Home > Comic Catch-Up, Comics, Reviews > Comic Catch-Up: New Releases, 25.11.09

Comic Catch-Up: New Releases, 25.11.09

BurnAllZombies’ Comic Catch-Up fittingly returns from the grave with some nostalgic heroics, a comatose man who is no longer ‘iron’ and one of Marvel’s lesser-known heroes taking down an airship with his hand. It’s the first look at some of DC Comics’ titles, including Detective Comics #859 and Superman: Secret Origin #3 while Marvel’s entries this week are Amazing Spider-Man #613, Fantastic Four #573, Invincible Iron Man #20, New Avengers #59, Secret Warriors #10 and Uncanny X-Men #517, though we’re not forgetting about Ultimate Comics Avengers #4.

DC Comics

Detective Comics #859

Since issue #854 Detective Comics has been consistently one of the best all-round books on stands, with great art matching the writing, and with Detective Comics #859, written by Greg Rucka; art by J.H WIlliams III, that trend isn’t changing anytime soon. The main portion of the book focuses on a flashback following Kate’s expulsion from the army, her relationship with Renee Montoya and the inevitable moment that she decides to take up the Bat-mantle. In the hands of a lesser writer, Kate’s army ‘outing’ would have ended up preachy and melodramatic, but Rucka handles it with a tact that makes it both heartbreaking and perfectly in character. Williams continues to make every page worthwhile: from the Mazzuchelli-esque flashback to the grimy ‘current time’ pages, each image stands out and you’d be hard pressed to find a prettier comic currently being published. The back-up story, following The Question, may not be as visibly stimulating but is picking up pace as she teams up with Huntress to try and take down a network of slave traders. and while not a reason to buy the book on its own, it’s a welcome bonus.

Best Moment #1: Kate standing up to her superior over allegations of homosexual behavior.

Best Moment #2: Enter Batman

Superman: Secret Origin #3
A re-imagining of Superman’s origin, it’s fair to say that Superman: Secret Origin #3, written by Geoff Johns; art by Garry Frank, is at its best when it doesn’t get tied down in continuity. After last month’s introduction of The Legion of Super-Heroes, this issue brings the book back to its simpler roots with Clark’s first day at the Daily Planet, meeting bumbling teen Jimmy Olsen, kind-hearted but firm Perry White and spunky Lois Lane. Johns writing makes the issue feel like an alternative cut of the Richard Donner films, helped greatly by Garry Frank’s drawing of Clark as Christopher Reeve creating a real sense of character, and a perfect sense of awe-inspiring nostalgia, especially in the moment that Superman is revealed to Metropolis. The issue is sparse on internal monologue from Clark, but hopefully future issues will give more insight into the thoughts of the Man Of Steel, and even if it doesn’t, there is still the eventual Superman vs Lex Luthor fight to look forward to.

Best Moment #1: Clark Kent, meet Lois Lane

Best Moment #2: Clark saves Lois from a bad fall.

Marvel Comics

Amazing Spider-Man #613
Kicking The Gauntlet into gear, Amazing Spider-Man #613, written by Mark Waid; art by Paul Azaceta, starts the over-arching storyline in which multiple classic Spider-Man villains make their return to the book, most of them having been strangely absent since the events of One More Day. First up is Electro having traded in his goofy mask for a bare-faced look of anger and frustration. Taking his cues from the current economic climate, Waid rejuvenates Electro, re-powered thanks to The Mad Thinker, and using his wiles to capitalise on mob mentality, first bribing and then attempting to kill Dexter Bennet. Electro is once again an A-level threat, thanks in no small part to Azaceta’s bright art and rough edges, a sharp contrast to the softer, more rounded art usually found in the series. If the rest of The Gauntlet can keep up this level of quality over the next few months, it’ll easily go down as one of the best Spider-Man arcs.

Best Moment #1: Electro confronts Dexter Bennet, having some alone time.

Best Moment #2: Mob rules

Fantastic Four #573
After a great introductory arc, Fantastic Four #573, written by Jonathan Hickman; art by Neil Edwards, takes a break from all things serious, leaving Reed Richards alone while Franklyn and Valeria Richards hitch a ride with Ben and Johnny on a trip to Nu-World for a much-needed break. Being the Fantastic Four, nothing goes according to plan and Nu-World isn’t the same place it was when last seen in Fantastic Four #562. Dystopian futures and kids saving the adults is nothing new but Hickman manages to make the perfect balance between humour and seriousness throughout the issue, while Neil Edwards strikes a nice balance between predecessors Bryan Hitch and Dale Eaglesham while remaining unique. After their initial appearance in Fantastic Four, I made the mistake of ignoring Fantastic Force, but with the ideas displayed by Hickman, it’s clear that there are some interesting stories to be told with the characters and they’re well worth catching up with.

Best Moment #1: You should always bring a packed lunch on an outing to another world.

Best Moment #2: Hulk pops some heads

Invincible Iron Man #20

After the year-long World’s Most Wanted Arc, Invincible Iron Man #20, written by Matt Fraction; art by Salvador Larroca, has a difficult task ahead of the series: to rationalise the continuing existence of Tony Stark. Left comatose after a self-imposed lobotomy to stop Norman Osborn, Stark will still be considered the ‘bad guy’ by many due to his actions in Civil War, but Tony is given a chance to explain his actions with a video message to his remaining friends, along with a challenge to other heroes and readers alike: to save him, but only if they think he deserves it. By following this line of reasoning, Matt Fraction continues to re-humanise Tony Stark, refusing to wipe the slate clean but rather adding depth and humanity to an already complex character. Larroca’s art still looks somewhat uneven when people are not in armour: faces rarely look similar panel to panel and Frank D’Armata’s colouring doesn’t help. Thankfully, Fraction’s script shines through and the arc looks as if it will not just drown in dialogue, with some action provided by Madame Masque planning to take advantage of Tony’s current state for her own goals. Uneven art aside, Invincible Iron Man remains one of Marvel’s best books.

Best Moment #1: Tony Stark has some deja-vu

Best Moment #2: Tony’s monologue

New Avengers #59
While the standard has never really dropped, New Avengers seemed to be going through a slump of late, but thankfully New Avengers #59, written by Brian Bendis; art by Stuart Immonen, manages to strike the perfect balance between character interaction and action that Bendis can be relied on for. With some surprise guests providing help, The New Avengers concoct a plan to rescue Luke Cage from Norman Osborn’s grasp. Last-minute surprises, great character moments and some stand out scenes remind us that there’s a very good reason why Bendis has been writing the avengers consistently for over five years now. Immonen’s art continues the high standard he has set since joining the book with some truly great scenes including Iron Fist single-handedly taking down a heli-carrier. Here’s hoping the book continues this high standard even after the Dark Reign.

Best Moment #1: Iron Fist meets Heli-Carrier

Best Moment #2: You want to get to Luke Cage, you’re gonna have to go through this lot.

Secret Warriors #10
Secret Warriors #10, written by Jonathan Hickman; art by Alessandro Vitti, may seem more like an Ares comic than a Secret Warriors book but does a great job of filling in the blanks between Mike Oeming’s Ares mini-series and the character’s appearances throughout the Avengers titles. The father-son relationship between Ares and Phobos develops more and sheds some light on Ares’ conscience and the effect that his working with the Dark Avengers has had on his son. Where this development of Phobos leads, and whether he makes it to fully fledged demigod is yet to be seen, but whatever happens, it’s safe to say that at least one Secret Warrior will be around long after the title has run its course.


Best Moment #1: Alexander, the Godkiller

Best Moment #2: Alexander, the God Of Fear

Uncanny X-Men #517
For every good issue or arc of Uncanny X-Men under Matt Fraction’s reign, a mediocre one has followed. Since Utopia, that trend seems to have been broken and with Uncanny X-Men #517, written by Matt Fraction; art by Greg Land, Fraction finally lets loose with some of the plot points he’s been building up to. A horde of Predator X have been let loose on the island and Fraction breaks down his large supporting cast into small groups allowing each to have a moment against the monstrous onslaught. Rogue and Magneto in particular have some impressive ass-kicking to do and all of the quips that Fraction has built into character’s introductions, which had been getting tiresome, are all worth it for a scene in which Rogue absorbs multiple powers to take on a Predator X on her own. There’s a small, but very important, scene featuring the Stepford-Cuckoos that one can only assume is leading to the rebirth of a certain red-headed founding X-Man, echoing a similar scene in the recent Kingbreaker mini-series. Greg Lands ‘art’ remains dubious here, and while there is not an over-reliance on excessive amounts of female body parts, or his trademark static poses, the action scenes which make up most of the issue would be a lot more awe-inspiring and fluid under a better artist.


Best Moment #1: Rogue prepares to fight

Best Moment #2: The flight of the Phoenix

Best Moment #3: Skinning a Predator

Ultimate Comics Avengers #4
Ultimate Comics Avengers #4, written by Mark Millar; art by Carlos Pacheco, continues Millar’s way of providing scenes we’ve already seen, only ‘different.’ The new Ultimates team ( not to be confused with Loeb’s upcoming New Ultimates) have their first outing, trying to take down Captain America on location in Paris. There are some well-orchestrated action scenes and some topical quips but don’t be expecting anything groundbreaking: most of the issue is adrenaline-fuelled action, with Millar trying to one-up his own work from the first two Ultimate volumes. There are hints at double-crossings and more Millarisms to come, with the Red Skull’s attempts to construct a cosmic cube and shape the world as he sees fit, but the fresh feeling that the first two Ultimate volumes had is starting to wear thin, and this book hasn’t quite found a voice of its own just yet.

Best Moment #1: Captain America vs War Machine

Best Moment #2: Captain America vs Nerd Hulk

  1. November 29, 2009 at 3:01 AM

    That high-pitched noise accompanying Uncanny X-Men’s “Best Moment #2” was me having a nerdgasm, please apologise to any and all dogs in the vicinity.

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