Welcome back, true believers! Sorry, I had to do that at least once. No promises it won’t happen again. Anyway, on to everyone’s favorite segment where I ramble about books. Got a decent lineup this week, with anyone who bet on Phoenix Resurrection getting delayed losing. It’s another Marvel focused week, but stay tuned after the credits to see why that might not be true for long!
Moon Knight #191
The “Crazy Runs in the Family” arc continues in issue 191! After last month leaving off with Moon Knight (the embodiment of the Egyptian god Khonshu) and Sun King (the embodiment of the Egyptian god Ra) finally meeting face to face, things started off right away. Half the issue is spent on an awesome fight scene. It’s nice getting into some solid action, made more intense by the fact that Marc’s family is in danger. The fact that the beginning is so strong actually makes it even more impressive that I prefer the second half. It may be due to the fact that I have very little knowledge of Moon Knight, but getting more spooky exposition about the nature of the Egyptian gods really drew me in. Also, getting to see a little bit of normal (if hiding out with your daughter after her mom is kidnapped by a god and a dude whose face you ripped off is normal) added good pacing to break up all the other stuff. It’s a well put together issue and I still like the series, despite the multiple personality angle occasionally being a little weird. Art was strong and consistent this issue, withthe fight scene highlighting the whole book.
Old Man Logan #34
Although a new arc has technically started, it’s pretty much just a carry-over of the same story. With Mariko freed from The Hand’s control, she and Logan team up to try to stop the spread of the healing drug Regenix due to its disastrous side effects. Seeing Logan and Mariko together is a clear call back to the Claremont/Miller storyline, although at that point she wasn’t recently resurrected or killing people with a sword. Unfortunately, this issue does very little with the dynamic between them. Although Old Logan did live that storyline, he still isn’t the “real” Logan which makes the reunion not feel as meaningful to the reader. She comments on his age and weakened healing factor once, but I feel like there’s a missed opportunity here. Sure, I don’t want to have this just turn into a romance book, but there’s no chemistry at all between two characters who were romantically involved through multiple storylines. The fact that both of them are different people now (one literally being an alternate universe version and one being technically undead) is worth exploring, especially for those who have been following their several encounters through the years. In terms of art, the team changed this issue since it’s a new arc. I like the new style, but since the story hasn’t actually changed having the same general scenery/characters look different is a little weird. I also preferred the old art for this particular story, since the short of shaded look fit in with the Japanese/ninja theme running through the story. The art on Old Man Logan has honestly been all over the place since the current run started, so I’m hoping this team sticks around for at least one more arc so I can see this style in a different context.
Phoenix Resurrection #5
The thrilling conclusion! Jean Grey returns! The issue hit just about all the notes I expected, which isn’t a complaint or a praise exactly. We’ve seen lots of different stories about Jean and the Phoenix, so it’s hard to find completely original ground to tread. I don’t follow the character closely (I do NOT like Jean, since powerful and apparently immortal psychics are a pretty blunt deus ex machina among other things) so I’m no expert, but this one felt pretty fresh by the end. Once Jean saw through the illusion and regained her memories, the Phoenix confronted her outright and tried to get her to accept ultimate power through a bunch of different means. Jean’s dialogue was pretty good as she worked through seeing all her dead friends and family, her dead husband, everything that could be if she accepted the Phoenix. Her main monologue, which read an awful lot like a break up text, was solid and might actually mean a new more interesting direction for the character. The moment between Scott and Jean felt a little flat, but that may be an issue with my personal investment in them since I think re-treading that is boring. It was a strong issue with some good emotional lines. The art did a great job of capturing each moment, I liked the less-detailed qualities of the “ghosts” of the dead the Phoenix tried to use to manipulate Jean. The big one page splash of Jean in the Dark Phoenix costume was also a really nice touch. The bird itself looked a little off, almost cute when it manifested, but nothing too bad. The series ended on a strong note, and while I have no interest in the X-Men: Red book this is spinning off into, I’m glad to have been along for the ride on this one.
That’s it for this week! As always, thanks for reading and remember to check out the writing and streams from my talented friends all over The Skill Floor. See you all soon.
Comic Wolf Post-Credit
The moment you’ve been waiting for! The shocking surprise revealed! This will change your life forever! Okay, not really. It’s fun and exciting, but nothing crazy. With All-Star Batman cancelled, I haven’t really been reading DC. In fact, the only thing I have been getting from them is Doomsday Clock which just got pushed to bi-monthly. With the upcoming Action Comics #1000 and the talk of Bendis doing runs on Batman and Superman books since his move to DC, I decided it was time for me to re-engage with DC. I picked the two big books to start, Action Comics and Detective Comics. I’ve never read Superman too much (I don’t like him most of the time) so that will be a learning experience. The current main Batman story didn’t interest me, so I settled on trying this. Over the next few post-credits, I’ll catch up on both these series starting at the first issue of the previous arc. Once I’m caught up, both will just make their way into my regularly scheduled content. Enough talking about it! Let’s go!
Action Comics #993-#994
Anything involving Superman is outside of my normal comic comfort zone. Add in Booster Gold (a character I’ve never spent time with), time travel, and a heavy reliance on the previous story arc I don’t have – you’ve got a perfect recipe for me to not know what the fuck is going on. Apparently the previous arc, “The Oz Effect”, dealt with a man called Oz (original!) who claims to be Jor-El, Superman’s father. Wanting to confirm that this is true, this arc (“Booster Shot”) starts with Superman time travelling to Krypton to confirm his father’s death. Booster Gold is basically a time cop, and has to stifle that nonsense. These issues aren’t bad, taking place on an alternate timeline Krypton because time travel can never be straight forward. The word I would use to describe them is “okay”. It’s clear this mini arc is meant to offer more resolution to the previous story, as well as lead in to whatever comes next. Issue #1000 is a really big deal, so I’m sure there doing a bit of treading water and setting up for that. The side story about Lois’s father being captured during a black ops mission was a little interesting, especially since I literally don’t know anything about Jon (Superman’s son) other than the fact that he exists. I will say the art is awesome, and I do look forward to seeing more of that. Unfortunately, my entry into Action Comics here was a little poorly timed, but once I’m caught up expect a lot more coherent rambling about Superman. Bear with me!
Detective Comics #969-#971
Batman is definitely more within my comfort zone, and even with a little bit of confusion I found it pretty easy to get back into the world of Detective Comics. The arc I’m catching up on is “Fall of the Batmen” and deals with a villain group called the Victim Syndicate trying to sway public opinion against Batman and his increasingly large “family” of vigilantes. Batman’s case is not helped by the recently resurrected Red Robin trying to make the group “more efficient” by employing paramilitary tactics and making partnerships with dangerous groups. Perhaps the most damning aspect is that a reformed Clayface fights alongside the team. All of this combines to create public disorder, and the team struggles to handle it. I’m only about halfway through the story, but these three issues were great. The story manages to have that moral ambiguity about it that made the comic version of Civil War so great. Neither side is objectively right or wrong. You want to root for Batman, but maybe he and the team are overstepping their role pretty significantly. There’s a moment where Red Robin talks about his plans, about taking control of dispatch for the GCPD to keep them away from the “dangerous crimes” and installing their own squad of “bat ambulances” where it really sounded insane (and not just because of the idea of a bat ambulance). In fact, one of the strengths of the story is that Batman has relatively few lines. We see it from a lot of different perspectives: Red Robin, Spoiler, Clayface, the mayor, the Syndicate. We get plenty of space to start forming opinions without looking for the hero to explain how we should feel. Honestly, it’s a really well put together story with a bunch of dialogue beats that work REALLY well on multiple levels. Also, it may just be in contrast to Action Comics but this was a lot easier to drop into. Action Comics had at least four “see X issue for more” panels in the two issues I read. Detective Comics had none, and the callbacks to previous arcs were well explained within context. I literally don’t know who Spoiler or Orphan are but got enough of a basic idea of how they fit in to this particular story. Art is pretty good too, although some of the costume interpretations aren’t my favorite (not necessarily this artists fault, costumes change a lot and sometimes you get saddled with a bad one). Batman and Gotham tend to have a dark and samey pallette but there was enough variety to keep my eyes moving around. I’m honestly really excited to finish catching up on this one and then get new issues every two weeks!
Thanks for sticking around after the credits as always, and for joining me for my first Wolf DC Catch-Up! Next time, expect the remaining issues of Action and Detective Comics to get finished so I can incorporate them into the main body of the article going forward!