Since I have recollection of reading comics, rarely have I experienced a week in which all the books I read were consistently good across the board or even recommendable. Well, almost all of them.
Writer: Jay Faerber
Pencils: Scott Godlewski
Colors: Ron Riley
The second issue continues the excellent work found in the previous issue, keeping all the story beats for most important characters and moving them forward. For the first time I saw Sheriff Clara Bronson let her guard down to sooth a victim and possible homicide witness, I saw Boo cooperating with the investigation in spite of his feeling for his new boss and the cliffhanger from last week got resolved… sort of.
Overall this was a solid read that advanced the plot and forfeited a little exposition in exchange for different takes on the characters I was introduced to last week. There’s a new cliffhanger this week, but the way they’ve been telling me the story I’m convinced that everything’s not what it seems in Copperhead and assuming is a fatal mistake with this book. I love it.
So: Yes. Sheriff Bronson’s first case has me intrigued and the supporting cast is not a letdown. I’m going head first into the next one.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Art: Andrei Bressan
Another tasty book this week was Birthright, which presents us with the story of the Rhodes Family, whose lives are about to collapse after their youngest child, Mikey, gets lost in a forest on his birthday. The father, Aaron, is accused of murdering his child and the rest is history.
The book shows in a very impressive manner how a happy family disintegrates in just three pages with fluid dialog and fast, clear panel breakdowns full of beautiful art to boot. By the time we get out of the time skip, a year has passed and suddenly a man — not a child — claiming to be Mikey is found, but this is not the character we met briefly at the beginning of the book.
Every panel in this book feels necessary and the way the characters interact is dramatic, but their reactions are also totally acceptable and realistic considering the situation they’re in. the classic hyperbole we usually associate with the medium comes near the end of the issue, but if it wasn’t for it, this title could easily be a convincing family drama as a standalone comic book.
So: Yes. Birthright surprised me in more than one way and I’m glad I started this adventure. It let me wanting for more.
Writers: Brenden Fletcher y Cameron Stewart
Art: Babs Tarr
Fresh out of her move to Burnside, Gotham’s hipster hood, Barbara Gordon finds herself trying to rebuild her life and move forward after a fire burned all her stuff, including some bridges with friends and her uniform. It’s the perfect time and place to hit this book if, like me, you’ve never really given much attention to this member of the Bat Family.
Two months ago, Babs Tarr and Cameron Stewart left it very clear that their approach to Batgirl would be more realistic than ever before, showing us the heroine’s new uniform. This is the “grassroots college girl” Batgirl, handily skimming the edge between a full on hipster and a Pinterest girl. Is there a difference? I don’t think there is, but if there were “GBG” wouldn’t care.
The first issue is the beginning of a larger arc, but the narrative here feels contained in the way a Free Comic Book Day one-shot would feel. It’s as if the writers had thought “alright, read it and if you don’t like it, at least you got a solid Batgirl story to tell out of it”.
So: Yes. Man, what the hell? DC is tearing it up with another Bat-Universe book which I hope will end up in a tie-in with Gotham Academy in the near future.
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Greg Tocchini
The chances of me reading this book pended hopelessly on the possibility of me finding a book that was worse in my weekly list (look further below in this article). Low #2 was lucky enough for me to read it, but by the time I was done with the book I felt like I was the lucky one in not passing it up.
It’s been 10 years to the day since the ship incident and Marik, the young mechanic we saw for a few panels in the last issue, is now a police inspector and his reintroduction to the story couldn’t be more… intense. His mother, Stel, was the only survivor of the attack all those years ago and now lives constantly surrounded by memories, trying to hold on to the life she knew while hoping to some day see her two daughters again.
Remender does a great job of showing us the same characters, yet changed and therefore different. It’s not the typical way to tell a story, but now I get why he made those decisions with the narrative in the first book, which I realize acts as a prologue now. Tocchini’s art soars in comparison to last week’s issue, with much clearer action (dude, the beginning alone was hardcore), that keeps the beauty of his style.
So: Yes. Low is the kind of sci-fi pulp fantasy I want in my comics list. Now that the story has really begun, I’m hooked.
Guardians 3000 #1
Writer: Dan Abnett
Art: Gerardo Sandoval
After so many good books, it was a pity to fall into this trap. Let me put it this way: this is a book with “classic” Marvel U characters, revived and redesigned in a blown up style, to milk the success of Guardians of the Galaxy. They sell it to you in this beautiful Alex Ross cover.
Guardians 3000 #1 is so bad that I tried reading it twice and had to leave it because it made me feel like I was wasting my time. The second time I managed to reach the ending cliffhanger, but the last four pages after I realized its predictable ending, I started skimming through it, looking to avoid the absurd phrases and made up words like “we have to exfil now!”, “this is total maxiflark”, “nil data”, “dinkwaft” (this one isn’t that bad actually) and “sweetgenes” (the worst offender ever).
This book is trying too hard to be something it’s not. It’s effort to show us these characters under a new light is admirable, but the art reminds me too much of Rob Liefeld and Joe Madureira, which isn’t bad, but isn’t for these characters. Even the logo design looks like GotG, which tells me that it’s creative team and Marvel probably believe that if readers couldn’t associate this book to that series, very little people would actually buy it.
So: No. I don’t know if it’s because I never read the original comics and I’m not getting an inside joke here. Maybe it’s because their spaceship is called “The Captain America” and they’re all wearing a US flag badge on their uniforms. You know what? No. I know what it was. It was the fucking “sweetgenes”.
Panels is a weekly column where I talk about one or three comic books I’m reading and why I love them or want to burn them. Read the archive here.