Welcome back everyone! This week my pick-up was more model kits than comic books, but there’s still plenty to talk about here with more entries in the DC Big 2 and my favorite indie comic (until Moonstruck is off hiatus) bringing in a great issue as well. Let’s get to it!
Action Comics #998
The conclusion of “Booster Shot” happened this week, just in time to leave #999 to set the stage for the massive #1000! The story wrapped up pretty well, although some of it was a little bit predictable and the whole time travel thing makes threat and consequence a little wavy. Booster and Superman don’t get murdered by the Zods and aren’t required to save anyone being subjugated by them because it’s the future so it’s still liquid and the best way to save them is to prevent this blah blah time travel. The fight scene was pretty good, but this issue definitely solidified my frustration with time travel stories, at least in this case. They did use the time aspect to create one interesting conflict, but since it’s a problem for Booster and not Superman it’s hard to say whether the consequences will really matter. Still, it was an enjoyable issue that finished up a sorta inconsistent arc, and I expect a lot from the next few issues (especially now that Superman is back in his own time.) I wish some of the answers given by the story were a little more interesting, but not every arc can be the best one. It stayed decent enough and that’s what matters.
Detective Comics #975
A long time ago, I watched Cowboy Bebop for the first time and I loved it. The only part I didn’t like was Session 11, “Toys in the Attic.” I later read about how that episode is really important because it’s the only time the characters talk about their philosophies outright, and I gained a new appreciation of it. This issue is the “Toys in the Attic” of the current Detective Comics run. The “trial” of Batwoman is the whole Bat-family gathering in the Bat-cave to talk about what they think about what happened. While all of the characters have certainly expressed their ideologies before, all of them sitting down and talking this out is very important to characterization within the current arc. We’ve seen a lot of hints and a few less subtle monologues about ideology in the context of a Bat-opticon (a word I just decided to use) but seeing the characters hash it out like the adults they (mostly) are brings a lot of the work home. For what it’s worth, I think the issue nails it. Having some background with all the characters (even if some of it isn’t recent), I was able to see where all of them were coming from. I would have liked a stronger stance from Nightwing now that he’s been a big hero off on his own for a while, but it made sense. Damian was sort of useless, but he’s young and edgy. Jason gave a good speech, and it dug into the character a little bit more than it could have – they could have gotten away with the obvious “Red Hood isn’t afraid of violence the end” but chose to take it a step further. I really like the Red Hood, and this taste made me wish a stronger creative team was on a Red Hood focused book (I long ago gave up on Lobdell’s take on the character). Batgirl, most of all, took the important role in the discussion and it was nice to see. Everything she said strengthened the issue, and I really like the direction Batgirl has been taken since getting the new costume and less tragic spin. Once again I think Bruce’s relative silence added to the discussion, allowing all the ideas to be presented before the reader instinctually sided with Batman. The fact that he is being called into question is important – if he’s infallible the comic becomes boring. That’s the problem I have with so many Superman stories. Every once in a while it’s really important to really examine the flaws in Batman’s character and push some development along to keep him from completely stagnating. I think this complete arc is going to have a lot of consequences on the Bat-family status quo, and I’m really looking forward to it.
Raven: Daughter of Darkness #2
This Raven mini-series is pretty weird, but I’m really enjoying it so far. The story is balanced pretty evenly between Raven living a normal life and adjusting to having friend and family and Raven the supernatural superhero dealing with weird shit meddling in her life. I’m honestly still not sure where this is going, but I really like the mystery and intrigue (and a bit of occult stuff to fill the void is always appreciated). This issue introduced a whole bunch more questions but didn’t really seem to answer any at all. That’s pretty fair for issue 2 of 12, and leaves me wanting more. Raven’s inner monologue is pretty interesting, and gives enough information to understand the character even with little to no background reading. So far the story is largely character driven, with only a few minor action sequences, so it’s good to get a strong grip on the lead character. I also expect that the build-up will lead to a significantly cool payoff in a few issues, which should be a lot of fun. For now there’s not much I can get into, since the mysteries of the strange magic man and his leopard, the girl Azure with giant eyes and no face, and the possibly multiple armed agencies after Raven and/or Azure are still in their early stages.
Moon Knight #192
First of all what the fuck? This series gets weirder every issue, and I honestly really dig it. One of Marc’s friends/dissociations comes back from the dead (?) in order to help him figure out the next step. Unfortunately the next step ends up being getting on a boat full of everyone that hates him heading for a remote island. Once again the issue splits its time effectively between action/plot development and dealing with the mythological/mental aspect of both the hero and villain. There are a lot of great moments in this one particular, with Marc giving off a bit of an Archer vibe on some of the jokes and quips. The writing is also really good for the conflict, as the philosophies and ideals of Ra and Khonshu are put up against each other. The art is great again, with a couple stand-out splash pages that are fucking awesome. This series has a lot going for it, and the “Crazy Runs in the Family” finale is going to be a lot of fun. I don’t want to say too much more about this one because I really recommend reading it and trying to take in all the strange biz on your own!
Motor Crush #10
Speaking of things that are insane and get better every issue Motor Crush remains one of the best books around! This one is absolutely action packed, with Dom trying to rescue her dad in the midst of a gang attack on the headquarters in which he is being kept. Seeing more of the gangs is particularly awesome, since they all seem to have different styles and the one being focused on is like a kickass Mad Max: Fury Road cult if Immortan Joe was a woman. The world of Motor Crush is really cool and I absolutely love getting fed bits and pieces of information as the story goes on. Every detail adds to the whole experience, which is part of what makes every issue so exciting. The issue also manages to pack in a few really emotional moments in between the action sequences, which is both impressive and bad for my dumb emotional ass. I love it though, the creative team manages to juggle strong character moments, emotional drama, action, and mystery to a degree that is truly astounding. Additionally, the art is still amazing, but I liked it a little extra in this issue. The first few pages jump between some very dark colors and then a few much brighter ones. While much of the issue does use the pink overtones that dominate the series, there are plenty of great contrasts and changes to the style which make it visually interesting. I may have mentioned it in my previous Motor Crush review, but the blend of anime and comic styling makes this one of the slickest books around. The next issue will wrap up Vol. 2 so look forward to another action-packed issue reviewed next month!
I’m all out of books for this week, so that’ll be it for me until next time! As always thanks for reading, and feel free to comment or contact me on the Skill Floor Discord!
Comic Wolf Post-Credit
Surprise! This is still happening! As usual, for the true believers that stick around after the main article I’ll have a small bit of unrelated nonsense. This week, I’ll be talking a little bit of comic news: more specifically, Marvel has announced another fucking relaunch. As you may know from my older post-credit, I am sick of relaunches and also frustrated with Marvel. I don’t want to retread everything I said there, just give a few specific thoughts on this relaunch.
First off, it’s coming way too soon and resetting numbering again which is incredibly annoying. Series like Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man will have gone from single digit issues, up to 300, then back down to number 1 again. People are tired of that, and just want to be able to read their favorite characters without being confused. That’s a strong point of manga: you start with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Vol. 1 and then you just keep reading straight through. Western comics keep doing shit like this and I can’t count the amount of people that come into my work and aren’t sure where to start. Especially with the recent popularity of superhero movies, people want to get into comics! But it’s so difficult most don’t bother! That’s a huge fucking problem.
Additionally, it means the series that exist are changing again. It’s not going to be a 1 to 1 relaunch, with books changing titles or creative teams or getting cancelled/condensed (Avengers for example is going down to one series). This adds to the confusion as your series jumps from one place to another, possibly not even following the same story threads.
The one positive note I wanted to bring up, and my reason for writing about this, is that Marvel has a new editor who has promised change. Unfortunately, that change hasn’t manifested yet: we’re getting TONS of events and yet another relaunch. However, a relaunch isn’t just a fresh start for readers, but also for the company. It’s possible (and speculated) that this relaunch will be to set Marvel into a long term groove that more closely fits with the new vision for the company. IF (a very big if indeed) that ends up being true, this could actually be a good thing. Tying up all the loose ends and nonsense from the previous relaunches and getting settled into a new way of doing things with less events and more consistency would be great, and so I’m hoping that is what happens. I’m very sceptical though, and may be significantly cutting my pulls down depending on what series Marvel actually ends up cutting/changing drastically.
That’s it for my thoughts on this one, wanted to keep it brief and bring up the potential positive, partially to spark discussion. Any of your thoughts on this are appreciated, just drop them here or @ me on Discord to have a talk about it!