Happy holidays, fellow parishioners! Now that the holy days are just about over and spring has finally (FINALLY!) arrived, let’s get back to the pews in the church of geek!
Easter, Passover, and April Fool’s are over and done with, but you know what else needs celebrating? Comics! New and upcoming ones, to be a bit more specific. This week we have a number of familiar faces, the end of an epic story, the introducing of a new title and, well, the appearance of a pair of characters from another medium. How’re they stacking up? Well, let’s take a gander at what your favorite congregation has to say:
I’ve been enjoying Futures End, picking them up 2 issues at a time– which is probably the best way to read this series. The creative teams behind this series have put forth a very interesting “maybe future” storyline for the DC Universe. As much as this Cardinal has found it interesting, I am seriously starting to have future/alternate/multiple universe arcs that are going to change the future of comics; MARVEL, I’m looking at y’all as well. Didn’t we just go through this with DC’s the New 52?
Brian Azzarello (Superman), Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth, Animal Man), Dan Jurgens (Batman) and Keith Giffen (52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen) have really made me care for secondary characters that I normally wouldn’t have even given a second glance to and really made the deaths stick. Allan Goldman (Blackest Night: Superman), Freddie Williams III (The Movement), Andy MacDonald (Superman, Time Warp) and Stephen Thompson (Booster Gold) have all given solid, solid artwork. I haven’t seen one issue that had sloppy artwork.
That all being said…
This issue really shouldn’t be the final issue. As soon as you see where they are going with the next story arc, Futures End #48 ends on a cliffhanger that’s nothing short of a disservice to the reader. The final page gives you a variety of comic book covers with the tagline “Into the future… on to the End”, which is awesome, but it should have been given one or two more issues. Look, this is the new comic book business plan: Give the reads the readers a really good story and before you get the ending– KAPOW! If you haven’t yet read this 4-year saga, go TPB. It read almost like The Walking Dead, as single issues don’t give you enough information and, yet, read completely awesome in bunches. 3.5/5 WTF Alternate Universes.
What’s up my people of Congregation? It’s your boy, The Belser, back again to educate the masses as it were. This month’s issue, which I have been blessed with reviewing, is the latest annual of the Batman/Superman comic. In this particular issue, we find Superman fresh off his encounter with Doomsday during the “Superman: Doomed” storyline, investigating the ruins in the Bahamas in which their battle took place. Unbeknownst to him, Xa-Du “The Phantom King” is scheming revenge on the Son of Jor-El in the Phantom Zone. While unable to escape, Xa-Du, no less, decides to use his mental influence to overcome the senses of a number of well known Batman villains. Their sole desire? To kill Clark Kent. Among them are their leader Bane, Killer Croc, Cheshire from the League of Assassins, and a small legion of Man-Bats. Sans powers for the moment — due to an impetuous move on his part — regular old Clark Kent is barricaded with a group of survivors from the Doomsday incident. Can the timely intervention of The Dark Knight save Clark and others in time?
Greg Pak (World War Hulk) infuses this story with continuing banter between Batman and Superman. It’s lovely. In some instances, Batman is the overprotective big brother while Superman is the overly impulsive little brother. The art in this comic is amazing, all very vibrant and detailed without losing the essence of the characters– slightly reminding me of Jim Lee‘s work in Justice League. This can be attributed to a large number of pencilers and inkers assigned to this book. Surely, there’s too many to list but the names that caught my eye included Ian Churchill (Superior, Deadpool: Sins Of The Past) and Mark Morales (Guardians Of The Galaxy, New X-Men). While not a “must buy”, big fans of the World’s Finest should find the book enjoyable enough, with a twist ending to top. 3.5/5 Belser Bibles.
Rick and Morty #1: It’s a tough thing, trying to enjoy something created by Dan Harmon but executed in the hands of someone else. At first it seems like a no brainer because Harmon’s characters are always extremely relatable yet specific and his writing style is very distinct and recognizable, but after witnessing several attempts at recreating his voice (i.e. Community season four) the task seems almost impossible.
Not only is Rick and Morty #1, by writer Zac Gorman (Costume Quest, Magical Game Time) and illustrated by CJ Cannon up against that mountain, it also lacks the particular timing and style brought on by Justin Roiland’s animation work and vocal performance. The art does look like spot-on stills of Harmon and Roiland’s breakout Adult Swim show, but the fun to be had with the particular brand of action in the show translates poorly to the page. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any funny bits in the comic, because I genuinely laughed a few times. It’s just that Rick and Morty’s special brand of sci-fi comedy was always served by a great balance between earnest attempts at plotting an interesting episodes of science fiction and the most unfiltered absurdist, meta-comedy on television. Yet, the comic (so far) seems to try too hard with the bits while sacrificing doing anything exciting with it’s pseudo-satire on Wall Street. It’s not bad if you just need any new Rick and Morty in your life, but it will just seem like a so-so episode after the last panel. 2.75/5 Space Bucks.
Ultron is a douche. Always coming up with new and terrible ways to subjugate humanity, to best our beloved Avengers and seemingly rule the day… Until the time when all hope is lost and by some stroke of luck or miracle our heroes pull the victory out from the most unlikely of places. With the second Avengers film hitting cinemas soon, it’s no surprise that Marvel would be pushing Ultron to the forefront of villainy just in time for the release, and here in Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 that’s exactly what we get.
We have an alternate future ruled by Ultron, humanity on the brink of extinction, and just a few holdouts surviving on the fringes led by… Dr. Doom?!? Or is it?!? Doom has Assembled different Avengers through time to take the fight to his reality’s Ultron Singularity in hope to end the suffering. A decent pairing of the group, we have two Thor’s, Black Widow, Vision, a Hulk that talks like he’s The Thing, Captain America (Luke Cage & Jessica Jones’ daughter), and Jim Rhodes as Iron Man.
There’s potential here, but not exactly a must have. 3/5 bibles.
Greetings to the congregation. Today, I’ll be testifying on the first passages from the book of UFOlogy. This new mini series from the mind of The Woods writer, James Tynion (Hellblazer) along with Noah Yuenkel (The House In The Wall), focuses on the heavenly bodies above and how we as humans have this constant thirst for contact from above. Artist Matthew Fox (Long Walk To Valhala) does little to stimulate the senses and at times leaves the reader sort of underwhelmed, but redemption is found when the Alien creatures (unlike any I’ve seen before) start to make an appearance.
As far as the writing goes, there isn’t much direction or plot given to us in this first issue. Yet the readers receive a theme very much on par with weird elements taken from the X-Files, Close Encounters and Ray Bradbury. It’s a miniseries so I’m curious to see how they keep our attention in such a short span, but for fans of science fiction, this will be an enjoyable read.
I give it 3.5 phones out of 5 calling homes.
Batman Eternal #52…I have not been as caught up on the New 52 as I’d liked (something about another ret-con turned me off enormously, and it seems a bit morose, although I do love Grant Morrison’s and Scott Snyder‘s works within the universe), so this was a bit of a head scratcher for me. Bounding around between a few months in the past, a couple of weeks into the future, Issue #52 concludes the plot of Lincoln March and the current scheming of the Court of Owls. Their look and design still remains creepy as all hell, and while his final showdown with Bruce (sans Batman costume…which I actually thought was cool and dramatic) was reminiscent of the Knightfall Saga‘s climax between Bane and Batman, this one had a hopeful, optimistic twist (again, DC’s current offerings read like the recitation of a dirge. Some levity is not a weakness.)
Snyder (Swamp Thing, Batman, Detective Comics) and James Tynion IV (Hellblazer, Dark Universe) share scripting duties here, and while there’s plenty of action to fill up this exciting conclusion, the more quiet character moments at the end were more interesting to me. Seeing how each of the Batman family copes and handles with the aftermath of the Court of Owls’ plot offered some great moments. While the art for most of the issue was covered aptly by Eduardo Pansica (Earth 2: World’s End, Wonder Woman) and Julio Ferriera (Superman: World Of New Krypton), the aforementioned dénouement also featured guest artists (at least for this title). Watching different artists take on the same character within the same comic was nice twist, and easily makes the transition to those characters’ featured titles that much easy to accept (my favorite being David Lafuente‘s [Ultimate Spider-Man, Hellcat] take on Red Robin and his pals, which was so light and buoyant it lifted up the heaviness of the rest of the issue).
It wasn’t too difficult to dive in and get an idea of what was going on, plot-wise, for this noob. And, thankfully, the actually theme and morality of the issue seemed to take import over the general conclusion, so whether I followed or not, there was a lot to take away from it. 4/5 Wicked soundtracks (just…just read it. You’ll get it.)