Hey, guess what! Villains Month is still going on. It's been okay, like Zero Month, there are some hits and there are some misses, and then there are some that I'm completely indifferent about. Personally, I'm ready to be over, and wonder if this annual interruption to regular stories is really such a good idea going forward. But hey, only one more week of it, so I can finally start talking about the stories I've been enjoying again. So yeah, more Villains Month, some X titles, and hey! Image put out a few issues that I read this week, unlike last.
Swamp Thing #23.1
Now, this was a pretty damn good villains month issue, just all around great from page one to twenty. Charles Soule immediately went in a different direction on the title when he came on board, leaving Abby and Arcane where Snyder had left them in his departure. That was a good idea to be honest, but I will say that Abby was one of my favorite parts about the book prior to Soule's run, so I was a little bit bummed to see her go… Then this issue happened, and I was all sorts of happy again! Here we get to see Arcane's punishment (he's in hell, which for him is happy happy nature land) and how much he's being tortured by life. Abby comes to see him to learn more about her mother, and she gets the story… both about the woman she believed to be her mother, and her actual mother. It sets up a few things, which I hope means both of them could be seen in the book again soon, as well as possibly setting something up for the woman who Abby thought was her mother, who is apparently still around? More Abby! That's all I'm going to say.
Action Comics #23.3
I haven't really gotten into many of the Superman related villains month issues, but if it's from a creator I like, I'll check it out, and given Charles Soule was writing this issue, I figured why not? I'm not a huge Superman fan, compared to Batman, but I've always liked Lex Luthor, especially when he's a totally self absorbed ruthless asshole, and that's exactly how Soule wrote him. As soon as Lex was sort of freaking out that Superman didn't show up to see his release because he is apparently all Superman thinks about (according to him, that is) you knew Soule got him pretty well. Soule also did explain the whole facial scar seemingly disappearing, as I'm sure whatever plot Scott Lobdell had has been abandoned… like many other things Lobdell has said. But it does bring up a question of Superman Unchained, where Luthor is moved to The MAW… but really, that's like the Batman Incorporated of the Superman books, so whatever. Overall, great issue, perfect asshole Lex Luthor ending too.
Wonder Woman #23.1
I wasn't really sure what to expect with this issue, and quite honestly wasn't that all too impressed with the Aquaman issue Ostrander did recently, but I came away really enjoying this issue. But the weird thing about it is that I can't really put my finger on anything specific as to why I enjoyed it. I think I just liked the concept of Cheetah growing up in a sort of cult that believed they were idolizing and mimicking the Amazons, only for them to be completely twisted and totally fucked up in many respects. Ostrander also reintroduced on of his characters from Manhunter, which, I'm sure if you were a fan of that series, is pretty cool, but it was quite a bit before my time… so, didn't really do anything for me. Victor Ibanez's art was also pretty good, so all around, it was a particularly strong issue from my point of view.
Green Lantern #23.3
This was the third book by Charles Soule I read this week, and since the first two were pretty good, the third didn't need to be the charm… and it wasn't. It's not that this issue was bad, it's just that it was sort of… eh. It was one of those issues where this one thing happens, and aside form that, not a whole lot else. Black Hand comes back to life (relatively speaking), gets his memories back, and resurrects Hal's dad. The end. Some of these villains month issues just don't feel all that necessary, and without knowing when or if this is even going to get picked up on (especially now that Hal is being kept off world) it's sort of hard to care about the ramifications of this issue.
The Flash #23.3
Where Detective Comics this week set up Forever Evil: Arkham War, this issue did the same of Rogues Rebellion, all though, I didn't think it did it quite as well. It was a lot of the Rogues bickering amongst each other, which we've already seen in the series earlier, and then the Forever Evil stuff happens, and we get a final page set up of "oh no, our cities are burning! who did that?!" The answer is probably Gorilla Grodd, but here we get into this poorly structured timeline of when everything happens, between the Rogues breaking Trickster out of a prison near their cities, then going to that meeting, and by the time they get back the cities are already taken over by Grodd? Yeah, I don't know. What I did appreciate was us learning how Mirror Master got out of Mirror World, his appearance in Forever Evil #1 confused me, BUT Golden Glider also appeared in Forever Evil #1, and now we know she shouldn't have… same with Clayface appearing in that book… Whoops?
Cable and X-Force #14
I love this series, but I thought this issue was just pretty okay. It was the X-Force vs. Uncanny Avengers, and there were some good banter and character moments, but outside of that fight, it was just Hope coming back from the future, getting briefly paused by Wolverine in a "Get out of my way!" "Can't do that darling" "People are going to die!" "Oh yeah?" "Yeah!" "Okay," conversation, then stabbing her dad in the head with a magic mutant blade or something… I don't know. The vs. Uncanny Avengers arc seems to have come to a close, but the problem I had with it was not really getting any sense of where it's going to go from now. I guess Hope is going to tell Cable what happened in the future? I guess they're just going to keep stopping these crazy events? I don't really know, and I think it just could have ended a little stronger.
Uncanny X-Men #12
Battle of the Atom rages on! …with a whole lot of talking. Yeah, this issue was pretty much all talking, but I still enjoyed it. It's sort of fun to see that even the separate teams aren't on the same side. Kitty doesn't agree with herself, and that's just the beginning of the disagreements in the not outlaw side of the X-Men, meanwhile Regular Scott is all "we'll help them," and Emma Frost is all "you're full of shit," and young Angel is just "Can I go home now?" but no one listens to him, because why WOULD they? …Also, can Psylocke see him at some point? That'd be weird. Anyways! So yeah, I mean… lots of talking, but then Emma finds out full grown Jean is here, and she can't have that, so PSYCHIC BATTLE! …hopefully? Can someone start punching someone? Still don't really have any clue as to where this is ultimately going to end up, but it's fun.
Thor: God of Thunder #13
So last issue was sort of up in the air question mark sort of deal, where I wasn't sure what I'd be getting, but came away loving it for being a really deep character issue. This issue doesn't really pick up on any of the threads where that one left off, which sort of put me off at first, but then it got full on high fantasy World of Warcraft shit, and then I was all good. Basic story of this arc seems to be "Malekith bad. Thor hit Malekith" which, quite honestly, is fine for me. I'm not huge on Thor mythology to begin with, and I got the idea that Malekith is probably a pretty bad dude, so that's all the set up that was really needed, and as a new reader, I didn't really need much more. Wasn't quite sure what to think of the art though. Ron Garney was flying solo (meaning no inker like he had on Uncanny X-Force) and… well, I don't know. I also wasn't huge on the colors. They sort of fit the fair tale sort of vibe, but some pages didn't look so hot. Regardless, this book has been pretty great. Every time I think I'll have something to doubt about it, it turns around and hooks me back in.
I had this book on my radar shortly after it was announced, but really didn't give it much serious thought… until the Suicide Squad mess happens. Safe to say, if you're a writer that I like, and you get fucked over with DC, I'll probably check out your creator owned stuff. Basic premise of this book is you got your super secret agent killing machine, each issue is its own mission, and each issue is drawn by a different artist. It's a pretty cool concept, and I thought it was a good introductory issue, but I don't think that the full scope of the series will be able to be appreciated until a few more issues with those different artists come out. But as first issues go, I thought it was pretty accessible and an easy read. I had heard Ales Kot's creator owned work with Wild Children and Change (which I now own, and will read later) was a little out there, so I wasn't sure what to expect with Zero. I liked it, definitely will stick around in the future.
The Darkness #115
This Jeremy Haun's third illustrated book in two weeks, though I'm sure this was completed beforehand, which lends to some oddness that's plagued the series recently. So yeah, they're ending it! And they've gone about a weird way of doing it, as I feel the issues since it's been announced that the series is ending have been shipping pretty sporadically. So you've got the sporadic ship dates, and then where this issue ends, there isn't really a whole lot of set up for the big sort of final issue event. I know there is the Darkness Falls series that is supposed to follow, but that got turned into an original graphic novel, which, is just odd, and yeah… this just isn't a great situation for ending a series, to be honest. Then what does the Top Cow Universe have for itself? Don't even know what Artifacts is doing anymore, there's Witchblade and then… uh?
The Bounce #5
Just when this book seems like it's getting close to spilling the beans, it gathers them all up again, and gives you a brain teaser to finish first. I find enjoyment in Jasper's character, because he's a relatable 20 something, who has been given some crazy abilities, and the consequences of which are him being thrown into an equally crazy world. The problem is, everything else is super cryptic, and every time an answer seems to get closer, characters talk circles around it. Perfect example is the stuff with the Darling. From what I can get, he grabs people with powers from different dimensions? Maybe? And then he eats a lizard, gets transported somewhere, and fucking hell, I don't know. There's a very interesting story here, I know that, but at times it gets too twisted for it's own good. I'm just waiting for that ONE thing that I can really hook on to which will allow me to "get it." The next issue's solicit has "BIG SECRETS REVEALED" in it, so hopefully that'll be the one to hook me.