This Week in Comics—October 2, 2013

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Villains’ Month is over for DC and now back to your regular programming…  With Villains’ Month over, Forever Evil #2 and spawns more mini-series.  Also Valiant Comics kick off their second “8-Bit Covers” month…which are limited but the same price as the regular covers.  With the 8-Bit covers, I returned to Shadowman which I had given up, and I also picked up the next installment of DC/Vertigo’s Trillium.  Dark Horse continues its adaptation of George Lucas’ original layout for Star Wars in The Star Wars #2.

This week I have six entries for you with Earth 2 #16, Forever Evil #2, Quantum and Woody (2) #4, Shadowman (3) #11, The Star Wars #2, and Trillium #3:

EARTH 2 #16

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  James Robinson

Artist:  Nicola Scott

Date:  December 2013

Title:  “To the Victor…”

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Earth 2 #16

The World Army and the Wonders lead their attack on Steppenwolf and the agents of Apokolips.  The hopeless battle takes a turn for the worst when the world learns that one of their greatest heroes could be the world’s death.

Earth 2 and Robinson’s run are winding down, and it feels it.  I have kind of fallen off and was not caught up on Earth 2 when reading this issue, but with some background in the series, it still mostly makes sense as a stand-alone issue.

Sometimes, it is good to step back from a series and read an issue as a stand-alone or as a potential new reader to really get a feel for the comic.  I have the back issues of Earth 2 but with the “Comics of the Week” format, I still wanted to tackle the issue.  I had missed a lot with the return of Doctor Fate, but the basic battle does tie to the first storyline of the comic.  The slightly unusual series leaves me wishing that Robinson was still with it but leaves me looking forward to Robinson’s take on the Invaders at Marvel.

Nicola Scott’s artwork is also a strong point in this comic.  I don’t love the cover art by Juan Doe which is a bit of a mock-up of propaganda posters and also harkens to imagery from They Live because many of the issues around here also have matching indistinctive art…leading me to always question if I’ve picked up an issue or not since they blend together.

Earth 2 is a series worth saving, but I don’t see this really happening without Robinson.  I enjoy the characters and the set-up, but it doesn’t feel like a mainstream DC book which might turn some away…I just hope Earth 2 doesn’t fall into obscurity.

FOREVER EVIL #2

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Geoff Johns

Artist:  David Finch

Date:  December 2013

Title:  “Rats”

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Forever Evil #2

The Injustice Society has overtaken Earth and now holds the world in their grasp.  As the remaining free heroes like the Teen Titans debate their next move, the Injustice Society finds themselves trying to keep control of the rebellions.  Lex Luthor realizes with Superman gone, he must save the world from the Injustice Society and activates his cloning project…Bizarro.

Forever Evil is DC’s massive cross series event.  Between Forever Evil #1 and Forever Evil #2, the entire “Villains’ Month” occurred where each title contained two to four tie-in issues.  People grew weary of the multi-issue “Villains’ Month” in September, but thankfully it is over and we’re back to the actual story.

I am actually enjoying Forever Evil…though I have been burned by these events multiple times.  Many events start out ok, but then devolve into a fist fight issue that “solves” everything.  I do like this seems to be a stand-alone series that seems to be coherent even if you aren’t reading the individual series.  It has a very ’90s feel that gives the story a lighter, less intense feel than the heavy-handed series that have dominated the comic book market recently.  However, Bizarro as a Superman clone doesn’t necessarily make a ton of sense since Superman was already cloned and that is Superboy.

I am a big fan of David Finch as an artist.  His style has a real classic feel that borders on the edge of being too heavily inked but seems to really get the characters.  I don’t love the redesign on Bizarro…I loved the angular rocky look of the original Bizarro more than the decayed Solomon Grundy look.

I’m definitely committed to Forever Evil through the seven issue run.  From this issue there are a number of spin-off titles with Forever Evil:  Arkham War #1, Forever Evil:  Rogues Rebellion #1, and Forever Evil:  A.R.G.U.S. #1 which eventually leads back to Forever Evil #3.  I don’t intend to pick up any of these series, so I hope I am not disappointed or feel like I’ve missed anything.

QUANTUM & WOODY (2) #4

Publisher:  Valiant Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  James Asmus

Artist:  Tom Fowler

Date:  October 2013

Title:  “World’s Worst” Part 4

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Quantum and Woody (2) #4 8-Bit Legend of Zelda Variant

Quantum must save Woody from the Edison Radical Acquisitions organization and find the reason that their father died.  With the E.R.A. threatening the world, the release of a creature called “The Goat” might change the tide of battle and force Quantum and Woody to team-up with Detective Cejudo to stop the E.R.A.

This entry of Quantum and Woody ends the first story arc of the series known as “World’s Worst” (a collection will be reviewed soon on BasementRejects).  The series also has the cover of the week in Valiant’s second month of honoring 8-Bit classics and features a homage to the original Legend of Zelda…well worth seeking out.

Quantum & Woody is Valiant’s “other” funny book.  I prefer Archer & Armstrong to Quantum & Woody, but Quantum & Woody do have their moments.  This issue reintroduces the legendary Goat and ends the storyline which has Quantum and Woody wanted for their father’s murder.  There are some decent jokes and the Goat does provide some laughs, but I still feel Archer & Armstrong gets the tone of humor and action just a bit better.

Tom Fowler feels very much like a ’90s artist.  I like that Quantum and Woody is a bit of a throwback book, but I would like to see some modernization to the costumes…or at least Woody’s who looks like an ’80s refugee in his blue sunglasses, shirt, and tie (he actually reminds me of the obscure Wolfpack limited series from Marvel which featured a character called “Slippery Sam”).

Quantum and Woody is a fun book, but I think it can be even better if it works on it.  Get this issue for the fun cover, but also check out the back issues.  I look forward to the next storyline which as of now is entitled “In Security”.

SHADOWMAN (3) #11

Publisher:  Valiant Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Jim Zub

Artist:  Miguel Sepulveda

Date:  October 2013

Title:  “Hallow Tides and Hollow Heads”

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Shadowman (3) #11 8-Bit Ghost & Goblins Variant

Jack finds himself down on his luck as Halloween prepares to hit the Big Easy.  When three jocks accidentally encounter two demons, Shadowman finds himself battling the demons with Dr. Mirage at the New Orleans’ Halloween parade…and it doesn’t look like Jack’s luck will be changing anytime soon.

I like Valiant, but Shadowman is the least interesting character to me in the relaunch.  I haven’t read any issues of the series since the initial four issue story arc, but I see that change soon…but not due to this comic.  The primary reason I bought this comic is Valiant’s fun and second month of 8-Bit homage covers…here Shadowman channels Ghost & Goblins (or Ghouls & Ghosts depending on your preference) for its cover.

This story (and many of the stories) in Shadowman feel pretty superficial.  I am all for the lightening of comics which in many cases have lost their fun because they are too dark and try too hard to be deep, but Shadowman (3) #11 has no substance.  The story just needs some extra kick instead of being one fight that was so-so.

The art for Shadowman isn’t too bad however.  Miguel Sepulveda has a nice style and though it isn’t revolutionary, it works with the comic.  I like some of the imagery that is presented (like Jack facing his shadow early in the issue).

The reason I might be returning to Shadowman soon is that after Shadowman (3) #12, Peter Milligan steps in as the writer for Shadowman (3) #13.  I like Milligan’s past work and I’m curious what he’ll do with the character…he’ll only have a couple shots so I hope he makes it memorable.

THE STAR WARS #2

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Cover Price: $3.99

Writer:  J.W. Rinzler

Artist:  Mike Mayhew

Date:  October 2013

Title:  —

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The Star Wars #2

The war commences as the Empire attacks the planet of Aquilae with their new war planet.  As Luke Skywalker tries to defend the planet, his apprentice Anakin Starkiller is sent to retrieve Princess Leia from her school.  A pair of droids named R2-D2 and C-3PO have escaped the space station, and Luke’s battle seems hopeless.

The Star Wars continues to bring to life George Lucas’ original outline for Star Wars.  Reading this comic, you can see how it needed to change drastically.  While the first issue of The Star Wars I found rather dense and overwritten, I found this one a bit easier to follow.  The story seems to streamline a bit more and all the characters thrown at the reader in the first issue get sorted out a bit.

The real “hook” of this comic is to see how the script evolved.  The original story was much too fantasy for mainstream viewers and I could have seen it surviving with all the goofy names and techno-babble since Star Wars was already too much for many.  Other changes this issue highlight Han Solo’s mentioning and a fully talking R2-D2.

I still have some issues with the art for this comic.  Though I like that they used Ralph McQuarrie’s original designs for the characters, I still have some difficulty telling them apart.  Part of what made Star Wars such a success was the dynamic characters (and their costumes).  Here we have a bunch of guys with beards and headdresses and it sometimes becomes difficult…fortunately, Kane Starkiller (Anakin’s father) who looked a lot like Luke Skywalker (Anakin’s master) stepped out to see Han Solo and isn’t in this issue much.

Despite the rapid pace of this comic, it still feels like it has a long way to go.  Lucas’ original script is available places online so you can get a feel of where this is going, but I’ve decided to stay away from it to be surprised by the changes.  After this issue, I’m looking a bit more forward to The Star Wars #3 than I was for The Star Wars #2.

TRILLIUM #3

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Jeff Lemire

Artist:  Jeff Lemire

Date:  December 2013

Title:  “Telementry”

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Trillium #3

Both Nika and William have returned from their encounter at the temple and their experience with the Trillium but discover that no one seems to believe their story about a cross-time encounter.  Nika finds herself facing off against her superiors to reach the temple again but learns that she may be too late as the military moves in.

Trillium has been one of those experimental comic books…I like the story, but find it confusing.  It isn’t due to the story which seems to be a rather straight forward cross-time exchange which has people from the future meeting people from the past, but it is due to the fact that Lemire keeps experimenting with the format…it is rather hard to read.

This issue of Trillium is much harder to read than the last issue.  Trillium #1 was a flip book with William’s tale on one side and Nika’s tale on the other side…meeting in the middle.  It could be read from either side and made sense.  Issue two was a straight forward issue with their encounter and the Trillium.  Here we have upside down pages meeting right side up page, and I wasn’t sure which direction I was supposed to read the upside down pages.  I like that Lemire is trying new stuff, but it has to be readable.  This is almost like reading Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire which had to questioning if you needed to read a poem or the footnotes or both at the same time.

I also like Lemire’s art.  The style of his work has a certain rawness to it and despite being simple, is also complex.  His stand alone work like The Underwater Welder was great for expanding on this concept, but with the two stories here, I don’t feel I get enough space opera or enough jungle adventure to feel satisfied since both are visually interesting.

I give Trillium a thumbs up, but it is kind of a hesitant thumbs up.  It is really hard to read and the format of the comic feels desperately difficult.  It will be interesting to see how this is reprinted as a trade paperback and how they put the book together.  I hope that the story continues to be inventive, but I would prefer the book to be more like Trillium #2 than Trillium #3.

Preceded By:

This Week in Comics—September 25, 2013

http://basementrejects.com/latest-news/week-in-comics-september-25-2013/

Followed By:

This Week in Comics—October 10, 2013

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

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @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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