I wanted to look at a few comics I’ve really been enjoying lately. And, surprisingly, they’re…mainstream comic books? Not creator-owned stuff? Stuff coming out of Marvel and DC?
What the hell?
As big a proponent as I am for creator-owned comics and new ideas/characters/stories, you really can’t deny that the Big Two draw in some considerable talent to create their books. When you’ve got that kind of money, of course you can afford to hire and pay the best of the best.
So rather than discuss the multiple independent and creator-owned books I love and adore, I wanted to touch on a few books the Big Guys publish.
First up is Marvel’s “Hawkeye”, by Matt Fraction and David Aja. This is probably the most perfect comic Marvel publishes. Hell, it’s probably the most perfect comic in comics right now. It such a brilliant setup, following the everyday life of Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye (not Hawkguy). And the amount packed into each issue is ridiculous. Aja fits a ton of panels on each page. I love the done-in-one aspect of this book as well. Issues have dealt with Hawkeye struggling to categorize all his trick arrows, or struggling to set up his DVR (it’s way more entertaining than it probably sounds.) I have to give Marvel their due for this book.
Another Marvel book I’ve really been digging is the new “Daredevil” run by Mark Waid and Paulo Rivera/Chris Samnee. For my money, you can’t get a better Daredevil run than the Brian Bendis/Alex Maleev run from a few years ago, but this one is a very close second. And it doesn’t feel like it’s imitating the Bendis run – the depressing and mopey Daredevil is replaced with an upbeat (albeit a forced upbeat-ness as admitted by DD himself) Daredevil. I love the visual tricks that Rivera and Samnee have used over the course of the series to show off Murdock’s radar sense. And the whole Megacrime crossover, with the hijacked Fantastic Four symbol being turned into a massive repository of criminal information is pretty brilliant. Another winner from Marvel.
Third on my Marvel hitlist is “Uncanny X-Force” by Rick Remender and Jerome Opena. I came into this series a little late (reading it in trades), but man, I don’t think I’ve read an X-Men related comic in a long time that I actually enjoyed the way I’m enjoying this. I’ve just finished the second part of the Dark Angel Saga, which was fucking incredible. The fact that Remender was able to make the blandest X-Man ever, Angel, into an interesting character is a testament to how good this book is. I’ve always loved the idea of a secret X-Men hit squad, I really liked the X-Force from a few years ago (with Wolverine, X-23, Warpath, and Wolfsbane), but the new lineup of Wolverine, Angel/Archangel, Deadpool, Psylocke and Fantomex is pretty stellar. It sucks this book (at least the Remender run on it) has come to an end, but I still have a few storylines to read.
Over to DC. I will admit I wasn’t very interested in the New 52 titles. I might have been, considering they were incorporating my beloved Wildstorm characters into the mix…but they fucked that all up. Whoever designed that new Midnighter costume should be embarrassed. But I digress…
A couple of gems have shone through. First is Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s “Batman”. Credit where credit is due, Snyder has become one of the best Bat-writers of the past dozen years. The Court of Owls storyline was mesmerizing, and is probably the best new inclusion to the Batman mythos in a very long time. And I have to say, the resurrection of Greg Capullo is something to behold.
“Batman Incorporated” by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham is also a brilliant Bat-book, mostly because it’s sort of sitting on the fringes of the New 52 universe. It’s as if Grant said “New 52? No one consulted me on that, so fuck you,” and just kept writing his series as it was. I love the idea of the Batmen of many nations, and the massive global evil conspiracy group called Leviathan. I don’t want to spoil too much here, because it’s so much goddamn fun to read. And the Burnham art is astonishing.
That’s all for today. I’ll soon be back to flying the flag of the creator-owned book, but I had to get this off my chest. Like an exorcism or something. But again, there’s a reason why Marvel and DC run the industry the way they do – they sometimes create really, really good comics.
Do yourself a favor and listen to “Spills Out” by Pterodactyl. Cheers.