Apologies for the belated return and the lack of an entry last week, but Comic Book Wins and Losses is back! I’m still struggling to hold me to my own column schedule. Anyway, let’s get started! What books took off this past week? What crashed? Read below to find the answers!
Win: Action Comics Special #1 Is a Beautiful Finale to Jurgens’s Run
Dan Jurgens‘s run on Action Comics ended this past week with a special issue wherein he was joined by talents such as Jill Thompson, Francis Manapul, and Max Landis. It was made up of three stories, each of which went off without a hitch in this reviewer’s not-so-humble opinion. It was action packed, it was heartwarming, and I enjoyed every page of it.
Loss: Infinity Countdown #3 and Sax Destroyer
While the segment with Adam Warlock, Silver Surfer, and Ultron was solidly enjoyable, it’s hard to take a comic seriously that pairs a “war is hell” narrative where your beloved heroes are genuinely convinced they will die with a character Kenny G-ing hordes of sentient lifeforms to death. In short, I wasn’t a fan of the Draxophone.
Win: Avengers #1 Leaves Me Hopeful
While Avengers #1 by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness wasn’t exactly the shattering fresh start for the Avengers for which I hoped, the comic did leave me optimistic as a fan of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The book wasn’t weighed down by a lot of the problems plaguing recent incarnations of Avengers, the premise is interesting, and the lineup is solid. Maybe this one will be great.
Loss: Captain America #701 Does Nothing With Its Premise
Given Mark Waid‘s hot streak on Captain America, a utopian future comic based around the dream of Steve Rogers seems like a good start for an installment of Cap’s comic. Unfortunately, Captain America #701 is a pretty empty utopian future with a “fear the other” finale that doesn’t impress. At least Leonardo Romero‘s art was good.
Win: Death or Glory #1 is So Damn Good
Rick Remender and Bengal‘s Death or Glory #1 is one of those comics that’s so good that you have a hard time believing it is this good even while you’re reading it. With a compelling lead, gorgeous art, and an enthralling plot, Death or Glory has an explosive start that will leave you begging for more.
Loss: Batman #46 Frustrates with Time-Travelling Deadpool
With tonal issues beyond reason and a really unlikable depiction of Booster Gold, Batman #46 may have been the biggest disappointment of the week. Tom King‘s Batman has been a consistently good book, but this arc has been startlingly bad. Hopefully, things will pick up again in time for the wedding.
Win: Coda #1 Marries D&D and Mad Max
Coda is another comic which launched this past week which excited me beyond reason. Sir Hum and the world he inhabits are unique and absorbing. It totes mixing apocalyptic and fantasy tropes, and it does so with a deft hand Si Spurrier and Matias Bergara‘s series is one worth watching.
Loss: Cyborg #22 Could Be so Much More
Marv Wolfman‘s return to Cyborg has been a disappointing experience. The plot is generic for the book, and Cyborg himself continues to be a character with which DC should be doing so much more. To top it all off, writers have a disconcerting obsession with taking Vic Stone apart like a tinker toy, and this comic’s plot is a mangled mess all its own.
Win: Green Lanterns #46 Restored My Faith in the Title
After the middling ‘Superhuman Trafficking’ arc, this new arc for Green Lanterns has righted the ship. GLs #46 has gone further with exploring the depths of both Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz while expanding on some GL lore regarding Power Ring and Volthoom. This was a good one and has me looking forward to the next issue.
Loss: Xerxes #2 Lays My Interest in this Series to Rest
Completely separating Xerxes from the legacy of 300, this still a shallow and visually unappealing book. The characters are dull, with Themistokles being the closest thing to interesting. The titular Xerxes has a painfully awkward sequence in which Darius’s death lends itself to a melodramatic declaration of vengeance. I want it to be clear that I have nothing against Frank Miller; I just really don’t like this book.
Win: Weapon X #17 is Surprisingly Excellent
While it’s far from the deepest X-Men book out there, Weapon X #17 was a funny and action-packed read with a good villain in Omega Red. Plus, Sabretooth gets to take center stage, and he is easily among the best X-Men villains/anti-heroes/sorta hero. Plus, Yildiray Cinar is a great artist.
Loss: Star Trek TNG: Through the Mirror #1 Talks Too Much About Stuff
Through the Mirror #1 is a comic that gets far too lost in the minutia of its own ultra-specific plot beats. It seems to know this, because the opening is followed by an overlong and empty shootout between the crew of the Enterprise and a denizen of the Mirror Universe. Unfortunately, that segment becomes exhausting, and the overall comic is very underwhelming.
Win: Red Sonja/Tarzan #1 Brings Two Legends Together
Gail Simone brought together Red Sonja and Tarzan in an instantly compelling story with excellent art by Walter Geovani. Eson Duul makes for a great antagonist for both heroes, and this book will leave you hooked.
Loss: Fighting American: The Ties that Bind #3’s Painfully Overt Satire
While there is plenty to pick fun at about Captain America’s depictions both past and present, Fighting American reduces its satire to pushing the character aside while taking surface-level potshots at media and culture. When the Fighting American is present, he is mainly reduced to a man-child being victimized by the world.
Win: John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction #7 is the Series’ Best Issue Yet
This penultimate issue of Mike Sizemore, Dave Kennedy, and Pete Kennedy‘s Vortex kicks up the action, horror, and gore to the next level. This book is absorbing and leaves the reader eager to see how this all ends.
Loss: Kull Eternal #3 Is Impressively Convaluted
Kull Eternal #3 is a wordy and messy plot with protagonists very hard to like. While there are some plot points that have potential for a fun book, and Luca Pizzari‘s artwork looks great, there is little to actually leave you hooked in the narrative.
Win: Dark Ark #6 Introduces a Promising Twist
Dark Ark #6 expands on the characters of Noah and Shrae while throwing a plot twist into Noah’s actions and motivations, and they are a tad on the side of Lovecraftian. Mix Cullen Bunn‘s plot with Juan Doe‘s artwork, and you have a great read here.
Loss: Spawn #285 Talks Too Much, Period
My first proper excursion into Spawn provided a surprisingly nuanced take on the way modern America treats foreigners and people of color while dumping loads of text to drown out any engagement one could take from a visual medium. I may return later, but this wasn’t an endearing introductory book.
Win: Black Science #35 Pulls In With Fantastic Characters
Another introductory issue for me personally, Black Science #35 delivers a compelling character deconstruction of its protagonists mixed with phenomenal artwork from Matteo Scalera and Moreno Dinisio. I will definitely return to this book, and everyone should check out the title.
Win: Sex Criminals #24 Makes Better Spreadsheets
Praising Sex Criminals anymore than I already have feels like pointing out the obvious, but the humor, investigation into the complexity of human sexuality, and Chip Zdarsky‘s artwork makes for an incredible book. Everyone should read it.
Win: Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows #3 Makes Me Cry
Finally, Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows #3 dives into the initial return of Doctor Star to his family. It’s an emotionally heavy comic with an estranged father meeting his wife and son again after 18 years gone. It’s cathartic and taps into something deep. Jeff Lemire, Max Fiamura, and Dave Stewart have created an awesome series here.
* * * * *
That’s another entry of Comic Book Wins and Losses complete! See you again later today for the Comics for Your Pull Box for this week (May 9th, 2018).