Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #104 (IDW Comics)
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have gone through a lot of changes in the past few months. Splinter has died, the brothers have gone their separate ways, a small community of mutants have carved out a living space in New York City, and the Turtles have a new ally with Jennika, the former human now humanoid turtle that is trying to understand her new life as a giant walking shelled mutant. Since the bombastic events of the “City At War” storyline that culminated in issue 100, IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been given a bit of a subdued storyline from writer/artist Sophie Campbell (who’s working with story outlines from Tom Waltz and TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman), and that’s served as as surprisingly welcome change of pace for the heroes in a half-shell. Read the rest of this entry
Hunt for Wolverine #1 (Marvel Comics)
Like all dead Marvel characters, it’s time for the original Wolverine to make his grand return to the comic racks. As the start of five (yup, FIVE) mini-series, The Hunt For Wolverine‘s one-shot special sets the stage well for the return of the feral mutant, which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, as it’s written and drawn by Charles Soule and David Marquez, two of Marvel’s best creators. That leads to a pretty solid stand alone issue that has a surprising amount of emotion behind it. Read the rest of this entry
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #1 (of 6) (DC Comics/IDW)
The original Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover was a massive success for DC and IDW, so it’s only natural that the two publishers would want to make a sequel. Bringing back original writer James Tynion IV and artist Freddie Williams II, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II is a welcome return to the worlds of these two mega franchises, but like the original series, it does take a little while to get the plot moving. Read the rest of this entry
Amazing Spider-Man #29 (Marvel Comics)
Not even The Amazing Spider-Man is free from the grasp of Marvel’s Secret Empire event. Unlike most event tie-ins though, Amazing Spider-Man #29 feels like a natural continuation of the stories Dan Slott has been building up in his run that just happens to dovetail nicely into the latest Marvel mega event. In fact, with this issue being the return of Doctor Octopus, I was looking forward more to this storyline than any other aspect of Secret Empire. Luckily writers Dan Slott and Christos Gage, with artist Stuart Immonen, do not disappoint in the slightest. Read the rest of this entry
The Old Guard #1 (Image Comics)
Greg Rucka has made quite the name for himself thanks to books like Lazarus, and now he’s starting up another creator owned series with Image Comics, The Old Guard. Billed as a mixture of “John Wick and Highlander”, The Old Guard is an awesome mash up of immortals, black ops, and super violence, but has the same strong characterizations that you would expect from a book with Greg Rucka’s name on it.
The Old Guard focuses on five immortals that have been battling or centuries. They’ve seen everything, and Andy, our lead character, is constantly searching for the one battle that will finally kill her. When the group is sent on a simple rescue mission, their secret is revealed thanks to a hidden camera, leading to a whole mess of new problems for them. Read the rest of this entry
The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1 (Marvel Comics)
The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows was one of the more successful Secret Wars tie-in series from last year, so it’s no surprise that Marvel would spin that series off into an ongoing. While this isn’t the return of the Peter Parker/Mary Jane marriage that many longtime Spidey fans have wanted (myself included), it does present a fun “What If” universe that isn’t that far off from what we currently get in the regular Marvel Universe. Under Gerry Conway and Ryan Stegman, Renew Your Vows has been hyped as Marvel’s answer to DC’s former Lois & Clark series, and while it has a lot of that series’ same charms, it’s also a pretty great debut for a new Spider-Man series as well. Read the rest of this entry
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #6 (of 6) (DC Comics/IDW)
It’s safe to say with this final issue that Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been one of the strangest intercompany crossovers in the history of the Dark Knight’s career. It’s featured the Dark Knight eat pizza with four oversized turtles, and battle a Bane that has been transformed into a Mastodon. But at the same time, James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II’s miniseries has a ton of heart, and nails what makes both Batman and the Ninja Turtles so beloved by many. It’s that heart that helps elevate this awesome, but rushed, finale.
This issue finds Batman and Robin finally squaring off with Ra’s Al Ghul and Shredder. With an army of Foot Clan and League of Assassin ninjas, as well as the mutagen infected members of Batman’s rogues gallery, the fight isn’t in Batman’s favor. Lucky for him, the Turtles and Splinter arrive to help even the odds, leading to some spectacularly geeky moments, like Michelangelo facing off with a Polar Bear version of Mr. Freeze and Batman and Shredder having an absolutely devastating fight. Of course, as awesome as the fights are, they cut into the other motivation of the series: getting the Turtles back to their dimension before their mutagen reverts. Tynion’s script has to rush into getting the Turtles back home, and that’s the flaw with this issue.
Actually, it’s the flaw of this miniseries as a whole. The relationship between the Turtles and Batman comes very quickly, and the villains’ master plan is never really that well established. In the end, there’s simply too much ground for Tynion to cover in this miniseries, so much so that I’m surprised it was kept to only six issues. Eight, nine, or even ten would have given Tynion plenty of time to have the Turtles and Batman form a more believable bond, and it would’ve also fleshed out Shredder and Ra’s plan more.
More issues in this series would’ve also given Freddie Williams II time to hone his style. While he started off as a better Turtles artist than a Batman one, by this issue Williams has finally hit his stride and delivers some truly awesome panels. There are still a few weird panels and poses here and there, but it’s nice to see Williams deliver on the potential he showed in the first issue.
While Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ final issue is a little rushed, this is still the best crossover of the year so far. For all of the weak moments, Tynion and Williams really nail the characterizations of all the players involved, and deliver some of the coolest moments in comics this year. While there wasn’t as much time for this miniseries to cover, as much as it wanted to, I have no doubt that we’ll hear of a sequel coming soon.
Vision #7 (Marvel Comics)
Tom King’s Vision series has been one of the strangest All New All Different Marvel titles. Telling the story of the synthetic android that creates a family and moves to the suburbs, it’s part family drama, part psychological thriller. And it’s pretty damn spectacular. The latest issue focuses on the Vision’s long history with Scarlet Witch, and touches on different moments throughout their relationship.
Tom King creates an interesting look into just how the Vision has gotten to the point of creating his own family, something that, as this issue reveals, he and Wanda Maximoff had not only done, but had a huge blow out argument over. King brings out the stages of being in a relationship beautifully here. There’s the initial infatuation, the first fight, the heartbreak of breaking up, and the coming to terms with the relationship you have. It’s all done so well that you’ll forget that the two lovebirds are a woman and a robot.
Michael Walsh fills in for series regular artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and while Walsh’s style is very similar to Walta’s, he offers a lot more detail in his environments and faces. Not only that, Walsh effortlessly mixes up his character designs to show the passage of time in Vision and Scarlet Witch’s relationship. You get a ton of different eras of Avengers in this issue, and Walsh depicts them wonderfully.
I was hesitant on the Vision at first, and it’s admittedly a VERY slow burn, but Tom King is doing things in this book that defy expectations. Vision is taking a look into what it’s like to actually be this character, and brings up a lot of interesting questions about the Vision. Since this new storyline is building up to a confrontation that’s been hinted at since the beginning of the series, I don’t recommend starting here. But I highly recommend that you seek out the first collection when it hits. It’s guaranteed to be unlike anything else you’re reading.
Batman #50 (DC Comics)
Bruce Wayne is back, and he’s ready to reclaim his city in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman #50. At this point, thinking that Bruce Wayne would stay “dead” and Jim Gordon would be the new Batman forever would be a foolish notion, and that’s not even considering the fact that Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice hits this week. But it’s a testament to Snyder and Capullo’s near perfect symbiosis as writer and artist that this issue of Batman works as well as it does. Read the rest of this entry
Rocketeer At War #1 (of 4) (IDW)
I’m a massive fan of The Rocketeer, so when IDW had announced a few years ago that they had the license for the character and were bringing new stories to comic shops I was very excited. But a lot of the new stories left me cold, and after his crossover with The Spirit ended, I figured I’d seen the last of new adventures with Cliff Secord. Thankfully that’s not the case, as Marc Guggenheim and Dave Bullock’s Rocketeer At War hits this week, and finally reveals the untold story of how the Rocketeer entered World War 2. Read the rest of this entry
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (of 6) (DC Comics/IDW)
IDW and DC continue their crossover series with two characters that I never expected to ever cross paths: Batman and The Ninja Turtles. While both are ninjas and primarily stick to the shadows, there’s not as much in common as say, Star Trek and Green Lantern. However, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ first issue is a blast to read, and James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II have a ton of fun bringing these two franchises together. Read the rest of this entry