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Singles Going Steady: Floppies Roundup for 1/14/2013

A comic review article by: Jason Sacks, Danny Djeljosevic

 

 

Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin's weekly single issue review roundup.

 

Not everything gets covered in Singles, so here are the single issues that got reviewed separately:

 

 

Sweet Tooth #40 

(Jeff Lemire; DC/Vertigo)

Rating: 5 stars

 

 

 

Jeff Lemire concludes the adventures of Sweet Tooth, our favorite horny bastard in a strange post-apocalyptic future, with an elegant and elegiac final issue that works as the perfect conclusion of a classy and magnificent series.

After all the chasing and all the terror and fear and anguish and torture and all the emotional and physical pain that Jeff Lemire's singular characters have experienced in the previous 39 issues of this book, Lemire brings readers a conclusion that leaves us with a sense of joy and peace and deep utopian optimism. Characters find real joy in their lives, reach real closure with their problems, and build families and futures with a beautiful sense of the world moving in circles -- echoing the past with a future that feels both familiar and different from what we expect.

 

 

Lemire nails the landing in this issue, delivering a conclusion that feels completely right and appropriate to all that happened before. Despite the fact that the human race is wiped out in this final chapter, it is still a bright and optimistic view of the future. Sweet Tooth has been a classic series, and this final issue is a classic conclusion to the series.

- Jason Sacks

 

Change #2 (of 4)

(Ales Kot, Morgan Jeske, Sloane Leong, Ed Brisson; Image)

4.5

 

 

 

After a strong and relatively straightforward first issue, Kot and Jeske go nuts in the second as wheels turn furiously and neither creator stops to spoon-feed you the answers. I'm especially fond of the sheer density of Change -- the four-tier layouts that often reach double digits but don't feel cluttered, the gradually epic story that blossoms from a set of "mundane" characters, the insane reveal on the final page that begs the question of what could possibly happen next.

 

 

While some less creative, dreadfully uninteresting critics were quick to pan the thing, I found Change #2 exhilarating in the same way I enjoy the best Grant Morrison comics -- it's something different that challenges you to keep up instead of just giving you the same failed movie pitches and toy tie-ins every month. To me it's not necessarily clear what Change is really about, but that's why I'm excited to read the rest. So I can find out.

- Danny Djeljosevic

 

Action Comics #16 

(Grant Morrison, Brad Walker, Rags Morales, Sholly Fisch, Chris Sprouse; DC)

Rating: 4 stars

 

 

 

Has there ever been a super-team as directly targeted towards the dorkiest of dorky comics fans than the Legion of Super-Heroes? Not to sound superior to your typical Legion fan because I've always loved the incredibly high-concept weirdness of the Legion, but the super-teens of the 31st century have always been a little insular, a little overly geeky, a bit badly costumed, incredibly continuity bound, and monumentally confusing. The concept of a giant team of heroes in the far future is pretty awesomely inventive and comics universe wacky, but lately in execution the adventures of the Legion have been for cultists only.

But of course Grant fucking Morrison, who has this uncanny ability to somehow figure out the right way to approach most any dorky hero concept, here makes the Legion not just an interesting group of heroes, but a group that's legitimately exciting and intriguing and truly heroic and exactly the sorts of ways that we vague Legion fans have long dreamed about. Go Mozzer! The scenes with the Legion at the beginning of Action #16 are legitimately exciting and fun, with a contemporary feel that suddenly makes the team relevant once again.

 

 

And Grant the Great doesn't just treat the Legion that way. As Morrison leads to the epic conclusion of his tremendously underrated Action magnum opus, the creative maven brilliantly builds the bang. There's an breathtaking scene with Krypto the vicious Kryptonian guard dog, and some fantastic time jumps; there's a clever scene with Luthor and Jimmy Olsen being heroic; and there's all kinds of great wonderfulness that will read great in trade but that I don't want to ruin in this here rave review.

We have one short month left to enjoy Morrison write the adventures of the Last Son of Krypton, one final month to watch one of the finest writers of super-hero comics of our era write the adventures of the greatest hero of any era. At least we'll have issues like this one to go back and reread to enjoy the glory once again.

- Jason Sacks

 

Adventure Time #11

(Ryan North, Shelli Paroline, Braden Lamb, Zack Giallongo; BOOM!)

4.0

 

 

 

It's amazing how the Adventure Time comic book is devoted to being a comic book and doing fun things with form. This time Finn, Jake and Marceline go inside BMO to fight their way through a video game world for a chunk of this book, complete with consistently shaped rectangular screen panels, pixilated art and life counts (Marceline starts the game with five lives while the bros have one). A much lazier book would just draw everything as usual.

 

 

This series is going to go down as a classic, while every other non-boat-rockin' tie-in comic will be soon forgotten.

- Danny Djeljosevic

 

Fantastic Four #3

(Matt Fraction, Mark Bagley, Mark Farmer; Paul Mounts; Marvel)

3.5

 

 

 

Marvel's First Family finally has an adventure with danger and cool alien ideas. Kinda wish this was Fantastic Four #2 and the first two issues were a double-sized #1, but I think about that kind of stuff too much. Either way, this is the strongest issue yet because we've gotten to the good stuff after two installments of set-up. 

 

 

I know I've said this before, but while I'm not really a Mark Bagley fan, Fantastic Four is some of his best work, likely because he's drawing weird stuff, being inked by Mark Farmer so it looks a bit like Alan Davis and is olstered by Paul Mounts' amazing purply cosmic colors. 

Also, Fraction did some commentary on the issue if you've read it. I'm a big fan of the bits of honesty happening there, admitting that stuff could be better or that he could improve in some places. I can relate.

- Danny Djeljosevic

 

Animal Man #16

(Jeff Lemire Steve Pugh, Timothy Green II, Joseph Silver, Lovern Kindzierski; DC)

3.0

 

 

 

With all the prequels and main installments, "Rotworld" story arc feels like it's run about 15 years. Being a single issue reader, it feels like I'm just reading the same thing every month, but I imagine it'll be just fine as a complete story, which is what really matters. Posterity says Watchmen is one of the best superhero comics ever, but I wonder what single issue reviews at the time looked like.

 

 

The cool thing about "Rotworld" -- at least Lemire's side, I don't read Swamp Thing -- is how Lemire explores this world where living animals are persona non grata using an oddball group of characters that includes Animal Man, Black Orchid, Frankenstein, Steel and somebody from Ravagers. In this one we get some weirdo Green Lantern and a zombie Justice League. 

 

 

The final page promises that "The final battle begins!" next issue -- not that it's the conclusion, but that the conclusion is about to begin. I guess it's too easy to make fun, but I will say that at least this series is a $2.99 title and every time I think about dropping it I read a new issue and stay on for the ride -- that is, until they unceremoniously assign a new writer to the book and I'll be free forever.

- Danny Djeljosevic

 

Morbius: The Living Vampire #1

(Joe Keatinge, Rich Elson, Antonio Fabela; Marvel)

3.5

 

 

Morbius is a character I only know through that '90s Spider-Man cartoon, but I always enjoyed the tragic gray villain vampire guy's TV appearances. Now that I think about it, he's a good twist on Spider-Man himself -- Spidey gets powers from SCIENCE! and has a choice regarding how to use them, while Morbius gets powers from SCIENCE! that come with a literal thirst for blood. Hard to be a good guy when your superpowers require you to eat people to stay alive.

 

 

Morbius #1 doesn't come running out of the gate, but it's a stylish debut that works to establish who the hell Morbius is and what he can do. As such, it's heavy on the expository first-person narration, but not overwhelmingly so. I'm optimistic about it. Rich Elson's art is solid and Keatinge -- who's made his name over the past year doing left-of-the-dial superhero comics -- should do well with this offbeat horror/superhero comic.

- Danny Djeljosevic

 

New Avengers #1

(Jonathan Hickman, Steve Epting; Marvel)

2.5

 

 

Hickman/Opeña's Avengers #1 was a strong debut that had some superheroes punching while also making the case for the series -- shit's getting cosmic, so the Avengers are expanding their roster to include Cannonball and Sunspot. New Avengers #1 is kind of the same thing -- it's business as usual for the Black Panther until powerful beings show up and throw everything into disarray, killing a few young Wakandans. So he rejoins the Illuminati -- that brain trust of Marvel's smartest bros and Captain America -- in order to … something?

 

 

And that's biggest problem with this debut: a lack of clarity. Despite some promising bookend material, this feels like one of those "cold open" first issues where I don't know what the book's about yet. That said, I like the focus on the Black Panther, which makes me wish Jonathan Hickman was just working on some crazy sci-fi Black Panther solo series instead. Seems like it'd be right up his alley.

Also, maybe this one should have been called Secret Avengers, and the upcoming espionage-themed Secret Avengers should have been called S.H.I.E.L.D.?

- Danny Djeljosevic

 

Prophet #32

(Simon Roy, Daniel Irizarri, Andrea M. Pacinkas; Image)

4.5

 

 

Simon Roy gets an entire issue to himself.

 

 

Guess how well that went.

 

 

- Danny Djeljosevic

 

Haunt #28

(Joe Casey, Nathan Fox, Kyle Strahm, Todd McFarlane; Image)

3.5

 

 

Well, that was pretty fun while it lasted.

Apparently Todd McFarlane wasn't pleased with how Casey and Fox were handling the series -- or maybe the reception wasn't what he hoped -- so he blew everybody up and is now in the process of retooling the book into something more "creepy." Which is a shame, because that creative team was the only reason I started reading Haunt in the first place. I'm not too indignant, because I know I'm in the minority and I'm sure die-hard Haunt fans weren't cottoning to what the creative team was up to with the crazy art and the Big Lebowski-esque samurai guy.

 

 

No big. Good thing Joe's got a couple new books coming out from Image this year. I'll read those instead.

- Danny Djeljosevic

 

Secret Avengers #36

(Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera, Matt Wilson; Marvel)

4.0

 

 

The penultimate issue of Remender's run on the title before a Marvel NOW! relaunch. It's one of those cases where clearly plans changed after he took over Secret Avengers -- namely, "we're gradually relaunching all of our titles and giving you a higher profile Avengers book" -- but it's cool how the majority of Remender's run has concerned this sinister robot society even as we get fun detours like the occult alternate universe and that outer space suicide mission AvX tie-in arc, which I actually really dug.

 

 

Secret Avengers was my first experience seeing the work of artist Matteo Scalera, who's been illustrating it for the past couple of arcs, but I gotta say I like the cut of his jib.

- Danny Djeljosevic

 

AND THE REST

 

Glory #31

(Joe Keatinge, Ross Campbell, Ulises Farinas, Own Gieni; Image)

 

 

Ghost #3

(Kelly Sue DeConnick, Phil Noto, Lee Loughridge; Dark Horse)

 

 

Multiple Warheads #3

(Brandon Graham; Image)

 

 

Dial H #8

(China Miéville, Alberto Ponticeli, Dan Green)

 


 


 

 

Jason Sacks is Publisher of Comics Bulletin. Follow him at @jasonsacks, email him at jason.sacks@comicsbulletin.com or friend him on Facebook.

 

 


 

 

Danny Djeljosevic is a comic book creator, award-winning filmmaker (assuming you have absolutely no follow-up questions) and Co-Managing Editor of Comics Bulletin. Follow him on Twitter at @djeljosevic or find him somewhere in San Diego, often wearing a hat. Read his comic with Mike Prezzato, "Sgt. Death and his Metachromatic Men," over at Champion City Comics and check out his other comics at his Tumblr, Sequential Fuckery. His webcomic The Ghost Engine, with artist Eric Zawadzki, updates twice a week.

 

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