Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
It’s Week 2 of the No. 2s, and whether you’re big into the Bat-family or raring to go for Resurrection Man, there’s a lot on the pull list to enjoy. If you’re into other new No. 1 titles, Shade, by James Robinson and Cully Hamner, and My Greatest Adventure, by Aaron Lopresti, Kevin Maguire, Matt Ryan and Scott Kolins, arrived for a bit more variety.
This week also has your wildcard pick, Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. Did a second issue turn the book around for me? Read on for this and more!
Warning! Spoilers ahead!
Written by Gail Simone with art by Ardian Syaf
Picking up right where Issue 1 left off, Gail Simone delves a little deeper into the mystery of the Mirror and his list while providing some much-needed evaluation of Batgirl’s combat skills. This installment definitely provides more focus on Batgirl as a returned hero as opposed to her life and personal relationships outside of the mask. Simone does an excellent job of driving the plot forward, giving a good amount of answers to questions from the first issue and creating a real sense of urgency with a great cliffhanger. Issue 2 also highlights Ardian Syaf’s skills with Batgirl’s acrobatics and combat prowess.
Each time I pick up an issue of Batwoman, I’m surprised and please by J.H. Williams’ layouts. Beyond the overall plot by Williams and co-writer W. Haden Blackman, the layouts and attention to visual storytelling in this book is really impressive. Within the first few pages of Batwoman and Flamebird taking down thugs in a casino, Williams highlights each blow with an X-ray box of bones getting broken. Simply fantastic. While less attention is paid to the water ghost from last issue, Bat-family fans will be pleased to recognize a clear link to Batman Inc. in this issue, and longtime Batwoman readers will see the continuation of the Religion of Crime plot arc. Batman makes an appearance, and Batwoman goes on a date. This was an issue that slowly developed the plot with a much bigger focus on character. Did I mention how gorgeous this issue is? It’s stunning.
Written by Paul Cornell with art by Diogenes Neves
Last issue was the setup. This issue is the payoff – and what a payoff it is! Dinosaurs, flying demons, robot dragons, giant fireballs, pterodactyl riders and flying horses are just a few of the ridiculously amazing things you’ll see. Paul Cornell spends a good amount of time on each character introduced in the first issue, and while they all had some great moments, Vandal Savage easily stole the show with his hunger for dinosaur barbecue. This was a fight issue that focused more on character than driving the plot forward, but the fight was one of the more entertaining I’ve seen in some time. Diogenes Neves is doing a great job on this title, and demonstrates an ability to draw pretty much anything thrown at him. This book mixes humor with action and strong character development, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Cornell does with the plot in upcoming issues.
As the wildcard pick that was originally on the cutting room floor, I went into this issue with an open mind and found myself to be very pleasantly surprised. The book improved greatly over Issue 1 once it got to the action and beyond the introduction of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. to the creepy town where its citizens sacrifice children to an inter-dimensional demon portal. While I’m not as interested in the title character, I do find myself intrigued by his squadmates and really appreciated Jeff Lemire’s mini-origin story on Nina Mazursky. Alberto Ponticelli’s art is slowly growing on me as well. Lemire is doing great things in the New DCU with Animal Man, and his tight plotting of Frankenstein’s second issue really turned me around on this book. An excellent wildcard pick from the fans!
Written by Geoff Johns with art by Doug Mahnke
After an enjoyable debut with a great cliffhanger, I expected a lot from this issue. Sinestro created a new ring that he can turn on and off at will and gave it to Hal Jordan. Geoff Johns spent most of the issue delving into why Sinestro believes Hal Jordan failed as a Green Lantern and why he’s giving Jordan a second (or third or fourth) chance at the ring. The concept of Hal answering to Sinestro in a very real way is an intriguing direction. Johns also revealed the eventual goal for Sinestro: to liberate Korugar from the Sinestro Corps. While Sinestro really only fought Gorgor and messed with Hal during this issue, it was all beautifully depicted by artist Doug Mahnke. Johns and Mahnke are a force to be reckoned with, and it’ll be interesting to see where the characters go from here.
One of the things I like most about this book is that the protagonist seems to be as confused as new readers might be. It’s a bold move on Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s part, but it works surprisingly well during this issue, where Mitch Shelley heads to the residential care home where his father died. Collecting his father’s belongings, Mitch speaks with Darryl Roth, a friend of his father’s, in order to help piece together who he really is. While the angel from last issue doesn’t get much panel time, readers will get a clear taste of the Body Doubles, the two assassins from the morgue. Fernando Dagnino continues to bring his A-game to this book, making even residential care homes look interesting. Readers are getting a chance to find out who Mitch Shelley is right alongside the character, and that’s something I find incredibly appealing moving forward.
Written by Scott Lobdell with art by R.B. Silva
So, Red is Gen13’s Caitlin Fairchild. That’s awesome. I really like the cast that Scott Lobdell’s put together here with Superboy, Fairchild and Rose Wilson as the core of the book. The setup for the second issue here is well done, but it’s really only setup. The real action begins toward the end of the issue as Superboy and Rose are sent to a genetic lab to stop test subjects from escaping. Lobdell does a great job of bringing Superboy’s intense internal conflict to light, and Rose is just a total badass. R.B. Silva does a great job with Rose’s expressions, mixing total disdain for vioelnce with a sadistic pleasure. I’m especially interested in seeing more of Red’s powerset in the New DCU and how this book ties into Lobdell’s Teen Titans.
That’s it for this week. What did you enjoy from your own pull for this week of No. 2s? Whether it was one of the books here or one that wasn’t, we want to hear from you in the comments. How do you think the No. 2s are going so far?