The is one of the last weeks of heavy promised comics reviews. I say this because I am graduating soon and have no idea where I will go and what I will be making post college. Let's not dwell on that though. Comics!
Also this week - no tie-ins! :O
Batman: Gates of Gotham #5
The story of Gates of Gotham was ultimately about families, both what brings the together and what they truly mean. Over the past 4 issues the story has been building up this back history of the families of Gotham - the Waynes (Batman), the Kanes (Batwoman), the Elliots (Hush), the Cobblepots (the Penguin) and the Gates. The Gates constructed the four bridges of the city, each named after on of the families but eventually the two Gates brothers went mad due to their construction/diving suits and one ended up in Arkham.
In the modern time the last remaining Gates family member turned to try and destroy the bridges as revenge for what he saw as the shaming of his family name. The entire new Bat family teams up to deal with last of the Gates eventually stopping him.
The dynamics of the family and the history come together especially at the end. With solid art and writing it is nice to see the Batfamily wrapping things up in the final issue.
Batman Inc #8
I have never had such a differing opinion over the art and writing in a comic than in this issue. Instead of illustrating traditionally, the comic was digitally rendered using 3-D models as far as I can tell. Here is the thing. Video game tie in comics hire comic illustrators for the reason that digital character comics look horrible 90% of the time because they are either rushed models or they are so undetailed that it looks lazy.
They have reason though, a loose reason, as Bruce Wayne shows a group of potential investors his new virtual reality which actually recreates a city. When the meeting gets hijacked by zombie warriors of the King Worm though Bruce Wayne sends in Batman Inc spyware killers to deal with them. The question then becomes who introduced the virus and despite the danger hook of "if you die in the game, you die in life" the issue is a fun read. It also serves as a fun discussion about how we can separate digital lives and it is really in depth. But damn that art and damn the long wait until the next issue of Batman Inc. (The art kept this from being one of my two weekly picks.
Deadpool who has been in the insane asylum finally gets out using a incredibly well crafted scheme as his character actually develops. Deadpool realizes that he's let himself go and he's stopped really doing anything in a dream sequence with Death and since he lost his voices he gets out. He gets Foolkiller, his enemy in jail, to switch places and when Foolkiller is pardoned Deadpool is free to leave. Except that he is sort of in love with his psychologist who is in love with him and everything is starting to get real for the Merc with a Mouth.
Seeing Deadpool out of his comfort zone has been really interesting. Limited violence, toned down humor and Deadpool actually curing his issues. Sure the next writer will probably change everything back to normal but this experience has been solid.
Dungeons and Dragons #10
As the guild heads down into the Underdark for a heist the plan actually goes off without a hitch. Every team member does their part so they can gain access to the Guide of the Gates to Eldarin leader. Fate being what it is though, the party is forced to deal with unexpected changes like an old foe resurfacing and possibly something bigger going on.
The series itself is solidly written and drawn but if there were one thing I could change, I would love a slightly longer recap page which sounds weird to say. Still, solid issue.
Shit gets real as both Black Bolt and the Kree invade the captured city of the High Evolutionary with the Fantastic Four. The problem is that when you work with villains you need to plan for everything like the resurgence of a space king that everyone thought was dead, your fellow supervillains betraying you or even your child being busted out of time out by her friend.
FF continues to be a fun and beautifully told story that seems to be leading somewhere really big with a crew of well thought out characters from a variety of backgrounds doing what the do best.
Mystery Men #4
The problem with any team coming together is that personal politics get brought into things. Romance, fears, history. The Mystery Men have been divided into two teams - the more reasonable heroes the Operative, the Aviatrix and Revenant one one side and Achilles and the Surgeon as the team who will do anything. As the two teams struggle against each, the General has teams with his resurrected goddess Nox to steal children for a sacrifice including the Lindbergh baby. The thing is, the General is just a tool to Nox and the tool is getting broken - okay that sounds hackneyed but this series is great and if you don't want to get back issues, wait for the trade which will be worth it.
The Ultimates #1
The Ultimates starts off with a gang who look similar to the Future Foundation building a giant mushroom cloudy base as Nick Fury settles in to deal with Asgardian miscreants who are lifting bear. Meanwhile Iron Man continues living the high life until he is called to remotely deal with a ship threatening the world only to find it empty. Hawkeye meanwhile is one duty elsewhere reporting and the new Captain Britain is called in to deal with the Asgardians and a bear that is drinking bear.
Bear drinking bear.
And then stuff explodes and this wins as my favorite comic of the week.
Uncanny X-force #13
As the group faces evil future Age of Apocalypse Wolverine who is possessed by whatever gives Apocalypse his power, things go downhill. The Black Legion - the group of combination superheroes that are villains face off against the remaining X-men to fight for the life seed that will be able to keep Archangel back in the real world from turning evil. The thing is, there were supposed to be two life seeds and there is only one, Wolverine doesn't seem to want them to go and when they finally get back, the Dark Beast is waiting there with a team of supervillains ready to steal the seed.
Xombi is a series that suffered from poor publication choices - namely that a Vertigo-styled book was published under the DC label meaning a lot of people who might have enjoyed it never got it. That said though with the reboot and cancellation of the book, there is not much that can be done in the situation.
The final Xombi issue deals with the Floating Skull base and the controller and his crazy Dr Who style monsters (and when I say that I mean they are incredibly creative and poetic in a spooky way).
The book is one I struggled with. I had to be in a mood to read it but this last week that it was running I was in the mood and so it wins Best Comic of the Week.