There have been some good comics over the last few weeks, time to write about them!
MOON KNIGHT # 13-16
WRITER – CULLEN BUNN
ART – RON ACKINS & GERMAN PERALTA
I’ll be honest, I’ve sat on these issues for a while as Ron Ackins’ artwork didn’t appeal after the double whammy of great artists, Declan Shalvey and Greg Smallwood, who proceeded him. Bunn and Ackins work together on Issues 13 and 14: two relatively stand-alone tales which involve Moon Knight going up against a group imprisoning ghosts and a group of wild dogs that are attacking the city’s rich – good enough, but nothing special.
Peralta comes on board with Issue 15 and his work is more to my liking, less chunky and cartoony than Ackins, closer to what came before. Issue 15 is a step up story-wise too, as Moon Knight goes against the wishes of his Master, Khonshu, to fight a monster which is killing children. Wounded and abandoned by Khonshu, Moon Knight fights the monster only to learn that, it too, is a servant of Khonshu. With tension mounting between Moon Knight and Khonshu, a split, or more, may be on the cards.
Issue 16 features Moon Knight versus some jet-pack wearing kidnappers in another enjoyable stand-alone tale. The only problem with the stand-alone format is that Marvel does not appear to have a Moon Knight book amongst its titles when the company ends its current ‘event’ series, Secret Wars, meaning that next issue may be the last in the current series and I feel that there is a lot still to do.
THE FADE OUT # 6 & 7
WRITER – ED BRUBAKER
ART – SEAN PHILLIPS
For me, this 1940s Hollywood set murder mystery may be the best monthly book on the shelf at the moment and there’s not a superhero in sight. In these issues the mystery builds, but does not exactly move forward, with the prime focus here on the characters, specifically the relationship between screenwriter, Charlie Parish, and up-and-coming starlet, Maya Silver.
A relationship, that like most in the book is sure to end badly. This focus on character is perfect, as these less than perfect characters are great – so much so that, at the moment, I am still in no rush to see who the killer is, I’m fine spending time with the characters. Also worth noting, while I say that the murder mystery itself does not appear to advance much, Brubaker has surely filled these pages with countless clues and small character moments that have in fact advanced it further than it appears. Like the bulk of his work with Phillips, these issues will surely benefit from a second or third read and will also reveal so much more when they are read again once the story is complete.
WRITER – BRENDAN FLETCHER
ARTIST – ANNIE WU
I don’t know much about Dinah, AKA Black Canary, AKA D.D., lead singer in the band, Black Canary.
In the past, for me, she’s been Green Arrow’s girlfriend and that’s about it. Recently she’s had a strained friendship with flatmate Barbara Gordon, AKA Batgirl over in the pages of Batgirl which is co-written by Fletcher.
But not knowing much probably helps here as Dinah, who left to tour with her band in the pages of Batgirl, travels with the band. She works well as a mysterious character even if, like me, you don’t know her backstory.
This first issue has, er, issues, but on the whole is a lot of fun. In the pages of this issue alone, four gigs end with Dinah getting into fights, which is just a little silly – you really gonna risk going to a gig if there appears to be a 100% chance that the lead singer is going dive into the crowd and kickass? Maybe you would. Maybe I’m just not punk enough. Who knows? But it stretches credibility a little and it’s not the only thing to do so here.
However, even if story-wise there are flaws, Annie Wu’s art is great and suits the book perfectly – I’m not one to buy a book on the strength of the art alone, but Wu’s contribution means that I am more than willing to give the book a few issues to find its groove.
WRITERS – CAMERON STEWART & BRENDAN FLETCHER
ARTIST – BABS TARR
The Batgirl team start their second arc and the best thing about this book is that it has me more interested in Robo-Batman.
Over in the pages of Batman, Bruce Wayne and the Joker apparently died in battle, and it was decided that an official Batman was better than no Batman. The job was given to Jim Gordon, who’s Batsuit is a rather different battle suit of sorts. The story in which most of this took place wasn’t a favourite of mine and I have yet to pick up the first issue featuring the new Batman, but this has made me feel more inclined to finally do so.
In this issue, Gordon not wanting to keep secrets from his Daughter Barbara, who is secretly Batgirl, tells her of his new job – a job which includes hunting down Gotham’s vigilantes, including Batgirl. The scenes between the pair were my favourite of the issue and have eased some of my fears that Robo-Batman is just an excuse for a new bat toy to punch people for a few issues.
Also, I think I’ll call him MechaBatman from now on. It’s slightly less terrible.
Beating the critics to the punch.
WRITER – MARK WAID
ARTIST – CHRIS SAMNEE
If The Fade In is my favourite book of the month, Daredevil is a close second and it is certainly first when it comes to superhero books. Here, Waid and Samnee deliver another great issue, and after this we only have two until the end of the series.
Matt tries to make a deal with Wilson Fisk in an attempt to save his friends, a deal that will mean the end of Matt Murdock – the problem is that Fisk may be one step ahead, with heartbreaking consequences.
A largely dialogue-heavy issue, but what dialogue! The scenes between Matt and Fisk, and their mutual hatred, are great. The scene takes place in Fisk’s private art gallery, the art being lost on Matt, but the reveal of Fisk’s taste in art is revealed to us, heck, it’s one of the best moments in the entire Waid/Samnee run! For a character who has been absent from the pages of Daredevil for several years, his return is fantastic, his presence upping the drama and the stakes to almost unbearable levels in the course of just a few pages.
WRITER – WARREN ELLIS
ART – JASON HOWARD
Another slow, world-building issue of Trees. I imagine it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m still here.
WRITER – WARREN ELLIS
ARTIST – DECLAN SHALVEY
As with the first issue, not a lot of the overall story is revealed in this second issue, but we now appear to have been introduced to the whole primary cast of the book. We also get another badass fight scene from Shalvey.
So plot-wise things are pretty vague, but the introduction to the team of rather diverse and interesting characters gives the book more of a Planetary vibe, which is no bad thing.
THE SANDMAN: OVERTURE #5
WRITER – NEIL GAIMAN
ARTIST – J. H. WILLIAMS III
In which we meet Dream’s mother.
Visually, this book continues to probably be the best-looking out there. This matches Gaiman’s writing but, as with the last few issues, it has become clearer that this story will benefit from being read in one sitting, collected together.
There is so much going on (combined with the shipping delays) that reading it issue-by-issue, I feel I have to keep referring back to what has come before – something that I’m sure will be easier and more enjoyable in what I imagine will be a very shiny trade collection. Even with this minor issue, the book’s great and I can’t wait for next issue’s conclusion, even if it means no more Sandman.