This Week in Comics—December 11, 2013

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The Sect War is destroying the world and Archer & Armstrong must stop it, Batgirl faces her father who accuses her of murdering his son, Batman faces one of his oldest foes in Dr. Death, a new Justice League is created in 3000AD, Mulder faces the Flukemen, and Dorothy and her friends say goodbye to the world…forever!!!

A big week of comics with some good and one bad.  There is also a sad goodbye to a favorite comic with the end of Marvel’s adaptations of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books (frustratingly one before one of my favorites as a kid The Patchwork Girl of Oz).

If I had to pick a winner for this week however, I think I have to stick with Batman (2) #26 which continues Snyder’s Zero Year storyline with Dr. Death…just a fun solid comic.  The loser for the week is Justice League 3000 which is bloated, boring, and feels like rehash right out of the gate.

Comics reviewed this week (and when convenient links to previous issues):  Archer & Armstrong (2) #16, Batgirl (3) #26, Batman (2) #26, The Emerald City of Oz #5, Justice League 3000 #1, and The X-Files—Season 10 #7.

Archer & Armstrong (2) #16

Publisher:  Valiant Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Fred Van Lente

Artist:  Khari Evans/ChrisCross

Date:  December 2013

Title:  “No One Wants to Rule the World” Sect War Part 3

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Archer & Armstrong #16 Variant

The Sect War is raging and Archer finds himself forced to work with Armstrong again to save the world.  Archer learns that the only thing that can end the war and brings the Sect together again is the Wheel of Aten…and only Armstrong knows its hidden location.  Now on a mission to stop the war, Armstrong and Archer are off on another adventure, but Archer has his own hidden plans.

Archer & Armstrong is becoming one of my favorite books.  It is solid action.  It is comedy…without it being too in your face or so absurd that it becomes unnaturally ridiculous.  It is just a fun partner comic book (and better than Valiant’s rival team-up book Quantum & Woody which doesn’t quite have the balance down).

The last few issues have been Archer & Armstrong at odds with each other (or more Archer at odds with Armstrong since Armstrong usually doesn’t have a care in the world).  I like them better as a team, and I don’t like the “dark” Archer, but it feels like from this issue that that storyline is coming to a head.

The Sect Civil War is a bit confusing by itself and I do think that the comic could benefit from a page of “summary” to establish the different groups and catch the reader up to speed (I read the issue monthly and sometimes forget what is going on until midway through the issue).

If you have to pick up one Valiant Comic, I’d probably recommend this title.  The series doesn’t have a bunch of crossovers (as of yet) and is a nice solid piece of storytelling with some humor mixed in.  Archer & Armstrong are fun characters, and I look forward each month to seeing where they go next.

Batgirl (3) #26

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Gail Simone

Artist:  Daniel Sampere

Date:  February 2014

Title:  “Ambush” Batgirl:  Wanted—Part 3 of 3

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Batgirl (3) #26

Commissioner Gordon has vowed to bring in Batgirl for the death of his son…now the only thing standing between him and Gretel, Mirror, Bonebreaker, and Grotesque is Batgirl.  Forced to team with his enemy, Gordon and Batgirl might not escape Knightfall’s trap and the only way out for Barbara might be revealing her true identity to her father.

Written by Gail Simone and illustrated by Daniel Sampere, Batgirl (3) #26 finally brings an end to the Batgirl:  Wanted storyline which seems to have been going on for a long time.

Due to Year Zero and other stories, it feels like it has been ages since Batgirl’s showdown with her father, and I am glad to see it resolved.  Due to how long the story stretched, this is one of those stories that probably will read better in trade paperback than individual issues.

Batgirl (3) #26 was fun, however, and I do like the edgier and deadlier Batgirl though it does go against character.  I don’t think that Batgirl probably needs to be this dark due to the fact Batwoman seems to have the dark side of the cape covered, but as seen in the resolution of this issue, the lighter and happier Batgirl is probably back in the next storyline.

Batgirl is also aided by great art.  Daniel Sampere keeps both a comic book style but also adds a lot of depth to it.  It is pretty amazing to look back at comic book art of the ’90s Image which was considered “good” and see how much art has progressed and how much better it looks today…Batgirl is a great example of that.

I still recommend Batgirl.  This storyline as mentioned might be better served as a trade paperback due to the DC Universe interruptions to Simone’s story, but Simone continues to create an interesting, rounded, and real character…something that not all comics do.

Batman (2) #26

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Scott Snyder

Artist:  Greg Capullo

Date:  February 2014

Title:  “Dark City” Zero Year

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Batman (2) #26

Gotham is plunged into darkness by the Riddler, and Bruce Wayne in his search for answers has encountered a transformed scientist calling himself Dr. Death.  Bruce’s battle with Dr. Death doesn’t fair well, and Bruce finds himself hospitalized and confronting Gordon about their shared past.  With a storm bearing down on Gotham, Batman is needed, but Batman finds Dr. Death isn’t through yet.

Batman continues to be a shining point in the DC relaunch.  I had grown a bit weary of the overpriced books of Villain Month and the expensive Batman #25, but here, the book is at least back to its normal price (hopefully for a while).

I do have to say, I don’t mind as much paying a lot for Batman because Snyder is telling a good tale.  I like his portrayal of the Dark Knight, and I do like this reinvented past for him and Gordon.  Has Gordon not always been the cleanest cop?  It isn’t quite clear yet, but I don’t have much of a problem with it (though this storyline does conflict a bit with Miller’s Year One storyline…just consider it a New 52 recon).

The art for Batman also is stellar and really backs up Snyder’s writing.  The younger, tougher Bruce is interesting and I still love how Capullo draws Batman in his cowl (it reminds me of a less chunkier Mike Mignola Batman).

If you aren’t reading Batman, you’re missing out.  With a nice throwback to really old Batman and Dr. Death, the new storyline I think is a bit more interesting than the Owls storyline.  At least pick up the trades and do some catching-up.  There have been some wobbly points in the new series, but for the most part it is a strong, fun read that continues to impress…a definite buy!

The Emerald City of Oz #5

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Eric Shanower

Artist:  Skottie Young

Date:  February 2014

Title:  —

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The Emerald City of Oz #5

The Nome King’s army is approaching Oz and vowing to enslave its people and pillage the country.  Rushing back to the Emerald City, Dorothy and her family prepare for Oz’s final stand and learn that it could mean the end of Oz as they know it.

The Emerald City of Oz #5 is a bittersweet issue.  It marks the end of the series of adaptations by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young.  The comic which started out with a long adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz ran for an amazing amount of time considering the content and the bit pricier per-issue cost.

If you had said that anything past the first two Oz books would have made it to print, I would have been shocked.  It shows the testament of Young and Shanower who stuck with it and did a great job adapting the books (which even as a fan I admit are sometimes ho-hum).

The bad part about the ending of the series is that my two favorite books never will be adapted.  I was a big fan of The Patchwork Girl of Oz and The Scarecrow of Oz (the first book after The Wizard of Oz I read).  Now, neither will make it to comic form.

The issue itself shows problems with Oz.  It really doesn’t have much action even in an action packed battle for the country.  The solution to simply dust out the enemy and seal off Oz is rather arbitrary and I can see how readers wouldn’t be interested by it.

Baum did try to end the Oz series with The Emerald City of Oz, but returned back to it through monetary needs and demands from readers.  Skottie Young and Eric Shanower’s art and writing made this series worth checking out as we shed a tear for Oz as it goes into the history books.

Justice League 3000 #1

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Keith Giffen/J.M. DeMatteis

Artist:  Howard Porter

Date:  February 2014

Title:  “Yesterday Lives!”

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Justice League 3000 #1

The Wonder Twin (Teri and Terry) have a plan.  They’ve resurrected the Justice League through DNA and files of the Cadmus Project and built a new Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and Flash to help the world of tomorrow.  Unfortunately, the recorders were incomplete and so are their creations.  As Teri and Terry try to control and shape the Justice League, Ariel Masters sees the danger in their creation.

I’m not a huge Giffen fan and this definitely is a Giffen series.  The dialogue is written by J.M. DeMatteis, but it feels and moves like many of Giffen’s creations.  I know that it is only the first issue, but I’m not liking the direction of this series.

The comic feels like rehash of tons of other comics.  The “Wonder Twins” (which feels like a desperate grab at nostalgia) are kind of obnoxious and could easily be substituted with any sidekick comic book character.  The Ariel storyline is a bit more interesting, but it feels like the series is going for the idea that the Justice League might go dark and be a threat to the world…which has been covered over and over again in comic book universes including Earth 2 and the current Crime Syndicate attack in Forever Evil.

I don’t really enjoy Porter’s art that much in the series.  I liked his JLA stuff, but here it is just seems a bit too much is going on in each frame.  I know that it is the future and things are “techno” but he really seems to be trying to channel Giffen’s Legion of Super-Heroes series which also always felt really busy.

As you can see, I’m not a fan of this premiere issue and I won’t be going back for Justice League 3000 #2.  I wish that DC had just stuck with the Legion or gone after something set in the “modern day” New 52 universe instead of trying to create another timeline based story.

X-Files—Season 10 #7

Publisher:  IDW

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Joe Harris

Artist:  Elena Casagrande/Silvia Califano

Date:  December 2013

Title:  “Hosts” Part 2 of 2

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The X-Files–Season 10 #7 Variant

Mulder has been attacked by the Flukemen, and now the true origin of the Flukeman is revealed as a tale of Chernobyl is revealed and a man named Gregory who was caught in a tragic circumstance.  As Mulder finds himself sharing memories with the flukes, the Flukeman’s old memories might return.

As a fan of the old X-Files, I’m really enjoying the new X-Files—Season 10 series.  This short 2 part storyline is the equivalent of a “Creature of the Week” episode and just what the series needed after the first alien mythos storyline in issues #1-5.

The Flukeman was always a great character.  I don’t necessarily love this origin (I just liked him as a giant mutation), but if it get the creepy creature back, I’m for it.  The ending of the story was very much in spirit of the original series and that is what I’m enjoying about the new comic…it knows its audience.

The art for X-Files—Season 10 isn’t the best art you’ll see but it also isn’t the worst.  I feel sorry for artists who are adapting TV shows or movies since they have real actors that they have to try to present.  The Mulder and Scully designs aren’t bad, but I think that often, being forced to focus on recreating someone like David Duchovny or Gillian Anderson probably becomes more of a hindrance than something easy.

If you liked The X-Files, you must read The X-Files—Season 10.  It is one of those things that people who don’t read comics should even check it out because it truly has captured the feel of the show.  I look forward to each new issue.

Preceded By: 

This Week in Comics—December 4, 2013

http://basementrejects.com/latest-news/this-week-in-comics-december-4-2013/

Followed By:

This Week in Comics—December 18, 2013

http://basementrejects.com/latest-news/this-week-in-comics-december-18-2013/

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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