Friday, 17 March 2017

Comic Reviews

This week a bunch of my favourite series came out including a new one. On with the motley...

Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! #16

America Chavez checking out Jubilee. Its only a little moment but it was rather sweet.

Anyway, I finally get around to talking about one of my favourite ongoing series and it ends with a note saying this is the last issue of the regular storyline and the next will be the end of the series. Bugger. Still, this has been a hell of ride, speaking of which...

Sadly, this issue's cover is 100% misleading. There is no pajama party, no playdate for Shojo Lee and Dani Cage, no Luke and Jessica, no Ian. Instead, we get group therapy in a hell dimension. This is the big idea the series plays out on. Mad but brilliant and a great way to deal with the issues between Patsy and low-rent series antagonist Hedy Wolfe.

I bloody love this series. Kate Leth has assembled such a sweet cast of characters that I just love spending time with. Most of all I'm going to miss Jubilee as a working single mum vampire. This is the best angle the character has had in years and I don't think losing that is a price I want to pay for a new Generation X. Oh, and Attaché, sweet little henchgirl that she is will be sorely missed.

I just hope that Kate Leth gets to return to the Marvel Universe some day soon.

U.S.Avengers #4

Surprisingly, not a Monsters Unleashed tie-in. Could have been. Wasn't. Its a done-in-one that's all about the title fight: the new Red Hulk versus the American Kaiju, an odd creation from when this Red Hulk was a villain in the previous incarnation of this series.

Its all done in this campy style with bite-size chapters like those “complete in one issue” stories in sixties comics. Deadpool's there for very little reason but he's used as a vehicle for some nice little meta jokes so that's okay. The issue continues Ewing's obsession with the mad scientist side of the MCU which, frankly, is what I love most about this series.

And just when it seems like this is just a nice little bit of fluff between story arcs, Steve Rogers turns up in Roberto DaCosta's office and he is pissed. Now that's a hook, even if the face off between the two top dog superspies of the Avengers franchise is bound to be a little tainted by the whole secret Nazi thing.

Guardians of the Galaxy #18

So, yes, a week of my favourite things and then there's this...

At the end of the issue it turns out that Grounded might actually have a point. Right at the end of the issue, in a way completely irrelevant to the rest of the arc and even this issue itself. Oh, and Bendis takes a quick moment to just dismantle the romantic happy ending Angela got at the end of her solo series for no good reason.

As I've said before, maybe I'm just getting old but Bendis' waffling is just getting on my nerves these days.

Batman #19
I Am Bane part 4

But if we want to talk about writing an issue to ratchet up tension on the way to final confrontation, right here is a perfect example. While Guardians had a pretty irrelevant mini-adventure for Angela leading to a revelation about a big bad coming their way, this issue is all about the big bad marching towards Batman and the anticipation for the big fight.

The entire issue follows Bane as he walks through the corridors of Arkham Asylum searching for Batman and the Psycho Pirate. To delay him, Batman has freed and armed the rogues gallery and so we get a series of vignettes with Bane confronting villain after villain after villain. Some of them are just one panel, one punch cameos but there are some with some real meat to them that I hope are quietly setting up coming events in the series.

King turns in a particularly nice twist on the Scarecrow, with good old Doctor Crane waiting behind a locked door for Bane to come charging through, scared witless and reciting the fears he's feeling as he feels them. He writes a good Riddler, as well, confident to the point of suicidal in the face of Bane's threats. I have no damn clue what's going on with Maxi Zeus but I hope we get to find out in greater detail later.

Every confrontation, every time Bane almost effortlessly bests one of the more classic rogues, serves to build up his threat level and the tension for the inevitable confrontation with Batman.

Which is how its meant to work, frankly.

Batwoman #1
The Many Arms of Death part 1

Bennett and Tynion bring back Julia Pennyworth, because between Maggie Sawyer, Harper Row and Renee Montoya I didn't ship Kate Kane with enough people, clearly.

Seriously, this issue sees Kate travelling with Julia on a yacht in search of black market Monster Venom. Its a black ops mission, as befits our ex-army vigilante and her special forces operator, and the two characters make great super spies. The issue is mainly setting up their operation but there's another tantalising flashback to Kate's “Lost Year”, the site of which they end up visiting in the present.

Sadly, there's not much more to say plotwise except that everything this issue sets up has me salivating in anticipation of where this is all going and I can't imagine I'm the only one. This is one of the fortnightly series, right?

To be honest, my one disappointment is that there's a startling lack of Doctor Victoria October given her prominence in the Batwoman Begins two-parter and the fact this series is continuing the Monster Venom storyline, but that's just my own personal gripe and no reflection on the quality of the finished product. 

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