This week on The Comic Fanatic, we have four comics from four different publishers! Probably a first for this column. There were a bunch of very good comics this week (Constantine, Avengers Arena, Invincible Universe, Batman), but these are my favorites from Marvel, DC, Image and Dark Horse.
First up, I have a confession. I love Hawkguy. I mean Hawkeye. And it would seem, so do many of you. And that’s awesome, because this month’s issue is all about people (women) loving (or not) our favorite arrow slinger. Hawkeye #9 focuses on the women in Hawkeye’s life: Black Widow, Mockingbird, Spider-Woman, Cherry, and of course, Kate Bishop. It’s really a heartfelt issue, with Clint not at his best physically or emotionally. Fraction does a great job bringing out the human side of the hero. As always, both the writing and the art (it’s great to have Aja back) work extremely well together to create and overall outstanding and entertaining package. This issue also introduces a new character that bears more than a passing resembles to a Promethea character.
I know I’ve praised Hawkeye a great deal, but it really is that great. It’s fun, well written, and well illustrated. Hawkeye might not be the most exciting member of the Avengers. He doesn’t have super powers, or a fancy suit. He’s not a god, but he is awesome. Fraction has never been a better writer than he is on this book. If you haven’t read it, the first trade is out now and I really think you’ll enjoy it. Seriously, bro. Bro. Seriously, bro. Read this comic.
From DC, we have Batgirl! I know Batman is out this week, but I felt that Batgirl was a stronger issue this month. Simone continues to impress with her writing. She doesn’t hold back at all. These past nineteen issues have been rough for Barbara, no doubt, but she’s emerged stronger for it. This issue concludes the arc with her brother, James Gordon Jr. It’s an intense issue, and no one in the Gordon family is getting out without scars. Just a very well written issue, and a great conclusion to the arc. I’d also be remiss if I failed to mention the strength of the art. The final confrontation between siblings looks awesome. The whole arc is very reminiscent of The Black Mirror. I am excited to see what happens next in Batgirl.
Also, this issue introduces the first openly transgender character in comic history. After Barbara tells her roommate Alysia what the wheelchair is really for, it comes out that Alysia was once a man. It’s easy to think that it could be done just for publicity reasons. Y’know, ‘DC makes comic history’. But I don’t really think that’s the case. This is a character that was introduces back in issue one, when the New 52 started. Almost two years ago. Well established in the Batgirl canon. Also, it just doesn’t seem like the thing Simone would do. From what I’ve read and interviews I’ve watched, it would seem out of character for her to do something like that simply for publicity, especially after last year’s debacle. Props to DC for supporting the LGBT community.
Saga. I’m not really sure what to say about this series that I haven’t already, but this is yet another outstanding issue. Marko and Alana light, this issue focuses on Prince Robot and does a fair bit of world building. We see a few new locations and many new races. The world of Saga grows more and more unique with each issue. It is an exciting and complicated world they live it. Initially it seems like a typical ‘two warring species’ world, but then after a few issues, it’s revealed that there’s so much more to it. There’s many planet, with many many types of people. Science and Magic. Cops and Bounty Hunters. Robots and people with wings and horns and hamster people. And then there’s Sextillion. A little bit Firefly. A very strange and wondrous place that Vaughn and Staples have elected to share with us, and I thank them each month for it.
This is the last issue before a hiatus, sadly. Saga is taking a few months off after this first year to get their affairs in order before they continue. I am rather sad by this. As a lover of strange and bizarre stories, Saga is at the front of my read list each month. Comic Book Wednesdays won’t be the same without it. Luckily, they have included a Saga Survival Guide at the end of this issue, and I strongly recommend you read it. If you are looking for something different to read each month during this break, might I recommend Nowhere Men, Fatale, or Luther Strode, all published by Image. They’re not the same as Saga, but worthy reads in their own rights.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Brian Wood wrote some Star Wars comics. These were rather excellent (being the outstanding writer that he is), and the fourth issue continued the trend. There’s two main parts to this issue: Han and Chewie being awesome, and Leia and Rogue Squadron (face it, that’s what they are) being awesome. There’s a lot of ship to ship combat in this issue, and series overall. Which is perfect. For the uninitiated, the series takes place right after the battle of Yavin (end of A New Hope). Han and Chewie are on a mission for Mon Mothma/being themselves, and Luke, Leia, Wedge and other new characters are doing Black Ops things with X-Wings.
I image it would be hard to create tension when you know the characters will survive, as most of them are in Empire, but you do get a little apprehensive when Rogue Squadron come across a fleet of TIE Fighters that outnumber them 10:1. It’s good fun writing that really feels at home in the established Star Wars canon. Fans of the series, read this one.
There you have it, True Belivers, four great comics from four publishers. See you next week, and at C2E2 in Chicago!!