Hey there fellow Nerds! It's that time of week again for me to give my reactions on my pull from last week! This "review" doesn't include my thoughts on Dark Days: The Forge, because I did a whole post about that yesterday that you should give a read! Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below, or send me a tweet @readacomicbook
My top 3 (not including Dark Days: The Forge)
This week’s Flash gave me the chills. Thawne, when written correctly, is one of the most terrifying villains in the DC Universe, and Joshua Williamson nails it.
The issue has Barry and Hal Jordan facing off against Multiplex as one part of the issue. The fight against Multiplex doesn’t have much to do with anything aside from Barry and Hal getting to fight while Barry sorts through his guilt of hiding that he is the Flash. At this point in the arc, Barry has already told Wally the truth, and that didn’t go… great. With that as his reference point, it’s easy to see why Barry is tentative to tell Iris, even if he is still using the weak “keep her safe” reason. While Barry is fighting with Multiplex (and himself), Wally and Iris are at home… with Thawne.
Let’s back up just a bit. Thawne died as part of The Button event. He saw the “God” (Doctor Manhattan) that has been messing with the time stream that Rebirth was built on, and then he died in the Bat Cave in front of Flash and Bats. How is he here? Well Williamson hasn’t really addressed it, but this is Reverse Flash. We are unclear as to if this is pre or post button Thawne because he is always traveling in time (like to kill Nora Allen), so there are multiple versions of him throughout time. It is likely that this is Thawne just before he sees Flash and Bats riding the cosmic treadmill through the speed force, even if that is a recent memory for them. This makes the most sense to me, because Thawne talks about his extensive knowledge of Flash, but speaks of how things have changed. He knows that Iris will one day marry Barry, but he is confused and excited by Wally. This is the first time he has seen this version of Wally (in New 52 Wally faced A Reverse Flash, but it was Wally’s father, Daniel West) and it is just more proof to him that someone is messing with history. I’m sure as this arc plays out, it will become clearer as to when this Reverse Flash is from. For now, Thawne is here looking for answers. He tells Iris that they have been hurt by the same man and that because of that, she should help him fill in the blanks.
I personally go back and forth on this new Wally West. I grew up watching the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons, so I gained a huge love for the original Wally West, and then I read Geoff Johns run of Flash (post Crisis) and it solidified that Wally was my favorite Flash. This Wally has been a little whiney and underwhelming in my opinion. The CW show has helped change my opinion on the character a bit, but this issue helped sell me on this new Wally. Seeing him stand up to Thawne without hesitation is awesome! Wally tends to think he can do more than he can and it often leaves a mess for Barry to clean up, but his blind courage worked so well in this. It showed that Wally character, while also setting up Thawne to be as brutal as we love him to be. Thawne throws Wally around for a while (just having fun really) because… well he’s Thawne, and Wally is way out of his league. Thawne eventual snaps Wally’s leg and then proceeds to tell Wally, that, because of he heals quickly, his leg won’t set rights… and then he breaks the leg again!!! Seriously terrifying.
Barry looks for the Original Multiplex, while Hal fights off the rest. I love when we get to see the world stop around Barry. Seeing life through his eyes for a brief second, we see the inner struggle that he is having, what sign is he looking for to differentiate between the original Multiplex and the copies, and how lonely life at that speed can be. After the win, Hal and Barry are sitting at a bar (or at a construct of one that Hal made) above where the cops are cleaning up the crime scene. They have a pretty meaningful conversation about Barry’s relationship where Barry finally says that he hasn’t told Iris because he’s afraid she will leave him. Of course saying that to Hal Jordan of the GREEN LANTERN CORP, you’re only going to get one answer; don’t give into fear. Barry races to see Iris and finds a bloody, beaten Wally on the ground, and no Iris anywhere in sight. On the wall (I assume in Wally’s blood) is the message “You know where I live” and Barry knows he has to travel in time to fight his deadliest villain, Reverse Flash. Barry is angry and I love it!
Thawne takes Iris back to his timeline and feels the need to remind her who he is. He takes a rando from the street and vibrates his hand straight through him. If that wasn’t enough, the issue ends with Thawne holding Iris, about to vibrate his hand through her face. WHAT THE SHIT?! Thawne scares the shit out of me and I can’t wait to see more!
The artwork for this issue is amazing as always. Seeing Barry fight with the speed force energy pouring out of him and Thawne destroying Wally without breaking a sweat keep the excitement going, while panels like Barry standing still while the rest of the world moves at the fraction of a second is hauntingly beautiful. Again, the final panel… gave me chills. I can’t wait to see this arc develop, and I hope we get more Flash and GL team ups because they are great together! As long as the GL is Hal Jordan, and not Jessica Cruz (pretty over that relationship).
Let me just start by saying Ed Brisson is one of my favorite authors right now. Bullseye was probably my favorite of the Running with the Devil event, and Iron Fist is my favorite current running title. I was bummed out when it was announced that Jeff Lemire would no longer be writing Old Man Logan, because the line has been incredible up to this point, but I was excited to see what Brisson would do with Logan, and he didn’t disappoint at all!
At the end of the Lemire run we see the Hulks that ruled the Wastlands and who would ultimately kill Logan’s family (thank god we didn’t have to see that again). The Hulk’s have made it to this time, and are out for revenge against the man who killed their father. The book opens on an old man and children looking out into the Canadian wilderness. The old man tells them that they can’t stay there forever because some people are hunting them. The scene in the diner is intense to say the least. Logan obviously knows something is up, but we aren’t quite clued into who’s not supposed to be in the diner until this…
The Hulks reveal themselves and a fight breaks out; and what an awesome fight it is! The Old Man Logan title has always shown a lot of violence and when the third panel into the fight, Logan is shoving his claws into a Hulk's eyes, it’s obvious that artist Mike Deodato plans to keep giving us that magnificent violence! I mean, can you look at this page alone and not want to read the whole thing?!
Logan ends up killing all but one Hulk, who then runs back to the old man. Once the old man finds out that some of his children will not be coming back because they wanted to try and get revenge instead of the trucks they needed to get away, he reveals his true self… Maestro! I am so happy that Maestro is here! Maestro is the Hulk in every way, aside from having the mind of Bruce Banner instead of being a big ol’ rage monster, which makes him more dangerous. Maestro and the remaining Hulks must flee, but how far can they get when they have one of the best trackers after them. This story started out with a bang and, if Brission’s other titles are any indication, it will keep escalating and escalating and I can’t wait to see the explosion of forces that will be Logan vs. Maestro!
With the Netflix show coming soon, this title had a lot of expectations. Daredevil(the show) strated something we weren’t use to with the network comic book shows, and we all loved it (I mean come on, the fight scene in the hallway in season 1?!). Netflix followed it up with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist and the expectations for The Defenders (at least to those of us nerds that knew the Defenders was a thing) sky rocketed; at least for me they did. Add in that Marvel Comic workhorse Brian Michael Bendis is writing it, and I am expecting a lot. Bendis (not surprisingly) gives us exactly what we were hoping for.
The story started back on Free Comic Book Day when All-New Guardians of the Galaxy (by Gerry Duggan. Read it. It’s a lot of fun so far) shared an issue with Defenders. In the short 11 pages of that issue, Bendis sets up that Diamondback (you’ll remember this character from Luke Cage on Netflix) is back and he isn’t playing around. He is in Jessica’s office telling her about a couple nights before when Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Jessica’s husband Luke Cage destroyed his club just before the opening. That night led to the Hero’s for Hire building exploding, someone shooting a rocket at Luke (like Cottonmouth did in the show), Danny dodging a flaming car that was thrown into Rand Industries, and Matt walking down the steps of the courthouse to a car exploding. This attack is capped off with a panel of Diamondback’s phone with the words “Delivered: Have Fun” on it and then him shooting Jessica right in the stomach and leaving her for dead. THAT WAS THE FREE COMIC!
Defenders #1 opens where the last one left off. Diamondback is working to solidify his hold on his new territory by roughing up a local dealer in his club and dropping his calling card, two diamonds (super expensive to be a serial killer if you keep dropping diamonds.) After the dust settles from the attacks in the FCBD issue, Luke rushes to the hospital where Jessica is unconscious. Daredevil (no one know who he actually is anymore thanks to the Purple children) and Danny show up to the hospital and share stories of the attacks that took place earlier. They are all trying to figure out who is trying to destroy them when Jessica wakes up and lets them know that Diamondback is not only alive again, but making moves. Jessica is awesome in this title. I love the Jessica Jones title going on right now as well, but something about this Jessica makes me love her even more. With Diamondback back, we knew we would have to see Black Cat at some point. Cat and Diamondback have a “conversation” where he tells Cat that it’s time to work for him. While this is happening, the Defenders are looking for leads and I get another reason to love Jessica even more. While DD, Iron Fist, and Cage are roughing everyone one up, Jessica is just asking around… like a P.I. would. Jessica meets back up with DD and Iron Fist in a pool hall where Iron Fist is relaxing, and DD continues to beat on guys. Back with Diamondback, it’s clear that Cat is simply stalling. When Cage finally burst through the wall, my brain went “OH SHIT YEAH!” out of excitement, but to see Cage get beat down hard by Diamondback was not where I thought it would go!
Like I said, I had a lot of expectations out of this title, and I loved it. It’s great to have a funny Danny (hopefully that means he will have a joke or two in the Defenders show) and to see Jessica being bad ass as always. This team excites me and I can’t wait to see where Bendis takes it. It’s not just the writing either! In most comics, when introducing the characters, it’s usually a script with their name, their power set, and something witty. I loved David Marquez’s artwork throughout the book, but my favorite was the panels where he introduced each Defender! Love this. Can’t wait for #2
Now, for the rest of the of my Marvel pull!
Captain America: Sam Wilson #23 by Nick Spencer / Artist: Joe Bennett
I love this title. Paul told me over and over how much he loved the Sam Wilson arc of Cap and when I finally read it, I was mad at myself for not starting it earlier. I think this is one of the lower rated comics because some people see a black cap and do exactly what the characters in the book do, which is say “That’s not my Cap”. In truth, I enjoy this line better than the Steve Rogers line. Sam battles with what is right and wrong a lot and he is continuing to fight for what right.
There is a honesty to this series and this issue. Sam is all of us… but with cooler toys… and Redwing. Once Steve made his intentions known, and marched Hydra straight into ruling the country, Sam stepped away from the hero life completely. Seeing him be help people get out of Hydra nation makes me feel guilty for not doing enough for the people who are scared of our real life Orange Skull. Even though he wants nothing to do with the hero community, he knows that getting Tony and his team out of the country could be for the greater good! There is also a lot of fun in this issue. Mole Man?! Mole Man is a fan of Fargo?! We also see how powerful Steve Dreadnoughts truly are. This issue leads into Secret Empire #4 as we see Ultron Pym! I love this title, and so should you!
Deadpool #32 by Gerry Duggan / Artist: Matteo Lolli
There isn’t much I can say about the brilliance of Gerry Duggan that hasn’t already been said. Deadpool is so much fun. Duggan is great at giving us the jokes we expect from Deadpool while still showing us a more human side. His remorse for killing Agent Colson (we are all still sad about that) juxtaposed with his constant poking fun at the “Hail Hydra” (Kale Hydra) makes for an incredible issue. Deadpool popped up in a few titles this week, and they all give different shades of him, but if you want to know Wade, you go to Gerry Duggan. Such a great issue, and I’m interested to see how Wade’s morality (or lack thereof) is going to affect Secret Empire!
Secret Warriors #3 by Matthew Rosenberg / Artist: Javier Garron
Of the side stories that spawned from Secret Empire, this is by far my favorite. I will be honest, my real life kindergarten crush on Chloe Bennet (who plays Daisy in Agents of Sheild) may make me like Quake as a character even more. That being said, the whole crew in this is a lot of fun! There are also a lot of real moments in this issue. Daisy and Karnak understand that there is still a war going on outside and make the hard choice to get the information from their captive by any means necessary. Ms. Marvel is having a morality battle, as she doesn’t see how torture for the greater good is in any way different from what Steve Rogers and Hydra are doing. Even with all of that, I had some laugh out loud moments during this issue. Inferno speaks my inner thoughts when it comes to the X-Men!
Secret Empire: United #1 by Jim Zub / Artist: Ario Anindito
I go back and forth on a few aspects of this title. Mainly, there is just one thing I didn’t like, but we’ll get to that. United opens with an attack on the border of Hydra’s United States and the Mutants new home of New Tian (which is essentially just a reservation for mutants). This land of New Tian has been a frustration for some of Steve’s council as they fear letting the mutants live outside of Hydra rule shows weakness. The attack, by the mutants, fails and Sunfire is taken captive. While Steve is content with enlisting more security at the border and making Sunfire’s trial a public one (to show the world what happens when you go against Hydra), Arnim Zola and Doctor Faustus want another, more permanent solution to the mutants. This story has a lot of twist and turns in it. Finding out who is actually controlling Xorn, leader of New Tian, and how the attack came to be, make this for a very interesting issue. We also get more of Superior Octopus, which I have been waiting for since the Clone Conspiracy Omega! The one issue I have with this title is the way Deadpool was written. It took me completely out of those pages. Deadpool is one of the characters that leave writers with a lot of room to play around in, which can make him difficult to write for. This Deadpool seemed… lazy. His dialogue felt like “let throw some jokes here because we have Deadpool” and the jokes were not good; which usually works for Wade, but this just felt like a swordsman in the Deadpool outfit who knows who the character is, but has never read any titles. Aside from that one gripe, I really liked this title and I’m interested to see what plays out now that Steve knows that there are some snakes around him pulling strings. And what does Emma Frost have planned?
Secret Empire #4 by Nick Spencer / Artists: Leinil Francis Yu, Rachelle Rosenberg, Rod Reis, Joshua Cassara
I will admit, I jumped off the Steve Roger Cap title pretty early. At first, it was because I couldn’t wrap my head around Cap being Hydra. Then after I got use to that, it was just because the story was too slow for me. I went back to the series just after Secret Empire started when it became apparent that I was getting pulled into Secret Empire whether I wanted to or not. Being able to binge 7 issues of Cap, and then 2 issues of Secret Empire made the story a lot more enjoyable to me and sucked me in. I don’t mind the whole Hydra Cap (or my favorite: Stevil. Thanks Rocket) at all. I think Nick Spencer is an incredible writer and to take an icon like Cap and flip the story we all know on its head is a very ballsy move that is paying off well.
This issue is a, for the most part, dinner scene issue. Ultron/Hank Pym have captured both Cap’s team (Cap, Vision, Scarlett Witch, Odinson, Task Master and Black Ant) and Tony’s (Iron Man, Mockingbird, Sam Wilson, Hercules, Quick Silver, and Ant-Man) and are forcing them to sit an break bread together. While this is happening, Wasp (Nadia Pym), Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Viv, Ironheart (Riri Williams), and Falcon (Joaquin Torres) are learning the same lesson from Black Widow that Ms. Marvel learned from Quake and Karnak in Secret Warriors. This is war, and you do what you have to do. This issue show just how messed up and fractured the hero community is. It is like when you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, and someone say Trump’s name (or anything political really). It’s honest and tense. The issue also brings back some of Hank Pym’s dark past with Janet (when he hit her all those years ago). It shows a humanity to Hank Pym/Ultron that we don’t normally get from either side, but this is only the surface and there is much more digging to do. Hercules and Quicksilver’s back and forth is a lot of fun, and add in Odinson during the fight and it’s even more fun. Tony’s team leaves with what they came for (a cosmic cube fragment) but when Cap gets back, he is gifted one of his own by Namor. The only thing I am not a fan of, is the “dime store romance novel” art work done for the good Steve Rogers. It’s too CW (look at how dreamy he is with a torn shirt and soft colors) for me. I’m sure it will make more sense later, but for now, I am not a fan of that artwork at all.
All-New Wolverine #21 by Tom Taylor / Artists: Jesus Aburtov & Leonard Kirk
This was one of my favorites of this week. The final issue of the arc and boy was it awesome! Laura is a bad ass. I want a whole series of Deadpool and Gabby!
Hulk #7 by Mariko Tamaki / Artist: Georges Duarte
I’ll be honest. I was about to drop this title from my pull list. 6 issues of Jessica Hulking out on the cover and we barely got it in #6. The story was too slow for me and I just didn’t care about any of the characters. #7 is starting to change it. Jessica has leaned into being Hulk and I’m very excited to see what comes next!
Kingpin #5 by Matthew Rosenberg / Artist: Ben Torres
I have to say, the ending of this arc really disappointed me. This issue was pretty slow. Showed us the a story line (the boxer who is told to dive, doesn’t dive, is killed) that we’ve seen in Daredevils origin. The ending just… ends. No real resolution or anything. It just ends. I was pretty let down by this one.
Thanos #8 by Jeff Lemire / Artist: German Peralta
HOLY YES! I love what Jeff Lemire is doing with Thanos. A mortal Thanos is enough of a pitch to sell any reader, but this is so much more than that. The artwork is some of the best out of the big 2 right now, and it a new story you wouldn’t expect from Thanos. Thane, equipped with the Phoenix Force and Lady Death, is somehow more terrifying than Thanos at full strength. Also, just when you think Lemire shows gives you something you think can’t be topped, Thanos and Starfox jump into a black hole. WHAT?! YES! More please!
And now lets look at the rest of my DC Pull!
Action Comics #981 by Jerry Siegel / Artist: Jackson Herbert
ZOD! Action has been great so far, but I am so excited to finally see Zod! This issue was incredible. Seeing Sups deal with all the visions inside of the Black Vault is enough to rip your heart out. This arc is building to be the best of the Action line so far (and bonus, Jon didn’t need to be kidnapped!) I can’t wait to see how this unfolds.
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #11 by Julie Benson & Shawna Benson / Artist: Roge Antonio
I love Barbra Gordon. There I said it. Birds of Prey is so good. This issue takes a deeper look into the new Oracle and I really appreciated the way Julie and Shawna Benson dive in. To start off with hanging him off the side of the building, to then comforting him when it comes out that he struggles with bi-polar, Its powerful and honest. As someone who deals with his own mental instabilities, I relate a lot when Oracle downplays his bi-polar disorder by bringing up that Babs use to be in a wheel chair. You feel like because no one can see your pain, that it only exists in your own mind, and feeling selfish because of it. It’s a hard feeling to battle. The part where he said, “Mom just thought I was really really happy or really really sad” is another thing that is also resonates with me (and anyone dealing with these mental issues) because it’s true. Mental illness is still a mystery to anyone who hasn’t had to deal with it directly, and I love when a book brings this stuff to light (see also Green Lanterns as Jessica battles her severe Anxiety, or Green Arrow when Roy Harper is still struggling with addiction despite being clean for years.)
Detective Comics #958 by James Tynion IV / Artist: Alvaro Martinez
The theatre nerd in me absolutely loved this issue. The blood by the gutter spelling out Ex Machina caught my attention quickly. The beats of this issue play out like a play in my head. I loved the Azreal story line and really excited to see more on him (admittedly I don’t know much about the character) and the whole side story (that gets tied into Azreal quickly) is great! More undercover Bruce! My favorite part of the whole issue though was Clayface and Orphan performing Shakespeare’s The Tempest! As a theatre student, you have all of Shakespeare’s work pounded in your head, so where you hear or see a line, you know exactly what you’re getting into. Orphan seems to communicate through art (LOVE THAT!). She fights like a ballerina, and even though she speaks maybe one or two words at a time, give her a work of the Bard, and she opens up! So good. If the final panel doesn’t get you excited, I’m not sure what’s wrong with you… because Zatana!
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corp #22 by Robert Venditti / Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
The Corps are finally starting to work together! This was a simple set up for a much bigger story. Pirates rob a bank (a bank the size of a planet, but still a bank) and the Lanterns must stop them. Seeing the comradery between the two corps (especially with Guy and Arkillo) has been really interesting to see grow, but now that comradery will be tested, because a Green Lantern has killed a Yellow Lantern. All hell is about to break loose!
Red Hood and the Outlaws #11 by Scott Lobdell / Artist: Dexter Soy
Is it weird to have a crush on so many women who are drawn and not… you know… real? Oh well, don’t care, I have a thing for Artemis. Deal with it. Artemis finally gets the Bow of Ra! I really enjoyed this issue, but I am more relieved for the end of this arc. As much as I love this title, this arc felt very slow and repetitive and I lost some interest. The arc ends with Bizarro down for the count. I really hope he’s not done for good, because Bizarro brings something to the team that Artemis and Jason don’t and it helps off set their intensity (and give us some softer sides of Jason). I’m excited to see what happens next!
Titans #12 by Dan Abnett / Artist: Kenneth Rocafort
I was hoping for more. The Lazarus contract dropped a lot of bombs on its way out, one of which being that Wally has a pacemaker now. This felt too… Degrassi for me. I loved the artwork and I have soft spot in my heart for when two telepaths go head to head, but the memories Omen was giving up were too teen drama for me. Garth and Omen, Wally and Donna (now that Linda is gone), Roy and Donna, and then Mal trying to get his wife to remember him. It was a lot. Still, some seeds were planted. Omen has her name for a reason… what is it? And who will betray the Titans?! Very excited for this!
Well that was my list! It was a great week for comics, and this week is shaping up to be awesome! Can't wait for Jokes and Riddles! Make sure to check out tomorrow's podcast where the boys and I discuss mantles!