The holiday season is in full swing and so #1 issues are on relatively short order. Most arcs have just finished in the hopes of getting a trade paperback out before Christmas, and others have only half-finished their run or are taking a Winter break. Luckily, Comicphiles is here to help you find that #1 festive fix and avoid impulse buying a #2.
DC Super Powers #1
If you can read this book without cracking a smile, you are dead inside. It’s as simple as that.
DC Super Powers stars all of the World’s Greatest Superheroes… Except Batman. The Dark Knight has gone missing and it’s up to Superman to defend Gotham while Wonder Woman tries to locate Batman. As the story unfolds, our heroes need to clear the streets of a wide array of villains in order to find their missing friend. It’s as simple as that really.
Written by Art Baltazar and Franco, with Art also taking up art duties, this book is some good old fashioned fun. The team are well known for other books like Tiny Titans and the Itty Bitty series. There are some great visual jokes with a nice mix of dialogue and action. It’s the dream combination for introducing someone to the medium.
DC Super Powers is an absolute joy to behold. It is aimed at younger readers, but it has the hallmark of a great kids’ book in that adults can enjoy it too. I’ll say again, if you have a younger reader that you’d like to introduce to comics, this book is the perfect stocking stuffer… After it’s been appropriately bagged and boarded, of course.
You know what? I totally will keep reading this. The humour is great and I’m in love with the ‘Saturday Morning Cartoon’ style art.
One Marvel event ends, so another must begin. Except, Civil War II still hasn’t ended, despite the ending having passed in about 3 separate books and… Actually, you know what? Never mind. Let’s just dive right into IvX with fresh eyes, beholden of no blame.
…Because Fox Won’t Give Up The Rights To X-Men
IvX stands for Inhumans Versus X-Men. The core of the story is that the Terrigen Mists, which cause certain humans to become Inhumans, are killing any Mutants that come in contact with them. Naturally, the Mutants want them gone or else there’ll be No More Mutants (again), while the Inhumans need them to remain or there’ll be no more Inhumans. (Which would seriously hurt Marvel’s new marketing trajectory.)
At the opening, Hank McCoy of the X-Men has been working with Iso of the Inhumans to devise a cure for the Mist’s effects. Their attempts have thus far been unsuccessful, but hey, of course they were, or else this huge event would be over pretty quick. This kicks off a series of battles and debates between the Mutants and Inhumans that spans tens of characters.
Here we have pitfall the first. Across all these individuals there is almost zero variation in character voice. This is a beginner’s issue to be mindful of in any team book. In a book as dialogue heavy as this, it’s a huge oversight. The second major pitfall is somewhat linked to this, in that the characters have had their personalities blanched. It all comes together to create a series of exchanges that just don’t feel like anything. Each revelation, and there are a fair few in the opening issue, is devoid of the magnitude it should have. There’s just so little gravitas to these supposedly world shattering events.
Time Keeps On Slippin’ Slippin’ Slippin’ Into The Future
IvX is the continuation of Uncanny X-Men, a series that should’ve ended 2 years ago. Unfortunately, and perhaps a tad ironically, the series was way behind schedule when the Time Runs Out event came up and so the story was left half finished. The shockwave of that hiccup is still being felt today. Time from each X-story is spent attempting to fix those mistakes, but never succeeding in any coherent fashion.
On a positive note, the art in IvX is beautiful. Kenneth Rocafort uses a gorgeous, hatched pencil style that’s I’ve rarely seen used in these big events. I’ll be keeping an eye out for his work in future. Rotating artist Leinil Yu makes use of a more standard digital style. It’s plain enough, but pretty nonetheless.
I probably won’t be continuing this, but if I hear things are picking up I’ll likely grab the trade.
Batman Rebirth Annual #1
For someone who has been almost exclusively reading Marvel over DC for the last half decade, I sure do harp on about Rebirth a lot. That’s really just a statement of how good it all is, and the Batman Rebirth Annual is testament to how much the creative teams understand the characters they’re working with.
The Rebirth Annual is an anthology of festive Batman stories. These range in tone from humorous to heartfelt, and never miss the target they’re aiming for. Each one is the work of an experienced Batman writer, including the likes of Scott Snyder and Paul Dini. Dini’s short section is reminiscent of an old Batman: The Animated Series episode, ‘Harley’s Holiday’. As someone who grew up watching that version of Batman, this was a joy to read. (Although it was pretty strange reading Dini’s Batman unaccompanied by Bruce Timm’s art.
While all the stories are enjoyable, my favourite of the lot is the first entry. The opening story is written by Tom King, the current writer of Batman. It retells the story of how Bruce and Alfred met Ace, The Bat-Hound. It has that melancholy sweetness that all the best Christmas Specials have.. Along with just a dash of Adam West’s Bruce Wayne.