MY WEEK(S) IN COMICS – 19/01/2016

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INJECTION #6

WRITER: WARREN ELLIS

ARTIST: DECLAN SHALVEY

After a brief hiatus following the conclusion of its first arc, Injection, one of my favourite books of last year, returns. The focus shifts to Vivik Headland, probably the least represented of the main cast during the first arc. The story also shifts this time, from a sci-fi thriller with supernatural aspects to a supernatural-tinged detective thriller, which suits Headland, as the first act hinted that he was something of a modern day Sherlock Holmes. This is only the first part of a continuing story but we already have character development, new characters that are already great, laugh out loud moments, a case that is more complex than it originally looked (aren’t they all?) as well as some interesting sandwiches.

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SUPERMAN – AMERICAN ALIEN #3

WRITER: MAX LANDIS

ARTIST: JOELLE JONES

I don’t tend to read a lot of Superman stories, but this one seemed interesting. A seven-part series, each written by Max Landis, but drawn by a selection of artists, shows us key events in the life of Clark Kent that all contribute to his becoming Superman.

I’m guessing these stories may not fit into the standard continuity, as in Issue 2 it appears pretty much everyone in Smallville knows Clark is an alien, though this could be a New 52 thing, but this does not bother me as I’m not a stickler for continuity.

I really enjoyed the first two issues, but this one didn’t quite do it for me. Clark has won a trip to the Caribbean and, on his way, his plane crashes, but, luckily for him, a yacht belonging to Bruce Wayne is passing by and he hitches a ride. It then turns out that the yacht is hosting Bruce’s 21st birthday party and, as no one has seen Bruce in close to a decade, they all assume Clark is Bruce. Which, even in a comic about a super-powered alien, was a little too much for me. Oh well.

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 BATGIRL #46

WRITERS: CAMERON STEWART + BRENDEN FLETCHER

ARTIST: BABS TARR

I enjoyed this book and I have to say Babs Tarr’s art is still great, but I’m starting to feel that nothing has happened for five or six issues. Some big bad has been hinted at over the previous issues, but in this issue Batgirl teams up with Spoiler and then it just ends at a point that’s supposed to be dramatic, but isn’t.

I hope something happens soon because this book feels like it is meandering a little.

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BLACK CANARY #6

WRITER: BRENDEN FLETCHER

ARTIST: ANNIE WU

Black Canary suffers from a similar issue to its sister-title, Batgirl. The art, by Annie Wu, looks amazing but storywise it’s just not working. It’s also kind of slow, which helps when building the interesting supporting cast, but after six issues, it feels like it has gone nowhere. How many fights at gigs can you have? Lots and lots apparently. Additionally, the tone’s not quite right. The book, like Batgirl, is fun, but it is also darker and more serious. This means that when ‘Battle of the Bands’ takes place, something that actually happens in this issue, it just feels wrong (like something out of Scott Pilgrim). Finally there’s the issue’s twist, which wasn’t smart or interesting, but instead just a little too outlandish. This leaves me wondering how it’s going to be explained next month without getting silly.

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BATMAN: EUROPA #3

WRITERS: BRIAN AZZARELLO  + MATTEO CASALI

ARTIST: DIEGO LATORRE

This book’s been in the works for quite some time (the better part of a decade I believe). So, after all that time, Part 1 was a little bit of a disappointment, though still enjoyable.

The plot is simple, almost too simple. Batman and the Joker find themselves poisoned by the same individual and realize that their best hope for survival is to work together. From there, the comic has been a simple chase around Europe, with Issue 1 taking us to Berlin. Issue 2, which was better, in pretty much every way, found our reluctant partners travelling to Prague.

With a little more time spent on the characters, the banter between the two became more entertaining and it was good watching comic’s greatest enemies working together.

Hey, I can almost tell what's going on here!
Hey, I can almost tell what’s going on here!

Then we get this third issue… new issue, new country. We find ourselves in Paris. Each issue has a new artist, with Jim Lee on Issue 1, Giuseppe Camuncoli on 2 and here, on Issue 3, Diego Latorre, and I have to say it is probably the worst art I have ever seen on a high profile comic. In fact, I found this issue to be almost unreadable. It’s dark and murky to the point where it’s often impossible to tell what is going on. I find it hard to believe this issue was even released. It looks so bad there is no way the script can save it. Thinking about it, I wish they had just released the script, that way I could have drawn it better myself.

 

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Ah, that’s better. Batman: Europa #3 by Jack

 

 

 

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SANDMAN: OVERTURE was great, although if you’re thinking of starting SANDMAN, I’d recommend that you read it in publishing order, not chronological order (even though this is set before Volume 1).

DARK KNIGHT III: MASTER RACE, by Brian Azarello and Frank Miller (though it must be said, it thus far reads as pretty much an Azarello book). Like most, I miss Frank Miller’s art but we’re two issues in and it’s pretty good so far.

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Finally, a book I have not read yet. I’ve been with Daredevil for about 15 years now and a few months back, Waid and Samnee’s run felt a lot like the end, which makes sense as Marvel just semi-rebooted their whole universe. With everything starting fresh, Daredevil has been given a new look, one that makes him appear a lot darker and grittier, just like his (pretty great) TV counterpart. But after Waid and Samnee, I’m not sure I want gritty noir Daredevil. (Also, is he up against a guy called Tenfingers, who, has, eh, ten fingers on each hand?!)

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