This Week in Comics—February 5, 2014

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Archer gets an origin, Batman and Lex Luthor form a wary partnership, a new Ms. Marvel explodes on the scene, Anakin learns of a developing romance, time continues to twist for Nika and William, and Turok finds remaining a loner might be tougher than he thought.

There were a number of ups and downs this week in comics.  The winner was new comic Ms. Marvel (3) #1 which introduced a young, fun Ms. Marvel that is different than almost every other comic heroine due to her ethnic background.  High hopes for Turok resulted in “meh” and The Star Wars just keeps trucking on as more of a bizarre interest than anything good.

Featured in “This Week in Comics” are Archer & Armstrong:  Archer #0, Forever Evil #5, Ms. Marvel (3) #1, The Star Wars #5, Trillium #6, and Turok:  Dinosaur Hunter #1.

Archer & Armstrong:  Archer #0

Publisher:  Valiant Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Fred Van Lente

Artist:  Pere Perez

Date:  February 2014

Title:  —

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Archer & Armstrong: Archer #0

The truth is revealed!  How Obadiah Archer found his way to the Archers Ministry and his connections to Project: Rising Spirit are unveiled…but the reason for their discovery could mean death for Archer and Armstrong.

Valiant Comics relaunch has been one of the more interesting stories in comics recent years.  The approach for the most part has been “recreating” the past characters with revisions that are close to their original presentation…Here, we finally get some background on Archer whose history is seldom explored when compared to his partner Armstrong.

This is maybe my favorite Valiant series.  It has a nice balance of humor and action and I do find the story compelling.  With the revelation that Archer was essentially kidnapped by Project: Rising Spirit, I’m sure the identity of Archer’s parents also will come into play.  I also look forward to seeing Archer confront his past and the upcoming “Mission:  Improbable” will probably have some of that.

It is a bummer to not have any Armstrong.  I realize this is a solo issue, but the interaction between the two character is part of what makes the series.  I also rather wish that this had been revealed a bit earlier in the series as kind of a “coming soon” aspect of the tale (of course Van Lente might not have planned this direction immediately).

Archer & Armstrong is a good read and this one-shot is worth seeking out if you are a fan.  I like Archer & Armstrong to stay Archer & Armstrong so I’m a bit concerned about the Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps crossover and if it will benefit or hurt the series.

Forever Evil #5

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Geoff Johns

Artist:  David Finch

Date:  March 2014

Title:  “Hit and Run”

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Forever Evil #5

Batman and Catwoman might have to make a big leap of faith when the only hope for the planet’s future might only be Lex Luthor and his team of villains.  Plus, the Crime Syndicate faces the possible loss of a member as Power Ring finds himself in a face-off with Sinestro.

Forever Evil feels like it has been going on forever.  As a regular reader of some DC books, I almost have forgotten about this series due to the seemingly lack of tie-ins.  I don’t love big crossover events so I don’t know that I’m complaining, but it seems unusual in today’s comic market the extreme lack of buzz surrounding it.

It actually isn’t a bad series, but I do find myself forgetting what happened in the previous issues.  The whole “Villains Month” thing really screwed up DC and this title, and I think irritated more people than anything else.  Forever Evil really lost momentum (and the fact I just think of that mall store Forever 21 when I hear the title).

This issue is an “all fighting” issue with not too much story development.  All that really happens is that Luthor and Batman officially team-up (it seemed likely last issue) and Power Ring meets his fate.  The real meat of the series could be next issue when the Syndicate’s plans (and past are revealed).  I think it would be kind of cool if it tied back to the original Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Forever Evil is a rather rocky series but it does remind me more of old series like Secret Wars than many of the recent “big events” series.  That is a good thing, but I do feel that it’s roll-out hasn’t been handled very well.  Hopefully, there will be a satisfactory conclusion to the series that has some ramifications…but I have my doubts.

Ms. Marvel (3) #1

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  G. Willow Wilson

Artist:  Adrian Alphona

Date:  April 2014

Title:  “Metamorphosis” Part 1 of 5

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Ms. Marvel #1 (Design Variant)

Kamala is a young Muslim living in Jersey City.  With dreams of being popular and hope of fitting in, Kamala sneaks out to go to a class party.  A fog envelops the city and Kamala learns that her dreams might soon come true.

Ms. Marvel (3) #1 was a newsworthy event immediately.  A Muslim American girl as a major superhero with her own title was something new and different.  With this big pressure on it, Ms. Marvel has a lot to live up to and prove.

The series has to prove that it isn’t a gimmick or a collection of stereotypes.  Kamala’s family is all over the place in their beliefs to show different aspects of their religion…I actually found myself like the series though I felt it a little desperately politically correct.  I find myself comparing Kamala to Arana who also made news by being one of the first female Hispanic superheroes to have her own comic…but that comic fizzled.

I do have to say, I do like Kamala’s character better than Arana’s.  Kamala feels more like a real teenager and Wilson’s writing is quite strong.  I just hope she doesn’t get too bogged down in being a “political” comic.

The art for the issue is also quite strong.  Adrian Alphona did good work on Runaways and this seems like a natural evolution.  Having just reread a lot of the Runaways stuff, I think Alphona’s work has evolved and gotten even better.

Ms. Marvel was a surprisingly fun comic and will earn a second issue.  I have always been a Ms. Marvel fan and I’m interested to see her next evolution.  The “Metamorphosis” storyline might all be origin and I do hope that they pit her against older villains to start out before they start developing her own villains.  Check out this comic and give it a chance!

The Star Wars #5

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  J.W. Rinzler

Artist:  Mike Mayhew

Date:  February 2014

Title:  —

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The Star Wars #5

An escape from Gordon Spaceport seem unlikely for Annikin Starkiller, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Whitsun, Princess Leia, and the twins.  With Prince Valorum and closing in on them, getting the young Leia and her brothers to safety will take all of the Jedis’ skills…plus, Leia and Annikin discover they are falling in love.

The Star Wars continues to adapt George Lucas’s made rough draft of Star Wars…and continues to show why it was a good thing that it never made the screen.

The story is almost nonsense.  I feel like I am just trudging through a weak fantasy (which I am) and the novelty of “oh, that’s different from the movie” is wearing pretty thin.  With more to go, I know I will finish The Star Wars, but it will be a challenge.

Part of the problem with the comic is the rather generic characters…something that Star Wars improved upon.  With both the characterization and the art, the comic doesn’t do the script any favors and sometime you find yourself still forgetting five issues in who you are reading about.

The Star Wars is a bit of a chore and will probably be served better by a collection.  It also feels like it is running too long and there is still a good chunk of the series left at this point.  I think a five issue limited series would have sped this comic up.

Trillium #6

Publisher:  DC Comics/Vertigo

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Jeff Lemire

Artist:  Jeff Lemire

Date:  April 2014

Title:  “Escape Velocity”

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Trillium #6

William and Nika are trapped in the wrong worlds and no one will believe them.  As they are compelled to return to the temple again, they must disobey orders and sneak away to do it, but returning to the temple might be the easy part.

Trillium is just weird.  The story often plays with the format of a comic book and Lemire seems to really enjoy doing it.  While I think last month’s top half/bottom half format worked a bit better, the series continues to be unique.

In this volume, Lemire has the right-side up world of Nika (where she is trapped in the past where William used to live) and the upside down world of the future (where William is trapped in Nika’s life).  Each issue of the series is a bit jarring in that the comic doesn’t usually give you much direction on how to read it.  Unlike some of the reverse issues that read from back to front, this one reads from front-to-back which has you flipping the book over.

I’ve like the “life-swap” storyline of the last two issues and wish that the earlier issues had this much direction.  The series is starting to feel a bit more like Saga which Lemire has mentioned as an influence.  The idea of a timeless love also combines lots of sci-fi aspects and is ripe for exploration…unfortunately, the series is quickly drawing to an end at Trillium #8.

Trillium is just an odd, fun series.  With a lot of Jeff Lemire’s independent stuff, he seems to just have fun.  Have I read things better than Trillium?  Yes, but don’t let that dissuade you from reading a unique and different story that challenges the comic format.

Turok:  Dinosaur Hunter #1

Publisher:  Dynamite

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Greg Pak

Artist:  Mirko Colak

Date:  2014

Title:  “Sanctuary”

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Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #1 (Gold Key Variant)

Turok lives alone in the forest and rejects his people.  When a conflict arises with Andar, Kobo, and Timo, Turok finds himself drawn back to the village.  As Turok continues to struggle with his past, a new threat has entered his world…and it isn’t just dinosaurs.

I have always loved Turok.  I, of course, first experienced Turok with Valiant’s original the Turok:  Dinosaur Hunter but soon learned about Turok:  Son of Stone which interested me more.  With games and comics, Turok was always an interesting creation but never handled well.

Unfortunately, Turok:  Dinosaur Hunter #1 has some problems right out of the gate.  The comic features tons of great cover art, but I’m not a huge fan of Mirko Colak’s interior art for how the story is presented.  The story introduces a lot of characters fast (plus flashbacks) and there is little to distinguish Andar, Timo, and Kobo or what exactly is occurring.  I like the art in general and the color design is great, but I needed to know the characters better to understand the story.

That being said, the story is also so-so but a bit of a blend between Valiant and the original Gold Key.  Turok is the teen loner and the big reveal at the end is that it is Manhattan…but with dinosaurs and Crusaders in 1210 AD.  My love for the character probably will get me to get a second issue, but it is going to have to work for it.

Turok:  Dinosaur Hunter has tons of potential as a character…I just wish that a writer would really tap into that potential.  I liked Pak’s Hulk and Hercules so I can see how Turok could hold some similar traits if written right…hopefully Pak and Colak will find that balance soon.

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This Week in Comics—January 29, 2014

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This Week in Comics—February 12, 2014

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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