Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Reviews of Comics from Wednesday 3/5

Scooby-Doo Team-Up #3
Story: Sholly Fisch
Art: Dario Brizuela

Sholly Fisch's Scooby-Doo Team-Up is one of the most fun books on the rack. While absolutely an all ages book, and completely accessible to everyone, it also is full of great nods to DC Comics past and the history fo Scooby-Doo. Last issue featured the Mystery Analysts of Gotham from the 60s, including many classic DC detectives, and this issue brings us not only two serious C-List Bat villains, The Spook and False Face, and references to A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, but also brings in Bat-Mite. It reads like most Bat-Mite stories, with Bat-Mite coming in to "help" Batman and in the process making everything much worse, but adds in Scooby-Mite, a fifth dimensional imp who is Scooby-Doo's biggest fan. This leads to an amusing deconstruction of the whole Scooby-Doo formula that still shows the value of the characters. Fisch does a perfect job of blending the Caped Crusader and Mystery, Inc. It would surprise no one that Fisch wrote the tie-in comic for Batman: The Brave and the Bold, a series that was based around such blendings. The issue's end adds in another reference, this one to the Teen Titans cartoon that serves as a nice little cherry on top of the issue. If you enjoy Batman or Scooby-Doo this is a great issue to give a read.

She-Hulk #2
Story: Charles Soule
Art: Javier Pulido

Charles Soule has been doing a great job picking up where Scott Snyder  left off on Swamp Thing, but as good as that book is, his She-Hulk is an even more impressive feat. Two issues in, and it's already creeping high up on my list of best comics on the rack. After hanging out her shingle for her own law firm at the end of last issue, this issue sees Jen Walters, She-Hulk, attempting to get her firm going. We start to meet the rest of the cast of the series, including her new paralegal, Angie Huang, who has a pet monkey that goes everywhere with her and whose cryptic answers to Jen's questions clearly indicate there's more to her then meets the eye, and Sharon King, the owner of the building Jen has set up shop in, who is a mutant who lost her powers and now rents to exclusively super powered clientele. After a day of making no progress thanks to the law firm she left last issue who are out to blackball her, Jen heads out for a night on the town with Patsy Walker, another former Avenger, Hellcat. Patsy seems to be as hard up as Jen is, and when she gets a few too many in her, she leads Jen to assault an A.I.M. lab that she heard about. We get a short but comedic battle between two A.I.M. goons in cyber suits and Jen, and by the end of the battle, Jen has one more employee in Patsy. One of the nice touches is hearing the A.I.M. goons talking about how taking out She-Hulk will get back to his higher ups and help him make more money to support his kids. That kind of dialogue adds a nice touch of realism to the book. The final page looks to be setting up Jen's first big case and setting her firmly in the sights of one of the Marvel Universe's biggest bads. If you've been enjoying Marvel's sleeper hit Hawkeye, this is definitely a book you should be reading.

Velvet #4
Story: Ed Brubaker
Art: Steve Epting

Velvet is a great example of everything Image Comics is doing right. It reads like nothing else on the rack and takes it's genre by the throat and does amazing things with it. After her disastrous mission in the previous issue to Belgrade, Velvet Templeton has a lead on Agent X-14's movements, hopefully getting her closer to who framed her for murder. Set in Monaco at the Carnival of Fools, we get Steve Epting at his best, drawing opulent and realistic backgrounds and characters in classy clothes and wild costumes. Velvet is hunting Roman, and Ex-KGB agent who has gone freelance, and finds him at a casino, playing Baccarat. Brubaker makes a fun joke about Baccarat, something I think many of us who have read James Bond has thought, and pretty soon, Velvet is caught up in another fight with spies. The fight scenes that Brubaker writes and Epting draws are brutal, and I like the internal monologue playing in Velvet's head; Brubaker makes it clear that fighting isn't a game to Velvet, that this is part of the job and she's willing to do anything to end it as quickly as possible. The issues ends with some classic spy banter, and another hint of Velvet's mysterious past. Brubaker has done a great job of balancing the plot driving each individual issue with the overarcing plot of the series, allowing for each issue to feel almost complete in itself, something many writer's can't do. With Captain America: The Winter Soldier, based on a series by this book's creative team, coming out in less than a month, this is a great time to jump onto Brubaker and Epting's creator owner spy series.

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