I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I love, love, LOVE Valiant. I’m relieved that they’re up to five ongoings now because it allows me to have more and, boy, do I need it.
I got a double dose this week (and hopefully, so did you) with Bloodshot AND Archer and Armstrong. Both issues were a change of pace to their storylines, featuring a flashback in Bloodshot and a side-story in A+A that led immediately back to the main story in both cases. We get to see Bloodshot make an early raid on a Harbinger base and we get the origin and creation of the new Geomancer in A+A!
I think my love for Valiant comes from the fact that, though I read comics from many of the publishers today, I don’t have the love rate that I do with Valiant. I love my DC books, but I tolerate a few of them. Same with Marvel. With Valiant, I have five books that I love - even the one I love the least is still damn good, FAR better than the ones I love least from other companies.
Love comics? Buy Valiant. Love Valiant? Good life decision!
My favorite book coming out of Marvel is Daredevil and this issue maintains the love from Mark Waid and Chris Samnee. Daredevil teams up with Doc Ock, er, I mean, Spider-Man to take down Stilt Man! Waid has this way of throwing in everyday occurrences and with a smile and butt-whooping action that just make his comics so very enjoyable to read. Samnee’s art is also a pleasure - easy, not overly complex, but still clearly identifiable as his own. I also quite enjoyed the way Waid wrote Octavius - his manner, his actions, his speech - that make it very clear that it’s not Peter under the mask.
Great issue. Great series. How are you not reading this?
And if you are reading this, virtual high-five.
I don’t know how many of you get the opportunity to read Golden Age comics, but there’s a real charm to many of them. For this gift to myself, I read Detective Comics 137, the case of “the Invisible Crimes!” I know many of these stories are available in reprints, but, unlike today, Batman was one of four features of Detective as opposed to… the only feature.
The lead feature has the development of an invisibility serum in Gotham that, when consumed, will make one invisible for several days. A member of the science society, a Mr. J. O. Kerr (I shit you not) visits the creator and once he finds out it’s real, he reveals himself to be the Joker, for (actual quote) ”J. O. Kerr spells Joker!” Through several shenanigans, Batman catches the Joker and order is restored.
The issue also features the origin of Robotman, not of the Doom Patrol, which only even mentions the origin because Robotman gets completely broken and doctors find repair instructions in his robotic foot. Slam Bradly and the Boy Commandos were there, too, but were not particularly memorable.
Golden age Batman comics with Joker covers tend to be worth a bit more, but between the Joker and the Penguin, there was a name villain in at least 1 or 2 of the 3 or 4 Bat books (Batman, Detective, World’s Finest, Star Spangled) for any given month . I really wasn’t expecting to see the Joker, so that was a fun surprise.
These issues aren’t cheap, but they are unique. They contain a light heartedness that rarely exists in today’s comics. The old Bat comics and their features are always a delight to read.
While I’m at it, because Daredevil and X-Factor aren’t part of the Marvel Now relaunch (thankfully), I think Thor: God of Thunder is my favorite Now book (tied with Hickman’s Avengers titles). Discussions of Jason Aaron’s past works have noted that (based on general consensus), when Aaron’s heart is in the book, it’s the greatest thing you’ve ever read (Scalped, Ghost Rider) and, when it isn’t, it’s pretty (I hate to use the word, but) awful (Wolverine - everything after he gets out of Hell). Now that Scalped is done, his Thor is great and his entire run of Wolverine and the X-Men has been a fantastic and fun book. I think he was putting too much of his love into Scalped and it definitely showed.
(Note: Check out Scalped! Amazing stuff!)
In this issue of Thor, Thor, past, present, and future, narrows his search for the God Butcher. I’m really digging the other gods, alive and dead, Thor encounters - it’s nice to see Thor interact with non-Norse/Greco-Roman deities. This is a really fun book that, for four issues, has been a pleasure to read!
A consistently great read is Dial H and this issue, with new series artist Alberto Ponticelli, maintains the quality. Nelson and Roxie are now being tracked by the mysterious Operator who is just messing up all sorts of people and places. I particularly enjoy China Mieville’s variety of heroes, including this issue’s debut of Flame War, a hero with fire powers that are activated with insults. Crazy fun issue!
Actually, crazy fun series! If you’re tired of big events and just want a fun book with all of the costume fun, look no further!
Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth came to an end today so it became my first read of the stack. Without spoiling anything, Lemire combines his fantastic storytelling into this double sized finale. It’s happy. It’s sad. It’s funny. Several parts of it are very, very revealing! It’s a wonderful ending to this fantastic series and DC/Vertigo is sadder without it but happier having known it.
This is a story, a story about the end of Sweet Tooth and the lucky people who’ve gotten to read the whole thing. Thanks for the experience, Jeff.
I don’t know how familiar you are with Silver Age comics. There’s a certain goofiness/charm to them that makes them really enjoyable (or an outright punishment) for many people. I love the goofiness of the Atom getting trapped in a wristwatch (no, really), but most of the earlier Marvel books happened to be really well done considering the era. This issue of Journey into Mystery is no different.
The lead feature is a Thor story (whaaaaaat?) by Lee and Kirby that’s a little melodramatic, but incredibly well done. Thor has recently defeated the Enchantress and the Executioner, so Loki hatches a plan to convince Odin to go to Earth to get Thor to come home, causing Odin to give Loki some of his power so Loki can rule Asgard in Odin’s absence (inhaaaaaale). With Odin’s power, Loki releases a storm giant and Surtur, the fire demon (a very early appearance), and Thor, Odin, and Balder defeat them. Their defeat also involves transporting the entire human race to another dimension so that they’ll be protected during the fight - but don’t worry, they won’t remember any of it!
I like that the early Journey’s still featured a horror tale, just in case the hero feature went under. I always notice how beautifully Larry Lieber could draw (and he still does - Spidey daily strips, anyone?) and the story is fun.
There’s also the four-page “Tale of Asgard” feature with Heimdall, also by Lee and Kirby. Short, fun, exciting! I really enjoy getting the old Marvel comics. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (and others, Roy Thomas, particularly) could really throw a story together in a way that had never been seen before.
The new issue of Fatale by Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips was, according to the backmatter, inspired by horror stories like those in Creepy and Eerie. After reading it, they definitely hit the nail on the head. I really enjoy the old horror tales (even the goofy DC/Marvel silver/bronze era ones) and this read very similarly to them.
I really enjoyed Fatale when it started, but I wasn’t thrilled with the second arc - I don’t know, I feel like it just lost its focus. If this issue is a sign of the next four, it looks I’ll be happy again! Incredibly good!
Another pick this week is Hellboy in Hell #2. It’s really nice to have Hellboy coming out on a regular basis again - don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the fun stories, like Hellboy in Mexico and a bunch of the other Richard Corben drawn adventures, but tales that are actually progressing the story rather than enriching it, especially ones that are drawn by Mike Mignola, cannot possibly disappoint.
And this doesn’t in any way. Great issue, though I’ll always jump for Richard Corben art, too!