Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly single issue review roundup.
Deadpool’s Art of War #1
(Peter David / Scott Koblish; Marvel Comics)
The Art of War is one of history’s most persistent and enduring texts. It has been applied to battle, business and now The Merc With A Mouth. Marvel’s latest Deapool miniseries sees Wade Wilson attempting to make a buck by repurposing the book yet again as a survival guide. So naturally he ends up trying to start a war using Loki and Thor as pawns.
The usual amount of Deadpooling ensues. Peter David (X-Factor, Spider-Man 2099) does a great job of matching the current tone needed to tackle the character — and an even better job poking fun at Matt Fraction — and Scott Koblish (Excaliber, Elektra) does a fine job bringing it to life. It’s pretty simple; if you like Deadpool, you’ll like the book. If you don’t like Deadpool? False.
– Ryan Scott
Q2: The Return of Quantum & Woody #1
(Christopher Priest / M.D. Bright; Valiant Comics)
Now this is an interesting book: Original creators Christopher Priest (Black Panther) and M.D. Bright (Iron Man “Armor Wars”) return to the Valiant/Acclaim series they made famous nearly 20-years ago.
I’m unfamiliar with the original series, but have collected every issue of the recently wrapped new series; and Q&W in the hands of their original creators matches it tonally, if not canonically. Set some 15-years after they were last seen, this new tale picks up with an estranged Woody stumbling upon Quantum –- or so he thinks. The same inane bickering back-and-forth prevails, and the humour is just as fast and off-color. Legendary Marvel and DC/Milestone writer Priest is back at his witty and imaginative best; and Bright’s artwork not only propels the pleasingly convoluted story forwards at a rate of knots, but imbues the tale with a Vertigo-esque realism, and a knack for facial expressions –- a must when the characters argue this much. Though a slow build-up in plot in this the first issue, one still feels that with this book, Valiant Comics can only continue to build their reputation for the wildest and most imaginative cape-comics spectacles available on the stands. Image, Dark Horse, IDW, Dynamite et al, and the big 2 should all take note. Make mine Valiant.
– Luke Anderson
Sleepy Hollow #1
(Marguerite Bennett / Jorge Coelho; BOOM! Studios)
So, is waiting seven days every week for the new episode of FOX’s Sleepy Hollow too long for you? Well hot damn then: Boom! Studios has answered your geek request!
Writer Marguerite Bennett (Superman: Lois Lane, Batman: Joker’s Daughter) and penciler Jorge Coelho (Loki) take you right back to the land where Moloch is a constant threat to the little town. What grabbed me right away was the very spot-on — but still cartoonish — illustrations of Ichabod Crane and Det. Abbie Mills. Coelho nails Crane’s stringbean frame, and Abbie’s petite size which is arguably even more enjoyable in comic form; the art is pleasantly minimalistic and clean, while Bennett’s banter between the leads is enjoyable, including Crane’s continued questions about the ways of the new time period he now lives in. The first ish is chiefly about several female residents of Sleepy Hollow who obtain incredible, unexplained superpowers– but are corrupted into hurting their fellow town folk. Is it Moloch, or is it just some random supernatural occurrence? The idea behind adapting the hit show into a comic has a surplus of mythological possibilities and exploration; it’s perhaps something that network TV just doesn’t have the time to allow. And since The Divine One is a fan of the show, I look forward to all the newfound tales conjured up and pulled out of Limbo.
– Derek Vigeant
Batman & Robin #35
(Peter J. Tomasi / Patrick Gleason / Mick Gray / John Kalisz; DC Comics)
Holy crazy story, Batman!
While I’ll admit I started Peter J. Tomasi‘s “Robin Rises: Hellbound” a little lost having not read the previous volumes, I will say it was easy enough to fall into step and figure out what was going on within a few pages and frames. It is an uprising of Bats, Robins, Women and Cyborgs all trying to reach Batman and help him on Apokolips despite some on-going League tension. The frames by Patrick Gleason (GLC), Grey, and Salisz are even more detailed than the dialogue, and are the perfect backdrops for each scene from the bowels of hell, to bat caves, to skyscraper rooftops– and what’s a Batman & Robin anything without a rooftop scene.
Overall I give it 4/5 Pumpkin Spice Lattes, what it lacked in any explanatory dialogue, it made up for in exceptional artwork.
– Jackie Henley
Death of Wolverine #4
(Charles Soule / Steve McNiven; Marvel Comics)
Death of Wolverine: the Logan Legacy #1
(Charles Soule / Oliver Nome; Marvel Comics)
Not without its controversy, the final installment — but not the final chapter of the Logan Legacy, as you’ll learn in a minute — of the Death of Wolverine hit stands this past Wednesday. This brisk issue doesn’t go away without a wacky ending; but, thankfully, Inhuman scribe Charles Soule gives readers enough tense moments and enough sensical logic for the final page. If you know anything about our pal Wolverine, especially if you’ve watched the original two X-Men movies and The Wolverine (not necessarily Wolverine: Origins, thank God), you know that James “Logan” Howlett was never satisfied with life.
For Jimmy saw a lot of death, a lot of death of his loved ones; so no matter how many mutants he improved through his teachings — be it as a group leader (forget Cyclops and Storm for a moment; sans Charles Xavier, Wolvie has ALWAYS been the leader of the X-Men) or in the classroom, the stuff this guy saw in his life was too much to bare each and every sleepless, drunken night. Sure, his “death” isn’t the “Blaze of Glory” the majority of comic readers would have preferred, although no one can be stupid enough to contest Steve McNiven‘s tremendous linework; yet, doesn’t it make more sense for Wolverine to finally go out on his own terms? Fans of his entire Weapon X story should be safisfied. And somewhere the guy who voiced that nutty professor from the Wolverine Origins video game is weeping.
So, although Logan may be out there somewhere “resting in peace,” of course the Wolverine books will not go away. Nobody said it better at last week’s New York Comic-Con than Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, either: “You complained we had too many Wolverine books, so we decided to kill him off.” Brilliant. I’m always attracted to — my bride Gisele, eh heh — comic stories without the main attraction. Hell it was the “Death of Captain America” from Brubaker and Morrison/Daniel’s “Battle For the Cowl” that helped get me back into comics. A year WITHOUT Wolverine? Count me in.
As for Soule‘s Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #1, it was pretty cool to see the likes of Logan’s brats (genetically or not), Daken & X-23, get into it with Sabretooth & Lady Deathstrike, yet.. the issue served no more than talking heads. And promotion. Typically, editors suggest in panels that you should check “so and so previous issue” but, in TLL #1, the smart alec “why are they doing this? Find out in LL #4!” is pretty cool and annoying all the same. Of course, diehard fans of the Wolverine line will likely eat it up anyway. To make matters worse, Oliver (Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost) Nome‘s art appears bizarrely cartoonish and John Kalisz‘ colors bizarrely bright in comparison to the DOW‘s final chapter. If you’re as big of a fan of the whole 52/World Without Superheroes premise as your favorite NFL QB, you may want to check it. Otherwise, let’s hope that the forthcoming Wolverines #1 doesn’t further tarnish this man’s legacy like I almost did 3 weeks ago.
– Travis Moody