In an effort to better service the comic book market, we want to do a wrap up of the issues that come out on a weekly basis. You may see more specific reviews of issues, collections, or arcs going forward and those will no doubt go into more depth. This is just a collection of some of the books that came out, some quick thoughts about those issues, and a rating of one of three levels: Buy, Borrow, and Pass. (Note: Since this is the first time I am using this metric I will attribute it to the guys on The Uncanny X-Cast. I don’t know that they invented it but they were the first people I ever heard use it in the context of comic books.) Have a different opinion? Voice it in the comments. Want to talk about an issue not covered? Bring it up.
A-Force #1 – Buy
A collection of Marvel super heroines all living in one of the many territories of Battleword during Marvel’s Secret Wars event. Led by She Hulk and featuring many women of Marvel, the focus of the issue floated around She Hulk’s leadership and the actions and reactions of other characters like Captain Marvel, Sister Grimm, a female Loki, and Ms. America during an attack on their territory. The art is nice featuring pencils and inks by Jorge Molina, additional inks by Craig Yeung, and colors by Laura Martin and Matt Milla. The line is nice and clean but there is no shortage of detail in the backgrounds and the acting and female form are top notch.
The story leaves a lot of questions since it is a first issue and is dropping us into the middle of an unfamiliar Marvel Universe. This is a recurring theme this week, but this issue, written by G. Willow Wilson and Marguerite Bennett, succeeds when other Marvel Secret Wars tie ins fail by being very aware and apparent of what it is. The story delivers well for a first issue and I can’t wait to read the next one. This is my pick of the week and it is almost entirely because Ms. America is perhaps my favorite woman in the Marvel Universe.
Convergence #7 – Borrow
Convergence #7 continues the weekly releases of the main story of DC’s Convergence event. Let’s be honest. I have not been digging on DC much the last couple of years and this event has remained par for the course. I have not enjoyed anything in this event and after reading issue 5 was considering not even finishing. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but this issue I finally found enjoyable. It wasn’t the art, which I found to be pretty pedestrian. I suppose I just might be getting used to this cast of characters and enjoyed the greater inclusion of multiple versions of characters from different universes. I’m not saying go read Convergence based on this issue but I am saying that maybe it will end up not being the hot mess that I thought it would be.
Daredevil #15.1 – Borrow
Let’s be clear. I only put this as a borrow because Chris Samnee is a modern master. His art is always special and I love him. Marvel introduced .1 issues to serve the purpose of introducing people to a series and giving them a jumping on point. I am not sure this pulls that off as it just gives you 2 quick timeless stories of the past, delivered by present day characters. There was nothing offensive or bad about the writing but there’s nothing here story wise to hook people in or be remembered in 5 years.
Planet Hulk #1 – Buy
The concept of Secret Wars has given writers and artists the opportunity to do whatever they want. This issue starts by introducing you to gladiator Steve Rogers and his partner Devil Dinosaur. That concept alone is enough madcap to get me interested. Artist Marc Laming does a good job, especially with his Captain America and Devil Dinosaur. I feel like Jordan Boyd’s color palette felt a little too brown but didn’t severely hurt the value of the art. Like A-Force the story is a lot of setup and leaves a lot of questions and it probably does a worse job of making things clear. I’m marking this buy, but you are just going to have to accept that it is because I love the idea of an intelligent red tyrannosaurus rex.
Secret Wars Battleworld #1 – Borrow
Another Secret Wars tie in, Battleworld features 2 stories set in this world and I assume each successive issue will do the same. I like that this book will exists so that we can maximize the craziness of Secret Wars, but for me, this issue was a good story paired with an unreadable story. The first story follows a Punisher who carries the consciousness of Dr. Strange and is being hunted by a Hulk, Ghost Rider, Wolverine, and Spider-Man (all of whom are obviously evil). We see the Punisher using magic to summon guns and grenades, and it works perfectly. Unfortunately, it is followed up by a story with MODOK’s from different universes arguing themselves into destruction. MODOK is cool but you should never go full MODOK. This was a buy and a pass tied together so I rate it at borrow.
Spider-Verse #1 – Pass
I loved Spider-Verse as an event but this first issue as a part of Secret Wars was not for me. That is hard to believe because not only did I like Spider-Verse, I am still reading Silk and Spider-Gwen. I don’t know if it’s just too much to throw this on top of the other Spider books, if it’s just too soon after the event, or if this was just as boring as it felt but I did not like it. I will read the next issue just because of what the Spider office at Marvel has given me over the last couple of years but I won’t recommend anyone else do the same.
Trees #9 – Buy
I’ve enjoyed Trees since it started. I love the concept of these foreign things landing on the planet and being so far above us and so foreign that we don’t even know what they are doing. It’s a big idea comic from a big idea writer in Warren Ellis and the art chores from Jason Howard are fantastic.There’s a lot of scratches and lines and the colors are muted but it’s all done in a way that feels right for this world. It’s been a couple of months since an issue came out and I was a little lost on where we were at. I picked back up pretty quickly but still have a hard time telling you exactly what happened because not much happened outside of one character being given a mission. I’m giving this a buy but don’t go buy it if you haven’t read this book. Go get a trade and if you like it keep reading.
Ultimate End #1 – Pass
The Ultimate Universe appears to be going away, perhaps with some elements being left in whatever the main Marvel Universe is post Secret Wars, and it appears that this is the book chronicling that. I want to rate this higher because I have read a lot of Ultimate comics, including pretty much everything Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men. I want to rate this higher because I still like Brian Bendis. I want to rate this higher because if anyone should draw this it should be Mark Bagley. Unfortunately, I can’t. There are difficulties telling what is going on and who is who, especially between the 2 Tony Starks of different universes. I think I know which was which but I had to think too hard about it. Maybe it’s me and this was everything it should have been, but I wasn’t feeling it. The only thing I liked about this issue was the variant Skottie Young cover featuring Bendis dropping a microphone.
Uncanny X-Men #34 – Buy
I played with this issue trying to decide if I would call it a buy or borrow. On one hand, the Kris Anka art is very good. On the other hand, it’s not Bachalo. On one hand, I love all the new mutants Bendis created for this book. On the other hand, I never have and likely never will like Dazzler. Ultimately this is similar to the Daredevil .1 problem above where it can stand alone and will likely not be remembered. That being said, I did think the overall story was better than Daredevil and there were some scense with Mystique and Cyclops that had some great acting and enjoyable ideas. I’ve enjoyed Bendis’ run on this book and All New X-Men and dread the future of our mutants. The X-Men needed Bendis when he came on and they look to be on an even worse path with their future.
Wytches #6 – Buy
I love Scott Snyder. He is one of my favorite writers working today. I love Jock. He has a distinctive style and is also one of the best in the business. That being said, Wytches has not worked for me at all. I have had a hard time following the book from one issue to the next and really have only enjoyed the back matter. I stuck around because Snyder and Jock earned my loyalty to at least finish the arc, and now they finally have me. I won’t call this perfect. I am really having a hard time with Matt Hollingsworth’s colors. This style of colors and splatters everywhere on top of normal coloring is taking me out of the art instead of drawing me in. There were even points in this issue where the art started to give me a headache. I appreciate breaking out of form but this is just too much for me. However, Jock’s work is still great and the story finally managed to hook me in and find a reason to care. Let’s just say there was a twist that really got me, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m planning on rereading the previous issues and this one in one swoop to see if the previous issues resonate better this time around. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I would recommend you pick up the first trade and give it a go.