Well, it’s finally here. The New DC Universe is upon us. But more importantly, Secret Avengers #16 is here too.
Let’s get this out of the way: I didn’t read Flashpoint. I didn’t care about it. Everything was changing forever, I got that, and I didn’t need to see how it happened. I did read Justice League #1 though, and it was okay, I guess. It did exactly what it said on the box: this is a new Justice League by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. And it’s exactly that; the writing is average, the art is pretty great. WIll it blow minds? Not a chance. But does it do exactly what it sets out to do? Yeah, I guess it does. I mean, it could have done it a lot better, what with this first issue having no real conflict and going by so quickly that it could scare off more than a few new readers, but it’s got Batman, it’s got Superman, it’s got Green Lantern. Those are the guys on the posters, those are the guys in the comic. Now can we please move on to Action Comics #1 and Batman #1?
While DC were content with releasing just two books this week, Marvel dropped a heap of great comics on us, like Amazing Spider-Man #668, DeadpoolMAX #11, Herc #6.1 and The Mighty Thor #5. Greg Pak’s five year run on The Hulk came to a close with The Incredible Hulks #635, while the launch of the new Ultimate Universe continued with Ultimate Comics Hawkeye #1. Uncanny X-Force continues to deliver consistently, and the return of original artist Jerome Opeña, and with him the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse from the title’s opening arc, somehow managed to make a great book even greater.
Outside of the Big Two, there were new issues of Locke & Key, The Goon, Butcher Baker Righteous Maker, Elephantmen and Epoch. The final issue of the anthology series Rocketeer Adventures was released, while fans of the Whedonverse were treated to an all new ongoing series in Angel & Faith #1. Invincible made a return to form after the last few disappointing issues, as Invincible made peace with Universa and the Guardians of the Globe made their return to the main title, albeit twelve years older.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Secret Avengers #16
A funny thing happened this week. I walked into my Local Comic Shop to find that they were having a back issues sale, 50 comics for $50. I couldn’t resist. I walked away a couple of hours later with a box full of 53 comics (I got some great ones too, a heap of Grant Morrison, Joe Kelly, Mike Allred, but I digress). While I was carrying those fifty-three comics home, I started to wonder if maybe this was getting to be a little bit ridiculous. I was starting to think that maybe I should just stop reading comics altogether.
But then Secret Avengers #16 came out. This perfect, fantastic, amazing comic gave me of all the reasons I read comics in a cool twenty-two pages, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Secret Avengers #16 is the first in Warren Ellis’ six scheduled issues of Secret Avengers, each of which being a self-contained, done-in-one story handled by a different artist. This first issue sent Steve Rogers’ covert Avengers team into a secret, abandoned underground city in order to stop a group of terrorists who plan to use a time machine as a weapon. It’s as awesome as it sounds, and it is exactly why I love comics.
Batman: Mad Love and Other Stories
It’s pretty common knowledge that Batman: The Animated Series was one the best things to come out of the 90s. Batman: TAS was so highly regarded that many characters and concepts created for the animated series made their way over to the Batman comics in the years to follow. Without a doubt, the series’ biggest success story was Harley Quinn, psychotic jester and love interest of the Joker, created by Batman: TAS producers Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. In 1994, Dini and Timm teamed up to create Mad Love, a one-shot featuring Harley who, being fed up with the Batman constantly getting between her and her “puddin”, decides to take matters into her own hands and sets out to finally kill Batman. Mad Love went on to win the Eisner for “Best Single Story” and is still regarded as one of the greatest Batman comics of all time.
Batman: Mad Love and Other Stories collects Mad Love for the first time since 1998, as well as most of the other Dini and Timm collaborations from over the years, featuring the Scarecrow, Catwoman, Ra’s Al Ghul, The Ventriloquist and Scarface, Poison Ivy and Clayface among others. Coming in at 208 pages of some of the best Batman stories ever printed for just $17.99USD, this collection is essential reading.
DC editorial have announced that, following in the footsteps of Lois and Clark and Peter and Mary Jane before them, Barry Allen and Iris West’s 45-year marriage will be erased from continuity with the release of The Flash #1 later this month. In a post on DC’s The Source blog, Flash editor Brian Cunningham tried, and failed, to explain the retcon. The post makes very little sense, with Cunningham claiming Barry Allen will be a single man, then going on to say that he is dating his coworker Parry Spivot. Cunningham apologises for the change, then states that he “make[s] no apologies”. I’ve got to tell you, I don’t have much confidence in The Flash‘s editorial right now.
A couple of fantastic artists have launched new webcomics in the past week. Long-time collaborators Skottie Young and Scott Morse have launched a “yet-to-be-offivially-titled” ongoing comics experiment on http://www.skottiescott.com/, and the first two pages are looking pretty great. At the same time, Michael DeForge has launched his new webcomic “Ant Comics”, and the first page is pretty fantastic. Scott and Skottie have cute animals hunting for treasure, Michael DeForge has ants having sex. You decide.
And that’s the week in comics. If you’re still unsure about the DC New 52, Patrick Willems has you sorted with this great parody of the whole event. Enjoy!