Friday, 17 February 2017

Comic Reviews

In which nostalgia turns up in some of the oddest places and I, mostly, get the explanations I've been demanding.

Batwoman: Rebirth one-shot

Fair warning, there's not much new in this issue. This isn't entirely surprising: Kate Kane doesn't have the decades and decades of history and half a dozen reboots that Rebirth one-shots usually have to untangle and rationalise so what we get here is a more or less straight “story so far” of her childhood kidnapping, military training and cashiering with a few new notes about her going travelling during her directionless years and a new take on her relationship with Renee Montoya.

Beyond that, the tease of the future direction of the series isn't much we couldn't infer from the Batwoman Begins arc in Detective Comics the last couple of issues.

Nevertheless, I liked it. Steve Epting remains as amazing an artist as he was on Captain America back in the day and Bennett and Tynion have already proved their skills with this character. This issue might not be “for me” per se but I don't resent its existence and I'm sure someone new to the character would find it a fantastic primer.

U.S.Avengers #3
$kullocracy part three

Oh, this isn't even subtle now! The Golden Skull just is Donald Trump writ large and in a solid gold Iron Man suit (I am not kidding!).

Anyway, my favourite series of the moment ends its first arc with an appropriate level of violence and satire. Every line the Golden Skull utters is a glorious stab at egotistical businessmen and con men. Toni Ho gets some surprisingly nice moments barking orders at the rest of the team, which was fun to see. I've always liked the concept and design of the characters but she didn't get an awful lot to do when this series was New Avengers and I look forward to seeing more of her now she's “front line” superheroing.

And Danielle Cage. Now there's another character I want to see more of. I think she's going to make more appearances over in Jessica Jones and I hope she turns up again here, especially after Ewing reminded me of the potential mentor role Squirrel Girl could fill for her. I mean, Doreen was her babysitter.

Mother Panic #3
A Work in Progress part 3

There's something about this series that makes me nostalgic, which is strange for a series about a new character by an author I've never read before guest starring the (to me) still new Batwoman. A cursory look at artist Tommy Lee Edwards' Wikipedia page tells me I haven't read much of his work but there's something that very much reminds me of comics from my youth in how he draws. All those jagged lines, harsh angles and charcoal-esque grading remind me of early Vertigo stuff.

Anyway, of the Young Animals titles this is the one that has kept my interest the longest, mainly because it doesn't seem to be in the weirdness for weirdness' sake business. Yes, it might be the most “traditional” superhero series under the brand but it still has that air of conscious mystery the its stable mates has but it seems less intrusive. Doom Patrol seems at times to just indulge in weirdness for weirdness' sake and I'm honestly not sure what to make of Shade the Changing Girl half the time.

Maybe I'm just getting conservative in my old age? I don't know but this issue gives us information on our hero Violet Paige whilst throwing out more interesting questions, not least of which how she did so well in a fight against Batwoman. The fight itself is brief but an impressive display of how Edwards' style lends itself to both atmosphere and action.

Daredevil #17
Purple part 1

Oh, a big picture of the Golden Gate Bridge on the cover, this looks promising! Okay, okay, so I knew this was the start of the arc that would explain how Matt Murdoch put the genie back in the bottle and ended up in the position we found him in #1 but stepping back into the world of the last Daredevil series felt refreshingly nostalgic after the last sixteen issues of “Matt Murdoch, Prosecuting Attorney Who No One Knows Is Daredevil”.

And, funnily enough, the whole story does flow quite well from where the last series left off before Secret Wars and the relaunch. We get to see Matt leaping through San Francisco in that ridiculous red tailored suit and doing domestic with Kirsten McDuffie, we see Foggy in full recovery after his cancer treatment and Matt living large on the advance he got for his autobiography.

And then it all starts to fall apart in the most Matt Murdoch way possible. After a villain intrudes on his San Francisco life he comes back to visit New York, the city where he isn't a local hero but a disbarred lawyer with an alter ego known for horrible violence. He tries to be the hero he was there and ends up in hot water with the law who no longer see Matt Murdoch as credible now they know he's Daredevil.

Its all set-up and we're far from seeing the “solution” he comes up with, I'm even convinced the cliffhanger is a red herring because its too neat but, as with last issue, Charles Soule writes another compelling character study of Matt with the pieces all just falling into place to finally get us from the character we knew to the character we've been presented with the last sixteen issues. 

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