On any given week when new comics come out I am behind on half or more of the titles that I buy regularly. Last week, December 5th new issues, something odd happened. Several comics that I was actually caught up on came out as did a bunch of new books that I was really looking forward to. It is only odd because normally I only permit myself to read a couple new comics each week because I don’t want to read things out order, but this week I could read more than half the pile without getting the shakes or something awful happening. It was such a good week I wanted to write up a couple quick takes on some good comics. Let’s get right to it.
Martian Manhunter #1
Writer – Steve Orlando
Artist – Riley Rossmo
Colors – Ivan Plascencia
Letters – Deron Bennett
Cover – Riley Rossmo
This comic is new maxi series that I expect is hoping to capitalize on the success of the King / Gerhard Mister Miracle series that recently concluded. I don’t know many of the details of the planned story, as I mentioned in my last piece I don’t read the solicitations very closely. I do know that the series is going to focus on Martian Manhunter in a solo story instead of leading some version of the Justice League. The real emphasis will be on his John Jones, police detective, identity.
In this issue John and his partner, Diane, have to investigate a brutal home invasion. While examining the crime scene John, using his abilities to try and see who committed the crime, encounters something that really shakes him. He has some flashbacks to his life on Mars, and is not quite right after that. It’s downhill for our hero after that.
I had a real good time reading this. The art is really different. I’m not familiar with Riley Rossmo’s art but I really dug it and thought it worked well for the character. When the comic was announced I saw a lot of complaints about how John looked in his Martian form. People did not like the big insect eyes but I think it works. I didn’t love Tom Mandrake’s version of the character in the series from 98 / 99 but it grew on me and I hope that people who like this character learn to like Rossmo’s version. The story was a good set up for the series to come. We get a solid introduction to John as a detective and to his old life on Mars. There are enough “what is going on??” moments that I am looking forward to the next issue.
Doomsday Clock #8
Writer – Geoff Johns
Illustrator – Gary Frank
Colorist – Brad Anderson
Letterer – Rob Leigh
I first have to say that despite all the problems with this series, the lateness, the impact it is having on the rest of the overall rebirth plans, I really like the story. I don’t love the idea of using the Watchmen characters outside of the original story, I would be have been perfectly okay with them existing solely in that one 12 issue series. Doomsday Clock can be hard to follow because of the gaps between issues. Again though, I still enjoy this comic.
Geoff Johns really is one of the best writers in the modern era for DC. I cannot recall anything of his that I did not enjoy. His work on Green Lantern was awesome and the new 52 Aquaman was my favorite new 52 book at the time. Gary Frank’s art is dynamite and unlike his previous work the characters all look healthy. They don’t have that sullen, jaundiced look that his characters often have. I don’t know if that is the doing of the supporting inker and colorist but it is some of his best pencils in my opinion.
Since this piece is going to be spoiler free I’ll just say that this issue focuses on Superman and Firestorm. It also features some awesome cameos from The Creeper, Giganta, Black Adam, Volstagg (from the Others) and plenty of other characters. It was a good issue and I didn’t have to go back to the previous seven issues to understand what was going on.
Writer – Tom King
Artist – Mikel Janin & Jorge Fornes
Color Artist – Jordie Bellaire
Letterer – Clayton Cowles
Bane’s plans seem to be working. Batman is becoming unhinged. Commissioner Gordon is pissed off. This was hyped as a big issue and I guess it is. This arc seems to be reaching its climax. I’m enjoying the back half of King’s story more than the first half now that I know it is part of one larger story. It doesn’t feel as disjointed as it did before.
Green Lantern #2
Writer – Grant Morrison
Artist – Liam Sharp
I was very disappointed when DC announced that Hal Jordan and the Green Lanterns and Green Lanterns were ending and the book was being relaunched as Green Lantern with the focus on Hal Jordan. I’ve mentioned several times before how much I liked both series, especially the Green Lanterns duo of Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz. But as much as much as I miss both of those books this new story has been a ton of fun.
Morrison is writing a dense and very enjoyable science fiction story filled with oddball characters, good dialog, and a tough as nails space cop. It is all complimented by Liam Sharp’s highly detailed and amazing art. The comic looks like something ripped from the pages of 2000 A.D. instead of a DC superhero book. Plus, how can anyone not love a Green Lantern that is a muscle bound body with an active volcano for a head!
Writer – Geoff Johns
Artist – Dale Eaglesham
Colorist – Mike Atiyeh
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Another Geoff Johns book makes this list. I enjoyed Johns / Frank Curse of Shazam story that appeared as the backup in the new 52 Justice League. That series left me wanting more so I was wicked excited when this comic was announced.
This issue had everything a fan could want. There is a nice recap of who Captain Marvel is, there is some fun action, character development, some magic and mystery and a surprise ending. All that with a good back up story written by Johns and drawn Mayo “Sen” Naito. Anyone who is a fan of the Captain Marvel character needs to check this book out.
Writer – Kieron Gillen
Artist – Stephanie Hans
Letterer – Clayton Cowles
Designer – Rian Hughes
I ordered this book based on the fact that it featured kids playing a role playing game with polyhedral dice. I’ve not read anything by Gillen or Hans. Going into this not knowing what to expect I was blown away. It features a group of teenagers that start to play a role-playing game and nothing goes as they expect. A lot happens in this issue to set up the series. Imagine the old Saturday morning Dungeons and Dragons cartoon if it were written by Stephen King and that’s what this comic is.
The art was interesting. It looks like a horror comic but occasionally the faces are really weird looking. Sometimes the people and faces are really good looking and a couple of times they really seem to miss and feel a little flat. It’s hard to describe. Overall the story is really good and I want to see what happens next. It was one of the best books I read this week.
This was a really good pile of comics. I don’t want to sound like one of those people who rates everything a perfect 5 out 7 because these books are not without their flaws. I don’t understand what is going on with the major reveal in Batman. Doomsday Clock is consistently late and so dense that whenever I read it I feel like I am missing some hidden message. Green Lantern is going to focus on Hal Jordan when for the last two years DC has been building the GL Corp and some new characters that were really well written.
Despite all those flaws I read some good comics and when it comes to new comics in this day and age any week where I can read six really good new comics that is a win. I’m going to close this out with one of the funniest pages from Shazam (still spoiler free).