Monday, April 14, 2014

Reviews of Comics from Wednesday 4/9

All New X-Men #25
Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: David Marquez & many others

Issue 25 has often felt like an artificial anniversary issue to me. "hey, look, we're a quarter of the way to issue one hundred! Good for us!" Then again, in a day where there are next to no books on the rack from the big two anywhere near issue one hundred, maybe it means more now. But All-New X-Men takes that anniversary issue and does something very cool with it. A mysterious figure confronts Hank McCoy, the Beast, in his bedroom, and spends the entire issue giving him glimpses of possible futures he has either created or destroyed by bringing the original X-Men to the present. Each of these possible futures is illustrated by a different artist, and holy cow are there some great artists! Bruce Timm does two pages of Jean Grey, one a montage of her past and one a dark future. David Mack draws the fall of Cyclops, Skottie Young a Monster Iceman, and Art Adams a feral Beast. JG Jones draws a beautiful two page spread of a much more optimistic future, and Jill Thompson gives us some X-Women in space. Two of the indy creators involved did two of my favorite pieces: Maris Wicks provides a two page history of the Colossus/Kitty Pryde relationship from its beginning to its inevitable end, and Jason Shiga draws "Scott + Logan: BFFs Forever," which is as funny as it sounds. There are far more creators involved for me to list them all, but each provide something different. Plus, despite me thinking that there's more to the end of the issue than meets the eye, it seems the cosmos is showing up at Hank McCoy's bedside to just call him a jackass, so the Marvel Universe itself agrees with my current assessment of the character, so I feel pretty good about that.

Batman: Eternal #1
Story: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Art: Jason Fabok

It's been a few years since DC did one of its weekly comics (Trinity would technically be the last one, but the biweekly schedules for Brightest Day and Justice League: Generation Lost made them an ad hoc weekly following up Blackest Night), and within the next couple months we'll be getting two. The first is the one I've been excited for, Batman: Eternal, a series that looks to change the face of Gotham as we know it. If the first page is to be believed, it will. After page one, which shows a broken Batman in a ravaged Gotham, we flashback to the present, where we see Jason Bard arrive in Gotham. If you know Jason Bard,well, good for you, for the rest of you, well, he's an old school Batman supporting cast member, former boyfriend of Barbara Gordon and Batman's day man from the "One Year Later" era (this was set up but rarely used after that, which was a shame). We see that corruption in the GCPD is not exactly a thing of the past in Gordon's regime, and then we get a fun action scene with Jim Gordon and Batman fighting Professor Pyg. But things go horribly wrong pretty quickly, and by issue's end, Gordon has seemingly caused a major tragedy and has been arrested. But clearly there is far more to this than meets the eye. This issue does a great job to set up the series, and gives the reader a view of Gotham from the eyes of a newcomer.  I know a weekly series is a major investment, of time, of money, of space. But if the rest of the series keeps up the quality of the first issue, this is going to be an action packed Batman ride, and well worth fifty two weeks of my time, and yours.

Now I have a question to you, my loyal readers, one I probably should have asked last week: Who would like to see weekly, in depth analysis of Batman: Eternal? Page by page analysis with references to appearing characters and plot as the series builds? If you want that, let me know in the comments section.

Lumberjanes #1
Story: Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis
Art: Brooke Allen

Lumberjanes is one of those books that you want to describe with a cutesy little comparison to two other things, in this case Buffy the Vampire Slayer goes to summer camp. But the good thing about this book is its clearly more than just someone who took two ideas and squeezed them together. A group of girls are away at Lumberjane Camp for the summer, and by the end of the first issue have fought kitsune (three eyed Japanese fox creatures), seen a bear woman, and been yelled at by the girl in charge of their bunk. Mal, Molly, April, Ripley, and Jo each get a moment or two that helps us understand who they are, from Ripley's charging into battle hellbound for leather, or April's taking notes on the surroundings and the creatures. After Jen, their councilor, catches them coming in after hours, they get brought to the head of the camp, Rosie, who resembles a famous historical character of the same name. Clearly she knows something about the surrounding woods that the councilors don't, and she warms the girls that there's more out there than what they'd expect. It's a story about friendship, and while we don't get a lot of plot momentum, other than what seems to be set up, the set up and the characters are charming. It's another great all ages book, something I'm always looking for, and one that has  a strong female cast, which as the uncle of nine and six year old nieces is a big plus. While the mystery of what's going on in the woods and the cryptic words of the kitsune and interesting, I have a feeling it's the characters that are going to keep readers coming back for more.

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