Category Archives: Superman

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: April 5 – 11, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK

OneTwo

 

The best comic I read last week was

Superman #20.

Writer: Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason

Artist: Patrick Gleason

 

There are so many good things going on in Superman #20, it is difficult to know where to start discussing them. Following an engaging, through a bit frustrating and confusing “Superman Reborn” arc which again altered the status quo for Superman, Lois and Jon, “Black Dawn” – the new arc – jumps in acknowledging but not dwelling on the story just concluded. That is a good thing.

All of this issue feels comfortable and that is the best thing the book has going for it. This version of Superman is known and comfortable. This story is as well. It is so familiar, one of my first thoughts upon concluding the issue is that I want a Worlds Finest Reborn title.

Why? Because Tomasi and Gleason bring Batman and Robin into this issue and the chemistry among the five main characters (Lois, her superpowered family and the Bat family) is so compelling and so well written that it could easily support its own book.

Batman is concerned, of course, that Jon Kent is not reaching his potential. Jon should be, even at this point, far more powerful than his father and he is not. Something is wrong and Batman and Robin have arrived to find out what.

Great set up. Great execution. Great twist in the end of the book.

Patrick Gleason is such a great cartoonist. He is not going for photo realism, rather he creates images that are quickly iconic. His facility with Superman and Batman is matched by the ease with which he draws Robin and Superboy. Why he is not mentioned in the pantheon of current “great” artists is beyond me.

Tomasi and Gleason are a terrific team. I want them on this title for a long, long time.

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Filed under Batman/Superman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Robin, Superman, Weekly Comic Book Review

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: December 7 – 13, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 7 comics last week: Avengers #2, Champions #3, Spider-Man Clone Conspiracy #3, Batman #12, Superman #12, Justice League #10 and Nightwing #10.

The best comic I read last week was Batman #12.

batman-12

 

It’s hard to not like a comic book that takes a significant risk. Batman #12 does this. It toys with the backstory of Batman’s origins in a very risky manner and the alteration not only pays off, it significantly changes the character.

It is also shockingly depressing. Without revealing too much, I’ll say that the revelation relates to the “I Am Suicide” title of this arc and does not only relate to Batman.

Mikel Janin is some kind of artist. His line work in this issue is simply tremendous. The action sequences are deftly and excitingly staged and his character work is solid, too. There are moments where no words are needed to convey what’s occurring in the characters’ heads, and that’s a testament to Janin. I loved his Nightwing. His Batman is even better. Paired with David Finch in alternating arcs, Janin has proven himself to be a worthy counterpart to his more well known partner.

Tom King had an almost impossible task following up Scott Snyder’s run on Batman and, though I have enjoyed what he’s been doing, this issue may well mark something of a turning point. This issue is so engrossing and drive by deep character work that it is the defining issue of his run. While it remains to be seen what he is able to from here, this issue clearly illustrates why DC felt comfortable putting him on the book.

Beyond the origin twisting revelation of the issue, Batman #12 also features a probing look at the “Bat” and “Cat” relationship between Batman and Catwoman. I am not familiar with the events that have been referenced here – that Catwoman has killed some 237 people – but my lack of familiarity with that plot point doesn’t hinder my enjoyment of the manner in which King handles their relationship. This look into them is very well done.

The entire issue is. It’s the pick of the week in what was a strong week of books (Champions #3 almost took the award this week and, if you’re not reading this book, do yourself a favor and pick it up!).

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Filed under Avengers, Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Justice League, Marvel Comics, Nightwing, Spider-Man, Superman, Weekly Comic Book Review

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: November 30 – December 6, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 5 comics last week: Batman Annual #1, Superman Annual #1, Star Wars Annual #2, Black Widow #8 and JLA #10.

The best comic I read last week was Batman Annual #1.

batman-annual-one

 

Reading comic book annuals, and enjoying them, is a tricky proposition. There was a time when annuals told chapters of ongoing comic narratives and they were episodes of stories that could not be missed. Then there were the years when annuals, especially as published by DC Comics, were interlocking chapters of broader events (J.L.Ape, anyone?). Sometimes annuals have been new talent showcases. Most often now, though, they tell stories that take place somewhere to the left of continuity, outside the ongoing narrative of a character and can be missed.

Refreshing, then, that this week I read 3 annuals that were excellent. And, while Star Wars Annual #2 and Superman Annual #1 were both wonderful, Batman Annual #1, was truly outstanding. It was also something of a throw back in that it harkened to a time when comics published Christmas themed issues. Featuring a collection of Batman Christmas stories written and illustrated by tremendous Bat-Talent (Dini!, Adams!, Snyder!, Shalvey! and more!), Batman Annual #1 was well worth the increased cover cost if only for one installment: “Good Boy” by Tom King and David Finch.

The premise doesn’t do the story justice (Alfred gives Batman a Christmas gift) but to say more about it might ruin much of the fun. Suffice it to say that I smiled throughout the narrative. Broadly. Well written by King, very well drawn by Finch, the story is the centerpiece of a collection of Christmas tales that are a cut above typical monthly fare, not to mention typical annual fare.

I loved the issue and plan to visit it again before Christmas.

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Filed under Batman, DC Comics, Justice League, Marvel Comics, Star Wars, Superman, Uncategorized

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: November 16 – 22, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 11 comics last week: Superman # 11, Trinity #3, Nightwing #9, Spider-Man #9, Batman #11, Star Trek: Waypoint #2, Justice League #9, Amazing Spider-Man #21, Infamous Iron Man #2, Black Panther #8 and Doctor Strange #14.

The best comic I read last week was Trinity #3.

trinity-three

 

The magic continues…

Over the course of the last months, I’ve paid attention to fandom bickering about the dark DC Universe of the Zach Snyder movies and the hopeful DC Universe emerging in recent comics. As someone who has enjoyed the Snyder films and likes the direction they have taken the DC Cinematic Universe, I’ve been a bit taken aback by the vitriol aimed at them and their tone. I’ve simply seen them as a different interpretation of classic characters and the interpretation worked for me.

However, when reading Francis Manapul’s Trinity, I admit I can see validity in the critiques of the dark DC. Manapul has crafted an initial arc in Trinity which will serve to redefine the dynamic between the top three heroes of the DC Universe in the most hopeful and heroic of manners: by connecting them all the more intimately with one another. Through story machinations I won’t spoil here, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are forced to revisit the events which made them heroes – their origin stories – and they are forced to do this together. The friendship and compassion they show each other is, clearly, far more important than whatever adversary they are facing and that compassion serves to bring the three together and will likewise serve to reestablish them as the core of the DC Universe.

Remember, this Superman is an outsider – a newcomer to the Rebirth Universe – and an easy story out would be for Batman to continue his paranoid mistrust of the character and for Wonder Woman to pine for the deceased Superman of this universe – a man who was her lover. Manapul doesn’t do easy. Rather he writes a story with rich emotional resonance. It is also a reflection on what it means to be a hero, and can only be read as an intentional rebuke of the darkness that can invade comics and has invaded the DC films. Again, I like the DC films, but books like this make me realize how much more I like my heroes, well, wholly heroic.

The issue suffers a bit from fill-in artist Clay Mann’s work as opposed to Manapul’s art. Dont’ get me wrong: Mann is terrific and does a great job keeping the visual style of Manapul front-and-center in the issue, but Manapul is Manapul. However, if having as capable and artist as Mann on hand to keep Trinity shipping regularly, readers could do a lot worse. Mann is more than capable and shows some real dynamism in his work.

I said this last month – let Manapul do ALL the comics. He’s that good.

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Filed under Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, Black Panther, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Detective Comics, Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Justice League, Marvel Comics, Nightwing, Spider-Man, Star Trek, Superman, Weekly Comic Book Review, Wonder Woman

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: November 9 – 15, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 8 comics last week: Wonder Woman # 10, Detective Comics #944, Action Comics #976, Avengers #1.1, Poe Dameron #8, Star Trek: Boldly Go #2, Spider-Man: Clone Conspiracy #2 and All Star Batman #4.

The best comic I read last week was Star Trek: Boldly Go #2.

star-trek-boldly-go-2

 

Star Trek: Boldly Go is 2-2. The second issue of this new series spinning out of Star Trek: Beyond is just as good as the first. It builds on the dramatic reveal of the first issue (Kirk and crew versus the Borg?!?) and continues with a nice pace, not anticipating the climax of the story too soon, but leaving the reader in great anticipation of what is to come.

When I understood after experiencing it in the first issue, I found the choice to break up the Enterprise crew interesting. Writer Mike Johnson and his editors could have set this new series on the Enterprise A which we saw built in rapid fashion at the conclusion of Beyond. Choosing, instead, this interstitial time frame, Johnson gets to do something fun – reassembling the crew. The manner in which the characters are coming together in issue 2 has a very Star Trek The Motion Picture feel and the book is all the better for that. “Great choice” as a waiter in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home once remarked.

As I read this issue, I found myself thinking “anyone who is waiting for the next movie or the new television series should be reading this… that’s high praise of the work that Johnson, artist Tony Shasteen and the rest of their team are doing.

Star Trek: Boldly Go is a very fun book – so fun I’ve not mentioned the implied split infinitive… until now.

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Filed under Avengers, Batman, Comic Books, DC Comics, Detective Comics, Marvel Comics, Star Trek, Superman, Weekly Comic Book Review, Wonder Woman

The LEAST Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: October 26 – November 1, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 8 comics last week: Star Wars #24, Wonder Woman # 9, Titans #4, Action Comics #966, Avengers #15, Civil War II #6, Poe Dameron #7 and Detective Comics #943.

The LEAST best comic I read last week was Civil War II #6.

civil-war-ii

 

This is kind of  cheat this week. I normally say what I like best, not what I enjoy least.

Consider this a public service: if you think about buying Civil War II as a trade paperback in a few months, don’t do it.

There are many bad comics. I read too many of them.I stick with them too long. I stick with bad stories too long.

Civil War II is one of these. I should have dropped it long ago, but now I feel I am pot committed.

Billed as a story that would shake up the Marvel Universe, this delayed book has not done much of that (unless Bruce Banner was your favorite character or you really enjoyed Jim Rhodes). Its delays have been significantly felt in recent weeks as titles that were supposed to launch after the conclusion of the story reflecting a new status quo for Marvel have launched prior to the end of the story, muddying their initial attempts to capture audience.

I wanted to like this book. I like Brian Michael Bendis a lot. I like David Marquez. I liked (used to?) line-wide crossovers.

But this one makes me long for the days of Siege and I really, really didn’t like Siege.

Wrap it up, Marvel. Move on.

This was a total misfire.

(Best book this week, though? Detective Comics #943!)

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Filed under Action Comics, Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Detective Comics, Marvel Comics, Star Wars, Superman, Titans, Weekly Comic Book Review, Wonder Woman

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: September 21 – 27, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 8 comics last week: Civil War II # 5, Amazing Spider-Man #18, Cyborg #1, Batman #7, Trinity #1, Superman #7, Nightwing #5 and Justice League #5.

The best comic I read last week was Trinity #1.

trinity-one

 

Francis Manapul is some kind of comic creator – like the kind of comic creator that should be followed to any title he handles. It’s clear that DC believes in him as a writer and artist as it has entrusted him with Trinity, the successor to both the Batman/Superman and Superman/Wonder Woman titles that the company had been publishing in recent years. Those were pretty solid books. Rolling all three of DC’s flagship characters into one title is a very smart move. Manapul is the creator to handle the book.

His art is truly gorgeous. One look at the cover of this first issue illustrates that point. Superman looking heroically into the camera, Wonder Woman to the left, Batman to the right. And Wonder Woman’s sword reflecting coming dangers… beautiful. The interiors do not disappoint. Manapul’s style is so well suited to both the medium and to these characters. His panel composition is striking and creative. His inks and colors spectacular. The only fear is that he be given enough time to stay on the book.

The story here is just as good as the art and Manapul does something that seems hard for other writers – he creates distinctive voices for his characters. Lois sounds different than Wonder Woman. Batman sounds different than Superman. And Jon Kent sounds like a kid. Very well done. I’ve mentioned in other reviews that DC did something very smart by reintroducing the “classic” Superman to continuity. Beyond the conflict he creates, it’s simply nice to have the Man of Steel back where he belongs.

This title is a must read for any DC fan. We’ve been told that it’s key to the unfolding new universe. Nice that it’s such a joy to read as well.

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Filed under Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, Batman/Superman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, Cyborg, DC Comics, Justice League, Marvel Comics, Nightwing, Spider-Man, Superman, Weekly Comic Book Review, Wonder Woman