Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly single issue review roundup.
The Names #1
(Peter Milligan / Leandro Fernandez; DC Comics/Vertigo)
“Kill Bill meets The Wolf of Wall Street!” claims the advance word on Vertigo’s The Names by Peter Milligan (Skin) and Leandro Fernández (Punisher: MAX Series), and from the generous perspective that it follows its heroine’s quest for revenge through the world of high finance, I guess it is. But go looking for either of those movies’ bracing originality (or in the case of the former, bracingly original recombination of the familiar) and the comparison falls apart.
While the book centers on a revenge-bent female protagonist – Katya, the widow of a stockbroker suicided by a shadowy organization – make no mistake: this is a man’s man’s man’s man’s world. The Names can’t seem to differentiate between the empowerment and exploitation of its lead; sure, Katya can kick ass and wear a dress and dangle her sexuality to sucker a link in the revenge chain, but it’s less in service of inspiring female readers, than of attracting male ones. Forget about any sense of agency on Katya’s part, either, other than her husband is dead, and that’s bad.
The shadowy, hyperarticulate and shadowy did I mention shadowy bad guys dismiss her out of hand; this would read as bad-guy-hubris if it weren’t so consistent with the rest of the book’s dismissiveness toward Katya, especially when a mid-book side-plot turns her into literal, in-universe whack-material.
– Alex Gradet
Death of Wolverine #1
(Charles Soule / Steve McNiven; Marvel Comics)
The Marvel Apostle is back and, boy, let me start by saying.. The Death of Wolverine is one of the prettiest comics on the shelves this weeks, thanks to Steve McNiven (Civil War) and his talented pencils skills.
But first onto the bigger picture, Charles Soule (Superman/Wonder Woman) has a death wish for Wolverine and he is never coming back!
Did you believe that one? I know I sure didn’t, if superhero deaths have proven one thing through the numerous ones in recent years (Batman, Captain America, Spider-man, Night Crawler…) they don’t stay gone for long.
But hey, congregation… at least this creative new look on killing off Wolverine is fun; he no longer has his healing factor and everything that made Wolvie who he was is killing him. Perfect way to off someone who can’t die, right? Though this method may get old as we read weekly issues in this four issue run, this first certainly delivers on the action side and leaves you thirsting for more.
Thus, your favorite Traveling Nerd has no choice but to recommend this bad boy: A must see to end the summer off.
Even if it kills him.
– Lance Paul
Alice Cooper #1
(Joe Harris / Eman Cassallos; Dynamite Publishing)
I’ll be honest with you guys: Dynamite ain’t exactly making a friend out of Mr. Tower here. Of course I don’t always want to have to be the Bearer of Bad news under the gilded roof of the Church of Cool, but, as far as this comic goes: no.
No, no, no, no, no.
But let me be clear: What makes Alice Cooper #1 not worth y’all droppin’ nickles to board ‘n bag this first issue is MOST CERTAINLY NOT the convention of the Master of ‘Shock ’n Roll’ himself, Alice Cooper, who headlines the story as a slave to a midget demon, condemned to negotiate non-negotiable Satanic contracts with the un-savable teeny-pop idol souls of the Hellspwan that is chart-topping boy band music.
In fact, I’ll say, and you can quote me, that in the messy array of mismatched panels piled in a
shit heap between the covers of writer, Joe Harris’ (Darkness Falls) latest foray, Mr. Cooper is the only element that keeps anything in it together.
While Eman Cassalos’ renderings of the epic showman have a sort of Gothic appeal, it isn’t enough to give me any idea of what’s going on.
– Joe Tower
Original Sin #8
(Jason Aaron / Mike Deodato Jr. / Frank Martin; Marvel Comics)
Captain America #24
(Rick Remender / Carlos Pacheco / Paul Renaud; Marvel Comics)
The final moment is here! The reveal of who killed The Watcher concludes this drawn out whodunit, which, unfortunately, gives me the same feelings I had back when I read issue #1: I just didn’t care. Boring, dragging, and really.. really frustrating. The Watcher, as a character, annoys me. Old Nick Fury going crazy and all these secrets being exposed had no affect on this Dutchess, to the point where I had to put down this issue a few times and come back to it. The reveal at the end comes as no surprise, especially if you understand how the comic Marvel universe works; despite its utter predicitability, I merely gave an eye roll and kept on reading. The finale’s saving grace? Former Secret Avengers stalwart Mike Deodato’s art and Frank Martin’s colors were enjoyable enough and made it easier to turn the pages in this tiresome story.
Thankfully, Marvel DOES know how to “push it forward”, and this month’s Captain America sees as much so: Cap is an old bag who sidesteps his “Super Solider” ways for some new breed. The good newS? This ish still has the heart of Steve Rogers, despite another hero emerging and giving us the ultimate sacrifice (similar to that of The Dark Knight Rises and Iron Man 3). Writer Rick Remender (Black Science) does a fantastic job at setting up Sam Wilson’s Falcon as the new Ultimate hero; and — unlike that of Original Sin’s lukewarm conclusion — this story packs plenty of heart and rings true to the old Cap themes that fans of Ed Brubaker will appreciate.
In addition to plenty of support from the cast — both emotionally and heroically — Cap #24 is filled with a certain bittersweetness that the Star Spangled Man will finally have the rest and happiness he deserves with his family. Carlos Pacheco (Ultimate Comics: Avengers) and Red Sonja cover artist Paul Renaud share the art duties and their combination is complimentary to the story, expertly capturing the sadness, the excitement and the battle scenes throughout. While I haven’t kept up with the series as much as I would like, this issue left me with hope for the future of Captain America and the true meaning of what it takes to be a hero: Self-sacrifice.
– Taffeta Darling
(Duane Swierczynski / Keith Burns; Dynamite Entertainment)
New from Dynamite this month is EX-CON #1, a grim and gritty crime saga following an ex-con with a color synesthesia condition on an odyssey through 1980′s LA. Duane Swierczynski (Birds of Prey) helms this original tale about an unusually talented grifter repaying an ominous favor as soon as he’s released from prison; whilst the art duties are handled by Keith Burns (The Boys).
Steeped in ’80s attitude, grifter with the ability to see character traits as colored hues Cody Pomeroy guides you through his fall and redemption on the mean streets of LA’s underworld. This book has all the makings of an excellent graphic novel crime story (inventive premise, gripping artwork, and a sense of mounting tension conveyed through the Philip Marlowe-esque first-person narration), however one minor gripe is that the first issue perhaps spends too long on background exposition of the lead character, who’s kind of a jerk. Nonetheless, crime fiends should definitely consider picking this book up.
– Luke Anderson