Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly single issue review roundup.
(Greg Rucka / Michael Lark / Tyler Boss / Santi Arcas / Owen Freeman; Image Comics)
Holy Crap! Was that one truly amazing fight scene or what? Finally, we the readers, are treated to a battle between Lazari as Forever and Sonja face off representing the Carlyle and Hock families, respectively, to settle the two warring families’ dispute via trial by combat. In an amazing show of force writer Greg Rucka and artist Michael Lark devote half the issue to this incredible confrontation with just a few words of dialogue proving that a picture, or a series of pictures, truly can paint a thousand words. The amount of energy, tension, and storytelling that are conveyed to the reader will leave you just as exhausted and weary as the two combatants. Thank you very much gentlemen–this WILL be the fight of the year!
The finale to the “Conclave” arc is a satisfying conclusion that leaves just as many questions as it provided answers. Rucka sets up his characters exquisitely and, with one deliciously evil action by Jakob Hock, the Carlyle family is left in a state of disarray. One of the best aspects of Lazarus is bearing witness to all the machinations that these privileged families concoct in order to gain any advantage over their adversaries as they can. Each character in this universe is full of amazing development and they tend to resonate with the reader.
The creative team delivered a masterpiece with this entry into the series. The depth of detail and emotion in that epic fight scene between Forever and Sonja as the two friends are pushed to the limit physically and mentally was almost painful to witness, but well worth the price of admission on its merits alone. Lazarus continues to amaze on a monthly basis with the one-two punch of Greg Rucka and Michael Lark producing one of the best books on the market at the moment.
– Robert Tacopina
(Mike Johnson / K. Perkins / Emanuela Lupacchino / Ray McCarthy / Hi-Fi; DC Comics)
If you want a solid example for why DC is instigating its second reboot in the last 4 years, this arc on Supergirl is it. That may have unfortunate implications, but here’s the thing: this comic isn’t bad. In fact, it’s perfectly decent all around. Hi-Fi’s colors, in particular, are nicely detailed and work with Emanuela Lupacchino’s pencils to make Supergirl look like a normal teenager, regardless of how both impractical and unstylish her outfit may be (the brand new battlesuit, alas, helps little).
However, New 52 continuity has proven a massive disadvantage to this comic. It is unlikely a coincidence that Supergirl has been packed off to go to an “academy” shortly after DC’s successful new college-set Batgirl run has taken off. The previously mentioned new battlesuit only comes in during action sequences and most of the time, Kara and New Maxima are left standing around in chilly-looking leotards while their male colleagues get regular gear. All members of the creative team try hard to make this book look and sound like it is about and for teenage girls, but this half-reboot forces them to work with shoddy past designs and canon that don’t match their idea for this series.
In another misstep, both this issue and its prequel issue have brought in Superboy. Other than the fact that no one can lay out Superboy’s current origin in less than a paragraph, his presence requires at least a flicker of knowledge of what he has gone through the last 3½ years. In a series that should be about Supergirl, his inclusion wastes valuable page space developing him as a character when they should be used to narrow in on Kara’s plight.
The Supergirl title is not set out to continue post-Convergence, probably due to DC’s plans to match her next run with whatever half-baked television show comes out of the CW. It’s a shame that an arc with such potential has so much working against it.
Loki: Agent of Asgard? #11
(Al Ewing/ Lee Garbett/ Antonio Fabela/ Clayton Cowles; Marvel Entertainment)
Well, the cat’s out of the bag and Asgard knows the truth – at least part of the truth. Loki is but one of three Loki’s. An echo is what they call him. The loveable “kid Loki” is dead and a wisp of an old Loki took over his body so decrepit King Loki, master of lies, is also our younger god of lies. Nobody is happy about. Thor loved kid Loki and now he’s gone. The other Asgardians are mad because Loki isn’t who they thought he was. Wait a minute. Isn’t that the point?
Ewing has a lot going on in Loki Agent of Asgard. Thor titles include trickery and character swapping with Loki. It’s just the way it is, so it’s unsurprising that Loki’s own title is full of it. I was thrown off a little bit by the Asgardian’s reactions mainly because I just had to ask myself, “Are they really surprised?” Loki isn’t Loki. Well, that’s a bit to be expected of the trickster.
While I find it hard to believe their surprise, I find it easy to believe. Loki, regardless of his tricks, is almost never loved despite what Thor or Odin say. He’s always the root of the problem, whether he wants to be or not and in young Loki’s case, this is what makes him the absolute most sympathetic character of Asgard. Ewing makes Sif the most level headed and understanding of Asgardians, making her doubt the claims against young Loki. It’s a thread that’s might be overlooked as the arc continues, but is bound to show up later.
Loki is banished not once, but twice in this issue, first by the all-mother from Asgard and then again from the in-between realm by Odin. His iconic helmet, now with one broken horn, is broken and missing a piece just like kid Loki. He’s thrown back to Manhattan where he’s met by Verity and of course, his old self, King Loki.
King Loki does what he does and ruins things for young Loki. He loses the girl and is now forced to deal with how he becomes, well, himself. Ewing keeps his dialogue fairly short and easy to follow, something desperately needed for all of the identity issues in this series. The conversation with King Loki at the apartment is great. It’s a mixture of burning truth and playful malice.
The artwork by Garbett and coloring by Fabela play to the advantages of location. Asgard is portrayed in its usual luster by day and dark, ancient cloisters by night. The in-between utilizes a variety of colors to contrast the white emptiness with the colorful galaxy. Garbett’s use of gestures depicts raw emotion well, especially in terms of our trickster. The scene with Loki and Freyja is gut wrenching. There’s one silent panel in the sequence, but it says it all. The pent up emotions ready to spew from Loki’s mouth. He’s the child that’s never good enough, the child that is always the problem, never the golden boy, always the broken child. Try reading this sequence without the dialogue bubbles. The art translates what needs to be said through body language and facial expressions.
At surface level the issue is much to do with usual Loki business, but at the heart it shows much more of the emotional side of our often misunderstood trickster. Seeing Loki from his perspective is what makes this title so strong. It adds layers upon layers of character development and understanding often not seen in titles that focus on his older brother. While the comic can be tough to keep straight sometimes, it’s well worth the time and energy to see why Loki is who he is.
– Michael Bettendorf
Ms. Marvel #12
(G. Willow Wilson / Takeshi Miyazawa; Marvel Entertainment)
Between the Valentine’s Day cover and Ms. Marvel’s target demographic audience—as well as how the character has been previously defined—I expected something much different from this issue. Since Tom Hiddleston has played a charismatic Loki in the Marvel cinematic universe, Marvel’s comics editorial seems to have made strides to further develop the comic book character. There are very few comic book characters that exist today who have had mountains of fanfiction written about them so it seemed natural that Kamala would be one of those writers.
Wilson and Miyazawa seemed to have different ideas in mind, however, and that is probably for the best. They create Loki more in line with the current Marvel Universe canon, which is as a trickster with kind of, sort of good intentions. Kamala’s interest in him only goes as far as to get him away from her school’s Valentine’s Day dance, which she technically is not supposed to be at. But hey, what’s any story about a teenage superhero without a little disobedience each issue?
Ms. Marvel #12 acts as a break between its first arc and upcoming story and would work as a good starting issue for new readers.
– Rae Epstein
(Robbie Thompson / Stacey Lee; Marvel Comics)
Spinning out of Spider-Verse comes Dan Slott’s newest creation with her own series, Silk. If you’ve been living in a bunker or forgetting to pick up your weekly comics, then Silk may be newer to you. During a couple Marvel events ago it was shown that the radioactive spider that bit Peter also webbed up one more teen before playing dead. This young woman was then locked away in a secret bunker for the last 10 or 50 years, depending if you’re going off of comic or human years.
With the end of Spider-Verse, it’s now Silk or Cindy Moon’s turn to shine and find her own backstory and villains in a world she barley knows. Thanks to Robbie Thompson, Stacey Lee, and Ian Herring, Cindy is now delivered her own solo adventure in the Spider World.
After the events of leading up and finale of Spider-Verse, Silk was left with more questions than answers. We get a glimpse of this with her inaugural issue. Contending with blossoming spider powers, her unnatural attraction to Parker and her mysterious past leaves Silk barely holding on this in this New York Super-hero world. Cindy even follows in Peter’s footsteps and gets a job working for the Spider-Tyrant-hating JJ Jameson as a new reporter who unfortunately causes Spidey more bad press. Meanwhile, Silk’s first encounter leaves both her and the baddie, Dragonclaw, rethinking methods and finds a badly beaten Dragonclaw seeking an unhealthy upgrade by a familiar Cat. All ends with Silk returning to her only home, the bunker unbeknownst to her which has someone watching her every move.
Part coming of age and part indie action, Silk is off to a great start. Thanks no doubt to the superb pencils and colors courtesy of Stacey Lee and Ian Herring. For the past couple of years Marvel has been taking a page out of indie books and hiring talent that goes against the spandex in a cape and tight kinda world. Lee is just another example of that with her soft pencils and almost European Manga style. The traveling Nerd says keep an eye on this one!
– Lance Paul
(Rafael Albuquerque / Mike Johnson; Dark Horse Comics)
This very interesting tale follows a time traveler named Joshua as he tries to find the woman he loves. He misses her so much he will go back in time to find her. He ends up in a dystopian, Road Warrior-esque world. His quest to find his lover goes a little bad. He must first get past some bandits. Interesting read and faces a lot of danger.
I really suggest you take a peek at this comic. Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Johnson’s collaboration on Eight looks promising. I can see Albuquerque’s work resembles the art he did for Blue Beetle comics. The comic reminds me of the old Daredevil comics as far as ton
– Kenny Sanders
Secret Identities #1
(Jay Faerber / Brian Joines / Charlie Kirchoff / Ilias Kyriazis; Image Comics)
Secret Identities is a mashup of the Avengers, Teen Titans and any other superhero team up you want to use in your head. Which makes sense considering that one of the main writers, Jay Faerber, used to write on Generation X, Titans and New Warriors. I don’t know much about the other writer, Brian Joines, but I do really enjoy the duo on this book.
The book deals with the secret identities of super-hero team The Frontline and the mole that is placed with the team to take them down. The book deals very little with fighting and more with the daily minutia of the heroes lives which aren’t as glamorous as one might think. In fact, only the first six or seven pages out of 31 deal with fighting. The rest deals with the characters’ personal lives, which are just like every other normal person.
The artwork by Ilias Kyriazis is very clean and very bright. That type of wonderful art really is something that I have come to expect from Image Comics lately. It’s crisp and colorful and it really makes the story pop off the pages. Kyriazis is able to convey deep emotion from his characters that pull you into their lives just that much more.
The ending has a great twist to it and I am very interested to see where this book goes. However, I hope that the creators know where they are going with this storyline. The mole is going to take some finagling later on down the road.
– Robert Bexar