This Week in Comics—October 16, 2013

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This week in comics is another great Valiant week with the continuing 8-Bit covers.  My handy comic bookstore (Comic Carnival in Indianapolis) held the titles for me so I was able to get the Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps #15 with the Doom (or I’d like to think more Wolfenstein 3D) cover and the fun X-O Manowar (3) #18 cover with an ode to Tetris.

Animal Man is finally back from Villain Month hiatus and we also get another installment of X-Files:  Season 10.  A couple of books had to take a break this week due to the high volume of releases, and I had to wait on Batwoman #24 which I hopefully will review in the next couple of weeks.

With this entry, this also includes some of the first “wrap-around” titles in my “This Week in Comics” series.  I’ll try to provide a link within the reviews to the previous issue review (unless I forget).

This weeks featured issues are:  Animal Man (2) #24, Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps #15, Guardians of the Galaxy (3) #7, Hawkeye (2) #13, The X-Files—Season 10 #5, and X-O Manowar (3) #18

Animal Man (2) #24

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Jeff Lemire

Artist:   Rafael Albuquerque

Date:  December 2013

Title:  “Hollywood Babylon” Part 1

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Animal Man (2) #24

Brother Blood and his ally in the Totem make their big power grab leaving the Red under enemy control.  With the Red becoming militant, the hunt for Maxine and Buddy is on, and Maxine must choose between her quest to save her brother’s soul or saving the Red.  Buddy’s battles with Hogue and the Splinterfolk continues, but Maxine’s disappearance could bring a big change to Buddy’s life.

Animal Man continues to be one of the bright spots of the New 52.  I love the character and Lemire’s work with him continues to evolve and develop him.  He is one of the different superheroes who seems vulnerable and that is what makes him likeable.

I like that this storyline works to heal the rift between Buddy and Ellen since being a family so much part of Animal Man…even back in the Grant Morrison days.  Awful stuff always happens to Buddy’s family however so I’m sure something terrible will happen to them again soon…I really do hope that Cliff stays dead (along with his gross mullet).

I kind of wish that Lemire would back off the Red for a bit to allow Animal Man to expand beyond his regular “veins”.  I know that in this title the Red and Animal Man are synonymous, but I’d love to see a storyline not involving the Red…even if it is just a couple issues.

Animal Man continues to truck on and that is a good thing.  It has lost some of its distinct feel from the launch of the New 52, but it still maintains its strange blend of action with an undertone of horror…much like its companion book Swamp Thing.  There are things that can be done to improve Animal Man (and I’d love to see Travel Foreman return though Rafael Albuquerque is a good replacement).

Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps #15

Publisher:  Valiant Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Christos Gage/Joshua Dysart

Artist:   Emanuela Lupacchino

Date:  October 2013

Title:  “The H.A.R.D. Way” Part 2

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Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps #15 (8-Bit Doom Variant)

The H.A.R.D. Corps’ rescue mission of Bloodshot hits a snag when they learn Harada has altered Bloodshot’s life sustaining nanites.  With Harada’s Harbinger agents bearing down on them, not all of H.A.R.D. Corps will be returning to base…and if they succeed will Bloodshot be joining them?

This is Bloodshot’s entry in Valiant’s second month of doing 8-Bit covers.  This cover pays homage to Doom (though I’d like to think that it was honoring its predecessor Wolfenstein 3D) and has Bloodshot as the fun “face” which shows his energy level.  Like many of these 8-Bit covers, I find them almost worth the price of admission since they don’t cost any extra.

Bloodshot was close to the top of the Valiant titles for me, but I’m a bit leery of this new direction following Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps #14.  I don’t love the decision to team him with H.A.R.D. Corps who I always felt were rather lame and generic characters.   I know that Gage and Dysart are trying to make them distinguishable, but I always have a hard time with characters wearing uniform costumes that all match when their primary weapon is carrying a big gun.

I would like it if this team-up was more of a stunt.  You get a bit invested with the H.A.R.D. Corps and after about six or eight issues all of the back-up cast is slaughtered and the title returns to Bloodshot.  That would be a good read (of course in the day of internet and spoilers, it would be hard to be a surprise).

I will tepidly continue to get Bloodshot for a bit.  I like what Valiant is doing with their line, but Bloodshot along with a couple other titles are getting a bit war weary in their sophomore year.  I do like Valiant’s ethics and I wish that they could find a way to lower their prices to $2.99 or at least $3.50 to compete harder with DC and Marvel.

Guardians of the Galaxy (3) #7

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis

Artist:   Sara Pichelli/Valerio Schiti

Date:  December 2013

Title:  —

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Guardians of the Galaxy (3) #7 (Lego Variant)

Angela has been captured by the Guardians of the Galaxy, but now the Guardians must determine who or what she is and what they need to do with her.  With the world in danger, the stakes are rising and the idea that an angel has come to Earth is not what the Guardians need right now.

I have to say Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy is growing on me a bit.  Following Guardians of the Galaxy (3) #6 and Angela’s introduction, I have a bit more hope for the series…if Angela sticks around.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have always been a hodgepodge of characters and the company jumping Angela could fit in well with the series as a bit of a replacement for Starhawk who was always an interesting aspect of the old Guardians.  I also could see Angela just spinning off into her own series where she explores the Earth of her legends…either way I wouldn’t mind it.

The problem with the series is a typical Bendis problem.  When you look back on this issue, what really happened?  Not much is the answer and that is a big problem when you’re asking readers to put down $4 on a comic.  There is a bunch of witty banter with Angela and that is about it.  I’m not saying every comic has to have a lot going on, but the Guardians of the Galaxy (and much of Bendis work in general) often has nothing going on for issues and issues.

I do love some of Pinchelli’s character designs.  Angela looks great but I’m particularly impressed by Gamora, Rocket, and Groot who have a great look to them and great coloring by Justin Ponsor…it really brings out the comics.

I am sticking with Guardians of the Galaxy, but I’m almost demanding that something happen in the series.  With word that the next storyline involves Infinity, I’m almost induced to groaning because Infinity could ruin what little steam this comic has going.

Hawkeye (2) #13

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Matt Fraction/David Aja

Artist:   David Aja

Date:  December 2013

Title: 

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Hawkeye (2) #13

Hawkeye deals with the death of Grills and finds his world spiraling out of control.  When Kate decides to leave him with Lucky (Arrow) the Pizza Dog, Hawkeye finds the return of his brother Barney might be what he needs to fill the hole in his life.

I can’t give Hawkeye anymore praise then it has already been given.  After a brief hiatus, it is great to have the comic back and have the voice and vision of Fraction and Aja once again in my hands.

As stand-alones, I have to say that Hawkeye isn’t the best comic, but as a whole, each issue is a fun ride.  With the popular “Pizza Dog” issue from #11, a number of the events being brought up in that comic have been solved in the last few issues and it has been fun untangling the perspective of the dog which led to Kate’s leaving and the arrival of Barney.  You wouldn’t have a clue of what was occurring if you didn’t read them all.

Not only is the complex storytelling great, but Aja still has mastered the voice of Hawkeye who I honestly was never that big a fan of (though I did love, love West Coast Avengers).  It is rare for a colorist to make such a big difference on a comic, but Matt Hollingsworth should get top billing with Aja in that they seem to work great as a team to provide an interesting comic with great compositions.

Hawkeye is simply awesome.  I can’t recommend it enough, but as I said, if you don’t have the back issues, a collection is probably the way to go.  I am a little bummed however because next issue isn’t featuring Aja’s art and has Annie Wu joining the team as a rotating artist.

The X-Files—Season 10 #5

Publisher:  IDW

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Joe Harris/Chris Carter

Artist:   Michael Walsh

Date:  October 2013

Title:  “Believers” Part 5

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The X-Files–Season 10 #5

Mulder has been shot by Scully and only the Acolytes can help him.  Led deep into Yellowstone, Mulder and Scully discover a hidden secret which will lead to new discovers and a new direction for Mulder and Scully.

The X-Files—Season 10 #5 wraps-up the first story arc of the new series with Believers Part 5.  With the end of the series, The X-Files is free to go whatever direction it feels like by reestablishing the status-quo of the series.

Much like many of the seasons of The X-Files works, this story arc essentially just reopens the X-Files and puts Mulder and Scully back in the FBI to investigate them…this was a common season ender during the series with the X-Files being threatened of shutdown so in this sense, it really does feel like a new season.

Following the events of The X-Files—Season 10 #4, the Acolytes storyline was a bit odd and didn’t provide very many answers, but seldom did The X-Files really give any answers anyway.  I don’t know that I love the storyline with the Cigarette Smoking Man, but we’ll see how it pans out.  I also hope Agent Doggett and Agent Reyes get a little more respect in upcoming issues.  They’re currently missing and I actually always enjoyed Doggett (Reyes less so), and I’d like both back for some solo issues.

The X-Files is great fun.  Of the “Season” series which are popping up all over the comic book market, it is my favorite, but I also had more invested in The X-Files than Buffy or Angel (I haven’t checked out Smallville yet, but intend to).  I look forward to upcoming issues, and I’m really excited about next issue which brings back the legendary Fluke Man of The X-Files—Season 2.

X-O Manowar (3) #18

Publish:  Valiant Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Robert Venditti

Artist:  Lee Garbett

Date:  October

Title:  “Soft Targets”

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X-O Manowar #18 (8-Bit Tetris Variant)

Aric is finding trouble from within among the Visigoths as Volo makes a move to take power from him.  With the world monitoring his actions, the Russians make their first strike on Aric and his people and now the war with the Visigoth has begun!

With the usual multiple covers available for this title, I opted for the fun 8-Bit cover which features Tetris…though I have to complain in that one of the pieces don’t really match up with their “four piece” (aka tetra where the game got its title) style and that one of the upcoming pieces is an entirely new piece…proving Aric is a cheater (I’m still kind of mad about his fight with the Eternal Warrior)!

Besides this observation, X-O Manowar continues to be one of the better comics on the racks today.  Following the events of X-O Manowar (3) #17, I like that the book has turned from a warrior book to a book about a man trying to keep his kingdom…it’s like King Conan with a suit of armor.  It is also good that the series has essentially ditched the Vine and moved on to new things (I wish some of Valiant’s other books would move on to new material from their starting storylines).

The art for X-O Manowar continues to also be stellar.  As the threat of war is growing, the need to start distinguishing characters within the Visigoth is growing and also some of the supporting characters really could be helped with some defining characterists…Lee Garbett does a nice job here doing that and I hope that future issues get past the enemies simply being “goatee man”, “clean cut man”, and “M.E.R.O. office lady”.  It is a comic book so characters are allowed to be a bit more extreme.

I have a few X-O Manowar has a few criticisms, but they are quite small and do not hinder the comic that much.  X-O Manowar is gearing up to the big event with the new version of Unity and Aric and before coming back for X-O Manowar (3) #19, check out Unity #1.

Preceded By:

This Week in Comics—October 9, 2013

http://basementrejects.com/latest-news/this-week-in-comics-october-9-2013/

Followed By:

This Week in Comics—October 23, 2013

http://basementrejects.com/latest-news/this-week-in-comics-october-23-2013/

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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