Antonio’s Top 5 Comics of the Week – 03.13.2013

Published on March 19th, 2013

Hey Comic Impact! Sorry for the one day delay but I my dad and my friend were visiting this past week and they left yesterday so I didn’t get to writing this until late last night and this morning. We have a diverse group of books this week and a surprise or two. Anyway, enjoy, and as always comments are very much appreciated. Thanks!

BuffytheVampireSlayer191.Buffy the Vampire Slayer #19 by Andrew Chambliss, Georges Jeanty, and Dexter Vines [Dark Horse]

So this comic book was in the Top 5 for the week of 02.13.2013 at number 5. I had talked about a theory where I thought the story was going and I talked about how much I was enjoying the book with this arc. This issue was such a joy for me to read. I’ve talked about my frustrations with the series going back to the middle of season 8 but this issue brought in my theory to life but also gave us one of the best scenes in the comic between Buffy and Xander.

Buffy and Xander both figure out that the reason Dawn is sick is because she is The Key and because the seed was destroyed and all the magic in the world has gone away. Nothing they try to do to save her is working, and that includes putting her memories in a Buffybot. It’s actually pretty heartbreaking when Buffy figures out that it’s her fault that Dawn is dying and it has nothing to do with what’s going on in her life currently. This leads to a pretty emotional scene on the rooftops between Xander and Buffy. This is something that I’ve been waiting to see for a long time. There’s a lot of history between these characters but they haven’t spent much time together since the epic that was season 8 and pretty much since the start of season 9. Also Buffy goes into typical guilt mode, blaming herself for Dawn and not being there for her family. Xander and Buffy have a verbal fight where Xander blames Buffy and that he’s sick of hearing her excuse of trying to save the world because every time she does things get worse and all he wants to do is focus on saving Dawn. Buffy says that Xander can be mad and blame her but she’s going to help save her sister.

Like I said above this is something that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time and the payoff was fantastic. Not only was I really happy that my theory was right, however obvious if you thought about it for a few minutes but also because we got that awesome scene between Xander and Buffy. They haven’t been together in the comic for a while because Buffy has been doing her own thing and Spike had his own mini-series, so did Willow, and Angel and Faith are doing their own thing in that book but I feel like all these characters are building to a huge get together at the end of the season in the only way that Buffy can do and that makes me very excited.

TheManhattanProjects102.The Manhattan Projects #10 by Jonathan Hickman, Ryan Browne, and Jordie Belllaire [Image]

After I finished reading this issue the first thing I felt I had to do was listen to the Suicidal Tendencies “War Inside My Head.” Granted the song doesn’t fit too much with the story but if there was any song that would be the anthem for the coming war in Oppenheimer’s head it’s that one.

In the recent months I feel that Hickman has really stepped up his game on this comic and along with Nick Pitarra they have been coming up with really funny stories and panels in a comic that I’ve ever seen. Ryan Browne takes over on art duties this issue where we take a step back from last issue where it was announced that JFK in the new President so we can take a look at what is happening in Oppenheimer’s mind. If you recall from the first issue of the series where Joseph Oppenheimer consumed his brother Robert Oppenheimer’s heart essentially eating his soul and taking over and posing as him. In the unpredictable and strange world of The Manhattan Projects this has actually come true and now we see the journey of Robert’s soul in his brother’s mind. I don’t know how much is Hickman and how much is the artist, but whenever I open this comic up to read I’m always surprised with what I see, the highlight of this issue was seeing Robert wrestle and bite off the ear of a horse.

Robert finds his way to Joseph’s brain and sees all these different personalities (colored in red, Robert is blue) that are eating and destroying his brain making him even more insane. He gets attacked by a ninja version of Joseph and he fights him off and rips his eyes out and now Ninja Joe has turned from Red to Blue, making him the first member of Robert’s Army. The issue ends with a typical comic book team style pose that sees Robert Oppenheimer holding a pair of bloody eyes standing next to Ninja Joe Now Blue, and the Red Horse from before, now headless. The captions read: Then there were two…and the Oppenheimer Civil War began.

I really didn’t think that we’d be seeing this story coming up in this comic after the first issue but clearly I was wrong and I couldn’t be happier to have been wrong. I loved the art, even though it was different from Pitara’s it worked because we weren’t really in the world of Manhattan Projects, rather in the mind of Joseph Oppenheimer. I like it when comics do that, when they need an artist to help out for an issue and what they draw ends up being a different place than what we’re used to seeing, Remender did this in his Age of Apocalypse arc of Uncanny X-Force. I also have to give credit to Jordie Bellaire who takes a simple idea of just coloring stuff one color or another and leaving it as that. Instead of just making stuff just solid red or solid blue there are shades of those colors and when put against the grey of the rest of the issue those colors really pop. The buildings, the setting, everything that’s not a version of the Oppenheimers is grey, I don’t know why they went with that color, maybe in regards to gray matter of the brain, that’s just my guess, but this comic has been killing it in the last few months and I love reading something that I can’t predict and have no idea where it’s going.

WolverineXMen263.Wolverine and the X-Men #26 by Jason Aaron, Ramon Perez, and Laura Martin [Marvel]

I feel as though this comic might be taking a back seat to Bendis coming into the X-Men Universe by writing Uncanny and All New X-Men. I love those comics, but I don’t think that you should underestimate this book at all because this issue was probably one of the best of the run so far. I’m talking about an amazing combination of great writing, amazing art that come together to show some great storytelling in this medium. I also feel that anyone reading X-Men comics and loves Wolverine should be reading this book because this is the main Wolverine comic of the Marvel Universe. Not to take anything away from Wolverine and Savage Wolverine but Wolverine and the X-Men are more connected to the main Marvel U than the solo Wolverine books. Though it’s still early to say this maybe, I’m sticking to it, my evidence is this issue.

This arc is working on two levels, number 1 is that it’s brought back a character from Wolverine’s past that we haven’t seen in a long time and number 2, it’s almost a sequel to Origin, something we haven’t gotten, and probably won’t for a while to come. So the majority of the comic is spent recapping some of the Origin story but from Dog’s perspective and after the recap we follow his live after the events of that series and how he spent all his time searching and seeking clues to help him find Logan. The other half of the comic is a battle between Logan and Dog as we learn about Dog’s life. The art for the flashback of Dog’s story was done by watercolor by Ramon Perez and it’s gorgeous. You just have to look at it and you’ll be blown away from what you see. I like when we see different kinds of art when a story is being told but this is doubly special because it’s drawn by the same artist that is drawing the present scenes. It shows versatility as an artist but it also makes it one of Marvel’s more unique looking books. It’s worth it for the art alone. As far as where this story is going, I don’t really know. I suspect that this might have to do with the Hellfire club and their need to destroy Wolverine and the X-Men, but that’s as far as it goes for me because I’m just looking forward to the next issue to see what will happen between Dog and Logan. I also have to say that I love when anyone refers to Wolverine as James, that’s a big fanboy thing for me for some reason.

4.Uncanny X-Men #3 by Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo, and Tim Townsend [Marvel]

UncannyX-Men3I’ll be honest. I’m not too crazy of how things went down for Cyclops during

Avengers vs. X-Men but the more I read this series the more I feel like siding with Cyclops and his team of X-Men and I’m more looking at the Avengers, more specifically Captain America as a bully who pushes his ideas onto people and it doesn’t matter what they think because he’s Captain American and he’s right. It’s not just here either, I felt this way when reading New Avengers as well. This is a confrontation I’ve been looking forward to seeing in comics for a while since AvX ended, a scene where Cyclops and Captain America talk about the problems that have been happening. Though I feel that Cyclops has been portrayed as a terrorist, even in this series it’s something that hangs in the background, I’m glad that Bendis is representing Cyclops as a leader and has a lot of justification to back up his actions. I’m still really miffed by the fact that Captain America is all gung ho about arresting Cyclops for the murder of Professor Xavier but still has never really discussed the issue of Scarlet Witch paying for her crimes against mutants when she depowered and killed a lot of them, and she doesn’t have the excuse of hiding behind being possessed by a space deity, Cyclops does, but I don’t feel that’s a good enough excuse, but then again if it wasn’t for Tony Stark maybe the 5 X-Men who got possessed would have never gotten possessed. Then the X-Men are told that they did terrible things with the powers they got which was never the case, they were doing good things in the world and it was because of the interference from the Avengers attacking them that things escalated. Battles happened because X-Men were attacked. And even after all the cards are put on the table Captain America hold his ground, which is fine and totally in character but in a scene that made me grin Cyclops tells them to go to hell.

The X-Men escape and go back to their base where Magneto tells Cyclops that he was the one who called the Avengers to their in position to get good in with SHIELD. He explains his actions of Cyclops and though Cyke is pissed there’s nothing he can do about it and takes Magneto at face value, he probably walks away without trusting him and I feel the reader should as well. I think we can only take Magneto at face value here because I don’t fully trust him because he makes a case for his actions both to Cyclops and SHIELD, motivation wise they both make sense and I’ll be interested to see how things play out in the future. The issue ends with Cyclops teleporting to the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning and saying “Come to me my X-Men.” Chills man, I love All New X-Men but think Bendis is doing some great stuff here with the characters and I feel that there is a slow and steady build up to something, something called the Mutant Revolution. I don’t how much time has passed in the Marvel Universe but the X-Men and Mutants have been in the universe forever and people are still afraid of what they can do even though they have done amazing things throughout their history. For every mutant that is considered a villain there are insane people with powers that aren’t mutant based doing terrible things but no one is calling for the heads of the Fantastic Four or The Avengers. I think that’s bullshit and I proudly stand with the X-Men.

Batman185.Batman #18 by Scott Snyder, Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope, James Tynion IV, and Alex Maleev [DC]

Hopefully we all know what has happened in the Batman books so that I can talk about this issue. Spoilers! You’ve been warned. So a few weeks ago Grant Morrison decided to kill off much beloved (Beloved? Hated?) Robin, Damien Wayne. This issue follows the character of Harper Row introduced awhile back and how she’s noticing Batman falling apart and getting sloppy because of Robin’s death. But before we get into the meat of the story let me tell you why I picked this over Batman and Robin. Though I thought Batman and Robin’s story was really well done, it was very emotional without having any dialogue and as much as I enjoyed it, the reason that I didn’t pick it was because it’s not one of the books a regularly buy, but I will say to check it out because it really is fantastic.

In this issue we see a lot more of Harper Row and her relationship with her brother and her father. It continues what was established last time as she follows Batman around to see him work but this time she’s getting more involved by going out on her own patrols. At one point she gets into an argument with Batman and later on in the back up story Batman apologizes and they talk about loss and the pain that comes along with it. Now is this setting up Harper Row to take on the mantel of Robin? I really don’t know but if I had to make a bet I’d say not any time soon. I like the character a lot but with the recently announced Year Zero storyline that will take something like 11 issues to tell I don’t expect to see much of her in the coming future of the book, but that’s also assuming the entire story takes place in the past, who knows. I wouldn’t mind seeing Harper Row as a Robin, I think it would be really cool especially since she’s so different from what’s come before. Also, I have to point out the art in this issue. It was cool seeing Andy Kubert drawing Batman but it was even cooler to see Alex Maleev drawing the backup story.

Antonio Cuneo

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