It’s cold and in many parts of the US it’s snowy but that means that there’s nothing like settling down to a few rocking comics to wile away the winter hours. But what comics to buy? We’re glad you asked.
“Silver Surfer” #1
Writer: Dan Slott Artist: Michael Allred Color Artist: Laura Allred
After a “Secret Wars” hiatus, one of the best sci-fi comics returns! Dan Slott, Michael and Laura Allred, Norrin Radd, and Dawn Greenwood – If there is a better formula for success in all of comics I don’t know what it is! This issue sees the Surfer and Dawn return to Earth to reunite with Dawn’s family. When an alien invasion hits and Earth’s culture is stolen by parasitical aliens, Dawn and the Surfer must go up against a very metafictional threat. This new #1 picked up right where the old series left off. There is just so much bombastic energy in this comic that it really should be savored. This really is “Doctor Who” in the Marvel Universe with the mega-powered Surfer finding his connection to humanity through Dawn. Dawn Greenwood is a joy to read and you can tell all the creators are giving every panel their all. Every moment of this comic is filled with energy and joy and it really is one of Marvel’s finest at the moment. Things end ominously in this first issue and I greatly look forward to following this book for a long time to come.
Big picture: It’s a darn shame that Marvel doesn’t have the films rights to the “Fantastic Four,” not only because Fox made corn beef hash out the property but also because with the rights of all the FF ancillary characters in Fox’s hands, Marvel cannot adapt this very special comic to film or TV. Let me tell you, Slott and the Allreds’ “Silver Surfer” would make a simply perfect episodic TV series. Hey, maybe now that Steve Moffat is free…
4 ½ stars
“Captain Marvel” #1
Writers: Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters Artist: Kris Anka Color Artist: Matthew Wilson
Captain Marvel is back on a new mission as the leader of Earth’s first line of defense against alien incursion -sounds good- particularly because part of her team is made up of members of Alpha Flight. So this really could be your one stop shop for some classic Marvel characters. Sadly, not much happens in this issue. Carol leaves her old life and we get a ton of exposition about what her new mission is. We also meet her crew and we get a little action and that’s about it. It is a very ‘going through the motions’ type of comic and frankly, I expected a better, more layered story from two writers that have worked such wonders on the “Agent Carter” TV series. There is nothing generally insulting or dull about this comic and the writers have Carol Danvers’ voice down really well but there is just no steak in this very sizzely first issue.
Big Picture: The success of Carol Danvers in the modern era is because of the writing of Kelly Sue DeConnick. This is the first issue without DeConnick guiding the adventures of Captain Marvel and sadly it does not live up to the wonders DeConnick weaved in her run. Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters are no stranger of strong female characters and their portrayal of Carol Danvers is worthy, but there needs to be a rethinking of the plot structure so the book doesn’t feel like a series of disconnected stuff. There was no palpable sense of threat or urgency and the character just deserves more than that. There is some really nice art though as Kris Anka clearly knows how to present a space epic. I just wish there was more epic.
“Star Wars” #15
Writer: Jason Aaron Artist: Mike Mayhew
Wow, lots of space stuff this week. I guess sci-fi is officially a major thing in comics again? Bring back Adam Strange!! Anyway, it seems like every week we cover some “Star Wars” goodness and with good reason; Marvel is killing it on the galaxy far, far away. This is the second in a semi-regular series of one shot stories featuring a before “New Hope” Obi-Wan Kenobi, and man, do I wish this could be a regular thing. This gorgeous issue by master visual story teller Mike Mayhew (who also colors the issue, and good lord, does his palette make this universe pop) sees Obi-Wan protecting a young Luke Skywalker from his own hubris. There is a great deal of “Phantom Menace” parallels here, but good ones as Obi-Wan must watch over Luke while the future savior of the galaxy bullseyes womp rats in his T-16. There’s also some great stuff with Uncle Owen, Tusken Raiders, and Luke’s Tatooine pals. This issue allows us a great look into what Kenobi was doing and the loneliness of his life as he served as Luke’s hidden protector. Jason Aaron gets into the character’s head and tells a classic tale of duty and adventure.
Big picture: Aaron continues to be additive to the “Star Wars” universe crafting stories that will become a huge part of the new expanded universe. These book help wile away the time until the next “Star Wars” film.
Writer: Scott Snyder Pencils: Greg Capullo Inks: Danny Miki Colors: Fco Plascencia
Form space to the mean streets of Gotham City, we have Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s latest issue of “Batman,” and this one is a big one. The amnesiac Bruce Wayne confronts a seemingly amnesiac Joker as the two discuss their places in the scheme of things. It is an intense look at the Batman mythos through the eyes of its two key participants. Snyder’s scripts continue to be daring and envelope pushing as he is telling daringly fresh Batman tales rooted in epic myth. All myths start with the call to adventure and this issue, Bruce Wayne finally got his call-loudly and the last page will leave you begging for more. Meanwhile, James Gordon goes up against a rampaging army of giant Mr. Blooms as Snyder continues to make plot elements that should work into classic, unforgettable moments in Bat history. He pulls this off because of his partner in Bat crime Greg Capullo, who renders everything with a gritty, realistic feel even if it is the most out there concept one can imagine.
Big picture: Scuttlebutt has it that Snyder and Capullo will soon be exciting “Batman.” Further rumblings indicate that the DC Universe is about to reboot. This creative team has been the best and most consistent part of the New 52 so if they are leaving, you might as well just hit the reset button on everything. “Batman” is just that good.