This Week in Comics—May 7, 2014

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Stephanie Brown learns her father isn’t spoiling her, Batgirl takes objection to her father’s arrest, Red Robin reveals a mystery, Cyclops gets some father-son time with Corsair, Elektra decides to live up to her assassin name, Iron Fist takes a vacation to K’un Lun, Moon Knight fights ghosts, the Watcher gets a gift and whacked, She-Hulk take a vacation to Latveria, and Mulder and Scully find the alien black oil doesn’t make cheap gas.

After a three week hiatus, This Week in Comics is back with a triple sized collection!  The reviews were written as they were released so some aspects of Batman Eternal’s three issues might feel a bit redundant.

Comics featured this week:  Batman Eternal #3-5, Cyclops #1, Elektra (3) #1, Iron Fist:  The Living Weapon #2, Moon Knight (6) #3, Original Sin #0-1, She-Hulk (5) #4, and The X-Files—Season 10 #11.

Batman Eternal #3

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Scott Snyder/James Tynion IV/Ray Fawkes/John Layman/Tim Seeley

Artist:  Jason Fabok

Release Date:  June 2014

Title:  —

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Batman Eternal #3

Stephanie Brown discovers the shocking truth about her father and finds herself a target.  Batman goes after the Penguin to learn what he knows about Carmine Falcone’s return and sets off a gang war.  The Roman and Mayor Hady made a move on the GCPD.

Batman Eternal is a weekly comic and weekly comics are almost always a letdown in the end.  Thus far however, Batman Eternal has proven to be fun…I hope the team behind it will continue to truck.

I was a fan of Stephanie Brown and this issue shows her return (the Batman “Batman Eternal” preview issue already reintroduced her).  I will be excited to see where her story goes and if she ends up being Spoiler again…and who she ends up associating with.

Despite being a weekly comic, so far the art has been quite strong.  I know that artists and writers work ahead so I don’t know how many issues are in the bank, but I assume that the quality will keep up.

Batman Eternal is quickly becoming a fun comic.  I’m worried about these weekly titles because they are asking a lot of the writers to come up with 52 issues with a connecting plot.  They have to maintain this fun without drawing out the plot too long…I hope Batman Eternal will last.

Batman Eternal #4

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Scott Snyder/James Tynion IV/John Layman

Artist:  Dustin Nguyen

Release Date: 

Title:  “Injustice for All”

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Batman Eternal #4

Batgirl sets out to prove that her father is being set up and doesn’t care if even Batman gets in her way.  Stephanie Brown seeks to escape her father but turning to her mother might be a mistake.  Batman decides it is time for a one-on-one with Carmine Falcone.  Gordon is deemed a flight risk and put into the general population of Blackgate.

Batman Eternal continues to truck, and it is working.  The series is a fun comic that has all the action of a monthly comic but weekly.  There is the nice aspect of being able to get a new issue the next week if an issue doesn’t set well with you.

Storywise the comic is good in that I love ensemble casts.  The comic is focusing on the whole “Bat Family” and it is giving readers a taste of other characters if you don’t happen to read their comics.  This is great since I’m pretty much just down to Batman with my weekly Batman dose.  I hope that Batwoman and other members of the family get involved as the story progresses.

The art for this issue isn’t as strong or developed as the art for Batman Eternal #3.  I think that Nguyen’s style is a bit too cartoony…especially when compared to Fabok’s art last issue…but as mentioned, the comic changes all the time due to its format.

Batman Eternal is worth reading and since it isn’t too far in, it would be easy to catch up on.  It will be interesting to see how and how quickly DC decides to repackage this comic due to “fall behind factor” of the series.  If you are five or six issues behind, you might not want to pick it up…something that can’t happen in the world of comics without cancellation.

Batman Eternal #5

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Scott Snyder/James Tynion IV/Ray Fawkes/John Layman/Tim Seeley

Artist:  Andy Clarke

Date:  July 2014

Title:  “Disinfect”

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Batman Eternal #5

Red Robin has uncovered a mystery involving the children kidnapped by Pyg.  The children are revealed to all be from the Narrows and infected with nanobots that occurred before Pyg’s kidnapping.  Vicki Vale finds herself on the lead of the return of Carmine Falcone with a young reporter named Joey Day, but Joey and Vicki find themselves in danger.

Batman Eternal so far is living up to the hype.  After five issues, the series continues to be a nice, strong comic that continues to evolve and expand.  With multiple storylines in the year-long series, Batman Eternal will have a lot to live up to and a lot of eyes on it.

I’m enjoying that the comic is not so much Batman as “Batman Family”.  With each issue, more of the Batman supporting group is pulled into the mystery and we’re starting to get multiple and overlapping mysteries.  I still argue that Veronica Mars might have done this best with tons of mysteries going at once, and hopefully, Batman Eternal is following this type of set-up.

The writing and the art remain strong.  The trickiest thing about these multi-team books is make them flow.  They can make them feel like one writer and one artist or they can make them feel like different teams that are leading to one climax.  So far, Batman Eternal is following the “one writer one artist” look and style.

Batman Eternal has survived my five issue test and will remain on my purchase list.  It is a good and more affordable title so I don’t feel as bad buying the issues weekly as much as some of the monthly titles which feel like they are limping month to month.  Batman Eternal is worth a read.

Cyclops #1

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Greg Rucka

Artist:  Russell Dauterman

Date:  July 2014

Title:  —

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Cyclops #1 Variant

Cyclops is adjusting to his new life in a future that brings him back together with his father Corsair.  Travelling aboard the Starjammer, Scott finds himself trying to adjust to life in space as Corsair discovers he doesn’t know how to be a father anymore.  When the Starjammers overtake a Badoon ship, Corsair sees an opportunity that could change he and Scott’s relationship.

I haven’t been reading All-New X-Men so I was rather thrown for a loop by this comic…I had no idea what was going on or when it was supposed to be going on.  Last I read X-Men, Corsair was dead and Scott was essentially Magneto.  Here, I felt thrown into a comic I didn’t understand…which isn’t great for a first issue.

After a quick internet search (also a bad prerequisite for a reading), I was up to speed and at least got what was going on.  I have to admit a certain softness to this comic since I’m a huge fan of the Starjammers who get a lot of time on the pages…unfortunately, most are written out of the series at the end of the issue.

The art for the comic is quite strong and I like his character designs.  I always felt Dave Cockrum had a pretty specific look for the Starjammers and it is hard to alter them…I still wish that the creators would go back to the more skunk looking Hepzibah (at least they reference she’s a skunk here instead of just acting like she’s a cat).

Cyclops is a tentative buy for a second issue.  I don’t know that I loved this issue but the series has potential.  It does have me itching for the Ch’od & Cr’reee solo series…pretty rare when Cr’reee gets his own time…and another spelling of his name (I’ve seen it as Cr’eee and Cr+eee).

Elektra (3) #1

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  W. Haden Blackman

Artist:  Michael Del Mundo

Cover Price:  $3.99

Title:  “Bloodlines” Part 1

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Elektra (3) #1

Elektra finds herself listless and looking for work.  Going to the Matchmaker, Elektra learns that she’s being sent after a ghost…the legendary assassin Cape Crow.  Unfortunately, Elektra isn’t the only assassin hunting for Crow and the assignment could end up in a showdown.

Elektra is one of those characters that often doesn’t work.  Frank Miller’s flow-y art and style was great for his creation and made a legend through his work on Daredevil and Sienkiewicz’s art on Elektra Assassin.  Other series starring the ninja have been pretty weak (especially the ’90s series).

Elektra #1 has a story that could parallel a bit of Elektra Assassin.  It is weird and odd enough that it has a bit of the feel of Miller’s strange tale.  It also benefits in that it doesn’t completely go off the tracks and feels more rooted in the Marvel Universe.

The art for the comic is great.  I like Michael Del Mundo’s style from the cover to the end.  The painted quality of the art makes the comic feel bigger than it probably is and that could bring in more readers over time.

This series however shows some promise.  The series and the art it needs to keep the extreme notion of her character.  I like the look and style and I hope the story can keep up…Elektra is worth a second purchase.

Iron Fist:  The Living Weapon #2

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Kaare Kyle Andrews

Artist:  Kaare Kyle Andrews

Date:  July 2014

Title:  “Rage” Part 2

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Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #2 Variant

Danny Rand learns he must return to K’un-Lun and recalls his first trip to the fabled city and his mother’s sacrifice.  As Danny prepares to head back, K’un-Lun faces the death of Shou-Lao and a new threat to the city.

I loved Power Man and Iron Fist in that they were a great balance of power.  I always thought Iron Fist was better than Cage, but Cage was maybe slightly more interesting due to a much more simplified origin.  The Immortal Iron Fist series was a lot of fun, but also sometimes confusing…the new Iron Fist series is proving it is a similar feel.

I always thought Iron Fist should have been kung-fu light…with more focus on fun despite his chi focused power.  The last few series have been focused on the mystical aspect, his family, and a supporting cast of characters who just don’t jump out to me (I’ve never liked Davos who is just like the Reverse Iron Fist).

I will say that the art for the series is fantastic, and I much prefer Kaare Kyle Andrews’ art to his writing.  I like the style and coloring of the comic and I have to say that after a bit of a bad period, Marvel is getting some fantastic artists for their books (oddly they are all fringe books…the main books still look pretty standard).

Iron Fist:  The Living Weapon is on the bubble for me.  I would love a nice, solid Iron Fist tale, but don’t know that I’m going to get one.  Both issues haven’t seemed to have much story and that is a problem for me.  I hope this series gets moving with Iron Fist #3.

Moon Knight (6) #3

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Warren Ellis

Artist:  Declan Shalvey

Date:  July 2014

Title:  “Box”

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Moon Knight (6) #3 Variant

A gang of ghosts is terrorizing New York City…and only Moon Knight can stop them.  When he finds that the ghosts cannot succumb to his attacks, Moon Knight realizes he must take a different approach to take down his ghostly enemies.

Moon Knight is proving to be an experimental Marvel Comic.  The stories thus far have been rather extreme (something I expect from Warren Ellis) and that both excites me and worries me.

I can’t say that a lot is happening in Moon Knight.  In an industry driven by storylines and collection based issues, stand-alone comics are somewhat of a rarity…and three standalone issues to start out a series is almost unheard of.  This makes this comic unusual but also could make it an easy target for cancellation…something a cheaper $2.99 could help solve.

The art for Moon Knight is also good and unusual.  I like Declan Shalvey’s look and style and it is a fun art.  The comic is less script based and more art based which helps highlight he work…another oddity about Moon Knight.

Moon Knight is just a weird comic in today’s market, especially for a mainstream Marvel comic.  It is worth reading for its odd nature and style, but I don’t know if it can hold on like most of Moon Knight’s other ventures.  Writers and artists keep trying with this dynamic character but keep failing to excite…I don’t know that this new version of Moon Knight will grab enough people to do it either.

Original Sin #0

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Comic Price:  $4.99

Writer:  Mark Waid

Artist:  Jim Cheung/Paco Medina

Date:  June 2014

Title:  “Who Is the Watcher?”

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Original Sin #0 Variant

Nova finds himself questioning who the Watcher is and why he watches.  After a battle with Tomazooma, Nova sets off to the moon to learn the truth about the Watcher and what Uatu is looking for.

Original Sin #0 is the preview issue to the big event limited series running this summer.  This issue serves as a “get to know the Watcher” issue for the regular series and helps readers get up to date on who Uatu is and what his goal is.

I am a fan of the Watcher and the concept of the Watcher.  The “no interference” rule is quite loose since the Watcher always seem to nudge people in the right direction, but the bobble-head Watcher never really got his due time, but he did host two long running series in What If? (though the second volume axed him part of the way through).

I really don’t like the new revamped Nova so this issue is a bit hard to stomach in that aspect.  I’m a classic Nova lover and I don’t like the art and style of the character relaunch.  Fortunately, Nova is rather harmless in this volume though he is the focus and the writing has him becoming the watcher of the Watcher which is kind of clever.

Original Sin #0 doesn’t give much indication of how Original Sin is going to play out.  That has pluses and minuses in that the book is $5.00 and essentially a stand-alone issue…with something like this, it should be a $2.99 issue to suck people in and encourage them to buy the regular series…Marvel blows it again in this aspect.

Original Sin #1

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Cover Price:  $4.99

Writer:  Jason Aaron

Artist:  Mike Deodato

Date:  July 2014

Title:  “No One Is Watching”

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Original Sin #1 Variant

Someone has killed Uatu the Watcher, ransacked his home on the moon, and stolen his all-seeing eyes.  Now spearheaded by the Avengers, a team has been assembled to get them all back and find the killer or killers before the secrets of the Watcher are revealed!

Original Sin #1 is the first “real” issue of the Marvel big event comic.  The series is crossing over through many books and was preceded by a #0 issue (also reviewed this week) that helped reintroduce the Watcher and his origin to new readers.  While the first issue was written by Mark Waid, this issue is written by Jason Aaron.

Marvel has burned me so many time in the last 10 or 15 years on “event” books that I approach them with a cynical and weary eye.  With a $4.99 price tag, I already and questioning the worth of this book in the big picture terms…why would a new comic book reader shell out so much for a comic if they are on a limited budget?

The story for the comic is ok, not great, but not bad.  Both with Inhuman and Original Sin I keep thinking back to the Earth X trilogy which had a lot of similar themes…now it feels a bit like retread (combined with something like Powers or Top 10).

The book is definitely not a bad book, and I’m glad to see that someone other than Brian Michael Bendis is getting a shot at a big crossover.  The art is strong and the story is so-so but for $4.99, I expect to be wowed.  I hate coming back over and over again to the price, but it is a factor.  If a kid can buy or download a game they can play for hours for just a little more, why bother with a comic (or just wait until the collection which will inevitably be cheaper than the sum of the books).  I will plan to get Original Sin #2, but if I’m tight and on a big week, I might miss it.

She-Hulk (5) #4

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Charles Soule

Artist:  Javier Pulido

Date:  July 2014

Title:  “The Zealous Advocate”

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She-Hulk (5) #4

She-Hulk has lost a client…literally.  After winning her case for Kristoff’s asylum in the U.S., Dr. Doom physically took his son back to Latveria.  Now She-Hulk’s in a quandary…should she help Kristoff or call it a day.  With advice from Matt Murdock, She-Hulk’s off on an adventure leading into the heart of Latveria.

I have always been and will always be a She-Hulk fan.  Jen Walter is just a fun character and with smart writing, she is one of Marvel’s best.  Thus far, the new She-Hulk series isn’t disappointing.

The legal thriller is a staple in TV and film, but it has never caught on in comic books.  Matt Murdock (who cameos here) has always been a lawyer, but being a lawyer isn’t generally the thrust of his series with most writers.  She-Hulk however generally is a legal book and it works.

Pulido continues to be one of my favorite artists at Marvel.  He feels a lot like Michael Allred and has that fun throwback look.  He always makes the story interesting and the visuals appealing…a great combo for this series.

She-Hulk is just a fun character and fun characters often make fun series.  She-Hulk has continued to be one of the monthly bright spots and this issue is no different.  With fantastic art by Pulido and a strong story by Soule, She-Hulk is a must!

The X-Files—Season 10 #11

Publisher:  IDW

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Joe Harris

Artist:  Matthew Dow Smith

Release Date:  April 2014

Title:  “Pilgrims” Part 1

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The X-Files—Season 10 #11

Mulder and Scully find themselves on a mission in Saudi Arabia after the an alleged terrorist attack.  Mulder and Scully discover that there might be more to mission however and it could involve the black oil.  As Mulder and Scully close in on answers, an old enemy resurfaces.

The X-Files always alternated between “Creature of the Week” and alien mythos episodes.  The comic is taking the same approach.  This issue finally returns to the prevalent black oil storyline that carried through most of the series.

I always preferred Creature of the Week episodes on X-Files simply because they were standalones.  That being said, I am happy to have the black oil storyline come back (I was a big fan of the movie that focused on the black oil), and the issues have done a few stand alones.

The writing has been pretty strong for the series and the art as well has done a nice job capturing the TV actors.  The story also brings back Krycek who had his moments as a rival agent during the course of the series so it will be good to see how he’s tied back in.

The X-Files—Season 10 is probably something only for fans, but it is still a fun ride.  I like the series and it is one of the comics I look forward to…now I have to track down a copy of the annual for a cheaper price since it was far too expensive when it was released.

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This Week in Comics—April 16, 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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