This Week in Comics—October 9, 2013

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This week in comics has a nice Halloween issue with Afterlife with Archie #1 and sticker shock issue of Batman (2) #24 at $6.99.  With another big haul, I’m put into a marathon reading session to catch up on back issues so I can read some of these new titles.

I can tell you that Afterlife with Archie wins the “most fun” title for the week, Eternal Warrior wins the best cover, and the price of Batman is debated…read all the reviews bellow!

This week’s issues include:  Afterlife with Archie #1, Archer & Armstrong (2) #14, Batgirl (3) #24, Batman (2) #24, Eternal Warrior (2) #2, and Infinity #4.

Afterlife with Archie #1

Publisher:  Archie Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Artist:   Francisco Francavilla

Date:  September 2013

Title:  —

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Afterlife with Archie #1 Variant Cover

An accident has happened in Riverdale.  Someone has struck and killed Jughead’s beloved dog Hot Dog.  When Jughead goes to Sabrina for help, Sabrina breaks her coven’s rules by doing a resurrection spell for Jughead.  Now, Hot Dog is back and hungry for human flesh with Jughead as his first victim.  Riverdale is preparing for Halloween, and it is about to get a lot scarier.

I have to say that I haven’t bought an Archie comic in years (I’ve read a few however) and picked this one up for the novelty…and loved it.  The zombie trend might be overblown, but adding zombies to Archie’s world (in a somewhat serious manner) works.

The story is actually decent.  Many of these crossover style comics seem very forced, but tying in Sabrina the Teenage Witch and a resurrection spell (a la Pet Sematery) is genius.  The comic read quick and has other popular film references like to Night of the Living Dead, Halloween, and A Nightmare on Elm Street…without feeling too much like a Scream movie.  The Reggie hitting Hot Dog storyline seems a bit heavy, but hopefully, it will go somewhere (or Reggie will finally be eaten and out of Archie’s life forever).

The comic is benefited from Francisco Francavilla’s great art.  It isn’t traditional Archie style, but it still holds some classic feel to it (while also feeling like an EC Horror comic).  The style works well, and it still feels like you’re reading an Archie comic (unlike those “real style” Archie comics).

Definitely head out and get Afterlife with Archie #1…even if you aren’t a fan of “funny books”.  Afterlife with Archie is surprisingly not funny, but it definitely is fun!

Archer & Armstrong (2) #14

Publisher:  Valiant Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Fred Van Lente

Artist:  Khari Evans

Date:  October 2013

Title:  “The Conspiracy”

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Archer & Armstrong (2) #14 8-Bit Street Fighter II Variant

Archer has abandoned Armstrong and stranded him in Faraway for his betrayal with Mary-Maria.  The origin of the Sect is about to be revealed and the ultimate quest for the Wheel of Aten which will can give control of the Sect to its owner.  Archer has vowed to find the Wheel for Project Rising Spirit in exchange for the truth about his own past, but quickly learns that Armstrong might be the key.  Meanwhile, a war is brewing between the factions of the Sect and the first strike has occurred.

Archer and Armstrong is probably my favorite book of the Valiant relaunch.  Its tone and writing are perfect, and the humor and action balance out to be a great read.  This issue kicks off the Sect War and is also part of Valiant’s second 8-Bit month with homages to classic video games.  Archer & Armstrong cheated a bit on this front and borrowed from the 16-Bit classic Street Fighter II for its cover (but still fun).

I like that Archer and Armstrong has managed to be tied to the Valiant Universe without feeling totally caught up in some of the other books stories.  There are mentions of the Vine and Project Rising Spirit (mostly covered in X-O Manowar, Harbinger, and Bloodshot), but they aren’t really being affected by these ties.  Here, this is an “Armstrong free” issue and it is kind of nice to see a new and different Archer rising.

Khari Evans brings good substance to Van Lente’s storyline, and I would love to see some members of the Sect explored a bit more thoroughly.  I hope that this Sect War accomplishes this and I also hope that the upcoming Unity doesn’t throw a wrench in the effective and amusing series.

Batgirl (3) #24

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Gail Simone

Artist:  Fernando Pasarin

Date:  December 2013

Title:  “Dragnet” Wanted Part 2 of 3

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Batgirl (3) #24

Barbara is still trying to give up the mantle of Batgirl, but finds herself continuously drawn into danger.  With her boyfriend Ricky shot by her father, Barbara finds that her father is still hunting Batgirl for the murder of her brother.  As Jim Gordon moves closer to discovering the truth about his daughter, Barbara might be forced to wear her costume again when Gordon is targeted by Knightfall and his agents.

Batgirl continues to be a solid title for DC and their New 52 line which has taken some hits recently.  The debate over Gail Simone writing the title fortunately is over, and Simone is continuing her storyline which finally seems to have its threads coming together.

I like that Simone is trying to establish some real enemies for Batgirl instead of just one shots or recycled Batman villains.  The inclusion of Knightfall for a number of issues and Batgirl’s recent enemies like Gretel, Mirror, and Grotesque might actually have Batgirl fighting some formidable foes.  The challenge being that I would love for them not just to be “Batgirl enemies” and hope to see them cross into some of the other Batman books for a one shot or so…Batman in general needs some new blood.

I am also enjoying the strange Batgirl:  Wanted! storyline which reaches its midpoint here.  Gordon has to be the worse detective ever since he can’t figure out the identity of any of the Bat-Family including his daughter who he’s even talked to as Batgirl.  I hope that this storyline ends with the recognition that he knows she’s really Batgirl…otherwise, that guy needs to be fired.

Fernando Pararin is really good for this series.  I think he gets the softer moments of Barbara’s character but can still do the fighting moments as well…it is helpful when you are teamed with a writer who can write both also.

Batgirl (3) #24 continues to be a strong title.  I will stick with this title and I’m glad to see it developing and hope it will flourish especially since Batwoman now is hitting problems with the leaving of its creative team (possibly Simone could spread herself around a bit and take a swing at it).

Batman (2) #24

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $6.99

Writer:  Scott Snyder

Artist:  Greg Capullo

Date:  December 2013

Title:  “Zero Year:  Dark City” Part 1

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Batman (2) #24

Bruce Wayne is now forming his role as Batman.  He has the idea and now he has the identity as he tries to determine what the Red Hood Gang is plotting for Gotham.  Stopping the Red Hood Gang will mean giving up his anonymity and “returning to life” as the heir to Wayne Enterprises…but it also could mean the creation of one of his greatest enemies when it is finally time for a showdown with the Red Hood Gang.

I was pretty angry when I saw the hefty price of $6.99 on Batman (2) #24.  It was a lot to ask readers to buy into the whole Villains’ Month with four additional issues of Batman (which didn’t tie to the Year Zero storyline), and then to come back from essentially a hiatus to slap them with a price tag of $6.99…it really makes me mad that it was a good issue.

The Year Zero storyline has been quite fun and it really has been written in a way to more or less enhance Miller’s Year One storyline (with a few tweaks).  This hefty issue essentially shows Batman’s first outings and also sets up the Joker as Batman’s rival in the battle that led him to his disfigurement.  There is a great “gotcha” moment where it appears that the Joker’s identity has been revealed as Liam Distal…but then it is revealed that Distal is dead.  Normally, I wouldn’t fall for this type of thing, but due to the outrageous price tag and hints throughout the Death of the Family story, I almost bought it for a second.

Capullo’s art continues to be a fantastic addition to the series.  The issue has a moment where you can see how Capullo’s style really does lend itself to old Batman art.  In Batman’s battle with the Red Hood Gang you get Capullo’s version of Batman’s first cover appearance in Detective Comics (1) #27, and it looks great.

Did Batman (2) #24 need to be $6.99…definitely not and I hope this isn’t some type of trend (I almost didn’t buy it out of principle).  Despite this horrifying price, it was an important and great issue.  I’d almost be up for Batman being bi-monthly if the issues were like this every other month.  Hopefully Batman (2) #25 keeps up the good pacing, and I look forward to the Riddler  stepping out in full force.

Eternal Warrior (2) #2

Publisher:  Valiant Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Greg Pak

Artist:  Trevor Hairsine

Date:  October 2013

Title:  —

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Eternal Warrior (2) #2 8-Bit Pitfall Variant

Gilad finds himself in battle with his daughter Xaran and learns that his past is once again coming back to haunt him.  Gilad remembers protecting the Geomancer named Buck in Oklahoma in 1877 and refusing to follow the laws of the Earth when it only seeks blood.   Now, that decision could mean life or death and could put him on the path to war again.

Eternal Warrior (2) #2 is part of Valiant’s second 8-Bit title month, and I had my local comic shop hold this 8-Bit version of this cover…thankfully.  It may be my favorite of the second round of 8-Bit covers as an ode to the classic Pitfall.  It is probably good I love the cover because I’m not entirely sold on the story as of now.

Archer and Armstrong is probably my favorite Valiant title.  It has a lot of the fun that Marvel and DC comics have forgotten but it isn’t too jokey that it is like reading a comedy book.  With Eternal Warrior closely tied to Archer and Armstrong, I wish that the tone of the book would lighten a bit more.

I don’t feel much happened in this volume.  The events in Oklahoma were interesting, but the “modern day” events with Xaran were quite dull.  I like the Eternal Warrior’s relationship with the Geomancer, and would rather have had the book stick with the old day actions…If not, I’d like Gilad more involved with the current Valiant universe rather than a stand-alone tale.

Eternal Warrior will continue to be on my buy list, but it is on the edge.  I like what Valiant is trying and find Trevor Hairsine’s art quite strong.  I want a bit more from Eternal Warrior…but man, I do love that cover which does take me back to days of Intellivision and simple games…that you still played for hours at a time (much like the time spent to reading comics).

Infinity #4

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Jonathan Hickman

Artist:  Jerome Opena/Dustin Weaver

Date:  December 2013

Title:  “Thane”

 

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Infinity #4

Thanos has come to Earth looking for his son Thane who is hiding among the Inhumans.  The battle with Black Bolt brings the activation of the Terrigen Bomb which has the potential to change the world.  Meanwhile in space, Captain America leads a strike against the Builders that could threaten the fate of the universe.

Infinity #3 was filled with a lot of garble that didn’t make sense if you were only reading the Infinity series and not New Avengers and Avengers.  Here, the story is more coherent, but I don’t know how Marvel can come back from this series unless they are planning some sort of a New 52 relaunch of the whole universe.

The storyline reads a lot like the Earth X/Universe X/Paradise X series (which were fun but also very intense and not easy to read unless you were extremely versed in the Marvel Universe).  The two storylines (battle with the Builders and Thanos on Earth) need to come together soon or this series should have just been two mini-series (at a lower price of $2.99 each).  I’m assuming that the stories will come together, but you never know in today’s comics.

The art continues to be a strong point for the series, and I do like some of the imaginings of the characters.  I think the Thane character (who is kind of the focus of this issue) needed to be a bit more distinctive (and I really hope this doesn’t turn into a Darkseid/Orion copy).

Infinity #4 was a step up from Infinity #3, and I like that it is more accessible.  The point of big crossover comics is to award frequent readers while bringing in new readers (or bringing back old ones) who might not be regulars.  I don’t know that Infinity can do this, and I hope that Marvel has an after plan that brings some lightness to the Marvel Universe which has not been fun for years (see Hawkeye and FF for a template).

Preceded By:

This Week in Comics—October 2, 2013

http://basementrejects.com/latest-news/this-week-in-comics-october-2-2013/

Followed By:

This Week in Comics—October 16, 2013

http://basementrejects.com/latest-news/this-week-in-comics-october-16-2013/

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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