Antonio’s Top 5 Comics of the Week – 02.06.2013

Published on February 11th, 2013

1. Scarlet #6 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev [Icon]

scarlet6Though this was my number one pick of the week I decided to write about it last because of a very personal connection I have to this book. I just wanted to put that out there and I also want to say that comic books, like any other medium are suppose to make you feel something, something besides enjoyment. I feel connected with characters, especially the ones that I really love that’s why I love Batman and Spider-Man so much. Anyway I’m going to talk about the comic first and what happens in the issue and then I’ll talk about my connection and why it means so much to me and why I felt the way I did.

When Bendis launched this book last year with Alex Maleev I was excited because this book was very different from what Bendis was doing on his Marvel work at the time, and when this launched it was a breath of fresh air in his writing, not to say that he lost anything, I have and always will be a Bendis fan. But to have him work on creator owned stuff was exciting. And though this comic had big ideas and big plans it is strange to see how close to home this hit, for us as a nation. A lot of things started to change and a lot of places started getting occupied. This was supposed to be a comic based in reality and that reality wasn’t supposed to come true, at least not so soon. But it did and I like that that will influence the book and give more ideas to Scarlet. It just goes to show how weird fiction and life can truly be.

Scarlet’s boyfriend was killed by corrupt cops and she’s trying to fight back against that corruption. She has people with her that will help her in her cause and a growing number of the population backing her. She tries to recruit a cop that was forced and she also hijacks a live TV feed and announces reasons for her actions from the previous arc and then says that she will be holding a rally in a few days and that everyone should be there to voice their displeasure with corruption and all that is happening to them. The issue ends with a splash page of maybe thousands of people at this rally. Bendis is a great writer, he never does anything without having a plan and he has a plan and it’s slowly unfolding but what I have to praise here in this issue is the origin of Isis, who is one of Scarlet’s main people. Her origin lasts 6 pages, they are all splash pages. Not splash pages in the tradition sense of a comic book. To me it reads like a children’s book. Having worked at a library I’ve seen a fair share of kid’s books. But that’s exactly how it reads, especially when the story is about a child. The writing is different, it’s easy to follow, understand, it uses short sentences and appeals to children so that they get interested in reading the story making it relatable. These pages are beautifully painted by Alex Maleev. There’s no other way to describe Maleev’s work, it’s beautiful and heartbreaking, and very emotional. There’s a reason why he’s one of my favorite artists. It’s also painted which is different from the rest of the book that is drawn. These pages are meant to stand out, and they do. I very much love this book.

Now, why is this so personal to me? I haven’t been the victim of any of the crimes committed against the main characters. But I have lost one of the main characters. The character of Brandon in this series is based off of one of my friends. This past year he lost his battle with cancer. I met my friend years ago, I was 18, I’m 27 now. When I first met him he was one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met. He did his own thing and he didn’t care what anyone else thought. If it made him happy who cares what other people thought. He was a nice guy and was a huge nerd who loved Star Wars. He was an artist and I’m lucky to have a lot of small pieces of his art. I’ll miss him a lot, I do miss him a lot. I think about him often and I’m glad that he will be able to live on in this book as a character.

2. New Avengers #3 by Jonathan Hickman, Steve Epting, Rick Magyar, and Frank S’Armata [Marvel]

NewAvengers3Things are moving fast, a lot faster than I thought they were going to move. Ok, I’m going to spoil the two major things that happened in this issue so I’ve you haven’t read it yet, don’t read this. You’ve been warned. The team is after the last Infinity gem that was held by Prof. X. We find out that he told Beast everything about the Illuminati and the gems. Now Beast is part of this group of men, this group of men who have assembled the Infinity Gauntlet. With that task completed they pass the wall into the other dimension/ reality to push back the other Earth with the Infinity Gauntlet, once the gems and the gauntlet are officially joined, the presence of such power is felt all over the universe, alerting some pretty major players in the Marvel Cosmic game, Uatu the Watcher, Galactus, and of course Thanos. Captain America is urged to put on the gauntlet and try to push back the other Earth. But something goes wrong and the gems fall off the gauntlet and they are all shattered, with the exception of the reality gem. This leads to the team fighting and Namor punching Steve. They team reconvenes in Necropolis to talk about what they’re next course of action will be. Like we’ve seen from the first issue there has been resistance from Steve and that he’s not willing to sacrifice anybody or anything. He’s adamant about there being a way to fix this problem that doesn’t take the lives of billions of people, he has faith in that and hope there will be a way around it, but everyone else is not of the same thought process, actually everyone in the Illuminati is in opposite thought of Steve. Yet Steve still remains that he’s somehow in charge of the group and that all the decisions will be his to make and that it’s his team to command.

Steve ends up having a rude awakening, a betrayal, a betrayal that might benefit the world and other worlds. What happens to Steve is that he gets mind wiped, similar to what Batman experienced in Identity Crisis. When I read that Hickman said that this was going to be a very dark book I didn’t know exactly what he meant when he said that, not dark with story lines but dark in a hopelessness kind of way. Hopelessness is represented by the Black Swan character, but it’s also the hole that all these characters are teetering
on and I think this book is always going to be on the edge of, hope, whether it’s hopefulness or lack of hope. We’ve already taken an inch toward the despair when the Illuminati decided to mind wipe Steve. I know that this is just the beginning for this team on the decisions they will be making and I know when Steve finds out that this has happened that there will be hell to pay and that Tony will be the one changed by this the most, even though the story right now is focusing on Reed and T’Challa.

3. Snapshot #1 by Andy Diggle and Jock [Image]

Snapshot1The premise behind Snapshot is pretty simple, a young man on his way to work finds a phone on the ground in a park, he picks it up and puts it in his pocket, finders keepers, losers weepers. Once he gets to his job he looks to see who the phone belongs to and only find one phone number in there and a couple of pictures. These pictures are of a manwho looks like he was murdered. Bullet to the head, blood everywhere. Of course the kid freaks out and he freaks out more when the phone rings. It’s a detective asking about the phone and that he’ll come pick up the phone. The detective shows up and the kid goes to grab the phone for him but sees that the detective has a gun out and that he’s going to use it on the kid. The kid runs away to the real police and shows the phone to a cop. The cop isn’t all too helpful and he says that they don’t even know if those pictures are real but before the cop can do anything the murdered man from the pictures shows up to claim his phone saying that it was a murder mystery party that he put together. That right there is what gets me to stay with the comic. Not to say that it was bad up until that point because it wasn’t. But I love a good mystery especially ones like this where the main character is thrust into this world where up is down and right is left and he doesn’t know what the fuck is going because so utterly and completely out of his element. I love the wrong time at the wrong place story and Diggle is setting up a great ride with this comic. Especially with the last few pages of the comic which I didn’t spoil here because it’s get a little crazier. I do love that this book is in black and white, and while I love seeing Jock’s art in color, in B&W it looks amazing. He’s such a talented artist and he add so much to the story in not only bringing it to life but also in terms of just looking badass but also his talents at being able to depict cities, in this case San Francisco, and making it seem like another character in the book.

4. The Superior Spider-Man #3 by Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman, and Edgar Delgado [Marvel]

SuperiorSpider-Man3So this is the third issue of Superior Spider-Man and it’s the third time the book has been in the top 5 of the week. The book has been on the list its entire run so far. But clam down folks, I have nothing to say to the comic book community at large, I’m getting off my soapbox this time and I just want to talk about this issue because it was just fucking bad ass. This time we get Doc Ock Spider-Man not only dealing with a major Spidey villain but we get to see how he’ll deal with situations like these when he knows these characters because they have a shared history and personal relationships. He tries to offer The Vulture an out, no more life of a super villain because Doc knows that he’s not a monster and only wants that big bank to retire but Vulture isn’t buying and sends his minions to attack. Doc hits one of these minions and realizes he just hit a child. This sends Blue Spider-Man into a Doc memory of his father beating him. The fact that Doc hit a child sends him into a blind rage. No more offer of the golden goose, no more mister nice guy. Doc isn’t playing around anymore and he goes after Vulture full force. After a fight above the streets of New York City Doc Ock Spider-Man uses one of his spiders and turns on the Spider signal that J. Jonah Jameson bought and used at the beginning of the issue and flies the Vulture right into the light. The glass cuts the Vulture up and may have blinded him as well.

We end the issue with Doc Ock Spidey explaining to Carlie why he has taken extreme measures to subdue the Vulture and it’s this time that Blue Peter Parker realizes that Carlie might know the truth about what’s going on. What I loved about the issue was that we got some background history on Doc Ock and that he’s one of those cases that if he was in the right environment would have been a completely different person. If he had love in his life like Peter he might not have ended up a villain that always had to prove himself for a father that would never approve. But this also established that there are lines that Doc Ock will not cross, lines that he will never cross and that is using children or abusing children to get anything over on an enemy. I think this is going to play into something big between Peter and Otto. The more time they spend in each other’s memories the more they are going to get to know each other and when the time comes for the separation of the two minds I think it might end with a whimper and not a bang, but that’s just what I think based on this issue. We shall see.

5. Winter Soldier #15 by Jason Latour and Nic Klein [Marvel]

WinterSoldier15So there was a pretty big majority of people upset about the great team of Brubaker and Guice leaving the character of the Winter Soldier, especially since the major writer of the character for the last few years was Ed Brubaker. I too was bummed about him leaving the book but I had faith that when it was announced that Latour and Klein were taking over that they would do the book justice. And they fucking did. The book picks up right where Brubaker left Bucky, alone, miserable, and wanting to punish someone. I have to say that I love the first page of the book. It setting up the story of the arc for Bucky but it’s also kind of a message to the reader. “Change is scary after all.”I may be wrong about that being a message to the readers but I love it because though it may be true, change is also inevitable and it just comes with life, nothing lasts forever. But I hope this book lasts for a long time to come.

As Bucky is being all depressed and drinking and fighting, guess who shows up to talk some sense into him? Nick Fury. Nick Fury comes in to give Bucky some direction.Bucky can’t and won’t come back to SHIELD because he can’t be there because of what Leo did to Natasha. What Bucky really wants to do is right the wrongs from his Winter Soldier days of past so that nothing like Leo Nobokov happens again and ruins his life, and that’s why Fury is there, to help him on that path. I think the new direction for the book will have some great stories to it and I’m really looking forward to seeing what this creative team can do. If you’ve read this issue then you know that Jason Latour can do character and he can do action. Nic Klein is a great artist who’s able to do the back and forth of conversation, a montage of Bucky brawling in a bar, and awesome action when he jumps into his first mission. Nic is also doing the colors of the book and they are awesome. Seriously folks, if you loved Brubaker’s run then there’s absolutely no reason not to give this book a shot.

Antonio Cuneo
Antonio@ComicImpact.com