Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly single issue review roundup.
[NOTE: The review score above is the average score for all reviews in this column. Each comic also has its own score below]
For reviews of this week’s Original Sin and its its tie-ins, look here.
Robin Rises: Omega #1
(Peter Tomasi / Andy Kubert; DC Comics)
Oooookay- let me break it down: This story actually started over a year ago with the Death of Damian Wayne (and even further, if you want to count Grant Morrison’s entire Batrun from Final Crisis and beyond) and I have been expecting closure on this for some time. Unfortunately, Robin Rises: Omega #1 offered me nothing of the sort, instead feeling more like an unnecessary, albeit forced story. Peter Tomasi‘s opening feels far too long-winded and wasted, too, summarizing what most fans already knew before picking up this one-shot.
Despite some high-octane action — with some even crazier team-ups (i.e. League of Assassins + ?????) — the story otherwise feels flat, not all that accessible and, more honestly, this Dutchess is still trying to understand what the shit was I just read. As a long time fan of the former Green Lantern Corps writer, I expected more than one long brawl. It was also disappointing to see the few cool moments wasted in this one issue, only to learn that the Damian’s body still doesn’t belong to Bruce, or even the Second Best/Worst Choice.
Instead, we’re flummoxed with fluff…
Overall, fans who’ve been following this run will be disappointed. Sure the art is fantastic and there are some tie-ins to the current events going on the in DCU with Bats ‘n Supes, but really it’s all just pointless. I get that Damian Wayne is everyone’s new favorite Robin, but is it really worth a road this shitty just to get there?
Sorry fellow Batman diehards, I love these characters.
I just hated this issue.
– Taffeta Darling
The X-Files: Year Zero #1
(Karl Kesel / Greg Scott / Vic Malhotra; IDW)
Moody gone did it again. You know whenever I get the chance to review something of David Duchovny’s it sure is a treat. This is the man whose recent TV portrayal inspired your One and Present Monignor.
Now, despite the fact I love The X-Files as much as the next — having recently rewatched the first 7-seasons within the past year or so — I have never read one single X-Files comic. It’s nothing against licensed adaptations, because what’s the difference between that and reading Spider-Man for the 3,971st time?
Year Zero #1 marks the point of a very good “jumping-on” point for a couple of reasons. As you can tell by the title, it’s Year Zero. No, it’s no knock of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s fantastic Zero Year run on Batman, nor does it take Fox Mulder and Dana Scully back to any sort of spooky childhood experiences. No, Karl Kesel (Daredevil, Fantastic Four) actually provides origin to an entirely different time period of X-cases, an FBI that is more appropriated with post-WWII politeness than the fancy banter between our favorite e.t. crime-solving duo.
The best compliment I could probably give Mr. Kesel is that his dialogue feels like the television series. It’s pretty much on-point with how Mulder & Scully would interact– and even funnier to watch the agents receive text messages and reference Google. Sure, it may sound kind of forced, but this is The X-Files of the present day, with a bit of Tarantino-styled flip-back to the 40s. This five-issue miniseries can only do better to add more segues between the different eras. I also found it witty on Kesel’s behalf to parallel “Year Zero” with the name of the intended antagonist.
If it’s cheesy, it’s probably an X-File.
That brings me to the art. There were some panels where the team of Greg Scott (Case Files: Sam & Twitch) and Vic Malhotra (Thumbprint) capture the correct essence of the duo’s interaction, sort of akin to the inner-precinct style of Gotham Central. Then something Greg Landish happens: An off-kilter Fox smile appears before the dialogue response (remember how facetiousness Duchovny plays his characters). Further confusing matters, readers will witness a not-so-menacing panther that moves/lands in the strangest ways (maybe it’s alien?), and the grim color scheme often makes it difficult to tell which stories appear in 1946 and in 2014. And yet despite all these cool devices the FBI gets to use now, the panels still look mid-90s– not entirely giving us a nice contrast between the tech-forward and the old fashioned.
Despite a few nuisances, reading this comic is the next best way to continue The X-Files lore until Chris Carter convinces 20th Century Fox that the next movie will actually be good.
– Travis Moody
(Antony Johnston / Christopher Mitten; Image)
Chris Mitten’s opening shot instantly brought to mind the work of Guillermo Del Toro, and that ominous organic vibe continues through the dark depths, the vistas of light, and the crimsons of blood magic rituals.
– Justin Giampaoli
(Jack Lambert / Scott Marder / Rob Rossell / Bernard Chang; IDW/DarbyPop
“L.A. is a junkyard. Meet the dog.”
Yeah, yeah, it’s a throwback ’80s nostalgiafest from writers Jack Lambert (not the legendary 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker), Scott Marder and Rob Rossell – three writers from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Unsupervised — and artist Bernard Chang (Green Lantern Corps, Demon Knights). With his long hair, sexy way with the ladies, cool car and kick-ass ways, Frank “Doberman” Doberano is the ultimate male wish fulfillment fantasy. But when his partner and him get involved in a drug deal gone bad, the partner is viciously killed by the bad guys.
It’s also easy to see why it never got made. This dog does a lot of growling but it never quite bites.
– Jason Sacks
Harley Quinn Invades Comic-con International #1
(Jimmy Palmiotti / Amanda Conner; DC Comics)
All I can say is easter eggs… easter eggs everywhere. Remembering way way back to Harley Quinn #0 from late last year, husband and wife scribes Jimmy Palmiotti (All-Star Western) & Amanda Conner (Power Girl) had set out to make a book that was just a lot of fun, starring everyone’s favorite clown-girl, and practically no plot. This time, they wised up, and made HQICCSD #1, which is a lot more fun, starring Dr. Quinzel and a loosely put-together plot. And for what it is, I think DC is successful yet again.
– Gabe Carrasco
Manifest Destiny #8
(Chris Dingess / Owen Gieni; Image Comics)
Manifest Destiny seems to be getting stronger and stronger with each successive issue. There’s a killer cover team-up on this issue, which hints at the frenetic nature of the Corps of Discovery’s escape from the river creature they last encountered, as well as the increased attention to Sacagawea’s characterization. It’s great that she’s a bad-ass, but it’s not played in an overstated way that feels like audience pandering or gender tokenism, she’s smart, she has home turf advantage, and her lines are typically delivered in such a straightforward fashion that it almost plays like deadpan humor: “Two times. Two times I have saved you.”
– Justin Giampaoli
The Squidder #1
(Ben Templesmith; 44Flood/IDW)
If there’s a great fantasy video game/comic book franchise named The Witcher, why not go with…The Squidder? Ahh, I can hear the porn jokes already. Luckily for readers of post apocalyptic sci-fi/adventure/horror/(which should be pretty much ALL of you), there’s few laughing matters when it comes to the terror of Ben Templesmith‘s The Squidder #1.
– Travis Moody
Dark Engine #1
(Ryan Burton / John Thomas Bivens; Image Comics)
Let’s cut to the chase on this one. Dark Engine #1 has some great artwork. Hell, it’s absolutely brutal. I had to read through it twice just to understand what really happened– because I was so busy looking at all the blood, gore and breasteses that were popping out everywhere.
– Mark Majndle
Black Market #1
(Frank J. Barbiere / Victor Santos; BOOM! Studios)
I love it when a comic seems like it’s going to go one way, then suddenly goes a completely different direction. This new comic by Frank J. Barbiere (Five Ghosts, New Avengers) and Victor Santos (Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Mice Templar), first seems like it’s going to be one of those introspective real-world super-hero tales full of long captions and deep, dull brooding. Then it seems on the verge of the “normal human in a world of super-powers” stories that seem like they’re all the rage, then it gains some heart and seems to be a bit of slice of life that has real heart and passion, before it turns all hardcore and crazy and completely unexpected.
– Jason Sacks
The Devilers #1
(Joshua Hale Fialkov / Matt Triano; Dynamite)
What can be Holier than attending Church on Sunday? For Zom it would be reading Joshua Hale Fialkov (I, Vampire) and Matt (Sherlock Holmes) Triano‘s new Dynamite series, The Devilers.
– Richard Zom
The Wicked + The Divine #2
(Kieron Gillen / Jamie McKelvie; Image Comics)
It’s quickly becoming obvious that The Wicked + The Divine is poised to be something special. It’ll no doubt be one of those books that has crossover appeal and the mainstream media outlets will be ranking in their best of the year lists. You get the sense that this is really the story that Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie were waiting to tell for years, even back when they first conjured Phonogram out of thin air in a way that seemed to innovative, at a time when not a lot of flash was really coming out of the “old” Image Comics. Phonogram was merely prologue to The Wicked + The Divine, a test-run for the story of cyclically reemerging gods, their witness, and a type of pop mythology that also examines social commentary vis-à-vis the homogeneity of the spiritual and the corporeal.
– Justin Giampaoli
Teen Titans #1
(Will Pfeifer / Kenneth Rocafort; Image Comics)
The Teen Titans are back and all-new! Well, no; not really. But there is a new creative team helming the title, with Will Pfeifer(Catwoman, Amazons Attack!) scribing and Kenneth Rocafort (Red Hood & The Outlaws) throwing down the art. The initial plot is pretty straightforward: Terrorists have hijacked a bus full of kids, and it’s up to Justice League: High a.k.a. the Teen Titans to stop them. And don’t let the initial plot fool you, as there is definitely something larger looming underneath of S.T.A.R. Labs.
Though for the most part clouded in mystery, this issue gives each member of the Titans — back as the “Teen” Titans — their own time to shine, which serves as a great introduction for the uninitiated. Rocafort’s art is gorgeous and very well detailed, even if Wonder Girl’s outfit is completely impractical for an adventurer (you DO remember his Starfire, don’t you!??). There’s no way Cassie would stay in that hyper-red-leather-sexualized outfit for long. Still, this is a highly enjoyable — and very modern — first issue that sets up an even more promising run.
– Dana Keels
Borderlands: Fall Of Fyrestone #1
(Mikey Neumann / Augustin Padilla / Esther Sanz; IDW)
I probably have more to say about 2K’s forthcoming Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel video game than I do this comic, but you knew that. Comic books that adapt video games are usually not very good — with last week’s Splinter Cell: Echoes a seeming exception — and video games made into either TV or movies are typically even worse. Thankfully, IDW is holding down this market with an iron fist.
– Travis Moody