Comic books 18 Dec 2010 01:26 pm
The first two comics I read out of this month’s stack (which, because I’m ultra-cheap and pick slow-boat-to-China shipping, is really last month’s stack) were Detective Comics #871 and Thor the Mighty Avenger #6.
I stopped reading reviews of Scott Snyder’s debut Detective issue when they all gushed effusive praise, afraid that the book itself wouldn’t live up to the lofty expectations these critics had created. No worries there: The book is rock solid. For readers like me who are jumping on because of our appreciation for Snyder’s work on American Vampire, the writer makes it easy to understand this Batman, who isn’t Bruce Wayne but is instead Dick Grayson, the former Robin.
The change in aliases shifts the Batman/Commissioner Gordon dynamic, something to which Snyder devotes a significant number of pages. This is appropriate considering the title of the book and Gordon’s status as Gotham City’s top cop. He’s obviously playing a key role in this run, something else to look forward to. The plot of this issue involves a “hormonal mutagen” that turns a child into a killing monster and connects (tangentially, thus far) with Killer Croc and the Mad Hatter. It’s a good piece of storytelling that will likely invite readers back for a second (or third) look as more pieces fall into place later in the arc.
Artistically, the book is on firm footing, as well. The lead story is illustrated with panache by Jock, the amazing one-named artist. I especially love the introduction of Batman, framed in a large window as rain pelts the glass. No matter how many stories the character has been in, his first appearance in any particular issue should be a capital letter Big Deal, as it is here.
Jock’s more minimalist take on the book is nicely contrasted by Francesco Francavilla in the Commissioner Gordon back-up story. Francavilla has an almost Ditko-esque quality to his work that is nicely augmented by his own coloring.
Together, this trio is a Detective team worth watching and reading. Who knew that in the waning days of 2010, DC could ever find a way to lure me back to a monthly Batman title?
Reading Thor the Mighty Avenger is a bittersweet experience because the book is so damn good, but still so damn cancelled as of its eighth issue.
In this outing, another great done-in-one by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee (along with Matt Wilson on colors) that nonetheless builds on what has come before, Thor takes on a shape-changing Heimdall at the gates of Asgard. Langridge choses to intercut the battle with later scenes of the Thunder God and Jane Foster enjoying an evening on the town (er, the world), viewing the Aurora Borealis as they continue to cement their relationship. The climax, which is Thor’s decision to stop challenging Heimdall for entrance into Asgard, is therefore neatly bookended with showing us his reason: a growing love for Jane.
Langridge has the freshest take on Thor that I’ve seen in years, and I feel that Marvel is robbing readers of a chance to discover and appreciate this title, despite my understanding that comics is a business and that titles must pull their own weight in sales. I hope that the early truncation still gives the team enough time to tack on some kind of resolution — or that maybe Marvel will relent and we can see the occasional Langridge/Samnee special somewhere down the road.