Detective Comics #856
Greg Rucka (w), J.H. Williams III (a), Dave Stewart (c). DC Comics.
Detective Comics gets the nod this month for a couple reasons. First, because I’ve really been excited about this series and I’ve yet to bestow it with Book of the Month; and, second, because it has the triumphant return of Maggie Sawyer! I’m sure most of you don’t know who that is, but she’s been a minor character hanging around the DCU for about 20 years and is most famous because she’s one of mainstream comics’ first lesbians. I first came into contact with her in the amazing Gotham Central, co-written by Rucka, and was really happy to see her here. Detective Comics #856 has a seduction scene between Sawyer and Kate Kane (Batwoman) that is is so tasteful, so wonderful, so character-driven, and so perfect for what both characters needed. Scenes where one woman picks up another woman are rare in popular culture — extremely rare — so to see it done well makes me extremely happy.
A big part of why it lands so well is William’s fantastic art. This man is drawing the hell out of this book. The subtle style changes, the page compositions, the expressions — everything is working here and working well.
I’m glad my instincts were right on this one: Rucka and Williams are doing great work on this title and making a publicity stunt a narrative success.
The Flash: Rebirth #4
Geoff Johns (w), Ethan Van Sciver (a), Brian Miller (c). DC Comics.
On a pure numbers basis, Daredevil #500 was my book of the month — but that thing has received its fair share of publicity, so onto something else. Something that, as much as I love James, maybe didn’t get a fair shake when it was reviewed.
Here’s the litmus test — in re-reading the book, how does it affect me? Uh, with a big old smile when Max Mercury finally reappears to an astonished Kid Flash.
The majority of this issue is exposition, which is fair enough. The previous three issues have all been setting up the mysterious return of Barry Allen and the sinister plot of the mystery villain (revealed last issue to be the Reverse Flash — like that’s ever a surprise.) but why can’t we sit back and appreciate some well done exposition? The explanation for Barry turning into a Black Flash was really inventive, and told in such a way that it remains a constant threat to everyone else, as opposed to some shocking thing for an ending that gets swept away at the start of the next issue.
The focus that gets brought around to Wally is important- Wally has a lot of fans! Johns has really built up the characterizations of the different characters. The sensitivity of little Iris, and defensive brattishness of little Jai, are new to these two kids characters, but is a welcome change from the non existent characterization they had through their appearances in the Flash book earlier.
One thing I’ve historically enjoyed about the Flash is how insular and self reliant the character is- when you travel around at Mach 6 for a morning jog it’s no surprise when you think others just can’t keep up or understand you, and it’s a clever mind set for drawing in a certain type of comic fan, issue 1-3 of this comic has been very much like this. But here the characters really come together, supporting one another and getting set to win out with the power of friendship or something. I like this sort of thing, it warms my insides. — Isaac Mills
The Incredible Hercules #133-134
Fred Van Lente & Greg Pak (w), Reilly Brown, Rodney Buchemi (a). Marvel Comics.
I’m going to keep this short — since everyone is probably sick of me raving about this comic and I’m busy moving as I write this — but this is a must-buy book. Two issues this month, both fantastic. The first issue focuses on Hercules going on an adventure disguised as Thor and the second issue has Amadeus Cho fighting floating brains. Honestly, if that doesn’t make you want to buy it then you and I are two very different people. The art was expressive, the gags were hilarious, and the action was awesome. This was the month that Incredible Hercules went from being one of my favourite Marvel comics to being my favourite Marvel comic. Period.