It’s Batman week again. To allow my column to focus on comic books that aren’t Batman, I have given BATMAN #16 its own review.
Now, in order to drum up excitement for non-Batman titles, I have fashioned this column after a tabloid, complete with eye-catching scandals. Ahem.
AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #11 is hilarious. At no point are you worried for these characters’ safety—you just want them to keep talking, because Kelly Sue DeConnick has latched onto the core of their personalities and what makes interaction between them so entertaining. Case in point: before being forced to take the naked walk of shame down the street in New York, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are ordered (by Carol Danvers) to “drop their pants”. The ensuing panel is priceless, as Banner throws up his hands in confusion while Stark simply goes straight for his fly without asking for an explanation. Love it.
THE CROW: SKINNING THE WOLVES #2 feels like a real Crow story—and by that, I suppose I mean full of gunfire, explosions, and bloody revelations. The direction of pathos here is complicated, and that’s what makes it so fascinating. Do we mourn for the lackeys forced to guard the trucks? Grieve for prisoners shot cold for losing chess games? Choke on our cheers when crow-guided dead man shows a semblance of humanity? It’s twisted and bloody and it feels like James O’Barr, thank god.
A lot of people go flying through panes of glass in X-FACTOR #250. There’s a lot of shouting and demons, and talk about the end of the world. Which is all well and good, and Peter David (GET WELL SOON, SIR!) delivers in his usual snarky fashion, but I kind of miss the issues about the team doing one-off missions and bickering along the way. Big plot can be effective, but with X-FACTOR, I want snark and circumstance, because that’s what it does best.
BABES IN BIKINIS!
SAVAGE WOLVERINE #1 feels like a pulp comic from the 60s, complete with leopard print and opportunistic velociraptors. Also Neanderthals, mososaurs, and killer mermen. I mean, really, what else do you need? Oh, right—it’s written and drawn by Frank Cho. If this is what GUNS AND DINOS was supposed to be, except with Wolverine and and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, I’m totally on board. Marvel should just set every single book in the Savage Land from now on, because. DINOSAURS!
And thus with issue #8, Boom!’s EXTERMINATION comes to a finish—unhinging all previous assumptions and flipping hero-villain roles on their arses in the process. The dialogue here is pricelessly British; the implications, satirical enough to rust chrome. I come away wishing Simon Spurrier would write a Vertigo book. I come away with the kind of amoral conviction that makes it much more difficult to read a mainstream superhero book without reservations. I come away knowing that the collected graphic novel of this sucker is going to burn holes in the wall of my local comic shop, because it’s just that good.