Sharing my (mostly spoiler free) thoughts on a couple of this weeks new comic releases because if I don’t make my quota for posts for the week I’m contractually obligated to wash Watson’s car over the weekend.
New Avengers 29 – The march towards the end continues with this Secret Wars branded issue. Full disclosure, I haven’t read much of Johnathon Hickman’s Avengers run. I head-scratched my way through a lot of the Infinity crossover as it dealt with characters and story lines that were new and I was unfamiliar with. My only other exposure to the run was via the Original Sin event tie-ins, which yielded an excellent story arc in Avengers 29-34 with the team continually jumping ahead in time.
Getting back to the issue at hand, it is mostly a continuation of the first Secret Wars branded issue Avengers 40. They do a good job of recapping the events, so you won’t be lost…well, if you are not familiar with the current comings and goings of the Illuminati and the whole incursion stuff, you may be lost a bit. The issue is low on action but high on moving the story forward as we approach the formation of Battleworld. (And seems to pay off a lot of dangling threads for dedicated Avengers readers.)
The cover is a bit of a massive head fake. I won’t spoil it for you…or maybe I just did. You will understand when you read it. Not for the casual reader, but recommended if you are at all interested in Secret Wars. And if you are an Avengers fan you are reading it anyway.
Spider-Man 2099 8 – The penultimate issue of Spider-Verse, which I hope you’ve been reading! (More on that in a later post hopefully.) In this issue we see Spider-Man 2099 and Lady Spider travel the multiverse to her home world (designated as Earth-803) where it is still the 1800’s, as they attempt to revive a fallen spider-in-arms.
The Spider-totems (as all the alternate versions of Spider-Man have come to be know via this event) get all the press, but we also get to see a lot of the alternate dimension Spider-Villains. In this case the “Six Men of Sinestry”. (“You know ‘Sinestry’ isn’t a word, right? Just so we’re clear.” “Yes it is!” “Is Not!”) . As intriguing as this band of villians is, none of them have actual super powers. So in battle against someone with the proportiate speed and strength of a spider…you can see how this ends. (Or do you?)
The issue holds up as a stand alone, but you will definitely get more out of it if you have been reading the entire event, especially since it leads directly into the February 11th finale in Amazing Spider-Man 14. (And don’t miss the epilogue in Amazing Spider-Man 15 on sale February 25.)
Batman 38 – Endgame Part 4
Is there a better creative team in superhero comics right now than Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo? And few can match their longevity, as aside from a scattered fill-in issue between major story arcs, the duo that started with the birth of the New 52 continue to churn out epic stories with no end in sight.
Endgame focuses on the return of the Joker, fresh with a new face. (Long story short, in Detective Comics #1 Joker decided it would be interesting (and sell comics) if he removed his own face. That flap of skin has been kicking around the New 52 ever since. But now, thanks to the modern miracles of plastic surgery, Joker is back to “normal”.)
The Joker has (surprise) poisoned Gotham city with a new deadly virus that is turning everyone into smiling, killing maniacs. It’s mostly typical Batman fare as he races to save (surprise) Commissioner Gordon. The issue gets dragged down a bit in the middle as we plod through a lot of prose, though it greatly furthers the story. Snyder is setting up a new aspect of the Joker that could be the scariest angle for him yet from a Gothamite perspective. The main story in this issue closes with a surprising twist that shows just how desperate Batman has to stop the Joker.
The issue also features a back up story with art by comic legend Sam Keith with his unique visuals. The backup story attempts to fill in some of the blanks, and extend upon the ideas that Snyder is presenting around the Joker in the main story, but I just don’t find it works. Maybe over the entire course of Endgame these back up stories will pay off, but it is easily skippable.
Like the other two issues I talked about above, you may be a little confused if you haven’t been reading the entire arc. It is an acceptable stand alone read, but mostly this is for the Bat fans already invested in Endgame.
As an aside, DC may need to reboot the New 52 (if Convergence isn’t doing this anyway) since it seems everyone knows Batman’s secret identity. Lex Luthor, the Joker, anyone with the ability to put two and two together after Nightwing’s identity was publicly revealed as Dick Grayson. Then again, this is a universe that can be fooled by a pair of reading glasses.