This is a new series reviewing some of the best and worst comic releases of the week.
It was a light week for comics in general, but a few still deserve our attention. Let’s examine a good book, a mediocre book, and a great collection that were released this past week.
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Scott Kolins
Issue #7 of DC mega mind Geoff John’s The Flash serves as a reprieve from the quick paced first arc that concluded the last issue. In fact, this issue really has nothing to do with the Flash at all. Instead, it focuses on Digger Harkness a.k.a. Captain Boomerang, whom we saw missing from the Rogues at the end of last issue.
We open with Harkness breaking into prison to release an inmate. As he works his way through the penitentiary we get a look into the character’s past. It’s a classic villain background story; troubled past, rise to glory, and a fall from grace that leads to a life of crime. But as simple as it is, Johns’ does an excellent job of showing exactly why he is DC’s golden boy. He has a captured the hardened, survivalist nature of Captain Boomerang. Harkness has a clear-cut voice, and it’s hard to think that he won’t be seeing a lot of him in the coming months.
As the issue progresses we come to realize that Harkness is taking a huge risk in breaking into this prison. Not merely because of the nature of the act, but because of who he is trying to break out – long time Flash and Rogues nemesis; Reverse Flash. You see, Harkness has questions after being resurrected after Blackest Night, specifically regarding what conditions the white light gave him for being allowed to remain alive permanently. He must “throw the boomerang” at caped super hero Dove. Boomerang’s thought process is that Reverse Flash, being from the future, will have all the answers for him, and on top of that will be grateful to Digger for breaking him out of jail.
Boomerang is sadly mistaken, as all he gets out of Reverse Flash is a series of riddles and insults, little more than taunts, until he quickly flees the scene. The Captain has little time to reflect on the encounter however, as he’s left in the company of his fellow Rogues – who are not at all pleased to see that he freed Reverse Flash.
Overall, this is a great ground laying issue for the quickly blossoming Flash series. Johns shows his true strength in a fantastically well written Harkness who not only has his own clear voice, but is also a relatable character that the reader can easily identify with and root for. On top of that, his Reverse Flash is vicious, his tongue biting at Digger with every word. This week’s Flash is also a Brightest Day tie in that’s not a bore to read, something incredibly hard to find these days.
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Pier Gallo
Superboy #2 continues to chronicle Conner Kent’s mission to keep Smallville safe – something that’s surprisingly difficult considering that it’s well, Smallville. The issue opens with Parasite having been put down, but Poison Ivy and a series of giant vines are threatening the town in his place. When Ivy reveals that she’s not behind the menace, Connor reluctantly teams with her to get to the bottom of things.
Superboy sadly does very little to grab a reader’s attention. Ivy is gone from the book as quickly as she’s introduced, and it is written generally fairly poorly. Lemire’s grasp on Conner is slightly better, mixing the proper amount of self doubt and over confidence to create an appropriate teenage super hero. Still, it feels like something is missing. Perhaps Connor could use a better side kick than Simon – his very own Jimmy Olsen rip off, or maybe it’s simply that the issue never makes you feel that anything is truly at risk.
As for the art, it feels sloppy and rushed, with faces on characters rarely being consistent and all sharing a very basic, bland style.
The mysterious enemies on the final two pages do little to make one wonder what’s going to happen next. After all, this is still Smallville, and who would truly covet “finally” taking over small town U.S.A? While it’s only issue #2, unless there is serious improvement to the quality of the art, and a more interesting storyline, this book will quickly become irrelevant. This is a shame, because the Man of Steel Jr. can be a lot of fun in the hands of a more passionate creative team.
Written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost
Art by Gabriele Del’otto
This newly released trade collects the swan song issues for Craig Kyle and Chris Yost’s X-Force series; the limited three issue series that followed the conclusion of CK and CY’s new imagining of X-Force in their recent run (volume 3). The title promises sex and violence, and it delivers in both departments. Domino is in a position where she is pitted against both the Hand and the Assassin’s guild. Lucky as she is, Domino has no choice but to turn to Wolverine for assistance. Thanks to Gabriele Del’otto, Logan elegantly carves his way through hordes upon hordes of ninjas with ferocious grace. He eventually tears his way through Domino’s bedroom as well.
This collection also comes with a special tid bit – a reprinting of Grant Morrison and Leinel Yu’s 2001 New X-Men Annual. The story features Wolverine and Domino’s first hook up, as well as the debut of the U-Men, and the character Xorn. This is definitely a fantastic addition to this collection, and it’s great to see Morrison getting acknowledgement in X-history after so much of his run has been retconned away.
Overall, if you were a fan of CK and CY’s X-Force run, you’ll be a fan of this book. It’s super gory and features amazing, fluidly crafted fight scenes. There are countless ninjas getting sliced to pieces, and scenes of violence that test even Wolverine’s healing factor. In the final issue the whole X-Force team has a surprise assist, as they show up in the nick of time to save Domino and Wolverine from certain doom. It’s fun to see CK and CY take their kill crew for one last ride, and they have a hell of a time doing it. They tell a story that’s light and fun, but also show just why they were so great during their X-Force run with fantastic handling of both Domino and Wolverine’s characters. This book is definitely not for those with a week stomach, but readers will also be surprised at what a fantastic story such a gore heavy book tells. That’s where this collection really shines.