Another week, another round of Flashpoint tie-ins. Give DC credit though – these are probably the strongest tie-in books to an event that we’ve seen in a while. But there’s more to the event madness going on this week too:
5) Brightest Day Aftermath : The Search for Swamp Thing #1
Two big Vertigo characters have made their way to the DCU courtesy of last month’s finish to the Brightest Day event. Probably more a prep for the September re-launch, but it will still be interesting what transpires for the next 3 issues as Constantine tries to convince the Justice League that having Swamp Thing back might not be kosher.
4) Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance #1
The one thing you can say about this event is it has made this whole Atlantean/Amazonian war very appealing. And having Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning taking charge after a great start to their Wonder Woman tie-in is just going to make much more appealing.
3) Flashpoint: The Reverse Flash #1
He’s been hovering over this event for a couple of months now, but has yet to show his hand and intentions. That’s changing with this issue. I’m still not sure how I feel about Scott Kolins taking on writing chores, but it’s hard to do this character wrong.
2) Batman: Gates of Gotham #2
We have a thing on this site – if a Scott Snyder issue comes out, it gets talked about no matter what else releases that same week. Period. The next issue in the history of Gotham is out and it’s got me giddy to find out more about its families’ ties to this new steampunk villain.
1) Ultimate Spider-Man #160
As if there was any doubt. Marvel’s pushing out the hype for this final chapter in the Death of Spider-Man storyline – even doing the pollybag treatment again like they did for Fantastic Four earlier this year. All I know is it will be yet another solid issue in the long run that Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley have had together.
Music provided by Green Balloons – Superman
The last week in April brought us a crap load of quality content. Probably my longest solo podcast ever, so bear with me (or cut it into 2 parts for your 2 sessions at the gym – whichever works)…
Brightest Day #24 ends the year-long, bi-weekly saga that saw 12 resurrected characters complete different tasks for the white light to the full resurrection of Swamp Thing, as he fights off the dark avatar version of himself. Great splash pages and fight scenes throughout. One can make a case that all of this to just bring back a long lost Vertigo character was cheap, but I thought it worked out great when you consider the story as a whole. I’m sure we can give it a better chance if we read it all in trades. We have to wonder though how Vertigo is fitting into the grand scheme of things in DC continuity, especially when you look at the big reveal in the last page…
Justice League Generation Lost #24 ends another year-long, bi-weekly saga that finally sees the Justice League International confront Maxwell Lord and his Omac Prime creation. Just one big action scene like last issue, but you can’t help but love how well this series performed, at points even exceeding what Brightest Day was doing. This cast of characters will definitely not go away into the DC vault, especially knowing what the last page showed us.
Action Comics #900 gives us 96 pages of great content, hopefully enough to justify its $6.99 price tag. We wrap up Luthor’s quest for the Black Rings that sees him achieve a god-like status and confront Superman one more time. It also ties into the Reign of Doomsday storyline that reveals how Luthor used the character to distract the Superman family. Overall, Paul Cornell gave us a great character study on Luthor, where we come to learn that despite his attempts to reflect the best of humanity, he’s not the most human of all. There were also some decent to good short stories in the issue, one of which caused controversy around the media with Superman renouncing his U.S. citizenship to hopefully become a bigger advocate for human rights. No word if this is in continuity or not, but it’s a big game-changer that has everybody talking. What do you think about it?
Despite all the big books though, leave it to Scott Snyder once again to break out his writer’s pen and script another beauty in Detective Comics #876. He wrote an excellent arc between Commissioner Gordon and his estranged son the last 2 issues and now he takes things back to Dick Grayson with a murder tied to the daughter of his parents’ killer, Tony Zucco. It’s amazing how Snyder has taken this back to basics and yet makes it seem so fresh. Having Jock back on art adds to the awesomeness as well with a few jaw-dropping pages of Gotham at its eeriest.
Music from The Volume Brothers – Comic Book Heroes
This was the week of events, as Marvel launched its big event while DC took one more step to ending its own.
Fear Itself #1 launches with Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen at the helm this time. Marvel puts its spin on current events and introduces us to the God of Fear that will apparently have a key role in stirring up the fear that is striking humanity. Plus, Thor has daddy issues and is taken back, along with the rest of the Asgardians, to their homeland, leaving the remaining heroes to contend with something they don’t fully understand yet. Intriguing approach so far with some comparisons to Civil War, but I’ll give it a shot.
Brightest Day #23 finally gives us the revelation of Earth’s protector. I won’t lie to you – it totally came out of left field after embarking on different journeys with the resurrected characters, but if you give it some time to process, it actually makes sense in the grand scheme of things.
And while these event books took most of the spotlight, there was another book that got some good internet buzz this week. Nonplayer #1 was written and drawn by a very talented video game art designer in Nate Simpson. It takes us into a MMORPG world that a girl named Dana is drawing up to escape the reality she’s in. Think Ghost in the Shell and Lord of the Rings and you have an intriguing premise. I don’t know where we’re going with the story yet, but the art is just gorgeous (and just what you’d expect from a video game artist). Keep an eye on this one.
Did I miss something this week? Where are all the books?
Despite the light week, a couple of books still managed to hit the radar. Uncanny X-Force #5.1 was a good outing for those wanting to see what the Rick Remender hype is all about. Having Rafael Albuquerque draw the one-shot is the icing on the cake, of course. Wasn’t as great as the Kid Apocalypse arc, but for those wanting to see what got this series off to a great start, this is good for that crowd.
It fell a little short of the last two issues, but Brightest Day #22 was another good outing to wrap up the Firestorm arc. A key death sparked the character of this arc to act and bring about the ultimate climax that is hopefully going to give us some answers as to why the white light’s being such a jerk. One can only hope that answer involves monkeys…
Scott Snyder’s work on Detective Comics continues to impress me. It says something when he is able to tie in his original back-up story between the Gordon father and son into the main issue, but also can keep the flow going with Dick Grayson’s continuing adventures. And Francesco Francavilla’s art was just jaw-dropping – easily maybe 3/4 of that issue could have been on a “Best of Panels” article.
If that wasn’t enough, Judd Winick continues to bring goodness to in Justice League : Generation Lost #20. I didn’t think we needed to just have a few pages to confirm that Blue Beetle is no more, but the back story behind Maxwell Lord’s rise and fall was great for a guy like me not all up to speed on his character. The Brightest Day event as a whole is doing great with its cliffhangers and character development and this issue does that event justice.
We’re winding down the Brightest Day saga and issue #20 is not letting up on the action or cliffhangers. This is the conclusion of the Aquawar arc where Aquaman and Aqualad look to drive the Atlantean rebels back to their prisons. Johns and Tomasi came up with some great sequences to really make the Aquaman family shine. A darn shame for the king when he meets an untimely fate to close out the war – or so we’re led to believe…
Green Lantern #62 doesn’t stray too far behind despite a delay. This concludes the year-long New Guardians arc that reveals Krona’s hand and marches us towards the War of the Green Lanterns. This issue gives us more great Doug Mahnke visuals and paints Hal Jordan in a light that could bring the universe down upon him, which is just fine with us. As a whole, the arc dragged by taking on too many characters and drifting from the main plot every now and then, but it ended in a good way by taking us back to what Hal Jordan represents.
S.H.I.E.L.D. #6 wraps up the initial volume in the battle of ideas between Issac Newton and Leonardo da Vinci. It’s always fun reading historical characters put in interesting situations in a comic book world. The premise Hickman has brought to this series has been intriguing, giving us a lot of stories he could play with in the coming years. I was still put off by the bi-monthly schedule, but I’m sure in trade form, it will read brilliantly.