What Comics I Read – January 6, 2019

One of my goals for 2019 is to write at least two blog articles each week. To accomplish this and another (read the comics I buy in a timely fashion), I decided to write about the five books I read each week that I love and the five that I did not get. Another reason I want to do this is that I buy too many comics that I do not generally enjoy. It’s not generally because the book isn’t good – it’s because I cannot follow what in the world is happening.

Most of these books came out over a month ago. I read 25 comics this week (as of the writing of this post).

Top Five of the Week

1. The Immortal Hulk #10 – Ewing, Bennett, Jose, Mounts

I have tried Hulk books before and never stuck past the first arc. I generally do not understand the character or why it interests anyone. Then Al Ewing took a horrific character and gave him a horror story. I enjoy watching the plot continue but I have no idea where it is going. I know little about the characters involved or their histories. But I flip through this book three or four times any time I read the issue.

The art team of Joe Bennett and Ruy Jose makes this book beautiful and haunting. I have seen a lot of Bennett’s work when he worked at DC and this is leaps and bounds above that work. The Hulk has been huge, scary, divided into parts, and shrunk into a skinny form. But at each turn, I’m hooked. Lastly, the color work of Paul Mounts should win lots of awards. The greens and reds explode off the page.

In this issue, the story takes another turn that I want to read now. I’m sure I already have the next issue.

2. Batman Annual #3 – Taylor, Schmidt

I enjoy Annuals because they are generally done-in-one stories. I have no idea why DC released this issue in November (besides the fifth week) as it’s a story for the summer. But I want to see Tom Taylor take over a DC book soon.

Taylor tells a story about Bruce and Alfred that focuses on a new villain that Batman does not take seriously. While injured, Alfred needs to rescue him and bring him to Leslie Thompkins. Nothing unique or special about that story. But when I finished it, I smiled. It’s a perfect little story.

Otto Schmidt gets bounced around DC a bit. I’m hoping he gets to work on a big book soon. I’d love to see him work on a Gotham book with a small cast.

3. Winter Soldier #1 – Higgins, Reis

I read COWL by the same team. I loved the premise and ended up bored by the book. I could not really figure out what the story was. And part of that seemed like it wrapped too quickly. I also had a hard time figuring out who everyone was as Rod Reis’s faces can look too similar.

Some of those issues remain in this book. The new story arc for Bucky is that he wants to give people a second-chance. In this issue, a Chicago cop wrapped up in a conspiracy of his fellow corrupt cops got a second chance in Wisconsin. However, when I saw him the second time, I did not immediately notice that it’s the same person.

But I love this premise and Reis’s artwork works – mainly.

4. Shazam #1 – Johns, Eaglesham, Sen, Atiyeh

I’m a big fan of Geoff Johns. He tells good superhero stories when he’s not ripping off appendages. And I love Dale Eaglesham. When they worked together on JSA many years ago, I thought the book never looked better. This book also looks wonderful.

Shazam starts by laying out the universe and what Billy Batson’s life looks like. We meet all of the cast as they come in to save the day together. They banter and talk like kids – in both forms. I look forward to more of this series.

In the end of the issue is a back-up strip that Sen draws. The story focuses on Mary who got a terrible turn many years back and I hope this brings her back to the forefront of the DCU. She’s a fun character and Sen’s art pops. It misses the pop feeling of the character and the lightness. I love the cliffhanger at the end as well.

5. Detective Comics #994 – Tomasi, Mahnke, Mendoza, Baron

I did not like the previews of this book as it seemed like we were going down a path that did not interest me. I do not care for revisiting the death of Bruce’s parents. I find it trite and it happens every few years. But it felt like a mystery. It read like the beginning of a detective story, which this book has not done in a long time.

It also does not hurt to have Doug Mahnke as the penciller. Very few books that he has participated in do not sit on my shelves. Since I discovered his art on his Superman run with Mark Schultz, he remains one of my favorite artists. The way he draws the darkness of Gotham with the horrific new villain bounces off the page. The double-page title spread is why you hire Mahnke – and both his inker and colorist do his work justice and brings out the best parts of it.

Honorable Mentions

American Carnage #1, Deathstroke #38, West Coast Avengers #5

Five That Did Not Hit For Me

House of Whispers #4

I have no idea what’s going on in this book. It looks great and I am interested in the premise. But I cannot follow who any of these characters are or why they are doing anything.

Goddess Mode #1

The last four pages redeemed the book a bit, but I do not understand the premise. The book did not make me want to grab the second issue. It seemed like a prologue to a book. The art works and I like Robbi Rodriguez a lot. I read all of FBP for his art but this also seemed rushed. I wanted more energy and more definition. I don’t comprehend the world or what needs to happen.

The Unexpected #7

A Final Crisis mash-up that needs some editing. The end of the previous issue was the Superman gravestone. Where did it go? The art changes on this book have also hurt a lot. It seems rushed and muddled. The interesting character designs disappear. And the plot went way off the tracks three issues ago. I hope this makes more sense when it’s all over after next issue. But I think it will just stand as a mess.

Electric Warriors #2

I like Steve Orlando’s ideas. But after a promising first issue, this book fell flat. Travel Foreman’s art shines as usual. I love the character designs and the underlying premise. I just felt like all of the intrigue and mystery from the previous issue disappeared. It became a colosseum issue where one fight takes place and then another fight is set up. And these fights matter! At least, that’s what they want us to feel

By Night #6

I want to like this book. But I have no idea what in the world needs to happen. All of the dilemmas surround an interesting story, but I am not invested. I hope this book reads well in a collection as well. But I just read them and put the issue down when I’m done. I don’t feel the need to reread it. I don’t think I get it. This book might just not be for me.

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