Spider-Men #1 (Marvel Comics)
by Brian Michael Bendis and Sarah Pichelli
Brian Michael Bendis is quite easily Marvel's top writer of the past decade. From mini series such as Siege to his reboot of Spider-Man and the entire Marvel Universe with Ultimate Spider-Man his reach can not be underestimated.
So I met the news that the mainstream Marvel universes Spider-Man (The Peter Parker we all grew up with) was going to be meeting his Ultimate universe counterpoint, New-boy Spider Miles Morales. And I have to say after reading the thing? My god. Oh my gods. The hype I had was very well placed.
We start off with a frankly beautiful two page splash panel by artist Sarah Pichelli (also the current Ultimate Spidey artist). This is the first time she's drawn ol' original Peter Parker but it's a classic almost iconic image of Spidey. A nice typical Spidey interior monologue by Bendis only adds to the whole. This is Spidey. Our universe 616 original. Confident. Heroic. Wanted by the law...
So typical Spidey.
After glimpsing a weird energy release our ol' webheaded friend investigates leading him in a very none spoilers way to the Ultimate Marvel universe where he is shocked to find people find his costume is in bad taste to the memory of Peter Parker who in that universe is dead.
Miles (aka newbie Spidey) only makes a fleeting appearance on the last page. But it's enough.
The best thing I can say about this issue is that if the following issues are even half as good as this opener? We're going to be in for one hell of a summer in the Spideybooks!
Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 (DC Comics)
by Darwyn Cooke
Where to start with this issue? Oh God where to start. Well I'll start be being objective. I know my personal feelings on DCs multitude of Watchmen prequels some 25odd years after the fact as being a really bad idea are well known. So yes I admit reviewing this is something of an issue for me. I'll also admit something that may risk me losing my membership as an Alan Moore fanboy.
I really REALLY wanted to like this comic. Watchmen redefined comics not just an as industry but as a medium. It broke comics into the mainstream and opened a lot of previously closed doors. So the prospect of more of that? I have to confess I had some excitement...
The issue is written and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke. A man I also like very much. His Justice League: New Frontiers Elseworlds graphic novel is simply amazing.
So imagine my surprise when I read this and found out that it's bad. Really bad. The art looks very amateur. The script just feels clunky. An example is a two page segment about Hooded Justice. It''s almost a panel for panel rip-off of parts of Batman Year One.
DC have said repeatedly this is not an exercise to make money but one to further the Watchmen legacy. And I have to say DC if they keep on treating legacy like this they'll be taking it further all right. Further down the toilet.
Legends of the Dark Knight #1 (DC Comics)
by Damon Lindelof and Jeff Lemire
The original series of Legends of the Dark Knight is one of the few complete runs I have in original issues rather than republishing or graphic novel/trade paperback form. And I'll say that even to this day the first 100 issues are something special. Beyond special. They were all out of continuity Bat stories where the only rule was to tell a damn good story. And they were aimed at us more mature readers too! The first few story arcs, Prey, Faces and Venom, are some of my all time favourite Batman stories of all time.
So imagine my surprise when DC announced that they were bringing it back as a digital exclusive new series. And that they announced it mere days before issue 1 hit the virtual stands.
My happiness however was very short lived once I saw who the writer was. Damon Lindelof. A hero if you're a fan of Lost. Satan himself if you're a comic fan and remember the THREE AND A HALF YEARS we had to wait between issues of the Ultimate Hulk vs Wolverine miniseries he penned.
However... It's awesome. It's short. Very short. And self contained. But it's one of the best Batman comics I've read in a very VERY long time. Out of continuity too thankfully so no stupid New52. Just awesome art by Jeff Lemire to counter the script perfectly. Is all forgiven for that delay on the Hulk book? Given the quality of this I'd say pretty much.
It's nice to see DC taking a bit of a risk on this series. The new 52 was very by the numbers. Here we're going digital only and outside their precious continuity. But by god it works.
I think the highest praise that I can give this is that it ranks up there with the original issue 1 of Legends of the Dark Knight in terms of quality. And honestly? When it comes to comics there is little higher praise than that.
The Boys #67 (Dynamite Comics)
by Garth Ennis and Russ Braun
Where do we begin with The Boys? The series is nearing an end now as we're well in to what is said to be the last ever story arc. And seeing as all Garth Ennis comics runs don't go past around issue 70 we shouldn't really be surprised.
This issue marks a bit of a change of pace from the last few issues of The Boys. The Endgame has happened. The dust has settled. But in a master-stroke that a lesser writer would easily have turned into a cliché Ennis has us suddenly a year after it all kicked off. So we're getting Young Hughie going around trying to tye up the loose ends thus allowing us to learn things in flashback but in a very natural way.
The art, this time by Braun, is nice and expressive.
I'm trying to think what else to type here without getting into spoilers!
Go out and read The Boys from the beginning in the trades and catch up as with only a few issues left well... as the issue title suggests “You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics #1 (IDW)
by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird
Oh now THIS takes me back to my youth! For those who don't know the Ninja Turtles were originally a black and white comic with an extremely limited ink run back in the 1980s. Less than a thousand copies of the first issue met the printers. But as anyone knows, especially those of a certain age, the Turtles hit the big time in a MASSIVE way thanks to a certain cartoon series you can find on RetroReaction tomorrow.
What we have here though is a reprint of that first ever issue of TMNT. Only this time it's in full colour.
So that begs two question. Has it aged well and does the colour add to the issue in anyway?
The answer to that first question is thankfully yes. It's aged surprisingly well. And it's fun seeing from what humble beginnings the Turtles did mutate.
The answer to the second however? The colour is nice. But it doesn't feel needed.
Having said that if you've never read it before there could not be a better time than now!
Especially as Michael Bay is about to ruin the Turtles for all eternity.