In the interest of helping the mainstream comics industry by both promoting their best stuff and ignoring their less successful attempts, Dean Trippe takes time out of his busy schedule to inform you about the best of the best put out by the Big Two. Here are his picks for the last couple of weeks.
All-Star Superman #12 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely with Jamie Grant. It’s no secret that this series has been the best book on stands since its debut. In its final issue, All-Star Supes pulls the complex threads laid down in the first issue into a cohesive closure that feels inevitable…and perfect. I don’t think I’ll ever forget Superman’s final labor, Lex’s great realization, or Lois’s enduring faith. I found this comic profoundly moving, and honestly, that is the best compliment that can be given to any story. I spoke briefly with Mr. Morrison at SDCC this year, and his contention that we are in a New Golden Age is hard to deny, given the great steps his and Geoff Johns’s work at DC has taken to elevate the genre. I can’t say too much about this issue, because I know many of you are waiting for the trades. I will tell you, though, I honestly feel grateful to Morrison, Quitely, and Grant, for sharing this incredible story with us, for believing in a Superman truly worthy of his status as the world’s first and best superhero. I’m left awestruck. (I struggled with what preview clip to show for this issue, because there were so many incredible moments I wanted to leave spoiler-free just for you. You’re welcome.)
Amazing Spider-Man #572 by Dan Slott (and the Spidey team) and John Romita Jr. I’ve been giving the current storyline, “New Ways to Die,” a try, since I haven’t been that into Spidey since the whole devil-wish-magic-divorce storyline. It’s pretty dang cool. The creative team is solid. No one beat JRJR on Spidey, and Klaus Janson’s inks here are beefy and strong. Dean White’s coloring is some of his best work, rounding out the art team with finished pages to rival anything else being done at the Big Two. Dan Slott’s Spidey feels classic and fun, and I’m genuinely enjoying the multi-threaded storyline. If this was a monthly, I’d be concerned about how complex and decompressed it is, but for a near-weekly series, it’s a blast. (One quibble: Is Norman Osborn’s hair changing from issue to issue?)
Green Lantern #34 by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis. Continuing the “Secret Origin” storyline, Johns and Reis are STILL brining their heavy-hitting skills to this “include and transcend” retelling of Hal Jordan’s origin. If you don’t know anything about Hal’s story, here’s a great way in; if you know a bunch of different versions of it with lots of loose threads, let this carefully crafted story tie those threads into a cohesive fabric. It’s like Birthright for Green Lantern. Johns is pulling from disparate tales of various writers, and connecting things up with his own ideas about the Corps dynamics and the emotional color spectrum. Johns’ understanding of Sinestro is unmatched, by the way, as is evident in his recent Sinestro Corps storylines. But this look back to Sinestro as the best of the GLs is excellent, and makes his seduction by Fear all the more tragic.This will be the story arc you give friends to introduce them to the GL mythos. Great book from a great team.
Secret Invasion #6 by Brian Michael Bendis and Leinil Yu. Okay, nothing in this book is as badass as the cover, though Nick Fury’s line here comes pretty close. Finally reuniting the Avengers teams and specifically the triumvirate of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor (all in their new costumes!) is exciting, though it really needed a moment somewhere in the book to truly consider the weight of their likely reconciliation. I’m interested to see where Bendis is going with the Skrull’s God-fixation, which many have noted seems like a nod to (or rip from) the Cylons in the current Battlestar Galactica series. I’m not as concerned about that, since honestly, all of these stories have been told and retold. I’m just enjoying seeing it rail across the Marvel U. Leinil’s art this issue is mostly solid, though I think I see some series fatigue setting in in some of the background characters. My only crit on the writing would be the lack of investment in the “fascist”-crying youths wishing to “embrace change.” It looks like next issue should be an all-out brawl, which wouldn’t be that exciting for me except that Yu is REALLY GOOD at those. Haha. Here’s hoping there’s more of Tony, Buck, and Thor teaming up specifically. It’s really good to see those three together.