A rare few days of downtime over the holiday weekend, allowing me to catch up on literally months’ worth of comics. Let’s talk about a few things that impressed me:
Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley’s FANTASTIC FOUR is off to a good start, with the familiar but in-character subplot of Reed Richards keeping secrets and working from ulterior motives as he ushers his family off on their next great reality-spanning adventure. Jonathan Hickman’s run completely redefined the series like no one sine John Byrne, so this does feel a little old-fashioned in comparison to Hickman’s slick futurism, but it’s solid, satisfying comics storytelling that has me interested in where things are going.
Very much enjoyed Elena Casagrande’s first issue of HACK/SLASH, written by Timothy Seeley. What a great comic. I’d never read a single issue of the book before, but was drawn right in by the characterization, which told me everything I needed to know about the characters to be pulled in. And the art was great, some of Casagrande’s best: expressive and well told. HACK/SLASH #20. Horror fans with a softer side, trust me: go find it.
Longtime readers around these parts know how much I love Hawkeye. Always have. One of my favorite Avengers, if not the favorite. And yet his solo efforts have often been lackluster at best, With the exception of his very first miniseries by Mark Gruenwald way back in the day. Which is why it pleases me to no end to say this:
Matt Fraction and David Aja’s HAWKEYE is amazing.
With a very simple mission statement up front (“This is what Hawkeye does when he’s not being an Avenger”), Fraction and Aja get everything about the character right: his skills, his impetuousness, his generosity, his short temper. And bringing Kate Bishop form YOUNG AVENGERS as his new sidekick was genius, giving Clint someone to bounce off of that allows him to serve in a mentor capacity, while still doing the kind of boneheaded maneuvers that make Hawkeye Hawkeye. My favorite book on the stands right now. I don’t even mind the bad costume (maybe because he’s so seldom worn it so far).
Mark Waid and Leinil Yu’s INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK is off to a great start. An excellent jumping-on point for anyone confused by the rainbow of Hulks we’ve seen in Marvel comics for the last few years, with a smart new emphasis on Bruce Banner I really like. This is the perfect book for anyone who loved Hulk and Bruce Banner in the AVENGERS movie and wants to be reading HULK comics.
Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca’s INVINCIBLE IRON MAN ended very, very strong, with their epic Mandarin story coming together very well for a big finish. My sole complaint was that the series closes out on Tony Stark heading off on a very dramatic, very exciting new adventure, and yet when Kieron Gillan’s new Marvel Now IRON MAN series began, it’s been brushed off entirely, with Tony Stark already back and acting as if it was no big deal, and no mention anywhere to be found of whre and when we’ll get to see that story (not to mention depriving it of all drama, since we know Stark will be home safe and back to his old self, relatively unchanged for the experience). Curious.
Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schiti’s JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY is a beautiful comic, even if the story, centered on Thor’s longtime love Sif, hasn’t quite got me hooked yet. But Schiti’s work alone makes this a must-buy for me.
And finally, Bronze Age fans need to make sure they pick up BACK ISSUE #61, which focuses on the giant-size Treasury Edition comics of the 1970s, and pays them proper tribute by expanding to Treasury size itself for the issue, under a gorgeous wraparound cover of the 1970s Legion of Superheroes painted by Alex Ross. The cover alone is worth the price, kids. Grab it.
Scott Tipton digs the adventures of Hawkeye and Hawkeye. If you’ve got questions about Hawkeye or comics in general, send them here.