Bottom of the Pile #7: July 3rd, 2014
I'm late with this, my apologies. Next one's going to be up tomorrow. Look forward to it.
Action. Destruction. High stakes. Earth's Mightiest Heroes acting like Earth's Mightiest Heroes. As we spiral towards Jonathan Hickman's first major event at Marvel, the Avengers are starting to look more like the Avengers people were complaining had been missing from the book. The quiet moments of character development and subtle plot progression have vanished and in their place is nothing but high-speed, breakneck action. Never mind Earth, the entire universe seems to be at stake in this issue, and if New Avengers is to be believed, much more than that.
But for now, just enjoy the Avengers beating face and Jonathan Hickman's bang-on characterization of everyone from Bruce Banner and Captain America, to the new Superior Spider-Man and Jonathan's own creation, Captain Universe. Oh, and the book to renewing membership in the "most consistently awesome artwork" club.
If there is a complaint, it's that amidst all this build-up and event amongst all this fight scene craziness, the real gravity of what the Avengers are up against has yet to be laid out clearly. We seem to be taking things at Hickman's (admittedly slow) pace, but for now I'm actually fine with that.
Detective Comics 22
The anti-Batman idea has been done so much that I've actually thought about what would happen if they suddenly all teamed up against Bruce one day to take him down in a single story. Still, the new Wrath is VERY believable as someone that could take down the Caped Crusader, as he storms into Gotham with both superior resources and superior firepower.
John Layman's Detective Comics continues to be the best Batman book on the stands, with Jason Fabok's clean artwork and Emilio Lopez's colors managing to strike the perfect mix in portraying Gotham, making it appear dark without ever seeming hopeless. Even the back-up story is solid work on all parts, continuing the story of the "new" Man-Bat and his wife, introducing a shocking new twist that even most longtime readers won't see coming. While my personal opinion of the Bat-line is...less than positive lately, this book is always the exception to the rule.
Earth 2 14
With every issue of Earth 2 that comes out, I get more and more depressed. The book isn't bad, I mean I praise it all the time--it stands as a testament of what a talented writer can do when he's given a decent amount of freedom from editorial and his own universe of superheroes to work with. (Like Astro City, but with name-brand heroes.) As the war kicks off between the World Army and the Wonders versus Dherain and Steppenwolf, the action in this book is turned up to 11, brought by illustrations from the immeasurably talented Nicola Scott and wonderful colors from Pete Pantazis, it really feels like author James Robinson is just getting started.
...Which is why I'm depressed. Because I know he's got two more issues before he's gone, and there just seems like there's so much more story to tell. Pity. But, this was a solid issue nevertheless.
I still don't quite know what to feel about this book. The story isn't necessarily bad, per se. It's certainly one of the prettiest books in comics with that Fernando Pasarin artwork. But as a comic book fan a complete and total revising of Tony Stark's origin like this just ruffles feathers. In re-reads once it's all done, who knows I might like it better. But as it stands, while its spot at the bottom is deserved, it sure leaves me puzzled after every issue.
Transformers: Robots in Disguise 19
IDW continues its trend of most solid universe in comics, with this issue of Robots in Disguise. Shifting for an issue to focus on Optimus Prime rather than the politics of Cybertron, Robots in Disguise continues its Dark Cybertron prelude with a look at another of Shockwave's mysterious Energon experiments, and even a brief guest-appearance by an old "Decepticon" that a lot of 90's fans of Transformers might recognize. It's also good to see Optimus Prime (or rather, Orion Pax) again. Even better when I consider that since RiD and MTMTE started I've only seen the guy once, so I actually get to miss the guy.
While the issue ends with the reader having more questions than answers, we're already aware this is building towards the More than Meets the Eye/Robots in Disguise crossover, Dark Cybertron, so what we're seeing here is John Barber moving set pieces where he needs them to be for this event. Man, I'm quite possibly more hyped for this than I ever was for Forever Evil, or even Inhumanity. There's a change in artists here from Andrew Griffith to Dheeraj Verma, but it wasn't especially jarring considering the complete and total change in setting and characters. Arguably it works better since the issue got across the idea of both flashbacks and being on a different planet convincingly.