by Mike Sangiacomo
There are a lot of good comics out there, a few great, and some that just aren’t worth reading.
It’s easy to blow off some comics right off the bat because of the writer, the art, or style. But then there are comics that could and should be good: comics with a great premise or those written by authors we trust. For me, anything by Geoff Johns, Mark Waid, Tom Taylor, Peter David and a few others automatically goes in the buy pile. I will also buy anything by Alan Moore, despite the fact that he has horrible taste in artists. For me, artists like Kevin O’Neill make reading his comics a chore to get through, but Moore’s stories are worth it.
For me the worst offenders are titles that have an intriguing concept, but fail to deliver in the end. DC’s Electric Warriors is a prime example. It was supposed to bridge the future of Kamandi and the future of the Legion of Super-Heroes; instead it was an incredibly boring series of gladiatorial battles between heroes we never met before or care about.
Which brings us to Heroes In Crisis…but not yet. I agreed to hold off on my reaction to Tom King’s limited series until I read the final issue, which comes out May 29th. Yeah, maybe that magical final issue will make the rest of the series make sense. I’m not holding my breath.
Instead, I’ll talk about three books that live up to the hype, including one flying under the radar.
FREEDOM FIGHTERS, from DC, is smack in the middle of a 12-issue maxi-series. Robert Venditti and artist Eddy Barrows and the rest of the crew are doing an amazing job telling the story of an Earth where Nazis won the second World War and an ever-changing group of heroes fight for liberty.
The best part of the series is the realism of characters dying and being replaced. We’re up to the third Human Bomb, the grandson of the original. Venditti shows an affinity for writing these characters, perhaps because he is not committed to keeping everyone alive.
This is a maxi-series that should be upgraded to a monthly.
TONY STARK, IRON MAN, by Dan Slott and Jim Zub and artist Valerio Schiti, is a fine piece of superheroing. The reason I like the book so much is not so much for Tony Stark, but for his brother, Arno.
Arno has a weird backstory which I’m not going into here, but suffice it to say he has been on ice for decades and is finally getting the most out of his life. He may be smarter than Tony, but lacks Tony’s compassion. He is cold and calculating, but often does the right thing for his own reason.
It’s good to have a major character that is not blindly heroic. Like Magneto and Namor, Arno has his own agenda which makes him, and the book, fascinating.
THE FLASH, meanwhile, just began a Year One-style storyline. Gotta say I have not been a fan of the Flash series for a while, but this new telling of Flash’s first year feels important. Dually credited as both writers and artists, Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter have stepped up their game and—gasp!—made the Flash exciting. For the first time, one of Flash’s earliest foes, The Turtle, is fascinating.
I suggest buying the Year One issues (the second one just came out) because I have a feeling it will be a lynchpin in DC’s ever-changing universe.
Michael Sangiacomo, who does believe a man can fly, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.