Every Wednesday I pop into Whatever Store on Castro Street in San Francisco to pick up my haul of new comics; this week I battled some fantastic allergies in the process. With much sadness, their pick of the week, Toil &Trouble #1, was sold out. I should have a belated review for it next week. So this time you’re stuck entirely with my tastes, and on that score it was a rough week…
Book of the Week
“And who said I was a super villain?...Most of them are idiots—always trying to take over the universe or eat the sun or something. Seems exhausting.”
At this point I’m probably looking like a shill for Loveness, Kesinger, and co. I can’t help it. Month after month this is one of the funniest and most fun books I’ve ever read. This month we have Mantron and his 1996 technology (complete with the need to load combat programming from a floppy disk), Skrulls that mistakenly attack Earfk refueling station because the print on their map was so small it looked like “Earth,” and a celestial being capable of influencing fate…and giving people hiccups. The central theme remains the friendship between Groot and Rocket, and Rocket even acknowledges his shortfall in that regard and points out that Groot’s strength is turning just about everyone into a friend. Story wise, we at long last see Groot and his assembled band of brothers commence their Rocket Raccoon rescue. It…it does not go well. The last page, though, is a fantastic homage to a Marvel classic that Kesinger pulls off while staying completely faithful to style he’s created for the book; I’ve included the original page at the end.
The weakest offering in the mini-series so far, Age of Apocalypse #3 reads like a sprint toward the finish line as the mutant-killing Legacy Virus is found and Apocalypse shows just how far over the deep end he will go. The only real emotion comes as Magneto tells Doug Ramsey about the death of Xavier and his first battle against Apocalypse. Unfortunately this issue feels like it has to cram in extra plot development because of how much breathing room the first two issues had, and what could have been the emotional centerpiece of the book comes across stunted.
A light week was a good excuse to try out Batman Beyond #4. Unfortunately I’m coming late into a story arc, so the book was little more than stuff getting blown up real good. That said, the moments that transcended the chaotic battle reminded me of everything I loved about the old Red Robin monthly. Tim Drake’s brooding is front and center; once again he’s a man weighed down. I prefer this Time Drake to what I’ve seen in Teen Titans lately. It’s hard to judge a series on this kind of introduction, but I think it’s worth a revisit.
With Green Lantern #44 I finally understand what’s going on. It’s Firefly. Or a western. In any case, it’s Hal Jordan putting together his posse. This issue’s story is fairly straightforward: Hal stops at an outpost for medical help and ends up saving people in need. I continue to enjoy the strategy of telling single issue stories and peppering in details that feed into the larger arc. I haven’t been wowed yet by an issue of the series, but then I haven’t been disappointed either.
Plutona #1 is a book about the personal dynamics of four high school students. The issue has a “day in the life” feel to it which Lemire uses to great effect, showing us incidents that build our characters without commenting too much. Lenix’s ability to inform through a character’s facial expressions helps a lot. Unfortunately that’s the only thing I really enjoyed about the art; Lenix’s rough style leaves me indifferent. This is a tricky issue for me; it’s just interesting enough to entice me toward the next issue, but not so appealing that I have strong feelings about it.
Age of Apocalyse #3
Fabian Nicieza: writer
Gerardo Sandoval: artists
David Curiel: colorist
VC’s Clayton Cowles: letterer
Gerardo Sandoval & David Curiel: cover
Batman Beyond #4
Dan Jurgens: writer
Bernard Chang: artist
Marcelo Maidlo: colors
Dave Sharpe: letters
Dan Panosian: cover
Green Lantern #44
Robert Venditti: writer
Billy Tan and Martin Coccolo: pencils
Mark Irwin and Martin Coccolo: inks
Tony Avina: colorist
Dave Sharpe: letterer
Billy Tan and Tony Avina: cover
Jeff Loveness: writer
Brian Kesinger: artist
Jeff Eckleberry: letterer
Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire: cover artists
Emi Lenox & Jeff Lemire: story
Jeff Lemire: script
Emi Lenox: art
Jordie Bellaire: colors
Steve Wands: letters
Uncanny X-Men #132; Chriss Claremont writer, John Byrne penciler