Top Comic Books for the Week of July 10, 2014
The best of my pull list by Scott Bachmann
I’ve put to the top the comics that made my week. That doesn’t mean the others were bad, just that these stood out. Note: I get my comics from mail order by a week delay, and by ComiXology, so some titles may be older.
I don’t always like Dennis’s take on established characters as much as I love his new characters, but this issue does right by Nico Chase from the Runaways. She was powered up by Dennis at the end of his Avengers Arena story, but since then Nico hasn’t really come to terms with her new powers. This is that story.
Runaway fans will appreciate that this also provides some closure with Alex, the Runaway that betrayed the other Runaways. We also get some love for Chase who had his own great spotlight last issue, and was gutted for it. Perhaps my favorite take on an established character though is Cammi. Cammi was a sidekick of Drax before he joined the Guardians, and sort of forgotten until Dennis revived her. He’s grown her into the perfect tough survivor which in a lot of ways reminds me of the X-Men’s Hope, when she’s done well.
Kev Walker gives us the creepiest mad doctor that I’ve ever seen and continues to deliver distinct characters despite the army of people that appear in this book. I occasionally find it hard to follow some of the action in the book, and I can’t put my finger on why because most of the time the art team nails it. I especially love the glowy efx used in this issue by colorist Jean-Francois. The settings are always great and feel gritty. The nation of super villains in Bagalia does not worry about sanitation, even in the med labs.
I like how Waid is sharing story credits with Samnee. The two are in perfect sync, with Samnee being in top form. Samnee’s figures and facial expressions and deft use of shadows make this a clean and easy to read book whether or not there are words on the page.
The walk through central park is perfect. I’ve been at those spots and Samnee captures them better than my memory. Matt Murdock’s echolocation efx have been the hallmark of this and the previous run of Daredevil, and they always manage to amaze and bring you into Daredevil’s world. I especially like how Waid never lets you forget Daredevil is blind and has limits, despite the amazing things he does.
This story tells how Foggy Nelson dies after his long running struggle for cancer. I like that his illness has not been comic book solved, and that Foggy points out that death for non super heroes is a lot more permanent, even as Daredevil jokes about it. It’s a human reaction to a super world, and that’s an aspect I love. The bromance between Foggy and Matt Murdock is as good as any sidekick relationship in comics.
Another series with the author and artist sharing story credits, and another perfect blending of style. Dennis’s art is very animation in style, and it suits this deconstruction of 4 color comics. Edison Rex is about a “Lex Luthor” that kills his “Superman” and then decides he has to take his place as hero.
The series also skewers all sorts of comic tropes with love and a wink. The very first panel has Edison wondering why a super team had a wonder dog on the team that seems to be an ordinary dog. Edison has wasted a lot of time examining files of the dog to see what its secret powers really are and can’t find any. He’s baffled as we smirk at the 70’s cartoon cliche.
Edison has been reforming villains as he subdues them to help with his work, so it’s no surprise that one of them inevitably betrays him. He’s not even surprised, more annoyed at another headache to deal with. When he finds himself truly outsmarted we are cut away to the remaining heroes of the world who have united behind the news that one of them now has proof that Edison killed the “Superman”. This leaves him caught between a rock and a hard place, and we root for Edison because he really has done a lot of good and changed his heart, but we knew this was coming. It reminds me of a more amusing version of Mark Waid’s ‘Irredeemable’ story (which is amazing).
Micahel Lark has grown so much in this book. His art is detailed, realistic, moody, and gritty. He conveys this stark, nihilistic future world in such a bleak and well done way that the art alone conveys the message that this is a believable and hopeless tomorrow. His figures and faces speak volumes and we can go panels without needing a word. When a word is thrown in, Greg Rucka hammers it in deep.
This is the issue that ties up the threads that, to me, felt uninteresting when separated. I am, of course, wrong, because the pay off is so much stronger in that we know and are concerned about the players on all sides as they clash with differing motives.
I’m also starting to genuinely like and care about Forever, the super-soldier who was too cold and distant for me at the beginning. I stuck around this long because the comic is so well made and paced, and Rucka is such a good long term story teller, that I knew it would change into something I liked. Don’t take this as me saying the comic was bad – it’s great, it just wasn’t my taste – but I could feel where it was going and I was expecting to like it one day. I think this is that turning point.
Scott is a contributing writer for Drunk on Comics. You can follow him on Twitter at ScottABachmann, or at Scottcomics.com.