Comic Reviews: Batman and Captain America!
Batman #50 (DC Comics)
It’s the big day. Wedding bells are in the air for The Dark Knight and Catwoman, and DC is pulling out all the stops for their nuptials. From exclusive retailer variant covers to giant press release parties, all eyes are on Tom King and Mikel Janin’s Batman #50. There’s a TON of hype surrounding this book, so much so that DC felt confident enough to release the book on July 4th, typically one of the worst weeks for comic sales. So, how’s the final result?
If you haven’t been spoiled already, don’t worry, I won’t spoil it here. But I will say that savvy readers of King’s run have likely already pieced together the events of this issue long before the New York Times spoiled the event, but even with that, there’s still a lot to like about this issue. If anything, this feels like the perfect love letter to Batman and Catwoman, as King delves into both character’s psyches and gives us some really heartfelt and emotional moments for the two of them. Each character gives us their version of their history together, and it’s a lot of fun to gain new insight from these two perspectives. There’s also an extremely touching moment between Bruce Wayne and Alfred that honestly had me fighting back tears.
This special issue features guest art from the likes of Jim Lee, Frank Miller, Neal Adams, Greg Capullo, and more, but the main artist is Mikel Janin, who delivers some truly great work here. Janin’s understated style works really well with Tom King’s script, and is deftly suited for both the action sequences and the moments where it’s just Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle thinking of their lives together. There’s a great layout towards the middle of the book with the two walking towards each other that’s truly stunning, and it’s arguably one of the my favorite pages of the year.
Some people may be upset with what transpires in Batman #50, and it is a victim of being overhyped as something it’s not, but I have to admit, I still really enjoyed this issue. The last page adds an interesting new level to Tom King’s run that will propel the series going forward in a new way, and will make you wonder what will happen once that reveal makes it’s way to both Batman and Catwoman.
Captain America #1 (Marvel Comics)
In a fitting form of marketing, the new relaunch of Captain America hits stands today, the 4th of July. With the new creative team of Ta Nehisi Coates and artist Lienil Francis Yu, the time is right for the Sentinel of Liberty to make his grand return to comics, even if the last issue of his previous series just wrapped up a few weeks ago.
After stopping an attack from an army of Nuke soldiers, Captain America realizes that his country no longer believes in him. And why should they? As far the general public knows, Steve Rogers was the head of Hydra and helped them take over the country back in Secret Empire. This crisis of faith in Cap is the driving force of this opening issue, and while there’s some mysterious goings on in Russia, this issue is more about Steve Rogers struggle to reconcile the current state of our country than an action extravaganza (though there’s plenty of cool action moments too).
This series is quite the step up for Ta Nehisi Coates, who got his start at Marvel writing the acclaimed Black Panther. He’s still on that series, but it’s fascinating to see Coates stretch some new writing muscles with Captain America. While it’s weird that he’s touching on themes that Mark Waid also covered in the start of his previous Captain America run, I have to admit that Coates’ take on the material is way more meaningful than Waid’s, and it almost makes me think that Secret Empire was worth slogging through. Coates’ characterizations of Cap, Sharon Carter, Bucky, and even General Ross are rock solid, and he covers our current fractured political world with a tone that’s neither heavy handed nor too obtuse to understand.
Lienil Francis Yu is one of the few Marvel big league artists yet, and his art in Captain America #1 is arguably the best it’s been. In the past few years, Yu’s art has looked very rushed, but here he’s taken the time to make sure it’s up to his usual standards. This really is a great showcase for Yu’s art, as he details some stellar action beats, but also pulls on the heartstrings with a surprisingly moving dinner between Steve and Sharon. While I don’t expect Yu to last long on this series, I do hope that the other issues he’ll be on will be up to this same level of quality.
If you were put off by Cap after the events of Secret Empire, you should definitely give this new start a chance. Coates and Yu really do try to use the events of that misfire of an event in the best way possible, and they’ve ended up crafting a really unique look into the mind of one Marvel’s greatest heroes. We all know that Cap will snap out of his funk and get back to being the hero we all look up to, but it’s interesting to take the ride and see him grapple with the fallout of his evil double’s actions.
Posted on July 4, 2018, in Comic book reviews and tagged Batman, Captain America, DC Comics, Lienil Yu, Marvel Comics, MIkel Janin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Tom King. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.