Marvel Entertainment launched a handful of new titles this past week, and I thought I’d peruse the debut issues for my latest batch of capsule reviews. Join me as I discuss the opening chapters of the latest incarnations of Black Widow, Invaders and Marvel Comics Presents.
If there’s one thing I can say for certain about the Oscars is that they’ve never been delayed due to snow. It was hectic week here at Eye on Comics, between regular work and snow removal in recent days. But a lazy Sunday afforded me the chance to finish the second half of the 2018 Glass Eye Awards. Previously, I covered the best comics and graphic novels of the year (as best my review of material available to me and memory allowed), and but now, I’m looking at the creators whom I thought had the best year creatively. Your mileage may vary, of course, and this is by no means meant to be a comprehensive or definitive list.
Young Justice #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colors: Alejandro Sanchez
Letters: DC Lettering
Cover artists: Patrick Gleason (regular)/Amy Reeder, Derrick Chew, Yasmine Putri, Jorge Jimenez and Evan Shaner (variants)
Editor: Mike Cotton & Andy Khouri
Publisher: DC Comics/Wonder Comics imprint
Price: $4.99 US
One of my favorite super-hero comics is 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, which explored just about every corner of DC’s multiverse, and therefore, just about every character and facet of the publisher’s extensive continuity. But the ultimate purpose was to simply that continuity, to streamline its properties to offer a more accessible product to readers. DC has done so on other occasions since, notably its New 52 relaunch that tried to establish a tighter timeline for its super-hero universe. I completely understood those goals, but as a longtime reader, I rather love DC’s history, and honestly, it was the complexity of the parallel-earths concept that helped to hook me on the genre when I first discovered comics in the late 1970s. With Young Justice, writer Brian Michael Bendis makes it clear that there’s a new approach at play: to turn the long history into an asset, to make use of the interconnectivity of the characters, and to revive or to reshape that extensive continuity.
Gunning for Hits #1
Writer: Jeff Rougvie
Colors/Letters: Casey Silver
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99 US
Several years ago, there was a short-lived primetime show called Love Monkey. Starring Tom (Ed, The Flash) Kavanaugh, it was a romance show set against the backdrop of the music industry. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the humor, relationship dynamics and the behind-the-scenes glimpse at the process of a music discovery and evolution of an album. Gunning for Hits evoked memories of Love Monkey because both explore the music industry, but Jeff Rougvie, writing from experience, offers a much darker examination of that world. We see it through an ugly, brutal lens, and I couldn’t look away. Gunning for Hits is to Love Monkey what House of Cards is to The West Wing. This harsh reflection is riveting, but at its heart is a genuine love of music and how it can help one transcend the mundane. (I assume the bulk of my readership is now taking a moment to Google Love Monkey; I admit, it’s a fairly obscure piece of pop-culture history).
Are you all abuzz about the Golden Globes? Gearing up for the Oscars? Pshaw! They hand out those awards every year. Truly prestigious honors are only presented every few years — at least that’s the premise I’m going with for this post. Join me as I dole out dusty ocular prosthetics and discuss the top comics and industry creators of 2018.
Eye on Comics hasn’t seen a best-of list in six years, mainly because this is a one-man operation and there’s only so much time for comics. With that in mind, please bear in mind these “awards,” such as they are, are by no means to be considered comprehensive. My picks for the best books of the year are based on nothing but a quick perusal of my files from the past year and my best recollections (which are far from the best they could be).
Heroes in Crisis #4
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Clay Mann
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover artists: Trevor Hairsine (regular)/Ryan Sook (variant)
Editor: Jamie S. Rich
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99 US
While Tom King’s scripting and pacing continues to obfuscate the plot purposefully, this stands out as the most interesting chapter of this event book thus far, exploring emotionally poignant and ethically challenging ideas. However, this also stands out as the most irksome and disappointing issue in the limited series due to a couple of visual choices that objectify strong female characters. This struck me as a major step backward in a genre that’s slowly been evolving, in general, toward a more progressive approach. The most egregious instance of gratuitous sexualization in this issue threatens to blind the reader from the more nuanced and mature notions that King examines here, and it completely detracted from my overall enjoyment of the story and characterization. I felt completely let down by the creators here.