A review of comics released this week the Part Time Henchmen!  Are these the next great stories?


DC Comics

Batman #49

DC Comics
Writer – Tom King
Artist – Mikel Janin
Price – $2.99

This is the issue before the solicited marriage between Batman and Catwoman.  It is also the end of the “Best Man” storyline with the Joker attempting to ruin the nuptials.  This comic has a lot riding on it. Is it a good lead-in to a defining character marriage?

Tom King, since DC’s Rebirth event, has strived to take Batman to a place he hasn’t been since Frank Miller; any form of happiness.  This Catwoman/Joker focused book is a terrific place to learn about how Catwoman and Joker have ended up with their opinions on the marriage.  Why does Catwoman accept Batman and why the Joker needs the marriage stopped. The dialogue hits at prior notorious stories, meanwhile, Selina’s heart is laid bare in an understandable way.  King has found a way to tell a new story while still honoring, even admiring, decades of what has come before.

Batman #49 – DC Comics

The art was a bit of a distraction here. However, it isn’t bad art.  Let me explain. Jikel Janin’s art style is extremely clean. His details are simple and distinct, and his action scenes are easy to understand.  Where I have a problem is that for two characters have near mortal wounds that require pressure and the dialogue bubbles indicate strain, both characters are surprisingly calm and even in their expression.  In short, Janin is a good artist who isn’t a good fit for this particular story.

You can catch up quickly on the psyche of a couple of central figures in Bruce Wayne’s life in this issue.  It’s almost a good jump in point right before the marriage issue next month. Honestly, unless you nitpick comics as much as I need to in a review, you’re very likely to enjoy this issue


Marvel Comics

Tony Stark – Iron Man #1

Marvel Comics
Writer – Dan Slott
Artist – Valerio Schiti
Price – $4.99

Another Iron Man first issue?  This could have easily been a phone-it-in book and a quick sales grab, as well as a fast review.  This book turned out to be an uncanny reintroduction to Tony Stark and moreover, it redefines Iron Man.

Dan Slott just closed his run on Spider-Man and has to fill the big shoes of Brian Michael Bendis.  Slott does not fill those shoes so much as he’s running a new path. Slott portrays Stark as his usual over-the-top personality, but he is now adding to his armory by surrounding himself with a team of people, including a new character from his past, to redefine what the Armored Avenger is capable of when he has the right backup.  The dialogue snaps well and there is a bevy of different personas to know. The writing balances the known aspects of Iron Man’s history and changes just enough items to let you know this Tony trying something new.

Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 – Marvel Comics

Valerio Schiti was not a name I knew before.  After reading this issue, I’m pouring over San Diego Comic-Con’s registry to see if he will be there.  While his body proportions can be slightly off, Schiti’s style has a less-is-more quality. He minimizes detail and appears to be working closely with his colorist to make his images come to life.  What this makes is a near cartoon-like quality that goes hand-in-hand with Slott’s big personas. The mix isn’t perfect, but I expect Schiti’s art to grow into the comic to make it even better.

If you think you know Iron Man, this is the comic that will show you you are right… and you are wrong.  I expect to know more of the new faces in this story in future issues. Additionally, with Slott behind the wheel, this ride will be worth the time.


Image Comics

Flavor #2

Image Comics
Writer – Joseph Keatinge
Artist – Wook Jin Clark
Price – $3.99

I decided to review the second issue of this original story, and I am even more intrigued than I was in the first issue.

Keatinge’s world, where culinary skills are held in as high esteem as money-making skills are in our world, added a number of layers in its second issue adding characters in different classes and expanding on the central characters introduced in the first issue.  The overall story is familiar, although the execution has a lot of nuance and hints of even deeper mysteries. This is like a Scooby-Doo-mystery, however each answered mystery has its own tree of attached questions at the end. Keatinge made Flavor uncomplicated, but layered.

Flavor #2 – Image Comics

If you’re an art snob, you may be turned off by the art of Wook Jin Clark.  I suggest you work past the initial opinion of the art. The further the story goes, the more the surreal and simple art jives with the story to create a whole other world.  In simple terms, the art make Flavor feel like a dystopian Ghibli film. Beneath the cute appearance, you can sense the tension through the line work.

Do not ignore Flavor just because it doesn’t have capes or stylized characters.  Like Steven Universe, there is much more going on here than the family-friendly faces would have you believe.


Marvel Comics

Infinity Countdown – Black Widow #1

Marvel Comics
Writer – Gerry Duggan
Artist – Nik Virella
Price – $4.99

I’m not one for event books, so I approached this with apprehension.  By the end, I was almost cheering for the main character, even though she now has the Space Infinity Stone.

Gerry Duggan has written long swaths of the Uncanny Avengers and Deadpool series, but he hasn’t focused on the Black Widow before.  He took the character and added a lot of compassion to go with the Widow’s hardcore veneer. Duggan adds enough inner-monologue exposition to get you caught up without hand-holding readers or overloading them with the unnecessary.  He even added more obscure Marvel characters as an ally and a villain and he explains them in simple terms. While he does not explain how Natasha has returned from death, he does give her a lot of life in this book.

Infinity Countdown: Black Widow #1 – Marvel Comics

Nik Virella’s art is a bit of a mixed bag.  The panel-to-panel action and motion is easy to read, however some of the action lacks energy and there’s times when extreme perspective can become muddy and get in the way of a great scene.  The art is far from bad, although it doesn’t aid the story as much as it should. With that said, Virella is relatively new to the professional scene and I see potential for his growth.

I know Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of the character has raised the profile of the same around the world.  However, I think a lot of people overlook this character because she isn’t as powerful as most Avengers, and doesn’t even have the level of style that Hawkeye has.  This issue goes a long way to show readers why Natasha Romanoff is worthy to stand with titans.

Infinity Countdown: Black Widow #1 – Marvel Comics

My Pick of the Week isn’t a perfect comic.  It is a great place for new and old fans to get to know a character that rarely gets the spotlight she has earned.

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