Batman Lil’ Gotham #8, Rocket Girl #2, Shaolin Cowboy #2 + Umbral #1
Every time I put up a new cover for Batman Lil’ Gotham on our Rate the Covers™ post I say to myself, “I really miss reading a comic with Dustin Nguyen art. I should pick that comic up sometime.” Well, I think “sometime” is now “this week.” I’ve waited long enough to check out an issue of this series. Book Bonus Points: It’s one of the few (if only) $2.99 Batman comics this month– and Scott Snyder is not writing it. Plus, it looks a lot more fun than all the other Bat-Books combined– minus John Layman’s Detective Comics, of course.
I was pleasantly surprised by the first issue of Rocket Girl by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder. The only drawback for me? I felt the writing could have been a bit better– but it was far from unreadable. Lucky for me, the comic contained some of the best Amy Reeder art published so far. The most important thing– the comic is just fun. (There’s that “f” word again.)
Speaking of fun, the first issue of Geoff Darrow’s Shaolin Cowboy had one the best “recap” pages in the history of comics. (Yes, even better than the great Agents of Atlas recap pages I used to rave about.) The opening 2 pages of the last Shaolin Cowboy were better than any title I have read from Marvel or DC this year. That is NOT hyperbole either. And, ya, the comic itself wasn’t too shabby either. I am very much looking forward to this week’s new issue.
I’ll admit to being a lot more open now to trying new comics than I have ever been. It probably has a lot to do with the fact there are fewer and fewer good mainstream comics published every day. For my money, a new Image Comics first issue is the safest blind bet in comics right now– so this week I’ll be giving Umbral #1 by Anthony Johnston and Christopher Mitten a chance. I read a few preview pages and it definitely has me interested. If I’m really lucky, maybe it’ll be fun too.
Deathmatch #11, Garth Ennis’ Red Team #5, Sons of Anarchy #3 + X-Men Gold #1
When I first saw the Deathmatch comic announced, I seriously thought it was going to be a piece of shit. Even Paul Jenkins name in the writer/creator’s block didn’t sway me. (And I love Paul Jenkins’ comics!) Nope. I thought Paul had sold out. So I dismissed the book and threw it in the back of my brain. Then the first trade came out and I instantly gravitated toward it because of Jenkins’ name. And…Wow! Was I ever wrong.
Deathmatch is not a once great writer pandering to the lowest comic fan denominator. Deathmatch is Jenkins taking Fanboy Bait— like a comic filled with brutal super fights– and turning the concept on its ear. I can only imagine the surprised/enlightened looks on some fanboy faces when they actually read this book– and suddenly realized there was so much more to the comic medium than the homogenized brutality of the Big Two. Carlos Magno’s exceptional art is a perfect fit for the subject matter as well. Before I go, I must apologize to Mr. Jenkins for ever doubting his intentions or his talent… And you? You must start reading this comic now!
Some blow hot & cold when it comes to Garth Ennis. Not me. I am 100% in Ennis’ corner. Always have been, always will be. Garth Ennis’ Red Team is no exception. Leave it to Ennis to take a rather run-of-the-mill concept and make it so much more than it deserves. Another plus: This is actually a Dynamite comic book with decent art. Win-Win.
What can I say about Sons of Anarchy the comic book? Well, I can tell you the stories read like regular SOA TV Episodes. Most importantly, the characters sound like their TV counterparts. (Hell, they even usually look like the real-life actors too.) If you don’t like the show (I get why you don’t, I really do), then there’s nothing I can say that will compel you to buy this comic. But any Sons of Anarchy TV Fan on the fence about this series should put their reservations aside and place this comic in their purchase pile. Give it a shot. Live a little.
Confession time: I never really cared for the X-Men… Not the original team by Lee & Kirby or the All New, All Different team by Claremont and Dave Cockrum. Like most people, I did enjoy Claremont’s Days of Future Past– but who didn’t like that story? And yes, every ounce of X-Men Gold #1 is a cash grab… But it’s an old-fashioned cash grab.
You actually get new material from classic X-Men creators– including Chris Claremont, Stan Lee, Walter & Louise Simonson, et al. No mention of any contributions from John Byrne or Jim Lee— but that’s no real loss. While I’m certainly not the main target for this comic, I know thousands of fans will be… So enjoy your cash grab for once. I fully expected Marvel to charge $7.99 of this 64 page book– so $5.99 seems about right to celebrate 50 Years of X-Men.