SUPERMAN / DIE DIE DIE! / X-23 / AMAZING SPIDER-MAN [Fistful Of Comics]: Calm Before The Con!

Happy Tuesday, geeks and geekettes! Another summer Monday has come and gone, and we’ve got another rendition of Fistful of Comics here to sate us until San Diego Comic-Con rolls around later this week (and boy, you better believe we’ll be there)! We’ve got a highly anticipated premiere that hit shelves this past week, and you’ll hear exactly what we think of it here at GodHatesGeeks, where we’ll have our geek ambassadors providing ample, in-depth coverage!

Let’s jump right in before this week gets really crazy!

“Great Rao” Bass @kidtimebomb
SUPERMAN #1 – DC Comics

You might have heard that Brian Michael Bendis, a man who has easily been the best-selling and most prolific writer/architect for Marvel Comics for the better part of the past two decades, recently crossed the street to set up shop at DC Comics. It was no surprise that DC immediately folded up the really quite compelling narratives that Peter Tomasi/Patrick Gleason and Dan Jurgens had going in Superman, and Action Comics and handed the keys to the Fortress of Solitude to Bendis, who kicked things off by knocking out a six-issue weekly series The Man Of Steel to set up his sure-to-be years-long run, which by my math is going to be showing up 48 Wednesdays a year for the foreseeable future. This brings us to an all-new #1! The slate is wiped clean. Bendis has already broken a couple of major toys in the toybox and shaken up the status quo pretty seriously. Now, it’s time to fly. So, how does he do?

Really quite well. If you are a hardcore grammar person and read The Man Of Steel, you might skip the opening captions on the first page*, but as soon as our hero’s narration kicks in, Bendis keeps the narrative humming along at an excellent pace. The single-page flashbacks with Lois and Jon are strong vignettes that perfectly capture the tone of those relationships. The four pages with the League that establish the new Fortress of Solitude are efficient and do their work well. The conversation with J’onn is the most inspired scene, one of Kal’s closest friends making an impassioned plea for him to take a more direct leadership role on a planetary scale, underscored by Superman continually darting off to the save the day several times in under a minute. It reminded me of the relatively more realistic approach Busiek applied to Samaritan way back in the first issue of Astro City, the manner in which someone with Superman’s powers would have to most effectively apply them on a minute-by-minute basis. And then there’s quite a twist at the end that comes out of nowhere that certainly hooks the reader into wanting to devour the next installment right away, which is of course the ultimate priority of any quality slice of serial fiction.

The A-team of Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Alex Sinclair bring their A-game on art with clear storytelling that alternates between quiet human moments and massive splash pages that emphasize all the action and wonder we have every right to expect from any issue of Superman4/5 Thwarted Dominator Invasions.

-Rob Bass

*Grammar trigger-warning: and but the challenge was not having this review turn into me freaking out about this the entire time, but long story short, as an English teacher abiding in the MLA world, I am an ardent supporter of the Oxford comma (EDITOR: maybe hyperlink this to “Oxford comma”? and so skipping one there in the very first paragraph of the issue at the end of “truth, justice, and the American way” slapped me out of the issue at the very instant I was plunging in with an open heart. Which was fine, forgivable. AP style, the way that Clark writes as a journalist for Perry, says that there should be no Oxford comma, so I managed to bring myself over to that being okay, but then in the fourth caption box, there’s a tense-shift when everything goes to present when it absolutely should stay in past tense until the next caption, so at that point, I was like pacing my living room and freaking out about how this could have ever happened. As a result, it took me a few pages to get back to my previous open-heart mindset. I fully recognize that 99% of the folks reading this comic or review are not going to care one little bit about any of that. As is applicable to most situations, Mark Twain saw all this coming a long time ago and crafted the perfect encapsulation: “Perfect grammar—persistent, continuous, sustained—is the fourth dimension, so to speak: many have sought it, but none has found it.” But it’s still so important to me that we keep trying.

“Vestal” Colleen Vincent
DIE DIE DIE! #1 – Image Comics

Die, Die, Die! is a tale of battling assassins and political machinations with a twist of debauchery. It is coke fueled, gory, depraved, and yet…dull. Written by Robert Kirkman and Scott Gimple, creator and executive producers of legendary comic and aging ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead, this a new addition to Skybound’s catalog.

Chris Burnham’s (Batman Inc.) artwork is vaguely reminiscent of R. Crumb here and the writing wants to be dark humor but doesn’t quite hit the mark. The characters aren’t quite fleshed out and a main one doesn’t quite emerge in this telling. Perhaps the next episode will be more compelling but this reader wasn’t hooked enough to want to find out. If you’re a fan of Kirkman, or at the least interested in his take on a genre that doesn’t involve zombies, this might be worth picking up– once the trade paperbacks get a few more issues to collect, that is. 2/5 Bibles.

-Colleen Vincent

Savanna Leigh @SavannaDLeigh
X-23 #1 – Marvel Comics

Marvel’s X-23 is based on the mutant justice seeking trials of Laura and Gabby aka X-23 and Honey Badger. Laura, a clone from Wolverine, is on a mission to destroy the science and creators behind her and her sisters’ existence. The formula behind Laura and Gabby has been used for evil for far too long and the two sisters are out for revenge. X-23 was written by Mariko Tamaki and the main artist was Juann Caball. The overall aesthetic appeal of X-23 was extremely strong, especially with the bright visual colors and the ability to feel like you were involved in the scenes. As far as the art goes, this title was an enjoyable read.

While the concept behind Marvel’s X-23 is enjoyable enough, the writing is subpar and very cliché. I was expecting the type of compelling story and banter that readers can typically see in a Marvel-based comic, but X-23‘s claws quite never sink in. 3/5 Bibles.

-Savanna Leigh

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 – Marvel Comics
Destiny “Evangelical” Edwards

Peter Parker has had a rough go of it over the years, but his day in Amazing Spider-Man No. 1 borders on absolutely ridiculous. Nick Spencer takes him through a crazy series of events that would break a lesser person, but instead shows him what really matters after he hits rock bottom. It could’ve been eyeroll-inducing, but Spencer knocks it out of the park, reminding us just how well he understands Spidey. Spencer actually made me care about Mysterio, one of my least favorite villains.

Ryan Ottley‘s art captures facial expressions extremely well and is a great complement to Spencer’s dialogue in the important moments. Here’s to hoping Spencer continues to crank out some good work with the webslinger, and we can keep our Spidey-fans happy. 4.25/5 Bibles.

-Destiny Edwards

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