. The end result is that in this collected form for a standard comic size the square page is printed within the normal comic page. So every page of this volume has large white borders on the header and footer. (So much wasted paper! They could have chucked a commentary, notes or something in that empty space!)
- This wider page means that there tends to be a lot of wide panels and smaller long panels next to one another. Couple this with the low page count per chapter and you get a very dense book with each page packed with dialogue and detail.
All the technical stuff to one side how does the actual book stack up?