This Week in Comics—November 13, 2013

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Wars are breaking out all over the Valiant universe.  Archer and Armstrong are caught in the Sect War and Aric the Man-o-War is battling…everyone.  Meanwhile in Gotham City, a power outage has struck and Batman and the citizens are fighting for survival.

A light week this week (not necessarily by choice, but finance).  In addition to the reviewed issues, I did pick up The Star Wars #3…which I had missed the previous week.  The week was dominated by Valiant and DC with two issues focusing on Batman’s Zero Year.

If I had to pick a winner for the week, I’d probably pick Archer & Armstrong (2) #15 due to its light and fun storytelling…though none of the issues were bad.

Issues reviewed this week include:  Archer & Armstrong (2) #15, Batgirl (2) #25, Batman (2) #25, and Unity #1

Archer & Armstrong (2) #15

Publisher:  Valiant Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Fred Van Lente

Artist:  Khari Evans/ChrisCross

Date:  November 2013

Title:  “The 3,000 Year Binge”—Sect Civil War

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Archer & Armstrong (2) #15

War is breaking out among the Sect and people like Harada are seeing opportunities.  As the war rages, Archer and his brother Ivar find themselves tripping through time on a massive pub crawl.  Armstrong deals with Archer’s betrayal, and Ivar fights to control him.  There might be only one hope for Armstrong, and Archer doesn’t want to be part of it.

Written by Fred Van Lente and illustrated by Khari Evans and ChrisCross, Archer & Armstrong (2) #15  finds itself in the multi-issue Sect Civil War arc after the end of the Far Faraway storyline in Archer & Armstrong (2) #14.

I have to say of Valiant titles, Archer & Armstrong is possibly becoming my favorite.  Fred Van Lente is find a great pace of humor and action and it is a little better balanced than Valiant’s other “funny” action title Quantum and Woody.

The story in this volume essentially is a “meanwhile” title.  It has some nice bonding moments between Armstrong and his lost brother Ivar, but has little to do with the Sect Civil War.  A short cameo at the beginning by Harbinger’s Harada explains what is occurring in the “2013” timeline as Armstrong and Ivar travel through the past.  The story also serves as a means to get Archer and Armstrong back together after their fallout over Mary Marie.

A fun aspect of Archer & Armstrong is the time line.  Armstrong has lived through all times and now Archer has the ability to jump back and forth with the time map.  This opens up worlds of possibilities for stories and keeps the plot moving along with potentially fun issues like this.

Archer & Armstrong is a must read.  If you have to read one Valiant, I would recommend this title.  It puts the fun back in comics that more often than not are too dark and dismal.  I don’t know if Unity will tie in to Archer & Armstrong (I hope not), but the Sect Civil War, I image, will play a bigger role in the next issue.

Batgirl (3) #25

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Marguerite Bennett

Artist:  Fernando Pasarin

Date:  January 2014

Title:  “Homestead”—Zero Year

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Batgirl (3) #25

Gotham is under siege from a power outage and the elements.  As the city floods, Barbara finds herself charged with taking care of her younger brother James.  James and Barbara’s escape to a refuge might be short lived when a sinkhole threatens the storm’s survivors and Barbara learns a tough lesson about life in Gotham City.

Written by stand-in writer Marguerite Bennett, Batgirl (3) #25 is a Batman:  Zero Year tie-in.  In the issue Barbara Gordon is just Barbara Gordon…she’s not Batgirl or Oracle.  The story is a nice introduction to a teenage Barbara Gordon who is finding her path.

Origin issues sometimes can be quite a bore.  This issue isn’t too bad because much of what makes Batgirl interesting is that Barbara seems like a pretty rounded character (the fighting and villains aren’t as big of a factor).  Here, it is all Barbara and all character development.  I felt the fight at the end was a little weak (though it does make sense in that Barbara is young and doesn’t have the intuition to determine that the Henry character could turn on her).

I like Gail Simone’s storyline and I wish that the Batman: Zero Year issue hadn’t interfered with Batgirl:  Wanted.  With Villains Month and this, the story has been quite shattered, and despite having a conclusion next month, I think DC’s hurt it beyond repair.  I barely remember what is going on it.

The Zero Year Batman titles have jumped in price…that is a shame.  Batgirl was one of those good, solid $2.99 reads.  It is only a dollar difference, but I will have to reconsider if I keep Batgirl if it stays at $3.99.  I will get the next issue however when Gail Simone’s Batgirl:  Wanted storyline wraps up.

Batman (2) #25

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $4.99

Writer:  Scott Snyder

Artist:  Greg Capullo

Date:  January 2014

Title:  “Dark City”—Zero Year

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Batman (2) #25

Gotham has fallen under darkness as a massive blackout caused by the Riddler has covered the city.  As a massive storm bares down on Gotham, Batman finds himself battling the police while investigating a series of murders tied to a scientist called Dr. Death.  Bruce tries to locate Dr. Death but discovers Death’s agents could be closer than he thought.

Written by Scott Snyder and part of Batman’s Zero Year series, Batman (2) #25 features a blackout embossed cover and a hefty price of $4.99 which could leave readers questioning if the quality equals the bigger price tag like Batman (2) #24.

I will say this for the last two issues of Batman which have been higher in price…they do feel bigger.  I don’t know however if this extra story equals the extra price.  Comics are already high enough, and asking readers for another dollar for a regular monthly book might cause a drop off…if that is the cost of special covers, you can leave the ’90s at the door.

It is too bad if readers stop with Batman because Snyder’s run on Batman has been quite entertaining.  Unlike the regular six issue series, Snyder has expanded most stories into longer arcs.  For today’s readers, a story that lasts a whole year might be a bit much, but I’m kind of liking the larger feel.  Plus, I do like the creepy Dr. Death (who was one of Batman’s earliest enemies).

The art for Batman continues to be strong as well.  The comic has a style to it and things in this issue also feel like a throwback to earlier Batman comics (like his Batmobile).  This is also appropriate due to the “Year Zero” theme, and I actually wish there was more of a retro feel to the comic (although it is only supposed to be six years ago).

Batman continues to be a fun comics, and Batman (2) #25 is a great example of how the comic has been strengthened by New 52.  I honestly didn’t read Batman very often before the Flashpoint relaunch, but Flashpoint did get me interested in this run on Batman and this is the longest run of Batman I’ve probably read…and I’m still looking forward to more.

Unity #1

Publisher:  Valiant Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Matt Kindt

Artist:  Doug Braithwaite

Date:  November 2013

Title:  —

 

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Unity #1

The war with Aric is on and the Man-o-War is taking no prisoners.  Aric has staked his claim on land for people and war could be brewing for Earth.  Now, Harada and Gilad are planning an attack to take down Aric forever, but Aric and his armor can’t be stopped easily.

Unity is the new Valiant’s first major event.  It is a throwback to the previous Valiant run which also kicked off many of their comic titles with Unity in 1992 (over 21 years ago!?!) The original Unity helped introduce Archer and Armstrong, the Eternal Warrior, and Turok (in the Valiant Universe), and here, Unity brings together Gilad and Harada and other major Valiant players for a war against Aric (aka the X-O Manowar).

I don’t like big crossover events and I like my comics to stay untouched.  I have been reading Valiant since its relaunch and some of the comics really have done a good job distinguishing themselves from their competitors at Marvel and DC who have been bogged down by “big events” for years.  I hope Unity succeeds, but I hope it doesn’t set a precedent for a constantly rotating “big event” for the series.

Unity does a pretty good job balancing script and fighting.  There are some big throwdowns in Unity, but it still manages to have some dialogue and story development.  The story relatively stands alone and could be read by a new reader.

Doug Braithwaite’s art is quite strong.  Valiant has also done a great job recruiting some strong artists.  Unlike Image (and even Valiant’s initial ’90s launch), the new Valiant hasn’t put art over substance and instead has worked well to combine the two into strong solid books like Unity #1.

I did enjoy Unity #1 and look forward to Unity #2.  I hope that the smack-down received by Ninjak doesn’t put him out of the comic for the rest of the series…I have rather enjoyed his appearances in X-O Manowar in the relaunch.  I wish that Marvel and DC would take a note from Valiant and find a way to make the comics more accessible to new readers…now, if some Marvel and DC readers would just check out Valiant, it would even be better…

Preceded By:

This Week in Comics—November 6, 2013

http://basementrejects.com/latest-news/this-week-in-comics-november-6-2013/

Followed By:

This Week in Comics—November 20, 2013

http://basementrejects.com/latest-news/this-week-in-comics-november-20-2013/

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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