Monday, 28 July 2014

The Facts.
The 12-issue Maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths, created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez in 1985 was developed in order to simplify the 50 years of increasingly complex continuity.  Origins, power levels and sliding timescales were becoming too convoluted, and previous attempts to rectify these problems essentially boiled down to creating an ever-expanding multi-verse of different Earths in order to credibly explain away any inconsistencies. This in itself slowly started to become the problem, as various crossovers between the Earths dragged the DC line into a mire of multiple Supermen and Batman, Legacy characters standing side-by-side with their modern counterparts, until eventually DC decided a Crisis was in order.

The Plot
Every alternate universe version of Earth – Earth 1 (or current DC Earth), Earth 2 (Golden-age earth), Earth 3 (opposite Earth where heroes are villains) and Earth Prime (basically the “real-world”) to name but a few – are facing destruction at the hands of the Anti-Monitor, a near omnipotent being that’s slowly devouring the multiverse – which ironically was created in the same experiment that birthed him and his ‘good’ alternate, the Monitor. The Monitor calls on all the known heroes in DC comics at the time in order to merge all remaining Earths into one and protect them from further destruction from the anti-matter that’s sweeping across the Multiverse.

The Verdict
Well, I think it’s safe to say this was a tough book to read. I’ll preface this by saying I definitely enjoyed reading it, and can respect the talent on display in both the narrative and in the art (always been a fan of Perez). Saying that I'm reviewing this from the vantage point of the brand spanking new reader that I am, and as such…it was a tough read.

First off there are a lot of characters, and I mean a LOT, which is the point really; every DC character across the multiverse pulls together to defeat the anti-monitor. On the plus side it’s a great baptism of fire – in one form or another I've been exposed to so many characters I’ve never heard of before. The downside to that was I was exposed to so many characters I’ve never heard of before. A lot of the character nuance went straight over my head. Entire conversations were effectively gibberish, story beats were meaningless and when the narrative started reeling off update son all the various worlds my mind started to drift. I've no doubt that once I’m further into the universe and start to get a greater appreciation of all these characters I'll revisit this story and pick up on a whole bunch of stuff I missed this first time.

During the first few issues my ignorance of all the myriad characters didn't seem to matter; if anything a lot of the characters were in the same boat, having been brought together with heroes and villains from other worlds they may not have heard of before. As the story progressed though there were arguments, in-fighting, in-jokes and sacrifices that, while I understood on a basic comic-book level, sort of lost any impact due to be coming into the world fresh.

Still there were many things I did love – the book introduced me to the world of Earth 3, where heroes are villains and everything is opposite, and that’s a world I definitely want to explore more of. I loved Barry Allen’s sacrifice; it was paced really well and made a lasting impression despite my relatively new introduction to the characters. The character arc of the Superman of Earth 2 was poignant and effective, and overall the storyline was grand and ambitious with high stakes and near-impossible odds - just the kind of event book I like to read.

So as a new reader, Crisis on Infinite Earths may not have been the best place to jump into the DC universe, and maybe if I had to do it again I'd probably do a bit more of a Wikipedia search in order to prep myself, but otherwise it was a fun baptism of fire.

The reason I chose this book was because of the near-seminal nature of the series, mixed with the drastic reboot of the entire DC line that followed. If I was to move into the rest of the DC universe I would need to have read this book to see where the changes began and for that I’m very happy with the series. It’s encouraged me to branch out to other books and as such I'm looking forward to my next DC adventure!

Monday, 7 July 2014

How does a beginner like me get into the DC Comics Universe?

Now, I don’t like to brag, but when it comes to Marvel Comics I like to think I know what I’m talking about. From the Sanctum Santorum to the Savage Land, from the Microverse to Knowhere, if you set me down without a map I’d know my way around. I know the difference between Venom, Anti-Venom and Carnage, my Green Goblins from my Hobgoblins, and if you’ve got a spare few hours I can talk you through the Dark Phoenix Saga, the Onslaught Saga and even the Clone Saga. Yep, I’m pretty comfortable there. Take me across to the Distinguished Competition though, and that’s another story entirely.

I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve never gotten into DC comics. Obviously, I don’t include Batman in that statement, because even the most casual comic book fan has read the odd Batman book, probably Year One, Killing Joke or Dark Knight Returns. Nor do I include the more seminal by-products of the various imprints, such as Watchmen, V for Vendetta or Sandman. I’ve read all of those and urge you to do the same.
When it comes to the main DC universe/multiverse however, I’m fairly clueless; mainly because I’ve hardly read anything that didn't have Batman in it. Well, all that changes now. I’ve had enough of only reading half the comics I could be. No longer will there be an entire universe left unexplored. Slowly but surely I’m going to work my way through the Crises, the events, the seminal series, the epic runs and yet more Crises, and like every good blogger who travels to an unknown land I’ll be chronicling my journey, and hopefully you’ll enjoy what I have to say!

Where To Start
This was a tough one. I worked my way through many reading lists looking for a glimmer of hope, a clear sign pointing me towards an issue or series that wouldn’t take me all the way back to the Golden Age, but would indoctrinate me into this strange new world. I’ve always known that the DC Multiverse was a tricky place for a beginner - despite all their best efforts, it was still a daunting place for a newcomer. After all, if it was easy I’d have done it years ago. So I was thinking about how hard it was to break into, and those thoughts brought me to the one point in DC history at which the creators appreciated my current dilemma and attempted to do something about it. For those of you who know the universe well, you'll know that I’m  talking about Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Created in 1985 with the express purpose of rebooting the DC landscape into a more reader-friendly place, Crisis on Infinite Earths attempted to condense the myriad universes under the DC umbrella into one, coherent whole. It was a daunting task, not only (I imagine) to create, but also to read. Was it a good place to start? It’s not for me to say, but it seemed like as good a place as any.  Come back soon to see how I got on!

Monday, 23 June 2014

So I've been pretty busy working over on Rhymes With Geek on some articles that I'm pretty pleased with, mostly concerning Marvel's latest event series Original Sin.

For the most part I'm really digging this series, Jason Aaron is crafting a great murder mystery that seems to be throwing out all the rules, while bringing together a completely random cast of characters.

For once the main Marvel mainstays - Cap, Iron Man, Thor, Captain Marvel - are absent in favour of a more eclectic bunch of characters. Punisher is teamed up with Dr Strange, Gamora, Moon Knight and Winter Soldier are hanging out for the first and probably only ever time they will, and Emma Frost, Scott Lang's Ant-Man are joining Black Panther. All three teams have been tasked with tracking down the Watcher's killer, and it's all shaping up to be one of the craziest, unpredictable and best event series at Marvel in a long while.

So my articles have focused on helping readers out with some of the villains of the piece mostly. Writer Jason Aaron has plucked some bizarre antagonists from obscurity so I wanted to shed some light on them in order to enhance people's enjoyment. They're not essential, but if you care about where characters like this come from then I think you'll dig them.

I've linked the articles below, as well as my latest which focuses on Nick Fury, top-cop super-spy of the Marvel Universe. I warn you though, there are fairly **major spoilers** for Original Sin in the articles, so click through only if you're up to date.


Who's Who of Marvel's Original Sin:
The Mindless Ones
Exterminatrix and Dr Midas
The Orb

The History of Nick Fury's many Brushes with Death.


Monday, 12 May 2014

I might be saying something completely controversial here, but I don't think I've been so invested in the Marvel cosmic universe as I am after reading Cyclops #1. By that I mean since it’s very recent revival; obviously I loved Annihilation and the Thanos Imperative, but Nova, Infinity, even Guardians of the Galaxy haven’t drawn me in as much as this one issue. I've loved Silver Surfer, but until it gets dragged into an event of some sort I don’t really class it as Marvel Cosmic in the shared universe sense; it’s pretty much off doing its own thing and just happens to be in space.

Cyclops #1 was a damn good issue. I’m sure I wasn't alone in being sceptical about its premise; I didn't think there was much point in a solo Cyclops series that focused on the young Scott Summers. I could more see the point in one about adult Cyclops, even though he has Uncanny X-Men to romp around in. Against popular opinion I love Scott as a character and always have; I think he’s a flawed, real character that is one of only a few in comic books that shows semi-believable growth based on the pressures, responsibilities and experiences he’s faced.

So why, based on that logic, would I want to read a book about a character that has essentially reset the guy? Well, because Greg Rucka, that’s why. Because artist ----- that’s why. Because in this first issue they've developed the character of Scott Summers far more than he has been in many years; through his relationship with his father, his love for Jean and his reaction after having seen his future self be “not such a nice guy”. That’s why.

It didn't really have to be a cosmic book, but it is because his father is renowned Space Pirate Corsair, captain of the Starjammers (who, in my humble opinion are much more interesting than the flashy GotG anyway). While it’s true that all the book’s best features (indeed what makes me love the issue) – Cyclops’ very believable teenage turmoil; the doubts he has over his decisions, his emotions and his destiny – are, in no way, cosmic related at all, the addition of the Badoon bad guys and the Starjammers help to give this book a cosmic backbone. It’s the space (no pun intended) Scott needs away from the immense, confusing drama he’s left on Earth.

It’s also a fascinating ‘What If’ study of the character. What If Cyclops’ father figure was Corsair instead of Professor X? How different would the events of the last 10, 15, 20 years of X-Men history (and Cyclops’ life) have been if he’d been brought up without the pressure and responsibility of leading a team of mutants? By extension of that: seeing how different Cyclops as a man grows up without those pressures, ultimately how responsible is Professor Xavier in his own demise?

There’s no doubt the experiences young Scott has in space will influence the young boy he is and greatly change the man he becomes, and I believe that if this story is as influential as it could be (and I really hope it lives up to the potential of this first issue) then these experiences in space will not only affect the man he would become but the man he already is, i.e. adult Cyclops. How hard would it hit you if you saw a version of yourself who was raised in a different environment (arguably a better environment) and saw them grow up to be a better man than you have ever been? Would it make you realise how far you’ve fallen? Would it make you depressed, or worse? I’m clearly reading a lot into one issue, but these are all issues that Greg Rucka has raised within this book, and clearly issues that he is not only fully aware of but plans to address moving forward.

So why does this make me more invested in the Marvel Cosmic universe? Well, because it shows that no matter how far-fetched and ‘out-there’ the backdrop, you can still create deep, emotional character stories with resonance, and that’s crucial for a sub-genre that could all too easily slip into space-opera clich├ęs. That’s why.

Friday, 9 May 2014

So I've got some interesting articles coming up. Well, you might not think they're interesting but I sure do!

Following on from my Why I Love Letter 44 piece (that I wrote on this very blog in fact) and the whole series of articles I wrote on Why I Love Valiant which you can read here, my next one is entitled...

Why I Love Black Science!

The Image comics series by Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera is always one of the first books I read when it comes out and it deserves to be read by everyone. So look out for that on IndieAltRepeat!

I've also got another idea in the pipeline involving Spider-man, which I hope to have up on Rhymes With Geek in time.

Fun with Comics!

Hmm, so my weekly article that I write on here, 'The Week In Comics!', is suspiciously absent this week, and with valid reason really. 

I started writing it because I loved the idea of writing comic reviews on a weekly basis and sharing my thoughts with people on the latest releases. I still love that, nothing's changed. However lately I've really felt that with what time I have to write every week, this column has become a bit of an unsustainable....burden I suppose. I break my back to get it out every week and although it's not a massive article (in fact it's gotten shorter and shorter) it's detracting from the real type of writing I want to do. I don't have time to write any actual articles because I'm too busy reviewing all the week's comics. 

So for the time being I won't be keeping up with 'The Week In Comics' regularly. I still think I'll write it occasionally if I get time and/or it's a particularly huge and important week. 

Besides, it's not all bad news! I'll still be taking a weekly look at the new releases over on Rhymes With Geek with my column Clap For MODOK! as well as reviewing individual comics on there, and I'll always be on IndieAltRepeat reviewing the weekly Valiant releases too.

It's my hope that clearing up my schedule a bit will give me the freedom to write more articles for both of those sites. What does that mean for this blog? Well, it's definitely not going anywhere. In fact I'd much prefer to change up the format and bring the blog back to the basics of being...well...a blog actually. I have my outlet for writing reviews and articles on the sites I contribute to, so The Awesome Source will be my place to share my more personal experiences and thoughts on the world of comics, whatever that may be.

So apologies for the change in format, but really, apologising for not writing one thing because I want to write other, better, stuff isn't really a loss for you dear reader. In fact I think its the opposite!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Welcome to The Week in Comics!

This is my weekly column where I go through the new comics releases that I read every week, what I liked and what I didn't. Safe to say there'll be some spoilers but I'll try to keep them light.

So if you're looking for what to read or just some random guy's opinion on the comics he read this week (that's me. Hi there!) then join me as I separate the BEST from the REST in The Week in Comics!

P.s – if you're looking for my reviews of Black Science #6 and Amazing Spider-Man #1 they can be found on Rhymes with Geek, and as usual my Valiant reviews - Rai #1 and Shadow-Man: End Times #1 can be found on IndieAltRepeat! Enjoy!

The Best

All New X-Men #26

All New X-Men #26

Marvel. Bendis, Immonen, von Grawbadger, Gracia.

The inevitable conversation between Old Scott and Young Jean happens and…it’s just as weird as you’d imagine. Luckily Scott manages to come out of it with his self respect intact so it’s all good. X-23 has had enough too – it seems like the clone of Wolverine has a thing for young Scott and – you know what? This is all getting weird again. Bendis does what he does best when it comes to big relationship-style conversations, and there’s a final page splash that I didn't expect, regardless of the solicits.

Avengers #28

Avengers #28

Marvel. Hickman, Larroca, Martin.

Much like the incursions in the story, the worlds of Avengers and New Avengers are starting to collide, and it’s Bruce Banner who’s connecting the dots. It’s always fun to see Tony Stark squirm, and in this issue he has to face the decisions he’s made. I’ve heard very convincing arguments online regarding Tony and how ever since Civil War he’s only ever been a hair’s breadth from becoming a super villain. In the run up to Captain America’s Original Sin revelations (hint: Tony Stark had his mind wiped yo) I get the feeling big changes are coming for Tony’s status quo…. A fun issue this, plus the Adaptoid’s prove they’re bigger players in all of this than we first realised.

Batman: Eternal #4

Batman Eternal #4

DC. Snyder, Tynion IV, Layman, Fawkes, Seeley, Nguyen, Fridolfs.

You can really feel all the various plot threads start to form in this issue, and it makes Gotham feel more alive than ever. Always a fan of the GCPD focused stories; this issue continues its focus on the new commissioner’s twisted motives. Throw in Batgirl’s reaction to Jim Gordon’s ever worsening situation and Stephanie Brown’s subplot developing nicely and you’ve got yourself one happy reader. It’s not a masterpiece and sure to have its haters, but I’m enjoying where this book is taking me.

Silver Surfer #2

Silver Surfer #2

Marvel. Slott, Allred, Allred.

Every time I read this I expect to have something negative to say (“he’s ripping off Dr. Who!” etc), and every time (OK, there’s only been two but I’m also counting the point one mini story) I finish the book with a smile. Yes, it’s very much influenced by everyone’s favourite Timelord, but that’s a good thing in this case. If nothing else it brings a sense of fun and limitless whimsy not seen in a cosmic Marvel book since Stan and Jack’s FF. Greatly assisted by the Allred’s on art, Dan Slott has made me care about a Silver Surfer book.

Southern Bastards #1

Southern Bastards #1

Image. Aaron, Latour.

Man I love this book. Jason Aaron and Jason Latour make a formidable team, tackling something very close to both of them – the American south. What they've created in this first issue is a world thick with atmosphere on every page, and filled with rich, deep, un-likeable characters. Earl Tubb returns to a home he’s not seen in 40 years, and steps not only back in time but right into a whole mess of trouble. At one point you can see the conflict on his face: does he walk away and leave this hellhole behind for good, or does he do the right thing and turn back around? It actually pains him to do the right thing, and from that moment on I knew this was going to be something special.

The Rest

Avengers World #5

Avengers World #5

Marvel. Hickman, Spencer, Caselli, Mossa.

After the last few months focusing on Shang-Chi, Starbrand, and Smasher, it’s Manifold’s turn to take the spotlight. There are some cool concepts here – the Dreamtime, the incursions being responsible for both his and Captain Universe’s powers going on the fritz – but ultimately too much lofty AIM talk (more annoying now they're all smart) lost my attention. Bruce Banner still has a great voice in this book though; he’s way funnier than anywhere else he shows up in. You can tell Nick Spencer is channelling his inner Whedon with the core cast, but this book has been better.

Hulk #2

Hulk #2

Marvel. Waid, Bagley, Hennessy, Keith.

Hulk is a deceivingly difficult character to get right. Being a Marvel fan for as long as I have you get used to this fact. Iron Man is the same to a certain extent. It’s a shame when amazing writers can't seem to grasp what it takes to make the character really shine, and unfortunately Mark Waid isn’t ‘wowwing’ me so far. The trouble is when writers focus on Bruce Banner instead of Hulk, I tend to lose interest. I’ll stick with it though for a couple more issues, because it is Mark Waid, and I always enjoy Bagley’s art.

New Avengers #17

New Avengers #17

Marvel. Hickman, Morales, Martin.

I’ve never been as big a fan of this book as I have been of the main Avengers title. It’s only held my interest because I know how Hickman works, and I know that eventually all of this will be crucial to the overarching storyline, but that’s not a great reason to be reading a book really. There’s some fun action with the Justice League that aren't quite the Justice League, and more lengthy conversations between T’Challa and Namor and – hey, anyone remember when Namor used to ride tidal waves into battle, and T’Challa stood side-by-side with Cap on the classic Avengers roster, fighting everything Roy Thomas could throw at them? Yeah these aren’t those days anymore.

Uncanny Avengers Annual #1

Uncanny Avengers Annual #1

Marvel. Remender, Renaud.

Being self referential and admitting within the narrative that the story you are telling is completely pointless and derivative, doesn’t make it any less so Rick Remender. Self reference seems to be the only thing this issue does right, however. A premise that is too busy nodding and winking to be considered meta, wrapped around a weak plot and bland villain. I wanted to love this. I love both Rick Remender and the Uncanny Avengers book, but I didn't love this.

Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1

Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1 (Adam Hughes cover)

Dark Horse. Kindt, Castiello, Parsons.

I don’t often read Star Wars comics, but a Han Solo centric first issue, written by Matt Kindt? That’s got to be worth a look, and thankfully it paid off. It started to trail off in the back half but the setup (newbie to the rebel cause gets picked up by Solo) treats us to a random Joe-Public opinion of the rock star of the rebellion. Not really a viewpoint I’ve seen before, and seeing the rescue and escape from his perspective really highlighted just how mental life with Han Solo would truly be. Fun stuff.

So that’s it for another week! My personal highlights were definitely Southern Bastards, Rai and Black Science, although I have missed Peter Parker…

Until next time,

Monday, 28 April 2014

So anyone living in the UK got a special treat if they bought the Guardian newspaper on Saturday - the Guardian Weekend magazine was a comics special. Entitled 'Authors! In An Adventure with Artists!', the magazine included 6 unique stories created by some well known writers and artists.

I was aware that it was coming out but I completely forgot about it until that evening when I saw Rich Johnston 'unboxing' it on Bleeding Cool. That wasn't until about 8pm though so I was sure I had missed it. Fortunately it seems the good people of Edgbaston, Birmingham don't know what they're missing and I found the last one in my local shop. Huzzah!

I imagine it to be quite a rare collectible in time (it's already on eBay for £12.99), so it would seem impossible to be able to enjoy the comics. Thankfully The Guardian has you covered! Just click on the title of each story below and you'll be able to read it right on The Guardian's website.

Onto the magazine itself. It was a pretty star studded issue. Once you got past the credits page, with a little blurb:

We get to the real meat of the issue. The first story was called Masks, and was written by Gillian Flynn - Author of 'Gone Girl', as well as 'Sharp Objects', and 'Dark Places' - and drawn by seminal artist Dave Gibbons - best known for his work with Alan Moore on Watchmen and the story from Superman Annual #11 - 'For the Man who has Everything'.

A five page tale, Masks is an effectively chilling story of parental instincts taken to the next level, as a concerned mother turns into bully-vanquishing vigilante in a mask.

Next up is a three page strip called 'Having Renewed My Fire', written and drawn by American writer, editor and publisher Dave Eggers - best known for his memoir 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius', as well as being the founder and editor of 'McSweeney's'

It's a sweet tale of a Bison and his dreams, and very eloquently explained by Eggers in his essay that followed:

'Thursdays, Six to Eight p.m' (annoyingly not linked to on the Guardian site) is the story that followed, written by Audrey Niffenegger - probably best known for her novel 'The Time-Traveller's Wife, which was made into a movie starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams - and illustrated by Eddie Campbell - artist of From Hell by Alan Moore, as well as creator of Bacchus, AKA Deadface.

A quirky 5 page tale, described as a 'modern romance comic' by the author, this is a fun and funny look at modern married life, and Campbell's illustrations are fantastically unique.

The fourth story is an hilarious satire called 'Art and Anarchy', written by Michel Faber - Dutch fiction writer of 'Under the Skin' and 'The Crimson Petal and the White' - and illustrated by Roger Langridge - New Zealand comics writer/artist/letterer known for his work on Judge Dredd, Eisner nominated Fred the Clown, and recently BOOM! Studios' 'Muppet Show' comics.

It takes the very funny premise that people like the US more than the UK because of their comic books - America has superheroes 

And Britain has The Beano and The Dandy. 

Even though Michel himself admits in his afterword that the story's conceit has more comedy in it than truth, it doesn't make it any less amusing.

Next there is the story 'Freeforall' - a 1986 short story written by award-winning novelist Margaret Atwood - known for many works of poetry and novels, including A Handmaid's Tale and Oryx & Crake - which is adapted and illustrated by rising Graphic talent Christian Ward.

A chilling futuristic tale of a nation taking desperate measures to control sexual disease, FreeForAll is a fantastic short story and beautifully adapted here.

Finally the five-page story 'Do You Hear What I Hear?' rounds out the magazine, written by A.M. Homes - American novelist known for 'The End of Alice' and 'The Mistress's Daughter' - and illustrated by Frazer Irving - British comic book artist best known for his work on Necronauts for 2000AD. 

A mysterious and amusing tale, this short story tells of a woman who receives a visit from two men very interested in a phone conversation she had. An extremely ambiguous yet entertaining piece that rewards those with an imaginative nature.

And that's it. A rare and surprising book that was made to celebrate the British Library's upcoming exhibition on British comics (read an article by the co-curator of the exhibit - John Harris Dunning - here) it's a fantastic way to discover talent previously unknown to you; to enjoy some truly creative collaborations or just read some great comics. Hope you enjoyed them!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Welcome to The Week in Comics!

This is my weekly column where I go through the new comics releases that I read every week, what I liked and what I didn't. Safe to say there'll be some spoilers but I'll try to keep them light.

So if you're looking for what to read or just some random guy's opinion on the comics he read this week (that's me. Hi there!) then join me as I separate the BEST from the REST in The Week in Comics!

The Best

Daredevil #2
Marvel. Waid, Samnee, Rodriguez.
A stronger, more all round fun issue than the debut last month, this time around we get a wider view of Matt Murdock’s new status quo, as well as a few more players on the board. A shameless yet hilariously tongue-in-cheek rip-off of DC’s Caped Crusader in new enemy The Shroud – one created purely to silence Daredevil’s (admittedly dwindling) critics who have drawn one too many comparisons between Horn-head and Bats in years gone by. Then there’s the mystery surrounding Foggy Nelson – what is going on there?! Well written, superbly drawn, worth your time and money.

Fantastic Four #3
Marvel. Robinson, Kirk, Kesel, Arburtov.
Wow. This was surprisingly enjoyable, mainly for its sheer volume of referencing. With more than one eye firmly in the FF history books, James Robinson is really creating a run that feels like it matters. More than that, because of the stunning level of detail in not only back-story but character development, it feels like he’s building on a richly established world. Which, ok, everyone is when they pay in the Marvel sandbox, but with the constant renumbering and strong focus on ‘new readers’, it’s refreshing and very rewarding to find a book that’s not shying away from acknowledging the full lives these characters have had, and how that influences their future. Really great stuff.

Harbinger #22
Valiant. Dysart, Henry, Reber.
The story I’ve been dreading for a while has begun, and we inch ever closer to the Death of a Renegade…gulp! Click here for my full review on IndieAltRepeat.

Letter 44 #6
ONI Press. Soule, Alberquerque, Jackson.
The first arc is over, and concludes with the same high quality as I’ve come to know and love from this series. Conversations are had both on Earth and in space that bring satisfying payoffs as well as setting up stories to come. Head to Rhymes With Geek for my full review.

Original Sin #0
Marvel. Waid, Cheung, Morales, Ponsor
My personal favourite book of the week, and I really wasn’t expecting to say that. What easily could have been a throwaway issue (seeing as it’s going to sell no matter what) was a touching, fun, emotional look at the origin of the Watcher, and the growing relationship between him and Sam Alexander, the new Nova. See my full review over at Rhymes With Geek.

Uncanny Avengers #19
Marvel. Remender, Acuna.
It’s always a good week when my favourite Avengers title (and may well be my favourite title on Marvel’s current roster) brings out its next issue. The story is tight, frantic, with high-stakes and impossible odds - Kang’s timey-wimey shenanigans are slowly revealing themselves, even if his real motives remain hidden. His motley crew are awesome and I can’t wait to see where this story goes. I desperately look forward to the Uncanny Avengers Omnibus sitting on my shelf in a year or two.

The Rest

24: Underground #1
IDW. Brisson, Gaydos, Burcham.
This was pretty fun. As a fan of the series since day one it was great to read a book that felt like it captured the pace and spirit of the show. Michael Gaydos on art is always a good thing and, much like the Buffy book out this week, the voice and actions of your favourite characters need to be spot on, and it’s safe to say Jack is definitely back. Filling in the gap between the end of series 8 and the start of Live Another Day, the only thing that will make this better is if it’s something that gets mentioned or referenced in the show, to really cement it in canon.

Batman Eternal #3
DC. Snyder, Tynion IV, Fawkes, Layman, Seeley, Fabok.
Another week, another chapter. This one wasn’t as fast paced or revelatory as the previous two, with a feeling that a lot of pieces are being moved into place. Following on from the surprise return at the end of issue 2 the rats are scrambling on both sides of the law to bolster their positions. Interesting more for what’s to come rather than what’s actually in the issue.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #2
Dark Horse. Gage, Isaacs, Whedon.
Still storming ahead in a brand new direction, this issue requires a bit more foreknowledge of the events of season 9 (of both the Buffy title and the Angel & Faith) than the last issue did which, as someone who dropped off at the end of season 8 I was a little confused. Still, it’s not rocket science, and the important thing is the characters all still feel familiar. The transition to a new writing team has not only been smooth but breathed new life into the franchise.

Conan the Avenger #1
Dark Horse. Van Lente, Ching.
Having not read much in the way of Conan before, in comics anyway, I went in to this as more of a Fred Van Lente fan. On that level, or any other in fact, it didn't disappoint. It didn't blow me away but it was a fun romp. With Conan being drunk for the first half of the book and angry for the second, events just kind of went on around him you know? But there’re enough supporting characters to keep you busy, and it moved along at a brisk pace.

Elektra #1
Marvel. Blackman, Del Mundo.
An unusual one this, and one I desperately wanted to love. Having been treated to so many amazing All-New ongoings from Marvel, I assumed this would be more of the same. The art certainly seemed to lean that way in previews, and while the art is gorgeous it’s not enough to lift the story. Much like how a lot of people seemed to see last week’s Iron Fist The Living Weapon (although I personally found that to be superior), Elektra #1 is just a bit boring really. I’ll stick with it for the beautiful interiors, but even they can’t hold me for a third issue on their own.

Eternal Warrior #8
Valiant. Pak, Gill, Major.
A satisfying end to the series that has gone from Ancient Mesopotamia to 4001AD all while keeping the focus on Immortal champion Gilad Anni-Padda. With a strong theme of family running from start to finish, this is a series that will read well in trade. Take a click towards IndieAltRepeat for a more in-depth review.

Evil Empire #2
BOOM! Studios. Bemis, Getty.
A much better issue than the debut, this took the setup and final cliff-hanger it was given and ran with it in a very promising way. Wittier, smarter, more complex; I wasn’t expecting to be drawn into this series but I’ll definitely keep coming back if this is the kind of thing we’re in for.

Fuse #3
Image. Johnston, Greenwood, Chankhamma, Brisson.
As hard boiled a detective drama as you’re likely to get in a comic, it’s Fuse #3. Heavy on the procedural, light on the Sci-Fi, this is more Law and Order than Star Trek, and all the better for it. The space elements are subtle and unobtrusive, and the ‘crime of the week’ mixed with engaging detectives makes this an easy read for those who love police dramas. The plot ramps up as Ristovych and Dietrich get closure to the truth of debut mystery ‘The Russia Shift’. It even has a crime novel title.

Guardians of the Galaxy #14
Marvel. Bendis, Bradshaw, Wong, Ponsor.
Not just a nod to the past and more like a slap in the face, this anniversary issue brings the old Guardians out of the toy chest, dusts them off and throws them back into the fight in an effortlessly easy way, thanks to their already established dalliances with the timeline. The current line-up get plenty to do as well; although the main story is fairly Star-lord-centric, there’s a subplot involving Drax and Venom (yeah he’s already part of the team. You’ll need to get the Free Comic Book Day issue to find out exactly how he came to be with them), as well as a back up story shedding light on Groot’s childhood. It’s awesome to see Nick Bradshaw joining the team, and with 3 stories packed in between the covers this is a solid anniversary issue.

Secret Origins #1
DC. Pak, Higgins, Bedard, Weeks, Mahnke, Siqueira.
Do we really need another retelling of DC superheroes origins? Well, if they keep rebooting the universe then I guess the answer is yes? This anthology format at least spares us countless miniseries when they’re not needed, and they’re not when you can cover everything you need to cover in a third of an issue. I preferred the Dick Grayson and Supergirl origins over the Superman one, purely because Superman’s story has been done over and over in much better ways than this, whereas the other two I (as a non-DC fan) wasn’t as familiar with.

Undertow #3
Image. Orlando, Trakhanov, Mauer.
Not as enjoyable to me as the previous two issues, this nevertheless delves deeper (no pun intended) into the politics of Atlantis, as well as bringing the surface-world crew face-to-face with The Amphibian. Head to Rhymes With Geek for my full review.

So that’s it for another week! A few stand outs and a lot of good-not-great issues, with only one giving me a distinctly ‘meh’ feeling. Not the strongest of weeks but still some gold if you know where to look. But enough about me, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @MattLune, and I’ll see you next week for return of The Amazing Spider-Man, and the debut of the Southern Bastards.

Until next time,

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