Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin's weekly single issue review roundup.
Avengers Assemble #9
(Kelly Sue DeConnick, Stefano Caselli, Rain Beredo; Marvel)
Avengers Assemble #9 has got to be the biggest surprise of the week. You might have forgotten, but I wasn't all about the inaugural issue of Assemble. It was a new #1 released to coincide with the movie, but didn't read like it at all. This new issue — by brand-new creative team Kelly Sue DeConnick and Stefano Caselli — feels like something you could conceivably give to a Tumblr user who obsesses over the idea of Thor kissing Captain America, thanks to DeConnick's wise focus on the "science bros" Iron Man and Hulk. While they were the standout bromance of the Avengers movie, I never realized they actually made excellent counterpoints to one another — Stark being a futurist and living proof that technology and science can better one's life while Banner is a dour guy who serves as the pessimistic view of science, knowing first hand that it can destroy lives.
Which isn't to say that it's all heady thematic stuff — this issue actually hits the verboten-in-superhero-comics realm of laugh-out-loud funny (HINT: Hulk makes a sandwich) while delivering the first installment of a fun superhero story where Banner and Stark form teams to search for a missing scientist… sweetened by Stark turning the damn thing into a bet. What you should take away from this is that Avengers Assemble could seriously be the next Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League International — a hilarious romp that's still, at the end of the day, a superhero comic book. Just one that's an antidote to all the cape comics that take themselves way too seriously. After all, there's already a Watchmen project happening…
Appropriately, on the visual side, Stefano Caselli's got the Kevin Maguire game on lock, creating art that's heavy on funny expressions and drawing bros like a female gaze version of Frank Cho — this is a comic as beefcakey as Gail Simone/Nicola Scott Secret Six back-back in the day. I hope he sticks around for the rest of this run, because this is an amazing pairing.
Look, I know I'm way too excited for a comic book run based on a single issue (but I haven't been wrong before), but Avengers Assemble #9 seriously reads like the perfect companion to the Joss Whedon movie, and should be given to any fan of the movie who wants to get into the comics.
– Danny Djeljosevic
All-New X-Men #1
(Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, Marte Gracia; Marvel)
Oh shit! We've got someone messing with the time space continuum. Lets go down the checklist… and ladies and gentlemen, it is BEAST! Hank McCoy come on down!
Alright, so this issue is pretty much the deus ex machina to bring the original five X-Men to the present while Cyclops, Magneto and Emma are snatching up mutants to build their team. I hesitate to call it an army, since Cyclops is playing Malcolm X to Wolverine and his team's MLK. In reality, it is the same story they've been telling since the start. In a way it feels like a restart; bringing the first X-Men to the present to confront the world they've made. It should prove to be an interesting dynamic, if BMB can really bring his A-game.
There is an undercurrent to this story that I can't mention for the sake of spoilers, lets just say that Hank isn't motivated lightly to mess with the time space continuum. You know something big is going down for Hank act so drastically. Immonen does a great job of contrasting heroes old and heroes present. It's a great set up to what will hopefully be a fun run through the eyes of an idealistic, young X-Men.
– Dylan Tano
Fantastic Four #1
(Matt Fraction, Mark Bagley, Mark Farmer, Paul Mounts; Marvel)
Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley take over for Jonathan Hickman and… I guess the final issue of the previous series was drawn by Ryan Stegman? There were a lot of artist changes. Regardless, Fraction basically treats Fantastic Four #1 like a new run carrying on from Hickman's story rather than a brand new, throw-everything-out relaunch. And it's totally readable for someone like me who lost track of the previous run.
It's a solid opener that establishes everything that's going to drive at least the first story arc (and some of Fraction/Allred's FF, too) with some great family moments, particularly the entire Future Foundation having take-out Chinese on an overturned Fantasticar in lieu of a table. And there's a hilarious moment with the Thing being pranked by that Yancy Street Gang that's made the word "dummy" the funniest word in the English language for at least the next week.
I've never been too keen on Mark Bagley — he's a bit too workmanlike, light on flair, mostly notable for his ability to hit deadlines, being the Alan Davis you can get. But on Fantastic Four #1 — ironically, working with frequent Davis inker Mark Farmer — he's perfectly fine. It helps that Paul Mounts' colors are nice and heavy on otherworldly blues. To me, the most exciting thing about Bagley's art is the prospect that there might not be countless fill-ins on this book.
Also, I'm ecstatic this is a $2.99 comic.
– Danny Djeljosevic
Think Tank #4
(Matt Hawkins, Rahsan Ekedal, Troy Peteri; Image)
Matt Hawkins is the shit for trying to get a hard sci-fi comic off the ground.
The conclusion for the first arc details the final portion of David's escape from the government facility he's worked and lived out of for much of his adult life. The ultra slick super genius utilizes real life science in his getaway, from suggestion gas, to invisibility suits, surface thought mind readers and localized EMP bombs. The series' credibility links to the idea that military tech is fifteen years ahead of what's available to consumers, and most of its success derives from Hawkins' research and background knowledge. Along with artist Rahsan Ekedal, the two have pieced together an exciting ongoing. The main downfall is that David is smarter, hotter and cooler than me, and it depressing to read about his fictional success.
– Jamil Scalese
Mind MGMT #0
(Matt Kindt; Dark Horse)
Collecting three digital-first stories from the mindbending series about psychic secret agents and the women who are inextricably tied to the international intrigue resulting from them. Two stories follow a couple of spies throughout history while the third gives us some background information about the protagonist of the main series. The sort of thing that stands on its own while giving previous readers some new information.
It may seem like a "for fans only" sort of thing, but if you're curious about checking out the series, this three-dollar one-shot offers a fine sampler. If you're into the psychic weirdness, the watercolor art and unconventional paper stock, then there's already at least six issues of a series that's just like it. So get crackin'.
– Danny Djeljosevic
Thor: God of Thunder #1
(Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic; Marvel)
As the only guy who's still impressed that "the Scalped guy" can do gonzo superhero stuff really, really well (even though he keeps proving it over and over), I was pretty stoked reading Thor, God of Thunder #1. It's got Thor flying through space to answer a prayer from an alien, three time periods in our hero's life (past, present and desolate future) dealing with the same threat and a cosmic serial killer who murders entire pantheons of gods.
This definitely seems like it's going to be a better use of Thor than having him hang out in fucking Oklahoma all the time.
– Danny Djeljosevic
Great Pacific #1
(Joe Harris, Martin Marazzo, Doug L. Sherwood; Image)
It's basically Think Tank, except with an island of garbage.
– Jamil Scalese
X-Men: Legacy #1
(Simon Spurrier, Tan En Huat, Craig Yeung, Jose Villarrubia; Marvel)
Legacy was never a book I understood, but this relaunched edition has Simon Spurrier making the title literal by focusing on the late Professor X's son, Legion, the Crazy Jane of the X-Men universe. The result is weird and surprisingly un-X-Menish, but lacks the personality required to make this a sleeper hit as artist Tan En Huat seems responsible for making it all seem interesting.
– Danny Djeljosevic
AND THE REST
Frankenstein: Agent of Shade #14
(Matt Kindt, Alberto Ponticelli, Wayne Faucher, John Kalisz; DC)
Adventure Time Presents Marceline and the Scream Queens #5 (of 6)
(Meredith Gran, Lisa Moore, Polly Guo, BOOM!)
(Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, John Rauch; Image)
Danny Djeljosevic is a comic book creator, award-winning filmmaker (assuming you have absolutely no follow-up questions) and Co-Managing Editor of Comics Bulletin. Follow him on Twitter at @djeljosevic or find him somewhere in San Diego, often wearing a hat. Read his comic with Mike Prezzato, "Sgt. Death and his Metachromatic Men," over at Champion City Comics and check out his other comics at his Tumblr, Sequential Fuckery. His webcomic The Ghost Engine, with artist Eric Zawadzki, updates twice a week.
Dylan B. Tano is a relatively new reviewer powered by a love of bacon and constantly distracted by a kitten who would rather use his laptop as a bed. He grew up idolizing Spider-Man and can’t believe he gets to review comics all day.
You can read some of his short stories at tanoworks.tumblr.com
Jamil Scalese is just like you — an avid comics reader and lover of sequential art. Residing in Pittsburgh, PA, he is an unapologetic Deadpool fan, devotee of the Food Network and proud member of Steelers Nation. Check out his original, ongoing webcomic And Then There Were Zombies and follow his subpar tweeting at @jamilscalese.