Bottom of the Pile #6: June 26, 2013
This is how you do superheroes. I've been waiting for Aquaman to rise to a level where I can truly say I'm looking forward to the next issue on more than just the strength of Geoff Johns' name, and this issue finally did it for me. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and this issue of Aquaman shows just how heavy things can get, even for someone used to the crushing pressures at the bottom of the ocean. From the Dead King to the potential freeing of Ocean Master, countless problems seem to be swirling around the Arthur, while Paul Pelletier's art makes it all look beautiful.
Flash typically makes it to the Bottom of the Pile, but this time it's place here isn't quite deserved. This is the first meeting of Flash and Kid Flash, and instead of it being memorable, it ends up just being 22 pages of filler. Like the cover implies, the issue doesn't exactly show Flash and Kid Flash getting along all that well.
However, this isn't anything new. See, Bart and Barry had a rocky relationship even pre-New 52 after Barry was originally brought back from the dead. Only now, it doesn't really make sense. Before, there was this great history behind Bart's animosity for his grandfather in that Barry was basically too busy to spend time with him. But that's not there anymore. And Bart's even more of a jerk to Barry now than before, which would make sense if they revealed something in Bart's back story to explain it, but they didn't. They revealed absolutely nothing, and Barry got literally nowhere in his search for Professor Zoom, so this issue exists pretty much for the artwork. Which is beautiful but...this is a comic, not an art book. Sad day for one of the most consistently good series the New 52 has published, but I'm certain they'll bounce back soon enough.
Green Team: Teen Trillionaires 2
This issue moves a tad slower than the last, but I still like where it's going. I'm not certain when we as a society started wanting rich people to become philanthropists who would save us from ourselves, but it's an idea worth exploring, especially when it isn't done with ready-made heroes like Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark. I genuinely want to see where the main character is going with this idea of picking up old superhero/villain tech and repurposing it for his own ends, whatever they end up being.
The main fault of this issue is it focuses on Cecilia Sunbeam, who just doesn't seem to be a very likable character. She's certainly smarter than one would usually give a character like hers credit for, but the information revealed about her does little to endear the reader to her. Still, it's an entertaining read and if it ever actually starts to take a direction (and can avoid cancellation), DC may have a cult classic on its hands.
Justice League 21
Geoff Johns had a busy week, with all of his comics hitting in a single week at the end of the month. I'm not sure if that's because DC simply wanted to shut Marvel out in the last week or if it was just the fault of scheduling, but it was definitely nice to get so many doses of one of my favorite writer's work all at once.
Justice League 21 focuses on the end of the new Captain Marvel story that Geoff has been running as a back-up in Justice League, and what a finish it is. It's safe to say one of the few things people liked about Flashpoint looking back were the Shazam kids--their interaction was entertaining and it was one of those rares times we got to see a change in a comic character that was both substantial without being annoying.
This is one of those examples of world building Geoff Johns is famous for, as he simultaneously opens the realm of possibilities concerning Billy Batson's abilities, introduces a brand new cast for the character, and revises several of Captain Marvel's rogues for what's certain to be a new comic coming out of Forever Evil. All of this plus gorgeous Gary Frank art pretty much made this my favorite comic for the week.
I'm still not really sure how to feel about this issue of Daredevil. Capping off pretty much the entire run so far, Daredevil 27 sees the problems Matt Murdock put behind finally catch up to him. The result is a downright chilling ending as Daredevil faces off with Ikari and the mysterious benefactor behind his creation, something nearly as dark as the Daredevil runs before Waid took over. But its an excellent finish to what's been a masterful run, and between that and Chris Samnee's pitch-perfect art that manages to always get the tone of a scene right whether its action packed or filled with personal drama, this issue is pretty close to perfection.
Young Avengers 6
In a perfect world, the reason Jamie McKelvie isn't working on this issue of Young Avengers is because he's doing Phonogram 3: The Immaterial Girl. Of course, its not a perfect world so he was probably just getting ahead on this series, which is good because I love this series and yet bad because Phonogram is probably my favorite indie comic ever. Anyways.
YA6 is a bit of a breather issue, showing us what Wiccan's brother Speed has been up to since the Young Avengers broke up, while also doing the same for a new member of the team, David Alleyne (Prodigy) of the X-Men. It's a pretty time-honored odd couple; Speed is an impulsive teen who's all about "doing", Prodigy is a super-genius who's more methodical--but it works so there's nothing to complain about. Fortunately it's not just about how two wacky characters with superpowers (or in David's case, super-memory) get along; there's a fairly neat super-mystery involved that's got me champing at the bit to read the next issue.
Also, as a sidenote: The idea of a superhero call center? Genius. The Marvel Universe has been around long enough for things like this to pop up, and I love it when they do.
Also also: There's nothing wrong with Kate Brown's art. I complained, but I didn't realize this wasn't Jamie McKelvie until the seventh page or so, which means she's actually pretty awesome.
The next two editions of these will be up tomorrow and Sunday. Because I've got to catch the fuck up.