I don’t often use the word “smorgasbord,” but when I do, you can bet your ass I fucking mean it! And if ever there was a smorgasbord of comics to come out, it’s this week! Now, by no means is this list exhaustive; in fact, I’ve decided to take a Top 5 approach to keep it more concise, and I’m covering East of West and Jupiter’s Legacy in reviews this week, so you can check out my thoughts on those big recommendations elsewhere. Also feel free to fill in my gaps below (WINK!) with your own cornucopia of comic pick comments! Wow, smorgasbord and cornucopia in the same intro? We’re through the looking-glass, people...
Mind MGMT #15
Okay, first of all, I’m the Bastard reviewing this book these days, so admittedly, I “have to” read it for the site. But never before have I had such a welcome labor of love. Matt Kindt’s heady mental espionage puzzle continues on unabated, and I’ve loved every single piece he has lain in this complex narrative to date. This one promises a rather more focused spotlight on the elusive Henry Lyme, who also happens to be the beneficiary of one of the most compelling characterizations in comic books today. As with every issue featuring him, I am left to wonder if I will cheer him on ... or hope his erstwhile protégée Meru slits his throat. Icing on this already delicious cake is a cover quote from our very own Comic Bastard Commandant, Mr. Dustin Cabeal, which, to be fair, is worth the price of admission alone!
This title, for me, exemplifies everything Marvel NOW! is, or at very least, what it intended to be: not, perhaps, a re-imagining, but a rethinking, a readjustment. In the hands of a talent like Hickman, this book in particular has become a slanted yet salient and cerebral thing, dipping in and out of introspective character study and massive, cosmic maneuvering with relative ease. Especially now that Infinity (aka, the best thing Marvel has done in fucking years) is ratcheting up speed and power, it’s pretty much compulsory to have this alongside it as a reader, as well as New Avengers (which is just as stellar, in more ways than one). Marvel has wisely given Hickman room to be his usual deranged self, while also playing to his strengths in long-form storytelling, and that has given this iteration of The Avengers perhaps its most unique feel ever: as comfortable following the spaces between punches as with their catastrophic impacts. It may make you think a bit more, but once you do - as with most everything Hickman does - it’s that much more rewarding.
Green Lantern #23.4 / Sinestro #1
I haven’t been following “Evil Month” or whatever this diluted DC dalliance is calling itself; oh, I’ve taken a peak at a few titles, but for the most part I’ve found them wanting. I did find some charm in Black Hand’s recent appearance (Kevin sums this up quite nicely on Episode 99 of the Comic Bastards CBMFP, which you should check out on Stitcher RIGHT NOW!) However, Sinestro is the beastliest beast that ever by-god beasted, which is another way of saying he’s my favorite villain, and I’d be remise if I didn’t snag this one if for no other reason than to see where he’s been since Geoff Johns set him free. I may even grab the damn novelty cover because I’m weak-willed ... which I think the Sinestro Corps would look upon with favor. Also, it’s written by Matt Kindt, and while he’s been hit or miss outside of his creator-owned stuff, there’s no way I’m missing his turn on one of my favorite baddies. I just hope he doesn’t shy away from showing us what has been going on with “Parallax Sinestro,” rather than just rehashing some origin story again. That would be a real waste, since Sinestro has always considered himself a force for order, if not “good,” and could be a key element as such against the Crime Syndicate. Just sayin’...
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #26
I seriously never thought that, post elementary school, I would be following a TMNT ... anything, let alone a comic book! When we started covering these as group reviews, I was THIS CLOSE (I’m doing that thing with my fingers ... no, not that thing; Jesus, get your mind out of the gutter) to emailing Dustin and opting out altogether. Maybe it was a sense of nostalgia or just a passing fancy that changed my mind, I dunno, but I’m damn glad I did. This “City Fall” arc has shown me that the boys in green have grown up - or at least their adventures have. Also, seeing Leonardo turned into an EVIL GODDAMN BADASS and pitted against his brothers has been really fun to watch. Complex, with nuanced characterization and an impressively growing threat of urban ninja war, I’m really looking forward to the next installment of this so-far brilliant story. PLUS, it gets us one step closer to Bebop and mafackin’ Rocksteady! Cowabunga, bitches.
Sex Criminals #1
Yup, this is the book that eeeeeeverybody and his or her fucking dog is talking about ... and dogs can’t even talk, you guys. Apparently, this one’s about two felonious fornicators who, when “making with the sex,” are able to stop time and thus, rob the shit out of banks. The solicit for this one promises something, “in the vein of THE 40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN and BRIDESMAIDS,” which I can’t really conceptualize within that premise; but fuck it, it’s Fraction doing an Image book. Even though I’m not in love (and that’s saying it nicely) with Satellite Sam, this sounds like it’s more in keeping with Fraction’s bag of tricks and if nothing else, it should be a bit of sexy fun.