This Week in Comics—January 22, 2014

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The Invaders form as one of their own comes under attack for a mission that they all seem to have forgotten, Animal Man faces off against Brother Blood, Batman is face-to-face with James Gordon, Ant-Man is in final battle with Doom, Kate Bishop tries to solve a music mystery, and Aric finds himself a prisoner of the United States without his armor to aide him.

A strong week of comics with a minor complaint.  There was more I wanted to purchase today but due to Marvel’s rushing out of All-New X-Factor #2 and Black Widow #2, I didn’t get them…maybe later in the week.  The other oddity of this week was due to a publishing problem, Hawkeye #16 was released before Hawkeye #15.

The week’s winner is a sentimental favorite.  FF (2) #16 marks the end of the fun, short-lived series.  It will be missed.

The comics reviewed this week are All-New Invaders #1, Animal Man (2) #27, Batman (2) #27, FF (2) #16, Hawkeye (2) #16, and X-O Manowar (3) #21

All-New Invaders #1

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  James Robinson

Artist:  Steve Pugh

Date:  March 2014

Title:  “Gods and Soldiers”

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All-New Invaders #1

Jim Hammond is trying to make a life for himself in Blaketon, Illinois.  When a Kree warrior called Tanalth the Pursuer comes for the original Human Torch, Jim finds himself recalling memories of an Invaders battle that he can never recall happening.  As Jim fights to save his newly adopted town, he might need help from his old allies.

Written by James Robinson and illustrated by Steve Pugh, All-New Invaders is part of Marvel’s big All-New Marvel Now imprint release.  The comic isn’t a relaunch of a currently running title and instead reintroduces the World War II team the Invaders into the modern Marvel Universe.

I was always an Invaders fan and have read most of The Invaders series (I still need to pound out the last few volumes of The Invaders Classic).  I was glad to see the comic returning and there is no better person to work on it than Robinson.

Robinson’s gift is to recreate old classic characters.  He’s done it multiple times and his most recent outing Earth 2 is one of the better New 52 series (which he still left with little explanation).  It was pretty obvious that Blaketon was going to get trashed however because that seems to be a common trend when a superhero hides in a small town…they pay.  I just hope that some of the new storyline does take the characters in a bit of a different direction.

Steve Pugh’s art is also strong.  I doubt that he’ll have much freedom to modify the characters’ designs but hopefully we’ll see some long disappeared characters or someone that Pugh can show what he can do.

All-New Invaders will get a second issue purchase from me.  I like that Robinson is trying to take the characters in a different direction than they’ve been before with a Kree/Shi’ar/Asgard storyline and will be interested to see where this first arc goes.

Animal Man (2) #27

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Jeff Lemire

Artist:  Rafael Albuquerque

Date:  March 2014

Title:  “Evolve or Die” Part 1

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Animal Man (2) #27

Animal Man finds himself facing off against the monstrous Brother Blood in the Red but pulling on a power greater than that of the Red.  Maxine is forced to flee from the terror of Blood’s agents and learns she must face the consequences of Cliff’s death.  Ellen wonders where her family has gone and finds herself facing another monster…the media.

Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque, Animal Man (2) #27 is the penultimate issue in the New 52 series.  With the end drawing near, the stakes seem a bit higher in this issue since I don’t know where the comic is going.

The story with the Red is probably what made Animal Man great but also damned him a little.  All of Animal Man’s stories have been tied to the Red and the concept of the Red.  If you didn’t like the Red idea, you probably didn’t like the series.  Lemire has evolved the concept through the time and it is sometimes tiring.  I would have loved to see Animal Man take on some other enemies or have more mainstream DC allies show up on occasion.

The art for Animal Man (2) #27 is quite strong and Albuquerque’s style sometimes mirrors Jeff Lemire’s own art.  I don’t love the character designs throughout the series for the creatures in the Red.  For the most part, they aren’t very distinguishable and the superhuman Brother Blood really is lame (I know Brother Blood has always been lame).

I look forward to seeing how Animal Man ends.  Lemire has plans for the character after the series so I know not to fear a major death, but the ideas and concepts of the series have probably run their course.

Batman (2) #27

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Scott Snyder

Artist:  Greg Capullo

Date:  March 2014

Title:  “Zero Year:  Dark City” Part 4

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Batman (2) #27

Batman finds himself fleeing from the police and forced to trust the man he believes is a crooked cop…James Gordon.  Gordon reveals a big event in the past which made him change his views on being a police officer and Batman discovers what Helfern is planning for Gotham…but it could be too late.

I have really been enjoying Scott Snyder’s run on Batman.  I felt the series got a little waylaid during the whole “Death of the Family”, but I think it is back on track and strong again.  The flashback story feels more connected than a regular flashback and the developing Zero Year storyline is a lot of fun.

This issue brings around Gordon’s story and shows how he started to gain Batman’s trust.  It was revealed (shockingly) that Gordon had been crooked, but here that is explained and how Gordon changed.  The Batman/Gordon relationship has always been one of the more interesting aspects of Batman and if you are interested in it, this is a good issue.

I still love Greg Capullo’s art.  It feels a lot like Frank Miller and here, it even borrows an iconic Frank Miller image in the story.  It shows Batman on a wire watching the home of Gordon…almost a recreation of the cover of Batman:  The Dark Knight Returns…which is smart because both Batman:  The Dark Knight Returns and Batman:  Year One feel the most like Snyder’s writing and Capullo’s style.

Batman is one of the best mainstream books out there right now.  I’ve never been a big Batman reader but Snyder has made me one.  I don’t generally read any of the other proper Batman titles and this series is able to stand on its own…Get the trades then check it out!

FF (2) #16

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Lee Allred/Matt Fraction

Artist:  Michael Allred

Date:  March 2014

Title:  “For All We Have and Are”

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FF (2) #16

It’s here!  The final showdown between Ant-Man and Dr. Doom…the man who killed his daughter.  While Ant-Man may seem like no match for Doom, Scott has some new tricks up his sleeve which could turn the tide of the battle and change the way the world views Ant-Man forever!  With the Fantastic Four’s return, the future of the Future Foundation comes into question.

I love FF…and I hate that it is ending.  Matt Fraction is listed as a co-author of the issue but Lee Fraction is the primary writer.  This is the final issue of the second volume of the series and it ends tragically too soon.  The series was a great coming together of art, style, and story and though it sometimes was a bit in left field for the major story, it was always fun to read…Plus, how can you hate a comic that references a thirty year old comic like Secret Wars?

This issue has been building from the first issue and it does wrap up all the storylines.  It is very dialogue heavy and the issue is a bit larger than most because it contains the wrap-up presented in the Fantastic Four issue released earlier in the month.  It rather makes sense since the first couple issues of both stories also tied together heavily.

Michael Allred’s art is great.  I would love, love for him to do a “Michael Allred presents the Marvel Universe” with a great big poster of character designs of some of Marvel’s bigger and more obscure characters.  I like what he does with them and think it would be great fun to see how he would interpret other characters.  Despite not being a huge Dan Slott fan, I probably will have to pick up Allred’s new Silver Surfer series.

It is sad to see the FF go and my double punch of FF and Hawkeye was one of my favorite New Comic Book Days of the month so it will be missed.  With all the relaunches and rereleases, maybe an FF comic will be back someday.

Hawkeye (2) #16

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Matt Fraction

Artist:  Annie Wu

Date:  March 2014

Title:  “Recording Tape”

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Hawkeye (2) #16

Kate Bishop continues to try to make L.A. her new home.  Finding a singer named Will Bryson wandering on the 405, Kate is pulled into a case of stolen music and brothers with a grudge.  Can she solve the mystery or will the crime go unpunished?

Hawkeye was out and out weird this month…Not in the story, but in the release.  The people at Marvel were pushing for a new issue for the month but Fraction and Aja were behind with the proposed Hawkeye #15.  Hawkeye #16 with Annie Hu art was finished so they released #16 before #15 as a result…I don’t care however because any Hawkeye is good.

I enjoy Hawkeye a lot.  This wasn’t my favorite issue of the series, but I do like the adventures of Kate Bishop (which technically is still “Hawkeye” since she never has really given up the name).  Here we have two crazy surfing singing brothers and crazy Brian Wilson becomes Will Bryson.  It was a so-so story…I do like that Kate can’t seem to get it right when it comes to “heroing”.  I would like to know what is going on with the guy in the convenience store however.

Annie Wu has a tough act to follow.  Aja has such a great and distinctive style that I do find myself looking forward to his issues.  On her own, Wu is strong herself…but she doesn’t match Aja’s Hawkeye which is perfect.

Hawkeye is one of my favorite titles but now my other favorite title FF is ending so Hawkeye week will be a little lonelier…I just hope the fun keeps going.

X-O Manowar (3) #21

Publisher:  Valiant Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Robert Venditti

Artist:  Trevor Hairsine/Cary Nord/Vincente Fuentes

Date:  January 2014

Title:  “Asylum” Unity Tie-In

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X-O Manowar (2) #21

Aric has lost the armor which made him a great warrior now he and his people are prisoners of the United States.  Being held in an undisclosed location, Aric learns that he’s become a pawn in a failed power grab between the United States and Russia.  With Russia taking the Vine ship, Aric must find a way to free his people…and his artificial hand might be the key.

Valiant’s flagship title continues to be one of their best titles.  This issue (like the previous issues) is a Unity tie in with Aric losing his armor in Unity #3.  The issue doesn’t really have any fighting or big battles which is a kind of nice change of pace for a series based on high stakes action.

Aric in this issue finds himself having to work with humanity for the first time since coming to the present day Earth. With his people prisoners (again), Aric will now have to use his brain instead of brawn.  I don’t know where the comic is going to go with the “no armor” Aric, but it is an interesting and different twist.

The art is done by a few artists and they have mixed results.  I think I prefer the opening art by Trevor Hairsine, but Cary Nord and Vincente Fuentes art in the second half of the book also has its own validity and moments.  Both styles aren’t bad, but they don’t quite “wow” me either.

X-O Manowar continues to be a good read and worthwhile read if you haven’t been reading Valiant’s interesting relaunch.  The series’ ties to Unity could get old especially if you don’t read Unity and I do hope after this initial Unity kick off, that the book returns to an independent nature.

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This Week in Comics—January 14, 2014

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This Week in Comics—January 29, 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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