Tag Archives: Amazing Spider-Man

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: November 23 – 29, 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 comics last week: Detective Comics #945, Action Comics #968, Titans #5, Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, Star Wars #25, Wonder Woman#11, Civil War II #7 and Han Solo #5.

The best comic I read last week was Detective Comics #945.

detective-comics-945

 

When DC relaunched their comic book universe with Rebirth, the did something very cool with Detective and Action Comics: they returned both books to their original numbering. So, while the majority of DC books are in double digits (and likely to be renumbered prior to them ever reaching even issue 100), Detective and Action Comics are approaching 1000 issues. Impressive. The decision to renumber pays homage to DC’s vast and sustained publishing history and to the staying power of Batman and Superman who have been the headliners for the overwhelming majority of Detective and Action Comics respectively.

The new story arc James Tynion IV is crafting in Detective is called “The Victim Syndicate” and it is both clever and involving. The set up (surprisingly similar to the current set up on the CW’s Arrow, by-the-way) is that there has been collateral damage created in Batman’s war on crime and those victims of Batman’s initial villains have found powers of their own and have banded together to suggest that the real enemy is not Batman’s rogues gallery, but Batman himself.

While it remains to be seen if the villains themselves will have any staying power in the overall Batman mythos, the conceit is engaging. It is made all the more pertinent in the context of what Tynion has done with Detective Comics since its relaunch. He’s populated the book with Batman’s sidekicks being trained by Batwoman to fight the war on crime. They believe they’ve already lost Red Robin to the cause – they haven’t but that’s some good dramatic irony – and now the Victim Syndicate suggests to the trainees (especially to Spoiler) that the root of the issues that plague Gotham City may well be Batman himself. Nice twist.

The rotating art is a bit uneven from issue-to-issue and its particularly challenging here. Though Al Barrionuevo and Carmen Carnero do fine, their styles don’t seamlessly blend and the combination of the two is a bit off putting. They are both good, but the quality of the work is not entirely on par with the drafting of Eddy Barrows who handles many issues of the title. The inks and colors of Scott Hanna and Adriano Lucas lend some consistency, but things seem a bit off.

So it’s all the more a testament to the great story Tynion is telling that this was my favorite book of the week. And who wouldn’t like a book with actual dialogue on its cover! I’ve not see that in years!

 

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Filed under Action Comics, Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Detective Comics, Han Solo, Spider-Man, Star Trek Discovery, Titans, Weekly Comic Book Review, Wonder Woman

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: 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

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: August 31 – September 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 4 comics last week: Amazing Spider-Man #17, Han Solo #3, Spider-Man #7 and JLA #9.

The best comic I read last week was Spider-Man #7.

spider-man-7

 

Spider-Man is the choice again this week after a brief hiatus from gracing the anals of The Best Sequential Art… This title has been decompressed story-telling at its best. I use the word “best” because I tend to like decompressed story-telling and Brian Michael Bendis has long been recognized as the master of this kind of narrative. What he also has to be recognized as is one of the preeminent writers of teenagers working in fiction (not just in comics) today. Having spent years working with teenagers (and having 3 of my own!) I speak with a little authority here.

There is no way to really say “yeah, this is what a teenager would really be like if he had superpowers” but Spider-Man comes very close to feeling “real.” The story of Miles Morales and his compatriots (including teenage heroes, teenage villains and teenage superpowered characters who don’t know what they are) has been engaging and fun to follow. Equally interesting are the reactions of Miles’ parents (and grandmother) to his extra curriculars. Spider-Man plays as much like a television drama as it does a comic book and that’s too its credit.

Nico Leon steps in to provide pencils and inks that are more than serviceable and he’s greatly aided by the colors by Marte Garcia. He fits into the style of the book that Sara Pichelli has established without aping her work. As a fill-in, he’s excellent, though Pichelli remains the soul of the book to Bendis’ heart.

Bendis is currently shepherding the Marvel company-wide cross over Civil War II. That story hasn’t entirely captured my imagination and Bendis doesn’t spend too much time here trying to convince anyone of the merits of that narrative. Rather he plays out the struggle that Miles is having in the midst of experiencing visions (which are confusing at best) confronting loyalties. This is where the issue shines as Bendis plays out this struggle in Miles. With whom should he side?

As with many (most?) issues facing teenagers, Miles has no easy answer… but it’s this very kind of question – and internal challenge – that makes Miles Morales the most interesting Spider-character Marvel is publishing today and Spider-Man a great read every month.

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Filed under Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Justice League, Spider-Man

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: August 10 – 16, 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: All Star Batman #1, Wonder Woman #4, Flash #4, Black Panther #5, Darth Vader #24, Action Comics #961, Detective Comics # 938, Superwoman #1, Avengers #13, Avengers Annual #1 and Amazing Spider-Man #16.

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

All Star Batman 1

 

Scott Snyder is back and he’s bringing some of the best artists in comic books with him. That’s the message DC Comics is pushing concerning All Star Batman. Here’s the big secret: while it’s incredible to have great artists (like the legendary John Romita, jr) working with Snyder, I think I would read a Snyder Batman title if it were illustrated all in stick figures. The writer’s work is that good.

Snyder is the go-to Batman writer and his stories are defining the character. What he does in All Star Batman matches what he did in both Detective Comics and Batman when he had the helm of those books: he creates a comfortable and familiar world for the Dark Knight, playing on what readers know about the character and his supporting cast, his city and his methods and then subverts all expectations.

In this first arc of All Star Batman, Snyder has teamed Batman with his nemesis Two Face for the road trip to end all road trips. Think Midnight Run as directed by Quentin Tarantino. But even that description is too simple and too sweet for Snyder. In a story that already features some shocking moments, the most shocking of all is that even the most outlandish of them work.

Snyder has earned my trust as a reader and, even though I am not sure I agree with all the character moments as written here, I am willing to see them play out before I pass judgement on them.

John Romita, jr follows up a pretty solid run on Superman with this tremendous first issue. He hasn’t looked this good in years, perhaps owing to sharp inks by Danny Miki and really deep colors by Dean White. This team is well suited to Romita and his normally terrific work is really top-notch here.

Though the Batman rebirth titles are all good, this looks to be the best Batman book on the stands.

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Filed under Action Comics, Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers, Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, Darth Vader, DC Comics, Detective Comics, Marvel Comics, Weekly Comic Book Review, Wonder Woman

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: June 15 – June 21, 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 12 comics last week: Titans Rebirth #1, Superman#1, Batman #1, Civil War II #2, Star Wars #20, Justice League #51, International Iron Man #4, Green Lantern #1, Han Solo #1, Amazing Spider-Man #14 and Black Widow #4.

The best comic I read last week was Titans Rebirth #1.

Titans Rebirth

 

I have read that some regard artist Brett Booth as “too 1990s” in his style to consider as one of the upper echelon of comic book illustrators. I couldn’t disagree more. I think Booth is significantly underrated and I find myself drawn to his work in general and his style in particular. Like a Kevin Maguire in his ability to draw expressions and like a George Perez in his attention to detail, Booth composes some pretty cool looking pages normally. On Titans Rebirth #1, he goes above and beyond and turns in one terrific looking book. I especially love the Wally West Flash redesign. It incorporates the past look of the character while looking current and cool. I hope he’s on the book a while. He seems to be an artist who is a quick drafter, so there is, in fact, reason to hope!

He’s well paired with writer Dan Abnett here. Abnett is, one the one hand, continuing the story he unfolded in Titans Hunt but he is, on the other hand, writing the most direct continuation of DC Universe Rebirth that the company has published. This makes some good sense given the fact that Wally West is the central character in both stories.

Abnett has such a great feel for these characters and, even as they are reinvented a bit for this new DC universe, they seem very much like the Titans we’ve come to know and love.

They are very much the Titans I’ve come to know and love and I am hooked.

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Filed under Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Han Solo, Justice League, Marvel Comics, Star Wars, Superman, Teen Titans, Titans, Titans Hunt, Weekly Comic Book Review

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: June 1 – June 8, 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 9 comics last week: Batman Rebirth #1, Green Lantern Rebirth #1, Superman Rebirth #1, Green Arrow Rebirth #1, Coming of the Supermen #5, Invincible Iron Man #10, Avengers #10, Amazing Spider-Man #13 and Civil War II #1.

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

Batman Rebirth

 

 

Is the DC Rebirth initiative going to make splash? Will it inspire the kind of sales that “The New 52” did almost 5 years ago? Will the company reverse some of the perceived and real errors of that last, company-wide reboot?

I don’t know. I know that I am a reader that comic book companies must like. I am loyal to characters and creators even when the quality is not as it should be. Quality should drive what I read – the quality of the art and the quality of the story. The quality of the comic book reading experience overall should be the reason I buy a certain comic.

So, I can say that if Batman Rebirth is a sign of what’s to come from DC throughout the Rebirth period, I can rest assured that I can read characters I love by good creators and experience stories that are original and thought provoking.

Those were my reactions to Batman Rebirth #1. I liked the team, the product and the story. I liked them very much. Though they none were up to the standard set by last week’s DC Universe Rebirth, that was a very high bar to clear. Writers Scott Snyder and Tom King (though I think there is more King here than Snyder) weave a marvelous story that stays very true to the flavor of what the character has been in recent arcs, but injects more than enough mystery and forward momentum to keep long time readers interested and to get new readers hooked. For Snyder, writing Batman must feel like old hat. He’s been doing it for some time now. What’s impressive is that he seems to still have stories to tell. I love Snyder and am very excited for his All Star Batman, but it’s King who has something to prove.

After a great run on Grayson, a title I wanted to dislike but eventually found myself loving, King comes to the flagship character of DC Comics and, instead of giving a play-it-safe, I hope I don’t screw up story, King delivers an intriguing spin of Batman and sets up a few arcs that will resonate into the future. Duke Thomas is a character with great potential and he’s set up not as just another side kick.

I don’t know if it was Snyder or King who came up with the new and terrific spin on Calendar Man, but bravo. I love when writers take a fairly laughable villain whose gimmick is the best thing about him and make him something special. This version of Calendar Man is a real threat.

Mikel Janin is a star. I wrote a few years ago that the artist was a star in the making. Not anymore. He’s arrived. His lines are clean. His action dynamic. His expression work well rendered. His Batman isn’t some kind of proto-Miller hulking menace. No, he’s more of a toned and terrible athlete whose body is primed and whose eyes tell you not to screw with him.

I hope he and King put together a Snyder/Capullo type run.

Batman is rebirthed in very, very good hands.

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Filed under Avengers, Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Green Lantern, Iron Man, Marvel Comics, Spider-Man, Superman, Weekly Comic Book Review