It’s the return of Worst to First! I think I did, like, two of these once. But they’re back!
To the uninitiated and painfully stupid: I’m going to review the comics I bought last week, starting with the worst one and working my way up to my favorite one. It’s pretty simple, really.
Let’s start ‘er up!
Action Comics #17
I guess this is the worst issue I read last week. I still kind of liked it, though, so prepare yourself for some mostly positive reviews.
This is the last issue of Action Comics that Grant Morrison is writing, according to DC’s website (that is what “penultimate” means, right?), and it’s sufficiently chalk-full of confusing, freaked-out gobbledegook, but there’s also something very endearing about a story that combines a trio of time travelers trying to warn Superman of his fate with a giant fight between Superman and an enormous Superman-killing robot. Whatever flaws there may be, I’ll forgive, because that premise just screams “Classic Superman Fun.”
Y’know, this brings up an interesting point. I’ve been arm-chair quarterbacking about Superman movies for years, and I always argue that, in order to make a great Superman movie, they need to have Superman fight something enormous, whether it’s a robot or a monster or a robotic monster.
Too often, his big struggles in the movie are just him trying to fly really fast or lift something really heavy. Kind of lame, ya ask me. Take note, Hollywood! I’m tossing out pearls here.
Brought to us by “superstar” writer Jeph Loeb and “superstar” artist Ed McGuinness, Nova #1 restarts the Nova series by completely forgetting to mention Richard Rider even in passing. As a huge Nova fan, I find this irritating. The last Nova series, written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, stands as one of the best superhero comics of the past ten years, so it’s confusing to me why they ignore it entirely, but oh well. Nobody else probably cares.
This issue follows the story of a young boy with a deadbeat drunk for a dad who tells stories of how he used to save the galaxy as a member of the Nova Corps. Of course, the kid doesn’t believe him, as the guy is pretty much always drunk and cleans toilets for a living (talk about double-dipping into the “This Guy is Worthless” bag of cliched writing tricks). That all changes when his dad disappears one night and Rocket Raccoon shows up with Gamora to talk to the kid about what his pop’s been up to.
It’s just the first issue, and, aside from my complaints as a long-time Nova fan, this issue is perfectly fine. Good, even. I probably won’t keep buying it, though.
Justice League of America #1
Because the New 52 version of the Justice League has included a lot of politics about the ramifications of having a team of superheroes running around on Earth, this team is being created to bring down the Justice League if they should ever step out of line and do something nefarious.
At issue’s close, as the team has been mostly formed, it’s revealed that Green Arrow is dying, as he suffered an attack after discovering that there’s a new Society of Supervillains being formed, headed up by… he can’t say before the issue ends.
It’s smart to have them focus on battling badguys right away. They may eventually have to fight the Justice League proper, but, for now, they need to grow together as a team first. Out of the gates, nobody would believe that a team with Liberty Bell, Katana, and Vibe could take down one with Superman, THE GODDAMN BATMAN, and Wonder Woman, so it’s best to put that off for a little while. Although, if we’re going by the principles of Chekhov’s Gun here, the fight will eventually happen - - now that it’s been introduced to the scene, it has to be used.
I’ll give this a few more issues. It’s the only place where I can read something with Martian Manhunter in it (right?), so I guess I’ll give it a chance.
Batman Beyond Unlimited #13
Like I said, this is three issues in one, basically, though each is a bit smaller than a normal comic. The first one opens with a really cool flashback to a scene from the Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker movie and ends with the Batman Beyond Justice League teaming up to fight a badguy, which goes a long way in describing who this series is made for: Diehard Fans of Batman Beyond.
Which I am! So it’s great.
The middle story is the conclusion of the Joker King storyline, featuring Terry teaming up with an older, eye-patched Dick Grayson for a cool little fight scene, and the last story is a buildup to Superman Beyond’s trial for warcrimes.
Overall, this series is far from perfect (the art is very hit-and-miss), but in the end, it doesn’t matter. If you are a Batman Beyond fan, you should be reading this.
Justice League #17
For those keeping track of these sorts of things: The end of this issue ties in directly to the formation of the Justice League of America. After the big war with Atlantis, Aquaman takes the throne, imprisons his brother, and returns to the sea. The Justice League decides to open up their ranks, while, simultaneously, Waller and Trevor decide to form the JLA, and some mystery badguy (wearing leather gloves and carrying a cane) decides to start recruiting for a new Society of Supervillains (starting with Scarecrow). I’m guessing it’s somebody like Vandal Savage, but there’s no way of knowing for sure.
As you can see, there’s a lot happening in this issue (though that’s only like the last two pages or so). Most of it is just a blow-out fight between Atlantis and the Justice League in Boston. It’s quite well illustrated, and Geoff Johns is still a pretty great writer, so it’s worth reading. I like how he’s trying to cement Aquaman as a major player in the New 52, and, if you’ve been reading this series as well as the Aquaman series, I’d say a case could be made saying that he’s accomplished that goal, though who knows how long it will remain that way?
Green Lantern #17
Yeah, so this kind of throws my whole ranking system out the window, because I forgot about this issue until just now. If I had to rework it, I’d probably put this at the bottom of the pile, maybe. I’m getting kind of tired of Green Lantern. Lemme explain.
Jim Doom and I already discussed why he dropped the title, and I’m afraid I might not be far from doing the same. Simon Baz is kind of bland, you guys. He just doesn’t do anything for me. Geoff Johns made such a big deal of showing us how each Lantern of 2814 differs from one another during Rebirth and Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night, but now, this guy has nothing to set him aside from the other guys except for “Muslim” and “wears a hood.” Not exactly the most interesting take on a new character. Do something to make him stand out, and I might keep reading. As it sits, it simply seems like he was created as an excuse to play with stereotypes to our post-9/11 anti-Arab idiots walking among us.
Like I said, I’m close to dropping it.
Indestructible Hulk #4
This is the first time I’ve read a new Hulk series past issue two, so that’s saying something. I think Hulk is a character best used sparsely, since he’s basically the most powerful being in the Marvel Universe and nothing else can even pose a theoretical threat to him, but I love the way he’s being treated in this series.
The idea is that Bruce Banner should be in the same league as other such intellectual super geniuses like Tony Stark and Reed Richards, but the beast has held him back for years. So now, he’s come to accept it, and he’s agreed to let SHIELD use the other guy in exchange for funding and support so that Banner can do scientific breakthroughs all the rest of the time when he’s not a giant green rage monster.
It’s so much better than the typical brooding, on-the-run, terrified of transforming Bruce Banner we’ve grown accustomed to over the years, and I’m glad. Mark Waid seems hellbent on making the Marvel Universe a little brighter and more cheerful, so good on him. He’s doing a great job. Give him all the money he wants.
This is a solid series. Written by Brian K. Vaughn and illustrated by Fiona Staples, each issue is fresh and exciting and fun. That’s the main thing - - it’s just good old fashioned fun, and who doesn’t enjoy that? Weirdos, I guess.
Our main characters are still being chased by bounty hunters, and nothing too major has happened yet, but I don’t care. It’s a cool universe, and I like the characters, and the art is lovely. What more do you need?
The Superior Spider-Man #4
I stopped reading Spider-Man comics after One More Day, that infamous storyline a few years ago that retconned out several decades worth of Spider-Man stories. I told myself that I didn’t care to read anything Spider-Man related after that, because one of the main things I love about superhero comics is the rich history of each character. When I first started reading comics, I absolutely loved reading back issues and getting caught up on everything that made each character unique. It’s fun. That first issue you ever read is only scratching the surface of something huge, and you know it, and that wonder follows you on your journey of discovery.
So to shit on that made me annoyed, and I stopped reading.
Flash forward a few years, and I heard that Peter Parker was dying. I read a little bit about it after the fact (no way was I going to plunk down twenty dollars or whatever ridiculous price they were charging for that final issue), and it sounded intriguing. Doc Ock, Peter’s arch-nemesis has taken over Peter’s body. Peter’s memories are still in there somewhere, and the ghost of Peter Parker floats alongside Doc Ock in each issue of this, but the two can’t really communicate in any way.
Sure, I know that Peter Parker will eventually regain control of his body, and I’m mostly fine with that, but there’s something extraordinarily fun about watching Doctor Octopus controlling Peter Parker’s life, doing a MUCH better, more efficient job than Peter ever did. And it’s hilarious watching Doc Ock say bits of dialogue as Peter (I’m thinking of the exchange where he corrects a guy, yelling, “That’s DOCTOR Peter Parker, and you’d do well to remember that!”) that Peter would never actually say.
Overall, along with All-New X-Men, it’s my favorite new series of the Marvel Now! line.
I started reading this series a couple of months ago based on the recommendation of a friend-of-a-friend on Facebook, and it does not disappoint. I got all caught up with the trades, and you should, too, if you’re not already reading.
It seems sort of pointless to have me heap more praise on this series, as it’s been widely recognized and awarded as one of the best superhero comics being published today. If you don’t read it, start. If you do read it, good job.
It’s my absolute favorite comic right now.