Superman #23.4: Parasite

I once wrote that the average supervillain is a toxic combination of need, ego and tragedy, but that’s not the only origin.  Some of them are just crappy people.  Not evil people.  Not villainous people.  Just… crappy.  Entitled. Arrogant.  Whatever it is, there are some people out there who are just a drain on society.  That’s a little harder to turn into a giant punch-up in comics, however, so it’s pretty rare as supervillain origins go.  And yet, in Superman #23.4: Parasite, cartoonist Aaron Kuder attempts precisely that, with fantastic results.  Continue reading

Justice League of America #7.4: Black Adam

Justice League‘s long-running Shazam! back-ups were one of the most pleasant surprises of the New 52′s early days.  I was far from alone in my reluctance over the direction Geoff Johns was taking with the story – in fact, I still think it’s a mistake; making your characters more bland is rarely a good long-term strategy – but the fact is, those character-centric shorts slowly building an origin story for Earth’s Mightiest Mortal were among the best work Johns has done in the last decade.  Johns has also typically been at his best working with villains, where his gleefully juvenile id can really run free.  So hearing that Johns would be collaborating with Sterling Gates on a Black Adam one-shot was easily enough to tempt me into giving the title a chance.  Continue reading

Guardians of the Galaxy #6

I am The Watcher. I have been tasked to watch and record pivotal events on the Earth. I have never to act. Only to observe. Her  name is Angela.

Guardians of the Galaxy, in my opinion, is the most solid book Marvel is publishing these days.  Most Marvel books fell “mainstream” or “forced” and are only there for that next big event. Guardians doesn’t feel like that, it feels unique and is a heck of a lot of fun. Continue reading

The Other Dead #1

The Other Dead intrigued me for one simple reason, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and founder of Heavy Metal magazine Kevin Eastman was involved in this.  That’s what made me at least want to try out the first issue to see what this was about. As I read onwards I learned that Joshua Ortega was the writer and co-creator on this project along with Digger T Mesch, based on a film treatment by Mesch. Interestingly enough, Kevin Eastman is credited as “Creative Consultant” on this project. The Other Dead ends up being a story that on first glance may have you scratching your head, but then you start reading and realize that this book is kind of insane, and not in a good way.

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Batman/Superman #3.1: Doomsday

If anyone alive could make Doomsday even mildly interesting, it was Greg Pak.  Before his game-changing, fan-favorite Planet Hulk redefined the character, Hulk was dead in the water.  Pak didn’t just find the beating green heart beneath our favorite green giant’s chest, he recontextualized the character’s entire world for maximum effect.  Here, he has another chance to bring a merciless bruiser to life by taking it way out of its typical element.  Does he still have that old green magic?   Continue reading

Zero #1

Zero #1 has been a particular curiosity to me. Ales Kot wrote a sadly short but solid run on Suicide Squad, excellent work on Wild Children, and has been the kind of creator you want to keep your eye on. Knowing little about Zero #1 going into this I knew next to nothing going into this one. Outside of the cover by the artist on the title, Michael Walsh catching my eye, that’s about as much as I knew. I’ve become a fan of walking into these books blind as a bat. Continue reading

Swamp Thing #23.1: Arcane

It was inevitable that we would see a number of creators trying their hand at the horror genre for Villain’s Month.  Indeed, I’m surprised we haven’t seen more – it’s the only genre that really naturally lends itself to the atmosphere and story that the DC Universe is embroiled in right now.  Many writers who went, I think, for horror just ended up with violence and gore; writer Charles Soule, however, seems to understand that horror works best when you care - and he is very good at drawing you in.  The story this will likely most remind people of is Swamp Thing #0, the history of Anton Arcane, but make no mistake: Swamp Thing #23.1 is that issue’s superior in every way imaginable.   Continue reading

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