Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly single issue review roundup.
SLAAAAAAAAAAAADE!?!? The original sword-swinging, gun-slinging, ninja master of disaster, Slade Wilson (not WADE WILSON; Sorry Marvel fanboys) a.k.a. Deathstroke is back in his own ongoing series — and Good Gawd Almighty, is he EVER back.
Deathstroke #1, both written and drawn by Tony Daniel (Batman, Superman/Wonder Woman) starts off the series with a bang and a whooooole lot of blood gore and death, with Slade Wilson certainly coming off as what we call in wrestling, “a Tweener Face”. Someone who isn’t a clean-cut do-gooder, but not exactly a homicidal maniac– a far cry from Wilson’s previous incarnation as a sorta creepy archvillain of a teenage group of superheroes. Weird. In any case, Slade is more than likely going to be killing off people who are bigger baddies than he is.
If this first issue is any indication, expect great things from this title. With a slight ‘reboot’ at the end of the issue, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into and discuss with your fellow apostles and geeks everywhere…
– Danny Ig
AXIS: Hobgoblin #1
(Kevin Shinick / Javier Rodriguez; Marvel Comics)
Has one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes finally gone legit?? With the Marvel event tie-in, AXIS: Hobgoblin #1, Mad TV and Robot Chicken alum Kevin Shinick’s writing is just so spot-on it hurts. Rodrick Kingsley has indeed gone “legit”. But! I use quotation marks for a very good reason: He goes legit FOR MORE MONEY!! Kingsley has branded his costume and persona and has marketed it out to the masses as a ponzi scheme. Shinick stays true to who Kingsley is so much so that you’d think he had been writing him since the very beginning. With the Goblin King’s voice — and sinister smerk — popping off the pages, every bad infomercial you’ve ever seen at 3 in the morning gets wrapped up in a few panels.
But the best compliment to Shinick’s writing is, of course, the artwork of Javier Rodriguez (Daredevil, Superior Spider-Man). Rodriguez just has a way of bringing out the best of whoever he is sketching for; few books out there have this synergistic vibe between the artist and writer. The cinematic, albeit comical Silver Age style performs as though I’m watching the storyboard for a movie played out in my hands. Although I have no idea what AXIS is going to bring about with Mr. Hobs, I’d love to see more from this team — and the Goblin King! — since it’s very much in the realm of Fraction and Aja’s Eisner-winning Hawkeye. And that’s best damn compliment I can give this pre-Halloween treat.
– Roberto de Bexar
Arkham Manor #1
(Gerry Duggan / Shawn Crystal; DC Comics)
Wayne Manor has become a veritable collection of Gotham’s finest filth. Dubbed “Arkham Manor” in Mayor Hady’s attempt to move the prisoners out of the city’s baseball stadium, Bruce and Alfred have relocated to an apartment, while all the baddies Batman worked tirelessly to confine now get to enjoy his digs– well, until they turned the manor into a bloodbath. Now, Bruce has to play both investigator and infiltrator on murders taking place in his own home.
An interesting first issue, I enjoyed the writing in Arkham Manor #1 a fair bit more than the art. While the ambience was handled well with a muted color palette, something about Shawn (Fantomex MAX) Crystal‘s illustration wasn’t for me. Lack of pupils in quite a few panels left characters with a deadened look where I just would’ve liked a little more expression. Gerry (Deadpool) Duggan‘s words shine, from his dialogue between characters to his inner Bat-monologues. I would actually love to see not only where he can take the following issues of Arkham Manor, but what he could do with a dedicated Arkham novel. Arkham Manor #1proved to be an entertaining pick-up this week and I will absolutely be following the series. From the beginning, seeing the transformation of Wayne Manor into a prison and to the end, a great twist on how Bruce plans to enter the ranks of Gotham’s captives.
– Christine Manzione
Father’s Day #1
(Mike Richardson / Gabriel Guzmán; Dark Horse Comics)
After profiling umpteen neo-noir letdowns in these pages, you can’t imagine my relief on cracking open Father’s Day, to find it coming out of the gate relaxed, lean and badass. Hats off to writer Mike Richardson (47 Ronin) and artist Gabriel Guzmán (Star Wars: Dark Times), whose first issue plays with elements of genre barnburners from Bourne toCommando to Léon with wit and economy.
Starting from the opening frames — a spider on a sliding glass door, dwarfing the seascape beyond — Richardson and Guzmán gracefully set the tone for bad things to come, in a gradually escalating blend of action and comedy. And come those bad things do: first in the form of Denise, showing up on the doorstep of the Father who abandoned her years earlier, announcing her own existence and her mother’s death to him with a gutpunch. The next bad things through the door are the actual bad guys chasing Father; it seems he’s got a shadowy past, which has caught up to him, unwittingly thanks to Denise’s snooping. After a brisk chase, using the bare minimum of pages and panels to develop the characters, we get some background on the Father that raises more questions than it answers. I won’t spoil the last action beats, except to say that the story clicks together with a no-fuss satisfaction that has me eager for issue #2.
– Alex Gradet
(Genevieve Valentine / Garry Brown; DC Comics)
I recently received two cats in my home the other day: My new kitten Kilgore Trout and DC Comics’ Catwoman #35! My life is just a ball of catnip these days. #hairball However, award-winning novelist Genevieve Valentine (Mechanique: A tale of the Circus Tresaulti) and Garry Brown (The Massive) in conjunction with DC Comics, have brought on a new crime boss in Gotham, Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman. This feline is no hairball. She embraces her criminal side as she inherits the thrown from her crime boss family. Can this new dark side capture the fearful hearts of Gotham? Or will Selina fall back into her crime fighting pace when an old pal visits… (i.e. Brucey Bruce).
This is a fun new take on Catwoman that really makes her a strong character, not to mention resemble the HECK out of Anne Hathaway (approve!). I would have liked to see Miss Annie in a little more action in the catsuit, but I am excited to see what the new issues brings for Gotham’s head nemesis. They try to compare her to the leader of England, Elizabeth I, but I feel as though maybe Selina will come back to the side she knew before and fight alongside her desired bat-toy. One can only dream. Kudos to artist Brown for making Batman oh-so-kissable, with just a touch of man scruff. I will sleep well tonight. #mancrush
– Eva Ceja