Egads! Sorry folks I could have sworn I posted this at least three days ago but apparently I didn’t, so here is your incredibly late Near Mint #2 and here’s to hoping I can get #3 to you a bit quicker.
All New X-men Special #1
No idea where Mike Costa’s story is going here. The current..err.. present …past… ok, the classic X-Men who are currently in the present due to all the “Children of the Atom” stuff, go for a day trip in NYC (despite being alternatively divided and in other times during the main Atom story line.) They stumble upon an old school looking Doc Ock. The Superior “actual Ock” Spidey intervenes and we go on from there. Potentially we’re just getting into more silly time displacement stuff, but combined with Kris Anka’s art, it all works in a wonderful sort of way. Hell, I just enjoy the idea of a past and present Ock (no matter what body he inhabits) interacting. For once, I’m happy that Parker isn’t around, if only for this potentially weird new interaction, even it was intended to be an X-Men story.
Superior Foes of Spider Man #4
I am super enjoying this run so far written by Nick Spencer and artwork by Steve Lieber. Especially when you go throwing in Iron Fist and Luke Cage team-up? FUCK YEAH! (Marvel, give them a damn book already). This is a group of struggling wannabe Sinister Sixers, led by Boomerang, hired out by the Chameleon from prison to carry out a personal vendetta against Silvermane. So far it has been my favorite Spider-related books with its compelling, smart writing and good sense of humor, just as Stan the Man intended. I really like Lieber’s pencils as much as Rosenberg’s colorings. This book fits together on all fronts.
Mighty Avengers #2
This book gets old school stamp of approval. Good standalone/continuing story by Al Ewing . A strange assortment of heroes—Luke Cage, Spectrum, Superor Spidey, Spider-Hero—all dealing with the Thanos threat via Proxima Midnight. Oh, and did I forget to mention Blue Marvel, The Watcher, Dr. Strange, a Big Lebowski reference, and, oh yeah, SHUMA-GORATH! I don’t love Greg Land’s work normally but with the fun Al Ewing is having, it’s hard not to enjoy.
With Zeb Wells’ run on Savage Wolverine coming to an end last issue, Jock (one name like Prince) gives us: LOGAN IN SPAAACCCCEEE! Why is he there? Who kidnapped him and left him, er… somewhere not on Earth? Who the hell knows but I am excited to get there! With a look that smacks slightly of Ashley Wood’s work and a dynamic space story, it looks like Jock will put Wolverine to the test. Despite it generally being a revolving door of artists and writers, Savage has been the only Wolverine book I’ve given a crap about over the past year, and to me this is more of the good in a completely different direction.
Captain America: Living Legend 1 of 4
I don’t know what I enjoyed more about this issue: Diggle’s script, Adi Granov’s art, or the combined story for the two. We start with a classic Cap WWII story where Captain America’s actions butterfly-effect into the thawed out Cap’s present. I don’t know exactly where this book came from or where it’s going, but that’s sort of the best part. With the hole left from the Dimension Z Captain arc missing from the Marvel Universe, this story fills the vacuum and then some. It almost reminds me of the Punisher book I mentioned last week, a story with unique standout art, and a story that understands the history of its character with caustic realism.
Maybe it’s just because I like this team (I mean it does have Deadpool and Ol’ Skull Face Chest), but Thunderbolts has been working for me. I like that it’s basically a team of hired mercenaries whose moral compass is Flash Thompson. Either way, their continuing misadventures are feeling ripples of the Thanos takeover (spoiler?) and the “team” has to deal accordingly… I use the word team lightly. Always an interesting read for its broken team dynamic and a rotating cast of talents.
Swamp Thing #24
Swamp Thing. Definitely one of my favorite 52s. I mean, one of the best ever comic book runs was what Moore did with this character, but I’ve really enjoyed the storytelling and especially art of the 52 Swamp Thing. Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette started this re-boot so damn strong but Rotworld Charles Soule has done well in his own right since he took the reigns for the green djinn. This issue specifically is pitched like one of the villain’s books, but it doesn’t feel like a tie-in or a throwaway. The reveal of The Seeder’s identity (an obvious guess for any Swamp Thing diehards) is still a nice payoff that is building for a big showdown. Start reading this book. I command it.
Detective Comics #24
So we’re finally at a conclusion to this Wraith madness by John Layman, and while I’ve been enjoying the story, I think it is Jason Fabok’s work that keeps me reading. Mr. Fabok understands how to draw the bat with real drama, and especially knows how to draw all of his wonderful toys. Plus SPOILER ALERT (I mean, it’s on the cover), Bats gets all armored up to match guns and wits with Wraith. It is a pretty epic conclusion to the Wraith run in what has been a caustic and dark ride. Hard to talk about this issue without giving much away.
Green Lantern #24
Lantern and the Corps can be a sometime tricky book to write for: there’s a reason Marvel doesn’t have a Nova Corps book… yet. Since Geoff Johns left this book, it has some mighty shoes to fill, especially as the Green Lantern universe has been virtually ripped apart by the guardians acting like a bunch of blue turds, and the first lantern reaping havoc on Hal and the Lanterns (also the name of my favorite do-wop group.) Still, this issue has a great story by with the mighty Relic attacking the Corps for their light and is a compelling story with a heavy end.
Green Arrow #24
Let me just start by saying: Andrea Sorrentino fucking rocks. His work on I… Vampire was always amazing, but combined with Jeff Lemire’s takeover since issue #17, it’s been magic. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I am with the industry on this one, big time. Green Arrow’s recent run is one of DC’s best books, hands down. I was never a huge fan of the first 52 run by J.T. Krul and later Ann Nocenti… in fact, I thought it needed cancellation. But I’m glad that it’s survived, if only for its use with this team (or thanks to added popularity brought in by Arrow on the CW network (incidentally, sorta obvious with a character directly from the show now being in the comic as well, but what can you do). This book just rocks and, without giving too much away, if you ever liked Sorrentino’s art, it’s in top form here combined with Lemire’s script. This book has also consistently kicked ass because you really can pick it up anywhere and enjoy it, which is hard to say with some of inconsistencies in DC continuity… but if you want a good read, start from issue #17 and on.
Forever Evil #2
Geoff Johns’ continual foray into the minds of the 52 Crime Syndicate has been short but solid. I don’t have an incredible amount to say about the art team of Finch, Friend, and Oback, aside that their combined effort is proficient and beautiful. Johns has a good approach to Crime Syndicate’s wavering team dynamics, that are reminiscent of the actual Justice League. Most importantly this week we get more Lex Luthor dealing with the recent events and additionally reintroducing to the 52-verse my other favorite Superman villain. Bad bye.
Honorable mention: Action Comics #24
I won’t lie… I know I said I was doing this blog to perpetuate some of the positivity still out there but I struggled for a mention here and not for good reasons…. BUT I did still like, or rather don’t mind, the “Psi-war” going on in Action Comics. If anything, I liked this book specifically because it is a character attacking Superman on a more personal/psychic level, which I always thought was his real weakness (glowing green rocks from a dead home planet work too, I suppose.) I like the way this book does dissection of Superman’s psyche to amplify the pain and shame of his weird upbringings and past.
Did I mention I had a BKV thing? Well with Private Eye #4 coming out yesterday he took over the Panel Syndicate Twitter feed and answered tweets from fans (even one from yours truly.) So go and read this book, get all of the others for free and then pay at least cover price for issue 4 to keep this book going. It should be a ten issue run but won’t be a five issue run without support!
Aw’right, that’s it for this week. Sorry about a late release here, as yesterday was new issue day, but I had a busy weekend full of women and wine. Hoping next week’s edition of Near Mint will come sooner. Feel free to reach out and let me know what you think: @peterwgacek