This Week in Comics—October 30, 2013

10-30-sandman-overture-#1-billboard

The war for Earth is heating up with the Avengers, Aquaman finds himself teamed with the Others against the mysterious Madame Xan, the Guardians of the Galaxy set out to rescue Agent Brand, Alana and Marko wonder about their next step, and Dream makes his triumphant return.

The big story of the week is that the Sandman is back!  The 25th anniversary of Neil Gaiman’s classic has been kicked off with a Gaiman penned mini-series The Sandman:  Overture.  That being said, another great book in Saga #15 is also out today so that isn’t shabby either.

Today’s reviews include:  Aquaman (5) Annual #1, Guardians of the Galaxy (3) #8, Infinity #5, Saga #15, and The Sandman:  Overture #1.  Like always, I have tried to include links to other related reviews or previously reviewed issues.

Aquaman (5) Annual #1

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $4.99

Writer:  John Ostrander

Artist:  Geraldo Borges/Netho Diaz

Date:  December 2013

Title:  “A Choice of Evil”

10-30-aquaman-annual-#1-trial-of-the-others

Aquaman (5) Annual #1

A woman named Madame Xan has targeted the Others.  Now, the Others are going after Madame Xan who isn’t who she seems to be.  With offers of their wildest dreams, the Others are faced by temptation that might be too great to pass up.  Plus, Sky finds she might have to make the ultimate choice between her people and potential love.

Following Aquaman (5) #24 from last week, Aquaman (5) Annual #1 is written by John Ostrander and illustrated by Geraldo Borge and Netho Diaz.  The issue takes a break from the whole “Death of a King” storyline and the events of Forever Evil…it also sees a break from regular writer Geoff Johns.

I’m in general not a fan of annuals because they are generally stand-alone stories which don’t usually justify the extra cost.  This issue of Aquaman is kind of the same.  I felt that the previous Forever Evil villain month Aquaman issues were a bit better than the other Villain Month issues due to Johns script supervision…here, the issue appears to be strictly Ostrander and add anything to the rather fun “Death of a King” storyline which has been shattered by Forever Evil.

I also am still not a fan of the rather generic “Others” that Johns introduced to the Aquaman series in Aquaman 2:  The Others.  The comic is trying to make them interesting by kind of force-feeding them to the readers…but I’m just not buying them.  They are like a third rate Super Friends rather than a cool covert team.  Likewise, Morgaine Le Fay has been overused by comics for years and this incarnation of her as the sister of Madame Xanadu is no better.

The art does maintain a nice look, but the story doesn’t help it by having tons of generic fighting scenes that don’t add up to much.  Aquaman is a fun series and it is better than this issue.  Check it out one of the regular story arcs and skip this overpriced issue.

Guardians of the Galaxy (3) #8

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis

Artist:  Francesco Francavilla

Date:  December 2013

Title:  “Infinity” tie-in

10-30-guardians-of-the-galaxy-#8-infinity

Guardians of the Galaxy (5) #8

Thanos has laid siege to Earth and the Guardians of the Galaxy might be the only key to stopping him.  As Star-Lord plots a rescue mission, he finds opposition from Gamora who demands to know what happened between Star-Lord, Drax, and Thanos when everyone believed them to be dead.  Raiding the Peak to rescue Abigail Brand, Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon find that outside help might be their salvation.

Following Guardians of the Galaxy (3) #7, Guardians of the Galaxy (3) #8 is the first Guardians of the Galaxy tie-in to Jonathan Hickman’s Marvel Universe spanning Infinity series.  This seems a bit odd to me since the story is a big cross galaxy story and the characters “protecting” Earth aren’t involved…generally Bendis ruins everyone else’s storylines, I thought they would ruin his…

The story isn’t too bad.  You have some general discourse among the Guardians (which is common every issue) and then you have some Rocket and Star-Lord solo action as they go on a rescue mission.  The saving grace for this series has been that I’m kind of interested in the whole Angela tie and she does show up again at the end of the story.

The art for the story is nice with the always interesting Francesco Francavilla filling in and I will say that I’ve been rather impressed with the various artists that they have had on Guardians of the Galaxy…with such lush and varied characters and worlds, I think that it would attract a lot of different artists who’d like to try their hand at it.

Guardians of the Galaxy will continue to be a buy because I’m fans of the characters.  I really feel however that it should be one of Marvel’s $2.99 books since it is a rather fringe book at the moment (maybe after the movie comes out that could change).  I give the Guardians a tepid thumbs-up, and continue to hope that the book will achieve the greatness that it is capable of.

Infinity #5

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Jonathan Hickman

Artist:  Jerome Opena/Dustin Weaver

Date:  December 2013

Title:  “The Left Hand of Death”

10-30-infinity-#5

Infinity #5

The war against the Builders is being won by the Avengers, but Thanos’ attack on Earth has led to Earth falling to the Mad Titan’s soldiers.  Thanos has located his lost son Thane and is bent on destroying his own line as Thane begins to develop his own abilities.  With Iron Man leading a desperate rescue of Black Bolt, Captain America and a team of Avengers heads back to Earth for the final battle.

Following Infinity #4, Infinity #5 is written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by Jerome Opena and Dustin Weaver.  The comic is a massive crossover event that I think will have big impact on the entire Marvel Universe.

I have generally been pretty disappointed in the Marvel massive crossovers in the past ten years or so, but I do continue to get them just because they are “important” to the comic lines.  With DC’s big relaunch of their universe after Flashpoint, I kind of wonder if Marvel has bigger plans then they are letting on involving this series.

I have found the last couple issues of Infinity a bit more tolerable than the first couple of issues.  I haven’t been reading Avengers or New Avengers and the onset of this series was so jumbled, jumpy, and unreadable as a stand-alone.  The series has mellowed out a bit, but I still feel that I’m only getting part of a story and that is something I don’t think is fair to readers…nor will it do any good to bring in new readers (it probably will just dissuade new readers).

The art for Infinity is pretty strong, but I don’t like that Marvel picked to surround Thanos with very generic characters that all kind of resemble him.  It makes them hard to distinguish any of the main agents of the “Black Order/Cull Obsidian” and likewise the computerized “Builders” aren’t descript either…It is a comic book, they could have gotten more creative.  Deathbird was a member of the Shi’ar and she looked completely different than any other Kree.

I have one more issue of Infinity to go and will get it to complete the series.  I am not really enjoying the series so I look forward to next month’s conclusion.

Saga #15

Publisher:  Image Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Brian K. Vaughan

Artist:  Fiona Staples

Date:  October 2013

Title:  —

10-30-saga-#15

Saga #15

Upsher and Doff continue their search for information on Alana and if she possibly went AWOL instead of being kidnapped.  Alana and Marko remain hidden at D. Oswald Heist’s lighthouse, but begin to realize that they have to plan their next step.  The Will remains steadfast that he is finished with his life as a bounty hunter but discovers that peace might not be possible.

Following Saga #14, Saga #15 continues the fun reign of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ hit series.  The comic continues to move and advance and fifteen issues in is still a very different comic book.

Saga is one of the best comics on the shelf right now and totally for adults.  The series always pushes the barriers of good taste, but you can tell by how it is done that it is tongue-in-cheek rather than just trying to shock.

I have to say I hope Alana and Marko go on the run again soon.  Though I like the realistic pacing of the story, I think I enjoyed it a bit more when the series was more of a chase.  The Will and his storyline continues to be my favorite part of the story and I’m a bit undecided about the intrepid reporters Upsher and Doff.

Fiona Staples goes a great distance to help make this comic what it is.  This issue has a fun cover with a mock-up of romance novels…this of course ties into the book since it was a novel that brought them together which from all reports by everyone who has read it in the comic is a cheesy romance.  I hope Staples gets to introduce some new characters soon because I love her work and what she does with the characters.

Saga is a must by if you are an adult and have any love for comics.  If you can’t get the series, get Saga—Volume 1 and Volume 2…you won’t regret it.

The Sandman:  Overture #1

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $4.99

Writer:  Neil Gaiman

Artist:  J.H. Williams III

Date:  December 2013

Title:  —

10-30-sandman-overture-#1-neil-gaiman-jh-williams-iii-j-h

The Sandman: Overture #1

Something is bothering Dream.  It is 1915 and something is gnawing at him and he can’t place a finger on it.  As he tries to deal with a rogue nightmare in the Corinthian, Death and Destiny worry about what is coming for Dream.

The Sandman:  Overture series marks the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series.  The oversized issue comes at a hefty price of $4.99 and contains a fold-out picture section in the last pages of the story.

At the beginning of The Sandman, Dream is captured and imprisoned for decades.  This story presents the events leading up to the capture.  Like much of The Sandman series, it feels like a much bigger story is being laid out for the rest of the series…and I can’t wait!

The Sandman always took some of the biggest, brightest, and inventive artists for its series.  With J.H. Williams III’s Batwoman run winding down, it breaks up a bit of the pain by having him do some great work here.  With interesting page layouts and a great version of the character, this art matches the fun, developing story.  Now, I just want to see his versions of all of the Sandman favorites (can we get a Sandman gallery issue possibly?)

Dream is back, and I’ve missed him.  Like an old friend, it is good to see this great character take the page again.  I liked the whole Sandman series, but always much preferred this Dream to Daniel who ended the series so it is fun to see him back and whole once again.  I look forward to The Sandman:  Overture #2.

Preceded By:

This Week in Comics—October 23, 2013

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

Followed By:

This Week in Comics—November 6, 2013

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

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.

Leave A Response