Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Supergirl #1 review, TMNT #2 review, Cloak and Dagger #2 review

Comic Book Wednesday
Issue #19
Part One

Quick entry today, but a big one tomorrow. Today, we've got three books that I've been looking forward to all month. Let's get to it!

Supergirl #1
The Last Daughter of Krypton
Written by Michael Green and Mike Johnson
Pencils by Mahmud Asrar
DC Comics

Anyone who reads this blog knows how much love Supergirl gets in Comic Book Wednesday. Besides Whedony properties, she is the most talked about character in my little corner of the Internet. This book is the one I've been anticipating more than any other of the New 52, so it had a lot to live up to... and I'm not sure if it did. It was a good read. A good, way-too-quick read. Asrar's pencils are flawless, and he delivers easily the best interiors the book has ever had.

However, more than any of the other New 52 books, this one proves how hilarious it is that DC insisted that this isn't a reboot. Every Supergirl story is scratched. Completely gone. Kara has never been to Earth. Kara lands on our planet in the issue and, already wearing the new Supergirl costume, meets Superman. It's basically a new take on Kara's introduction scene in Jeph Loeb's Superman/Batman: Supergirl arc. But that's really all this is. A scene. I'm all for decompressed comics and letting the narrative unfold at the pace the story dictates... but this is a bit much. In this issue, Supergirl lands on Earth, governmenty types in robot suits (it's always robots with Kara) fight her in an attempt to detain her, she gets confused as her powers go crazy, and Superman appears on the scene. That's it. Fin.

Again, the art is great. We get some inner monologue from Supergirl, and it's extremely well-written to the point of being a tease. I want more of that. I want more than just a fight scene. I wanted (note the past tense) this book to work in the same way that Batgirl worked. That book was a soft reboot, in that everything that happened in the past is honored and still could have happened. That seems to be the case with the vast majority of the DCnU books. This one, not so much. I'm okay with progressing along this path as long as Green and Johnson deliver a great Supergirl story... and it seems that they have the potential to do so. I was hoping that the first issue would be more indicative of how the whole series would read.

In short, it's fun, but be warned that this is by far the rebootiest of the DC reboot. Except, perhaps, Superboy... but I'm not reading that, Teen Titans, or the Red Hood book, so I can't speak for those.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2
Story by Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz
Script by Tom Waltz
Art by Dan Duncan
IDW Publishing

Here is the second installment of what I called my favorite comic of the summer. The fun continues in this comic and, as the story develops and more characters are introduced, the nostalgia for my childhood TMNT love transforms into a very current enthusiasm for this story and this version of the Turtles.

It begins with Raphael saving Casey Jones, whose father is doing the drunken child abuse thing. Never fun. Raph is as sarcastic and badass as ever, but the best part of the issue is how quickly his friendship with Casey develops. The best was when, after Raph asks Casey why he isn't frightened by his appearance, Casey replies, "Ha! Yeah, you ain't exactly Brad Pitt, are ya? But, dude, you met my old man. Next to him, you're a friggin' teddy bear."

We also get two major scenes, one of which is a flashback that shows us how the lab rat and the four turtles would eventually become, respectively, Splinter and the eponymous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We also, in one slick panel, get a reason for Old Hob's mutation as well as the incident that caused Raphael to be separated from his brothers. It's slick storytelling, and done in such a visual way that could really only be done in comics. Waltz struts his stuff in these flashback issues, teasing longtime fans with what they know while eventually offering something that combines the classic origin with something new and exciting.

So, is it October yet?

Cloak & Dagger: Spider Island #2
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Emma Rios
Marvel Comics

Talk about favorites?

Last month, I was floored by how awesome Nick Spencer's Cloak & Dagger was. It continues this month in this brilliant comic that, while tying in nicely to Dan Slott's Spider Island crossover, is very much its own story. It doesn't have the feeling of a book that exists to service the main title... it is very much its own beast, and a ferociously entertaining one at that. Mr. Negative captures Dagger, who, according to a prophecy, will kill him. The plot is interesting, but it's the dialogue, the character relationships, and the storytelling that makes this as exceptional as it is. Spencer plays with the format in an almost Gaiman-esque way (a lot of this reminds me of Sandman), including a scene with the heading "CLOAK GETS BEAT UP: A Silent Play in One Act, Staged Two Hours Ago." And... well, you can guess what happens.

Captivating story aside, it's clear that Nick Spencer is hungry to do a monthly Cloak & Dagger. The book is packed with too much awesome to not be the physical manifestation of a cry for more. Nick Spencer is easily in the top three, maybe two comics writers working; Emma Rios' art is whimsically beautiful, dancing across the pages, playing the dichotomy of darkness and light; and Cloak and Dagger are two of the most overlooked characters, and I think Marvel knows this. If comics buyers have any sense, an on-going Cloak & Dagger from this creative team would be one of the hottest books Marvel could publish. I can't think of a title I'd be happier to buy.


TOMORROW: Where are all the New 52 titles? Got a bunch of 'em, and reviews will be posted tomorrow!

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