AQUAMAN #23.2 (DC)
Geoff Johns’ announcement that he is leaving Aquaman saddened me the day it was announced. It was easily one of the best starting re-launch books and had some of the best character work, primarily with Ocean Master. Before the new 52 (why are we still calling it that?), Ocean Master was a bit of a joke, even in the legendary Peter David run. The Throne of Atlantis storyline offered some deeper characterization for Orm Marius. No longer was he a wimp with generic villainous motivations. Instead, he became a complete and utter badass who commanded an army, and beat down the Justice League all out of a royal misunderstanding and love for his brother. Aquaman #23.2: Ocean Master continues to give Orm deeper characterization as we pick up from the Throne of Atlantis storyline with Orm in prison. Due to being a king of Atlantis, he is not accustomed to our laws and society, and behaves very much like (and is) an outsider. Our concepts and customs are foreign to him. So to see him put in a culture shock situation is a brilliant move by Johns and Bedard. He offers the only guard who was nice to him a mercy killing because that’s seen as a courtesy in Atlantis, rather than leaving him to die a gruesome death. By the end he comes to the realization that he may have to help. The best thing about this issue is just brilliant characterization plain and simple. Coupled with art by Geraldo Borges that evokes Pelletier in tone, and you’ve got a great one-shot leading into the main event. Orm is presented not as relatable, but as someone whose motivations are (to a point) understandable. It’s good character work, so bravo Johns and Bedard. -Julien Loeper
DEADPOOL KILLS DEADPOOL #3 (Marvel)
Alright, this is Deadpool trying to kill Deadool with a whole lot of other Deadpools tossed in because, well, it’s a whole boat load of Deadpools. Honestly, I’m surprised any of the other Marvel books have any red in them considering how much there is in this book. But the topper of all the red use here is Deadpool’s joke (our Deadpool) about black and white and red all over. This wasn’t the prime moment for me in this issue though. As Deadpool and his people face off against Dreadpool (a very interesting beat down is handed out to him) while trying to get everything done before Galactuspool destroys them all. Yeah, a Deadpool with the size and powers of Galactus… or a Galactus with the cravings of Deadpool… Anyway, we’ve got more ‘Pools than we can shake a stick at and while all this is the most entertaining Deadpool story I’ve read in a long time, far more entertaining than the current series which had the worst jokes in the first issue, the real icing on the Deadpool cake (oh! birthday cake idea!) the last page has the one Deadpool that I didn’t know I wanted to see: Deadpool The Duck! I hope we get a miniseries with him. Seriously.
But, the story is still entertaining and is the type of classic Deadpool that I’ve enjoyed for a fairly long time. You know, I don’t think I’ve said the name Deadpool enough here so… Deadpool. -Skott Jimenez
FAIREST #19 (Vertigo)
Charming and Nalayani return to Charming’s camp to see the end result of a minor revolt and end up facing off against the Dhole. The attack gives them clues about who and what they really are. And they speak English! After this issue we know their connection to the rest of the Fables Universe as well as their interesting ability to change form. Their original form, what they claim to be their original form, is rather interesting.
Sadly, this issue also leaves Nalayani very much alone as the Dhole have all but destroyed her village and killed everyone she knows and loves. We get more of her back story which goes a long way to making her even more interesting than she already was. But now that everything and everyone she knows is gone, what’s left for her? Well, other than Prince Charming, that is. But that doesn’t mean they are going to have an easy time getting their lives together as we end this issue with the introduction of the guy who commands most of the Dhole and he wants back what Charming stole from him.
It’s becoming a really good story despite a somewhat shaky start and this story, I think, is what Willingham meant when he said this series will kind of redefine what we think of when we think of the term Fairest. I think this time around Charming is the Fairest. That’s kind of funny. -Skott Jimenez
INFINITY #2 (Marvel)
Yeah, I know this came out a few weeks ago but I’m a little behind on books because I had to preorder September and October’s books through DCBService since there was the possibility my comic shop was going to close. It didn’t but since I have these books on preorder and paid for I have to deal with being behind for a few months. I’m saying this so you all understand why my Bullets are a little older than others. The second issue of Infinity feels like the series has already lost steam. I’m sorry, I know a lot of people are loving this but Hickman’s writing is so convoluted that you apparently can’t just read this book and fully understand what’s going on. Namor just gave up? Something isn’t right there. But knowing Namor as the egomaniac that he is, I’m sure (and I hope) there is a plan. Beyond that there is so much going on in so many different places that most of this issue is distraction than anything. But unlike the previous handful of Marvel events this one has the potential to be a very entertaining. The only really good thing we get from this extended issue of… stuff… is we now know Thanos is hunting down his… son? Funny thing for a guy who loves and worship(ed) death to do, you know, have kids. I have to wonder if Hickman even knows the history of Thanos here.
I’m willing to stick with this event, even with the convoluted writing and less than impressive art, because for a modern Marvel event it’s actually somewhat fun. I do actually want to read the third issue! -Skott Jimenez
SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #3 (Marvel)
I really wasn’t sure what to make of this book. We’ve had lots of super villain books before and there are very few that made it beyond a handful of issues. Marvel had an interesting twist on it with the original Thunderbolts, but then it became more of a governmental program and now it’s… something else. But writer Nick Spencer has done something different. Sure, these are super heroes but they’re people. And we’re seeing the human side of them. The friendships, the dislike, the betrayals… we see it all. It’s definitely something interesting. We have 2 things that actually held over here from the original Thunderbolts in a way. The first is that the former Beetle – Abe Jenkins – returns, this time as Mach VII. The second is that one of the members of this “team” – Boomerang – ends up with a super-powered parole officer, the aforementioned Mach VII, who was also Boomerang’s old ally in various criminal “enterprises” (and I use the word loosely). The issue showed that Spencer can write humorous scenes as well, with Mach VII convincing Boomerang to go to group therapy for super-villains who are attempting to go straight. Some of the villains were familiar, and others not so much. There was a hippo. Seriously. And if that wasn’t good enough, the ultimate cameo of a villain I have not seen in years. Dr. Bong. Yes, THAT Dr. Bong, from the pages of Howard the Duck. That cameo alone made the issue worthwhile and has seriously surprised me in a book that I was ready to drop over the first few issues. Mr. Spencer, you have made me rethink that and are giving me the opportunity to enjoy something that I was ready to write off on concept alone. A well written story that included some humor. Well done. -Kelly Cassidy