Comic Recommendations – January 20, 2016

More comics to cover and less text to wade through — I think the new posting format is working out pretty all right. Most of all, I feel energized to talk about comics. Short and sweet is not exactly what you expect from a blog that is not just long-winded, but the longest wind. Just consider this the party and the comment section can be the after party. Let’s get long-winded TOGETHER.

THIS WEEK’S COMICS

Batman #48 (DC Comics)

 BM_Cv48

The guy on the bench. He was totally who I think he is, right? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!?!?!

…and that last panel. Ooh. Gave me the chills. Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “I am the one who knocks,” #AMIRIGHT?

Batman & Robin Eternal #16 (DC Comics)

Batman and Robin 16

This is definitely the most interesting thing that has happened to Jason Todd / Red Hood since 2011’s The New 52, and it is probably one of the best things that has happened to him since Joker killed him. (For those of you who don’t know the second Robin’s backstory, the whole death thing didn’t take…) I hope now that J.T. has stared down his worst fear and his own mortality we might see him travel down some interesting and new paths.

Regarding the whole Azrael thing, I’m not sure we’ve ever seen Jean-Paul Valley quite like this. I’m really digging where this is going.

Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel Comics)

Captain Marvel 01

The current volume of Captain Marvel is a slow-builder, there is a surprising amount of character depth by the time you reach the last page. Issue #1 casts Carol Danvers as a starship captain like James T. Kirk (or at the very least a space station captain like Sisco) with a crew comprising some of my favorite heroes: Puck, Aurora, and Sasquatch of the Canadian super-team Alpha Flight!

Pencil Head #1 (Image Comics)

Pencil Head 01

Judging by creator Ted McKeever’s strange displays of humor in Pencil Head, I don’t think he’d be offended if I described his semi-autobiographical first issue as naval gazing at its finest. I’m fairly convinced that the life of a comic artist involves, as the cover suggests, “Oddball Artists. Twisted Writers. Demented Editors. Office Politics. Hamburgers. and a Dead Stripper.” Well, most of those.

Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1 (DC Comics)

Poison Ivy 01

As the husband of a geologist, I am loving how this Poison Ivy mini-series comes out in support of women in science. I just wish artist Clay Mann would stop buttoning and unbuttoning Pamela Isley’s shirt from panel to panel.

Silver Surfer #1 (Marvel Comics)

Silver Surfer 01

Dan Slott and Mike Allred deliver more light-hearted fun as Norrin Radd and Dawn return to Casa de la Greenwood after months in space, but an entertaining inversion of Silver Surfer’s own origin story promises some serious repercussions in the issues to come. I think Slott and Allred’s post-Secret Wars volume might end up outshining their pre-Secret Wars volume. What do you think?

Star Wars #15 (Marvel Comics)

Star Wars 15

If Jason Aaron knows anything, it is Obi-Wan Kenobi. During the voice-overs I could actually hear Ewan MacGregor speaking in my head, and I nearly laughed out loud when Obi-Wan greeted an angry Owen Lars as if everything was hunky dorey between them. I know that Star Wars: The Clone Wars covered how Jedi become Jedi ghosts, but I would love if Aaron’s “From the Journals of Old Ben Kenobi” went into Obi-Wan’s experience with this process. #FingersCrossed

 

NOTE: Amazing Forest #1 is a 2016 IDW reprint of a comic released in 2013 by Monkeybrain Comics. As a result, I have not included it in the list.

BOOK CLUB: CIVIL WAR

I had the chance to get through another big chunk of Marvel’s Civil War, reading Civil War: Frontline #2,Civil War: Frontline #3, New Avengers #21, Fantastic Four #538, Wolverine #43, X-Factor #8,Thunderbolts #104, Civil War #3, Civil War: X-Men #1, Civil War: X-Men #2, and Cable & Deadpool #30.

It is during this chunk of books that we start seeing things from Captain America’s perspective, and there are a couple of interesting things that come out of this. First of all, New Avengers #21 was really neat. TheNew Avengers tie-ins came highly recommended and I now know why — Bendis’s focus on Captain America’s history and perspective really puts some issues of Civil War into focus. I especially loved the foreshadowing in Dum Dum Dugan’s lie that allowed Cap to escape. Shivers. Later, when the Steve and Tony disagreement comes to blows in Civil War #3, I was pretty disturbed by the fact that the picture of Iron Man punching Captain America so perfectly mirrored the Captain America Comics #1.

Civil War 03

I’m not sure what we were supposed to think about this — Are they suggesting that America now belongs to some much more shady people? Is Captain America making a decision that might be good for his friends but bad for the American people? Or does this just represent betrayal plain and simple?

When I first started reading the Civil War preludes, I kept wondering why there was such a focus on Amazing Spider-man and Fantastic Four. Last week, the Spider-man emphasis became clear — Peter Parker has the most to lose if the world learns his identity and he makes it clear what is on the line. This week, the inclusion of the Fantastic Four is elucidated — just as the American Civil War of the late 1800s was said to put family against family, disagreements in the first family of superheroes make it crystal clear that Marvel’s Civil War will do the same. In Fantastic Four #538, it is clear that Reed and Susan will probably be choosing different sides while Ben (and Johnny, after he wakes from his coma) are going to have to decide between them. This is almost too heavy to read.

That’s all I have to say. What do you have to say? Hit me up in the comments section or on Facebook if there’s anything here (or elsewhere) that you want to talk about. Until next week, be civil to one another, my friends.

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