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I had four comics this week; hardly enough to give an accurate idea of what the best and worst comics are.
Since I started picking this book up in November, Amazing Spider-Man has been very close, or has been, my pick of the week. This week is no different. With the second of this book’s two rotating artists, Ramos and Caselli, Caselli has a similar style but unique take on the wall crawler. There are some great action beats that are drawing very well, character moments that are true to those characters, but at the same time it moves them forward. This current arc is about Spider Slayer Alistar Smythe who is back to ruin the life of the beloved J. Jonah Jameson. Naturally JJJ has some moments that highlight his hate for Spider-Man, but also his realization that Spider-Man isn’t the nuisance he makes him out to be. It’s similar to Barney Stinson for How I Met Your Mother, who we all know is a jack ass, but shows moments of sincerity. Slott has been writing some cliffhangers that feel much like a comic book should. He leaves the story at a spot that is logical and makes you want to read the next issue. With a book that is bi-weekly, I don’t have to wait long.
My pick for worst of the week is Thor #619, a book that has been here lately. I am almost done with this book, a book that hardly has any structure, a story that is trying to get back to its former status quo and a book that makes brow raising choices that make you shake your head. The only reason i keep buying this book is Pasquel Ferry. This guy can draw some great fantasy characters and draws Asgardians that look both fantastical and science fictional at the same time. For those who know Thor, know that this is how they character should be drawn. With Marvel changing Thor back to the title characters original book, Journey into Mystery and starting a new Thor series, The Might Thor, written by Fraction and drawn by former Thor artist Oliver Copiel, I may be done with this character for now. Gillen will be writing Journey, and he is a writer I can’t get into, and I haven’t liked what Fraction has done with Thor so far. Sorry Marvel, I am sure you will get lots of new readers with this maneuver, but I probably won’t be one of them.
I also picked up Invincible Iron Man #500. Marvel has decided to amalgamate all the volumes of Iron Man into one and go back to its original numbering, and to celebrate created a huge anniversary issue with three different artists telling two stories: one present and one future. The story was alright; jumping back and forth between the two time periods. However, the art was too wildly inconsistent, especially in the future story where I had no idea what was going on in some panels. Not sure if it was the colouring or the inking, but is seemed rushed and sloppy. The style is meant to be gritty, but this wasn’t pulled off well.
Finally, the last book was my only DC book this week, Brightest Day #18, and I am going to give spoiler warnings here. This issue focuses on the Hawks, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and their involvement in this series up until this point has highlighted the continuity mess that these two characters share. It would take too long to explain it all, so I will take the easy way out and point to a Wikipedia article on Hawkman . Brightest Day #18 finally gets the Hawks to a place where they can finally shed all that past continuity and start fresh, but Johns and Tomsai say that isn’t enough and kill off the characters for good. This May be the first real deaths of DC’s dead is dead that was pronounced by Hal Jordan back in Brightest Day #8. This may also be a way to create a new Hawkman or Hawkgirl that cannot be added to the continuity of the former. Brightest Day is almost over; there are seven issues left and this is book is bi-weekly, so that’s about three months worth of story to go and there is a lot that can happen.
Yes, I did not do a pull-list post this week; I’m sorry. It’s been a busy few weeks, but it got me thinking, I think I’ll start joining my pull-list and picks of the week post. That’s fewer posts for me to write and you to read, but you get a better quality post.
This week was another small week for me; two DC books, Brightest Day #16 and Green Lantern #60 and one from Marvel Amazing Spider-Man #650. I was most looking forward to Brightest Day #16, the origin of Aqualad. DC has been weird with their solicitations with this book lately. I thought this book was supposed to come out two weeks ago but it wasn’t, and this weeks preview had a Firestorm cover. Needless to say this was in fact the origin issue for Aqualad. I was also looking forward to Amazing Spider-Man #650 because it has been a quality book with great writing and art.
So my pick of the week for best comic was in fact Brightest Day #16. I wasn’t going to make this my pick because it wasn’t a stand out in writing or art, though the Ivan Reis pages are always great to look at. I picked this as my best of the week because DC is doing one of the things I suggested they do to make Aquaman a big time player in the DCU. Not only does this issue give an origin to Aqualad and give him a connection to the Aquaman universe that makes sense, it creates new places that can enhance and grow the Aquaverse. This issue seems to go back to the silver age origin oh Arthur, who is the son of a lighthouse keeper, but there seems to be a twist. In the Adventure Comics #260, Aquaman tells a sub captain that he is half man, half atlantean, and tells of his father and mother and how, as a child, he learnt about his powers. This issue of Brightest Day though tells its readers that Arthur’s father was human and that Arthur believed he was human until the age of 13 when Atlantean terrorists came from him. This does not specifically say that the lighthouse keeper is biological father, but the fact that Arthur was raised as a human apparently never sat well with other Atlantean. The modern age origin of Aruthr being the son on Queen Atlanna and the wizard Atlan could still be enact, but I don’t think it is. Regardless, Johns and Tomasi are setting up Arthur and Jackson, the new Aqualad with the status quo of not belonging to either world. We also see a bit of an upcoming story line and that is the Aquawar, which I believe will take place in Brightest Day. I keep reading this issue because it looks like it’s going to be a great re-entry for Aquaman in the DCU by building a new community for him to participate in.
My pick of the week for worst comic was almost my pick of the week for best. Green lantern #60 opens up to this amazing two page splash of a Parallax infused Flash fighting Hal Jordan. Artist Doug Mahnke creates a panel that moves, has a lot of expression and really highlights the Flash’s powers, which can be hard to get right. These two pages alone almost made this book my pick of the week for best comic. The rest of the issue is really well done, and the art stays very strong. We get some good Hal Jordan moments and lots of great action, and we also get a big reveal at the end of this issue, and this is where my pick turns from best to worst. Since Blackest Night has ended, we have witnessed this small figure capturing the different emotional entities, such as Parallax. It has been safe to assume that this figure is a Guardian by his size and ability to use the green light of will, and at the end of the issue we found out it is in fact a disgraced Guardian Krona, who everyone thought he was dead. I don’t know who this character is; I’ve only been reading Green Lantern for a short time, so this big reveal was really lost on me, plus the fact that another guardian gone bad made the reveal feel stale. I am sure if I knew more about the Green Lantern mythos I would have liked the end of this issue a lot more than I did.
It’s Monday, so it’s time for my pull list! It’s another DC week for me; lots of Brightest Day stuff, including Brightest Bay. It’s nice to see The Flash back; Francis Manapul is one of my favorite artist right now. He makes his pages really move, and you know I love that in my comic art. This issue is also the last in the first arc by Johns and Manapul. The other Brightest Day title is Green Lantern#59. This title has been okay since the end of Blackest Night. I’m really waiting for Hal to get back to being a space cop, which I hope is soon. The last title I am picking up is the first issue of Batman Inc. I wasn’t initially going to get this book, as I noted earlier, but after Batman and Robin #16 and the final of the Return of Bruce Wayne, Batman’s new status quo seems to interesting to pass up.