Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin's weekly single issue review roundup.
Not everything gets covered in Singles, so here are the comics that got reviewed separately:
Captain America #3
(Rick Remender, John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson, Dean White, Lee Loughridge; Marvel)
Captain America #3 picks up with a brief flashback looking at Herr Zola's previous life as a somewhat creepier Dr. Frankenstein. He's been genetically splicing townsfolk and animals together which what looks like a hacksaw and some tape. Of course this is all with the idea of creating the perfect human. So what that has to do with attaching his maid's head to a dog eludes me. Remender quickly jumps us back to the present as the supposed end result where we met Jet; the perfect child creation of Zola.
That is just the first three pages from the third issue of Remender's Captain America. To say there is a lot going on in this issue would be an understatement. It is all handled wonderfully, the plot weaving back and forth from reality to the past and back again as the story inextricably marches on.
It is a wonderfully weird trip pencilled by John Romita Jr., which… doesn't suck. His art is consistent, even if his faces and whatnot are pretty darn weird sometimes. However, when it comes to the quirks and variety of creatures in Dimension Z, he delivers quite well and it doesn't wreck the narrative. Heck, I actually really like his depiction of Bearded Captain and Zola's machinations.
This is what comics are about — twists and turns. Taking us to places we haven't been or can't go. Taking Steve Rogers and placing him into extraordinary situations is a good move on Remender's part. During this first arc he has taken the military stuff, the political intrigue, the super soldier and put it on the back burner. Here is Steve Rogers, the standout, standup American who never backed down from a bully. For me, it works like a charm.
– Dylan Tano
(Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Fonografiks; Image)
At this point it's become pretty standard to praise Saga to the heavens, but it's rare to have a comic book you can share with someone that won't scare or confuse them, so it's best to cherish Saga and pimp it out to potential readers as much as we can. What was the last comic we could do that with? Probably another BKV book, right? No wonder Hollywood came a-calling for this guy.
One of the great things about Saga — besides its colloquial approach to sci-fi/fantasy — is that each issue has something memorable about it and a bunch of memorable, vividly painted characters to go along with it. I'm not really the guy to cite specific issue numbers, but there was the one with the TV robot having banging a chick. There was the one with giant balls in it. There was the one with the brothel planet. While that's all related to nether regions — surely just a product of how my brain works — Issue #9 is the one with the main guy's girlfriend and probably the best moment of Lying Cat yet. Meanwhile, I have trouble differentiating most superhero comics beyond "that issue where the guy hit the thing, Part 3 of 7."
Jesus Christ, I sound like I've never read comics before. I think I'm finally free?
– Danny Djeljosevic
Todd: The Ugliest Kid on Earth #1
(Ken Kirstensen, M.K. Perker; Image)
I know it's cliché to say it, but Ken Kristensen and M.K. Perker are bound and determined to put the "fun" back in dysfunctional. Todd: The Ugliest Kid on Earth #1 may well be the most fucked-up funny book I've come across in years. Neither of the creators seem to give a rat's ass about being politically correct or worried in any way about whether or not they are offending anyone. A matter of fact, they seem to be going out of their way to offend EVERYONE in this book. But it's so off the wall bejezus wonked that it's hard to get pissed at them, because while they are dealing with all kinds of just plain horrible shit in this book, their tongues seem so firmly planted in their cheeks (or up America's ass) that all you can do is laugh.
And unless you take yourself far too seriously, laugh is what you will do.
Image is shilling this book as "a collision of comedy, sex, and violence" and by golly that ain't no hyperbole. This first issue seems to turn around the titular Todd who is apparently so ugly that you never see him without a paper bag over his head. His visage makes him the butt of the neighborhood guff, and no matter how sunny a disposition he maintains, nobody wants to be his friend. Todd's mom and dad are certainly not in the running for any parenting awards, the Chief of Police is a fame obsessed sadist who has no qualms pulling his gun on his own children, the town bully has it in specifically for Todd, and, oh, did I happen to mention that there is a psychotic axe murderer going around severing the heads of children?
Sound like fun? You betcha!
Add to the mix Perker's fantastic art and you got yourself gold here! Twisted, bug-fuckery gold, but gold all the same. Todd: The Ugliest Kid on Earth #1 is a axe to the head of pretentiousness. It barrels through just about every precious liberal sacred cow like a thirteen-year-old all hopped up on his buddy's Aderol, gripping the wheel white-knuckled as he points his grandpa's Chrysler towards the horizon line. This comic ZOOMS as it ZAGS and I have no idea when or where this ride is going to end. One thing's for sure, though, it's going to be one hell of a drive.
– Daniel Elkin
Captain Marvel #9/Avengers Assemble #11
(Kelly Sue DeConnick, Filipe Andrade, Jordie Bellaire, Joe Caramagna; Marvel)
As a fan/supporter of this new Captain Marvel series, it's been fun watching DeConnick find her way with her first ongoing and get comfortable with the process. So far we've had a multi-part time travel adventure and a two-issue deal where Captain Marvel teams up with Monica Rambeau to fight sharks and robots. Nothing quite resembling a status quo up 'til now, where (I think?) DeConnick finally establishes a supporting cast for Carol Danvers, as well as a fancy new hat and a big-ass problem. Funny that those supporting characters include Iron Man and Spider-Woman, which I imagine is a result of the writer scripting Avengers Assemble at the same time.
Captain Marvel #9 also brings yet another artist, Filipe Andrade, whose flowy, silken style could easily be written off as "ew manga" by some folks but I'm into that stuff so I like it a lot. Seems like Captain Marvel is the place for divisive artists (how do people feel about Emma Rios? All I know is that I love her art).
Avengers Assemble #11, meanwhile, concludes DeConnick's first three-issue arc, which was mostly fun even though the antagonists weren't as well painted as I'd have liked. It was jokey and breezy, the kind of "fun" comic people say they want but never read, featuring the Avengers lineup from the movies and then some, plus really solid Kevin Maguire-esque art from Stefano Caselli. The next arc switches gears to focus on Black Widow and Hawkeye with Pete Woods illustrating, but I still think this book could be the next Justice League International provided DeConnick develops a vocabulary distinct from all the other Avengers books — and if creative team/Marvel editorial are interested in that sort of thing.
– Danny Djeljosevic
Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #16
(Matt Kindt, Alberto Ponticelli, Wayne Faucher; DC)
Kindt and Ponticelli close out the series with a self-contained issue that reiterates the basic idea of the comic while leaving room for more stories that probably won't happen. Awesome that DC gave this character a chance and awesome that it lasted 16 issues — longer than some cancelled series in recent years that I liked more. Being a book published in the New 52, it's tempting to imagine how much better this could have been without the editorial baggage that it came with, but for that I always have the original Grant Morrison Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein to enjoy. Have you read that lately? It's bonkers. span>
– Danny Djeljosevic
Dark Avengers #185
(Jeff Parker, Neil Edwards, Terry Pallot, Chris Sotomayor; Marvel)
Hate to write things like this because I love me some Jeff Parker, but I'm starting to think Marvel forgot to cancel this book. This is not to discourage potential readers, because it's an enjoyable series and Marvel seems interested in keeping it around for at least the rest of the year, so I'm going to ride this train all the way to its final stop. But the fact that it stepped aside for a Thunderbolts relaunch and is tucked away in an obscure part of the Marvel Previews catalog creates nothing but questions and worries. But, it's totally worth your time if you're into superhero stuff that isn't as limited by potential movie deals.
For one thing, I love how Parker basically doubled down on that title. We have the actual Dark Avengers characters — supervillains who dress like the classic Avengers — but they're also trapped in an alternate universe where New York is divided up into territories by evil versions of the Marvel superheroes. That's twice the dark avenging for a mere $2.99!
Dark Avengers #185 also introduces a rehabilitated U.S.Agent, which I don't think anybody was clamoring for — I was happy with what little of John Walker was left — but I'm kind of pleased to see that the Dark Avengers now have a Dark Captain America. The more I think about this book, the more I like it.
– Danny Djeljosevic
AND THE REST
(Ed Brisson, Michael Walsh, Jordie Bellaire; Image/Shadowline)
(I normally don't add words to this section, but I gotta say, Jordie Bellaire is killing it in the colors game.)
When Dylan Tano isn't floating amongst the clouds in his beautiful balloon you can find him up to his ears in work at Comics Bulletin. As a fellow writer once said if he gets paid in the morning then he's drunk in the afternoon. He dwells in the realms of video games and comic books, writing about both till he is either drunk or delirious. He has yet to confuse the two but his editors are working on it. If he had it his way, all robots would have pain receptors.
You can follow him on Twitter @brospider. You can join him on PSN at Blues_Doc and steam at Frostbite21251.
You can read some of his musings at dylantano.blogspot.com
He keeps a list of short stories at tanoworks.tumblr.com
Daniel Elkin wishes there were more opportunities in his day to day to wear brown corduroy and hang out in lobbies. He has been known to talk animatedly about extended metaphors featuring pigs' heads on sticks over on that Twitter (@DanielElkin). He is Your Chicken Enemy.
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.