Monday, July 14, 2014

Reviews of Comics from Wednesday 7/9

Daredevil #5
Story: Mark Waid
Art: Chris Samnee

Five issues into the new volume of Daredevil from Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, and we get the answers to why and how everyone believes Foggy Nelson is dead, and it makes for an excellent issue. Set in between the volumes, we see Matt being attacked by Frog Man and Foggy getting caught in the middle, proving the point that Matt was making to Foggy at the beginning of the issue, that the revelation of Matt's identity to the public puts Foggy in the crosshairs. Frog Man is not exactly an intimidating foe, and while Waid does a little here to make him more of a threat, he doesn't redeem him in the same way that he did the Spot at the beginning of the first volume. Waid also continues to use Hank Pym as a supporting character, and uses him better than pretty much any writer has in years, coming up with interesting ways to use Pym's shrinking technology. The plot is mostly to give Foggy an out that really proves the heroism inherent in Daredevil's best friend. Foggy has been fighting cancer for most of the last volume of Daredevil, and Waid has been clear that Foggy is a brave guy just for fighting with that, but in this issue, when presented with lethal danger, Foggy does what he has to; he tries to save people, even if it would cost him his life. Other writers have done things with Foggy, but that's mostly been in his roll as Matt's go-to guy. Waid has done a great job of letting Foggy stand on his own as a human being, and that has made Foggy a more interesting character. With this lingering question now answered, I hope Waid continues to develop Foggy, making him stand even higher in the ranks of comics's best supporting characters.

Grayson #1
Story: Tim Seeley & Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin

The new status quo for Dick Grayson begins with this issue, and I have to say, I'm pretty darn pleased with it. Writers Tim Seeley and Tom King jump us right into Dick Grayson on a mission for Spyral, the spy organization created by Grant Morrison for his run on Batman Incorporated. And while the stakes are clearly high, with a rogue nuclear powered metahuman, Russian agents, and a fight with the Midnighter, the thing that stands this book apart from so much of what DC is putting out right now is that it was fun. Not all ages fun, but Dick reads like he's having a good time while infiltrating Spyral and doing some good in the world. He isn't moaning and brooding. Dick Grayson has always been a character who quips his way through a fight, and so a lighter air is something that should be part of his book. I am of mixed feelings about him using a gun, but I have to say that he doesn't take a life, which is more important to me; Dick's parents weren't killed by guns, so he doesn't have the same hang-up Batman does about firearms, so I accept him being able to use one. As for his supporting cast, well I like this new Helena Bertinelli. She's smart and tough, just like her pre-New 52 counterpart. I am curious to see exactly how close she will be to that earlier version, a character I really liked. And as for Mister Minos, the seeming head of Spyral, this guy I don't trust. From employing the daughter of Otto Netz, war criminal Dr. Dedalus who worked for Spyral and Leviathan, to his mission to unmask all masked heroes, it's clear to see why Batman sent Dick undercover in Spyral. I look forward to future revelations about Minos, plus an eventual appearance by former Batwoman, Kathy Kane in her position as an agent of Spyral. I've stated before how much I love a standalone first issue, and this one does a great job of being a done in one story and still setting up plenty of plot threads to be answered later. If you've given up on the New 52 thanks to its unremitting darkness, you might want to try out this issue; it's something very different and worth your time.

Spider-Man 2099 #1
Story: Peter David
Art: Will Sliney

I'm a big fan of the original Spider-Man 2099 series, about a new hero taking up the mantle of Spider-Man in the distant future, and so when Dan Slott brought the character to and stranded him in the present during his run on Superior Spider-Man, I wanted to see more. And now, not only do I get a monthly dose of Miguel O'Hara (or Mike O'Mara as he's calling himself in the present), but ti's from original series writer, and the character's creator, Peter David. The issue matches the tone of the previous series, a tone familiar to fans os Peter David, with tongue planted firmly in cheek. The humor is bit more dark and bitter, similar to David's Sir Apropos of Nothing novels, but that doesn't make it less funny. There is one cute little gag, about Miguel renting unit 2099 in his building, but the rest of the humor, between the blood on the floor of his new apartment, his boss/grandfather, Tiberius Stone, jumping into a panic room, and leaving Mike out to be killed by a time travelling cop sent to eliminate him, and his confrontation with Liz Allen, the head of Alechemax, are all dark. Miguel isn't as light a character as Peter Parker, which is easily established when he kills the guy sent after him. Now, this guy was technically a member of some organization that's job was to patrol the timeline and keep it clean, but as he had no problem with collateral damage, it didn't leave Miguel with much of a choice, but still, this isn't what Peter Parker would have done. It's nice that this book and Grayson came out in the same week, as the tone, of action and humor, seem akin to each other, and both serve as good introductions to their leads and the supporting cast and world they live in. I'd wager this isn't the last Miguel has seen of other time travellers after him, and as the end of the issue seems to be one of those self-fulfilling prophecies that time travel causes and that makes the reader's head ache, I'm looking forward to seeing where David takes this.

Star Trek #35
Story: Mike Johnson
Art: Tony Shashteen

I've always been more a Star Wars guy than a Star Trek guy. I like Star Trek fine, especially Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, but when it comes to the comic book/novel tie-ins, unless it's written by Peter David, I've never gotten too into it. But when I saw the solicitation for this issue, I knew I was going to pick it up, because it features one of my favorite characters in all Star Trek mythos. Yes, the crew of the new Enterprise, the one from the current movies, is meeting Q, the nigh-omnipotent consonant based being played by the brilliant John deLancie. After a stopover in the classic Trek timeline and a conversation with his old sparring partner, once-Captain-now-Ambassador Jean-Luc Picard, whose advice he characteristically ignores, Q pops over to the neo-Trek timeline to have a conversation with Kirk. It seems Q knows that something Kirk is going to do is going to lead to a cataclysm in that timeline, and he has taken some interest and wants to help avert this crisis. But in his Q-like way, instead of appearing and talking about it, he places the Enterprise in danger, kidnaps Kirk, and then sends the ship into the future (although it is unknown which timeline's future it is). Q is written dead on; I could hear de Lancie reading the dialogue. And the art is some of the most faithful to the actors I have ever seen, which is good, but I'm curious to see if keeping the look so spot on will be a hindrance for character as the series progresses. If it is, well, I'm along for the ride so I'll see. This is a good start to an arc, though, and I'm excited to see Kirk and crew meet some other characters from the other parts of the franchise.

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