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It’s been an exciting comic book week. Though several of my favourite series have ended, there’s a handful of new series released that I decided to check out. The majority of the issues I read for my week three Comic Book Review Round-Up were stellar; unfortunately, not all. For DC Comics, Titans #33 was action-packed and pacey and The Batman Who Laughs #2 remains excellent.
The conclusion to the X-Men Disassembled arc was outstanding, yet unexpected. I’m really intrigued to know what Marvel has planned for Uncanny X-Men. And, Star Wars: Age of the Republic debuts a special featuring three favourite supporting characters. Finally, I take a look at three first issues from Marvel, starring Black Widow, Jessica Jones, and the Invaders.
This is an action-packed issue where the Titans battle an army of monsters on Unearth. The entire creation of this world is intriguing and though derivative, the writing team is self-aware enough to make its existence humorous.
With this latest issue, it really feels like Titans has finally kicked into high gear. What makes the issue come alive is Bruno Redondo’s art; his character sketches are so expressive and each person looks unique. Along with Hi-Fi’s colours, this issue is quite a spectacle to enjoy with menacing shadows at every corner.
I’m really looking forward to finding out what Mother Blood’s endgame is. She has engineered these proceeding, but we still don’t know why. And how does Raven’s soul-self fit into all this? Given the cliffhanger this issue ends on, readers will be lining up to find out.
'The Batman Who Laughs' #2
Batman is in dire straits! The Batman Who Laughs successfully infected him with a toxin that is slowly changing the Caped Crusader into his own worst nightmare. While he tackles the symptoms, another dead body distracts the Bat from his pursuits.
In this Scott Snyder series, it’s Batman vs. Batman Who Laughs, and the latter is the one who is winning. We delve deeper into the chaotic multi-verse of Bruce Waynes in this issue, and honestly, I want to see more of this over the course of the series. I want to see how different Bruces turned out and what they made of themselves. It’s like reading in-canon AUs.
While not as mesmeric as the first issue, it’s great to see Batman being a detective again. Him working with Jim Gordon always feels authentic, and Snyder seems to be enjoying re-treading some of his favourite storylines and characters. The denouement has me worried as it suggests the main characters will have to go down dark paths to win this impossible fight.
'Star Wars: Age of the Republic' Special
I originally thought this was a Mace Windu special, so I was a little disappointed to see this issue was actually three stories in one. Having said that, the stories are great. The one featuring Mace Windu is just heart-wrenching. It’s such a stark look at the devastating effects of war, especially on innocent children. Through minimal actions and dialogue, we are given an in depth look into what kind of person the Jedi Master was.
I felt the Asajj Ventress story could have been better; it’s a bit cliché to show a badass female character with a heart. But, at the same time, it is still so rare to get multi-dimensional female characters in popular media so I’m not complaining.
The final story ends with Jar Jar Binks and Captain Rex of the 501st Legion. I’m just glad people are trying to respect the character a little nowadays. Jar Jar got a lot of flack when he first appeared on screen, and that had consequences behind the scenes that no one knew about till recently. But if Ahmed Best’s suffering has led to a resurgence of kindness in Star Wars fans and creators, then it will not have gone in vain.
'Uncanny X-Men' #10
I cannot believe that in this issue it’s a whole bunch of ladies who save the day (or try to)! If someone had told kid-me that 20 years after the X-Men film arrived on screen, there’d be an X-Men comic where mostly ladies were doing the heavy lifting, I don’t think I would have believed it. But here it is. And it is amazing to behold.
That ending was so sad—unexpected and sad. This series is making me fall in love with X-Men comics again, and all I can wonder is why did the comics become so terrible for such a long time? It’s only over the past few years that these comics have rightly embraced being inclusive and diverse, which is ridiculous given that was the main reason why these characters were created.
Now that Disassembled is over, we move onto the next phase in the lives (or is it the after-lives?) of the X-Men. I can’t wait.
Marvel Number Ones
I’ve never read a solo Black Widow comic before, and the new issue from Jen and Sylvia Soska makes me think I didn’t miss much. I'm not a fan of the art, which is cartoonish and makes Natasha look like a teenaged girl, while Steve Rogers seems to be modeled after Johnny Bravo.
Also, the central premise seems sensational and insensitive. In Madripoor, the sex industry only has women in it; no men? The workers being preyed on are also only female? Why is the shorthand for depravity still the abuse of young girls? I don’t foresee myself reading any more of this issue.
Conversely, Kelly Thompson’s Jessica Jones: Purple Daughter #1 is fabulous. Love the art, but more than anything, the story is gripping. Without too much exposition, the writer brings readers up to date with what’s recently happened in Jessica’s life and how it affects her. It’s noir pulp fiction with a heavy dose of family drama and whodunnit mystery. Love the plethora of women at the forefront, and I’m hoping that the rest of the series will keep that thread going strong.
The art is mesmeric, though I miss Jessica being drawn as a curvier woman. The team of artists capture the mood of the story with the colour palette and the shadow work. I could stare at this book all day!
The new Chip Zdarsky series, Invaders, isn’t usually something I’d pick up. Initially, I was quite confused by the proceedings, mostly because my knowledge of the Invaders is minimal. But the mystery certainly picks up at the end.
I know a lot of people love Namor as a character and they’re definitely going to want to dive deep into this series which seems intent on humanising Namor’s often erratic behaviour. I really liked that the art captures the ambience of soldiers disassociated from the world around them, but I wish the art team had differentiated between the time periods more distinctly.
That was a quick Comic Book Review Round-Up for this week. Stay tuned for more next week—same Bat-Time, same Bat-Place!