Comics Briefly: Avengers Academy Reprint #1-3, Batgirl #17, Birds of Prey #8, Star Trek: Khan: Ruling in Hell #4, Wonder Girl #1

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Favorite Issue This Week: Birds of Prey #8

All issues new in stores 1/12/11

Also new this week: collected paperback of Joker's Asylum II, which was a great series of one-shots that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Avengers Academy: Meet the New Class #1 (Reprint of 1-3)
Writer: Christos Gage, Artist: Mike McKone

This issue benefits from some convenient timing. I had decided to look into more Marvel books (see 2010 comic post), Avengers Academy was plugged heavily in the "3 Chicks Review Comics" podcast I enjoyed last week, and then Marvel releases this. It's the first three issues collected for the price of one. Sweet!

I really liked this: it's like New X-Men but I think the character work is better at first glance. It helps to know a little about recent Marvel, but it brings you up to speed quickly. The premise is simple: a bunch of misfit young super-humans created or traumatized by Norman Osborn train with a bunch of misfit Avengers. Sort of. I hope it isn't giving much away to say that in tone it's also like what I wanted Runaways to be. It's the characters that I'm really drawn to so far. By turns fun, dark, and action-packed, this was a great intro to the series.

Of course, now the question is do I follow it? Next week Issue #8 comes out. I have here 1-3. I think the collected 1-6 is coming out, but it'll be more expensive than just buying 4, 5 and 6. Come on, Marvel, cut me a break and give me an easy way to catch up.  Alternately, one of the comic shops could conveniently have a back issue sale soon...or I could wait for the graphic novels to get cheap.... Time and budget will have to decide here.

Batgirl #17
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller, Artist: Pere Perez

This is a really cute story, pairing Stephanie with Damian for a quick adventure. The contrast between the characters is well played, and it lets Steph be more mature, while still herself. I really enjoyed this one. Short, but sweet.

Birds of Prey #8 (The Death of Oracle, Part Two)
Writer: Gail Simone, Artist: Guillem March

Now this is a fantastic issue. The story picks up speed and drama, and is mostly one long involved fight scene. Barbara's plan is starting to crumble, and the tension picks up. The art is smooth and overall great despite a couple of awkward panels, and the cover is pretty sweet. The interplay between Batman and the Birds here is particularly nice. Ha! I just noticed that Bruce doesn't get a snappy character intro in his first panel. The man needs no introduction.

Star Trek: Khan: Ruling in Hell #4 
Writers: Scott and David Tipton, Artist: Fabio Mantovani

This is the last issue of this miniseries. As expected: no surprises, but a solid, resonant ending. I've really enjoyed these, although I had some issues with the art in the first couple. The account of Khan and his people on Ceti Alpha V feels consistent with the episode and film they bridge. I can't tell how much this series owes to the similarly titled novel by Greg Cox, although Cox gets a small acknowledgment in the copyright notice. Hmmm... Well, in any respect, it's a solid, thoughtful miniseries.

Wonder Girl #1
Writer: JT Krul, Penciler: Adriana Melo, Inker: Mariah Benes

This one shot was cute, but nothing that special. I liked the battle, although the emotional context (Cassie's relationship with her mom) was riding the edge between touching and cloying. I'm not sure where I think it falls in the end. A quick Google tells me that the young lady calling herself Solstice in this issue is about to be a new Titan with light-based powers.  I want to like her, she's funny and cute, although in this issue she's dispensing a smidge too much fortune-cookie wisdom.

Also Considered This Week:

Dark Tower: The Little Sisters of Eluria #2
Flipped through this, but I don't think this adaptation adds anything to the experience of reading the novella.

Heroes for Hire #2
Another Marvel book I picked up and looked through.  It seems fine, but didn't hook my interest.

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