Hello everyone! It’s another Wednesday, the best day of the week, which means brand new comics. I’d like to share with you my opinions and commentary on some of my favorite books this week with the hope that you, dear reader, will find something new or look at a book in a different light. Lets get started:
The Flash #47 “Flash War: Part 1” – Williamson/Porter, DC Comics
This week’s issue of The Flash is a culmination of foreshadowed events that were hinted at in the most recent Flash annual as well as issues towards the end of the “Perfect Storm” story. Flash War part 1 gives us a quick glimpse into the life of Wally West as he copes with both the good and bad effects of him regaining his memories. But not long after, both Barry and Wally, along with Kid Flash and Iris are confronted by the “25th Century Reverse-Flash Task Force A.K.A. The Renegades”, featuring Commander Cold, Golden Guardian, Weather Warlock, Heatstroke, and Mirror Monarch 2 – a group sent by the Temporal Courts to bring Iris West to the future to stand trial for her part in the murder of Eobard Thawne, AKA the Reverse-Flash. After a struggle and some internal fighting (as well as finding out that the “Golden Guardian” is the owner of a certain colored ring…), the group agrees to travel to the 25th century, where Wally West finally stumbles upon the plan set forth by the person who is likely his most lethal enemy.
What I love most about this title is the consistency in quality in writing by Joshua Williamson as well as the artists (this issue being penciled by Howard Porter) regardless of the fact that this book has another veritable revolving door of artists, much like Green Lanterns and Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. I have read every issue of Joshua Williamson’s run, and not once have I ever noticed a significant lapse in quality (or at least enough of a change to complain about). In fact, even though the script is great and I am eager to see where this story goes, my favorite thing about this issue is the art, and it may be the prettiest Flash issue of the entire run. Howard Porter’s art is very detailed and angular, and immediately starting on page 1 the reader can see how well Porter is able to convey the emotion felt by the characters by how detailed and expressive their faces are. Porter also empoys the use of some very well-placed splash pages and full-page spreads to get the most out of an action scene and a couple of big reveals. This is also an issue with some nice Flash-related easter eggs, so if you’re a fellow “Speed Freak” or “Speed Reader” (trademarks pending…), then you’ll really enjoy this issue.
For Fans Of: The Flash on CW, Batman, Justice League: No Justice
Doctor Strange #390 – Cates/Irving, Marvel Comics
Well, it’s the second time in as many months that a comic book has finished with a farewell from Donny Cates, but this one feels a bit more bittersweet than the last. Doctor Strange #390 is essentially Mr. Cates putting the toys back in the box for the next creative team to play with and restoring order to the book, as well as providing some closure for the supporting cast and the character of Doctor Strange himself. This issue also features a comic-within-a-comic with an assist from Chip Zdarsky, and along with unique art from Frazer Irving, showcases what Donny Cates does best, which is use his odd sense of humor to make a comic book more enjoyable than average.
I will say that it feels odd for me to be lamenting about how I’ll miss Donny Cates writing Doctor Strange, seeing as I did not get caught up on his run until late February at the behest of Brainstorm Comics’ proprietor John Frazier, but I am glad that I did. I was treated to a very unique take on how the character was written, some very good stories, and I am excited to see how this new, young kid named Mark Waid will write the book as Donny moves out of the Sanctum Sanctorum. I hope Bats and Stephen have lots of fun adventures while he’s writing Venom.
For Fans Of: Redneck, God Country, Venom
Barrier # 4 – Vaughan/Martin, Image Comics
As one may have noticed, in my reviews I always want to showcase a book from an independent publisher, and I think a review for Barrier has been about three weeks overdue. Originally published online via Panel Syndicate, Barrier was nominated for an Eisner award but managed to fly under my (and I imagine others as well) radar. Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin have worked together previously on Doctor Strange: The Oath, as well as a title called Private Eye, and this time came together to release Barrier in print – a strange yet enthralling comic with immense imagery and symbolism relating to topics from immigration to environmentalism. This is admittedly a rather difficult book for me to review, as the story is mired in symbolism and uses the art to guide the reader into inferring the story for themselves, and a large portion of the dialogue is in Spanish, which may seem un-attractive to some, but it makes for a very interesting read. Not only that, but the plotting and scripting of the book by Vaughan leaves a *lot* of room for artist Marcos Martin and colorist Muntsa Vicente to take hold of the book and pilot the story with some insanely bold and unique art. Barrier is running in print every wednesday through the month of May and is only five issues, but all 4 are still in stock at Brainstorm Comics, so if you’re interested in something new and interesting, maybe give it a read.
For Fans Of: Saga, Chew, Private Eye, Pride of Baghdad, Ice Cream Man, Infidel
Glover’s Covers for the week of 5/23/18
5. The Flash #47 (Mattina Variant)
4. Skyward #2
3. Black Panther #1 (In-Hyuk Lee Variant)
2. Thanos #14 5th Printing Variant
1. Batgirl #23 (Middleton Variant)
It’s a light Wednesday this week – burn through your pull list already? I’ve got a couple ideas for some suggested reading:
Amazing Spider-Man #615-616 – “Keemia’s Castle”
If you’re at a loss for something to read, I’ve got a deep-cut for all my fellow web heads out there. Issues #615-616 take place during a running “event”-ish type story called The Gauntlet, in which Peter faced his greatest enemies back to back, and at a post-one more/brand new day era that a lot of people turned away from. This book was written by Fred Van Lente, a writer who’s part of the Spider-Man “Brain Trust” while it was being printed three times a month was unfortunately not as long as it deserved to be, but shows us a story that is the absolute definition of the Parker Luck; go out of your way to do right in the face of absolute wrong, and life finds a way to make you trip and fall on your own face. In brief summation: Sandman becomes infatuated with a little girl who is the daughter of a woman who wrote to him in prison and becomes to think of her as a daughter. In turn, the little girl in question, named Keemia, views him as a father figure and calls him “daddy”, so to give Keemia a better life than she currently has, Sandman murders her mother and grandmother and makes her a sandcastle on Governor’s Island. She is tended to and cared for by Sandman night and day, but is rescued by Spider-Man as Sandman has murdered her legal guardians and cannot reasonably live an actual life while in the care of a semi-reformed super villain. But in a hyper-realistic twist, writer Fred Van Lente shows the harsh reality of what happens to a young child without legal guardians to care for them in New York City, which concludes possibly one of the most realistic and heartbreaking issues of Amazing Spider-Man to date. Issues #615-616 can be found in “The Gauntlet” trade paperback, as well as on Marvel Unlimited, or the back issue bin here at Brainstorm Comics.
Happy reading everyone! Enjoy your pulls, and I’ll chat with y’all next week.