Bottom of the Pile #3: June 5th, 2013

Over a week late with this, so I apologize.  After I finish 3 I'm doing the work necessary (if you call "reading comics" work, that is) to do #4 so bear with me.

Detective Comics #21

I've enjoyed Detective Comics pretty consistently since John Layman (Chew) started writing it.  We've gotten a fairly awesome version of Batman, with the ridiculous action that Detective is ironically known for in every issue. From the Emperor Penguin arc to The 900, Layman has set out to do new and interesting things with the villains Batman we've known Batman to have.

Here, Layman introduced not only a new villain for Batman, but put to use the Scott Snyder created Harper Row (who's going to be the next Robin, even if I wish it were still Tim Drake), and reintroduced a villain who's been missing even before Flashpoint happened.  It all works together to create a surprisingly good issue, and the only thing I thought was a little clunky was the random romance subplot tossed in, since I have a feeling it's not going to go anywhere important.

Avengers #13

Avengers 12 ended on a cliffhanger that involved the High Evolutionary kidnapping some of the newly created super-children that the Avengers had been shepherding.  That kind of annoyed me since I thought he had gotten away and they would be used for some nefarious end without the Avengers being able to do anything about it.

Well, Avengers 13 not only allayed my fears, but also created another amazing issue as the Earth's Mightiest Heroes tracked the High Evolutionary down and saved the kids.  The budding relationship between Thor and Hyperion is so amusing I can only hope we see more of it as Hickman's run continues, and in general Hickman continues to have an great grasp on all the different characters.  And I have to say the fact that they're remaining consistent with the fact that Tony shouldn't be on Earth right now is pretty awesome, though I do wonder how Iron Man can operate both that suit and his own given what's going on in his book.  It makes the guy less human and more superhuman, but that might be the fault of another book I'll talk about in just a sec.

I don't think I've scarcely ever liked Deodato's art more, as his gorgeous pencils remind me of just how beautiful the Savage Land is supposed to be, even when everything there is trying to kill you.  Great book all-around, and I'm hoping 14 keeps up the trend as this is the most interesting the Avengers have been in awhile.

Earth 2 #13

So, I'm not sure what's going on here.  I'm loving James Robinson's Earth 2 (at least for the 3 more issues I'll have him), but this issue came totally out of left field as it introduced an idea I thought was confined strictly to New Earth's stories.  The overall issue is as good as I expected it to be, containing what is basically an origin story of Captain Steel, and Yilidray Cinar's art almost makes me not miss Nicola Scott, being as beautiful and as detailed as I remembered it being on Teen Titans.

It's really too bad that this universe that Robinson has been building up isn't really going to lead anywhere, since he's leaving the title, but I'm definitely sticking around to see what he does with the last few issues he's on the book.

This book kind of bugs me.  I mean, we all know that Reed, Tony, Victor, Hank--they're all way smarter than any human being that actually walks the Earth.  But if you come up with an explanation for why one is so smart and so good at everything, then technically you need to come up with one for them all.

Still, the issue itself is enjoyable to read, especially considering Dale Eaglesham's literally one of my favorite artists in comics (him and Ethan van Sciver). Gillen's treading very dangerous ground here, but so long as he starts to ask (and answer!) the right questions I'll be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Transformers: Robots in Disguise 18

I'm not sure what "Dark Cybertron" is, but it sounds like an event.  Normally I'm kind of "eh" on events since they rarely make any real changes, but Transformers has been excellent so far and in random issues you can have things like Megatron coming back to life and completely wrecking Iacon and it still feels like it has the proper weight and gravity to it, so I can only imagine how big an event could be.

In any case, Robots in Disguise opens in the aftermath of 17, in which the Autobots and Decepticons both had been tossed out of Iacon, the only functioning city of Cybertron. This issue was a bit of a slowdown from the pace the last few issues were at, but it was welcome.  A focus issue, RiD #18 is about Arcee. The female Cybertronians have always been interesting to me, but the IDW-verse went a step further when they brought Arcee on as the lone female, altered by the scientist Jhiaxus when he introduced the concept of gender to her brain and essentially changing her forever.   She's been a wild card ever since then, with a spotty history on par with some of the worst Decepticons, but writer John Barber goes a long way in humanizing this strange assassin of the Autobot clan as we see what its like in her head.

With Starscream as the current ruler of Cybertron, things can only get more interesting from here on, but right now we seem to be focusing on how the outcast factions of Autobots and Decepticons, something I'm actually okay with.

Astro City #1

Nnnghh.  This is a comic that I've been a huge fan of ever since I first found it in my local library as a high school sophomore.  With its gorgeous hand-drawn Alex Ross covers, mind-bogglingly beautiful interiors by Brent Anderson, and heartfelt tales written by Kurt Busiek, Astro City has always been my favorite take on superheroes that doesn't involve DC or Marvel.  (And sometimes my favorite even when you include them.)

Despite being away from the book for the past four years or so, Kurt manages to craft a pitch-perfect tale, matching the reconstructionist tone Astro City is known for with seemingly no problems.  The characters American Chibi and Broken Man tap into some of the more popular trends that comics have seen over the last decade, but still seem like just another part of Astro City's ever-growing landscape, and the story the Broken Man tells about a character from a much earlier issue of the comic manages to give readers a sense of continuity without seeming impenetrable for newer readers to understand as so much of the book involves new concepts that a small nod to a past issue becomes harmless. 

With supposedly 12 completed issues in the drawer now, I can only hope this new return of Astro City is permanent, as I sure missed visiting.

Okay, that's all for now.  I'm sorry if this seems rushed, but I just realized I needed to write it after I began reading this week's batch of comics.  I can't say when I'll have the next batch up, but I'm hoping its soon.  Later.


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