Animal Man 12

This week saw the release of Animal Man and Swamp Thing 11, which was the first crossover after teasing the partnership of both protagonists for almost a year. Both titles are strong and work well together but I prefer Animal Man mainly because of the incredible artwork by Steve Pugh. It is not for the weak of heart as he draws rot monsters pretty disgustingly, almost like something out of a Francis Bacon painting. Finely pencilled and nicely shaded it is genuinely some of the most unique work out there and fits perfectly for this arc.

I’m still loving Jeff Lemire and his work in conjunction with Scott Snyder for this crossover is solid. It’s the long anticipated meeting between Buddy Baker and Swamp Thing but the writing is best between each character and their loved ones. Buddy’s family struggles with the dichotomy of being in danger because of him but loving him dearly. This theme has been present throughout the book. Swamp Thing loves Abby even though her family lineage, are his enemy and this was the crux of the first arc. I look forward to the Buddy and Swamp Thing relationship developing as there are some interesting themes to build on.

This balance between the art and writing is perfect in this book. The writing is simple because the visuals allow the story to be shown instead of told. The plot progresses slowly but it does not matter, as there is so much to see on the page, especially with the premonition panels. This is one of my favourite new 52 comics.

Great – 9/10

Action Comics 12

I cannot say anything that hasn’t already been said about Grant Morrison. The man has written for some of the most famous and best superheroes and had the honour of writing Batman’s death. His plots are complex and his writing concise. The problem is that his ideas are sometimes so difficult to grasp it can leave you frustrated. It is worth rereading to make sure you haven’t missed anything.  Clark is young and has no attachment to Lois, which lends to fresh storylines and revisionist introductions to well known characters.

This issue is complex. There are three themes in this book, which allow great fighting action sequences to be drawn, fun panels as Superman trains to be a surgeon in minutes and a character backstory to be revealed. It also introduces the next villain with a good twist at the end whilst allowing Clark time to contemplate! It covers a lot of ground and it’s hard to believe this is only one issue.

Rags Morales, Cafu and Brad Walker have all contributed art to this issue. Though it is relatively obvious where one begins and the next starts it does not disrupt the flow of the issue, which is impressive in itself. It’s a shame but it could be worse. I can understand people disliking Morrison because he uses a lot of new concepts and alien names, which can be confusing. It takes getting used to and I think it works great on this book.

Like it – 8.5/10

Before Watchmen – Night Owl 2

J. Michael Straczynski has an impressive CV, he wrote Babylon 5! Comic wise he is well known for Amazing Spiderman and Superman Earth One. He has a large back catalogue of work and a wealth   of experience. I know it is controversial me even reading Before Watchmen as so many fans have boycotted it. I liked but did not love the original and understand that it was a complete story. As long as the new books are done well and respectful Ill read them, no matter the motives behind them.

There are a number of themes explored in this issue focusing around Twilight lady who runs a fetish and call girls business. Nite Owl and Rorschach have their childhoods replayed in order to inform their reactions and decisions as adults. It works very well and shows some poignant symbolic scenes. Straczynski is very true to the two heroes and has Rorschach deliver some excellent film noir dialogue. Two differing view are presented on a morally corrupt issue converging in a common goal.

Andy and Joe Kubert are superb in this issue. The art is dark gritty and sets the environment perfectly for the story. There are darkly shaded colours for the present time compared to brighter shades for the childhood flashbacks. I adore how the art reflects the childhood memories mirroring the present story. It’s a simple tactic but is so effective. A very enjoyable issue.

Excellent – 9.5/10

Others

Swamp Thing 11    Part 2 of Animal Man crossover, more stuff happens!           8.5/10

The First X-Men 1  Origin story to x-men creation – solid story, okay art            6.5/10

Dial H 4                  Even more confusing, interesting story and art!                    7/10

Earth 2 4                Love the JSA origins, good artwork, plot slow                     8/10

Hawkeye 1             Well written, art good but too dark for plot                          8/10

Mind the Gap 3     I love Oback’s art, whodunit moving slowly                          7/10

X-factor 241          Combining arcs, solud writing and  artwork                         8/10

X-factor 241          Combining arcs, solud writing and  artwork                         8/10

AvX 9                   Still not caring for the story, not buying heroics                     6/10

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