AVENGERS OF THE WASTELAND & MORE! [Reviews]

AVENGERS OF THE WASTELAND #1/ Script by ED BRISSON/ Art by JONAS SCHARF/ Colors by NEERAJ MENON/ Letters by CORY PETIT/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Doctor Doom is moving to consolidate his control of the American wasteland. Thankfully, he does not stand unopposed, but can a new Avengers made up of the son of the Hulk, an untested Ant-Man and the current wielder of Thor’s hammer hope to thwart the will of Doom?

I haven’t ready any of Old Man Logan or the assorted tie-ins but Ed Brisson’s script does an amazing job of summarizing the story so far for new readers like me. The characters are established well enough, though there’s not much chance to define them beyond their names and powers amid all the action sequences. Still, that action is well illustrated, with Jonas Scharf presenting detailed art worthy of the gritty, hostile setting and the colors by Neeraj Menon being well-chosen. Anyone who ever ranted to see Mad Max: Fury Road crossed with Marvel Comics would do well to check this one out.

DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #3/ Scripts by PETER J. TOMASI/ Art by SUMIT KUMAR & EDUARDO RISSO/ Colors by ROMULO FAJARDO JR. & EDUARDO RISSO/ Letters by TOM NAPOLITANO/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Still recovering from the death of Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne finds himself drawn into an unfinished bit of business from his butler’s former life as an MI-6 agent.  Can Batman capture the double-agent who eluded his foster-father?

While I’m still not crazy about the idea of Alfred Pennyworth dying, I can’t deny that we’ve seen some good stories come out of what Tom King did in the main Batman comic. Tomasi gives us two such stories here, with Bruce going to work tracking down a hostile spy and a brief flashback tale detailing Alfred’s contributions to Bruce’s first week as Batman.

While there’s nothing wholly original here, the stories are still well told and they are well matched by the artwork. Sumit Kumar and Rumulo Fajardo Jr. offer a dark, detailed aesthetic that evokes the spirit of a Cold-War thriller and Eduardo Risso’s work on the flashback story invites favorable comparison to Tim Sale’s work on The Long Halloween. This is a solid annual and must-read for fans of spycraft and superheroes.

 

THE FLASH #87/ Script by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON/ Art by CHRISTIAN DUCE/ Colors by LUIS GUERRERO/ Letters by STEVE WANDS/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

With Iron Heights still being rebuilt there’s no place to keep Captain Cold or an out-of-control Flash but Arkham Asylum. Thankfully, an old enemy may have a solution for stilling the Speed Force within The Flash and his speedster allies, but can his powers truly be contained?

I do love covers like this one which have nothing to do with the story but still capture the spirit of the story. Despite being the finale of the Year of the Villain tie-in where the Rogues took over Central City, Williamson’s story here is instantly accessible to new readers and if you don’t know anything about the current versions of Barry Allen or Captain Cold, this issue is a welcome introduction.

The artwork also continues to run forward on all eight cylinders. Christian Duce finds a nice balance between darkness and details compared to exaggeration and illumination in his artwork, creating a wholly unique and memorable looking book. The colors by Luis Guerrero offer the perfect finishes. All in all, this remains one of DC Comics best books.

 

SUICIDE SQUAD #2/ Script by TOM TAYLOR/ Art by BRUNO REDONDO/ Colors by ADRIANO LUCAS/ Letters by WES ABBOTT/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

With the captured superhero team called The Revolutionaries now enslaved to the Suicide Squad, the mysterious Mr. Lok is quick to put them to work on a rescue mission to retrieve the puppet president the US Government tried and failed to install in another nation. Too bad their intelligence on the island nation’s defenses was hardly intelligent and the Revolutionaries have other ideas about serving without complaint.

If is rare for me to say that a creative team was perfectly chosen for working on a particular series, but whoever green-lit Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas and Wes Abbott taking over Suicide Squad needs to be promoted and given a raise. The Revolutionaries as some of the best original characters seen at DC Comics in a dog’s age and Taylor perfectly captures the blend of action and dark comedy needed for this particular series. Redondo’s character designs are unique and memorable and the action sequences look fantastic. If you aren’t reading this book already, you need to start now.

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