Fall is slowly upon us all. Leaves on the ground, chillier air, and everything unnecessarily having pumpkin added in. Oh yeah and more comic books! Let’s read up on what I pulled from my pull list this week.
These books and all the other releases of this week are available at your local comic book shops, which can be found at Comic Shop Locator, and digitally at Comixology.
Thors continues to be an amazing Secret Wars books. While I’m still in the camp of 1872 being my favorite, it’s honestly a really close second. If haven’t read or heard of it, it’s a bunch of Thors and characters who become worthy of the hammer throughout the Marvel multiverse brought together as the police force for Lord God Doom. This is a police procedural with alternate versions of Thor and its so much damn fun.
Right now Ultimate Thor is trying to solve the murder of Donald Blake and Jane Fosters throughout Battleworld, as well as the murder of his partner, Beta Ray Bill, and a homeless Loki is brought into the Thunder Room for interrogation. This conversation is the majority of the issue and thank Doom that Jason Aaron is as good a writer as he is to make sure this is an engaging conversation. I’m willing to say that Aaron has become one of the best Thor writers ever since his Thor: God of Thunder run. He understands and has a great love of the Thor mythology and lore within Marvel Comics.
He plays Ultimate Thor and Loki off each other so well and creates a great and snappy back and forth between the Norse Gods and there’s something about Loki’s dialogue that indicates he actually seems to be on to what’s going on and is self-aware of the events going on. It’s never out right said and I thank Aaron for vaguely introducing it and keeping an air of mystery about it. Loki kinda steals the issue, but the second half of the book reveals who did murder Beta Ray Bill and it’s a neat little twist, which leads to a great twist as to who comes to Ultimate Thor’s rescue at the end of the issue.
Chris Sprouse and Goran Sudzuka’s double art duty really continues to help give the book a nice visual flair and even is able to show off so many characters on one page at a time given that this book has a very wide cast of characters in which to play with. They help provide great tension in the interrogation, but convey great movement in the action when it goes down. They are a big reason as to why this book is so well loved.
The penultimate issue of Thors provides many revelations and exciting drama and action to help lead up to its conclusion next month and still be a great read. Thors must be read now or if not, do pick up the trade when it’s out. This is well worth your time if you’re looking for some weird excitement. 5/5
We Stand on Guard #3
Brian K. Vaughn is a man after my wallet. He is in a group of writers that no matter the book, even if I know nothing at all about it, I’m gonna plop down the money to read whatever they’ve written down and We Stand on Guard is no exception.
Which is why it hurts that I might honestly just drop We Stand on Guard. Vaughn’s weakest work just isn’t as on par with say Y: The Last Man or Saga or Runaways, this feels just lesser than those and really all of his works. What works most about Vaughn’s works is the characters and immediate connections to said characters, but here it honestly feels lacking for the most part and isn’t as gripping. Here Vaughn works with a huge cast of characters as he usually does, but this time as opposed to say Saga, it feels so scattershot and uneven.
This is also odd as Vaughn does amazing sci-fi in Saga yet struggles here with the allegory of U.S. foreign policy. In Guard should be indicative of great sci-fi by holding a mirror up and showing the truth as to a certain part of our own society in the moment. This is failing at that whereas Vaughn’s much loved Y had a great message with underrepresentation of women all over with its message. Alright I swear to stop bringing up other works now since really the issue is a mess. Opening on a flashback after a cliffhanger is Vaughn’s m.o. and we get a bit of back story as to the reason behind the U.S. and Canada war, but really the writing just loses itself so fast that I wondered how long it might take to finish the issue.
Now the issue deals with torture and its gonna divide audiences. The idea of torture taking place all in someone’s mind in the near future is slightly intriguing to explore and it certainly lends itself to some creepy undertones here, but really it was kinda boring. It’s the majority of the issue and is important from a narrative point to move events forward, but I found myself slightly uneasy and really rushing to finish the issue myself. Oddly enough Steve Skroce’s art for the issue is really just the only highlight I have. It’s beautifully done and he draws complicated machinery very well and does expressions without ease.
We Stand on Guard just keeps losing my interest and it hurts me as a lover of the author’s past works so much. No one has a perfect record and this seems to be a huge red mark of a blemish on Vaughn’s record. 1/5
I think the reason this is so far to me the best issue of the new Midnighter book is that it broke away from its usual story structure, which I am mixed on. Seeing the balance of Midnighter being Midnighter and his personal life is pretty good and allowing flashbacks to seeing how he and Apollo got to where they are right now. Sometimes it also feels like the story is a jumbled mess that just balances so many things at once and is telling a bit much. It’s a good structure, but it can be problematic.
Another reason might be the guest star of Dick Grayson. Now I’m not feeling the current Grayson book, I mean I love the character and am a huge espionage fan, but eh, here Dick Grayson is a breath of fresh air. He off-balances Midnighter somehow while working so well together to go undercover at a kill-thrill club in the heart of Moscow.
Steve Orlando has created an interesting book that honestly does give us a great understanding of the long time character and give it some flair. As you’d expect with Midnighter, it’s a brutal book as well that doesn’t hold back its punches, but rather embraces its hits. It’s a nice balance of character understanding and fun action, but again, sometimes the book needs to have some better focus. Art is done by guest artist Steve Mooney who does a fine job filling in for regular artist ACO and shakes up the book there at least for now. Russia looks great here.
Midnighter is a book that goes up and down for me, but this month is an up. I enjoyed this more than I honestly have the last three of the series so here’s hoping it stays on this track for a while. 4/5
Silver Surfer #14
Man you thought your job was hard, at least you were tasked with remaking the entire universe. Yes that is the task Silver Surfer is given in the latest issue of his very trippy ongoing series from Dan Slott and Michael and Laura Allred.
Surfer and companion Dawn Greenwood are stuck in a void with Glorian and Zee as they try to figure out a plan for bringing back the universe after the incursion between the main Marvel and Ultimate Universe. Now the comic goes into a weird and strange place, but then again so have all the other issues of this run and this might be one of the strangest issues yet with all that happens.
From the onset Slott has made this a mixture of weird Marvel cosmic adventures mixed with Doctor Who with the addition of Dawn as essentially the Amy Pond to Surfer’s The Doctor. Knowing Slott’s love of the long running sci-fi show is no surprise, but is also a great strength of the book. It makes for some absolutely amazing adventures across the vastness of the galaxy in (well what used to be) the Marvel Universe. It’s a big help to the book as it makes it a fun galactic adventure book to read with insanely great art.
The new issue does still have the great character dynamics that Slott seems to handle so very well and even has a one great make you want to cheer moment. Surfer does something that many will be shocked by as I was in recreating everything while Dawn recreates Earth. Michael Allred is the man to draw this book. His incredibly distinct style and look does give the book some visual flair to make it stand out from the rest, along with wife Laura that just makes the art pop right at you. I also love how often he draws the panels at angles that kinda off centers the book, which itself often feels like that and it’s perfectly fitting.
Silver Surfer #14 is a great read that continues the excellent streak of great issues for the series and seems to tie really well into the events of Secret Wars in its own strange way. 5/5
Angel and Faith #18
Like many here I’m sure, I love the Buffyverse and have enjoyed their comics continuation for the most part. Angel and Faith has been a great favorite of mine when it debuted along Buffy Season 9 and has remained a great read to me. Now with Angel off in Buffy’s book for that current storyline, Faith and Fred are running wild all over the pages here.
The conclusion of our current arc sees a dream fight in the making as Faith takes on Drusilla, or at least the solicitation of the issue promised us. Faith, with help from Fred, mostly takes on the hoard of Drusilla’s student vampires as they deal with the student Mary who seems to be an important part of Drusilla’s plan. It’s slightly disappointing to not see these two big fan favorites kick the holy hell out of each other, but it was still a pretty satisfying conclusion to the arc.
It wraps things up while setting things up for what’s the come. Victor Gischler clearly loves the Buffyverse as well as he has a clear understanding of the characters involved and gives distinct voices to the new characters that are created for the book. His scripts thus far for the new volume of Angel and Faith is great, especially in the department of the main characters, but here it’s all Faith and she is most certainly five by five. Fred is of course her usual self and all kinds of wonderful. Artist Cliff Richards continues to do stellar work with the characters, especially those that are from the shows and he handles the referencing of the actors that played said characters well more often than not. His attention to detail is exceptionally well.
While some tying in is done to the story in the Buffy comic, it’s mostly standing on its own two feet here and can be read on its own if that is your preference.
Angel and Faith #18 serves to continue the fun this title has been mostly since its inception and would be worthy of any Buffy fan to read. 4/5
Green Arrow #44
The current creative team of Benjamin Percy and Patrick Zircher have brought energy to the Emerald Archer again. Oliver Queen hasn’t had the best of luck since the 2011 reboot and wasn’t great or even good until Jeff Lemire’s time on the book and then hit a lull with the recent creative team from the Arrow show. Now it’s Ollie being his usual self, but we just wrapped up a three issue story arc, what now? How about an origin story for his new pet wolf, George. Yes, Oliver Queen has a pet wolf named George.
In the last arc, Oliver adopted a wolf he rescued from a dog fighting ring and brought it along with him on a day out and about in Seattle with his latest girlfriend Kyra. When they come across the wart lady that’s been prominent lately, she gives a fortune to George that is the back story of the wolf and its tragic past with art done by guest artist Fabrizio Fiorentino. Zircher is already a great fit for this book for his character looks and designs and the aesthetic of the book, but Fiorentino makes a good addition with more of a cleaner look.
Now the George origin is part origin, but also part set up for the upcoming storyline that is introduced further with the addition of Tarantula and a cult of warriors that once went after George and still are for his bones. I found the issue okay. I was a bit let down given the great little story we had just gotten and how much it truly felt like a Green Arrow book and while this still did, it did only briefly. The book picks up after the George origin story and sets up what should be a very promising story.
Green Arrow slowed down a bit this month and while it sets up what’s to come, it felt a bit stilted in doing so. I’m still very confident in this new team to keep delivering some comic goodness with such an iconic hero. 3.5/5
Well that is all for now and I will see you next week as I’ll be flipping through the pages.