Here are the Comic Book Wins and Losses for this past week! Take your bets on where I'll list Action Comics #1000. If you've been paying attention, you probably know exactly where I'll list it.
(Sorry that this one is up especially late. I don't really have a good reason this time; all I can say is that I'm still working on trying to maintain a scheduled column.)
Win: Of Course It's Action Comics #1000
Those who follow my reviews know that I adored this celebration of Superman. Sometimes, a publisher coming together to make a comic a calculated smash hit actually works. When you bring together an impressive cadre of creators and tell them to make a love letter to Clark Kent, it can work fantastically as this comic proves. While the Brian Michael Bendis and Jim Lee story didn't leave me as psyched as I had hoped, the rest of the book had me riding along on the Superman love train.
Loss: Iron Fist #80 Brings a Lackluster End to a Good Series
At its height, Ed Brisson and Mike Perkins's Iron Fist was among my favorite Marvel titles of the moment. However, tying into Damnation brought the series to heel, and, this past week, it ended on something of a muted note. While the issue was far from bad, it did leave me missing the better issues of the run. Damian Couceiro does some good work on the art, but it's not enough to make this issue memorable.
Win: Batwoman #14 Shows Why This Series Deserves More Attention
Marguerite Bennett and Fernando Blanco put together a fantastic issue of Batwoman this past week. A startling yet personal journey lies before Kate Kane in this issue, and the writing and art is top notch throughout said journey. This was my favorite Big Two book of this past week after Action Comics #1000, and everyone should check out this series.
Loss: Batman #45 is Not a Stellar Issue for a Booster Gold Fan
Batman #45 is a weird sequel to Alan Moore's "For the Man Who Has Everything" Superman Annual story, but it comes off as a weirdly "whoops, broke the timeline" slapstick tale that makes Booster Gold out to be a near-sociopath. Admittedly, the following issues will likely complicate things and show what's "really going on," but this wasn't an especially appealing first step for this arc. Tony Daniel brings some solid artwork to the book, but the overall product was distinctly underwhelming.
Win: Black Panther #172 Brings a Satisfying Ending to its Overlong Story
"'Avengers of the New World' was too long. I don't think anyone could really disagree with that. However, as we reach its ending and are on the cusp of a "new era" of Black Panther, I do have to admit that this arc's finale was quite good. It harkens back to the better issues of this run, focusing more on T'Challa and his relationship with his people as opposed to a labyrinthine plots with umpteen moving parts. The ending scene with T'Challa and Storm is especially enjoyable, and Leonard Kirk's art is quite solid.
Loss: Black Hammer: Age of Doom #1 Doesn't Impress
I've become fond of Jeff Lemire's Dark Horse-based Black Hammer line of comics in the past year, but Age of Doom #1 was not among its better installments. While some of its ideas in the premise are interesting, that's all the first issue was: premise. It doesn't really advance the story, and, beyond Dean Ormston's art and some of the character interactions, there isn't much to latch onto in this first issue. While I believe the story will pick up later, there is little to be excited about in Age of Doom #1.
Win: Her Infernal Descent #1 Brings a New Take on the Inferno
Her Infernal Descent #1 was a beautiful and affecting book. Focusing on a mother's grief and the lengths to which she will go in order to see her family again, Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson, and Kyle Charles deliver one of the most memorable books of the week. Lead character Lynn is an easily likable protagonist, and the presence of William Blake definitely adds something to the book. This one deserves a read from everyone.
Loss: Ballad of Sang #2 Only Gets Worse
Ballad of Sang #1 frustrated me with its tone issues and need to have its cake and eat it too. The second installment is simply an ugly comic where the questionability of the child-assassin trope is the least of the comic's worries. Expect a full review later, but I will go ahead and tell you to keep away from this one.
Win: Highest House Continues to Enamor with #3
Another one where the full review is forthcoming, Highest House #3 continues the miniseries' seemless world-building, character development, and teasing the mystery of what is at the core of the Highest House, its ruling family, and its gods. Moth continues to grow into an intriguing character, and Obsidian continues to steal the show despite being a disembodied voice.
Loss: Rough Riders: Ride or Die #3 Gives into Melodrama and Cliché
Another book that wasn't awful, Rough Riders: Ride or Die #3 gives into the temptation of using melodramatics to "raise the tension" and some cliches to pad out the riding. Considering this miniseries has only really been good enough so far, those problems can really turn a reader sour to the story. It certainly brought it down for me.
Win: Skyward #1 Takes Flight
Despite the presence of enough scientific inaccuracies to send Neil deGrasse Tyson into shock, Skyward is a high-energy and exciting first issue. A charming lead, a bizarre and unique premise, and appealing artwork bring this book into the "win" category with ease, and I look forward to seeing where it goes from here.
Win: Brooklyn Gladiator Makes a Unique and Interesting Start
I read this one some time ago and even had the pleasure of interviewing writer Dan Fogler. While you should still expect a full review from yours truly within a day or so, do know that this is a unique comic with some wild and bizarre ideas existing alongside conventional action/sci-fi/dystopia aesthetics to create an insane melting pot of story thematics. It's worth checking out, if you haven't already.
Win: Infidel #2 is Even Better than #1
Pornsak Pichetshote and Aaron Campbell's Infidel #1 blew me away last month with its mastery of subtlety, social satire, and the kind of real-world horror captured by the likes of Get Out. The second issue kicks it up a notch by raising the stakes and adding to the horror. This may just be one of the best horror comics in years, and I can't wait to see where the story goes from here.
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And that's it for another week of Comic Book Wins and Losses! Look out for full reviews on some of these titles later as well as the final installment of "Countdown to Avengers: Infinity War" and "Comics for Your Pull Box" for the week ahead.