The Comic Fanatic – Week of 2/6: Scarlet, Fearless Defenders, Avengers, Star Wars, Robin
Several great titles this week, including a very surprising return from one of my favorite series. Lot to say, so let’s get right to it.
First up is a comic I thought we’d never see Scarlet #6. The previous issue was released in March of 2010. That’s almost three years. Scarlet was one of the first comics I reviewed for this site, and it was one of two comics that started my (now massive) weekly pull list. The other was Uncanny X-Force. Scarlet is one of my favorite titles, despite being so short. It’s a combination of V for Vendetta and Kick Ass, although that’s a rather lousy comparison. Our heroine, Scarlet Rue, gets screwed over in a big way by corrupt cops. After trying for a long time to make sense of it, she can’t. So she doesn’t. She decided to fight back against the institution that ruined her life. Turns out she’s rather good at it.
When we last saw Scarlet, she had started a mob that ruffled a few feathers. One of those ruffled hens tossed a grenade into the crowd and insanity ensued. Some time has passed (unknown exactly how much. Three years maybe?) and Scarlet’s built up quite a following. She’s still on top of her game. This issue is really her giving a call to arms to the nation, to fight back against the unjust. It’s all really quite inspiring and well done. The writing is excellent, and the art is perfect. It’s gritty, dark and really sets the tone. Things are gonna get worse before they get better, and I for one can’t wait to see it through. Hopefully it won’t be three years until the next issue.
This week we have new titles from both Avengers series by Jonathan Hickman, and they really go to show how different two super team books from the same writer can be. Avengers is clearly a more classic Marvel book with a seriously large cast, allowing for some very interesting pairing and sub-teams. On the other hand, New Avengers is the Illuminati dealing with big, universe-shattering science fiction events that Hickman writes so well (The Red Wing). Both issues this week were very good.
Avengers has been showcasing some of the lesser known team members with Hyperion last week, Smasher this week and Captain Universe next. This early in a Hickman story, it’s largely setup, but still rather good. New Avengers hits issue three and already brings out the Infinity Gauntlet. Three issues in and the Gauntlet’s been drawn. Epic indeed. Also, Beast joins the team in Xavier’s stead. Good choice. It really shows why we need both Avengers and New Avengers, and why Hickman SHOULD be writing them both. Also why you should be reading both.
Fearless Defenders is about badass women kicking ass. The first issue starts Valkyrie and Misty Knight, (and former New Mutant Dani Moonstar will join next issue). There’s an army of undead Asgardians and the blame has fallen on Valkyrie. There’s a lot of action (mostly against mercenaries and the undead) and Valkyrie and Misty looking good doing it. It’s a fun read, definitely not too serious. Really has a buddy-cop feeling to it. Admittedly, some of the art does feel like male pandering, but not worse offender in recently memory. Pick this one up if like buddy cop movies and action, but with chicks instead of dudes.
Next are two titles that have been out for a week or two but I just picked up. First we have Star Wars from Brian Wood (DMZ, Mara). This new series in a galaxy far far away takes place between A New Hope and Empire, almost immediately following the Battle of Yavin. If you haven’t heard the buzz yes, rest assured that any Star Wars fan will want to subscribe to this series. It feels like Star Wars, it fits, it works. And that’s probably the biggest compliment I can give it. We see Luke and Leia scouting around in X-Wings, fighting Tie Fighters. Han and Chewie being scoundrals. Mon Mothma acting the leader. It’s fun, and exciting.
I love Star Wars. Always have. Played the games, saw the movies, all the theatrical releases I was able to, books. The whole deal. However, this is the first in universe comic I’ve seriously read. I’ve been a little burned out since the prequels. I don’t hate them with the passion of a thousand fiery suns, but I was disappointed. So for me, Star Wars has been on the back burner for a while. Until I heard Brian Wood was the one writing the new series. DMZ is one of my favorite series ever. A really amazing story, and consequently I’ll at least try anything he writes. Mara’s been really great and I was excited to read his take on some of my favorite characters. Read it, subscribe to it, love it.
Lastly, we have Batman and Robin Annual #1. If you like Damian, you love this issue. If you don’t, give it a try. It might change your might. In this issue, Damian sends his dad on a scavenger hunt to get him out of Gotham for a bit. And while Batman SR. is out town, Damian goes to work and is really fantastic. The art is great, the writing is great, there’s heartfelt moments between father and son, and between Bruce and Alfred. A drastic departure and significantly lighter tone than Death of the Family. Really, this issue is Damian being awesome. I very much enjoyed it
There we have it folks. Scarlet made a surprise and welcome return, Avengers and New Avengers continue to rock, Fearless Defenders is a lot of fun, Star Wars is a faithful return, and Damian is all around awesome. Until next week!