Friday, December 23, 2011

Comics of the Week - The Feats of Strengh Edition

Heavy week for comics, quantity and quality. These aren't even all the books I really enjoyed.

As usual, here's my Scott Snyder praise. Batman #4 continues to build the mystery of the Court of Owls. Bruce's revelation that he's been investigating them since he was a boy makes perfect sense. Whether or not the conspiracy ties to his origin remains to be seen. Capullo gets better with each issue. That last page is gold. Not sure what else to say that I haven't said about every other thing Snyder has written, though. This guy is on another level.

This week, we had dueling Batmen, with Grant Morrison's Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes, the much anticipated continuation of his epic Batman story. coming out as well as Snyder's Batman. In the opening pages, there's a note letting us know this takes place before Flashpoint and the New DCU. We get to see Stephanie Brown back in action as Batgirl and Dick Grayson as Batman. All good. But, I feel like the time between that last we read and the reboot hurts the impact of anything revealed here. By the end of it, I am not sure I care enough. I'm not a continuity freak, but this is the type of story that would have ramifications on the characters. If it has no bearing on the current continuity, then I'm not sure what to do with it. On the flipside, because it's taken so long and it's a double size issue, I think it's over hyped. It's a fine story, but when we get the last reveal, I just didn't see the big deal. Had this played out in regular issues, I think it would have had better impact. None the less, it is what it is and at least we get to see where Morrison was going with this. I still look forward to the next installment.

Fantastic Four 601 was, as much as I hate the overuse of this word, epic. It was huge action and huge moments. Johnny Storm returns from the Negative Zone and the moments where his family realizes he's back were short, but just as powerful as the moments we saw when he died. This, like Morrison's Batman story, has been a long time building and it's clear that Hickman has planted seeds for everything we see from the start. Epting's art is, well, fantastic, as usual.

It was just last week that Uncanny X-Force ended the Dark Angel saga. This week, back again, picking up the pieces, Remender continues to deliver on a book that, apparently, will continue to be one of the best books published in 2012 as it was in 2011. I had one small, maybe-problem with last issue in that last bit when Angel comes back. This issue made it clear that having him be "alive" actually does not take anything away from the beauty, sadness and power of the scene with him and Betsy as he died. I also like that this issue is setting up new pieces for Wolverine and The X-Men. Fantomex has quickly become one of my favorite characters. As much I've enjoyed Wolverine develop as a character, I'm glad Remender let them argue naturally to the point that I feel Logan came off looking like a bit of an asshole. That's character depth. Also, this issue, Robbi Rodriguez on art, fitting in perfectly. His style seems a bit rougher than we've gotten in this series, but that fits thematically since, at this stage, the team is pretty much in shambles. I like it!!

Wonder Woman. Man. This is just good. It's really playing out like a Vertigo book. This is a characterization of Wonder Woman and the gods that I'm not sure I've ever seen, but is exactly right. Azzarello really shines here. I enjoyed 100 Bullets for it's twisting narrative which was appropriate to that story, but here he's letting the characters tell the story by just being. It's a much less complex narrative, so far, though I'm sure things are about to get crazy. Chiang's art is so elegant. I find myself staring at his Wonder Woman in admiration. He draws her like a real woman, who is also a warrior. She does not have giant boobs and a pencil thin waist. She feels real and sexy. I've said graceful in previous posts and that still comes to mind, but also, and obviously, powerful. 

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