Well we have come to another end to a year with both good and not so good comic books but it’s the one thing that I say is that there is always some great comic books out their and my hope is that I can steer you to some that you might have otherwise missed. This weeks new comics is a big DC Comics week and they have ended the year on a mostly high note.
Doomsday Clock #2
DC Comics Writer Geoff Johns, Artist Gary Frank, Colorist Brad Anderson, Letterer Rob Leigh
I wasn’t overwhelmed by the first issue of this book because it was simply a sequel to a comic that never needed one but, it did however have an epilogue that showed a lot of promise in an otherwise unneeded book. This second issue didn’t blow me away but was a better step in the right direction for the book. The one thing that is a bit of a sticking point is that Johns tries too hard to imitate Alan Moore and he is simply not that good of a writer to pull that off. With this issue transporting the Watchmen to the DC Universe he get the book on a better footing and is able to write at his mainstream level. I’m not knocking Johns as a bad writer but I’m also not as impressed as a lot of readers are of him. He writes fairly decent superhero stories and this issue direction made this a better read. Johns pacing in this issue is better also and some nice surprises with his script and gives the book a stronger direction with the ending of this second issue. As always Frank’s artwork is the big win for this book and he delivers another beautifully illustrated issue that delivers both great mood and detail that really helps move things along here. I do hope that both Frank and Johns start to get away from the nine panel layouts that mimic Watchmen and let this book stand on its own.
Is this book worth your time and money? I liked this second outing better than the first issue but still not convinced that it’s totally necessary. At this point it’s just a pale imitation of Moore and Gibbons seminal series but hopefully Johns and Frank will start to make this book feel more original. I have no problem with other creators using the Watchmen charters considering that they are just re-imagined Charlton Comics characters. The bigger question with this series is can Johns find his own voice for the series because it’s one thing to use any comic book characters that have a long history with many stories but you have to make them both fresh and new but also your own. This issue is a good step in that direction but is still stuck to the past a little too much. It’s still worth reading and I did enjoy it but it just needs to be its own thing.
Kamandi Challenge #12
DC Comics Writers Gail Simone/Paul Levitz, Artists Jill Thompson & Ryan Sook/Penciler Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez & Inker Joe Prado, Colorists Trish Mulvihill & Laura Martin & Andrew Crossley/Trish Mulvihill, Letterer Clem Robins
The year-long All-Star challenge comes to its final chapters and is both wonderful and bittersweet. The first chapter from Simone give a wonderful solution to the last issues surprise ending and comes up with one of the wildest fight scenes I have nearly ever seen. I won’t spoil it for you but it’s not only both genius but quite humorous at the same time. What I loved about her story is that it really infused a lot of heart and soul into this dystopian world that was both unexpected and hopeful and that adds a nice element from the non stop full throttle previous stories. It’s not that she doesn’t have some great action in her story because she does but knowing that this is the next to final chapter she has to set things up for the final chapter. Thompson and Sook are used perfectly here and when you read the story you understand why there are two artist on this story. They both masterfully bring every emotion of Simone’s story perfectly to visual life. The final story by Levitz and Garcia-Lopez is both brilliant and bittersweet. First Levitz takes Simone’s surprise Kirby ending and not only wraps the challenge up perfectly but having Kirby himself in the story was a brilliant move and give this massive handoff book a perfect ending. Where the book becomes even more touching is that Len Wein was originally going to write the final chapter but passed away before he was able to write it. I can’t think of a better person to come in and finish this book than Levitz. The true icing on this book is having Garcia-Lopez gorgeous artwork on this final chapter. He is one of the last great DC artists and he can still deliver the best artwork of his career with this book. He is one of the best artists and this shows that he still has it.
Is this book worth your time and money? I have love this book from day one and while not every chapter was the most brilliant story you have ever read, it was a heck of a lot of fun and had a nice line up of great talent. Not only was it a fitting tribute to Jack Kirby’s 100th Birthday celebration from DC Comics this year but also to Len Wein who was a friend and fan of the King. This final issue was simply lovely and hit the mark perfectly and made this book one for the ages. If you haven’t been reading this book that is a real shame because of the wild ride that it delivered each issue. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Hawkman Found #1
DC Comics Writer Jeff Lemire, Penciler Bryan Hitch, Inker Kevin Nowlan, Colorists Alex Sinclair U Jeremiah Skipper, Letterer Clayton Cowles
I haven’t been reading the Dark Knight Metal series or tie-in books but I love Lemire’s writing and am a fan of Hawkman so I gave the book a shot. I did really enjoy the story and Lemire does a very nice job with setting up this sort of origin story that does stand on it’s own fairly well here. The only real problem that I had with this book was that it didn’t really end but is set up for you buy another book in to finish the story. That is the one thing that I really hate about comic company crossover events is that I have no problem with tie in books but if a book is a one shot let it stand alone. Lemire does his best within the restraints that he is shackled with here and up until the last page I really enjoyed reading the story. Then it just pissed me off. The book has some really stunning artwork with Hitch and Nowlan delivering some really great work here that complemented Lemire’s script very well. The detail that they deliver is very impressive.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you haven been reading the whole Dark Metal fiesta then I would say that your going to be upset about that this book is only part of the story. Sadly Lemire, Hitch and Nowlan deliver a good book up until you find out that it’s only part of the story. It’s a shame because this book does stand on its own up until the final page and that simply kills all of the goodwill that the script and art deliver. It’s a real shame that this book is the way that it is. SKIP IT!
Batman: Creature of the Night #2
DC Comics Writer Kurt Busiek, Artist & Colorist John Paul Leon, Letterer Todd Klein
This second chapter of this wonderful “Elseworld” story give the story some great new layers that were set up in the first issue and Busiek builds on them greatly here in this second issue. I love how he is basically retelling Batman’s origin but giving it a wonderful twist at the same time. He is always keeping readers on their toes where you’re not quite sure if Bruce is the Batman or if he is even real and that is what is making this story so grand. Just when you think that you have figured the story out, Busiek throws a curve ball at you and never see it coming. He also dives deep into Bruce’s deep inner turmoil and how he see things from a comic book point of view that both blend and bends reality. Leon artwork continues to impress here with his gritty visual style that give the book a great and unique feel that really sets it apart and makes it just as special as the story. In a way he take a bit of minimalist approach to the artwork that shows that less can actually be a lot more. His art gives the book a deep visual look of both light and dark and blends them seamlessly together with such ease.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really love this book and Busiek takes some really great risks with this story. He asks more questions than answers but that is a very good thing here because he is playing on the reader thinking that they know how this story is going to go but then it doesn’t and that is where the story really shines. When you add in Leon’s gorgeous and gritty artwork you have a great must read comic. VERY RECOMMENDED!