Comic Reviews: Batman,Uncanny Avengers, and Punk Rock Jesus!
It’s here. It’s finally here. The storyline I’ve been waiting for nearly a year has finally started. For the past few months, I’ve gobbled up every snippet of news I could on Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s next Batman story “Death Of The Family”. I’ve read the interviews, drooled over the art, and did my best to avoid the spoilers. So now that the storyline that brings my favorite villain back to comics is out, did it live up to my expectations?
Yes. And then some.
I’m keeping this as spoiler free as possible, but let me say this: Joker is back, and he’s not messing around. From the chilling opening sequence we see how deadly the Joker is right now, as he casually walks into the Gotham Police Department and bends them all to his horrific will.What then turns into your typical Joker/Batman story suddenly has a dark and disturbing twist. The Joker has been gone for a year, and he’s determined to make up for lost time. Even Harley Quinn is afraid of him. “He’s not my Mr. J anymore” she says, and thanks to the work of Snyder and Capullo (“Snypullo” from here on out), you actually feel bad for her. And speaking of Harley, the back up story featuring her and Mr. J, also written by Snyder and James Tynion IV (with art by Jock), is just as good as the main feature, and drives home how messed up her relationship with Joker really is.
Snyder and Capullo already proved themselves as an excellent team on the “Court Of Owls” story arc that started Batman in the New 52. With this issue, they solidify themselves as one of the best Batman creative teams of all time, and while it’s too early to tell, we may have one of the best Joker stories from them as well. From the first pages to jaw dropping cliffhanger, Batman #13 does not let up the pace, and is the perfect jumping on point for readers who want to see what all the fuss is about. Get it soon, before Mr. J comes for you.
Uncanny Avengers #1
Marvel Now! begins…now with Rick Remender and John Cassaday’s Uncanny Avengers. Consisting of members of the X-Men and The Avengers, UA‘s first issue is a set up one, but is filled with enough great moments to make this worth a purchase.
Directly picking up from the events of Avengers vs. X-Men, the issue touches on Professor Xavier’s funeral, Cyclops in jail, and Captain America’s recent decision to make a larger effort in helping the mutants are the driving forces behind the issue. Of the three, I particularly liked Alex Summers’ seeing his brother in prison. The conversation between Cyclops and Havok really made the issue for me, and touched on some great themes that I’m sure a lot of long time Marvel fans were wondering while AvX was going on. After that, Captain America and Thor show up and we’re off to the races (after Thor expresses his love for lattes). What follows next is a mysterious attack from Avalanche, and a small skirmish between Scarlet Witch and Rogue, who for some reason is more pissed at Scarlet Witch for House Of M than for Cyclops killing Professor X, before being attacked by the oddest super villain team I’ve ever seen.
I have to commend Rick Remender for his script in this issue. While obviously working within the confines of the Marvel editorial, he still makes this one hell of an enjoyable read. Some of Cap’s dialogue was a little corny at times, but the plot Remender is hinting at has a lot of promise, and the last page definitely has my interest piqued for the next issue. And as for the art? It’s John Cassaday! OF COURSE the art is good! My only hope is that he can stay on for longer than 3 issues. Uncanny Avengers what makes comics awesome: a great writer + a great artist, sprinkled with a fantastic cliffhanger.
Punk Rock Jesus #4 (of 6)
Punk Rock Jesus continues to kick ass and take names with it’s fourth issue, in which we finally get some more background on Thomas, the badass IRA member head of security for Slate, as well as what became of Chris’ mother after last issue’s ending. We also finally see the reasoning behind the title of the story, and I honestly could not see it fit in any other way. Chris suffers the biggest loss of his entire life, which finally causes him to start questioning the world around him. Moving beyond the firewalls and doctored videos and texts provided by the company that “owns” him, the would be clone of Jesus Christ starts to make big decisions that start to change his beliefs, and those of the people who worship him. Before seeing how messed up the world really is, Chris takes shelter in the punk band “The Flak Jackets”, and eventually joins up with them. Now, armed with his own army of punk rockers, he starts a cause against everything he was brought up to believe.
Writer/artist/creator Sean Murphy has blown me away with Punk Rock Jesus, and this series is already going on my “Best of The Year” list. Murphy challenges a lot of preconceived notions about the government, music, and yes, faith in this series, and has made something truly unique on the comic stands. I cannot recommend Punk Rock Jesus enough. Books like these deserve more attention then they get, even if they make you feel a little uncomfortable with the topics they discuss.