Welcome back everyone! Want to start out with a quick heads up: next week, 2/14’s books (so the article published 2/20) will NOT be coming out. I’m doing a bit of travelling (and seeing Black Panther obviously) so those comics will probably just get rolled into the following week. Fortunately to help with your Comic Wolf withdrawal I’ve got a nice comic lineup this week; plus stay tuned after the credits for Part 2 of last week’s segment! Additionally, there are some books I pick up weekly but am too behind on to read currently, but I plan to catch up on those soon. Without any further delay, let’s get into some books!
Raven: Daughter of Darkness #1
Here’s a book I picked up completely on a whim, the first entry in a 12 issue miniseries about Raven. Full disclosure, it didn’t release this week, but we got another batch of them in so I went for it. Other than growing up with Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans I never got much into that whole section of DC. I always liked the show though, and when I saw this was a new series and had a finite number of issues I figured it was worth jumping in. So far, I was right. Being a first issue, it does a good job of giving you a brief idea of the character and what her situation is. Since I haven’t read a comic with Raven in a really long time, this was a great settling point for the character. There’s still a lot of mystery, with a strange man who seems to have some sort of prophetic power talking to a jaguar; I suspect my lack of DC knowledge is to blame for much of my confusion. Some confusion doesn’t detract from the experience however, as much of the issue deals with a mysterious girl. There are also a few glimpses at Raven’s friends and home life, which is an aspect of superhero stories I always find interesting. I really like the art so far, a mix of traditional comic style with just a hint of anime looks (appropriate for a story arc titled “The Girl with the Anime Eyes”). Honestly, I went in not knowing what to expect but liking the idea of a Raven story and it feels like it will deliver. I have to go to weird places to get my occult-leaning comic fix these days so I plan on sticking with this series for a bit, so stay tuned.
Swamp Thing: Winter Special
Oh look, speaking of “things bought on a whim” and “occult-leaning comics”: the Swamp Thing: Winter Special released this week. This 80-page monster caught my eye, despite only being passingly familiar with Swamp Thing due to my Hellblazer binge. The special is made up of two stories: the first is a new one written by Tom King, the second is an incomplete issue that the late Len Wein was working on. The book is largely put together to honor Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson who created Swamp Thing and have both passed away. The first story, “The Talk of the Saints”, has Swamp Thing walking through a seemingly endless winter with a stranded boy. Swamp Thing’s memory and strength are failing due to being cut off from the swamp, so the boy has to repeatedly remind him that they’re running from and fighting off a snow monster trying to return to the green. The story is really amazing, managing to capture an anxious energy, giving off all the feelings of being lost and alone. The art captures everything perfectly, definitely contributing to the bleak and stressful feel. A fitting tribute, it definitely stands as a great Swamp Thing story. The second half of the book is taken up by the unfinished comic. In an editor’s note before the comic begins, a brief eulogy is given to Wein and the situation of the comic is explained: it was meant to be the start of another miniseries, but Wein didn’t get to write it and so the art is presented without any words. After the end of the art pages, the original editor’s script is included as well. This is a really cool piece, and I’m sure any Swamp Thing fan would get more out of it than me. However, even with my limited knowledge and lack of attachment to the character it was still interesting to see, and I could feel the emotions at work in the editor’s note and in the unfinished book. I’m happy to have grabbed this off the shelf.
Spirits of Vengeance #5
This week’s theme seems to be “occult-leaning”, since Spirits of Vengeance is what awakened the part of my inner comic fan that misses a good mid-80’s Hellblazer vibe. A bittersweet feeling, coming to the last issue of what has been my favorite series from Marvel lately. The last issue didn’t disappoint, bringing everything together nicely. The conflict between Necrodamus the would-be assassin and the Spirits of Vengeance team comes to a head, with plenty of demonic battle and flashy action. Everyone had an important part in the conclusion, except for Blade who probably didn’t need to be on this team in the first place. I like him though, so he gets a pass. Half vampire doesn’t really have a lot of weight on a team with Satan’s children and a pseudo-demonic vengeance ghost. That aside, the book covers the necessary ground and even manages to have a nice monologue from the Archangel Michael about the nature of the conflict between Heaven and Hell. Definitely not a completely fresh take on Christian mythology, but I liked everything that was presented here. It barely feels like it fits in with the greater Marvel Universe, but in this case I mean that as a supreme compliment. The story fit better than expected within its 5 issues, not feeling overly rushed or stretched out. I would love to see more of this team and the occult side of Marvel, so I’m curious to see what happens with Ghost Rider and Blade both making appearances in the Doctor Strange: Damnation series coming up. For now I strongly recommend grabbing this series, or waiting for the trade that should come up soon.
That’s all for this week, the first week so far to have more DC books than Marvel! Hope you enjoyed, as always I’m just happy to get to share my love for comics.
Comic Wolf Post-Credit
Welcome back! As I mentioned last time, I’m currently in the process of getting back into some DC stuff to balance out all the Marvel (especially since several Marvel books were limited series). This week I’ll be finishing my catch-up on Action Comics and Detective Comics! Not much else to say, so here we go.
Action Comics #995-#996
“Booster Shot” continues with more action, as Booster and Superman break every possible time travel rule I can think of. I have to say, I’m not a fan of this arc at this point. Everything keeps calling back to older issues, as far as 10-15 issues back, so this point is definitely not good for someone jumping in. Also, I know it’s “Superman in Action Comics but he does feel like he isn’t really taking the forefront of the story. He’s more an obstacle that Booster has to deal with constantly being uncooperative. That said, I do like the idea of a story revolving around Krypton and Superman’s past. I think Superman stories that are more grounded in reality are more my speed, but I came to Action Comics for the grander scale. The problem with a time travel story though is the risks/consequences get all messy. If they’re in the future, they can’t affect things. In fact, ending up accidentally in the future gives them insight on what to try to avoid. I prefer a little more science fiction in my time travel, so I find this arc pretty frustrating. On the other hand, I like that there’s a Lois Lane story running sort of parallel to Superman’s. The “screen time” isn’t quite even, but it’s good to see Lois getting some space to shine in Action Comics since Superman has other books to be the focus of. She’s an interesting character and brings more to the table than being just a love interest, so I’m enjoying a look into her past and seeing her kick ass. It’s equally as engaging as the Booster/Superman story, if not more. I’ll at least stick out through issue #1000 to see the cool landmark stuff, but Superman may go back to not being a part of my life.
Detective Comics #972-#973
“Fall of the Batmen” concludes spectacularly. The Victim Syndicate’s plan causes Clayface to go mad and turn on his team, just in time for the rioting citizens to see the destruction he leaves. The best Batman stories have ideological conflict, and this one is full of it. Is Batman’s insistence on trying to help Clayface causing needless death and destruction? How much truth is there to the First Victim’s claim that Batman is the problem with Gotham? Can his comrades act against his orders if they think it’s the right thing? None of these are completely new questions, but they grow and change with every asking. Each Batman story is a little different (at least the good ones are). It’s also important that everything doesn’t always go according to the plan Batman sets out. I don’t want to get too much into specifics, but this is a pretty solid story that I hope will shake up the Bat-Family corner of the DC Universe a bit. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t been keeping up with any of the DC book, but it does feel like things have gone a bit far and need to be reigned in a bit. Having complete control of Gotham’s infrastructure is going well beyond a vigilante doing what cops can’t or won’t. I’m excited too keep reading this one, and learn more about the First Victim, the Victim’s Syndicate, and what happens with the team given the events of the arc.
As of this segment, I’m all caught up! Next week I won’t be around, but remember to always stay tuned after the credits for whatever I cook up. Thanks as always.