Hey everybody, you may have noticed a longer-than-normal absence of content. I just had a bunch of different obligations a few weeks in a row, but now I’m back! And I have a fucking obnoxiously large stack of comics to get through! There are a ton of new releases pretty much across the board, with a few new series popping up now. I also have a few different things for after-credits to get through soon. For now though, let’s jump into all the books!
Detective Comics #991
This one definitely gets closer to the Detective Comics format I love. I want mystery, detective work, opportunities for me to try and figure out what’s going on. I wouldn’t mind a bit of noir edge to it as well.
The entire comic is Batman, Two-Face, and Jim Gordon talking. We get to see where Batman’s detective work led him, what Two-Face has been doing, how all of this got started – we even get to see a bit more of Two-Face’s ideology. While Detective Comics is at its best when it’s a team book, this is very much a story about Batman the Detective and not Batman the Superhero. That distinction grounds the book and especially this issue. Two-Face is also an interesting “villain” to use due to Harvey Dent being an intrinsic part of him. The arc seems to be gearing up for big action paying off on this slower issue, so jump down a line to see what’s next!
Detective Comics #992
As expected, heavy action! Batman and Two-Face fight Kobra to stop their plans. This one suffers a bit from focusing on Batman, since the action took place in different locations but we really only see one. At just about the end of the issue there’s a quick “oh by the way the other 4 attacks were stopped by 4 teams” and that’s it. The Outsiders (one of Batman’s new teams), Spoiler, the Signal, Batgirl, Batwoman – all contributed but practically off-screen. It probably would have changed the pacing a lot, but cutting between the fights would have been more interesting in my opinion. As it stands the whole book was narrated over with Batman and Two-Face’s conversation before the attack, so it felt exposition heavy but lacking. Next issue should be the arc finale, so let’s see where it goes!
Justice League/Aquaman Drowned Earth #1
If you ignore the Prelude to Drowned Earth tie-ins, which I always do, this officially begins the mini cross-over event! Ancient ocean gods have been awakened and they’re fuckin pissed at Aquaman because of course they are. They’re flooding the whole world with weird magic water that turns people into fish monsters. The League intervene. It’s an alright set up, but definitely focuses more on the Aquaman side of things. It feels more like his story with some other Justice League members, but the ending of this issue looks like it should lead in to a more balanced focus in Justice League as a cohesive unit which I will talk about just below!
Justice League #11
I was right! This issue is much better, splitting between a few different groups of heroes who are all pursuing different paths to try and save the day. This issue also does a good job of establishing how poorly that’s going for them. When every threat is huge and insurmountable and world ending, they lose their stakes pretty quickly; however, for a threat to be big enough to require an entire Justice League it’s gotta be pretty up there. This feels like it’s a slightly smaller scale than Metal, which was a much larger event, so I think it occupies a decent space. It does feel like it has pulled away from the cool cosmic story that the Totality was the center of. Obviously the series has to have more than one story going, but this feels like a diversion from the story I care about. That said, it’s still the Justice League and the Legion of Doom battling. It’s just a bit more focused on the Aquaman/Black Manta part of those teams. It’s a short little event and I won’t really be doing tie-ins, so we’ll see how it all pans out!
Raven: Daughter of Darkness #9
The battle for survival against the Shadow Riders picks up a bit. We get to learn more about their origins and motivation, which I would like to talk about. SPOILER NOTICE HERE. Now then. The Shadow Riders were created during the early days of humanity to protect the new species from “arcanes” which includes powerful night creatures that want to subjugate humanity. After learning this, Raven says “We aren’t the good guys, they are!” And I think that’s some dumb bullshit. First of all the Shadow Riders are scary as shit, people with giant scythes and spectral horses. I basically always think that’s a shitty plot twist. That said, there are still a few moving pieces I’m super interested in. A new character called Black Alice is stirring up trouble for both sides and I want to know more about her angle. We’re ¾ of the way through the series and halfway through the second arc, so things should heat up significantly.
Red Hood: Outlaw #28
The first real arc of Outlaw starts here, with Jason investigating the weird small town he was traveling to in the transition issues. All is not as it seems, and the quaint small town is somehow involved in the crimes he has been tracking. The issue has a kinda fun Hot Fuzz vibe, although it obviously lacks the time for a meaningful set-up where Hot Fuzz had a lot more time to get us invested in the small town facade, etc. Anyway, it’s got a bit of action, bit of mystery, a cool guest character, and the introduction of a new subplot at the beginning. Seems like solid ground to build the first solo story on, so I’m curious.
Cosmic Ghost Rider #5
On the Marvel side of things, Cosmic Ghost Rider concludes! Faced with the grim future his actions have created, what will Frank do? Can he stop the time travelling version of his adopted son Thanos without making another worse future for normal baby Thanos? Time travel, am I right?
Anyway, the issue finishes out the series well, getting the character a bit more established and then setting the stage for him to appear in Guardians of the Galaxy. This whole story was just fucking nanners and I fucking love it. Fun and over the top is a good speed for comics a lot of the time. I’ll be trying out the new GotG due to Cosmic Ghost Rider being on it, so expect that review when it releases.
Old Man Logan #50
Another series ends. Logan’s final showdown with the Maestro. Will he survive? The fucking year-long Dead Man Logan series says yes. Still, it’s a decent last issue. The action is solid, and it has a bit more going on than just Wolverine Kills Bad Guy. It being Old Man Logan helps give him more of a tragic hero than anti hero vibe, which is more interesting. I will say the ending felt sorta rushed and disappointing, feels like they wanted to wrap everything up which takes away from it a bit. It also feels like the ending is supposed to work if you don’t read Dead Man Logan. I wish they could have just committed to ending the series. Actual real Wolverine is back, we have Wolverine characters all over the fuckin place, it’s time to let Old Man Logan go. But I’m sure the sales on Dead Man Logan will reveal why I’m not the one making the calls at Marvel. I may or may not pick it up, so maybe stay tuned?
Another time jump, this time a short one-shot about Thor’s youth. Preferring Midgard over Asgard, he often angered Odin. Odin and Loki devised a plan to make Thor turn his back on Midgard forever. Obviously that failed because we have years worth of Thor stories on Midgard, but still. I really like issues like this. I’ve said many times that I’m only really interested in Thor the God and not Thor the Avenger. Seeing him back in viking times being the God of Thunder is always fucking awesome. There’s lots of action and battle for the whole issue, and I always like seeing Odin and Loki portrayed a bit closer to their traditional mythological forms. As an aside, this issue might be a sort of indirect preview of how Jason Aaron will be writing on Conan the Barbarian, since it has a similar feel to viking shit.
While this issue was a fun diversion, the War of the Realms event draws ever closer and I absolutely can’t fucking wait.
What If?.. Thor Was Raised by Frost Giants #1
An extra dose of Thor in the form of Marvel’s What If? A handful of new What If? one shots have come out recently, and this was the only one that really grabbed me (I’ll admit to being a little curious about Magik as Sorceror Supreme but not enough to pick it up.
The basic premise is pretty obvious. What if instead of Odin killing Laufey and adopting Loki it happened the other way around? It’s a cool concept, and I like the art side of it. Thor with blue skin and a big fuck off ice hammer is really goddamn cool. Once again it’s pretty firmly planted in the realms of myth. This barely even needs to be a Marvel story for it to work. I think the most interesting idea it plays with is how Loki could have turned out differently. Thor acts pretty much the same as he did in his youth, only loyal to Laufey instead of Odin. Loki however has a very different little arc in this book, one that I really liked. I don’t know that this alternate world is worth a miniseries, but I wouldn’t mind seeing it expanded.
Bloodborne: The Healing Thirst #6
This series remains truly awesome. Pre-hunt Yharnam is a really cool space to explore, seeing what the world of the game looked like before it fell the fuck apart. I don’t feel too much attachment to the characters yet – a priest and a scientist. They’re basically just random faces to follow the narrative with so far. But I really like the idea of seeing the “fall” that precedes the game. I’m also curious to see in what ways the paleblood and the eldritch elements find their way into the story, if at all. This issue unites the two characters with the goal of studying the disease ravaging the city, so the plot should pick up here.
By Night #5
Things get pretty real in this issue. All friendships and relationships are tested, Gardt the goblin guide is put on trial for helping humans, and we see the backstory of Jane and Heather’s sorta shaky friendship. While being lighter on the cool otherworldly stuff, we do get to see a bit of the legal system, which is a weird thing to learn about but whatever. It does actually shine a bit of light on that world. There’s a bit more character development with the backstory, which I appreciate. Most of all there’s a big twist at the end, so next issue should be absolutely spectacular. Very excited to see the climax of this arc!
This story is so fucking awesome. Hum and Serka are on the back of a giant ogre, possibly being piloted by one of the most evil beings in existence. If it is in fact a Whitlord, that means it’s also one of the sorcerer/necromancer dudes responsible for the Urken’s condition – meaning Serka’s. She takes this really personally and wants to murder, while Hum wants to take a more subtle approach. The two are still a lot of fun together, and there’s just the right mix of sword & sorcery nonsense and weird apocalypse nonsense. The main action of the issue is the two of them being pulled into a “scouting party” to go steal magic to feed the giant ogre everyone lives on. It’s an awesome issue, as is every single one. I really fucking like Coda.
This is another book that never fails to deliver. The action continues, with more and more people trying to get Charlie dead. A weird pseudo Twitch streamer wants to kill her to get more popular, there’s some crazy mysterious assassin type, and Charlie is a human trainwreck so she keeps getting found by amateurs. This book also has a brief foray into the legal system, as she and Vita go to a police station to fill out a bunch of the paperwork required since Vita keeps killing people. But that’s allowed. Also Vita’s ex works there, so they make awkward conversation. I pretty much say this every issue but the balance is perfect. Learn a little about the world, a little about the characters, get some humor, get some action. I adore it. I look forward to this every month.
Gonna be honest, this one made me a little nervous. Firefly has taken on a cult status, and a lot of people have been looking to cash in on that since its demise. Seeing it was from Boom! and using the rights to the TV show and not the movie made me feel a bit better. Seeing it was Greg Pak made me feel even better. Having read it, as well as the afterword by Pak, I can say I’m fully on board. The comic has a lot of the show in it, although there’s definitely something missing. Probably the performances that brought the characters to life, but everything doesn’t quite have the full feel. It’s got a lot though, and is definitely better than the other Serenity comics by a bit. The plan for this series is to follow shortly after the end of the show and before the movie. The main plot revolves around a group that are hunting Zoe and Mal as war criminals. This issue is all set-up, getting all the characters situated, but it feels right moving back in to the world of the show. Timeline is a little foggy, and I’m unsure about the other comics fitting into the timeline/canon, but I’m just not thinking too hard about it. In the afterword Pak says this arc will be 12 issues and will explore Western “sub-genres” as it goes, so I’m fucking excited.
Gideon Falls #8
A series that ramps up the weird every issue. This one is pretty cool. Both Norton and Father Tom have weird fucking visions, and the issue is built around it. It’s disjointed and trippy, making it a little unclear how much is reality and how much isn’t. I had to flip through it a couple times after my first read to try and clear up what the fuck is going on. As always the art and page layouts lend themselves perfectly to the insane weirdness that’s afoot. I have no fucking idea where this arc is headed anymore and I love it. The whole time I worked through the issue after reading it I felt uneasy and stressed, and there’s a spooky bit of art in there that stuck with me for a while after. Everything going on is going to come together somehow, I can feel it. I just don’t know how, and that’s really fun. I’m thrilled to see this book succeeding, with a possible TV project coming in the future!
God of War #1
This is pretty much what I expected, which is to say not much. It takes place before the game and shows a bit of Kratos’s life as he settled in to living in the Norse world. Atreus appears to be the same age as he is in the game, maybe a little younger. His mother is away hunting, perhaps to keep showing her for the games. I can kinda see what the book is going for, transitioning Kratos from the original series into his new self, but I think leaving the gap sorta works better. I’ll give it a few issues.
That’s (finally) it! After a huge fucking pile of books, it’s finally over and done. I can’t promise not to get behind again with the holidays, but I’m hoping to stay on top of things. Next week will be a regular post, including an after credit. I have a few things lined up there – a crossover event that I have in full, a graphic novel, and then an entire series of 6 graphic novels. Those will all start making appearances over the coming months so stay tuned!