Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly single issue review roundup. This week, we look at a quartet of books with war at the forefront. Also, there’s one that’s somewhat related to this little indie movie coming out this weekend.
Detective Comics #1002
(w) Peter J. Tomasi (a) Bradley Walker (i) Andrew Hennessy (c) Nathan Fairbairn
If the previous issues had the same energy Detective Comics #1002 has I would’ve been more excited from the start. With Arkham Knight finally confronting Batman we get a glimpse of his motivations through some selective dialogue directed towards his enemy. An interruption of bullets via the Gotham P.D. stops the Arkham Knight, whose Knights return fire, with Arkham Knight going on the defensive for the cops. At a glance this doesn’t seem that big of a deal, but it showcases that Arkham Knight at heart may not be such a “bad” guy and seems to care about Gotham.
Compared to the last few issues, #1002 fleshes out Arkham Knight while moving the plot forward, thanks in in large part to Robin’s role. Having wrote Damian Wayne for years, Peter J. Tomasi excels with this character. Meanwhile, he continues to write one of the better depictions of Alfred in the past few years. His writing shines through when characters interact with each other, showing the many years between said character, with one of the funniest moments coming from Gordon and Batman. Instead of feeling like characters are just moving from point to next #1002 feels like more detective work was put into the plot, coming in the way of Robin investigating bomb fragments only to be captured.
The writing may have improved, but the art gains little. Characters’ faces still looking obscure and misshapen, and the action pieces (the few there are) lack fluidness and are ultimately uninspired. One of the cooler moments is between Batman, Arkham Knight, his goons, and the Gotham cops in a three-page standoff. This could have been a great moment, but it falls flat due to the art. Bradley Walker has improved on backgrounds and some foreground objects, but whenever a character moment happens, any the emotional weight is lost.
Detective Comics #1002 is a much better issue than previous ones, with a whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Plus, there’s a killer cliffhanger ending. I look forward to finding out who Arkham Knight really is (and seeing if I figured it out).
- Jason Jeffords Jr.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #93
(w) Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow (a) Dave Wachter (c) Ronda Pattison
The opening shots have been fired as New York City finds itself in the throes of war. In many respects, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #93 is a return to form for the series. Though it has experimented over the past couple years in exploring the cosmic side of the TMNT universe, the characters have always worked best when the stakes are grounded. Much like the original “City at War” storyline, this centers around a war between factions of Foot Clan with the Turtles and their allies stuck in the middle.
Dave Wachter’s art is a perfect blend of the cartoonish aesthetic associated with more well known TMNT properties and the gritty, indie comics of the 1980s. As a result, the script by Tom Waltz (with story credits by Kevin Eastman and Bobby Curnow) is able to seamlessly jump from humorous to serious at the drop of a hat. Waltz as a lot to do with this issue, in large part due to the large cast of characters he must juggle. As a result, the pacing is uneven in places. It is only in the book’s final pages that main conflict appears to begin in earnest. However, it is in those final pages that the tension ramps up to eleven. Any thoughts that this version of “City at War” would pull its punches are cast aside.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #93 might not be the best place for new readers to jump in, but it is great for lapsed readers looking to return. Waltz and company have put the pieces in place for this to be an epic story – all that needs to be done is to execute over the next seven issues. If the writing can step up to the level of Wachter and Pattison’s art, this “City at War” has a good chance of surpassing the original.
- Daniel Gehen
Thanos #1 (of 6)
(w) Tini Howard (a) Ariel Olivetti (c) Antonio Fabela
With the release of Avengers: Endgame in theaters this week, it makes sense that Marvel would pump out a title meant to entice casual readers. The result is Thanos #1 from Tini Howard and Ariel Olivetti, a book which aims to examine the relationship between the mad Titan and his adoptive daughter, Gamora. While possessing a great visual flair from Olivetti and colorist Antonio Fabela, the story itself offers readers little to anything new.
Just from appearances, Thanos would fit comfortably alongside the classic Infinity Saga books of the 1990s thanks to Fabela’s colors. His use of a flat technique gives this book an old-school look, while Olivetti’s inks makes it look simultaneously modern. Given the prequel nature of the story, the retro aesthetic makes sense, calling back to greats such as George Perez.
Unfortunately, the story just isn’t that interesting. Tini Howard tries to marry Thanos’ motivations from Avengers: Infinity War with his classic comicbook version. While she is technically successful, the execution is underwhelming. This clearly was a publisher’s mandate, with Howard being the hired gun to execute their vision. This may satisfy hardcore Thanos fans, but the rest of us can skip the remaining issues.
- Daniel Gehen
The Wild Storm #22
(w) Warren Ellis (a) Jon Davis-Hunt (c) Steve Buccellato
Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt’s The Wild Storm has finally reached its endgame (yay for topical puns). For 20 issues, their reimagining of the Wildstorm Universe has been a high concept rollercoaster of setup and intrigue. Now, the story has pivoted to an explosive finale which should carry through the final four issues.
Most of The Wild Storm has been dependent on Warren Ellis’ tight scripts primarily focused on character interactions and story development. That all pays off here with an issue that relies primarily on the visuals of Jon Davis-Hunt and Steve Buccellato. Though not a silent issue, the dialogue and narrative boxes come secondary to the art. Buccellato has been careful to keep most of The Wild Storm in a neutral palette, which makes the heavy use of vibrant colors in this issue pop off the page.
The Wild Storm has continued to build on itself from the first issue, and Issue #22 is the best of this series thus far. An intricately plotted narrative from Warren Ellis has enable the art team to flex their muscles here, resulting the series’ best looking issue to date.
- Daniel Gehen