This time on Heroes and Villains, we’ll be looking at a variety of comics out this week and last, from a variety of genres. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Batman #24, Secret Empire #3, Secret Empire Uprising #1, Predator: Hunters #2, Slayer: Repentless #3, Grimm Tales of Terror #6, and the first Infinite Seven trade collection… be warned, there may be spoilers…
Actual changes to the Batman mythos are pretty rare, and when something big happens, it’s usually big enough for mainstream media to spoil them before they even hit the comic shelves – because comics suck, basically. I long for the days when you didn’t know about comic events until you read the actual comic, and any hype was created by word of mouth – but I’m old, get off my lawn. The comic in question this time is Batman #24, and the big deal is Batman’s proposal to Catwoman.
This is by far not the first time these two characters have been linked, although they have been for most of their existence, more than a few times they’ve been intimate, the Earth-Two Golden Age versions were married and bore a daughter – the Huntress, and even my own first encounter with them, as played by Adam West and Julie Newmar, had them romantically entwined. As opposed to other women in Batman’s life, Catwoman might most fit in as the purr-fect partner, and I’ve outlined my reasons for that before.
The proposal is of course a trick, and an attempt to boost sales, especially considering how it was leaked to press, both comics and mainstream. The cliffhanger comes at the end of the issue, followed by two major new storylines, so who knows how long before we even know Catwoman’s answer. They may have killed Robins, made the Joker an immortal, and given Batman a son, but marriage might be too big a step, especially in a DC Universe so seemingly anti-marriage. Time will tell. Worth checking out, for fans old and new.
Last week, Marvel Comics’ biggest and most controversial event in years continued with two comics, Secret Empire #3 and Secret Empire Uprising #4. The main title only brings us more of the misery that is the Hydra ruled world of the evil Captain America. We get some very brief humor from Star-Lord and Rocket, but the rest is the same old story. I have to admit my interest was piqued by appearances by Namor, the Black Panther, the Punisher, and Hank Pym/Ultron, but all things considered I am not enjoying seeing my heroes beaten, and twisted, and destroyed. It almost feels as if on Christmas morning you got all your favorite toys, and rather than getting to play with them, you must watch as some mean kid breaks them all in front of you.
Uprising, written by Derek Landy, rather than Nick Spencer, gives us the Black Widow leading Marvel’s younger generation of heroes on a mission to save the world seen above from the clutches of Captain America. They infiltrate Hydra by, wait for it, joining the choir. Beyond belief, and joyously, we get a -dare I say it- fun story set in the Secret Empire doom and gloom world. It does not end well, but man, it was odd reading something with the name Secret Empire on it that was so much fun. A no and a yes on these two books.
I used to be a Predator fan, loving the first two movies, and the first Alien vs. Predator, and then that reboot Predators kind of put me off the franchise for good. It was that bad. So, let it be known that it was with hesitation I looked at Dark Horse’s Predator: Hunters #2 (of 5). This is the tale of a man who defeated a Predator in lethal combat once, and is now being recruited by a team of other survivors offering him the chance for one more hunt. Troubled by post-traumatic stress syndrome of the incident, it’s not that easy.
The team, the purpose, and their organization all remind me of the aforementioned AvP that I kind of liked. With the small crew of a fishing boat stranded on an island used by Predators as a hunting ground, the team is going in. And while the prime action is yet to happen, and this issue is a lot of set up, the story is visual and cinematic, and I was pulled in right away. I would like to see more, recommended.
Also from Dark Horse comes the third of three issues of the Slayer: Repentless series. Now I must confess up front that I’m not that big of a Slayer fan, own no music by them, although I have seen them in concert. That said, the concept of this comic is one I can definitely get behind being a member of the MTV music video generation. The comic series is based on the video trilogy composed of “Repentless,” “You Against You,” and “Pride in Prejudice,” inspired by the music of Slayer. Like story songs in the 1970s, and music video epics of the 1980s, and of course the KISS comics of my youth, something amazing has been created here, and I love it. Violent and graphic, this is not for everyone, but it is an amazing work of art, crossing media genre. Recommended.
Grimm Tales of Terror
I have fond memories of comics from Zenescope from my days on The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast, as they were locally produced, we always had them to review. Mostly fairy tales with bad girl art, it was refreshing to see something a bit different from them this week, although admittedly it’s been a few years for me since I read Zenescope – and that’s my bad.
As a recent Florida resident who actually does now have alligators in the backyard, my attention was immediately captured by the cover story of Grimm Tales of Terror #6 featuring gators in the New York sewers. Firsthand knowledge of such creatures just makes them all the scarier, trust me. I loved this, a great little one and done single issue story, with mystery, horror, and thrills. Highly recommended, horror comics the way they should be done.
From Action Lab this week we have the first trade collection of Infinite Seven. Described as taking place in the world of super spies and femme fatales, it doesn’t quite get rolling for a bit, and despite being in media res doesn’t give us much background on the characters right away. I think if it had I would have enjoyed it a bit more. Really, just a sentence or two, and I would have been ready to go. When you’re fifteen pages in, roughly half of the length of a standard comic, and you still don’t know who’s who, there’s a problem. Luckily the trade is six issues long. And at the end of the first issue, I was tagged, and reeled in, this was a winner.
Normal teenaged Anthony is a cool character, a relatable character, and once he enters the world of the super spies and femme fatales, this story is really alive. The reason the spies in the Infinite Seven are all such templates is because they are all replaceable, and Anthony is the new Smash. It’s fun, it’s insane, and it’s full of mad action. I was not a fan at first, but I have to admit, this grabbed me. I will be seeking out more, and you should give it a shot as well. Recommended.